Foraging is a peaceful pastime that not only gives us an excuse to get outdoors more, but to enjoy home-cooked meals with healthy, seasonal ingredients. The fruitbodies of macrofungi – or what are commonly called mushrooms – are popular to collect but it’s critical to know what to gather. Fungi is an incredible natural kingdom that we are just beginning to understand. It is estimated that less than 10% of the world’s fungi species have been formally described and documented, and the least amount of mycological work has taken place in Africa, which could have the greatest fungal biodiversity on the planet.

Mushrooms are actually a strong heritage food in South Africa, with !nabas truffles in the Northern Cape, as well as Amakhowe (KwaZulu Natal) or Ikhowa (Eastern Cape) regarded as seasonal delicacies in those regions. Along with the introduction of non-native tree plantations around South Africa, a number of fungal species have joined them from distant places. Forming symbiotic relationships with trees such as pine, oak and bluegum, mycorrhizal fungi are located wherever their host trees are. Fortunately for us, some of these fungi are ranked as some of the best tasting wild mushrooms in the world, namely porcini or Boletus edulis. From a conservation standpoint, these delicacies are no more than “weeds” to the environment, but this angle provides a sustainable approach to foraging food for one’s own table.

This website promotes low-impact, sustainable forms of foraging for wild food – no indigenous, endemic or protected species are included. Instead, there’s a wide selection of introduced and invasive foods that can be collected around the country, which can be incorporated into amazing meals.

The information on this website does not constitute medical advice. Under no circumstances should any information on this website be used as a guide in matters that may affect health.