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Flavours of Africa: Cuisine by Country

Food of Africa is known as being delicious, hearty food. Each country has their own specialties which are unique to their culture and which are thoroughly enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. One thing is for certain when travelling Africa: you will not only be blown away by the beauty, you’ll also be in awe of the culinary pleasures too!

African people see cooking and sharing meals as a way of showing their love and respect to those around them. They take pride in their traditional dishes – of which some have become their staple diet.

One of the best ways to learn more about the place you are visiting, is to sample their traditional foods. The food of Africa has a story, which is usually tied to culture, living styles or economic situation. It’s not always about a winning recipe (although the foods are always tasty), sometimes a dish is affordable and able to feed many. Other dishes may have a social element, or could simply be a traditional recipe passed through generations while representing status or beliefs.

Take a look at our favourite traditional dishes of African countries.

South Africa


A braai is very similar to that of an American BBQ, although the meat is cooked on an open flame and not with a gas burner. It is very much a South African traditional meal, usually paired with sides that have been cooked on the open flame too. Popular sides include potatoes, toasties (toasted bread sandwiches made with cheese and tomato) and garlic bread. Braai culture has also become an integral part of socialising in South Africa.


Potjiekos, translated to ‘small pot food’ is a three legged pot in which various vegetables and meat are slowly cooked over a flame and is similar to a stew. Certainly a traditional dish of South Africa, while this dish takes a few hours to cook is incredibly delicious and can feed a crowd of people with some rice on the side!


Bobotie is a hearty home cooked dish popular with South Africans. It is a baked mince and egg dish similar to a shepherd’s pie, although quite a bit spicier in comparison. It is often served with a South Africa chutney which adds sweet and tangy goodness.


Gatsby’s, which ‘originated’ in the Western Cape, are slowly becoming one of the most popular sandwich based meals in the country. Sold as a foot long ‘baguette’ stuffed with anything and everything you can think of – it just depends how creative you want to be. From fries and pulled pork to lamb or chicken along with vegetables, egg or mince. There’s no order too abstract when it comes to a gatsby!

Explore the culinary treasures of South Africa during your South African overland tour!



Seswaa is the national dish of Botswana which consists of a meat stew made from off-cuts of goat (neck, leg and back) and is served over thick polenta or mielie pap (mashed mielies). The dish is often made for special occasions or ceremonies such as weddings, funerals and national days of celebration.

Bogobe/Maize Porridge

Bogobe is made with maize flour which is boiled in water and cooked to the consistency of a soft paste. It is the most popular dish for breakfast, but this dish is hearty and is sometimes eaten at dinner, complete with meat and vegetables.


Vetkoek is in fact a South African dish, but was introduced to the Botswana people by the Afrikaners. It has now become one of their staple dishes and is much loved by locals and tourists. Vetkoek is type of bread prepared similar to a doughnut but is unsweetened and filled with mince.



Namibia, which is situated on the coast, is of course a great place to find great fresh fish dishes. Kabeljou, a silver cob caught all along the coast is a large tasty fish enjoyed by the Namibians, which is either eaten on its own or as part of other dishes.

Mielie Pap

Mielie Pap is one of the most authentic African dishes, enjoyed not just by Namibians but by many African nations and cultures. The dish is primarily mashed mielies, but almost anything can be added to the dish – usually vegetables. Mielie pap can be eaten for breakfast lunch or dinner and is easy to prepare. It’s inexpensive and incredibly filling.

Discover a world of culinary delights teamed with extraordinary sights on your Namibian adventure!



Ugali is similar to Bogobe or maize porridge, although mainly prepared with a range of flours including millet and sorghum flour. In Kenya it is known as Ugali, or ‘pap’ and is eaten on its own or as part of a meat dish.


Pilau is quite simply spicy rice. Rice is slowly cooked in various indian spices, with vegetables often added to the dish. Kenyan’s are known to enjoy this dish as a main course without pairing it with anything else.


Irio is an authentic, local Kenyan dish which is healthy as well as tasty. The dish consists of potatoes, peas and various greens. It makes for a great main dish, but is also a perfect side dish. Kenyan’s usually enjoy Irio with grilled steak, a combination known as ‘Nyama Choma’ or ‘Nyama na Irio’.

From authentic wildlife safaris, to enjoying hearty meals with the warm, welcoming locals; Kenya has so much to offer!


Ndizi Kaanga

Ndizi Kaanga is a simple yet filling meal and is arguably the most popular in Tanzania. These delicious fried bananas or plantains will likely be part of every meal you have in Tanzania. Served as a snack, side dish or main course. Another similar dish, also made with banana is Supu ya Ndizi. Although slightly different as chicken stock is added to the cooked banana and served like a soup.

Wali Na Maharage

This is a rice dish paired with beans. Sometimes the dish is mashed up and served like a porridge, other times it is served plainly as rice and beans. It can also be watered down and served like a soup depending on the time of day it is eaten.

About Leandra Slabbert

I don't think God intended for any of us to just be ordinary
Article by: Leandra Slabbert
on November 13, 2018
Filed under  Africa Blog • Only in Africa 
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