The ultimate guide to self-catering for 10 days in the Kgalagadi

Posted by Lauren Dold on 13 December 2021

Self-catering on a long holiday can be daunting, especially when you’re not certain what kitchen facilities or equipment may be available. Keeping food fresh for 10 days is a challenge, particularly if fridge space is limited and you’re travelling in the warmer months.

This menu worked well for my family of four (non-vegetarians) on our 10 day trip to the Kgalagadi. We are real food lovers, we enjoy cooking and we tend to prioritise taste over convenience. For us, cooking is a big and enjoyable part of our holiday experience. Here are some tips and tricks we learned from cooking for ten days in the Kgalagadi.

We focused on dinners first, and planned to cook enough to have leftovers that were great for lunches and padkos on our trips between camps.

We had all our meat vacuum packed and frozen before we left. This proved to be a good move because as it turned out, we couldn’t buy ice for the first half of the trip. Taking our frozen meat out at each camp and putting it in the freezer kept everything fresh, and we just defrosted as needed as the days went on.

The bungalows in the Kgalagadi are fairly well-equipped for self-catering, but don’t rely on them entirely. The shops stock some fresh items, like onions and bread, but it’s better to come prepared and do all shopping beforehand. Photo: Lauren Dold

Night one: Chicken pregos

This was an easy one after a day of travelling, as it takes 10 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook.

  • 4-8 Portuguese rolls
  • 4-8 chicken breasts or fillets
  • 1x head of cos lettuce
  • 2x tomatoes
  • Nandos peri peri sauce (or marinade of choice) 
  • 2x onions for caramelising

Night 2: Chops and boerewors braai with potatoes and salad

  • 4-6 lamb chops
  • 1 x small wheel of boerewors
  • 4 x potatoes in tinfoil
  • salad ingredients of choice 

*We found cos and baby gem lettuce heads lasted fairly well. Avoid buying bags of lettuce as they could get squished in a cooler box and don’t tend to last very well.

Night 3: Chicken sosaties, mielies and salad

  • 6-8 chicken sosaties
  • 4x mielies
  • salad ingredients of choice (sundried tomatoes and croutons are great to add to salads, and they last very well.)

*Sosaties make easy padkos, are great for snacking on in the car or for whipping out at a picnic spot.

Night 4: Fillet steak sandwiches 

  • 150g fillet per person (Any extra is great for leftovers)
  • bread of choice (Ciabatta works nicely as it travels well and won’t easily go stale)
  • onions for caramelising or a jar of onion marmalade, easy!
  • gherkins
  • cheese

*We had two lunches from our leftover fillet. Keep part of it unsliced, which will keep it juicy until breakfast or lunch the next day.

Night 5: Pork chops, mash and green beans

  • 4 x pork chops
  • chutney for basting (or any basting/marinade of choice)
  • 6 potatoes
  • butter and milk
  • green beans
  • shaved almonds for roasting and a dash of lemon juice (To go with the beans)

Night 6: Potjie “Lasagne” 

This dish provided us with dinner and lunch the next day. This is a good one to cook when you’re not planning to travel the next day, as it’s easy to just keep in the fridge and warm up.

  • 2x packs of mince
  • 2 x tins tomatoes
  • tomato paste
  • onion
  • garlic
  • herbs
  • tagliatelle in nests
  • 1 x glass red wine
  • grated cheese
  • flour, butter, and milk or a ready-made cheese sauce of choice.

I made the mince as I usually would, but in a potjie over the fire. When the mince was ready, I put the tagliatelle straight into the mince and put the lid on, and cooked it until al dente. Then pour cheese sauce and grated cheese over the top, and cook with the lid closed for a few more minutes.

We learned this recipe from experienced camping friends, and it’s a real treat! It works just as well in a potjie on the ground as it does in a built-in-braai. We opted for a flat bottom potjie as they are easier to pack than the three legged ones. Photo: Lauren Dold

Night 7: Chicken sosaties and fire roasted cauliflower and gemsquash

  • 6-8 chicken sosaties
  • 1x head cauliflower
  • 4x gemsquash
  • 1x tin sweetcorn
  • handful of grated cheese

Cut the cauliflower into quarters, cover in butter and salt and wrap in tin foil to cook in the coals. For the qemsquash, cut in half, scoop out the seeds and fill with sweetcorn and cheese. Put the halves back together and wrap in tinfoil to be cooked in the coals.

Night 8: Chicken potjie

This is a lovely social meal to cook together around the fire. We used a size 10 potjie which was just big enough for four of us. For more than six people a size 12 or larger would be needed. This potjie takes just under and hour from start to finish, and (controversially) requires a bit of stirring. 

  • A mix of 6-8 chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 4-6 potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2x cloves garlic
  • 2x peppers, red and yellow
  • green beans
  • 2x sachets brown onion gravy
  • 1x glass red wine
  • rice (we bought ready cooked rice in sachets that are easy to reheat, instead of lugging dry rice around with us).

Everyone has their own way of making potjies but we start with onion, then brown the chicken, add the peppers, add the wine and gravy, followed by potatoes and carrots and then the fresh veggies like beans or courgettes last.

Night 9: Penne Arrabbiata (with or without bacon)

This is a good and quick meal to prepare if you begin to suffer from a bit of ‘meat fatigue’ (the bacon is optional!)

  • 2x onions
  • 3x clove garlic
  • fresh chillies or chilli paste to taste
  • tomato paste
  • 2x tins tomatoes
  • basil pesto (fresh basil won’t last too long so pesto is a good option)
  • parmesan
  • penne

Night 10: Chops and Boerewors braai with Roasted cauliflower and baked potatoes

This was a repeat of an earlier meal, but it’s a good one to have later on in the trip as cauliflower, potatoes and beans keep well.

  • 4 lamb chops
  • small wheel of boerewors
  • 1 x head of cauliflower
  • 4 x potatoes
  • green beans

This flat, non-stick pan was a dream to cook with, to clean, and to pack. Photo: Lauren Dold

Necessities for self catering: Condiments and seasoning

  • olive oil
  • butter
  • salt and Pepper
  • spices of choice like cayenne pepper, dried herbs or garlic salt
  • mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • honey
  • worcestershire sauce
  • tomato sauce
  • chilli

Useful kitchen goods:

  • A big, flat nonstick pan. We used this for everything from Chicken fillets to hamburger patties to eggs and bacon. They are quick and easy to clean and are flat enough to pack easily
  • Nutribullet or blender. Not totally necessary but helpful to make quick smoothies for breakfast.
  • A good sharp knife. SanParks has come a long way in terms of kitting out the kitchens in the bungalows, but a sharp knife or two will always be useful.
  • A good quality flask for tea and coffee stops on the road, or early morning drives in the park. Remember travel mugs as well!
  • Ziplock bags, tinfoil and good quality lunch boxes/containers that don’t leak. The roads in the Kgalagadi are very bumpy so tightly sealed containers are a must!

A good quality flask meant we could make our coffee the night before, and it would still be hot in time for an early morning game drive. Photo: Lauren Dold

Lunches: 

  • Ham rolls (Ideal for picnics)
  • Tuna wraps (Wraps keep very well in sealable packets, and are great for quick on-the-go lunches) 
  • Hamburgers (Good for a day when you’re not travelling between camps as it requires a bit of prep)
  • Leftovers (Dinner leftovers, like leftover steak and sosaties make the best padkos and picnic lunches)
  • Ready-made pasta salads or potato salads. Of course these could be made and packed ahead of time, but the ready-made ones are hassle and dishes free, and go well with leftover meat.

We brought along our entire picnic set for picnics between camps, and for our trip from Cape Town to the Kgalagadi. Photo: Lauren Dold

Breakfasts:

  • Eggs and bacon on days we didn’t have to travel
  • Muesli/cereal and yoghurt
  • Toast and spreads
  • Smoothies

Snacks:

  • Apples and naartjies (avoid soft fruits like bananas or nectarines that bruise easily)
  • Biltong (always in a paper bag, biltong does not travel well in plastic or containers)
  • Nuts
  • Rusks
  • Cheese and biscuits

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