A day in the life of a Safari Lodge Chef

Chef preparing

A day in the life of a Safari Lodge Chef

A day in the life of a safari lodge chef starts at dawn and ends long after dinner is served. It is a passion for most, which is the driving force for this vocation.  Spurred on by the challenges of having access to supplies and certain products, these men and women ply their trade by using their considerable skills to offer culinary treats to safari guests in the lodge and out in the bush.

This does not come without challenges though. Chefs enjoy the challenge of being creative, but working in a safari lodge means that they are often away from family for weeks at a time.

Hotels will often have a kitchen brigade made up of many different chefs, whereas at a lodge, a chef will do all of the preparation and cooking during their shift.

But this also offers opportunities and experiences like no other, for example preparing a meal out in the bush under the stars and with a lion calling in the background. A hotel kitchen won’t be able to compare with that.

The day starts early for a safari lodge chef, preparing from before 6 am for early breakfasts, bush breakfasts, or putting together the drinks stop snacks for the guests.

Setting up in the morning to get the day started could take about 30 minutes or more.

Most lodges will operate with a seasonal menu of fresh produce bought locally, taking into consideration the dietary requirements of guests and making sure that they are specifically catered for.


chef collecting produce


A Chef will need to produce anything from 10 – 40 plates at a meal seating, which could be for any of the meals during the day:

3 meals a day

  • Breakfast (Continental and Cooked)
  • Lunch
  • Dinner (3-course dinner meal),

as well as the ever-popular High Tea which will include all sorts of tasty snacks.

Some of the cuisines covered at the lodges are dishes served in Mexico, Italy and Thailand, but also featuring South African dishes and delicacies in a variety of styles.

Once all of the guests have finished dessert, our chefs will make sure that the guests don’t need or want anything else, and proceed to clean and close the kitchen at the end of service, which takes about 40 minutes.

The challenging part of being a chef at a safari lodge is keeping up with international and fast-changing food trends.

The best part of being a chef is the setting you get to operate in, as well as learning something new with every group of guests and receiving positive feedback from these travellers, both local and international.