Meet the Chef: Zamani Sibelo of Tembo Plains Camp

The Wordrobe talks seasonal flavours, sumptuous safari cuisine and the importance of a warm welcome with chef Zamani Sibelo of the recently opened Tembo Plains Camp, a slice of paradise tucked away into a thick riverine forest on the edge of the Zambezi River in the private 128,000-hectare Sapi Private Reserve

What inspired you to become a chef?
I was inspired to be a Chef by the Former Safari Lodge Executive Chef, Brain Ndlovu, who is now a member of the Zimbabwe Culinary Judges. I like his food presentation and the taste of the food he cooks.

Where did you train? Tell us more about your culinary background…
I joined Hospitality since 2006 at Safari Lodge as a kitchen Porter. In 2008 I started the training to be a Chef. I did my studies with the Bulawayo Hotel School and being attached to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge for the practicals. In 2011 I acquired my class one certificate. I also worked for the same company for more than 

10 years for to gain experience. 2016 I joined Rainbow Hotel for a management position and worked for a year. 2018 I joined Great Plains until to date.

What’s your favourite autumnal dish?
The pumpkin soup is the best, beyond it’s delicious taste, it has impressive nutrition and health benefit such as highly rich in vitamin A. Pumpkin soup is our traditional dish. We cook it with some sun dried maize, pumpkin and seasoned with sugar and salt. This meal you can eat it for lunch. We grew up eating it.

What can guests expect from a meal at Great Plains?
Guest should except to eat no game meat at Great Plains in general since we are a conservation group. At Tembo Plains we are proud with our traditional dish of Zimbabwean Lake Harvest bream fillet, marinated in coconut milk, ginger, chilli, dill herbs and served with mixed seasonal vegetables and garnished with sweet potato crisp.

What does hospitality mean to you?
As a chef hospitality means to give a warm welcome, hosting and entertaining my guests.

What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs, especially during these difficult times?
To be a great Chef, one must start with a personal hygiene. Kitchen policy never change; clean as you go is the norm’s of the day. As a young modern chef, cooking means to cook in value with food nutrition and taste, that give us healthy eating. As you go through your studies always remember these two points. 

What do you think is 2021’s biggest food trend?
Veganism is the most high food trends of the year.

What’s your favourite midnight snack?
My most favourite midnight snack is the home made chocolate bars with assorted flavours; salt and Cayenne pepper with orange zest.

To find out more about Tembo Plains Camp, visit

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