The ultimate guide to having a vegetarian or vegan-friendly safari in Tanzania

29th April 2019  

The ultimate guide to having a vegetarian or vegan-friendly safari in Tanzania

A recent survey showed that a quarter of all safari holiday-goers are vegetarian and vegan. Safari tour companies have also expanded their niches to accommodate visitors who are on a strictly plant-based diet.

It’s even much easier to find a wide variety of vegan, gluten-free diets in Tanzania. Many of the local meals are purely plant-based anyway. Most of them are similar to the popular meals vegans are used to. In addition, the chefs are trained to prepare Indian, Jain, intercontinental, continental and eclectic vegan and/or vegetarian dishes.

Tour consultants and accommodation managers often cater to a variety of clients, all of whom are on different dietary requirements. Customers often play a role in ensuring that they get the best service, especially where it concerns their dietary requirements and restrictions.

We have compiled a comprehensive list of tips to help you get the most out of your vegetarian and vegan-friendly safari in Tanzania. Below are some of the most important things to note.

1. Effective communication is everything

Tanzania is arguably the best vacation destination for vegetarians and vegans. The land is fertile and filled with varieties of plants, spices, fruits and herbs for both mankind and wildlife.

At every point in planning your trip including during booking, before arrival, on arrival, while checking into your lodge, let everyone know that you are on a strict-vegan or vegetarian diet. You might want to remind the chefs while meals are being prepared.

This is a reasonable step, especially when you consider the growing number of clients these tour operators and store managers have to cater to. Occasionally, menus are mixed up. Constantly sending out gentle reminders will help them serve you the best meals for your palate and gut.

2. Book with tour operators and accommodation managers experienced in catering to vegetarians and vegans

Travel blogs are filled with the gory stories of vegetarians and vegans who got meals that contained either meat or fish, even after they repeatedly explained that they were vegetarian or vegan.

To get the best meals for your palate and gut, stick with operators and camp managers who are experienced in hosting vegans and vegetarians. Bushbuck safaris is one of such experienced tour operators in Tanzania. Not only do they plan excellent outdoor activities in the wilderness, they understand what it takes to plan vegan-friendly and vegetarian-friendly safaris in Tanzania.

Before you book with any tour operator, ensure that they can get experienced chefs and partnering kitchens to whip up delicious local and western dishes for your vegetarian (and/or vegan) palate and gut.

Don’t forget Tip #1. Give sufficient notice. Send out gentle reminders to enable them to serve you better.

3. Request to see some menus

Tanzania has very interesting food cultures. There is something for the vegetarian (or vegan), something for those who want to eat halal or kosher and of course, there are meals for experimental eaters. You can eat as much as you want.

If you have strict dietary preferences (or requirements), you might want to see a list of popular meals for your needs. To make your job easier, we have compiled a list of five possible delicious meal options for vegetarians (and/or vegans).

Some of the top 5 most delicious vegetarian/vegan local foods available in Tanzania include but aren’t limited to:

  • Ugali: a local cuisine made from cornmeal. This delicious dish is often served with soup, fresh or steamed leafy green vegetables and fruits.
  • Fresh and dried fruits, nuts, and vegetables: Mostly organically cultivated, these fleshy, colorful and juicy fruits, nuts and veggies are available to be eaten. There is an abundance of cashews, dates, groundnuts, bananas, mangoes, oranges, lemons, grapes, garden eggs, cucumbers, watermelons, avocados and so on. In Tanzania, there is an abundance of fruits every season.
  • Indian fare – Every vegetarian and vegan knows that the Indians are the masters of plant-based cuisines. There are a good number of Indian restaurants in metropolitan cities like Arusha, Tanzania.You can relish some of the best vegetarian dishes while on safari in Tanzania. Simply inform us to request the lodges / camps / hotels /resorts whether you prefer Indian or Continental meals at the time of confirming your safari.
  • Maharagwe: This is the name for the protein-rich red kidney beans in Tanzania. Maharagwecan be cooked into spicy or flavorful dishes. In Tanzania, these red kidney beans are often boiled in natural coconut milk and plated alongside chapatti, or Ugali.
  • Pilau: Commonly known as rice pilaf, this dish is often spicy and can be modified to suit the palate of a vegan or vegetarian. Be sure to remind the kitchen staff to avoid cooking your Tanzanian rice pilaf with chicken or meat broth.

When you know the meal options available, you can plan your meals accordingly and give your chefs clearer directives.

4. Pack a sufficient amount of plant-powdered proteins

If, like most vegans, you have your own preferred plant-powered protein sources, don’t forget to bring them on your trip.

You want to do all you can to get the right amount of vitamins and nutrients while you’re enjoying your safari in Tanzania.

Game view drives, bush treks, Great Migration observation trips, hikes up the mountains can all be exhausting and energy draining. You will need to replenish lost nutrients to stay strong and healthy for the rest of the holiday.


Vegetarian-friendly safaris and vegan-friendly safaris are achievable. All you have to do is communicate effectively, choose the most experienced tour and hotel operators, pack powdered protein sources.

With the right amount of creativity, you can enjoy your safari and enjoy eclectic, delicious vegan (and/or vegetarian) food options.

Book your Vegetarian-friendly or Vegan-friendly safari in Tanzania with Bushbuck Safaris