How It All Began - starting our own business, Ekhaya Biltong
Gareth, the co-founder of Ekhaya Biltong, was born and raised in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). This land-locked Kingdom, situated in the north-eastern corner of South Africa and bordered by Mozambique to its east, is quite simply breath-taking in its beauty.
Mountain ranges give way to lush, green valleys; bush and shrub-land are surrounded by sugar cane fields. The strong Swazi culture merges with the brand new highways, hotels and casinos. The cities are busy and bustling, yet the countryside is peaceful and still. It is difficult not to fall in love with this place.
The beautiful Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland) overlooking Mlilwane Game Reserve
Biltong is subtly a part of every day life; babies teeth on it, bars serve it with beer, restaurants include it in their dishes, men and women, young and old, chew on biltong at work and play. It's hard to imagine Eswatini without biltong and, once living in the UK, it was hard to imagine life without biltong.
Gareth and his wife, Kate, built a biltong cabinet which they kept in the garden shed. It satisfied their needs but little did they know that this hobby would be the foundation of something special.
When their son was born, Kate decided to stop her work in scientific research and become a stay-at-home mum. This is when they decided to commercialise their biltong-making hobby and purchased a small, table top dryer from biltongmakers.com.
It wasn't long before their little dryer couldn't fulfill their online orders and so they bought a further 2 tabletop dryers. Soon after, having secured wholesale orders from local establishments, they upgraded to an industrial dryer in order to keep up with demand.
Both Gareth and Kate have a keen interest in health and fitness and are now working in conjunction with Aberystwyth University on the Future Foods Programme in order to evaluate the health benefits of their Welsh beef biltong.