Dining Out Wilderness Style

No matter your dietary requirements, a safari delivers!

For travellers with often restrictive dietary needs, an African safari can be daunting. “Will they cater to my gluten intolerance?” “Can I get vegan food in Africa?” “I am Jewish, can I be Kosher on safari?” “Are they able to cook proper vegetarian food?” These are some of the questions we’re regularly asked when putting together safari itineraries for international guests.

The easy answer to all of them is “Yes”! An African safari can easily take care of all dietary requirements, as long as we know exactly what they are during the critically important planning phase! Knowing what you eat and what you don’t or can’t eat helps us choose the best destinations to ensure those needs are met and your expectations exceeded. Which is why one of the first things we ask you is what your dietary requirements are.

When we ask you this, feel free to go into as much detail as you think is necessary. And it doesn’t have to be about your health or religious beliefs and practices, it can be as simple as “I don’t like eggs”! The good news is that needing a special diet is no longer a barrier to travelling across Africa as things like veganism and vegetarianism have become more mainstream and more is known about intolerances and their affects on our health.

The safari lodges and camps we work with across Africa are outstanding when it comes to making sure our guests are not just well taken care of, but absolutely pampered, especially when it comes to food. Gone are the days when a vegetarian option was a bit of steamed broccoli and some carrots! Nowadays there are more veggie-based options available than ever and quite a few destinations have made the conscious decision to cut down on the amount of meat in their menus.

Even in the most remote parts of Africa, delicious healthy meals are created from scratch using locally sourced, often organic produce and ingredients in an effort to keep up with the latest “farm to table” preferences. We’ve most definitely become more food conscious over the last decade, as is reflected in the popularity of phenomena like “Master Chef” and “The Great British Bake-Off”.

Popular media has helped to drive the evolution of dining on safari, which is now so much more than a quick stew cooked on the camp fire. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with hearty, home-cooked-style food (whether prepared in a bush kitchen or over open flames), safari chefs across Africa have taken care to introduce a wider variety of internationally influenced dishes, often given a local twist and adjusted to meet the needs of vegan and vegetarian guests.

While it’s easy for destinations in urban areas like Cape Town to source fresh produce and more complex ingredients, it’s often a challenge for the luxury tented camp in the Okavango Delta to keep pace as every ingredient needs to be either trucked into camp or flown in. That has not slowed the bush chefs down though! Today you’ll be amazed by the quality and variety of dishes prepared in the most remote and far-flung corners of the African wilderness, all thanks to immaculate planning and precision food and beverage management!

So talk to us about what you love (and loathe) and remember to put in any special requests for occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and landmark celebrations because Africa’s safari camps and lodges LOVE to spoil their guests. And even if you’re on a strict diet, don’t be afraid to share it with us so we can pass it on and make sure you stay on the straight and narrow (although we can’t promise you’ll not give into temptation at some point!).

And be brave enough to try local dishes and traditional foods, even if they look or sound strange or have ingredients you’d normally avoid – you never know when those tastebuds are going to be thoroughly amazed!

Images: Lions Sands

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