We covered Botswanan specialities in our review of the best southern African food, but in this blog article we at Kaziikini take a closer look at the whole variety of food and drink sold around our camp.
Meat and Maize
You may be pleased to know the hotels and camps in Botswana cater for its international tourists. Red meat lovers will love the amount of high-quality beef and lamb, while free-range chicken and fresh fish is on offer to the health-conscious tourist. However, the more adventurous travellers amongst you might want to try the local cuisine.
Maize is a popular ingredient in the local food, from sweet porridge in the morning to savoury stew for dinner. It might seem exotic, but ‘maize’ is actually corn. The crops are farmed in large cornfields, so is used in most dishes. Pap is a stiff porridge made of stewed maize, which tastes great with local fruits, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just for breakfast- it is also served with game meat.
Why not try a Mopane worm as a side to your main meal?
They make not look too dissimilar to large caterpillars, but they are high in protein and can be surprisingly tasty – especially grilled with spices.
Fruit and Vegetables
Botswana is the origin of the watermelon and one of only 29 countries with a suitable climate to grow Marula fruit. Marula fruit, grown from a tree tolerant to all sub-Saharan climates, is an aromatic off-yellow plum with a bitter aftertaste. Westerners are interested in Marula fruit as they contain more Vitamin C than oranges. Many Botswanan chefs cook them to make juices, jams and jellies.
Botswana implemented restrictions on fruit and veg, as well as diary, meat and poultry being imported into the country to help local farmers. Cabbage, onions, peas, potatoes and tomatoes are among the home-grown fruit and veg. However, the local produce struggles to meet the increasing demand from tourism, meaning supermarkets in Botswana need to import their remaining fruit and veg stock from South Africa. You can effectively get most fruit and veg from around the world, as you can in the more globalised South Africa.
For dessert, look no further than Malva pudding, a sweet, warm cake made of simple local ingredients. It has a fruity taste thanks to well-farmed local apricots. The juice from locally cultivated apricots and lemons is used to flavour cakes and biscuits.
Bojalwa is the local beer, brewed with sorghum wheat. The beer is unusual as it is opaque rather than clear like traditional European beers. If Bojalwa isn’t to your fancy, South African beers are widely available at commercial tourist bars in the major towns and cities. As are soft drinks, though the selection is perhaps limited. The good news is that the water in the towns is from clean, bug-free sources, so it’s fine to drink. You have no need to worry about the cleanliness of the water in touristic areas as it is always purified to the highest standard.