Vegan Food in South Africa by Maria the Vegan World Trekker

Tofu Scramble in Cape Town, South Africa

Maria from the Vegan World Trekker blog is here to share news of all of the wonderful food she discovered while visiting Cape Town, South Africa in 2009.

A few years ago I traveled to South America. The highlight of the trip was a stop to Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia region of Argentina. Prior to heading home, the plane made a stop at the southernmost tip of the continent, Tierra De Fuego or the town of Ushaia.

Having visited the tip of South American fueled my passion to do likewise in Africa. The destination for my African journey last year, was Cape Town and the surrounding area. Cape Town is filled with hostels, a backpacker’s dream. They are pretty inexpensive too!

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is a goldmine for vegan diners. Although there aren’t many restaurants classified as strictly vegan, a multitude of ethnic restaurants and cafes present vegan offerings.

I was fortunate enough to have accommodations on Long Street, one of the city’s oldest and most popular streets. My initial impression was that this street was comprised solely of backpacker hostels. Much to my delight, this street and the nearby vicinity provided multiple establishments for vegan eating. Some of the selections were African, Ethiopian, Turkish, Indian, and typical Western restaurants.

malay vegan curry

Malay Vegan Curry

Rooti (Shop 1 Piazza Level, Clock Tower Centre, V&A Waterfront), located on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront served Cape Malay cuisine, which is similar to Indian food but with a different combination of spices. It is a lovely restaurant with an outdoor seating area by the waterfront. I dined on veggie curry with rice, roti bread, and mango juice while being entertained by street musicians and singers of traditional African music. Another evening, I dined at Emily’s (Suite 202, The Clock Tower, V&A Waterfront), also on the V&A waterfront. They cater to vegans, when asked. My meal was a grilled vegetable dish with rice. There were a couple of Indian restaurants on the waterfront which served equally delicious vegan options. However, the Dutch and European restaurants had nothing suitable for vegans.

There were a couple of small cafes in the Long Street area that serve vegan breakfasts. I ate one morning at Mountainview Cafe (171 Long Street) which prepared an amazing tofu scramble. I ordered a local beverage called aloe ferox juice, which is made from a local plant related to aloe vera but supposedly with much more healing potency. They have since closed business. However, Lola’s (228 Long Street), a small vegetarian cafe close by, is still in operation. I had breakfast there one day and enjoyed a meal of  toast with veggies and a side of fries. My beverage was a freshly squeezed orange juice. The cafe is also well known for its smoothies.


Botanical Garden

After my lovely breakfast, it was time to catch the tour bus for a visit to the botanical gardens of Cape Town. My tummy was full and now it was time to experience a feast for my eyes! The gardens were filled with vibrantly colored flowers of many varieties. Small birds and fowls roamed the grounds. Small ponds were scattered among the landscape. It was a breath-taking view!

Meal from The African Cafe

For dinner options, Mama Afrika (178 Long Street) made a great vegan African stew. The African Café (No. 108 Shortmarket Street) prepared a tasty meal of appetizers and main course representing several African countries. Their sampling plate included flavorful rices, okra patties, bean dishes, and greens.

Addis On Cape (41 Church Steet) served a nice Ethiopian stew with pumpkin, various veggies and injera bread. A Turkish restaurant called Mesopotamia (Corner of Long & Church Street) served some wonderful Middle Eastern fare.

In summary, I would have to say that Cape Town, South Africa makes for a fantastic holiday destination with a vast amount of ethnic, vegan dining options that will surely satisfy your palate.