Actually, they were more than a bit of a nuisance. Having a dozen monkeys hanging out in the nearby trees just waiting for the butlers to simultaneously head to the kitchen for dishes so that they can swoop down to the deck in a matter of seconds and take something from the buffet table, or if particularly cheeky, from a guest’s table, sounds like an amusing thing. It really isn’t. But we are in THEIR space too, so we all have to be a bit tolerant I suppose.
After a post-wake up call mini-breakfast of tea, coffee, scones, muffins, granola, muesli and yoghurt, then a mid-drive refreshment of tea and coffee (with amarula — a local creamy Bailey’s like liqueur) some fruit, biscotti, etc. we return to our villa, freshen up and head to the deck for a hearty breakfast at say 930-10am each morning. Bottles of bubbly (they can’t technically call it champagne as it isn’t from Champagne) that they refer to as methode cap classic are on ice and we sometimes had that mixed with freshly squeezed orange juice for a very refreshing mimosa to start our meal.
Butter in chilled ceramic crocks are brought around, and we select one of several gorgeous apparently homemade jams, preserves or marmalades. Apricot and orange marmalade being my favorite of the bunch. A bread basket with 2-3 kinds of toast arrives second later, and pots of tea (once your choice was known, it was brought on succeeding mornings unless you indicated otherwise) or coffee or in the case of our daughter a banana milkshake made its appearance as requested.
Vivian, our butler, brings around a brief but all enticing menu of hot dishes and we make our selections and while those are being prepared, we take a gander at the cold buffet, cereals, bread and fruit on offer. Croissants, scones, bread, a cheese platter and a cold cut platter are on one side of the buffet…
…while a selection of cereals, seeds, grains are at the other end. Note the use of old stumps of wood and the incredible serving vessels carved out of wood. Spectacular and totally appropriate to the setting. The silverware brings you back to the privileged setting.
A beautifully presented selection of fruit is on a silver platter and I had to take this picture because I am always intrigued by the lengths to which chefs abroad stretch to cut fruit into unusual shapes and pull it all together into a terrific trompe l’oeil or still life. The mixture of colors was also so vibrant and appealing, even if you knew the fruit had probably travelled some hundreds if not thousands of miles to get there! We talked briefly to the chefs one day and learned that supply lines for spectacular produce was not always so easy. Today, with so many luxury hotels and camps in the area, refrigerated trucks make the long journey from major supply cities and the camps/hotels have their pick of stunning raw materials.
My fruit plate one day, with the figs as the standout of the selection. Had I not been so overwhelmed by all the other choices, I should have requested 8 figs and taken as many slices of ham/prosciutto and just had THAT for breakfast along with some champagne!
Another day’s fruit plate, withs some unusual cactus fruit amongst the choices. It was sweet and juicy, with crunchy seeds or seed pods in the middle.
Some rustling in the underbrush nearby made us look over the edge of the deck, to spy this enormous monitor? lizard (bayawak cousin?) moving along.
While my personal “root-rooter” of choice in the morning is always fruit, Mrs. MM loves the cereal…
…along with good greek-style yoghurt and perhaps a dollop of raspberry or plum sauce.
The selection of dried fruit in South Africa is superb, and they even have a lot of dried mangoes as well, locally grown.
Sunflower, flax and sesame seeds in case you need more abrasives for your plumbing. :)
The monkeys seemed partial to the multi-grain hard crackers and an occasional croissant or two.
At one breakfast Mrs. MM had a buck rarebit, a variation on welsh rarebit but with spinach. It had a couple of slices of superb bacon, eggs, a whole grain slice of bread and a cheesy sauce on top. Delicious.
I had a dish of kippers and scrambled eggs that I assumed would come separately rather than cooked together, but it was toothsome nonetheless. I noticed a tendency to cook the eggs drier than usual, so if you preferred otherwise, remember to say that before your next breakfast order was placed.
Daughter’s eggs benedict was superbly executed, and Mrs. MM and I would also order this on succeeding breakfasts. A generous portion with two poached eggs, ham, bread and sauce meant we simply COULDN’t be that hungry for lunch some 2-3 hours later!
On our last day, this rather menacing looking spider crawled across the handrail just in front of our table, and ginormous bees took a dip in Mrs. MM’s tea cup.
A small but appealing cold cut platter…
…of which I partook with some cheese after my fruit plate each morning.
Another breakfast meant some scrambled eggs and ostrich and lamb sausages for Mrs. MM, and a day later I had just ostrich sausages with fried eggs and toast…
…a cheese omelette on the dry side…
…a monkey prowling on a nearby rooftop…
…butlers trying to scare them off with a slingshot. At first, they just let go of the rubber without any stones or “bullets” but the monkeys figured that out quickly. So now they actually do use pebbles, but don’t aim to hit. We had slingshots in our villas in case we needed them as well.