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Kirst was born in Pretoria, South Africa and then shipped off to the world famous Okavango Delta in Botswana when she was just 6 weeks old!
Her parents were working at Tsaro Lodge at the time so she spent her first few months strapped to the back of one of the lodge chefs… which would be a precursor to one of her many passions – cooking and baking! Her family then moved to Maun – a large town near the Delta – where Kirst spent most of young life.
Her dad – the legend conservationist Map Ives – worked away from the busy town of Maun in the bush, so Kirst spent her weekends and holidays going to visit him at which ever camp he may have been working at. Kirst has many fond memories of jumping off mopani log bridges into the river, and waking up on Easter morning unable to go hunting for chocolate eggs because an elephant was sleeping against a termite mound outside her tent!
She spent her young adult years at boarding school in South Africa, and visited the Kruger National Park on regular holidays with her grand parents. After matriculating, she moved back to Botswana to spend a gap year at the incredible Mombo Camp on Chiefs Island, working as skivvey (intern of everything) and training as a lodge manager. Throwing her shoes at buffalo to make them move so that she wasn’t late for work was a regular daily annoyance much like city traffic!
Kirst then went to chefs school at Prue Leith Chefs Academy and naturally started showing signs of being a master cook and baker! Obviously all those years strapped to the backs of lodge chefs were paying off.
Her success and diligence at one of the best chef colleges in South Africa gave Kirst the opportunity to move to the famous Londolozi Private Game Reserve – a lodge her parents had worked at many years before – and worked as a chef and manager for over 4 years.
Kirst then decided to go back to her home, Botswana, and this is where she met Callum and Sean, and taught them everything they know about growing up in the bush, and how to communicate with wildebeest in a polite fashion! She soon joined them in Cape Town at African-Born Safaris and became our backbone and master cake baker! Her passion for cooking turned to baking, and when Kirst isn’t planning and curating your amazing safaris, she’s baking even more amazing cakes!
She now lives in Somerset West just with her husband Alastair and is enjoying the Cape Winelands and naturally, all the wine!