Throughout the beginning of our trip through Africa many people were raving about The Boma Restaurant in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe so we decided it was worth checking out during our stay there. We were not disappointed and here is why you won’t be either.
The Ambiance is Relaxing
When you arrive at The Boma you are greeted at the door in the local languages, Shona and Ndebele, by a couple lovely ladies who then dress you in a traditional robe called a “chitenge”, before sending you on your way. The restaurant has a thatched roof supported by tall wooden posts and the room is dimly lit. It’s a very comfortable and casual dining area.
The Starters are Delicious
After being seated a server comes to your table with a bowl and a jug of warm water for you to wash your hands. This is fairly traditional as many locals will eat with their hands and not utensils. Next you are brought a local beer to try. The servers must be aware that it is not to everyone’s taste as only the very bottom of your cup will be filled, just enough for you to realise that you will be sticking to the bottles of wine. Then you choose your starter, I suggest going with the crocodile tail or peppered impala to start the night off right. Both are absolutely delicious.
Get a Certificate
If you are feeling like taking things to the next level you can head over to the Mopani Worm Chef who will fry you up a “Macimbi”. These worms are considered a delicacy in the area. They are high in protein and considered nutritious in many households. Once you successfully chow down on and swallow your mopani worm you are given a congratulatory certificate to remember the moment by. The worms really aren’t that bad. They are cooked up and are crunchy without much of a taste. I think it would be creepier to eat if they were chewy and squishy like live caterpillars.
Eat Your Heart Out at the Open Buffet
Whenever you are feeling hungry you can just head to the huge buffet to take your pick. There are so many foods to try it would be nearly impossible to be so picky there was nothing you wanted to eat. The buffet is a great chance to try all kinds of new foods like kudu stew, ostrich, warthog and eland, just to name a few. If you aren’t feeling like experimenting and would rather stay in your comfort zone there are also options for chicken or steak. You just pick out your meats and the cooks will grill it all right in front of you. There are lots of vegetarian options as well with a salad bar so long you could fill your plate and still not have tried each one. Don’t even get me started on the dessert options!
There is Free Face Painting
While you are busy stuffing your face with the variety of foods you have heaped on your plate a face painter will be coming around from table to table offering a free service. His paintings are beautiful and each person at the table will be given a different African animal. It could be a baboon, giraffe, lion, or in my case a porcupine.
You Will be Kept Entertained
The Boma is a great source of traditional dance as well. During the meal you will entertained with some beautiful song and dance performed by local traditional dancers. You likely won’t have a clue what they are singing about but it is all quite fascinating to watch.
You Get to Play the Drums
As the night goes on and your stomach expands each person in the restaurant is handed a small drum. A group of drummers will come out and perform for you before inviting you to join in. They get the diners rowdy as each side of the restaurant competes to be the best and loudest on their own little instrument. You will be taught different rhythms and drumming patterns and encourages to play along with their songs. This is a great chance to discover which of your friends have zero rhythm.
You Are Encouraged to Dance
Once your hands are numb from banging on the hides of your drum you will be called down for a dance off. If you’re not too full to bust a move without busting a button you can head over to the middle of the restaurant. If you’re brave you may even get awarded a prize. A friend of mine was the first person to show off their awkward dancing skills and in return was gifted a mopani work necklace. Just be careful with your limbs, I nearly kicked a small child in the head when they decided they wanted to dance too.
At the end of the night each table in the restaurant is sent off with a personal performance from the singers. Their voices are beautiful and soothing, a perfect way to end the night. The group will gather around your table and say goodnight with a soulful harmony sang directly to you, if you’re lucky they might even sing two. The night could not have a better ending.
We spent nearly four hours enjoying our evening at The Boma and there was not a moment where I felt the $40 US was too much to spend. If you’re ever passing through Zimbabwe The Boma Place of Eating is a must do activity, you won’t regret it.