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Head Chef Sam Mkhatshwa – Combining a passion for cooking and a passion for living in the wilderness.

Blog by Jock Safari Lodge

Meet Sam, our sensational Head Chef at Jock Safari Lodge!  Sam is the master mind behind our delectable safari cuisine and the inspiration behind his team. Sam’s passion is contagious, it’s this passion that uplifts and motivates his team in creating and delivering a consistently high standard of safari dining at the Lodge.

Sam career started off as a humble sculler at the Michaelangelo Hotel in Sandton while completing a 6-month in-house training course. The call of the lowveld stirred up a change and Sam made the move to Mpumalanga which saw his arrival at Jock in 2001 as commis chef.

Sam’s desire to learn, share his knowledge and wealth of ideas quickly saw his internal promotion within the kitchen ranks. His enthusiasm to grow motivated him to complete his professional chefing course in 2009. Sam was unstoppable! And three years ago, received the well-deserved title of Head Chef.

Frequent visits from culinary ‘guru’s’ Chef Garth Stroebel, a South African Chef and Judge for the World Association of Chefs Societies and Chef Andre Viljoen are constantly inspiring and driving Sam and his team’s creativity to new heights, producing what has now become known as Jock’s distinctive South African fusion culinary style.

Currently Sam and the team coordinate and design three alternating eating experiences:  a fine dining a la carte menu in the restaurant, a traditional boma evening around a fire under the stars and our newly introduced concept: grill night where the location differs depending on the weather. The grill night is very special, without giving too much away, think of a harvest table where you choose from an array of accompaniments to compliment your main grill of either meat, fish, chicken and ending with a dessert bar. You will have to come to experience first-hand.

 

When we asked Sam for his main reason for staying at Jock Safari Lodge for 18 years, he replied: “It’s not all about the food, it is about the whole team that works here that has become more like a family. It’s a love for the bush and being able to work in such a tranquil environment.”

 

Sam’s food has been described by our guests as “gourmet” and “exquisite”, and dietary restrictions- no problem! We hope that you consider Jock for your next safari adventure and to experience our culinary journeys for yourself.

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Our best experience of Kruger was at Jock’s. You can feel the love for nature in the heart and soul of the wonderful owners. The rooms are practically in the wild. We saw elephants just passing in front of the room. Sleeping in matras under the stars (if you want), amazing food in the river bed. Will never forget this experience!

-Jacob Yavin Vermeulen

We spent several days here in early March — simply, the best! Very comfortable room and excellent food, with a warm staff. Highlights are the twice a day game drives. This definitely is not “pre-packaged” stuff — your guide (ours was Jacob) has a keen sense of where to find the animals, and drives over river beds and down back trails to find them -in a respectful way. We eagerly anticipated this part of our trip, and it exceeded expectations. You must go to have this experience.

-Robert D

I visited Kruger and Jock Lodge in 2017 and all I wanted to do is come back. That happened in Jan 2022 and once again it was wonderful in every way. The location is on a normally dry river bed so you can see wildlife from your window or terrace. The staff is so gracious and helpful. The wildlife guides are the most knowledgable and enthusiastic I have ever met. I come for the beauty and the animals and Jock Lodge delivers every time.

-Eva Fellner

Our best experience of Kruger was at Jock’s. You can feel the love for nature in the heart and soul of the wonderful owners. The rooms are practically in the wild. We saw elephants just passing in front of the room. Sleeping in matras under the stars (if you want), amazing food in the river bed. Will never forget this experience!

-Jacob Yavin Vermeulen

We spent several days here in early March — simply, the best! Very comfortable room and excellent food, with a warm staff. Highlights are the twice a day game drives. This definitely is not “pre-packaged” stuff — your guide (ours was Jacob) has a keen sense of where to find the animals, and drives over river beds and down back trails to find them -in a respectful way. We eagerly anticipated this part of our trip, and it exceeded expectations. You must go to have this experience.

-Robert D