Vegan in Mozambique

Mozambique is an extraordinarily beautiful country, that amazes with its stunning beaches, reefs and sea life, landscapes, national parks, nice welcoming people, lively atmosphere filled with music and dance, colonial architecture and art. But if you’re travelling in Mozambique as a vegan don’t expect much.

Vegan food is not a thing in Mozambique and even in the capital Maputo, you can only find one vegetarian restaurant called KRU.

Vegan MozambiqueAs you know they have a famous cuisine and are one of the best countries in Africa foodwise, but is all about tiger prawns, seafood, fresh fish and chicken.

I travelled from north to south only by public transports and through lots of rural areas, where there isn’t any infrastructures, restaurants, cafes, food stalls, or even many street markets. So you are asking the same question I did. Where and what am I going to eat?

If you are in a rural area, you need to rely on the local people and on what they can do for you, but communication can be a big problem if they don’t speak Portuguese.

Where to eat vegan in Mozambique?

Maputo is the exception, has some good options, and it’s easy to find your way around. There are also a few places around the country mostly linked with accommodation or some kind of recreative activity that also cater in some way for vegans.

A great example is a vegetarian place in Tofo, called happi located in the Liquid Dive Center.

Another great option is the Turtle Cove, that during their Yoga Retreats provide an array of vegetarian and vegan dishes.

Mozambique was colonized by Portugal in 1505, their cuisine has been deeply influenced by the Portuguese. One of the most eaten dishes is ncima a thick porridge made with ground maize and water, in my opinion just serves the propose of giving you energy… it’s tasteless, but vegan 🙂

Here is a list of some traditional  vegan dishes:
  • Mucapata– rice with coconut, absolutely delicious, very common in the Mozambique Island.
  • Xiguinha – Made with cassava and cacana leaves, common in Inhambane province.
  • Pão – white bread rolls, you can find it in any market baked in wood-fired ovens in villages.
  • Matapa – made from stewed cassava leaves, ground peanuts, garlic and coconut milk, more likely to get it if you end up staying with locals.
  • Collard Greens in Oil – it’s a sauté of onions and collard greens.
  • Chamusas – triangle shaped pastries, asked for the potato ones.
  • Cassava with Red Sauce – a sauce made with fresh tomatoes, green peppers, onions, garlic and  oil
  • Rice and Beans – it’s a very common dish.
  • Mucuane – with boiled cassava leaves, tomatoes, coconut milk, ask if is made with shrimp or Cashews.
  • Quiabo a Zambiana  Okra
  • fresh sugarcane juice
  • pão de sura – it’s a coconut sweet bread more typical in the Inhambane province
  • Cashews  – they have nut trees growing all over the place. You’ll see people selling bags of cashews on the side of the road and on the beach. they sell while plain, roasted piri-piri, roasted salt.
  • Fruits and vegetables– fruit and veggies are available at markets and on the sides of roads all over the country, depending on the season you can find good papayas, coconuts, mangoes. Avocados, okra and collard greens are also seasonal. Tomatoes, cassava or beans, are available year-round. Green peppers, onions, and bananas seem to go through recurring phases.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

? If you are planning to visit Mozambique, or if you are just curious.. check this post – Mozambique.. it’s maningue nice 


Kazbegi Travel Guide

Kazbegi, is located in the high Caucasus mountains, an unmissable place to visit while travelling in Georgia. Definitely, a key part of any itinerary if you are into hiking, mountains and beautiful scenery. Kazbegi is now officially named Stepantsmunda.

Kazbegi is part of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, a 3-hour drive from the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi and one hour from the Russian border.

The main town is called Stepantsminda, where you find accommodation and some basic tourist facilities.

Kazbegi – Stepantsminda village 

There is a slow pace to this tiny traditional village and a rural feel that gives you a sense of isolation. A place to contemplate, and relax.

Everything here including accommodation is in easy walking distance.

Perfect to spend time in nature, away from the hustle and bustle, go hiking, chill and enjoy the mountain air and views.

Tsminda Sameba Church

The famous 14th-century holy trinity Church sits on top of a hill directly in front of the great Mount Kazbek.

You need a good level of fitness to walk up the mountain. The walk is amazing, there are marked trails (you will not get lost) through stunning valleys. It is a 1 to 2 hour walk.

The visit to Gergeti Trinity Church can be combined with a longer hike up to the Ortsveri Glacier.

Hiking to Gergeti Glacier

For more adventurous travellers trekking to Gergeti Glacier is one of the most popular things to do in Kazbegi. It’s a tough trek but the landscape makes it worthy. The round-trip trek takes around 8-10 hours.

For people that take trekking and climbing more seriously, you can continue your way over the glacier to the top of Mount Kazbek.

Other day trips from Stepantsminda

Truso Valley, a landscape dotted with ancient towers and unspoiled villages.

Sno valler and Juta village, a stunning valley with great hikes. It’s also the link to Roshka.

Gveleti Waterfalls, both waterfalls are beautiful.

How to Get to Kazbegi from Tbilisi

From Tbilisi Didube Station there are shared minivans (called mashrutkas). You’re likely to hear people yelling “Kazbegi” trying to fill up their vehicles.

This is the easiest, cheapest (~10 Lari) and quickest way to get there, anywhere between 3.5 – 5.5 hour.

From Kazbegi to Tbilisi you just to the inverse. Getting a mashrutkas from the same central area in Stepantsminda. They depart when they are full.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Tbilisi travel guide

Tbilisi, the capital city and beating heart of Georgia, located in the Caucasus region is a vibrant place with a lot to offer. The country has borders with Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia and it used to be part of the Soviet Union.

Tbilisi is the largest city in Georgia, located on both sides of the Mtkvari River. Finding your way around the city is quite easy, and the public transport system is efficient and easy to navigate. There are two metro lines, numerous buses, and cable cars that you can use.

Travelling to Georgia’s capital city?  What to do and see in Tbilisi
Old Town

The picturesque and largely intact Old town of Tbilisi is the perfect place to wander aimlessly and get lost in the maze of streets and narrow alleys. Don’t be afraid to get lost, that is the way to make the most of it.

You will stumble in colourful houses, wandering cats and courtyards, amazing old churches including the Sioni Cathedral. One of the oldest cathedrals of the city, beautifully decorated with wall paintings, the Armenian Cathedral of St George and the lovely Anchiskhati Basilica. The oldest church in Tbilisi Old Town built in the 6th century.

Old Town’s main artery is Kote Abkhazi Street (formerly Leselidze) which connects Meidan square with Freedom Square.

Old town old buildings

Tbilisi has colourful old houses but also tired, old buildings with cracked walls and decades of layers of fading and peeling paint. Abandoned places with leaning balconies and ancient wooden doors leading to courtyards.

Freedom Square and Rustaveli Avenue

The Freedom Square marks the edge of the Tbilisi Old Town, with its golden statue of Saint George and also the beginning of

Take a stroll along the trafficked and famous Rustaveli Avenue to admire the splendid architecture like the Biltmore Hotel, the Georgian National Museum, Rustaveli Cinema, former Georgian Parliament, Kashveti Church and the Georgian National Opera Theater.

Meidan Bazaar

The underground Meidan Bazaar close to Europe Square in Old Town is a charming place for a stroll.

Peace Bridge

The eye-catching Peace Bridge on the River Mtkvari is absolutely stunning, walk across it and look at the city. The bridge is just for pedestrians and is made of steel and glass, linkings Tbilisi Old Town with the new town.

Clock tower

Although it’s quite recent it’s one of the most emblematic structures of the city. An angel comes out and strikes the bell with a small hammer on the hour.

Narikala Fortress and Mother Georgia 

The best to reach the Narikala Fortress (free) is by cable car (but you can also walk). The Fortress is an iconic castle with views over Old Tbilisi. The views are superb from the castle walls which can fairly easy be reached.

While you are there say hello to Mother Georgia (Kartlis Deda) taking a scenic stroll to the right from the top of the cable car. You will see the 20 metres-tall aluminium sculpture.

Cable car and the Rike Park

For some of the best views of the city, the short ride is quite popular to see the city from the top. The cable cars swings from the south end of Rike Park up to the Narikala Fortress across the old town.

Rike Park is a beautiful flowery place with paths, pools and fountains.

Mt Mtatsminda, Mtatsminda Park and funicular

The Mtatsminda Park Is a small amusement park not a highlight for the rides, but because is located on top of the Mtatsminda Hill offering really good views over the city and an exciting ride up the funicular. Mtatsminda Park is the highest point surrounding Tbilisi.

Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi

A beautiful Orthodox Church with a massive golden cupola. the place also offers here good views over the city.

Tbilisi Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden (2GEL ~€0.60) is located between the Old Town and Narikala Fortress and is a great place for a relaxing walk.

Try the local cuisine

Georgian cuisine is vegan-friendly, and there is a decent offer of vegan restaurants.  Find here which traditional dishes are accidentally vegan and a list of the best vegan places in Tbilisi.

Don’t miss out on visiting and shopping at the fresh produce market.

Tbilisi street art

Street art is for what I felt a relatively new trend. Tbilisi hides some beautiful art in its backstreets and underground passways, being the best places the underground passages Hero’s Square and Vake Park and also the Fabrika Hostel.

Tbilisi travel tips – to make you trip easier
How to get to Tbilisi

by airTo get from Tbilisi airport to the city centre, you need to take bus no 37. It runs 24/7 from the airport to the central train station. The ticket really cheap and can be bought on board.

by taxi: you can take a Yandex Taxi – a local version of Uber, popular in many post-USSR countries, just download the app before the trip.

From Kutaisi International Airport: the Georgian Bus does the journey from Kutaisi airport to Tbilisi. The ticket can be bought online or at the airport exit from the arrivals zone. The journey takes around 4 hours.

From Yerevan (Armenia) or Baku (Azerbaijan): the train is the best solution. The station is well connected with central Tbilisi by metro.

Day trips from Tbilisi

Tbilisi can be a perfect base for day trips. The most popular is Mtskheta, the holy city located 20 km away from the capital.

Other places you can easily visit as day trips from Tbilisi include David Gareja, Sighnagi, Gori, Uplistsikhe, Ananuri or Kazbegi (although they definitely deserve way more than a day).

Is it worth to visit Tbilisi? this is a definite YES!! Tbilisi is an interesting capital city with plenty to do and see. A unique blend of cultures, influences and religions.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Complete Guide To Cesis, Latvia

Cesis is a small, picturesque medieval town located in the North East of Latvia, in the region of Gauja, 90 km North-East of Riga. Famous for its medieval castle and history. Cesis it’s the third oldest place in the whole of Latvia and a stunning little town.

Cesis makes an easy day trip from Riga, but if you have time you can actually spend a couple of days in the area, so you can explore the beautiful Gauja National park.

The Castle of Cesis and the Castle Manor House

The Castle is one of the most impressive places to visit in Cesis and is actually a 2 in 1. Also known as the new and the old castle.  The entrance fee is €5

The first is the dark stone tower of the old Wendencastle castle (1214). The other is the more castle-like 18th-century manor house, which is now a museum.

Make sure you visit the castle prison and climb the Western Tower for a nice view over Cesis. Also, go for a walk through the beautiful castle park.

Wander around the narrow streets of the Old Town

One of the nicest things to do here is wandering around through the narrow cobbled alleys of the Old Town. There are beautiful buildings in traditional style to have a look at, like the City Hall, the Merchant House, and the Princess House.

Cesis town square and St John’s Church

The town square is called the Rose (Rozu) Square. It’s a lovely place with a fountain, restaurants, and cafes.

Located right in the middle of Town Square is St John’s Church. One of the oldest medieval monuments in Latvia.

The Transfiguration of Christ Orthodox Church

Cesis’s Transfiguration of Christ Orthodox Church was built in Byzantine style and is blue all over.

How to get to Cesis

Bus line 7730 leaves regularly from the centre of Riga and takes about 2 hours. The ticket costs €4.15. There also are regular trains that connect Riga to Cesis, both duration and cost are similar.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

A guide to Sigulda, Latvia

Sigulda is a town in the Vidzeme Region of Latvia, less than an hour drive from Riga (53KM).

Sigulda makes an easy day trip from the capital but is definitely worthy of a longer stay. Perfect for nature and adventure lovers.

The town sits in an elevated position, overlooking the Gauja River, located in the Gauja National Park surrounded by beautiful forests. Locals call Sigulda the “Switzerland of Latvia“.

I’ve found Sigulda an exceptionally beautiful part of Latvia because of the landscape.

What to do in Sigulda
Turaida Museum Reserve

The Turaida Museum Reserve is home to an impressive red-brick Castle that nowadays houses a museum inside. The Turaida Castle is located across the river valley about 15 minutes drive from Turaida.

The reserve is home to 42 hectares and a variety of buildings that have exhibitions about life in the castle and Latvian history and culture in general.

Sigulda’s Medieval Castle (and New Castle)

Sigulda Medieval Castle

The Medieval Castle, also known as Castle of the Livonian Order is the oldest of the three castles you can find in Sigulda.

The castle was built in the 13th century and suffered damaging during the Polish–Swedish war, so nowadays we have left the ruins.

If you climb to the Castle’s southern and northern towers, the views over the river valley and Turaida Castle are quite nice.

Sigulda views of Gauja

Near the Medieval Castle, you have the New Castle, built in the 18th century. You can’t visit the new castle but you can wander through the grounds.

Peter and Gutmanis Cave

The Gauja River valley is rich in red sandstone and because of erosion, the valley presents several caves and rock formations.

The Gutmanis Cave (Gūtmaņa ala), is the most popular and the largest cave in the Baltic countries. The cave walls are covered in inscriptions dating from the 19th and early 20th century.

Peter’s Cave (Petera ala) is about15 minutes hike from Paradise Hill through the forest.

Paradise Hill, great views and hiking departure point

Paradise Hill also known as Painter’s Hill is located about 30 minutes walk from Sigulda’s historic centre and offers stunning views.

From Paradise Hill, there are many hiking trails crossing the Gauja River Valley to be explored.

Sigulda Cable Car

The cable car connects Sigulda with Krimulda, on the other side of the river valley. From up there you can see the three castles in the area (Sigulda, Turaida and Krimulda).

There’s only one cable car travelling back and forth across the valley, every 20 minutes.

Sigulda Bobsleigh Track

If you like adrenaline visiting the bobsleigh and luge track is a must. A six-storey complex where Olympians also train. Tourists are welcome to have a go (€10).

From Riga to Sigulda

It’s possible to go by train and bus. Both take around 1 hour and 20 minutes and the ticket price is also similar.

Train and bus stations are very close to each other. Personally, I find trains more comfortable, but there is no better solution here, is just a question of personal preference.

By car, it takes about one hour to drive to Sigulda. Finding your way is really easy – just follow the A2.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Unmissable Užupis

Visiting Užupis while travelling through Vilnius is a must. Uzupis is a small bohemian republic and for me one of the most interesting parts of the city.


“Technically” it’s a different republic, with its own constitution and special independence day. This cool and edgy neighbourhood separated from the Old Town by the Vilnelė River.

Užupis declared itself an independent republic on April 1, 1997. It was created by bohemians and artists and you can definitely feel the creative vibe here.

The community hosts regular fashion festivals, concerts, exhibitions and poetry evenings.

For me, the best thing about this place is the colourful street art. You can easily spend a day at least roaming the streets of this fun-loving republic.

Crossing the Užupis Border

Just like any other republic, Užupis has a border, marked with a sign on the bridge.

If you go under the bridge you can see the Mermaid or Užupis’ Maiden. Legend has it that if you look at her long enough she might seduce you to stay in Užupis forever.

The Constitution of Užupis

The Užupis Constitution has 41 articles translated into more than 50 languages.

Curiosity Room

From the Curiosity Room (Užupis’ tourist and information centre) you can get a little something to remember your visit, send a postcard with the Užupis stamp on it, or you can get your passport stamped.

Užupis Art Incubator

Next to the Vilnelė River, you can find really cool sculptures and art installations.

The narrow Jonas Mekas Draught Alley connects the Vilnius Academy of Arts with Užupis Street and is decorated by painters from all over the world.

Uzupis is a fantastic spot to discover some street art, with many of the best pieces concentrated around the Vilnia River.


photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Riga Travel Guide – Beyond the Old Town

Riga is the capital of Latvia, that with Lithuania, and Estonia make up the 3 Baltic countries.   

Riga is a city with a rich and troubled history, with impressive art nouveau architecture, and a charming Old Town.

I’ve spent time both in the UNESCO-recognized Old Town and in the other parts of the city as well. There are plenty of things to see and do in the city.

What to do in Riga
Art Nouveau District

Did you know that Riga has a large Art Nouveau District? I didn’t…  Apparently, you will not find a better collection of art nouveau buildings than here. Rigas has over 800 art nouveau buildings.

The Art Nouveau District sits just on the Edge of the Old Town and is an absolute must. The buildings are really impressive and definitely worth seeing. Around Elzabetes and Alberta streets you will find a few blocks of the most astonishing architecture.

Old Town

Riga’s Old Town is a great place to wander around. The UNESCO listed Old Town is incredibly picturesque, with its colourful facades, narrow cobblestone streets, medieval churches, nice museums and galleries, cafes and markets.

Most iconic buildings are:

The Three Brothers – are the oldest Medieval dwelling houses in Riga.  One of the three buildings is the Latvian Museum of Architecture.

House of the Blackheads – are two building built-in 1334 as a venue for meetings and banquets, located close to the River. Nowadays is where the president works.

The famous Cat House is an iconic yellow art nouveau mansion.

Riga Central Market

The Central Market is a huge indoor market where locals buy and sell their fresh produce. One of the largest and oldest markets in Europe. The market is well organised and a great place to go for lunch.

Viewpoints in Riga

Riga has 4 great Panoramic Viewpoints: St Peters Church, Latvian Academy of Sciences Panorama Observation Deck, Riga Skyline Bar and National Library of Latvia.

St. Peter’s Church is located in the middle of Riga’s Old Town (€9.00). Latvian Academy of Sciences has a Panorama Observation Deck (€5.00). The Riga Skyline Bar is located on the 26th floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel. (€5.00 entry charge + cocktails start from €6.50)

For a free view, you can visit the National Library of Latvia, located on the other side of the river to the Old Town. This one probably offers the least spectacular views but its free.

Other parts of Riga

Riga Nativity of Christ Cathedral – This is just outside of the Old Town but it is such an incredible Church both inside and out and it feels like you could well be in Russia.

Freedom Monument is located in a nice area of Riga. On the edge of the Old Town and the Art Nouveau District with a beautiful green park and the river running under the bridge nearby.

I must say, that in Riga the parks are carefully maintained, they are a great place to take a break of the city’s hustle and bustle.

The Daugava Promenade is a calm and less crowded area perfect for a stroll along the river on a warm day. The view over the Daugava River and the bridges are quite good.

Getting Around Riga and the Baltic States

Riga is a very walkable city and most major attractions can be reached on foot.

From the airport, there is public transport available (trams, buses and trolleybuses), the best option is to take the bus 22 from the airport to the city centre,

If you want to visit Estonia or Lithuania, you have great regular connections by bus.

Have you been to Riga? Would you go back? what was your favourite part of the city?

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Visiting Bauska, Latvia

Bauska is a town in the Zemgale region, Latvia, near the Lithuanian border, famous for its rich fields of grain and castle.

This town was once an important seat in the Duchy of Courland but nowadays is best known as the jumping-off point for the Rundāle Palace.

When visiting the Rundāle Palace from Riga you need to change buses at the picturesque town of Bauska, and since you are already there why not to check it out?

This town has an interesting history and is a great place to spend a few hours strolling around. The Old Town consists of two parallel streets lined with charming wooden homes and shops. The oldest surviving structure is the Church of the Holy Spirit. The greenery is also impressive.

Bauska Castle

The Castle sits on a picturesque hillock between the river Mūsa and river Mēmele.

To find the castle from the bus station, walk west to the central roundabout along Zaļā iela and then continue west along Uzvaras iela (1.5km).

Bauska Castle is divided into two parts – the original 15th-century ruins and the newer part that was built at the end of the 16th century.

Inside, the staff is dressed in period dress. The castle has a range of exhibits including items found during excavation, historical clothing and military items.

The combined ticket of Bauska Castle museum is €4.

How to get to Bauska from Riga

There are frequent buses from Riga to Bauska, The travel time is approximately a 1 hour 15 min.

If you want to visit the Rundāle Palace after Bauska take the bus to Pilsrundāle.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

How to get to Hill of Crosses from Vilnius

The Hill of Crosses is a small hill about 10 Km north of Šiauliai in Northern Lithuania with a collection of thousands of crosses erected on a small hill.

It’s a spectacular and strange sight at the same time and for others a sacred place of pilgrimage. The Hill of Crosses is easily accessible by train and bus from Vilnius.

How to get to Hill of Crosses from Vilnius
By train or Bus to Šiauliai: 

Train from Vilnius to Šiauliai: There are 3-morning trains leaving Vilnius between 5am and 10am in direction to Šiauliai. The journey takes around 3 hours.

Bus from Vilnius to Šiauliai: The bus journey takes an extra hour compared with the train.

From Šiauliai to Hill of Crosses:

Bus from Šiauliai to Domantai: go to the bus station, buy the tickets from the information desk (you can also buy a ticket directly from the driver for the same price) and take the bus nº12 labelled Šiauliai – Joniškis.

On the bus ask the driver for the Domantai stop. From here follow the arrow down the road to where the Hill of Crosses is located. It is a 20 minutes walk.

From Šiauliai back to Vilnius:

To get back to Šiauliai, ask at the visitors’ centre for the return times to get back.

Walk back to the Domantai stop and wait for the bus. You catch the bus on the opposite side next to a large hut painted like a strawberry.

I heard that can be difficult sometimes to return to Šiauliai, but personally, I didn’t have any problems returning from the site but keep in mind that you may need to get a taxi. 

If you have extra time in Šiaulai while waiting for the train the town doesn’t have much to offer but you can always visit the cathedral and a few museums.

Visiting the Hill of crosses from Vilnius will take a full day. I expected this to be a popular site but maybe given its rural location not many people get here. So you might find yourself with only a few people there. 

Eating Vegan in Windhoek

Namibia is on my top 10 destinations of all time. Its a country that has it all in terms of nature, wildlife, culture and tradition. But because nothing can be that perfect, Namibia doesn’t really stand out for its abundant vegan food options.

But this is not a reason, not to visit this stunning country. There is always a way around, and being true that is difficult to travel Through Namibias as a vegan, it’s also true that is possible.

The only thing is that you will not remember this country for its outstanding food and flavours, but you will, I assure you, for other reasons.

With time I hope that Namibia will become a more vegan-friendly country, if not for anything else, to conserve their ecosystems, environment, and wildlife.

For a piece of more comprehensive information about being vegan while travelling independently in Namibia, you will find this article interesting.


Comparing with other Sub-Saharan countries, some people would say that Namibia is Africa for beginners. I’m not sure they are right but the capital city of Namibia, Windhoek is quite modern and in a way kind of ‘Western’ when compared with other African countries.

Windhoek is far from being the highlight of a trip to Namibia but can be a great place to begin and end your journey. In contrast with other parts of the country, Windhoek has more accommodation choices, cultural sights, an urban buzz and food variety. So let’s discover where you can find vegan food in Windhoek.

Where to eat Vegan in Windhoek


Is the first vegan restaurant opening in Namibia and as far as I know its the only one. They serve delicious buddha and granola bowls, pizza, pasta, scrambled tofu and refreshing freshly squeezed juices. The food is super tasty and they use quality ingredients.

Restaurants with some vegan options:

Olivia’s Kitchen

They serve a divine mushroom pasta with vegan cream, lots of vegan smoothies, sandwich with vegan cheese, salads with vegan feta and plant-based milk for coffees. Their food is locally sourced and freshly prepared.

Bonsai Bistro

This Bistro serves vegan sandwiches, baked goods, juices, smoothies and have daily vegan/vegetarian specials. I can’t recommend enough the Morrocan bowl, vegan omelette, vegan cakes and tarts.

Garnish Indian Restaurant

For some authentic Indian flavours, this is the right place to go. They serve delicious spiced food and cater for vegans and vegetarians.

The vegan options are well marked on the menu. The food is really tasty and filling.

Do you know any other good places in Windhoek serving vegan food?