Whether you’re looking to holiday in Botswana or you are about to travel around Southern Africa, you should definitely try the local food. Here is a journey around the delicious culinary choices of countries in the South of Africa. Due to colonisation, a lot of these foods may be familiar to you as they are exported around the world. What’s most appealing to tourists however, is the care and attention local people pay towards creating their authentic local delicacies.
Botswana’s most fertile crops are maize and sorghum, which is combined with continental dishes to form a hybrid feast for the taste-buds, no matter where you hail from. Most dishes are served with their speciality, balls of porridge called Pap. Most famous is Seswaa stew, which is not too dissimilar to vegetable lamb or beef stews cooked in the UK. Botswanan’s use of onions and peppers distinguishes their cuisine from most other Southern African countries. Their stewed Biltong game meat served with wild spinach (Morogo) and Kalahari mushrooms is full of flavoursome goodness. Botswanan cuisine is among the healthiest in Africa, especially if you can stomach protein-rich Mopane worms.
Namibia is hailed worldwide for its natural beauty, including sand dune deserts and tropical wildlife, but what about the local food? The answer is definitely meaty. The range of meats on offer in Namibia is wide but mostly comes in the form of kudu, antelope and other game meats. Namibian Biltong is considered to be the best in Africa due to its equatorial climate, which is ideal for leaving meat to dry for 2-3 weeks all year round. The meat is cooked in a pot before marinating with spices. Unsurprisingly, with an impressive selection of animals comes an impressive selection of meats. Buffalo and even giraffe are available to eat if you please. Braais (barbecues) are aplenty.
Zimbabwean food consists mainly of creamy oaty dishes and stewed meat- not your regular red meat, but game meats such as ostrich, warthog and, most interestingly, crocodile. Where else in the world would crocodile meat be as accessible? Zimbabweans make the most of their homegrown maize/corn. It is used to make Bota, corn porridge flavoured with peanut butter and jam eaten for breakfast and Sadza, a thick porridge served with meat. Peanuts are another traditional ingredient of Zimbabwean cooking, since Portuguese traders brought peanut crops to the country many centuries ago. Peanut butter is stewed with meat and vegetables in their Dovi dish. For dessert, many tourists enjoy Mapopo – essentially a papaya coated in caster sugar.
For such a small country, Malawi boasts a range of specialities for all tastes. Its cuisine caters for Western foodies with a love of homemade biscuits, fried doughnuts and fried fruit such as banana. Malawi has a land-locked sea between itself and Tanzania and Mozambique, so has the advantage of plentiful fishing stocks. Malawian fish dishes are Utipas, which is usually sardines, salmon or tilapia served with rice and spiced vegetables called Waliwasamaki. Outside of fish, Malawi shares much of its food specialities with Mozambique across the border.