Are you getting ready for your Zimbabwe tour? And are you the type of traveller who can’t help but be a foodie, looking for any and every local delight to sink your teeth into? If the answer is yes, then this is the blog for you.
Beyond the awe-inspiring landscapes and the unbelievable wildlife encounters, Zimbabwe has an equally captivating culinary scene that is just waiting to be explored. When you really immerse yourself in the local flavours it is not just about indulging your taste buds but also a fascinating way to understand the culture and traditions of this remarkable country.
What is at the Heart of Zimbabwean Cuisine
Before diving into the specific dishes, it is interesting to take some time to understand exactly what makes these meals so Zimbabwean.
The heart of Zim local food lies in its authenticity, which is a reflection of the people’s connection to the land and its resources.
Most traditional Zimbabwean meals will consist of the same set of ingredients such as maize, millet, sorghum, and a delicious assortment of local and imported vegetables. The meats, which include beef, goat, and chicken, are also a big deal in Zimbabwean dishes.
The local foods you can try out when visiting this African nation are a reflection of the subsistence agricultural traditions that have sustained the nation for centuries. And if you are looking for food a little closer to home, Zimbabwe has loads of Western flavours too!
The Must-Try Dishes and Delicacies
There is something for everyone on the Zimbabwean menu. Here are just a few of the dishes that you should try when you are visiting on a Zimbabwe tour.
This is a Zimbabwean staple and it is often likened to a stiff porridge or polenta. Sadza is made from ground maize and it is the base for many meals. It’s typically served with various relishes and sides.
Enjoy a meat lover’s paradise in Zimbabwe, where nyama (meat) is a cherished element of the cuisine. If you love meat, you have to try nyama choma, which is grilled and seasoned meat, or the local favourite, dovi, which is a peanut butter stew served with meat.
For a more adventurous culinary experience, you can try out mopane worms. These protein-rich edible caterpillars are dried and enjoyed as snacks or added to stews. Sometimes they are flavoured to give them an extra kick.
Maheu (sometimes called Mageu)
This traditional fermented (but not alcoholic) maize drink is not only a delicious thirst-quencher but also a big part of Zimbabwean culture. Maheu is a refreshing beverage enjoyed by locals, especially during hot summer days.
Where you can Try Zimbabwean Dishes
Local Eateries: Local cafes and street food stalls in cities like Harare, Bulawayo, and Victoria Falls are where you’ll find some of the most authentic Zimbabwean dishes.
Markets and Festivals: When visiting local markets and festivals, you will be able to try a variety of street food, snacks, and fresh produce.
Homestays: If you have the chance, book a homestay with local families or look for a homestay on a local farm.
Restaurants: Naturally high-end restaurants and lodges also feature Zimbabwean dishes on their menus. While you may pay a bit more, you’ll enjoy a diverse and comfortable dining experience.
One of the best ways to have a meal in Zimbabwe is to share a meal with the locals. This can lead to enlightening conversations, and give you unique insights into traditions, stories, and the spirit of Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwean cuisine isn’t just about treating your palate; it’s a gateway to understanding the culture of the unique people who call this beautiful country home.
At ATC, we have a range of excellent Zimbabwe tours to choose from. Book your tour online or contact us today.