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 

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Have a plant-based diet in Angola.. is it possible?

Angola, land of contrasts, music, dance, earth smells, nice people and colourful landscape. Angola is still a difficult country to visit and lacks in touristic infrastructures. The differences between the capital city Luanda and the rest of the country are abysmal in all aspects, so food is no exception. Angola is in south-central Africa, from its past Portuguese cuisine has significantly influenced Angolan cuisine.

Luanda is one of the most expensive cities in the world and has some imported vegan and vegetarian products in some supermarket at a very prohibited price and some restaurants with vegan/vegetarian options available.

Vegan restaurant in Luanda

The Healing Space it’s the first vegan, vegetarian and alkaline restaurant opening in Angola’s Capital and so far the only one. They serve delicious food using quality ingredients with Angolan, Brazilian, Mexican, and Lebanese influences.

If you are visiting or travelling to another place in the country the story is completely different. You will struggle to eat out because there are no options available.

Markets

Going to the markets will be your best option. Here you can buy ingredients to prepare your meals.

If you don’t need many things you will find things to buy on the roadside. It’s very common to see mostly women and children selling fresh vegetables and fruit.

For a wider range of choice, the markets are the place to go. Just keep in mind that Angolan markets are massive and busy and you will need help to find them. Most of the time they are located in the middle of a shantytown.

In the markets, you can find seasonal fruits, vegetables, roots, beans, and some cereals (rice, flour, corn, etc..) but they don’t have much variety.

Outside Luanda will be quite difficult (if not impossible) to find a supermarket with vegan options due to the lack of supply and demand, or even a restaurant with a vegetarian or vegan option.

If you are staying in a hotel you can make a special request, for a vegan meal, but don’t expect anything fancy. If there is a possibility just to cook your own meal, that will be the best solution!

Traditional Angolan food that is accidentally vegan:
  • Funge: Plain carbohydrate made from cassava with a texture like mash potato, generally served with a full-flavoured spicy sauce.
  • Farofa: Toasted cassava flour with a salty and smoky flavour.
  • Feijão de óleo de palma: Stewed beans in a palm oil sauce.
  • Mukua: Dried fruit from the baobab tree, often used for ice cream.
  • Kussangua: Traditional non-alcoholic drink made from cornflour.
  • Chikuanga: a bread made from manioc flour, served in a wrap of banana leaves (from northeast Angola).
  • Cocada amarela, yellow coconut pudding made with sugar, grated coconut, egg yolks, and ground cinnamon. (vegetarian)
  • Doce de ginguba, peanut candy.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Travel in Angola

Although it’s difficult to get and travel through Angola, no doubt that there is something really special about this country that makes it worth all the struggle.

So let’s uncover some of Angola’s travel mysteries and have a look at what to expect while exploring this stunning country.

Markets

Markets are the place where everything happens, they buzz with life and are a great place to meet and talk to some friendly locals and of course, buy fresh produce.

Don’t expect anything fancy here, only a lot of dust, and very basic infrastructures made out of some sticks, mud, and fabrics. The markets are normally massive and depending on the location and time of the day, can also be very crowded, so be patient, and on guard.

It’s also usual to see women and children selling fruits, vegetables and gasoline on the side of the road. You can also see between the thousands of street sellers in Angola, people selling car spares, school manuals, toilet paper, toilet seats, cell phones, well… literary everything.

Beaches

Angola has beautiful, quiet and untouched beaches but also beaches full of life, people and loud music. Angolans love to have a good time, to drink, dance and listen to music being Kizomba, kuduro and Semba the most popular genres.

Angola’s Countryside

Angola’s countryside is the vision of a country that is suspended in time with a past of war that didn’t disappear from its walls.

Picturesque small settlements, baobab trees, rivers, mountains and deserts are the richness of this country. The small settlements tell stories of a resourceful population that makes everything from nothing.

Slams

Slams in Angola are called musekes (musseques), it’s impossible to count how many you will see spreading through the country. An image of a sad reality. Extreme poverty and social inequities.

Nature at its best

Angola is a country with immense natural beauty that changes drastically from north to south, east to west.

What to visit and where to go
  1. Namibe, beaches, a magnificent desert, and Mucubais Tribe
  2. Lobito, great beaches
  3. Benguelaarchitecture and beaches
  4. Malange, national park and waterfalls 
  5. Serra de Leba, fantastic scenery 
  6. Catumbela, scenery, river and crocodiles 
  7. Cunene, Himba tribe and scenery 
  8. Chibia, Muila (Mumuila or Mumuhuila) tribe and the Mukumba tribal market
  9. Lubango, colonial architecture
  10. Oncocua, traditional place where different ethnic groups live, the Himba, the Mucawana and the Mutua.

Have you ever been to Angola? Find here all you need to know before going on a trip to Angola.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha 

Discovering Angola – Travel guide

Angola was my home for 2 years and I have great memories about this colourful, warm, magic and not yet well-known county.

Travelling through Angola is a real challenge, that starts with getting a visa. The country is not really open to tourism and to be fair doesn’t really like visitors… Although it seems that things are changing slowly in this regard.

Luanda

If you are lucky enough to get a visa you will land in the international airport of Luanda, Angola’s capital city. An extremely expensive place with a high level of violent crime, where you can’t walk on your own after dark. I’ve been to Luanda many times, but I don’t recommend it.

Angola has miles and miles of coastline, rainforests in the north, the world’s oldest desert in the south, and savannah in between.

Language and food

You need to know how to speak Portuguese to be able to communicate. A very low percentage of the local population can communicate in English.

Outside the big cities eating out is also difficult. There are no restaurants, so you will need to find where the markets are, buy the ingredients and cook your meals.

When you find a place selling food expect it to be expensive and some have poor hygienic conditions.

Transports –  getting around

Compared with Luanda the rest of the country is relatively safer but there are no reliable or safe public transports.

The options are the local minibuses that are called Candongueiros, painted in blue and white or you can also get a ride from a motorbike called cupapatas

This is the informal economy, they don’t belong to a company, so there is no timetables, no stipulated stops or standards by any means. 

The candogeiro’s driver shouts trough the window to advertise where they are going to. The cupapata is mainly for short distances and will go anywhere you want.

Both options are used by locals but are very unsafe. They have very bad driving habits and do unimaginable things like driving on the sidewalk. I don’t recommend you to use any of these options as a tourist. Because to do it you really need to know well what is going on and speak the local lingo.

Before buying my 4×4 I used those options and was involved in some minor accidents. But you see almost daily road accidents involving both cupapatas and Candongueiros. Road sinistrality in Angola is a serious issue.

Renting a car is difficult and extremely expensive, but getting your vehicle (4×4) is essential. Just bear in mind that driving standards and some road conditions are poor, to say the least. 

There is a good road between the capital Luanda – Lubango and Namibe but getting into remoter areas can be rough.

Police Officers

Angola’s police officers are notorious for asking for bribes—known as gasosa. It’s safe to say that if you are driving you will not miss this experience.

I can’t count how many times I was stopped and accused of an imagined traffic infraction and then offered to pay for a gasosa instead of paying a fine. My advice is – always offer to pay the fine.

Mines

When exploring less well-established routes outside major towns, mines and unexploded ordnance remain a problem, sometimes even in ‘cleared’ areas. So try to travel on well-established routes.

Accommodation

Outside the capital, accommodation is scarce, expensive and most of the times the conditions are deplorable. Once I stayed in the only place available in a remote country-side village, where there was no running water, the toilet was a hole on the floor, there was no electricity, and can’t even start describing how dirty it was, all of this for $100USD p/night! I know shocking.

Power and water can be cut off for days without notice, having a generator it’s essential.

Sometimes the best option is to camp on a deserted beach 🙂

Topics to avoid

Basic rules of politeness are essential at all times anywhere you are in the world. But in Angola, there are a few more things that you should keep in mind. Avoid talking about the government, politics and the civil war. Angola is a democracy in name only, and Angolans can be nationalistic and proud.

It will happen that when you are talking to a group of Angolans the discussions will turn to politics, just try to listen more than talk.

Be ready for the mosquitos

Mosquitos are your public enemy number one, try to keep safe. The last thing you need is to get malaria or even yellow fever. To enter the country you’ll need an International Certificate of Vaccination (Yellow Card)

Pollution and lack of basic sanitary conditions

There are a few severe problems with garbage, fly-tipping, open-air sewage, polluted water and in the big cities air pollution is very poor due to the heavy traffic and obsolete vehicles.

Find here more about what to see and where to go while travelling through Angola.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha 

Self-driving in Africa – Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe

Self-driving in Africa through Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe

We landed in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, prepared for everything knowing that we would have 5000 km in front of us and we would cross 3 countries in Southern Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

We rented a  4X4 with rooftop tents for our journey and despite all the trouble we get into with the car, I don’t regret the option, because gives you enormous independence, it’s very versatile, and allows you to travel independently and discover with time these magnificent countries.

Visit these countries is not cheap but you can save the money for the room by camping. There are many campsites and some lodges also have campsites. The price of a 4×4 with rooftop tents depends on the time of the year you travel, and which borders you are going to cross.

Self-driving throughout the wilderness in Africa was one of the most exciting, adventurous and rewarding things I did so far – you just disconnect entirely and emerge yourself into one of the most beautiful natural sceneries on earth.

ostrich desert africaCheetah safari africazebra safari africaelephants africavegan traveller africaDead Valley Deadvlei. Namibiasafari self driving africagirafe travel africaDead Valley Deadvlei Namibiaelephants wild africa

4×4 self drive adventures

Now you are asking about what kind of troubles I got into.. some are obvious and you are probably guessing it right.. but just to give some excuses first  .. 🙂 we did some challenging routes and drove miles and miles through isolated areas 🙂

So here it comes.. during our journey our 4×4 broke down and got stuck a couple of times (sand, mud, water), we got a window broke and some values stolen…  and there is more.. one of the tents broke… we got fined and towed twice.. so I can say it it was an eventful journey.

To do a trip like this you need to have a sense of adventure, and be prepared to have busy days and to change your plans constantly.

be safe 🙂

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha 

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