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5 Foods To Try During Your African River Cruise

3rd February 2015

When embarking on one of our African river cruises, there are many adventures that will be waiting for you. And even though much of the food you will eat during your trip will be on the ship, one of these adventures will involve the chance to try some traditional African cuisine in the places that you visit.

Culinary delights vary across the vast and diverse continent that is Africa. From the steamed bananas and maize regularly eaten in the east to the fragrant spices that are a staple in the north; there is a lot for foodies to get excited about. Our African river safaris mainly travel through Southern Africa and so that is where we will focus our food tour. Here are a few things worth trying if you get the chance.



Bobotie is a traditional South African dish which was introduced to the country by the Cape Malay community. If you had to compare it to anything here in the UK, it probably most closely resembles shepherd’s pie. The meat used is typically lamb but often pork too and it is cooked in curry paste before the whole dish is baked. Instead of mashed potato, the topping of a bobotie is custard-like and made from milk and eggs. Once cooked it is usually served with a fruit chutney and/or rice.


The Chobe National Park, which you will sail through on board the Zambezi Queen, is situated in Botswana; a country known for its national dish of Seswaa. It is predominantly made from stewed beef but goat and lamb are also used, and it is a favourite during celebrations such as weddings and national holidays. Once the meat is stewed in salted water for long enough to make it tender, it is pounded flat, shredded into thin strands and served with ground maize known as pap.

Nyama Choma

Nyama Choma

As you head towards Arusha and the Serengeti National Park on our ‘Golden Trails of East Africa’ itinerary, you will step into Tanzania. Whilst Indian spices and breads, such as chapattis, are eaten widely here, Nyama Choma is a favourite dish of many Tanzanians. Meat such as goat, chicken, and fish are put onto a skewer and then cooked over an open flame BBQ style. The name literally means grilled meat and the dish is often served with something called Ugali. Made from maize and flour, Ugali has a stiff, doughy consistency and is served in a large bowl to promote sharing and family values within a community.


Back in South Africa, Koeksisters are another sweet treat with a name that derives from the Dutch word for cookie. A piece of platted dough is deep-fried then dipped in syrup before being allowed to cool. The syrup can be flavoured with things such as lemon, cinnamon, ginger; the same kind of flavours we like to put on our pancakes in the UK. The resulting dessert tastes similar to a doughnut but looks a lot more intricate with its braided design.

Mapopo Candy


As you enter Zimbabwe for a tour of the stunning Victoria Falls, you may feel your sweet tooth craving some dessert. Mapopo candy makes use of a crop that is abundant in this part of Africa to make a treat that goes down well with locals and tourists alike. Papaya is candied in sugar, lemon peel and mint before being dusted with icing sugar and served.

A great way to sample some of this delicious African cuisine is to head off on one of our river cruises through the continent. As well as trying some new dishes you’ll be able to witness big game up close and be privileged to engage with African tribes. Call us today or enquire online for more details.

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