Through the ages, one of the enduring delights of travel has always been the chance of discovering new dishes and flavours, and a Kilimanjaro trekking trip is the perfect opportunity to explore the tastes of Tanzania. A vibrant, varied cuisine, with a strong Indian influence transformed by African ingredients, there is certainly plenty to discover here. Read on for an idea of what you can expect, and what to look out for!
What To Eat On Trek
Nutrition is of vital importance when facing the challenges of Kilimanjaro trekking, as it provides your source of energy while tackling the terrain and altitude. You’ll need plenty of carbohydrates and sugars – and the food available on the mountain is generally prepared with that in mind. A hearty breakfast is the best way of starting a day’s trek, and these are provided in abundance – expect porridge, eggs, roti bread, fruit, bread and jam, and a very welcome cup of tea or coffee. Dinner will often start with soup, then a main course that tastes all the more delicious and nourishing for being heavy in protein and carbs. High-energy snacks are usually served at the end of a trek – be sure to try the salted popcorn – and it is a good idea to pack some snacks of your own to take along, such as cereal bars or dried fruit.
A Traditional Tanzanian Meal
One of the great joys of a Kilimanjaro trekking trip is the opportunity to spend some time either before or after your trek exploring the different facets of Tanzanian culture. If you have the chance to try a Tanzanian meal served in the traditional way, you’ll be treated to a new cultural as well as a culinary experience – starting with the dining etiquette. It is customary to sit on mats on the floor, and to eat using the fingers of the right hand; hands should be cleaned with a towel that is passed around. The spread will usually include a combination of dishes, including a staple such as rice or ugali (made from maize flour), braised vegetable or meat dishes in coconut milk – a particular specialty is duckling – plantain and meat stew, and chapati.
Whether you are exploring a city street market, or sitting on a mountainside during your Kilimanjaro trekking adventure, one kind of food that is ubiquitously available throughout the country is the delicious variety of Tanzanian fruits. These are often a component of cooked dishes, such as the bananas and plantains used in stews and curries, as well as being a joy to eat fresh. Pineapples, oranges, strawberries and more provide a refreshing snack or dessert for any meal, and are popularly accompanied by coconut and honey. One fruit to make a point of trying is the jackfruit, a spiky green fruit that can be split open to reveal sweet yellow flesh, and seeds that can be roasted like chestnuts – look out for it!