A weekend of rooibos at Bushmans Kloof in the Cederberg MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

A Weekend of Rooibos at Bushmans Kloof in the Cederberg

Imagine my excitement when I received an invitation to experience a luxurious weekend devoted entirely to my beloved rooibos at the magnificent Bushmans Kloof in the enchanting Cederberg.

Our rooibos adventure commenced with a refreshing iced tea infused with delicate spices that was graciously served to my boyfriend and me upon our arrival at the lodge. Despite the scorching heat and the tedious road construction along the way from bustling Cape Town, that first sip of rooibos rejuvenated us. And this was only the beginning of the rooibos delights that awaited us.

We continued the revelry with delectable rooibos mojitos, while gathered around the crackling fire in the boma, gazing up at the awe-inspiring Cederberg sky bejeweled with countless stars, a sight so rarely seen in the city. The anticipation for dinner heightened as we indulged in these tantalizing concoctions.

We were treated to a feast fit for royalty – gnocchi adorned with sautéed mushrooms infused with the rich flavors of rooibos, succulent salmon poached in a delicate rooibos broth, and a finale that left us in sheer ecstasy, a rooibos-infused crème brulée. In short, it was pure bliss for the taste buds.

When my friends and I arrived at our hotel room that night, we were blown away. It was huge! I mean, it was even bigger than my boyfriend’s apartment. Can you believe that? We had our own bathrooms, a massive bed, a cozy lounge area, and even a patio. We instantly felt at home and didn’t want to leave.

The next morning was just as amazing. The sun was shining, and the light it cast on the Cederberg Mountains was absolutely breathtaking. We started our day with a scrumptious breakfast buffet. They had everything you could ever want – fresh fruit, different kinds of yogurt, deliciously squeezed juices, a wide variety of cheeses, and not one, not two, but five different types of bread. It was a food lover’s paradise! And that was just the beginning of our adventure with rooibos cooking.

When I attended the cooking demonstrations at the lodge, I had the pleasure of being guided by Floris Smith, the executive chef. These demonstrations were intimate affairs, with small groups of us gathered together to explore the wonders of cooking. And let me tell you, rooibos was the star of the show!

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Floris, with his expertise and passion, showed us how incredibly versatile rooibos can be as an ingredient. He took us on a culinary journey, demonstrating the art of smoking ostrich fillet with rooibos leaves to create a delectable ostrich carpaccio. And if that wasn’t enough, he then showed us how to poach salmon in a fragrant rooibos liquid. The flavors were simply exquisite!

But Floris didn’t stop there. He also shared his secrets for making a tantalizing rooibos smoked chicken salad and a creamy rooibos risotto that had us all drooling with anticipation. It was a feast for the senses, as we marveled at the transformation that rooibos brought to each dish.

These cooking demonstrations not only showcased Floris’ skill and creativity, but they also opened my eyes to the incredible possibilities that rooibos offers in the kitchen. I never knew this humble ingredient could elevate a dish to such heights. It truly is a chef’s secret weapon.

So, if you’re a food lover like me, I implore you to try cooking with rooibos. Let its rich, earthy flavors infuse your dishes with a touch of magic. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. And who knows, you might just discover a new favorite ingredient that will transform your cooking forever. Bon appétit!

After spending the morning learning about rooibos tea, I had a nice relaxing time by one of the many swimming pools at the lodge. I was so relaxed that I actually fell asleep on a lounger in the sun. My boyfriend had to wake me up because he had scheduled an archery lesson for us. Let’s just say I wasn’t very good at archery, but I did manage to hit the bulls eye once, which was a pleasant surprise. We had a little contest, and I won. After our archery adventure, we went on a hot hike from the lodge. But since we knew that high tea was coming soon, we cut the hike short so we could get back in time. We didn’t want to miss out on the delicious spread that was promised.

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One of the best high teas I’ve ever experienced was truly a delight. As I sat there, sipping on a refreshing iced rooibos tea—the most flavorful in the world—I couldn’t help but indulge in a variety of delectable treats. From rooibos cupcakes to rich dark chocolate and rooibos brownies, everything was simply divine. I also enjoyed a delightful rooibos and smoked salmon quiche, mini BLT sandwiches, fluffy scones with jam and cream, and savory sausage rolls. And to balance out the richness, there were platters of fresh, juicy fruit.

Despite feeling incredibly full, I joined a late-afternoon nature drive through the reserve. While the English tourists were buzzing with excitement over the ostriches, springbok, and gemsbok we encountered, I found something even more fascinating. In the picturesque golden light of the Cederberg afternoon, I spotted wild rooibos growing in all its natural beauty. The sight of it, thriving amidst the fynbos vegetation, was a truly magical experience.

That night, I had the chance to dine at Embers, an outdoor deck located within the reserve. Underneath the sparkling stars, I indulged in a variety of delicious dishes infused with the unique flavors of rooibos. From refreshing rooibos champagne cocktails to a flavorful chicken curry cooked with rooibos, my taste buds were treated to a delightful culinary adventure. And let’s not forget the bobotie that had a special rooibos twist, the indulgent rooibos malva pudding, and the delectable rooibos milk tart.

The next day, I had the opportunity to visit one of the reserve’s 130 rock art sites on an early morning drive. After enjoying a cup of coffee and some freshly baked muffins, I found myself mesmerized by the breathtaking Cederberg landscape stretched out before me. As I sipped my favorite fynbos brew, I couldn’t help but appreciate the serene beauty of the surroundings.

Once we arrived at the rock art site, I was captivated by the ancient paintings that adorned the walls. It was a truly magical experience to witness figures and animals that were created by pre-modern graffiti artists thousands of years ago. This encounter with history left me in awe of the rich heritage of the land and the people who once inhabited it.

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So, I don’t know about you, but before we dug into that amazingly indulgent brunch, we had a little cooking demo. Let me tell you, it was mind-blowing. Floris showed us how to whip up these incredible rooibos desserts – baklava with rooibos syrup, rooibos-chai ice cream, and a rooibos milk tart. And get this, they were shockingly easy to make, but oh-so-scrumptious.

But here’s the thing, that’s not all there is to rooibos. After experiencing all this goodness at Bushmans Kloof, I can honestly say I’m totally addicted to rooibos now. And not just for the amazing tea it is. You know what it is? It’s this fantastic plant called fynbos. It’s magical, I promise.

Now, here’s something cool for you. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that combines gourmet delights and a touch of luxury, Bushmans Kloof has got you covered. Their gourmet chef’s weekends, which are available throughout winter, are just what you need. For only R1900 per person sharing per night, you’ll get to indulge in all the delicious meals, take part in cooking demos, and enjoy fun lodge activities. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss.

Oh, wait! I almost forgot. Here are a couple of upcoming gourmet chef’s weekends at Bushmans Kloof that you might want to mark on your calendar.

First up, we’ve got “Bread – the healthy way” happening from 10 to 12 June. And if that’s not enough to get you excited, how about a “Decadent Delights” weekend, where you get to cook with chocolate? It’s going to be chocolate heaven, I promise. That one’s taking place from 29 to 31 July.

Okay, okay, I know I’ve given you a lot to think about. But guess what? I have a little surprise for you. Keep an eye out for the June issue of Getaway because I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes and pics from this amazing experience at Bushmans Kloof. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.

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