Feature Image @ tongabezi
Going on a safari?
Let’s face it. More than any other vacation, your African safari adventure may have you worrying.
- You are leaving your home to travel to the other side of the world.
- When you reach your destination you won’t speak any of the many official languages and you might be a little nervous about understanding enough about the culture to do all the right things at the right time.
- The weather might be very different from anything you have ever experienced and the clothes you packed are not what you usually wear.
- You have left your close family, houseplants, pets and all your favorite vegan restaurants and *insert favorite vegan grocery store* behind on a different continent.
- And all of this before you come eye to eye with an elephant and feel the reverberation of a lion’s roar in your own chest!
If you are reading this you are already smart enough to get the world’s multiple award-winning safari operator to have your back, plan every tiny detail and a couple of perfect surprises. Here’s one:
Something you definitely DON’T have to worry about on safari?
Animal, earth, and well-being friendly protein.
That’s right. Africa has been a foodie destination since Ernest Hemingway brought the Limoges and silver on safari. And safari companies have always been at the forefront of conservation and conscious living… which means that vegans don’t have to get up extra early to milk their own almonds out in the bush.
The luxury vegan-friendly safari is happening all over Africa as we speak. And as the Rothschild Safaris team includes a number of vegans and vegetarians (including our president Leora Rothschild) we like to think of ourselves as practically instrumental in getting properties excited about fabulous vegan fare in Africa.
Our Guide To Your Vegan Safari
Tell your Travel Designer about your food preference. Go into excruciating detail if you like. Our Travel Designers love talking to guests (a conversation with you might be the reason they do this job in the first place).
Why do we need to know?
- The more information we have, the better your safari experience will be.
- Many of our destinations are extremely remote and exclusive. Not so long ago camps would have to charter aircraft to fly their ice in! African Chefs are very keen to spoil you with special meals but they like having a little advance warning to ensure they can be as prepared, creative and spoiling as possible.
- We hear you thinking – “I will simply Keep Calm and Bring my own Snacks…” but this could be a terrible idea. There are various customs rules about crossing borders with food and even when the humans allow your treats, you are not the first vegan to hear the news about the incredible safari food. Elephants love to enjoy a midnight picnic in the camp kitchen garden and the monkey grapevine has been sharing camp menus for decades. There might be a special underground network for intelligence about the food guests stash in their tent or room. Your ingenuity is no match for their determination.
- Many African countries are also clamping down on the use of plastic including the plastic bags in which you might want to transport your treats.
- If you are vegan because animal welfare is important to you, we can better prepare you for standards of general animal care in villages and let you in on all the conservation and community projects we support. Seeing the co-operation and work first hand can add another dimension to your safari adventure.
- If your gastro interests extend to horticulture you may love a tour of the best kitchen gardens and spending time with the gardeners and chefs to inspire your own garden and cuisine back home. (Some properties let you pick your own ingredients and plan your meal with the chef.)
- Sampling local meat is part of the experience for many safari-goers. If this is not for you we can avoid it or request private, in-room or separate dining.
We tell a lie. There is no second step. You’re good to go.
Pack the bags and eat delicious food on safari is practically the motto we live by.
Now, if you feel a little cheated by the lack of steps or complications on offer for your vegan safari, may we tempt you with…
What To Expect When You Are Expecting To Eat Vegan On Safari
Eating is a very important part of African life. And it is one of our favorite safari ingredients.
It is a common misconception that Africa relies heavily on meat in its diet. The widespread use of animal protein was actually introduced by western visitors so many traditional African treats and local food are naturally vegan.
You can expect familiar food served with great flair and a local flavor.
As one of our guides cleverly adapted ‘Bon Appetit’ we say ‘Born up a tree!’ before we dive into the classic safari menu:
Wake up to…
Freshly pressed organic coffee and juice, a variety of teas and pastries before you depart on your game drive or activity.
Enjoy a selection of hot and cold drinks with delectable homemade snacks during your safari
Back in camp…
It’s time for breakfast! We can’t find actual proof that Tolkien went on safari but we like to think he was inspired to create hobbits by the three breakfasts you can have on safari.
Everyone is not on the same schedule in camp so you can also have…
The only thing we thank colonialism for…
Is the tradition of High Tea before your afternoon game drive. Both sweet and savory delights await.
In Africa, it is practically mandatory to pause for every glorious sunset…
This obviously means sundowners. Finding your favorite tipple, wine or cocktail onboard your game drive vehicle as you stop to enjoy the spectacular scenery is not unheard of.
You will never be sent to bed on an empty stomach…
A three-course dinner is served and as we pick our camps for their community commitment this meal often showcases the freshest local produce.
Where to go on your vegan safari…
If you consider yourself a real foodie you may be steered towards more developed countries for part or all of your safari. South Africa may be the most vegan-friendly as far as innovation and keeping up with the latest trends goes.
1. Lebombo Lodge, South Africa
A dramatic cliffside setting is home to 13 contemporary glass-walled suites. Incredible views of the Kruger National Park is not the only aspect of Lebombo that we adore. Food is clearly a passion here… they even run a community culinary school!
Expect the freshest of fresh ingredients and snack fridges full of mini delights.
Images ©Singita — wetu.com
2. Royal Malewane, South Africa
A joyful place where the next meal might be a fine six-course dinner under the African stars or a Moroccan banquet in a Bedouin Tent. A delectable sensory wilderness adventure awaits.
Royal Malewane is so lovely even the elephants can’t resist stopping by for a drink!
Images © Royal Malewane— wetu.com
3. Ellerman House, Cape Town
As the culinary epicenter of Africa, Cape Town and the Winelands are always a good gastro idea.
Embark on a journey of art, food, history, and wine with a signature experience in one of Africa’s premier addresses.
It is a big ask when your eyes have so much to feast upon, but if you can tear your attention from the art and food for a moment, the views over the Atlantic Ocean aren’t too shabby either.
Images © Ellerman House— wetu.com
4. Delaire Graff, Cape Winelands
There are few places on earth more cultured and refined than the Cape Winelands. If you love creative and artistic food served in an environment to match, you will be in heaven at the exquisite Delaire Graff estate.
Prepare for rather uncultured excess as we dare you to resist the fare.
Images © Delaire Graff— wetu.com
5. Gibb’s Farm, Tanzania
Then there are parts of Africa with a large Indian community. Places like Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Mauritius are used to catering to a vegetarian community.
Established in the 1920s, this unique property graces the forested outer slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater and overlooks the Great Rift Valley.
Take a farm walk, learn about how the working farm operates, or enjoy special community cultural events. And enjoy the most delicious and award-winning food (plus very freshly roasted coffee) while you broaden your horizons and cultural literacy.
Images © Gibb’s Farm— wetu.com
6. Loisaba, Kenya
Unhindered views across Laikipia to Mount Kenya are yours from the African themed sophistication and flair for style at Loisaba.
Featuring one of Africa’s most picturesque infinity pools, splendid cuisine, an abundance of wildlife and incredible community and conservation projects.
Images © Loisaba— wetu.com
7. Sirai House, Kenya
The best way to enjoy an incredibly personalized gastro-adventure on safari hands down? Stay in your stand-alone safari villa with a private chef.
This contemporary East African home was crafted with local materials by local hands. It is secluded and positioned high on a remote ridge to offer the very best views of the Borana Conservancy at the foot of Mount Kenya.
Africa lies in wait. Animals graze lazily in the valley below while the kitchen prepares your food when, where and how you want.
At Sirai House you will want for nothing, from a stable of happy horses to a cinema filled with love seats… every need has been anticipated. Truly.
Images © Loisaba— wetu.com
8. Serengeti House, Tanzania
Carefree, contemporary living with a very smart and sophisticated safari touch. Serengeti House was designed to fit your travel party like a home from home.
Affording you the freedom to kick back a little and take in your stunning surroundings at your own pace. The fully serviced home can accommodate 8 guests with 2 suites in the main house and 2 garden suites. Never wanting to leave is a common refrain.
IMAGES © SIRAI HOUSE
9. Tangala House, Zambia
Tangala House is a luxurious family home on the banks of the Zambezi river. Stylishly designed and furnished, comes with a vehicle and boat, a chef, waiters, and private guide – all courtesy of Tongabezi.
brought Meghan to stay at Tangala for their last holiday before their engagement. They requested vegan food throughout their stay and we think if it is good enough for royalty…
IMAGES © TONGABEZI
… and finally a little generic advice
Image © Edgar Castrejon, Brooke Lark, Taylor Kiser, Deryn Macey — unsplash.com
- Do ask for more if you love a dish. It is considered a compliment to request a second helping in Africa.
- Don’t be shy about asking questions if you are unsure of the ingredients.
- Do remember to always stay hydrated.
- Don’t forget to discuss supplements with your healthcare provider for any period where you expect to eat differently.
Vegans may be superhumans but a few basic rules still apply.