Veggie Beds & Variety at Tuli Safari Lodge

There is nothing better than a baked quiche made with freshly harvested swiss chard or a healthy and crunchy green salad!

Here is how Tuli Safari Lodges’ journey of growing fresh produce in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve came about...

In May 2016 our management couple, Hein and Eloise, had the fabulous idea of starting a vegetable garden for the lodge. The main reason behind this idea was that most vegetables would wilt en route to the lodge from supermarkets, and would not be suitable to serve.  

An area close to the workshop, within the lodge grounds was earmarked for the veggie garden, and the planting began soon after. The garden started with 4 raised beds, each about 17.5 m long and 1.2 m wide, as well as a section of 5m x 4m at ground level. In total, the new garden was around 225 m². The garden is protected by shade cloth and wire mesh, preventing the harsh sun, and the naughty monkeys and squirrels, from damaging the crops.

During the first 2 years, many different types of veggies were planted, some faring better than others. By trial and error, we have been able to identify which vegetable grow successfully, keeping in mind our harsh summers.

The narrowed down list includes the following veggies and herbs (season dependant) – swiss chard, beetroot, radish, sweet potatoes, parsley, a few butter lettuce varieties, spring onion, mint, carrots, snap peas, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, baby marrow, watermelon, gem squash, pumpkins, potatoes, cabbages, baby cabbages, rocket, and strawberries (an aggregate fruit).

No chemical pesticides, insecticides or herbicides are used in the Tuli Veggie Garden. Only organic, chemical-free and eco-friendly products are used (only when they are needed).

An exciting addition of 170m² was made to the Tuli Veggie Garden in March/April 2020. This extra space will be used to not only extend the veggie growing beds, but also to begin a tree nursery. The nursery will include Fever Trees, Ana Trees, Weeping Boerbean, Marula’s and many more. These trees will be planted in and around the lodge gardens as well as in the surrounding Tuli Safari Lodge area.

The lockdown has been used to plant enough veggies to sustain management as well as the staff on site. Although it may take a month or two before the harvest is ready, the Tuli team is incredibly excited to see the “fruit” of their labour.

- Eloise Holton