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Botswana Food and Tipping Practices

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Botswana Food and Tipping Practices

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By Antoinette Booyse

Safari Travel Planner

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Safari lodges and camps in Botswana serve an array of internationally recognized food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dietary requirements can be catered for with ease when given prior notice. Beef and chicken are popular meats eaten locally and served in many ways in restaurants and the dining rooms at lodges, so travelers can expect to enjoy foods they know when being catered for in the country.

Local dishes include beef seswaa, bogobe (pap), and morogo, which are eaten throughout Botswana and surrounding countries. Beef seswaa is slow-cooked beef (usually filet), which is then shredded and cooked as a pot stew with an onion and pepper gravy.

Bogobe is ground cornmeal boiled with water and salt until it becomes a porridge-like consistency. It’s served as the starch with meat and veg. Bogobe is often accompanied by a tomato and onion relish or cooked spinach in a dish known as morogo.

Beef seswaa, bogobe (pap), and morogo. A delicious local meal served in Botswana.
Beef seswaa, bogobe (pap), and morogo. A delicious local meal served in Botswana.

Meat is also traditionally grilled on open coals, as are large, white mielies (corn on the cob), which are farmed on a small, subsistence level.

These are often seen on the roadside, where vendors are set up with grills serving the passing local public. The local beer is a St. Louis, and it goes down a treat!

White mielies (corn) are a Botswana staple
White mielies (corn) are a Botswana staple

Tipping practice in Botswana can be compared to anywhere else in Africa. A general guideline for tipping servers at restaurants is to add 10% of your bill as a gratuity if you feel you’ve received a good standard of service. As always, this amount is at the client’s discretion.

When tipping your Botswana safari guide, a standardized approach is to tip an amount of 10% of the daily rate per person per day and pay it directly to your guide at the end of the stay.

It’s encouraged to show gratitude after an excellent safari experience by tipping well in either Pula, or the guest’s home currency.

Housekeeping and kitchen staff, backup guides, mokoro pollers, and boat drivers, are also eligible for tips, and there is often a deposit box for staff tips. Individual tips should be paid to the individuals themselves.

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