Updated on November 10, 2016
5 healthy snacks for long bus rides in East Africa
If you travel through East Africa, there is hardly any escape from traveling on buses. The buses themselves range from relatively comfortable to not comfortable at all, but the trips also vary in food options. I have made two long trips so far. The first one was good: it took 12 hours, but we had two toilet stops (with one that also sold snacks) and one lunch stop where we could buy a proper hot lunch. So even though the trip was very long, it was doable because of the food options.
The second trip was tough. Not only were the quality of the road and the bus terrible, but there were no proper stops. There were two stops at bus stations with toilets, but there was no stop for lunch and the trip took 8 hours! (From 8 am to 4 pm) So when I got finally off the bus I was hungry! Luckily I had thought of bringing some snacks on this trip and we were also able to buy a few at the bus stations (sales people come into the bus or sell through the windows), so we survived. Here are 5 of the best snacks to bring on long bus trips.
1. Vegetable snacks
I love bringing a cucumber with me. It is easy to pack and eat and they are widely available in little and big shops. They are filling because of the fibres and they are also good when thirsty!
Other vegetables to eat while on the road are tomatoes (often also sold where bus stop) and less often carrots.
The easiest fruit to eat on the road are bananas. They are very often sold at bus stops as well as any other shop, they are easy to eat, filling and cheap. Other fruit options include mangoes, watermelons, oranges, mandarins or passion fruit, but you either need to prepare these in advance or bring a knife and some wet tissues, because they are a bit harder and juicier to eat.
Peanuts are everywhere and cheap. They sell them at shops, and they are often sold at the bus stops by the people surrounding or entering the bus, so very easy when you are traveling and weren’t prepared. Shops also sell cashew nuts or mixed nuts (often a mixture of cashews, peanuts and roasted peas).
Ok, you may not think of corn as the healthiest snack ever, but it is local(ly produced) and bbq’ed, so it is really not so bad. Except maybe the taste. Let’s say it’s an acquired taste. The outside slightly resembles pop corn and the inside tastes like it is barely cooked, but all in all it’s a good snack to chew on (it is also a bit chewy) when you are on the bus and in need of something that fills your stomach. Plus they are cheap and often offered to you while sitting on the bus.
5. Crisps (or chips)
I admit, at home I would not consider chips a healthy snack, because of the amount of carbs and unhealthy fat, but compared to a lot of other snacks they are not bad. They are made of local products with only salt or spices added. And I really like them. They come as potato crisps (which I personally find a bit too greasy and don’t prefer), as cassava crisps (that seem a lot less fatty and are nice crispy), or as banana crisps.
Apart from these 5, there are plenty of other snacks, such as cookies, cake, and other sweet stuff. (Since I don’t eat sugar, I avoid these.) Or you could buy a chapati or bread to bring with you on a trip. Anyway, I hope that whenever you have to endure long bus rides, you will have something healthy to eat!
Last but not least, drink plenty of water on bus rides. You will sweat a lot and you need it. Either bring a bottle, or buy several small bottles from the people selling it at bus stations.