Sam Ramokoka

Cradle Boutique Hotel Welcomes New Executive Chef Sam Ramokoka

The Cradle Boutique Hotel located in the Greater Cradle Nature Reserve, has welcomed its new Executive Chef, Sam Ramokoka to its kitchen.


  • The Cradle Boutique Hotel offers a unique ecotourism experience nestled within the a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Executive Chef Sam Ramokoka feels privileged to work in such a beautiful and serene environment.
  • The hotel’s ecotourism focus aligns with his values, and he takes pride in creating homely and delicious meals for guests.
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The Sandton Times took the just under an hour drive, to spend 12-hours at the Cradle Boutique Hotel and sample some of Chef Sam Ramokoka’s culinary creations and discovered a relaxing getaway with decadent dishes in a scenic location.


Sam Ramokoka
Guests can indulge in the tranquil surroundings from their private viewing decks, enjoy the natural wetland pool, and experience exclusive spa treatments. Image: The Sandton Times

The Cradle Boutique Hotel features 31 upmarket hotel rooms, including eco-friendly timber and thatch rooms raised on stilts to minimize environmental impact, sky rooms with wood burning hot tubs, and a luxurious owner’s suite.


We checked-in to one of the sky rooms – hillside accommodation with a contemporary design which welcomes ample sunlight, making it a toasty warm space during the winter months. The room features all modern luxuries including a mini-fridge, WiFi, safe, air-conditioning and satellite television. Yet one of the delicious features of the sky room is the wood burning hot tub, which takes about 2-hours to get to reach ideal heat for a daytime or nighttime dip.


Sam Ramokoka
The sky room bedroom with all the luxuries for a comfortable bush escape. Image: The Sandton Times
Sam Ramokoka
The sky room bathroom with two basins, toilet and shower. Image: The Sandton Times
Sam Ramokoka
The sky room outdoor wood burning hot tub, which takes about 2-hours to warm up, for the ultimate bush-view dip. Image: The Sandton Times

Along with the Malapa Museum Experience, which features a tour highlighting the scientific work conducted in the area, the Cradle Boutique Hotel boasts the beautiful Cradle Restaurant in the heart of the bush.


Recently, the hotel welcomed a new Executive Chef, Sam Ramokoka, whose journey to the culinary world took an unexpected turn. Originally studying mechanical engineering at Vaal University of Technology, Sam realized his passion for food and decided to pursue a career as a chef, much to the initial disapproval of his parents. Undeterred, he started his culinary journey by assisting his mother at a campsite, where he discovered his love for cooking.


Sam Ramokoka
The entrance to the Cradle Restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Image: The Sandton Times

Sam’s first professional experience in the kitchen came as a sculler at the Mount Grace Hotel. Within six months, he was promoted to the position of commis assistant chef. Eager to learn more, he immersed himself in the culinary world, asking questions and taking on new responsibilities. Recognizing his potential, Sam enrolled at the Mafikeng Hotel School, despite facing financial obstacles from his parents at the time.


His determination paid off when he joined Chef Trevor Boyd at Le Franschhoek Hotel in Cape Town, where he gained valuable experience and exposure to the renowned culinary scene. From there, Sam continued to climb the culinary ladder, holding positions such as senior sous chef at Rambling Vine and executive sous chef at Mount Grace. He eventually became the executive chef at Protea Hotel Manor, achieving a meteoric rise in just 12 years.


Sam Ramokoka
The Cradle Restaurant serves up some delicious dishes including springbok carpaccio for starters. Image: The Sandton Times
Sam Ramokoka
The Cradle Restaurant serves up a variety of popular meat dishes for mains. Image: The Sandton Times
Sam Ramokoka
For those with more of a savory tooth – indulge in a meal topping cheese board and fruits at the Cradle Restaurant. Image: The Sandton Times

Outside of the kitchen, Sam is a devoted family man. He and his wife, Motshepo, who works as an assistant food and beverage manager at Mount Grace Hotel, have three children. While juggling busy schedules can be challenging, Sam ensures he finds time to be present for his family. They lived with his parents for a few years before Sam realized he was missing out on precious moments, prompting them to live together as a family.


Sam’s culinary journey has been marked by passion, hard work, and a deep appreciation for his roots. He cherishes the opportunity to showcase his skills at Cradle Boutique Hotel, a place that honors the origins of humankind. He emphasizes the importance of sourcing local produce and incorporating healthy options into the menu, as modern diners prioritize their well-being. With his booming voice, hearty laugh, and a love for creating flavorful dishes, Sam Ramokoka is a chef who has truly found his calling.


The Cradle Boutique Hotel offers a not all-too-far bush breakaway, with a delicious menu, tranquil setting and a host of activities, nestled in luxurious surroundings.


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Sandton Times Correspondent

Curated content from The Sandton Times newsroom desks.


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