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Rural Transkei in the Eastern Cape conjures up images of earth brick huts, cows and donkeys meandering along untouched beaches, rolling grassy hills and otherwise rugged beauty, and gourmet pancake restaurants. Hang on, I hear you say, did you say pancake restaurants?

That’s right. For near the village of Queleni on the coast four hours from Mthatha, that is what you will find. The Ilanga Fire Restaurant is becoming well-known among more adventurous travellers who venture a little way off the beaten track. Owners Pinkie and Maina are two local Xhosa women with an entrepreneurial spirit. Once they had learned to make pancakes from a passing traveller at the Bulungula Eco-lodge, they spied an opportunity to satisfy the comfort cravings of visiting tourists.


Treasure hunting through the hills

The walk from the lodge to the restaurant is part of the fun. Following painted rocks through the rolling green hillsides, you’ll meet roaming cows, friendly villagers and cheeky children. By the time you get to Ilanga Fire’s colourful hut, you’ll be ready to devour some of the tastiest pancakes you’ll ever try. An added bonus (a big one if you’re a caffeine nut) is the filter coffee freshly brewed in a plunger – a rare find in these rural parts.

Pinky and Maina will greet you with smiles and jazzy tunes emanating from their radio. ILanga means “sun” and the warmth of colour, aroma, and friendliness manifested in this pancake restaurant is a truly rewarding experience, not to be missed!

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