Did you know?
The famous Mopane worm eaten in Africa is in fact the caterpillar of the nocturnal Emperor Moth
Since the demise of apartheid, Pan-African cuisine tours are more accesible thanks to the large number of African people from other parts of our continent that have settled in South Africa. Such immigrants have brought with them a delicious range of culinary genres and ingredients.
Pan-African food safaris allow travellers to taste Africa’s culinary diversity in all its glory, and Gauteng in particular is home to many African markets, spice shops and restaurants.
While it is hard to define a definitive Pan-African style, due to the size and diversity of the continent, loosely, the term refers to cooking that uses ingredients indigenous to Africa as their base, such as venison (typically antelope meat) and vegetables such as plaintains, edible wild greens, cassava and maize.
Stylistically, Pan-African cuisine incorporates more than just African ingredients and includes both western and Asian spices and techniques to create a unique synergy of style, flavour and ingredients.
If you are itching to taste the flavours of Africa, there are tour operators that can provide access to Johannesburg’s cosmopolitan Pan-African culinary culture.
On a Pan-African food tour, expect the likes of a morning spent sniffing spices in Johannesburg’s African Market in Yeoville, and eating injera at an Ethiopian restaurant. Burundian fine dining or shabby-chic Ivorian can be added for those who like to dress up and go out at night.
Represented in South Africa you will find all of the above options as well as Mozambican, Moroccan, Egyptian, Somali, Nigerian and Ghanaian restaurants in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. However, you may struggle to find much Pan-African cuisine outside of these centres.
The shabby-chic suburb of Yeoville is a continuing destination for immigrants into Johannesburg, and an ideal place to take your own Pan-African food tour. Immigrants from East and West Africa, and the Middle East ensure plenty of authentic eateries and an African grocery market. Be aware that here, regular opening hours don’t apply.
Sandton is another area, that you can take your own Pan-African food tour. Restaurants like Lekgotla on Nelson Mandela Square serve a mélange of quasi-African foods from the across continent; Hombaze restaurant in the Village Walk serves authentic Nigerian dishes, or rub shoulders with the elite of Africa that come to dine at Burundian chef Fathi Reinarhz's restaurant, Sel et Poivre.
Zemara resturant in Pretoria serves fine dining inspired by Central Africa and lures droves of gourmet travellers.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Food Tours Africa
Tel: +27 (0)83 3204915
Mobile +27 (0)84 624 0000
Tel: +27 (0)11 624 2727
Restaurant Ivorian (Ivoirian cuisine)
+27 (0)11 487 0885
Kin Malebo (Congolese)
Tel: +27 (0)82 707 2888
Rocky Street Market
Tel: +27 (0)11 783 0366
Sel et Poivre
Tel: +27 (0)11 884
Corner Langerman and Queen streets
Tel: +27 (0)72 918 8824
A Palhota (Mozambican)
59 Troye St
Tel: +27 (0)11 336 1156
33 Schoeman Street, Pretoria
Mobile: +27 (0)72 756 2057
How to get here
Pan-African cuisine is a Gauteng based phenomenon. All major airlines fly into OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg (25km from the city centre).
Best time to visit
Pan-African food is deliciously available at any time of year in Gauteng. Central African cuisine is quite heavy in style and is perhaps best enjoyed as a winter treat. Ethiopian food is lighter and ideal for summer.
All the areas where Pan-African food is found can be accessed by metered taxi or public buses or by car.
What will it cost
Tour costs vary by content but expect to pay approximately R400 (30 Euro) for a half day tour.
What to pack
Gauteng can be hot in summer so sun block, a hat, and sunglasses are recommended if you’ll be exploring a market or walking outdoors.
Where to stay
Jo’burg and Cape Town have a wealth of accommodation options from 5-star hotels and art trailers on rooftops, to smart backpacker lodges.
What to eat
Eat African! Ethiopian injera breads and tej honey wines. Congolese Moambe palm-nut sauce. Mozambican piri piri chicken.
The Rocky Street Market in Yeoville
To the Banqueting House, African cuisine an epic journey. Anna Trapido and Coco Reinarhz, Gwynne Conlyn Publishing 2006. Cooking from Cape to Cairo: a taste of Africa. Dorah Sitole; Tafelberg 1999.