Specialist African meals

October 21st 2019  |   Unique Experiences, Miscellaneous  |  by   Richard Smith
Specialist African meals

We’re often asked by our clients if the safari camps and lodges we work with can cater to various dietary requirements.  The answer is most definitely they can, so long as they have some advance warning (keep in mind that the more remote camps will only have sporadic deliveries so pre-planning is essential).  You’ll find that the chefs are imaginative and creative and very happy to cater to particular requests – whether for children, celebrations or medical requirements.   Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect.

Dietary requirements

Vegetarians and vegans will find safari camps and lodges in most countries very creative. Those with allergies and more specific dietary requirements will also be well looked after and it’s often the meals on the international flights which are more challenging than a bush kitchen on a remote savannah. Serian Nkorombo Camp offers guests freshly made salads and delicious home-made bread.

Plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans etc on safari, lunch at Serian Nkorombo safari dining

Plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans etc on safari, lunch at Serian Nkorombo

Several camps have Kosher kitchens; just ask and we can plan a trip around this for you if you wish.

Unless you are staying in a city hotel, advance warning helps camps schedule requirements and requests into their regular food orders, some of which only arrive monthly after a week-long truck journey on bumpy roads.  Our team will prompt you to discuss any wishes and needs at the time you book.

Breakfast overlooking the Zambezi at the River Club, safari dining

Breakfast overlooking the Zambezi at the River Club, one of several to have a Kosher kitchen

Kid’s meals

Most family friendly safari camps will have a children’s menu offering things like homemade pizza, simple pasta dishes and chicken or fish goujons.

Many will offer earlier dining times and then a listening service should parents want to eat after their children have gone to bed.  In other cases, children’s picnic suppers can be taken on wildlife drives so there’s no need to miss an evening sundowner out in the bush.

Making pizza at Somalisa Acacia

Making pizza at Somalisa Acacia

Celebratory meals

Camp staff in Africa don’t need much of an excuse to burst into song and will take genuine delight in celebrating a birthday or special anniversary.  We once moved between camps in Zambia on the day of my son’s 15th birthday – two delicious different birthday cakes made up for the teenage embarrassment of being sung to twice!

Don’t be surprised if you’re presented with something odd-looking. The staff love a joke and enjoy covering all sorts of things with icing sugar to fool the unwary. Their laughter is usually a giveaway and it’ll always swiftly be removed for something delicious before a bite is taken.

Chitwa Chitwa bush experience

Birthday treat in the bush, Chitwa Chitwa


It’s not unusual to find game on the menu when you’re on safari in the bush.  Ostrich, kudu and guinea fowl are among the most likely to feature, particularly in South Africa and Namibia.   Of course the more regular options of chicken, beef and pork will be there too so there’s no pressure to eat game meat if you prefer not to.

Preparing for a boma dinner at Pafuri Main Camp.  safari dining

Preparing for a boma dinner at Pafuri Main Camp

African seafood

The Indian Ocean laps at Africa’s balmy eastern seaboard, which is home to gorgeous archipelagos, islands and atolls. This coastline offers sun-drenched days, star-lit seafood feasts along with a choice of desert island picnics, and romantic, toes-in-the-sand dinners.

With the natural abundance of seafood, you may be forgiven for thinking there won’t be much apart from fish dishes on your plate, but the Indian Ocean islands and coastlines are famous for fusion cuisine from aromatic French-Creole in Mauritius and the Seychelles, to Mozambique’s Portuguese-inspired peri-peri chicken and delicious vegetarian curries.

Delicious sea food on the African coast at Mnemba Lodge Specialist African meals

Delicious sea food on the African coast at Mnemba Lodge


Although you won’t make a meal out of it, your safari guides will enjoy pointing out edible plants and berries – along with their traditional or medicinal use.  You’ll find that baobab leaves are used to treat fever, the African wild potato is said to have skin soothing properties while the bitter hoodia, peeled and eaten raw, is known for appetite suppressant properties.

Foraging with San Bushmen at Camp Kalahari Specialist African meals

Foraging with San Bushmen at Camp Kalahari

Any questions on special African meals?

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris.  If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

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