You might want to add snacking on grasshoppers as a ‘must do’ on your Uganda Safari. Eating insects as a snack is not a common practice in many countries and so some may find it weird. In Uganda, many people enjoy eating grasshoppers, commonly known as Nsenene in the Luganda language, which was adapted by most of Uganda.
The grasshoppers come out from the ground when the rain is too much in the months of May and November. But some people have come up with ways of rearing the grasshoppers and supplying them throughout the year. It is a spectacle when the grasshoppers are out and jumping about especially at night when they gather around the lights. So people put out many lights at night in order to attract many grasshoppers and then they collect them in bags.
Most people in Uganda enjoy eating grasshoppers so much that during the grasshopper season, there are many cars transporting grasshoppers to the city where they are sold. Some cars and taxis will be so full with sacks of grasshoppers popping out of their windows.
Once they are sold, then the process of preparing them as a snack starts in the different homes. The process starts with plucking off wings and legs from each one to avoid choking you. A saucepan is put on fire, no cooking oil is added because these insects get to produce their own oil which is used in frying them. Depending on how you like your Nsenene, you can choose to keep them for longer so as to be crunchy or not for long. You can also add onions and green pepper to spice up the taste. The best way to preserve them is to boil them before plucking off the wings and legs and thereafter drying them in the sun. This way you can always fry the small portions you want.
In the grasshopper season, there are so many vendors selling grasshoppers, both the raw and those fried, along the streets in downtown Kampala. You can get grasshoppers that are fried with onions or those without onions based on your taste preferences. Most grasshopper vendors will allow you to taste their fried grasshoppers before you buy. You can also buy the raw grasshoppers instead and fry them yourself from home.
An interesting fact about grasshoppers is that they are a totem for those that belong to the Nsenene Clan in Buganda Kingdom. Uganda is home to about 56 tribes with the Baganda being one of the tribes who are further divided into clans, each clan has a unique totem which they protect religiously. For example those in the Nsenene clan cannot eat grasshoppers because it is considered a taboo to eat ones’ totem.
Now you know how grasshoppers are not just any other insects but rather a delicacy in Uganda. They are healthy for human consumption and they can easily become your favorite snack. Try eating Grasshoppers/Nsenene on your next safari in Uganda.