“While our ability to find lions became renowned, we did not have the first idea about hospitality. We asked guests to bring their own food and drink. Then, as part of the service, we’d offer them back their own beer and swap their supermarket specials for our rather tough impala cooked by Spook Sithole, Londolozi’s chef extraordinaire. Spook knew how to cook impala: impala roast, impala steak, impala brains, impala stew, impala livers, impala biltong.” – An extract from The Full Circle by Dave Varty discussing the original R3-a-day Londolozi offering in 1970.
Fortunately, as well as four mud huts, a team of Shangaan trackers and a cook called “Spook”, in the 1970s the Varty family invested in an old coal oven, and it was in that oven that Shan Varty’s Londolozi Signature Muesli was first toasted.
“Our signature Londolozi Muesli has been served as part of every Londolozi breakfast since the early 1970s” says Shan Varty. “You’ll find it on the deck of all of our camps to this day. We sourced the ingredients – my favourite being macadamia nuts – from the local co-op and, what gives it its magic is that over the years, each Londolozi Executive Chef has added a special touch.”
Muesli was introduced around 1900 by the Swiss physician, Maximilian Bircher-Benner, and he and his wife regularly enjoyed it while hiking in the Swiss Alps. It became mainstream in the late 1960s – as part of an increased interest in healthy foods. The campfire festivities at the original Varty camp (far from being a Swiss-Alpine retreat) would often roll over into the morning and, before the Landy set out on another excursion to find Londolozi’s big cats, Londolozi’s Muesli became a popular early morning treat.
When I asked Londolozi Executive Chef, Anna Ridgewell, what her “special touch” to Londolozi’s signature muesli has been, her answer came quick:
“Eating it! I have introduced a thorough quality control every morning, which begins with my breakfast.”
The recipe can be found below. Bear in mind that this recipe has always been for our guests who are taking time out to enjoy some of life’s little treats, so it is luxurious and, ever so slightly indulgent. “If you’re making it at home, I would refer to it as your ‘weekend muesli’” says Shan, with a glint in her eye.
Anna recommends using local nuts where possible (Macadamias are grown in the lowveld and are always available in season).
Londolozi’s Signature Muesli
Place the following Ingredients into a pot,
- 250g Butter
- 250ml Vegetable oil
- 250ml Brown sugar
- 250ml Golden syrup
- 125ml Good honey
Heat until all sugar is dissolved.
Then place the rest of these ingredients into a baking dish and cover with the melted syrup mixture.
- 500g Jungle Oats
- 375g All Bran Flakes
- 375g Fibre Bran
- 250g Puffed Wheat
- 250ml Wheat germ
- 250ml Sunflower seeds
- 250ml Sesame seeds
- 250ml Shredded coconut
- 500g Mixed nuts (including Macadamia nuts)
- 1kg Chopped mixed dried fruits (optional)
Place in oven at 100 degrees Celsius or 210 degrees Fahrenheit, turning occasionally as the mixture browns. This takes a long time so pour a cup of coffee and enjoy the aromas of toasting muesli!
If you give the recipe a go, we would love to get your feedback, and if you have any tips or suggestions of your own, let us know.