An Elephant Poo Oven – Seriously!

I recently received an email out of the wilds of Africa from oven enthusiast Mark Spicer. He works in a game reserve in the Limpopo Province in South Africa. Basically Mark wanted good pizzas to feed himself and the hungry crew of volunteers who work for a organisation out there called Galagos Wildlife Conservation. You can find more details here:

http://www.gwcvolunteers.com/

Mark’s oven is slightly different in that it doesn’t utilise a chimney, oh and it is partially made from elephant poo!!!! If nothing else this is a great example of using the materials you have at hand to construct an oven – great work! I’ll let Mark tell you all about it, and post some photos for your enjoyment.

For some reason I can’t get this old Monty Python gag out of my head: Question – What’s brown and sounds like a bell? Answer – DUNG! [sorry!]

Beforehand Mark said:

I’m on a game reserve in South Africa, in a continent obesessed with concrete. I’m trying to build a clay oven for pizzas. We have a volunteer programme here at our place. The reserve manager is as obsessed with concrete as everyone else, and has built a pizza oven; I’m trying to build an oven out of local and reclaimed materials for our camp. At the mo we’re making sub-standard pizza in a well below-heat oven. I was a helping run a snowboard chalet last year and we made great pizzas (www.chaletlepalane.com) so this is all a bit troubling. I’d like to use elephant poo mixed with clay as the insulation layer because we have access to a lot of it. We’ve sourced what we can in the way of clay-like material from a natural water hole here which was dry, although in the national park over the road from here they have great clay the locals made pots with 800 years ago; sadly, if i went into the park to nick clay I might end up getting shot. We’ve pulled down some of one of the old farmhouses here for locally made brick, so we are almost ready to start. I’ve been talking about it for three months and want to get into action – there are lots of things online but the ebook seems to be so well regarded that it would be handy to motivate my boss, the volunteers and the reserve manager!

And in a recent update:

Here’s the pretty much finished article. We jigged around with dimensions a little (door height) and structure (no chimney) but here it is. I love it. The boss loves it. It looks right here in camp. There’s a fire flickering away at the moment, and once we get some mozzarella from town (a 450km trip…) I’m hoping to start trialling pizzas. Nervously. I am also waiting to take a picture with an elephant in the background – they kindly donated so generously to the build it would seem right and proper. In short, and so far, she burneth well – I read something about the door opening being 63% of the internal height, so worked it around that, and I can get a fire going inside easily enough…..I can’t stop looking at the creation – it’s amazing. Sincerly, many thanks again for your help and input.

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