The Green Kalahari region of South Africa is situated in the Northern Cape Province and exhibits the Kalahari Desert Truffles that are endemic to this region. The Kalahari Desert Truffle, also known as !Nabas, are found underground and appears erratically between April and May after good, late summer rains. They are closely related to desert truffles that is found in other parts of the world, like the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Iraq and Australia.
The !Naba is an edible fungi and forms a symbiotic relationship with roots of trees, grasses and even fruits, depending on its geographical location. The symbiotic relationship between the plant’s roots and the !Naba (fungus) is called mycorrhization. As !Nabas grows naturally they rely on wind dispersal to scatter spores near suitable hosts where they can then germinate and grow. During years of severe drought, the spores remain preserved until ideal conditions occur.
The Khoikhoi mythology refer to !Nabas as the eggs of the “lightning bird”, as they appear after a thunderstorm, or good seasonal rains.
Although !Nabas are plentiful in season they form underground and grows far apart and is not easy to find. If you don’t know how to find them you will have a struggle because they only make a small crack in the sand and then you have to dig a few centimetres in the sand to find them.
Here at Thuru Lodge we are also privileged to say that we have !Nabas on our property, especially after good rains (as we had plentiful of this year!). They are found in the dune slopes between the Bushmen grass and where tsamma melons grows. One of our trackers, Paultjie, is a genius when it comes to finding these !Nabas as they only make little ruptures in the soil and you have to know where and how to look for them.
Our chef Bet loves to prepare this delicacy for our guests when they are in season. The !Naba (which looks like a small potato) is first washed to get rid of all the find sand and then peeled. Then she cuts them up and sauté them in a mixture of cream and red wine, and then sprinkle them with coarse salt and black pepper. This is a real treat and a true Authentic experience here at Thuru Lodge, as there is not a lot of places you can travel to and eat this delicacy.
So when you are a true foodie, searching for something special, unique and authentic, come to Thuru Lodge during April and May and experience this true Kalahari delicacy for yourself, together with our exceptional warm hospitality, game drives, dune dinners and sundowners on one of our Kalahari Dunes.