Navigating African Cuisine: Delicious Must-Try Dishes and Local Delights

CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The African continent is vast, and African cuisine reflects the myriad of cultures, climates, and histories that make each region distinct.

A Culinary Tour of Africa – Regional Specialities

To help you navigate the culinary landscape, let’s take a gastronomic tour of Africa, highlighting the must-try dishes and local delights from various countries where The Grown-up Travel Company operates.

East Africa: A Feast of Flavours

Kenya and Tanzania: Nyama Choma

Nyama Choma, which translates to “grilled meat” in Swahili, is a popular dish in both Kenya and Tanzania. Succulent pieces of meat, usually goat or beef, are marinated in a blend of spices and grilled over an open flame.

The result is a deliciously tender and flavourful treat often served with a side of vegetables or ugali, a type of maize porridge.

Uganda: Luwombo

Luwombo is a traditional Ugandan dish that involves steaming meat, fish, or vegetables in banana leaves. The ingredients are first marinated in a mix of spices and then wrapped in the leaves, which lock in the flavours and moisture during the cooking process.

The dish is often served with a side of matoke (mashed plantains) or rice and is a must-try example of African cuisine.

Southern Africa: A Symphony of Tastes

South Africa: Bobotie

Bobotie, a dish of Malay origin, is considered the national dish of South Africa. It’s a savoury mince dish, made from spiced ground meat (usually beef or lamb), mixed with dried fruit, and topped with a custard-like layer of egg and milk.

The combination of sweet and savoury flavours creates a uniquely delicious and satisfying meal, often enjoyed with a side of yellow rice and chutney.

Namibia: Potjiekos

Potjiekos, which means “small pot food” in Afrikaans, is a traditional Namibian stew cooked in a three-legged cast-iron pot over an open fire.

The dish typically includes meat, vegetables, and sometimes rice or potatoes, all slowly simmered together to create a rich, flavourful meal that’s perfect for sharing with friends and family.

Botswana: Seswaa

Seswaa is a traditional Botswanan dish made from pounded meat, usually beef or goat. The meat is first boiled with onions and spices until tender and then shredded or pounded to create a pulled-meat texture.

It’s often served with a side of pap, a maize porridge, and a helping of vegetables or morogo (wild spinach).

Zambia: Nshima and Ifisashi

African cuisine - Nshima

Nshima, a staple dish in Zambia, is a thick maize porridge usually served alongside a variety of relishes, vegetables, and meat or fish.

One popular accompaniment to nshima is ifisashi, a vegetable dish made with leafy greens such as collard greens or spinach, cooked with groundnuts (peanuts) and tomatoes.

The combination of nshima and ifisashi offers a comforting, hearty, and nutritious meal that highlights the flavours of Zambian – and indeed African – cuisine.

Zimbabwe: Sadza and Nyama

Similar to Zambia’s nshima, sadza is a staple maize porridge enjoyed in Zimbabwe. It is often served with nyama, a rich and flavourful meat dish.

Nyama can be made with various types of meat, such as beef, chicken, or goat, and is cooked with a blend of spices, onions, and tomatoes.

The combination of sadza and nyama creates a satisfying and delicious meal that showcases the diverse flavours of Zimbabwean cuisine.

Mountain Kingdoms: Culinary Gems from the Sky

Lesotho: Oxtail Stew

oxtail stew
Stoutseun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lesotho, often referred to as the “Roof of Africa,” boasts a hearty and flavourful cuisine, perfect for warming up after a day of exploring its breathtaking highlands.

Oxtail stew is a popular dish in Lesotho, featuring tender, slow-cooked oxtail in a rich, savoury sauce with vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes.

The stew is often served with a side of maize porridge or rice, making for a warming, satisfying meal that captures the essence of Lesotho’s culinary heritage.

Eswatini: Slaai and Emasi

Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, offers a cuisine that is both wholesome and flavourful. Slaai is a traditional Eswatini salad made from shredded cabbage, carrots, and onions, seasoned with a simple dressing of vinegar, sugar, and salt.

This refreshing and crunchy side dish often accompanies Emasi, a creamy, tangy dish made from sour milk or fermented maize porridge, mixed with vegetables like pumpkin or spinach.

Together, slaai and emasi create a delightful, balanced meal that showcases the fresh, vibrant flavours of Eswatini’s cuisine.

In Conclusion: A Culinary Adventure Awaits

When you choose to travel with The Grown-up Travel Company, you’re not only signing up for an unforgettable African adventure filled with stunning landscapes and thrilling wildlife encounters.

You’re also embarking on a culinary journey that will introduce you to the incredible flavours and diverse dishes of the African continent.

Whether you’re savouring the smoky deliciousness of Nyama Choma in Kenya or enjoying the comforting taste of Lesotho’s oxtail stew, you’ll be creating unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

So why wait? Start planning your African adventure today and get ready to experience the gastronomic delights of African cuisine.

Ready to embark on the culinary journey of a lifetime? Contact The Grown-up Travel Company today to start planning your unforgettable African adventure.

Join Me in Zimbabwe in May 2025!

A unique adventure through Africa’s untamed beauty in May 2025. On this 9-night itinerary we will start with a stay in Victoria Falls and then explore two world-renowned areas of wonderful Zimbabwe: Hwange National Park and Lake Kariba.

Staying at two legendary camps, Bomani and Musango, we will get to experience the thrill of the wilderness in two very different ways.

“This small-group safari, limited to just six guests, is designed to ensure a truly immersive adventure for those with limited time but very high expectations.” – Andy Higgs

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