Buffelsdrift Game Lodge on the Cango Caves road near Oudtshoorn, offers an unexpected bush experience in what is better known as the ostrich capital of the world. The main lodge is built around a five hectare waterhole, filled with big fish, turtles and hippo. From the wooden deck overlooking the waterhole, guests can see elephants, hippo and fish in the water as well as other game grazing on the opposite bank. If you are lucky you will even spot the fish eagle catching his daily meal.
Klein Karoo wine region
Buffelsdrift offers a spa, bush safaris, elephant, free-roaming cheetah and lion experiences and meerkat safaris. It falls within the Klein Karoo wine region in the Southern Cape – one of the most diverse South African wine regions, stretching along the Cape Route 62 from Montagu in the west to the Outeniquas in the east. The Klein Karoo is situated between mountain ranges. The climate is generally drier than other wine regions, resulting in healthy vineyards, which are grown organically to a large extent. Various microclimates enable Klein Karoo winemakers to produce different styles of quality wines – including dry wines, fortified wines and potstill brandies. Buffelsdrift offers two local farms’ wines as house wine per glass: Karusa from Oudtshoorn and Boplaas from Calitzdorp.
South African wineries from the Western Cape
The rest of the winelist features wines from 40 wineries in the Western Cape, including Hartenberg from Stellenbosch, Raka from Stanford, Rickety Bridge, Mullineux and Leopard’s Leap from Franschhoek and Diemersfontein from Paarl.
Game dishes on the lodge deck
Chefs prepares a variety of game dishes to compliment these wines, to give visitors a true game lodge experience in the middle of the Karoo. For balmy summer evenings, the salads and light meals such are the perfect pairing to some of the crisp white wines from these cellars. In winter hearty stews are served in front of the fire.
The 4-star Platter’s Hartenberg wooded Chardonnay has zesty lemon and lime aromas combined with creamy vanilla notes on the nose. Crisp acidity leads to a lingering palate with a subtle oak finish. It is paired with grilled white and red Meats, rich cheese and citrus flavors.
Buffelsdrift also offers the 4-star Platter’s Hartenberg Merlot, with notes of dark plum, cherry, violets and star anise on the bouquet. The palate is silky on entry and then shows a seamless transition to an elegant mid-palate. The palate shows further red and black fruit, intermingled with spicy, cedary oak flavors. Tannins are fine grained and well-integrated, allowing for a long, velvety finish. Enjoy with rare fillets and blue cheese, says winemaker Carl Schultz.
The 4,5-star Platter’s Raka Biography is dark purply red with white pepper interlaced with sweet cloves, nutmeg and hints of fynbos and liquorice. On the pallet there is plump and dark fruit enveloped in pepper and earthy tones with a long elegant finish with balanced tannins and hints of red plum. It is the perfect partner to beef fillets, soft white cheese and dark chocolate, says winemaker Josef Dreyer.
Guests can also enjoy the 3,5-star Platter’s Raka Estate Pinotage with its intense ruby red color, with black plums and cherries on the nose. Juicy tannins support a spicy pallet with plums and blackcurrants with a fruity dry finish. Enjoy with a venison burger, BBQ meats or tapas.
The 4-star Platter’s Raka Quinary is a Bordeaux blend with 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec) and has an intense deep red color with blackcurrant and cherry on the nose. The palate is well structured and pure with soft tannins and a lingering fruity aftertaste. This is served on the deck overlooking the hippos in the dam, with grilled ostrich fillet and lamb’s neck.
Wine list to include South Africa’s best wines
The lodge’s Food & Beverage Manger, Beadri Eloff, compiled the wine list and attends regular wine dinners to experience a variety of pairings. “I aimed to include a wide variety of the best quality our winelands have to offer, to cater for the widest taste among our guests.”
Beadri says a full-bodied red wine from Hartenberg and Raka among others, encapsulates the Buffelsdrift lifestyle, as it typically has intense flavors and higher alcohol levels. “It coats your palate and tastes rounded and can usually pair well with rich and flavorful dishes.
Buffelsdrift Game Lodge is a blend of fantastic experiences with our different animals and many interesting encounters, accommodation and wine and dine experiences. Our wine list reflects that too.”
The Buffelsdrift Flamegrilled beef fillet with a glass of Raka Biography:
1 beef fillet cut in 200g portions
10 ml olive oil
12 peppadew sweet piquanté peppers
125g Camembert, sliced
For the sauce
5 ml olive oil
1 tbs. whole black pepper
5 peppadew sweet piquanté peppers (cut into slices)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbs. chutney
1 dash salt
Stuff the peppadews with the Camembert cheese and set aside. To stuff the fillet medalions, slice open length-ways, and butterfly the meat using a very sharp knife cut a pocket into the fillet, taking care not to cut through the fillet completely.
Carefully open the pocket as wide as possible, without tearing the meat. Stuff it with the peppadews and camembert cheese. Wrap it with clingfilm, making sure it is completely wrapped and put in refrigerator until needed.
Prepare the pepper sauce: Put oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, fry peppadews and whole black pepper lightly in the oil. Add cream, simmer until reduced to 1 cup, stirring frequently
Add chutney and salt and stir through. Remove from heat and pour over the grilled stuffed fillets.
To grill fillet: Remove the clingfilm, rub the outside of fillet with oil and flamegrill to perfection.
Serve with caramelized onion mash and stir-fry vegetables.