8 African snacks you’ve just got to try

written by Jacqueline Donaldson March 11, 2014

In Africa, most action takes place on the streets and roadsides – people hawking their wares, kids running to and from school, friends hanging out just chatting. There’s always movement, and there’s always food.

Day and night you’ve got people selling all types of snacks at traffic lights, on buses, at street corners and in roadside stalls. And a wealth of people buying them. For a true taste of the continent you won’t see in any guidebook, check out the following African snacks.


Image c/o Francesco Veronesi, Flickr

Dabo kolo

These sweet and spicy pieces of baked bread are found all over Ethiopia and are available from shops and street vendors. They make for an addictive pre-dinner snack and are great on long bus rides. Think Ethiopia’s answer to popcorn.

Chipsi mayai

In Tanzanias markets and lean-to road stalls, this hot chip omelette is a welcome and filling snack. It’s often described as “chipsi’s and eggsi’s”, which sounds super cute in the Tanzanian accent.


Image c/o Adam Cohn, Flickr


East Africa has adopted the Indian samosa (also known as samusa) as their own. Found in restaurants and from street vendors throughout Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, these tasty and satisfying parcels of meat or veggies are a delicious pick-me-up.


Fabulous to stop for during a long road trip or to bring on the bus with you, chapatis are a delicious snack found all over eastern Africa. Flaky and melt in your mouth, chapatis are best eaten fresh with a cup of tea and while hanging out in a small stall with locals.


Image c/o Rod Waddington, Flickr


Namibia is a nation of meat lovers and there’s nothing more meaty than kapana. People manning barbecues (braais) cut off bite-sized pieces of meat, which you then drag over a box filled with salt and spices and pop into your mouth. If greasy fingers freak you out, bring your own bread!


Dried pieces of meat (think jerky) have kept many South Africans going on long travel days with no refrigeration. Beef is the most popular kind, but wild game, ostrich and chicken are all widely available and extremely popular throughout southern Africa.

Fan milk

Ice cream is the perfect antidote to the heat in Ghana. These super-popular sweet treats are sold just about everywhere, in particular at traffic lights and while waiting for tro tros (local minibuses) to depart.

Plantain chips

These lip-smacking chips are found throughout most of Africa, and are ideal for long journeys or to stave off any between meals hunger pains.

Have you tried a local treat in Africa that gave your taste buds a buzz?

Feature image c/o Overseas Development Institute, Flickr 

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