Say goodbye to canned tuna and savour the best that Africa – and beyond – has to offer
By Chandrea Serebro
Imagine Kosher catering in the bush. Or, at the beach. We are not talking paper plates and plastic knives and forks, two-minute noodles or tuna. We are talking fresh, kosher food, prepared on the spot daily, the table prepared with real plates and silverware. The food is the best that kosher has to offer, but it is the scenery and the thrill of who, or rather what might join you at your meal that is exciting.
Africa Kosher Tours
Fresh, kosher food prepared in front of your eyes in top-class amenities is what gets visitors from abroad to describe the culinary experience offered by Africa Kosher Tour’s host Shoshana Kaplan as a dining experience “equal to anywhere LA or NY has to offer”.
Shoshana Kaplan only does shomer Shabbos and Kosher tours, and Africa Kosher Tours specialises in 12-day tours to the Garden Route, Cape Town, and Zambia, where you can feast your eyes on the best that Africa has to offer while keeping strict religious requirements. “There is a steady call for this kind of kosher experience – be it a safari, Victoria Falls, or Cape Town. To be able to holiday and view wildlife in a five-star kosher way is an experience you can’t do anywhere else except in Africa. There are many exquisite places in Hashem’s world, but this combination is unique.” The reaction of the guests was so intense, says Shoshana, that one of the couples wrote a piece about visiting Zambia to the Mishpacha magazine, where she said “she has never experienced such peace and tranquillity and can’t wait to come back”.
And if you’re looking for a tailor-made tour, the world is your oyster – or rather, your gefilte fish. Africa Kosher Tours have taken tours to Lithuania and Latvia, where Shoshana draws on the special connection to the place as a South African Jew to make it a memorable and life-changing event. She also offers Kosher for Pesach tours to Plettenburg Bay at the Beacon Isle Resort.
For more information, visit: africakoshertours.com
“As a young Jewish boy born in Paris, France, I dreamed of traveling the world. I dreamed of being able to appreciate seeing G-d through the beauty of creation, the beauty of nature that can take your breath away.” So off Yechiel Asseraf went to make his dreams real. But, after a few trips across Europe and America, he always encountered the same issue on his travels: finding a decent plate of kosher food. “After my marriage to a South African woman, I decided that the best place to start solving this would be here in South Africa, which boasts phenomenal beauty and is highly recognised for its top kashrus.” So, at 19 years old, Yechiel hosted 30 people for Pesach in a small hotel in Sea Point, which was so successful that the very next year he was hosting over 250 people at a bigger location in Sea Point; the Pesach experience soon growing to over 400 guests in subsequent years. Yechiel’s reputation grew, and requests to organise all sorts of safaris and kosher getaways started coming in, and Cape Kosher became firmly entrenched in the kosher travel market.
“My Company has been running for 10 years and is continually evolving into something amazing. Branching off the success of where it originated, which was Pesach getaways, we are now creating tailor-made packages for businesses and families all across the continent.” Yechiel and his team have travelled to places like Seychelles, Zanzibar, Tanzania Serengeti, Namibia Etosha, Botswana Chobe and Delta, scouting many private reserves in Southern/Eastern Africa and its surrounding Islands to ensure a top-class and unique experience across the continent, with a full kosher menu made by Michelin star European chefs. And if this wasn’t enough of a dream come true for that French boy dreaming of kosher travel, Cape Kosher will soon be offering their first Kosher Gorilla trekking trip in Rwanda, which will make Gorillas in the Mist a personal experience for Jewish travellers.
“It has been a dream come true. I have a passion for people, G-d, and His nature, and I couldn’t wish for a better setting to fulfil my dream.” Most people from around the world, Yechiel says, have never had much opportunity to see or experience wildlife in its “authentic kingdom” or the chance to “reconnect to our roots and become one with nature”. Being served a gourmet kosher meal while living those encounters glorifies your experience to become the ultimate getaway.
Besides the Pesach and Sukkot programmes, Cape Kosher has opened a new branch, Kosher Safari Tour, with new offerings of kosher packages to Zanzibar, 4×4 trips through the Namib Desert and Etosha National Park (Namibia) and the Okavango Delta in Botswana, team building or corporate events, or family simchas out in the bush. “We have mastered the art of hosting. With ten years’ experience, we’ve grown to understand exactly our guests needs based on their passion for food, nature, and adventure, in carefully selected locations. We look forward to host our next project over Pesach 2019 at the Krystal Beach Hotel Gordon’s Bay Cape Town in the same meticulous manner. Our kosher experiences are tried and tested on the full spectrum, from mass catering on large functions to very fine dining. And all of this has made us the leading kosher event coordinators in Africa.”
For more information, email: email@example.com
South Africa Guided Tours
When you love travelling and going around the country seeing its sights and enjoy cooking good, kosher food and time spent with family and friends so much that they implore you to make a business out of it, you almost can’t refuse. And this is how Avi Cohen, who loves cooking up a storm, especially in exotic locations locally and abroad, turned his two favourite pastimes – cooking and traveling – into a travel and tour company specialising in kosher travel. But what makes South Africa Guided Tours special is that it takes a close look at just what the customer wants to get out of the experience and tailor makes a trip dedicated to meeting those needs, with a committed guide to help you find those small details that are often missed, in a host of different languages to suit foreign visitors. Focusing on trips across the breadth of “our magnificent country”, says Avi, including mountains, rivers, the sea, and the bush, South Africa Guided Tours opens up every part of it to kosher travellers, with its mobile kosher kitchen that supplies unlimited food to the guests, “giving them a uniquely African kosher culinary experience and making them feel at home at the same time”.
But they don’t just target overseas visitors; they also offer a range of bespoke trips for every occasion, including honeymoons, bar or bat mitzvah weekends, kosher for Pesach trips, summer or winter camps, and student trips, as well as trips for families looking for adventure. Their guides, chefs, and transport team are friendly, professional, and constantly in touch with Avi to ensure high standards are maintained throughout the trip. “We make it our business to know what our customers want and to give it to them, listening to their budgets, offering advice on where to go and stay, and showing them all our unique country has to offer.
For more information email Avi: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Travel Wizard, aka Laura Joselowsky, began her travel career in 1989, “In the age of paper tickets, telexes, and when the fax was considered new age technology,” she recalls. After gaining extensive experience in the corporate travel arena, she realised that personalised leisure travel was far more rewarding. But the greatest excitement came in 2008, after re-entering the travel market following a few years of time-off to spend with her small children, Laura found that the kosher travel market had exploded and there were amazing new opportunities for kosher holidays that had previously been unheard of. No more was it about telex and tuna, but the new age offered exciting kosher travel possibilities.
Kosher cruises, kosher Pesach experiences, and kosher Mauritius were some of the exciting possibilities, and Laura dived in head first to offer these to her clients, easing the burden and opening new travel opportunities for them, knowing well the limitations and stringencies that kosher travel imposes. “One new experience that struck me the most was a kosher holiday in Mauritius, run by a French tour operator under the French Beth Din supervision. It offered all the bells and whistles – full, lavish, reliably kosher buffets on a beautiful island holiday. The days of opening a tin of tuna in your hotel room could be a thing of the past, and I wanted my South African clients to enjoy the benefits.”
Logistically, it was complicated getting it together for Laura’s pilot group. “It was daunting. Besides all the normal travel-related issues, I was now having to factor in the Beth Din, mashgichim, kosher kitchen requirements, staff, cutlery and crockery, menus, and ingredients. And getting it all to Mauritius in time, not to mention the costs and budgeting involved as well as marketing and getting the information out.”
With help from those involved, Laura succeeded in making sure each and every client got the holiday they were hoping for. Delicious kosher food for all their meals, sun, sea, and sand, and to be on holiday like any other holiday maker that does not have to worry about what they are going to eat for their next meal. “The guests had Mickey Mouse waffles for breakfast, pizzas on the beach, Indian curry for supper. It was ground-breaking and amazing.”
The kosher Mauritius experience boasts luxury five-star accommodation and food (with a self-catering option as well) set on an 18 hole golf course overlooking the sea, with all the facilities that one can expect from a five-star beach resort – a gorgeous beach, beach bar, kids club, teens club, spa, gym, a range of water sports, free water skiing, free golf, and a private sectioned-off part of the tourist island just a 10 minute boat ride away offering even more fun and entertainment. “Many family groups (not all South African) want the flexibility of their own dining options, so now we sometimes hire a chef to cater in-house for them, under their own supervision, and sometimes we run the full-kosher option with supervision.” Each family holiday can be tailor-made to suit the client’s own requirements, which makes it a bespoke experience.
The Travel Wizard also offers kosher packages put together by other kosher tour operators – kosher cruises worldwide, kosher Pesach holidays worldwide, and custom-made packages specific to client requirements.
For more information, email Laura: Laura@thetravelwizard.co.za
Chef En Route – Kosher Africa
Chef En Route is a world-renowned provider of private chefs and executive-style catering for private trips, getaways, and functions – no stranger to catering to prestigious palates from around the world, including ambassadors, members of parliament and ministers, or international and local guests who want to experience what Africa has to offer in personalised luxury. “Despite offering bespoke experience across the four corners of the globe, our roots are firmly African, which has allowed us to cater in many of the wonders that Africa has to offer,” says Chef En Route Doron Gavronsky. These include Kruger National Park, Beautiful Cape Town and Surrounds, Victoria Falls, The Masai Mara, and Serengeti National Park. Chef En Route has catered in over 12 African countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Gabon, and Mozambique.
Yet Doron feels firmly that “one’s commitment to keeping kosher should not limit one’s travels and experiences around the world”. “Travel opportunities today are unique and unlimited. One can hop on a plane and experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity within a matter of hours. Our philosophy is that food should not be a limiting factor to enjoying all that our continent and the world has to offer. Eating kosher in a world-renowned heritage site or in a place where the experience is unique allows one to commit to their heritage and see the beauty of the world at the same time. Having a kosher picnic while watching the wildebeest migration across countries is a tick off the bucket list. Experiencing a helicopter flip over Victoria Falls after a kosher breakfast buffet ticks another box.”
None of this would be possible if the individual were to have the worry or hassle of arranging, schlepping, and preparing food from the point of origin where kosher is easy to the travel destination where it is unheard of. So, Chef En Route’s unique, tailor-made approach looks at the needs of the client and, through top-class partners across Africa and worldwide, offers the best that there is to offer in an unimpeded kosher way.
For more information, visit: chefenroute.co.za
Africa Kosher Safaris,
The Safari Rabbi, Rabbi Yoni Isaacson, is well-known for offering his guests an up-close and personal look at the splendours of the African bush while enjoying top-quality cuisine, prepared fresh on-site under the strictest kashrus supervision. With fifteen years of experience, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to go with him to Africa’s Ngorongoro crater, Kilimanjaro, or the Serengeti; any one of South Africa’s top tourist highlights; or even South America’s unique offerings, including the world-renowned Iguacu Falls or the Patagonia Glaciers – and enjoy top-class food made by a host of on-site chefs. With Rabbi Isaacson and his world-class tour guides who will show you all the nuances of the wondrous sights and sounds of the place, the Africa Kosher Safari experience is unrivalled. “We offer quality kosher cuisine in some of the most beautiful and exciting safari venues in the world. The world’s greatest waterfalls, the world’s most scenic city, and the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries – all at your fingertips,” says Rabbi Isaacson.
For more information, visit: aksafaris.com