How to eat VEGAN in KENYA, while on a GUIDED TOUR

Clara

New Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Lifestyle
Vegan
I am going to Kenya with a guided tour very soon but I'm a bit worried about what I would eat there. There are a few restrictions that make eating vegan there a bit difficult for me.
  • Since I am going with a guided tour, I do not have the freedom to go to any restaurant I want, nor can I order my own meals in their restaurants (I believe they have set meals for everyone). Luckily, there are a few buffet meals, which would make it way easier for me to pick out what I can eat.
  • Since the set meals are almost impossible to change and the flight most likely does not offer a vegan meal option, I have thought about bringing my own food in case there is absolutely nothing for me to eat. However, the hotel does not have a kitchen. I don't even know if they have a kettle.
Are there any foods that I could bring with me that would not rot very quickly and are easy to make?
Is it a good idea for me to purchase fruits from local people? Kenya is a very foreign place to me though, any tips? Hygiene tips would help too.

I would really appreciate it if you could give me some tips. Thank you in advance. :)
 
W

winter.frost

Guest
Hello and welcome :)

Sadly I have no experience of Kenya, or even yet of eating vegan abroad (I haven't done a lot of travelling since going vegan 27 months ago - well, I did Heidelberg, Germany, as a vegan but that was even easier than UK).

How long is the tour/how much food are you going to need? You could certainly take some back-up cereal bars, but surely you won't want to haul those wherever you go and - on guided tours - it's best to travel as light as you can. Yes, I would try to buy food locally and I am pretty sure you will do fine in that regard but - as I said - having never been to Kenya I can't say for sure. Have you already sorted out the foreign language phrases you need to know in order to say 'do you have anything that is vegan'? And 'no eggs, meat, fish, dairy' etc.? Questions like 'is this made with milk?' will surely come in handy. As for hygiene, be sure to take a travel bottle of alcohol-based hand soap wherever you go and be very careful what water you drink - stick to bottled water if you can. I would also use insect-repelling cream at all times.

Have a look at this http://www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk/destinations/africa/kenya.aspx - I always find Scottish government travel guidelines to be really well explained and thorough, regardless of where you are in the world.

I would be a little surprised if you're not offered vegan food in-flight. Let us know? Which airline will you be using?

Other useful links if you get the chance to break away from the tour (and I suspect you will have a chance, at some point):
https://www.happycow.net/africa/kenya/
http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/africa/kenya/eating-drinking/vegetarian-vegan-food/#
 

gab

Active Member
Joined
May 9, 2016
Messages
226
Reaction score
81
Lifestyle
Vegan
Hi,

I hope that you will have a chance to try ugali with vegetable stew: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugali

Also, a staple with the Kenyan runners that dominate the sport:

"Ugali supplied the greatest number of total calories, making up 23 percent of the daily diet. Ugali is simply a dish of maize flour (cornmeal) cooked with water. Kenyan runners eat this for dinner almost every night. Generally, it’s mixed with a chicken or beef stew and vegetables."

Taken from https://runnersconnect.net/running-nutrition-articles/diet-of-kenyan-runners/

Enjoy the trip.

Gab
 

Clara

New Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2016
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Lifestyle
Vegan
Thank you for all the help! I am now back from Kenya and I've learnt quite a handful of things, so I'll just share them here.
Regarding gab's reply, I tried the one and only ugali, plain, that the restaurant offered. To be honest, I didn't like them at all because they were tasteless and grainy.
About the guided tour, I notified the tour guide that I was vegan weeks before we went to Kenya. Since I informed them, they arranged special meals for me. We mainly had buffet meals at hotels and I had no problem eating. All of them that I went to offered a salad bar, steamed rice and potatoes; for fruits, pineapples, paw paws and watermelon. I think most guided tours will bring you to hotel restaurants since foreigners may not be used to the level of sanitation at local restaurants. They also understand that many people are picky with their food. The tour guide definitely do not want you to be hungry, let alone be sick. We even went to the famous restaurant, Carnivore, and surprisingly, I had no problem being a herbivore there. At that restaurant, they have a special menu for herbivores and piscivores, even though I don't think all of the "herbivore" dishes are vegan, some are vegetarian. I took Kenya Airways and there was a vegan option, however not everything on the tray was vegan. They gave me a croissant for one of the meals! So don't trust completely trust the VGML label!
I brought 3 raw bars, a pack of dried mangoes, a bar of vegan chocolate and little packets of homemade instant couscous with me for my 8 day trip. It was plentiful. About hygiene, I used boiled water to brush my teeth (FYI the water is a bit yellow, but hey, I didn't get sick) and only drank bottled water.
Now I'm going to share my vegan-unrelated experiences. I went to several nature reserves and luckily, I saw the Big Five! However, nature reserves aren't like zoos, we found a cheetah right beside our car! Therefore, do not ever get off your car unless you have an experienced tour guide/driver accompanying you. We got a flat tire twice and even our experienced driver needed to call another car to come keep guard for him while he changed the tire. Some roads are very bumpy and dusty. About the weather, Kenya is quite cold in the morning and at night, some hotels had outdoor fireplaces set up at night. The only time that I felt actual heat was when I was waiting in the car during noon. A memorable experience that I had was my visit to a local village. The living standards were quite low in the village, it made me realize how privileged I am. But the good thing was that all of the villagers that I met were happy and friendly. I donated some money to them and if you are willing, you can do so too.
Overall, my trip to Kenya was fantastic, I had no problem eating vegan and I had a great time there :)
 
W

winter.frost

Guest
About the guided tour, I notified the tour guide that I was vegan weeks before we went to Kenya. Since I informed them, they arranged special meals for me.
Yayyy! I'm not too surprised, because I imagined they would want you to be really happy with your experience. Kenya relies super heavily on tourism, as do many other African countries, so my hope was that they would treat you well.

I've never had paw paw. What does it taste like?

I took Kenya Airways and there was a vegan option, however not everything on the tray was vegan. They gave me a croissant for one of the meals! So don't trust completely trust the VGML label!
Well vegan croissants certainly do exist - they are made with soy. Are you totally sure the croissant wasn't vegan? Because aeroplanes don't want people to have allergy reactions and anaphylaxis at 30,000 ft - where they really can't do anything about it and can get super sued upon landing - so the airlines do tend to be really careful about in-flight food and they can't know whether a person is vegan for dietary reasons or ethical ones.

About hygiene, I used boiled water to brush my teeth (FYI the water is a bit yellow, but hey, I didn't get sick) and only drank bottled water
The colour of water doesn't mean much. I worked on a permaculture farm with its own borehole as a water source, and the water was even a little orange at times. We had the water tested regularly, every few weeks, and the only cause of the discolouration was higher naturally-occurring manganese and iron levels (which in some respects is healthier!). Then again, discolouration can come from poorly-maintained pipes and other causes too - it's just that it doesn't necessarily mean the water was bad.

The rest of your trip sounds very exciting :) I'm glad you had such a nice time.

The living standards were quite low in the village, it made me realize how privileged I am.
Indeed. Most of us need reminding from time to time.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

gab

Active Member
Joined
May 9, 2016
Messages
226
Reaction score
81
Lifestyle
Vegan
Hi Clara, thank you for sharing the experience, definitely exciting.