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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Mozambique… it’s maningue nice

Maningue Nice is a popular local expression that I heard many times mostly outside the capital city Maputo, “maningue” meaning very, and no doubt that Mozambique is a “very nice” place to travel to.

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-21-09-07I travel through Mozambique for nearly a month, I flew to Maputo and then to Pemba (north of the country) where I started my trip.

🚌Pemba / Nacala / Moçambique Island / Nampula /Pebane / Quelimane / Beira / Vilankulos /Inhambane/ Tofo / Chidenguele/ Maputo 

Travelling by chappas

I travelled from north to south always by local buses and small vans called chappas, what is part of the authentic Mozambique experience, and remember that here the journey is more important than the destination.

Even if you are doing a long journey, the bus will be chaotically packed with people, bags, animals, and other things that you can’t imagine.

There are never enough sits for everybody, If a chappa carries 15 people, they somehow manage to fill them with 25 and a few chickens 🙂

You can’t use a chappa to travel if you are in a rush, there are no timetables, and they leave when they are full.. and forget everything you’ve learned about road safety ….. and pray…. it is frequent to see drivers drinking and smoking while driving, there is no speed limit, the state of the vehicles is horrendous, and what does the word “seat belts” mean, right?!

When you are travelling by bus, at least will never get hungry, because the driver will stop countless times in the middle of nowhere, and dozens of people will appear with all sort of things to sell, including the best cashew nuts in the whole world.

They will stick the products through the bus windows. Basically, they do a 2 in 1, travel and shopping. So don’t push for me and ask about the smells 🙂

If you asked me for 3 words to describe my journeys, I would say: slow, smelly and chaotic. Patience and tolerance are much needed for this long and sweaty journeys.

well and luck.. because the old vehicles break down easily.

I stopped at the main cities, but travelled mostly through the rural areas, where people are not used to seeing tourists or speak much Portuguese, surprisedly communication was a problem, despite Portuguese being the official language in Mozambique.

Mozambique Island

Mozambique Island is a stunning place, that I highly recommend. It was a former Portuguese trading-post on the route to India and it’s the only place in the country part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

Maputo

Maputo it’s different from the rest of the country, it’s a developed city with all the basic infrastructures, some preserved colonial-style architecture, it’s culturally dynamic, and has a rich nightlife.

You can discover Maputo by walking around the Baixa, losing yourself in the streets. The city does have a lot of petty crime, I don’t recommend walking around the city after dark on your own.

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It’s not uncommon to be harassed by workers, drivers or even the police. A foreigner is likely to be targeted by police trying to extort money, so always carry your passport, and don’t pay if you haven’t done anything wrong, otherwise, you are giving them the incentive to hassle the next traveller.

Stunning Mozambique

Mozambique has a rich culture and much to offer if you like to go out of the beaten path.

Explore deserted beaches, do snorkelling or diving, meet warm kind people, do outdoors activities or be in contact with nature and wildlife. I  definitely recommend a visit. Just remember, be kind, patience and enjoy the small things in life!

Mozambique is all about feeling, experiencing, smelling and tasting.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

🌱 Information and testimony about being a vegan in Mozambique – Vegan in Mozambique