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One thing that can often divide holidaymakers is the local cuisine. For many travellers being able to try out different cultures and tastes are an essential part of the experience. This is especially fun and interesting when you are visiting somewhere completely new!

Foods and different dishes are often steeped in tradition, history and culture. Tasting all the culinary delights that different cultures and countries have to offer is a fantastic way to learn and try out new experiences. You might even find a unique taste combination to take home and add to your own meals.

Not only do you get fantastic opportunities to try different flavours and combinations of flavours but you can also try different foods we wouldn't dream of trying at home - even if we could get hold of it! If you have ever fancied trying a delicious crocodile steak or want to know what the fuss is about with street food in different countries, then your holiday might just be the perfect opportunity to try.

If you are planning a road trip full of experiences, then this is the ideal chance to try out some of the local cuisines. A motorhome or caravan holiday gives you more opportunities than most holidays. As you drive through an amazing new country, you can stop to try different foods along the way, sampling cultures and tastes from different regions. If you pick an escorted motorhome tour, you also get the benefit of having a tour host on hand to ask advice on what to try and where to source the best in local cuisine.

During our tasty road trips article series, we will be talking about some of the best flavours and cuisines from some incredible countries. We are starting with Southern Africa and the wonderful diversity in cuisine this continent has to offer.

African woman carrying basket full of fruits

When it comes to diversity, you can't beat Southern Africa. This is a continent full of variety in culture, history, scenery and cuisine. Some of the foods might seem a little challenging to handle at first, but they should prove to be delicious and if nothing else will provide a memory and talking point for when you get back home! With tasty treats to enjoy including the infamous crocodile steak or traditional fried caterpillar, you are spoilt for choice. You can also taste the best in humble street food where you will be able to experience a taste sensation like nothing you have tried before.

With such an exciting and diverse array of foods and dishes to try, it can be difficult to know where to start. You can wander through the streets of the major cities and towns and pop into a restaurant with an interesting menu. Alternatively wander through the street markets and see what foods take your fancy to try.

Of course, there is more to South Africa than the food, and our itineraries are carefully planned out to take you through some of the most breathtaking areas. You can explore the savannah one day and then find yourself travelling through breathtaking mountains the next.

There is no doubt about it that a holiday in Southern Africa gives you ample opportunity to try so many amazing new foods and meals. It can be difficult to know where to start - especially when you are suddenly faced with a menu full of dishes you haven't heard of before.

We have found some popular recipes in South Africa to try while on holiday.

South Africa - A Diverse Nation With Diverse Tastes To Explore

Nile crocodile
Crocodile meat tastes similar to chicken with a slightly fishy undertone


When it comes to trying new foods, you can't get much more different than crocodile meat. This is a fairly common staple on restaurant menus, and the flavour is described as being like a mix between chicken and fish. This one might be an acquired taste, but it is rare to have the opportunity to try it so if you come across crocodile steak on the menu, then why not give it a go?

Fried Caterpillar

If you are travelling around Christmas time, then you might be lucky enough to come across this favoured street food. Emperor moth caterpillars are harvested around this time and then fried up to make a delicious street food that is packed with protein. Crunchy and more delicious than you might think.

Sheep's Head

If you are lucky enough to visit Cape Town, then you might come across this local delicacy. Yes, it's true, whole sheep's heads are broiled or roasted. When the head has finished cooking the resulting sight might seem gruesome, but we are told that the result is a delicious treat with the tongue and ears being the most sought after part. This one isn't for everyone, and you aren't likely to find it on too many restaurant menus, but if you have the opportunity, it might be worth a try.

Dried Peppered Beef Jerky
Similar to beef jerky except never smoked and cured using a different process


Biltong makes a fantastic snack that is rich in protein and in flavour. You might find this treat in markets, butchers or in grocery stores. Biltong is a form of curing or drying out meat and is similar to the meat jerkies we are already used to so this one shouldn't be too difficult to stomach. The processes and flavours can differ depending on where you buy your Biltong, but each comes with a unique set of flavours to try.


If you order this dish, you won't be disappointed when it arrives. The dish looks not too dissimilar to a dish we are more aware of - moussaka. This is a recipe made from curried meat and topped with a creamy topping made from milk and eggs baked until it's golden. A delicious dish you can make when you get home too!


If you travel through Namibia, then you might be lucky enough to find a traditional dish that originated here - boerewors. This is a sausage that is usually long and shaped into a spiral. Made from 90% meat and 10% spices and other ingredients this is a sausage full of flavour and well worth trying. This dish might have originated in Namibia, but it has become a staple food item available in many regions in South Africa. You should have plenty of opportunities to try it.

Malva Pudding
Something a little more familiar, a sweet cake often served with custard (link to recipe)

Malva Pudding

If you have a sweet tooth, then this is a dessert that fits the bill nicely. Made from apricot jam that has been caramelised on top of a sponge type cake. It is usually served with custard or ice-cream so should be a traditional dish to try that is delicious and familiar.

A Fusion Of Cultures

South Africa is a nation of varying cultures and worldly traditions that have collided to become a melting pot of culture, colour and diversity, and this is reflected in the food. While you might find yourself able to try some traditional dishes, you can also find some fantastic fusions of western food and traditional local recipes. These delicious foods have combined together to create something wonderfully new and unique to this region of the globe.

This is especially noticeable in urban areas, and even if you are looking for a meal, you recognise you won't be disappointed either. Most major cities and towns will have areas where you can find yourself an Italian meal or even a burger! Perfect for those days when you want to find a food you are a little more comfortable with.

Just make sure you keep an eye out for fusion meals where the tastes and recipes you already know have been altered with local spices and meats to create something that tastes new and refreshing. You might even get some great ideas to take home and make for your family and friends.

Ripe fruits stacked at a local market in Nairobi
Ripe, exotic fruits at local market in Nairobi

Choose A Holiday With Some Tasty Opportunities

Are you ready to take the plunge and book your next holiday of a lifetime in Southern Africa? Browse our fantastic itineraries and South Africa Excursions to find out more about some of the exotic places you can visit.

Cape Town is perhaps one of the most common places to go to find a diverse range of cuisine. The capital of South Africa has a lot to offer in addition to some fantastic foods. You can spend a little time in Cape Town at the end of our Roads Of The Rainbow Nation Tour or on our Cape Town and The Garden Route tour too.

You don't have to just spend time in the major cities to explore the best in tasty cuisine. Your tour will include plenty of opportunities to visit local towns, villages and attractions which will all have their own versions of some fantastic cuisine for you to try.

If you want to find out more, then get in touch with our travel team who will be happy to help you plan your next holiday.