Beware What You Drink: Tanzanian Konyagi

 James Cuddy explores Tanzania’s famous drink Konyagi and explains just how crazy alcohol can be.


Konyagi:  It’s not vodka, it’s not gin, it’s not water and it’s barely legal outside of East Africa. As soon as that distinctive taste hits your lips, all aboard! You’re in for the long run; the Konyagi train has just departed. Ever wondered what the Hyena’s in the lion king where drinking? No one can truly know for certain, but if I was a betting man, I’d say that they had railcards and exclusive regular offers mailed to their doors for the Konyagi train service.
‘Tears Of the Lion’, it proudly states on its delightfully unsuspecting label. Who would think otherwise, after shortly arriving in Tanzania, that this placid looking liquid could do no harm? Well well folks a lot of hard lessons have been learnt regarding this ambiguous liqueur – trust me on this one.

One minute you’re casually basking in the dry heat, having an ever so pleasant conversation with an intriguing comrade to be. Then the Konyagi takes hold. You try to resist at first, clench your fists tighter, focus your eyes with an extra dexterity to avoid what’s inevitably coming…then it happens, and it happens hard. The lyrics to ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ start a mutiny within your vocals chords, causing every last syllable to burst out of your lips, as unforgiving as the lion towards the gazelle. Dance moves follow, chairs are soon dispersed across the Savannah as every muscle in your body delights in this new liquid companionship. MI5 has their own unique style of truth serum, and this folks, is the key to the majority of East Africa’s police interrogations. The lions didn’t cry in vain, they were paying the price of the secrets and childhood stories that this liquid unearths.

As long as the recipients are aboard the train with you, every embarrassing story is reciprocated with copious laughter and heartfelt smiles. Your Tanzanian friends will get it out of you, but they will never condemn a single word of your cross dressing youth. So if you ever meet Konyagi on your travels, make preparations to brush up on your Robbie Williams, gravitate towards the cuddliest person you can find and always wear comfortable shoes. You never know where the train might take you.’

by James Cuddy


If you want to find out more about Konyagi why not have a look at their blog at


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  • This is perhaps the most hilarious article I have read about alcohol. Allow me to leave a testimony here, Konyagi hits wild and wide; I was a grammarian the entire ride.

  • Konyagi is not for the week. I can drink 2 bottles and nothing happened to me. Saying that I’m not good with wine lol

  • I spent some time in Tanzania and tried Konyagi for the first time, the taste is incredibly beautiful and drank it every evening.
    I would buy the plastic sachets from a local shop, a whole box of 24 sachets would cost about TZ shillings 7,500 which is about £3.00. You can only have maximum of 3 sachets in an evening to knock you out. One shchet would fill nearly half a normal glass.
    I started with 3 shchets and reduced to 2 every evening. The feeling was wonderful.