Monday 21 December 2020

Vegan in South Africa: Travelling as a Vegan in Johannesburg

vegan johannesburg
Ever since I learnt that South Africa is a whole country (at an embarrassing late age because geography in the UK school system misses out a lot) and additionally learnt it's full of big cats, elephants, rhinos and more I've been dying to go. Johannesburg, once home to Nelson Mandela, is South Africa's biggest city and boasts 8 completely vegan restaurants.

1. Vegan Travel in Johannesburg

In this blog post we're going to look at some of those, we'll talk about traditional South African foods and recipes that are vegan, we'll touch on vegan activities to do whilst travelling in Johannesburg and hopefully dispense some useful vegan travel tips! As always, please enjoy, if you have any questions or comments let me know on Instagram and if you feel like it, please share :)

2. What to Eat in Johannesburg As a Vegan

vegan food johannesburg

Unluckily, many of the top foods in Johannesburg are meat centric - like biltong, droewors and boerewors. Luckily, by avoiding these you're not just not contributing to the animal genocide of the planet, you're also not honouring the early Dutch settlers who were responsible for apartheid which is a win-win in my opinion. But what can you actually eat?
  • Chakalaka: a traditional South African vegetable relish of tomatoes, beans and onions, yum
  • Pap: similar to porridge but made with maize meal, (warning: sometimes served with milk or meat)
  • Samp: dried corn kernels, ground and chopped
  • Slap chili chips: chips as in french fries not as in crisps - the vinegar makes for the slap
  • Umqombothi: beer made from maize, malt, yeast and water
  • Fruit and vegetables: I mean, like obviously right, links lead to indigenous ones :)

According to ProVeg veganism isn't new to Africans, it's a return to their roots. Colonialism and the monetisation of cattle's lives brought more meat into what was once largely plant based diets. Yet another reason to avoid animal enslavement, torture and murder.

3. Vegan Restaurants in Johannesburg

vegan guide johannesburg

There are 8 completely vegan restaurants in Johannesburg, a further 12 vegetarian restaurants and 37 more which are vegan / vegetarian friendly. Put simply, you're spoilt for choice! So how to decide? Here at Vegan Vs Travel we generally opt for supporting the fully vegan restaurants first, but do think it's important to go to the other places too, if you have time, so the demand for fully vegan food stays in the exponentially growth stage (until it eventually and inevitably becomes the one and only option). As with most cities, Happy Cow has honest reviews of the vegan restaurants in Johannesburg with photos, rough prices, and more :)

4. Vegan Activities in Johannesburg

vegan restaurants johannesburg

Of course, since you've got this far in the blog post I'm assuming that like me you're vegan, like me you're interested in vegan travel in Johannesburg, and you're not absolutely revolted by my writing. Thus I'm further assuming that, like me, a big part of the reason you're in South Africa is to see the animals. I hope it's unnecessary for me to tell you that vegans don't support zoos, shows, circuses or basically any industry that keeps an animal from being where they should be - in the wild. But even with safaris in South Africa we have to be careful, and go for ones with good reviews, because we don't want to support the ones that get too close or disturb the animals in other ways. (Some of my relatives for example took a hot air balloon above the Savana (in Kenya, but you know), and the noise and pollution from above is just a no. Let's let that sh*t die out with the older generation.)

5. Wrap Up: Getting To and Around Johannesburg

Thank you for reading this post I hope you liked it :) For those of you already in Africa I recommend you overland it to get there. There is some debate among vegans as to whether flying is vegan or not but sometimes it's unavoidable, Johannesburg is very far from, say Hong Kong, and for these cases there is Cathay Pacific. Upon request, (at least 24 hours before flight take off) they offer a Vegetarian Vegan Meal option of "strict vegetarian food with high protein, rich iron and high calcium." Yum.

When it comes to actually getting around Johannesburg, there are buses, trains, cycling, walking etc. Please try to opt for these over taxis and car hire, mostly for the environment, but also because we believe intermingling with fellow humans is imperative for an empathetic world. (Of course, there are situations where taxis and car hire are unavoidable, I'm just looking at the cases where they're not.) :)

Photos from Happy Cow and Wikipedia - let me know if you have relevant photos / info you want me to add in here. As always my blog posts are always open to updates and corrections.

P.S.: If you're interested in an app designed for vegans & wanna support the vegan movement and us, veganvstravel as well, use this link plz to download Abillionveg. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS. If you wanna know why we think this is a great app, read here.

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