Tanzania's Favorite Beer
Kilimanjaro Lager billboard outside of Arusha
Photo by Thomson Safaris guest and photo safari leader, Randy Hanna
Just the name Kilimanjaro conjures up snowy heights, pushing yourself past where you ever thought possible, and…
…kicking back with a cold brew?
Perhaps unsurprisingly , Africa’s most famous mountain has long-since been merchandised, and one of the most beloved products to bear its name is Kilimanjaro Premium Lager.
The country’s best-selling beer, Kilimanjaro is basically the Budweiser of Tanzania. A similarly light, fizzy lager (best served ice-cold), “Kili” is a favorite at just about every bar around the country.
So how does it stack up, taste-wise? Beer reviewers consider Kili “inoffensive,” with straw flavors and a mildly sweet aftertaste. While it’s by no means a masterpiece of brewing subtlety, most agree that it’s a refreshing option, especially when served very-cold after a hot, dusty day on safari.
Much like Budweiser, though, Kilimanjaro lager markets itself less on its flavor and more on its fun. The company sponsors everything from marathons to field-day type events to dance nights, and it has a significant web and social media presence (still a relative rarity for a Tanzanian company).
Of course Kilimanjaro isn’t the only local—or locally-named—brew on offer during a trip to Tanzania. Safari lager and Serengeti lager are also popular options with a similar easy-drinking profile, and Uhuru Peak lager also capitalizes on Kili’s fame (though apparently not as successfully as Kilimanjaro lager; reviewers note that it tastes “soapy”). Tanzabeer, another local favorite, has even branched out to the UK, and can be found in a very-few specialty stores in London.
Guests enjoying Kilimanjaro Lager at their Nyumba camp in Tarangire National Park
Photo by Thomson Safaris guest, Marshall LaPlante
So after you conquer Africa’s highest peak, celebrate your achievement the best—or at least the most apt—way possible: with a frosty-cold bottle of Kili!