How to Guide with Vegan Guests

Guiding with vegan guests for guides

So, you are a qualified, experienced guide, ready to share the natural world with guests who may be experiencing Africa for the first and possibly only time.

For many guests this is a ‘once in a lifetime trip’ and I know for a fact that going on safari can actually change your life as it literally changed mine. (Check out my blog ”my hospitality story” for more info on that!)

But enough about me, let’s talk about vegan guests…..

Many lodges are still challenged by serving vegan guests as they simply aren’t sure what or how to serve them and this feeling can run right from the manager to the chef, the waiter and through to the guide.

If you have vegan guests on your vehicle there are some important aspects that you need to think about to create an amazing and inclusive experience for them.

Of course, the food is the first thing that you think of! Now you are probably around food and your guests a few times in a day and it may look something like this…

  • Morning coffee pre-drive
  • Coffee stops on drive
  • Afternoon coffee pre-drive

(Wow… it’s a lot of coffee)

  • Afternoon sundowners on drive
  • Bush set ups & events
  • Hosting drinks and dinner in the evening

It just as important for you, as their guide to understand their diet requirements, just as much as it is for the chef.


You are their go-to person to ask questions about not only animals and nature, but everything lodge related. You are also their host for their stay so should be making sure you know what their preferences are and although you don’t have to know everything about them, you want to make sure they have an enjoyable stay as possible so being on top of their wants and needs is critical.

So now let’s talk about what vegans want and expect from their guide.

Vegans don’t consume dairy, so this includes milk that is put out with the coffee and tea selection. Make sure you know what their preference for non-dairy milk is, of course there wont be expectations to have every single non-dairy milk possible, as there are literally hundreds (yep, there is!) but know what your lodge stocks as standard and ask your guests their preference out of these. If you have a guest relations person, or a head chef who will know this already from correspondence from the guest prior to booking or on arrival you can ask them first but then just double check with your guests by saying ‘’I believe unsweetened Almond milk is your preference, is this correct and if so we shall make sure it is available for you at coffee as well as on game drive’’

Remember to know in advance about any other allergies they may have too, you don’t want to serve Almond milk to a guest who has a nut allergy and don’t want to serve Soy milk to a guest who has a soy allergy so make sure you know what is what and have this ready and waiting for them so they don’t have to ask.

Some examples of vegan milks are…

  • Almond
  • Soy
  • Oat
  • Hemp
  • Hazelnut
  • Coconut
  • Flax
  • Pea
  • Quinoa
  • Cashew
  • Macadamian
  • Rice
  • Peanut

So as you can see, the list is endless! I would recommend that a lodge has a minimum of 2 options. (& they can even make their own!)

You need to make sure you also have this milk in your vehicle as you won’t be able to ‘milk any almonds’ while out on game drive! (sorry, bad joke) Non-dairy milk should be stored cold just like dairy milk and typical used within around 5-7 days after opening so I suggest writing on a new bottle with a marker pen, when it was opened. If your lodge makes homemade non-dairy milk, then you would be looking at more like 3-4 days in the fridge.

Typically, between your morning coffee, coffee on drive and in the afternoon, there may be options of muffin, cookies, biscuits or similar baked goods. As often these contain eggs, butter and sometimes milk you will need to make sure you have vegan cookies from the chef, and you know which ones are which.

Its important to remember than your vegan guests are paying just as much money as your non-vegan guests so they should be getting the same experience, and not only in accommodation, safari but in food so if you have 2 different cookies for your non-vegan guests then ask the chef for 2 different cookies for your vegan guests OR suggest they make them all vegan. This is something that many chefs don’t think of, but it’s a wonderful solution, minimizing waste and cost and keeping everyone happy.

Sundowner snacks will be the same, there are many typical sundowner snacks that are vegan already such as dried fruit & nuts but again, just make sure you have a variety for your vegan guests.

If you have a tracker its important that they are also aware of having vegan guests as they will be assisting with packing snacks and serving them during the bush ‘’stops’’.

Something which you may not be familiar with is that not all drinks are vegan, this includes wine, gin and beer which are probably the sort of drinks you will be serving while out at your sundowner spot as well as around the fire later and during dinner service.

Not all wine is vegan for example as sometimes as part of the fining process animal based products are used such as egg whites, fish bladders, & gelatine. (Yep… pretty gross and actually this would mean that most of these wines aren’t also suitable for vegetarians either)

Your guests will be highly impressed if you know not only about vegan food but also drinks too. This shows that you and your lodge are offering a high level of service and staff are trained & competent. 5 star service should always be offered, regardless of if your lodge has an official ”star grading” and this is all part of it!

I am a certified vegan hospitality consultant & part of my services include staff training. This is done for all relevant departments from FOH/service staff, the kitchen, housekeepers & of course the guides!

If you are interested in hearing more about the training or consulting I offer then get in touch on

(Products in images are from Earthshine)