Food and Drink

The majority of Zambians have a very simple diet centered around nshima, a stiff porridge made from ground maize.  This is accompanied by side dishes of relish made with vegetables and meat or fresh or dried kapenta.  Insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, cicadas and flying ants are delicacies, you may have to be a seriously adventurous traveller to give these a try.

Camps and lodges offer nshima on their menus and you really should taste it, especially when served with a rich tomato gravy or delicious stew.

For breakfast a thinner maize porridge is served, eaten with milk and sugar.  Stir in a generous spoonful of locally produced peanut butter or wild honey for a real treat.

For the less culinary adventurous tourist all camps, hotels, lodges and restaurants catering to overseas visitors offer a variety of international dishes and whilst possibly limited by some standards, vegetarian dishes feature on most menus.  For the meat lovers out there, Zambian beef is truly outstanding.

The only problem the tourist is going to face in Zambia is overindulging!


Mosi lager, is Zambia’s most popular local beer, named after Mosi-oa-Tunya, the local name for Victoria Falls.  Bars and restaurants also sell a variety of imported beers, mostly South African but a few from further afield are sometimes available at a price.

Chibuku is an opaque beer made from maize, popular with the less affluent Zambian, it tastes a little like a sour alcoholic milkshake.

Soft drinks are available everywhere, Coca-Cola is found almost anywhere as is Fanta, a more psychadelic colour than the UK version but the taste is the same.  Other varieties of drinks, carbonated and still, are also stocked by most establishments and very few places will be unable to offer a chilled G&T for sundowners.  Diet drinks are less common in remote areas but most hotels and lodges should have at least one variety in stock.

There are a number of different varieties of bottled water and, whilst most lodges use bore-hole water which is perfectly safe to drink, it is probably a good idea to drink bottled water in the towns to avoid upsets.