Maintaining a vegan or vegetarian diet while travelling can be a challenge. In Maasai culture, cattle are very important as are their products – beef, milk, cheese, etc. For vegan mom, Gina, this was a cause for concern upon booking their East African adventure with Adumu Safaris. Gina made the decision that she would eat fish, if necessary, but hoped to avoid dairy altogether.

Thankfully, the tourism industry in East Africa is well adapted to meet any dietary restrictions, especially veganism/vegetarianism due to the plentiful local farms providing fresh produce! Gina describes the pizza, stews with chapati, and frequent sides of sautéed greens as “some of the tastiest I have had in my life, seriously.” She was also thrilled with the meals they cooked as part of cultural experiences with Mama Gladness at Tengeru and the Swahili cooking lesson in Zanzibar, “There must have been 10 dishes, with all sorts of wonderful spices. Each dish was tastier than the next!” 

She also never found herself hungry or lacking protein, which can often be the case with vegan/vegetarian meals. While cattle are deeply important to the Maasai, they are traditionally reserved for special occasions or as a display of hospitality towards guests – like you! But on a day-to-day basis, their meals center around beans as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. So, rest assured, they know their way around meatless cuisine! 

Gina’s partner, Flagg, was vegetarian prior to the trip and abstained from beef and dairy in particular due to the hormones and antibiotics regularly added to cattle feed in the United States. However, he made an exception while traveling in East Africa because he knew the importance of cattle – and that they would be organically raised! Even after many years of abstention from beef, he had no problem with the range of beef dishes expertly prepared by local chefs. However, Flagg noted, “My decision to go off my abstention towards cows’ milk was less felicitous! […] My body had adjusted to non-dairy, and drinking the customary welcome glass of fresh cows milk sat poorly with my digestive system.” Gina notes that if you prefer non-dairy milk in your coffee or tea, bring some along as it likely won’t be provided.

If you’re concerned about any dietary restrictions while traveling, Adumu Safaris will ensure each accommodation is aware and ready to provide you with delicious, satisfying meals to fuel your East African adventure!

Special thanks to Adumu Safaris guests Gina and Flagg for contributing their perspectives to this blog!