‘The Boma’ –Definition: An outdoor entertainment area, usually thatched with open sides, in Southern Africa
This simple structure has certainly morphed since its origins as a fenced rural fortress or livestock pen. These days bomas come in all shapes and sizes, and as the definition above describes, they fulfil a variety of purposes. Now mainly used as a social meeting place where folks can chat the night away, eat, drink and generally just be merry, safari lodges across Africa have embraced these spaces within their natural surroundings further projecting that ‘essence of Africa’ for their international and local guests alike. The boma (often now referred to as ‘The Bush Boma’ or ‘Boma in the Bush’) forms an integral part of the safari lodge experience. A place where stories and memories (not forgetting Instagram images) are shared and admired by many and where wine, beer and delicious food is plentiful.
Here we look at some of the most beautiful bush bomas around.
Garonga Safari Camp, South Africa
Garonga Safari Camp and Little Garonga are exclusive camps set in the 22’000 ha (60’000 acres) Greater Makalali Private Nature Reserve west of the Kruger National Park. A luxury lodge, Garonga promises a ‘Safari For The Soul’ where you can rest and rejuvenate with massages, long baths in their secluded ‘bush bath’ and if you seek the thrill, a night out in the wilderness on their ‘sleep out deck’. Their Bush Boma blends tradition with modern style and sets the scene for an interactive and social dinner between guests, staff, guides and chefs. Fridays offer homemade pizzas as a starter fresh from the built-in pizza oven around the Boma Bar, combined with a classic potjie (traditional South African stew) for main course.
Tongabezi Lodge, Zambia
This up market romantic lodge perched on the banks of the Zambezi River itself is a unique blend of luxury and indulgence with a truly African and ‘barefoot luxury’ feel. The lodge has such character and the fact that it is located just upstream from Victoria Falls is a priceless bonus! Their boma is focussed on the firepit with spectacular views of the river where its all about those Zambian sunsets. Cocktails are a must…it would just be rude not to.
Makakatana Bay Lodge, South Africa
This lodge is set on the banks of Lake St Lucia within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, one of the few natural wonders left on earth. In addition to the abundant wildlife it also offers beach safaris as it is idyllically located along the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal coastline where the Indian Ocean meets unspoilt beaches and vast green wetlands. Their boma is enclosed with the traditional wicker-style fencing and is always aglow with a mixture of candlelight, lanterns and of course the firepit which is perfect for toasting those marshmallows.
Mhondoro Safari Lodge and Villa, South Africa
Mhondoro is a luxurious, five-star private Safari Lodge and Villa situated within the Welgevonden Game Reserve in the Waterberg District of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The décor in this lodge is definitely an Africa meets Europe style however their boma offers a more traditional experience with the tall reed fence and circle formation.
Andbeyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge, Botswana
Situated on a private concession in the magnificent Okavango Delta, Sandibe offers exclusive traversing rights over a vast stretch of land adjacent to the wildlife-rich Moremi Game Reserve. Their super-modern take on the boma really draws you in with its white washed shelter so you can even enjoy the cosy vibe with bush views when those African rains set in.
Whatever your preference is (modern vs traditional) we know a safari lodge stay just would not be the same without the beloved boma experience thrown in and we are looking forward to seeing more unique and wonderful boma variations over the years ahead. Now, if only we could write a book containing all the stories and jokes that have been shared across those firepits!