Food & Crafts

Sani Lodge is home to the Giant's Cup Café started in 1997 by Simone and is well known for wholesome home-made goodness (see the Getaway review article here) Our policy of local procurement of South African foods, supporting local producers in our district, buying organic / free range, growing as much fruit and vegetables as we can in summer, and having our own source of organic milk means that what you eat / drink in our restaurant directly supports all these producers and healthy motives. “ Tastes good and makes you feel good !”.

The Giants Cup Cafe, Restaurant , art gallery, crafts, and indigenous plants nursery, is on site open daily from 0730 hours to 2000 hours, a mere 50 metres from Sani Lodge Backpackers,
As devotees of the great John Seymour’s philosophy of self sufficiency as laid out in his classic book “The Complete Guide to Self-sufficiency”, we aim to provide home cooked meals with the use of as many home produced products like our fruit and vegetables in season, milk and honey, as possible. We aim to use the best organic and free range quality ingredients such as eggs and chicken which we do not produce ourselves and support local South African producers. We have been breeding happy Jersey cows for the past 16 years for the purpose of providing our own fresh milk ( for guest breakfasts, complimentary milk for self-catering guests tea/coffee at Lodge and cottages) as well as to make healthy probiotic cultured yoghurt , plus cream ( to accompany our homemade continental cakes/desserts) for making butter and real ice cream.
Whilst Sani Lodge does have two fully equipped self- catering kitchens for guest use, why not treat yourself to meals in our cosy African décor restaurant.

Breakfasts: Served from 0730 hours to 0900 hours. Our breakfasts include a cooked or health buffet or combination of both. Only needs to be ordered in advance for big groups . Otherwise just come to the restaurant.

Packed Lunches: Great for long days of hiking ; please order the night before.

Light Lunches: can be ordered off the menu any time and include locally produced specialities.

Mid morning and afternoon teas: offering our favoured chocolate cake with fresh farm cream along with other secret specials. We serve unique, quality Fair Trade coffee with our newly acquired ‘bean to coffee’ Swiss beverage machine, that will have your returning for more

Dinners: Dinner is served at 6.30pm for which guests are summoned to the beat of the Zulu drum. The meals are scrumptious, simple home-cooked , healthy fare prepared by our trained cooks Mbali and Jennett. .Please note that dinner does need to be pre-booked as we prepare food for the exact number of guests ordering . If you arrive on the day and wish to have dinner you may still pre-book before 4pm . Guests arriving later without pre-booking dinner may choose savouries to eat off the Café menu at 6.30pm instead of the 3 course dinner. Vegan, vegetarian, allergen free diets will be accommodated to the best of our ability and sourcing availability.

ORDERING MEALS ; PLEASE ORDER ALL YOUR MEALS IN ADVANCE IF YOU ARE COMING AS A LARGE GROUP . WE ALSO REQUEST THAT YOU PLEASE ORDER DINNER IN ADVANCE IF YOU WISH TO EAT ON THE NIGHT OF YOUR ARRIVAL.
PAYMENT OF MEALS ;Meals and drinks do not go on your tab so please bring payment with you to the restaurant. VISA/MASTERCARD credit cards welcome.
PRICES OF MEALS ;Please see rates webpage for prices of meals.


Our curio shop/farm stall specializes in our homemade and locally sourced produce. We sell:
Homemade Ice Cream: The best ice cream you’ll ever taste is made from our own organic fresh cream .
Homemade Yoghurt: Using our own milk and probiotic cultures, our yoghurt is healthy and yummy.
Riverglen Cheese: Made at the Underberg Cheesery, we support this innovative local cheesemaker!
Trout: This is a speciality of the Underberg area, and we sell a range of fresh and smoked trout products.
Jams: When the fruit ripens, our kitchen becomes a hive of activity with bubbling pots and a multitude of sterilized jars! Our jams contain nothing but fruit and sugar, with as much of the fruit as possible being home grown and including peaches, raspberries, plums, apples, blackberries, gooseberries.
Bottled Fruit: When quantities allow, we also bottle fruit such as peaches and plums which we serve for desserts at the lodge as well as sell the surplus.
Chutneys: We also sell homemade peach chutney – an ideal accompaniment to a hot meal.
Honey: pure local honey and honeycomb products available
Homemade rusks: typical South African hard biscuit snack food or ‘ Boerbiskuit ‘ hailing back to the Voortrekker days. Ideal for dipping into a mug of tea or coffee!
Biscuits: homemade with loving care.

Chocolate coated homemade marzipan made from real almonds – a unique treat !
ORGANIC VEGETABLES AND HERBS AT SANI LODGE BACKPACKERS
These are used in the Giant’s Cup Café for salads and vegetables for dinners. Volunteers interested in gardening please speak to Russell.



SANI HOME MADE JAMS FROM OUR FRUIT AND ICECREAM


RUSSELL MAKING JAMS


WATER POWERED BUTTER CHURN AT SANI LODGE


HOME GROWN PEACHES


SIMONE MAKING YOGHURT FROM OUR
JERSEY COW MILK


SUMMER ORGANIC VEGETABLES


CALVES BEING BOTTLE FED FRESH MILK


JEMMA AND CLEO MEET TOFFEE THE DASCHUND!


ERNEST HANDMILKING


SMILE FOR THE CAMERA – SO BEAUTIFUL!!

GIANT’S CUP CAFÉ CRAFTS

OUR MISSION IS TO

  1. Be stockists of quality products proudly made by entrepreneurial people, using their own skills and initiative.
  2. Be stockists of food products that are all organic in nature from the raw components to the finished product.
  3. Support all Fair Trade certified producers of food and drink products
  4. Provide a sales outlet for creative people with incentive to make their own products
  5. Keep our goods on sale fairly priced so that the small scale entrepreneur/ producer is remunerated fairly for his/her craft and the end customer is paying a fair price for the product.

WE SET ABOUT TRYING TO ACHIEVE THIS MISSION IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:

  1. Support the small crafter / entrepreneur who makes goods him/herself and sells them directly to us such as; the Zulu, Zimbabwean and Basotho craftsmen and woman, people in the Underberg district creating woollen wear such as snoods, scarves, woollen hand gloves and cut offs plus beanies, local artists and painters, local writers of books, local bee keepers supplying honey in season .
  2. Support the small craft businesses offering training and thus creating employment for previously disadvantaged people
  3. To produce our own organic fruit , vegetables and milk on our property:
    1. Our own food produce such as yoghurt is made from our own fresh and organic Jersey cow milk and probiotic cultures.
    2. Our ice cream is made from our own Jersey cow cream.
    3. Our butter is made from our own cream and churned on a home made water wheel set up on the waterfall on our stream flowing through the property.
    4. Our jams and preserves are made from fruit organically grown on our property or in the district, hand picked and bottled in sterilised, recycled jars.
    5. Our vegetables and herbs can only be grown in the summer months. They are grown from seedling using natural compost, inter-cropped to reduce bad insects and attract good insects, weeded by hand and watered from the sky. No fertilisers or chemicals of any sort are used. The restaurant makes use of lettuce, tomatoes, celery, spring onions, parsley, green pepper, cabbage and herbs, in salads and the vegetables are cooked for dinners. You are most welcome to visit our vegetable beds and small orchard.
  4. OUR GOODS FOR SALE HAVE A MAXIMUM OF 50% MARK UP . WE AIM TO SUPPORT THE SMALL ENTREPRENEUR CRAFTER OR PRODUCER BY SUPPLYING AN OUTLET FOR THEIR QUALITY PRODUCTS WHICH ARE THEN FAIRLY PRICED TO THE CUSTOMER.

HISTORY OF THE GIANT’S CUP CAFÉ AND CRAFTS

The Giant’s Cup Café and Crafts was started in 1997 by Simone and Russell Suchet. The aim was to provide a venue for Sani Lodge Backpackers guests to eat breakfast and dinner as well as provide light meals and cakes for passers-by on the Sani Pass road.  The building chosen to house the restaurant and crafts outlet had been used as a functioning landrover workshop under the ownership of Arthur Champkins of Mokhotlong Mountain Transport (MMT) and later Sani Pass Tours.

Little did we realise what challenges lay before us as we embarked on rehabilitating the old building. Our first endeavour was to try and remove years of engine oil from the floors and re concrete them, then Simone, heavily pregnant, painted the floor in its entirety. Not satisfied with this result, the floor’s appearance was greatly enhanced by cypress floor boards, thanks to the Lunds of Hazeldene sawmill making tongue and groove back then. The building was divided in half for the restaurant and group area. The wide garage doors were removed, the small, rusty window frames replaced by large Meranti wooden frames, solid, old  cement work benches lining the walls were removed , a new door put into the garden facing side, the old tool room cleared , repainted and extended to house the kitchen with big windows replacing one tiny window. The toilet which had not functioned for at least a decade, required a complete overall in the plumbing department before being put into use , the room was given fresh coats of plaster then paint and tiled where needed and the old, cracked basin replaced. The craft shop as you see today had once been a small store selling basics such as candles and matches with an old concrete counter and uneven oily flooring. The floors were cleaned, concreted and cypress flooring overlaid.( Sadly the coke fridge leaked water onto and under the cypress flooring causing rotting of the boards and necessitated the whole shop floor to be tiled .) The walls of the shop, restaurant, group area and kitchen were all plastered and painted and ceilings fitted. A Queen Anne stove was installed in the restaurant for winters. The outside of the building was clad in sandstone from our property, a painfully slow process. An attractive wooden deck was built outside the main front door, (which incidentally is the original door), but sadly the harsh climate and weathering led to rotting of the support struts and the deck had to be removed. All of the restaurant furniture was hand built using local wood by Russell.

The front garden of the Cafe was originally a driveway for landrovers with a thin layer of infertile compacted clay soil. Planting of grass and indigenous flowering shrubs became a long term project, with our view of one day attracting sunbirds and other species. The property boasts some 91 bird species with 19 endemics. Where you see lawn today was head high bramble which covered the entire property. This invasive alien took years of physical removal and burning to be cleared. We have also undertaken massive and on-going clean ups of landrover parts including metal and glass windscreens as well as cans and bottles which were dumped during the years of MMT ownership.

The bridge you now see connecting the road to Sani Lodge Backpackers just behind the Café, was once an old dam wall. Since no piping was laid beneath the wall, water flowed over it each time it rained heavily and flooded the restaurant before and after the cypress flooring was laid. The dam wall finally collapsed after severely heavy rains so Russell and Simone became bridge builders of necessity. The water occasionally rises over the bridge, but has not flooded the restaurant since then.

Gale force winds blew the roofing off the group area part of the building in 2000 exposing that side to the elements until the roof could be replaced.

Wooden deck

Gale force wind damage in 2000 above and below
Newly planted beds and grass


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Sani Lodge | Phone +27 (0)33 7020330 | Cell +27 (0)839873071 | Fax +27 (0)86 5147915
E Mail info@sanilodge.co.za

Sani Lodge | Phone +27 (0)33 7020330 | Cell +27 (0)839873071 | Fax +27 (0)86 5147915
E Mail info@sanilodge.co.za

SANI LODGE BACKPACKERS DOES NOT HAVE A 24 HOUR RECEPTION. RECEPTION OPENING HOURS ARE 7AM TO 9PM. GUESTS PLANNING TO ARRIVE LATER THAN 9PM, WILL NEED TO MAKE SPECIAL PRIOR ARRANGEMENTS.