Tag Archives: Serengeti National Park

Drink of the Week: Gin Fizz

When in Africa, drink gin. Many countries on the continent, such as Tanzania, were settled by Great Britain. If there’s one thing the Brits successfully exported to the world — beyond lace doilies and racy photos of Prince Harry — it’s gin.

Back in the day the colonial set usually drank their gin with tonic, which contains quinine (an anti-malarial), but gin has become so commonplace in Africa you’ll find many other gin cocktails, such as a Gin Fizz.

The Serengeti and a refreshing Gin Fizz beckon.

I tried this drink one afternoon before an evening game drive at andBeyond Klein’s Camp, a luxuriously rustic safari lodge situated on a private land concession adjacent to Serengeti National Park. At 4 p.m. tourists are supposed to take a page from the Queen and sip tea, but I asked for something a little stronger.

A Gin Fizz is basically a Tom Collins with less simple syrup and different garnishes. Its main attribute is its ability to refresh while simultaneously delivering a lot of gin in a nice format: tart, slightly sweet and, well, fizzy. It also calms your nerves if you’re a little jumpy about coming within 10 feet of a bunch of lions in an open-air safari jeep. Enjoy!

Totally calm thanks to the Gin Fizz.

Gin Fizz

  •  2 oz Gordon’s London Dry Gin
  • 1/2 oz sugar syrup (use the British ratio of two parts sugar to one part water)
  • 1 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Top soda water
  • Ice
  • Lime (or lemon) wedge garnish

Shake the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup with ice, then strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with soda water and garnish with a lemon (or lime) wedge.

— Recipe courtesy andBeyond Klein’s Camp

Lions’ buffet

Before travelling to Africa I naively thought it was somewhat difficult to see the wild animals. I mean, your chances of seeing North America’s “Big 5” — grizzly bear, polar bear, moose, wolf and bison — on a week-long trip to Canada is far from guaranteed.

But the three Tanzanian game parks we visited — Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Lake Manyara National Park — were teeming with wildlife. Upon pulling out of Lobo airstrip in our open-air Toyota Land Cruiser safari jeep and hitting the dirt track road in the Serengeti, Blake declared, “Holy crap, it’s a lions’ buffet!”

There are so many animals in the Serengeti, it’s shocking the predators ever go hungry.

Everywhere we looked, herds of wildebeest and zebra grazed on green grass under a cloudless Serengeti sky. Impalas, Thompson’s gazelles, hartebeest and many other species of antelope I never knew existed pranced between acacia trees as if they hadn’t a care in the world. A water buffalo, one of Africa’s Big 5, gave me a hostile stare beneath his heavy rack of horns.

Don’t mess with me, mzungu! (That’s Swahili for hapless tourist.)

Closer to Klein’s Camp, our safari lodge, we spotted giraffes nibbling acacia leaves high in the treetops and elephants plundering the bush for leaves, grass and even thorny branches — anything they could wrap their trunks around.

These “gentle giants” can evidently kill a lion with a swift kick from an impossibly long leg.

When we spotted a pride of lions later that afternoon, I had to wonder if they ever went hungry. All the animals we’d seen earlier were still visible, though they kept a healthy distance between themselves and the beasts at the top of the Serengeti food chain.

Well-fed lions frolic near andBeyond Klein’s Camp.

In fact, we got so close to the pride — still in our open-air jeep — I marveled that mzungu (western tourists) hadn’t replaced wildebeest or zebras as a favourite meal. The crazy reality is they took nearly no notice of our Land Cruiser, but watched the other animals of the Serengeti intently.

Psst, buddy, there’s a tasty snack taking your picture.

The lions looked healthy, happy and, well, a little fat. Turns out they’d just sampled a preferred dish from the Serengeti buffet: a wildebeest.

Mmmm … paw-lickin’ good!