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Vegan travels Africa

Richard Kitzinger travels around some of Southern Africa’s remotest areas in search of wildlife — and vegan cuisine
Image: An elephant roadblock in Kruger National Park

When the opportunity arose to go on a safari in South Africa and Swaziland, the chance to see rhinos, elephants and big cats in their natural habitat ought to have been a no-brainer. Yet, I hesitated. All I knew of the cuisine suggested that meat was at its very core. Braais, boerewors and biltong — barbecues, farmer’s sausage and dried, cured meat — are South African institutions. How would I be able to maintain a vegan diet?

My trip became as much a quest to discover how feasible it is to travel outside of the cities as a vegan in Southern Africa, as it was about seeing wildlife. Things didn’t start well. In desperate need of a coffee after an overnight flight from London, I pulled in at a service station of the main road from Johannesburg to Swaziland, or eSwatini as it is now known. When I asked whether there were any non-dairy milk options, I was met with baflement and — to my horror — one member of staf even fetched me a glass of milk. I ended up with a black coffee.

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About Vegan Life

Welcome to our June issue. It’s my favourite time of year, when hot days and warm evenings, beach trips and long walks fill our time. And with all the joy that summer brings, it’s the perfect time to gather your friends and advocate in the best way possible — with fantastic food. It was this time last year that I hosted a BBQ at my own house, and served my omni friends an entirely vegan menu (including my first ever bash at vegan mac’n’cheese). It was a great success and triggered some of my friends into making more animal and planet-friendly decisions when doing their food shops. We’ve put together everything you need to host your own BBQ bonanza (p40) — from food, drinks and sauces to ice cream and hosting tips — so your summer gathering will be both delicious and memorable. Not all experiences with non-vegans are so positive. The topic of ‘vegaphobia’, or hatred towards vegans, has been floating around Vegan Life HQ. As an office full of vegans, most of us have experienced some kind of backlash or negativity — I myself have been shouted at in public, for merely stating my vegan point of view. We asked you about your own experiences of this phenomenon (p68) and your answers were illuminating — one woman was even turned down a job because of her veganism. It seems that despite so much progress, some people still take task with us choosing a peaceful way of life. Jessie Keogh covers how to deal with these testing situations on p120. Have a great month,

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