Wandering through the small town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is an apt way to acclimatize to “city living” after spending ten adventure packed days on game drives. Granted, Victoria Falls only has a population of about 8,000, but with paved roads and concrete sidewalks under my feet, it felt like real city living. Small businesses for locals as well as tourists line the main street, Mosi-oa-Tunya, and it is easy to wander, window shop and people watch. Shopkeepers sell fake ivory ornaments and objet d’art, along with hand carved wood bowls, masks and animal statues. Entrepreneurial young men offer old (invalid) Zimbabwe currency and small items for sale (which should only be purchased after a healthy bout of bartering of course).
The catchy beat of a Zulu song, sung by a small amateur troupe, captured our attention and we gathered in a courtyard to see and hear more. Six young adults danced, stomped and entertained anyone who would watch and later passed their hat for donations.
Friends waved us over to their outdoor café table and before I knew it, I was sampling one of their lunch platters – roast warthog! While warthogs seemed to be everywhere – roadside, game drives, camp site fireside, and even in the back yard of a fancy hotel, I had not expected to see one on a menu. The warthog is a member of the pig family, and it is not an attractive animal. Yet, it tasted pretty good. The meat was medium colored (not light like chicken nor dark like beef) and had a mild brown sauce drizzled over the top. It was mild in flavor and didn’t seem as textured as a slice of ham could be.
The café chalkboard menu not only listed warthog, but also dishes with crocodile and ostrich, both of which I had enjoyed at dinner the previous evening. There, crocodile had been served on toast point as an appetizer; it was finely chopped and resembled chicken salad. The ostrich Carpaccio was fabulous; eight dark, delicate slices served as the base of a green leafy salad.
Yes, I ate warthog and I’d do it again!