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Restaurant roundup

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
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Bush Baptist
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Restaurant roundup

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Fri Dec 25, 2015 8:18 pm

It was about 2 years ago that we learned that popular franchises would be replacing the restaurants in most camps.

There were many mites with pro and con comments. I personally felt it was a good move, because the menus would be the same as 'outside' the park.

I was in Kruger recently and 'test drove' some of them. Here are my thoughts;.

Punda Maria. Last year my buddy Johan van Rensburg and I ate here and weren't too impressed with the steak. It was tough and the service was not the best either. This year I am please to report that the steak was tender, tasty and the service had been racked up a few notches. A communication problem caused a minor issue that was swiftly sorted out. Verdict Will do it again. Very good.

Mopani. We sat on the deck for the last hour of sunlight watching the birds, and then got on with the serious business of dining. We had the kudu steak. Once more, the food was delicious and the service was keen. Unfortunately it is also the smoking area which was not perfect for me as a non smoker, but I suppose they have to smoke somewhere. Verdict Will do it again. Very good.

Olifants. I was in a bit of a hurry so I ordered an omelette at lunch time at the Mugg & Bean. There were not many diners at the time and I thought it took a bit longer than it could have and some of the waiters seemed a bit less focused than I think they could have been. The omelette was up to the standard of my local M&B which was very enjoyable. Verdict Will do it again when not in a hurry. Good.

Satara - Mugg and Bean. Divided into 'sit down' and take away. I popped in here a few times for muffins and coffee mainly. Service was good and friendly, and the coffee and muffins great. I also bought a pie that was rather greasy. Verdict Excellent except the pie. Will have the rest many times again

Satara - Debonair's Pizza. I bought a triple stack, which looked good value for money one lunch time as I passed through Satara. I ate it for supper at Tamboti that night, and so it was no longer fresh - no complaint, my fault & plan - but I really enjoyed it and it was too much for even me, so I kept a third over for breakfast.Verdict Excellent value & taste, will definitely do it again.

Skukuza - Cattle Baron take away. I queued for a while, but they had a good system going under pressure. I ordered a mushroom venison burger at lunch time again and ate it for supper. Again it had dried out a bit but was tasty, but I had to search for the little bit of mushroom sauce! Verdict Good. I will buy another one.

Additional observation. Cattle Baron restaurant. I walked through the restaurant and found it to be classy, in keeping with the ambience of the Park, with extra friendly staff and I would have been sorely tempted to sit and stay for the R119 buffet that looked extremely appealingly laid out, especially the calamari (I am making myself drool here) if I had not been fighting a losing battle of the bulge for the trip. It looked like a world class dining experience. :thumbs_up:

So my overall verdict compared to the previous dispensation.....No contest. The decision to go for external franchises has made a HUGE positive experience for diners.

WELL DONE KRUGER MANAGEMENT. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Albert
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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby Albert » Fri Dec 25, 2015 8:46 pm

Bush Baptist wrote:It was about 2 years ago that we learned that popular franchises would be replacing the restaurants in most camps.

Mopani. We sat on the deck for the last hour of sunlight watching the birds, and then got on with the serious business of dining. We had the kudu steak. Once more, the food was delicious and the service was keen. Unfortunately it is also the smoking area which was not perfect for me as a non smoker, but I suppose they have to smoke somewhere. Verdict Will do it again. Very good.


Not having been a regular restaurant-goer in Kruger, I cannot really comment regarding the changes that have taken place; but I can echo BB's comments regarding Mopani: excellent service, very good food (we had the Venison Pie about 4 days before BB dined there) and an unbeatable view for dinner! WIll make an effort to do it again. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby BirgitJo » Fri Dec 25, 2015 10:22 pm

I like to share my experiences with the restaurants wich I made in September:

I had burgers in Lower Sabie, Skukuza and Shingwedzi. For me the best was the one in Shingwedzi, but the others were also quite good.
I had a toasted sandwich in Olifants with the fanastic view, also good.
Normally I stop for lunch on the deck in Mopani but this time it was raininig a little bit and cold, so no stop :cry:
In Punda Maria I decided to have the fish and chips, because in one TT someone said that it was really good. And it was !!
It came with butternut, spinach and a very nice lemon sauce :D
The sevice at all the restaurants was very friendly and quick :clap: :clap: :clap:
My summery: I would go back to to the restaurants for sure.

Wishing everybody a great second Christmas day and all the best for 2016

Birgit

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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby Imberbe » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:49 am

The total disappearance of the nay-Sayers which dominated the topic when it was first announced by SANParks management that the restaurants would be contracted to franchise holders, clearly shows that this was a wise decision by SANParks management. This includes both the quality of food, service and general character of the restaurants which have been adapted to fit in to the character of the park.

I do not think that all the restaurants are equal, but all are generally speaking good and quite a few give excellent service. I have had some of the best meals at the Cattle Baron restaurant in Skukuza and few restaurants can beat the atmosphere of Lower Sabie M&B.
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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby Crested Val » Sat Dec 26, 2015 2:22 pm

I agree Imberbe. :thumbs_up:

We had great meals at Mopani, and the Mugg and Bean Satara and Lower Sabie, back in 2014, and really looking forward to trying the Cattle Baron, both at Addo and S River, as well as Skukuza in Feb 2016. :dance:

There will always be odd occasions when a dining experience is disappointing for various reasons, and this can happen in the best of restaurants all over the world, but in the main, feed back has been predominately positive since the changes. :dance:

I have also been pleased to see that all the places we have visited, or that have been reported back by others, seem to have been in keeping with the park's ambience, and not the gaudy establishments that were originally predicted by the "voices of doom"!!!! :thumbs_up:
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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby iLoveMeerkats! » Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:24 pm

On our last trip, we pretty much lived on the poppy seed muffins from Mugg & Bean. Every day that we were in or by a camp with a M&B, we would get a muffin and I would promise myself that I would not eat the whole thing. :redface: They are HUGE. THE BEST! I have been dreaming of them since then.

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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby Hippotragus » Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:48 pm

We have eaten at most of the restaurants in KNP since the franchises were introduced.

On the whole, the experiences have been good. Had a hiccup at Satara M&B in October, when most of the items on the menu were unavailable - stock had not been delivered in time. Not really a valid excuse, but not much we could do about it.

Cattle Baron at Skukuza generally very good, except one time when service was very slow and food (delicious) was cold when it arrived at the table.

Punda Maria a bit "old world" but we have always had good, basic, food there.

Letaba and Olifants M&B have been OK - no complaints. Staff explained when items on menu were not available.

Pretoriuskop Wimpy - OK but not outstanding! Friendly staff.
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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby Grantmissy » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:21 pm

We enjoyed a few meals at the restaurants in southern Kruger during our visit in November and they were all good.The buffet breakfast at the Cattle Baron in Skukuza was :thumbs_up:
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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby kite » Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:02 pm

I wonder if the Cattle Baron at Skukuza has a buffet lunch? :hmz:

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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby Elsa » Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:36 pm

Yes, they did. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sun Dec 27, 2015 8:14 pm

kite wrote:I wonder if the Cattle Baron at Skukuza has a buffet lunch? :hmz:


Bush Baptist wrote:Additional observation. Cattle Baron restaurant. I walked through the restaurant and found it to be classy, in keeping with the ambience of the Park, with extra friendly staff and I would have been sorely tempted to sit and stay for the R119 buffet that looked extremely appealingly laid out, especially the calamari (I am making myself drool here) if I had not been fighting a losing battle of the bulge for the trip. It looked like a world class dining experience. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby kite » Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:10 pm

Thanks, Elsa and Bush Baptist!
A great new thread that I am following, but I wanted to be sure about the lunch buffet at Skukuza, as we may treat ourselves to a visit at lunch time, even though we are not staying there!

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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby Carol g » Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:23 pm

The Cattle Baron at Skukuza is great, the service and food is really good :clap: :clap:
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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby kite » Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:45 pm

Mopani's restaurant offers something different from the Mugg and Bean fare including a buffalo pie!
The friendly and welcoming staff are very attentive and the food was excellent.
The view over Pioneer Dam is also very scenic!

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Re: Restaurant roundup

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:55 am

Great thread BB :thumbs_up:

We spent a few day camping in Skukuza at the height of the holiday season. If a restaurant is going to earn stars, this is real crunch time.

Lower Sabie M&B

We are here twice. The service was excellent. Despite being almost rushed off their feet, the waitrons were obliging and friendly. The first time we went we each ordered a different breakfast. I have always enjoyed their eggs Benedict and my daughter tucked into hers with gusto. I had a very tasty omelette and my other daughter one of their breakfast compilations.

We left feeling well satisfied.

Our next visit was for a late afternoon snack before returning to Skuks. We ordered one of their platters to share. The helpings were so generous that we ended up asking for a doggie bag.

The only :( part was that the ice machine had broken down in the afternoon
. No doubt because of overuse in the heatwave. I had been eyeing a delicious looking iced drink of green tea and mint during my breakfast. It dominated my thoughts the later part of our afternoon drive. I tried their chai infusion as a consolation, but to my horror it had too much sugar. That was my problem though. I should have stated that I do not do sugar.

Skukuza Cattle Baron

We booked the Cattle Baron for New Year's eve. It was going to be a special celebration.

The restaurant was fullish. I think that they were hoping for better.

My one daughter ordered a pepper steak and my other daughter and I ordered their Chateaubriand. I have had Chateaubriand at numerous restaurants and I wondered how this would compare. The steak was excellent. Perfectly done. The ritual of lighting the steak with brandy gave a lovely sense of occasion. The salad was fresh and well presented.

I felt that there was a sense of pride in the staff. They enjoyed offering this feast and fare in a delightful setting.

Cattle Baron take aways

I did not indulge in the take away fare, as nothing on the menu held any appeal. My rather fussy daughter ordered a pie. I am not sure which pie. She enjoyed it so much that she returned the following day for another.

My other daughter went for the occasional milk shake and gave it :thumbs_up:
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