Africa on the roof. Access down the side
This refers to the rooftop Africa, on the left as you go up the road from the ferry towards the ticket office and tombs. Africa Garden is a different restaurant on the other side of the road near the bus station.
Africa is one of the oldest and best known tourist restaurants on the West Bank. It is used a lot by tour groups who descend in coach loads, make the place very busy for a short while, then leave. If you visit between coaches, you have quite a large restaurant all to yourself.
To suit the coach parties there is a fixed price set menu. For LE45 you can choose from a short list of starters, main courses and desserts. If you want a set menu three course meal that's fine, but whenever we have visited, even on our own, the set menu list is all we have been offered. There is a normal, more extensive, menu so that you can choose your own permutation from a longer list of menu items, but that only seems to be be produced if you ask for it.
Some tables laid out for groups
Once you do get hold of it, the menu offers a typical range of local snack options. There are soups from LE7 - LE10, salads, also between LE7 and LE10, omelettes at LE10, pastas and sandwiches between LE15 and LE20, meat and fish main courses, mostly LE25 - LE30: vegetarian options about LE5 less and some, such as roast duck and shish Kebab, at LE45. Desserts are from a modest LE5 to LE15: unusually Om Ali is the dearest option. Hot drinks are LE7 or LE8 and juices mostly LE10 - LE12. These prices are OKish but certainly beatable, especially on the West Bank.
More important than the prices is whether the meals are good. Here your decision is likely to be based on what you order and whether you like to eat 'local' or whether you prefer food to be prepared in the 'western' way. At the Africa you will eat 'local', which may come as a surprise if you order a salad and expect the vegetables to be more than just sliced onto a plate. We have not sampled any of the set meals, but they do have a good reputation. We have ordered from the menu and have been disappointed. For example, although we appreciate that there is less preparation in a local salad, there is no reason for it to be less fresh. Our carrot was dry and very tired looking and the cucumber limp.
Because the restaurant caters a lot for large groups, many of the tables are combined, but there are areas where smaller tables for are normally available for private diners. Some seating is cushioned benches but by and large the tables and chairs are sturdy restaurant types, not the flimsy types associated with garden or other outdoor restaurants. They are nearly all under the shelter of a wicker roofs on wicker-wrapped stilts. All pleasant enough.
View from the Africa restaurant
If you are in a party that is booked into Africa as part of a tour, it is OK. If you are on your own and you want food prepared in the local way, it may be OK if you are luckier than we have been. For food prepared in a way more familiar to western tourists, the roof of the Nile Valley, a few meters away, has better prices, more space, fewer coach parties and even better views.
Review prepared April 2010
Prices at March 2010