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Uniquely Namibian Food

  
  

When you travel one of the best ways to experience local culture, and to get a sense of what a country is really all about, is to try the food. A traveller who does not eat adventurously will not really be travelling adventurously and with that, let’s take a look at some of Namibia’s most popular and distinctive food. 

Namibia, namibia food, kapana, namibian oysters, kabeljou, omajowa, namibia holiday, travel namibia

Oysters at Swakopmund.

 

Kapana

If you are exploring Katatura in Windhoek then you have to try some of the local vendors’ famous Kapana. This meal is traditionally raw beef cooked on an open flame. It is authentic, quick to prepare and also inexpensive. It is a real good slice of Namibian culture all in one meal.

 

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(Image via Changes in Longitude)

       Namibia, namibia food, kapana, namibian oysters, kabeljou, omajowa, namibia holiday, travel namibia

Namibian Oysters

Namibian Oysters are some of the finest molluscs in the world. This is largely thanks to the cool Benguela current that flows past the Skeleton Coast. From Swakopmund to Luderitz be sure to tuck in to some of these delicious treats at any of the local restaurants along the way. 

Fresh Kabeljou

Kabeljou (Silver Cob) is a large fish that is excellent for eating. It can be caught all along the Namibian coast but one of the best places to get fresh fish at a restaurant is in Walvis Bay at the Raft, a restaurant that overlooks the bay. If however you want to catch your own fish then we recommend heading to Henties Bay and spend a few days fishing there. 

Namibia, namibia food, kapana, namibian oysters, kabeljou, omajowa, namibia holiday, travel namibia

(Image via Redbubble)

Namibia, namibia food, kapana, namibian oysters, kabeljou, omajowa, namibia holiday, travel namibia

(Image via Namibiana)

Game Biltong

Biltong is a dried meat snack that is famous throughout southern Africa and in Namibia the making and eating of this food is practically a national pastime. Where Namibia really excels is in the making of delicious game biltong, particularly kudu, gemsbok (oryx), springbok and eland. If you’re unfamiliar with biltong check out this website. Game biltong can be found pretty much all over the country, so keep your eyes peeled on your travels.

Luderitz Crayfish

There are loads of things to do and see in the laidback coastal town of Luderitz, but few of these things are as colourful (or delicious!) as the annual crayfish festival. The festival usually takes place in the middle of the year and attendees can explore the sights of the historic little town whilst enjoying the locally prepared cuisine.

Namibia, namibia food, kapana, namibian oysters, kabeljou, omajowa, namibia holiday, travel namibia

Namibia, namibia food, kapana, namibian oysters, kabeljou, omajowa, namibia holiday, travel namibia

(Image via Responsible Traveller)

Omajowa

The omajowa is a wild giant mushroom found across Namibia. The mushrooms predominantly grow on termite mines and grow to enormous sizes, with diameters of up to 50cm not being uncommon. You can often find vendors on the side of the road in rural areas selling these delicacies after the first summer rains of the season, but supply is limited and they are hotly desired items across the country- so be quick! The mushrooms are used in much the same way as any other mushroom is, but a particularly popular way to eat them is simply pan-friend in butter.

 

What's your flavour?

Are you a local or have you been to Namibia before? We haven't included all the local treats you can find in Namibia, so let us know what your favourite food was/is in the comment section below if it's not in the list above.

 

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Where to eat: Windhoek Restaurants

  
  

Whether you’re a local on the hunt for a good meal, a business traveller away from home or a safari tourist en route to your next Namibian adventure, you’re sure to find some of the best meals in town in these Windhoek restaurants and cafes.

 

Breakfast in Windhoek

   

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Photo via weckevoigts.com
 

Wecke & Voights

Gustav Voigts Centre, Independence Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 377 000

Smack bang in the center of town, on the bustling Independence Avenue, lies a piece of German history. Wecke & Voigts has been in operation in Namibia since 1892, and is still going strong. Grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a just-made Brötchen (bread roll) or a sweet tooth pastry for a scrumptious morning munch. Don’t forget to try their famous German ‘Rohhack’ Brötchen… And when you’re done with breakfast, you can take a gander through the specialty Wecke & Voigts department store.

 

Utopia

Photo via Fresh n Wild @ Utopia
 

Utopia

64 Nelson Mandela Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 402 007/6

The Utopia Boutique and Medispa lies in the tranquil suburb of Klein Windhoek. The Fresh and Wild restaurant makes a great spot for informal meetings or lazy morning coffees. The food is made using only the freshest and healthiest ingredients. For an even fresher start to the day, try out the celery, apple, cucumber and spirulina detox juice.

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Photo via Panoramio
 

Fresh & Wild Village

The Village, Cnr Liliencron Street and Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 24 0346

Fresh & Wild is an oasis of fresh food in a lush garden in Windhoek. There is also free wifi for those of you who are looking for a morning sanctuary to get some work out the way before hitting the day. 

 The Joy of food 3
Photo via  The Joy of Food
 

The Joy of Food

Unit 9, The Village, Lilencron Street, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 301159

If you’re looking for a good kick-start to your morning, then head to the Joy of Food for a cup of locally brewed Slow Town coffee. The team takes just as much pride in their cuisine as they do in their coffee, so be sure to taste some of their gastronomical delights while you’re sitting in the cool morning shade of the leafy camel thorn trees.

 

 VIntage cafe Tripadvisor
Photo via Tripadvisor
 

Vintage Cafe 

Cnr Luther Street and Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia

If you’ve got kids, this is where you want to head. Most of the restaurant is set in a shaded area outside. There’s a jungle gym, swings and playroom to keep the little ones happy. And plenty of good food and drinks to keep the parents happy…

 
 

Lunch in Windhoek

   

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Photo via Skippy Peanut  
 

Cafe Schneider

Levinson Arcade, Independence Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia

Café Schneider always seems to be busy around lunch hour, with locals in search for a quick bite to eat as it’s conveniently situated in the middle of town. If you’re after the German food flavor for lunch, or just an easy place to have a lunch meeting, this is where its at.

Yaelis
Photo via pinsta.me/myfirstnameisalicia
 

Yaeli's Bistro Health Bar

Maerua Mall, Corner of Jan Jonker and Centaurus Road, Windhoek, Namibia,  +264 81 748 5293 

Get a health blast on the go from this one-of-a-kind Israeli bistro. Freshly baked goods, amazing falafels and taste-bud tingling juices are the order of the day. Don’t forget the coffee! And sneak in a brownie if you can. The food taste so good you’ll still feel guilty… In which case you can just pop back into the gym opposite.

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Photo credit CSMonitor
 

Cemetery Chicken or Kapana in Katutura

It might sound ominous, but its mighty tasty. And don’t worry, “cemetery chicken” gets its name from the location and not the ingredients! If you’re driving down Hochland road pick up some freshly grilled chicken from the side of the street on the corner of Goshawk street. It’s a favourite take away spot for the locals who are zooting around town. And if you like street side BBQs then definitely try Kapana (frilled beef) from one of the many street food stalls in Katutura.

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Photo via NICE.com.na
 

NICE Restaurant & Bar

2 Mozart Street, Cnr. Hosea Kutako Drive, Windhoek, Namibia
+264 61 300 710 

NICE is the Namibian Institute of Culinary Education – a chef finishing school to give up and coming talent an opportunity to hone their skills in the culinary industry. 

 
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Photo via Xwama.com 
 

Xwama

 

Independence Ave, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 210270 

If you’re looking for a traditional Oshiwabo meal, then this is the place to head. When you’re done eating ombidiomagunguoshifima andmatangara, you can browse the crafts of the cultural village. Nestled in the heart of Katutura, you’ll get a taste of the indigenous cultures too.

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Photo via Fismonger's
 

Fishmonger’s

14 Adler Street, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 304583 

If sushi and fresh fish are the  order of the day, head down to Fishmonger’s to satisfy your fishy cravings. Try some grilled Norwegian salmon, sizzling prawns or just grab some take away sushi for a night in. 

 
 

Dinner in Windhoek

   

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Photo via Big Sky Lodges
 

The Olive Exclusive Boutique Hotel

 

22 Promenaden Street, Klein Windhoek, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 23 9199

Not only is The Olive Exclusive a luxury, boutique hotel in a tranquil corner of Windhoek, but it boasts a quality restaurant featuring a seasonal menu, with inventive signature dishes. Not to mention a classic selection of fine whisky at the bar. Another reason why it was voted as one of the “Best new hotels in the world” by Travel & Leisure magazine.

Garnish

Photo via Garnish Restaurant
 

Garnish Restaurant

 

Trift Towers, Trift Street, Windhoek, Namibia,  +264 61 25 8119

Windhoek’s Garnish Restaurant offers the spices and flavours you’d expect from a great Indian kitchen. And with some tasty non-meat dishes, it’s sure to be a hit with the vegetarians. It’s a favourite take-away joint for the locals, but there’s plenty of room if you decide to sit in.
Daisho
Photo via: Daisho
 

Daisho Sushi & Wine Bar 

 

Hebenstreit Ludwigsdof, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 81 431 8434 

Head to the new sushi bar in town, Daisho, for good Japanese Cuisine. Be sure to try the sushi, sashimi and tempura. If you’d rather enjoy the food in the comfort of your own home or hotel room, then give them a shout – they offer take aways and even a delivery service.

Stellenbosch wine bar

Photo via Stellenbosch Wine Bar 
 

The Stellenbosch Wine Bar & Bistro

 

Bougain Villas, 78 Sam Nujoma Drive, Windhoek East, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 309141 

Set in a mini villa space, with beautiful trees and open air tables, Stellenbosch boasts a handpicked selection of private cellar wines from Southern Africa. The restaurant is perhaps as famous for its wine as it is for its delectable steaks – some of Namibia’s finest beef. And if you’re in the mood for some pizza, just head to the sister restaurant next door, “The Tasting Room”.

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Photo via Hotel Heinitzburg 
 

Hotel Heinitzburg

22 Heinitzburg Street, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 24 9597 

Count von Schwerin commissioned castle Heinitzburg for his fiance, Margarethe von Heinitz in 1914. The castle has been beautifully preserved, and has a top notch restaurant with beautiful views of the city to boot. Choose to indulge yourself at the Garden Terrace, the Wine Cellar, the Knights Room or the gourmet restaurant Leo’s at the Castle. Let’s face it, it’s not everyday you get to dine in a castle in the middle of Africa.

describe the image
Photo via Zanzi
 

Zanzi

5530, Claudius Kandovazu Street, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 81 250 1462

In a modified home hidden in Katutura township you’ll find the traditional restaurant, Zanzi. It’s a great way to sample the local food, or just soak up the local atmosphere with a wide range of drinks available at the bar. Zanzi manages to be both cosy and fresh; a great place to hang out with some mates.

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Photo via Joe’s Beerhouse
 

Joe’s Beerhouse

160 Nelson Mandela Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 232 457

Joe’s Beerhouse is an institution. Even if you’re just passing through, you have to have at least one meal there, or at least an ice cold draught of Namibian beer. The many nooks and crannies are safe havens for countless old relics and memorabilia Joe Gross collected over the years on his travels, and some that were to Joe’s by friends and guests. Be sure to have a look around carefully, and ask about them – just about every item has a story. Locals will be happy to hear that they’ve also recently revamped their menu!

The Lüderitz Crayfish Festival

  
  

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The colourful fishing town of Lüderitz is getting ready to hold the annual Crayfish Festival from 30th May to 1st June 2013 - don't miss out!

What to do at the festival

Take a walk around the festival stalls, taste-testing the different crayfish recipes and sauces of our local “masterchefs”, watch them battle it out in a crayfish cooking competition and browse the many stalls of Namibian made products. Take in the harbour views, mix with the friendly locals and enjoy a wonderful ambience of fabulous smells, music & sunshine. Watch naval & police band marches and even a music festival at the local stadium.

The history of the festival  

The Lüderitz community decided to host an annual Crayfish Festival to celebrate the town’s unique sea-life, multi-cultural roots, rich maritime history, and of course, superior quality crayfish. The festival brings together people from Lüderitz, Namibia and the world, and the proceeds of the event go to help the various charities that benefit the less advantaged.  

Her Worship the Mayor and the friendly "Buchters" invite you to join them at this year’s festival!   

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When: 30th  May – 1st  June 2013

Where:  Lüderitz Waterfront, Lüderitz, South West Coast, Namibia

For more information about the festival programme, contact the Lüderitz municipality here. To find out more about Lüderitz and its crayfish, keep reading!

 

 

Photos from The 2012 Lüderitz Crayfish Festival, where many local and international tourists flocked to Luderitz for the festivities, along with The Honourable Prime Minister Geingob.

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Luderitz Namibia map, Namibia events, Namibia events calendar, luderitz crayfish festival, luderitz crayfish, crayfish Namibia, what to do in Namibia, what to see in Namibia, Namibia tourism   Luderitz Namibia map, Namibia events, Namibia events calendar, luderitz crayfish festival, luderitz crayfish, crayfish Namibia, what to do in Namibia, what to see in Namibia, Namibia tourism

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Luderitz Namibia map, Namibia events, Namibia events calendar, luderitz crayfish festival, luderitz crayfish, crayfish Namibia, what to do in Namibia, what to see in Namibia, Namibia tourism

Luderitz Namibia map, Namibia events, Namibia events calendar, luderitz crayfish festival, luderitz crayfish, crayfish Namibia, what to do in Namibia, what to see in Namibia, Namibia tourism 

What are crayfish?  

Well, to be specific, what we call “crayfish” here in Namibia are actually "West Coast Rock Lobster" (Jasus lalandii). The Crayfish Festival is a gastronomical feast of lobsters – if you’ve eaten them before, you’ll know why we go crazy for the firm and slightly sweet lobster tails. Steam them with a little lemon butter, or grill them on the braai (barbeque) and eat them fresh off the flames. Delicious! You might also hear the locals talking about “kreef” which is the Afrikaans word for crayfish.  

What makes Lüderitz crayfish special?  

It's not just marketing hype – the extreme conditions in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Namibia means these Lüderitz crayfish have the upper hand. The strong South Atlantic winds create an upwelling in the ocean that makes for the perfect environment for nutrients and micro-organisms to thrive. In fact, it is estimated that the annual new production of Phytoplankton and Zooplankton in the Benguela system is 30 to 65 times more productive per unit area than the global ocean average.    

Where to eat Lüderitz crayfish  

The festival stalls will be serving up a host of different crayfish delights. But for those looking for a sit-down crayfish meal with fine South African sparkling wine or French Champagne, then try lunch at the Penguin Restaurant at the Lüderitz Nest Hotel.     

Where to stay  

The Crayfish Festival is a very busy time for the fishing town, so if you haven’t already organised accommodation, be sure to book as soon as you can. Click here to find accommodation in Lüderitz.

What to do around Lüderitz

  • Taste some fresh Namibian oysters in between all the crayfish; they’re some of the tastiest in the world!

  • Take a walk around the town to see the early 20th Century German Art Nouveau buildings

  • Get out on the ocean with a Catamaran Marine Tour (email here to book)

  • Visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop (only 10kms from Lüderitz) for a date with history and some incredible photo opportunities

  • Explore the Sperrgebiet National Park, one of Namibia’s newest National Parks that was closed to the public for nearly a century

  • Take a marine cruise from the waterfront to see Dias Point, outlying islands with Namibia’s largest colony of African Penguins (Halifax Island), Heaviside Dolphins, Cape Fur Seals (Seal Island) and sometimes whales. 

  • Desert adventure activities are available including; 4x4 Guided and 4x4 self-drive tours into the vast Namib Naukluft Park to the north and the Tsau //Khaeb (Sperrgebiet National Park) to the south. 

  • Lüderitz is also home to the world’s premier kite and wind surfing speed sailing event, the Lüderitz Speed Challenge, which takes place every year between November to December.     

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Lüderitz architecture

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Kolmanskop

Luderitz Namibia map, Namibia events, Namibia events calendar, luderitz crayfish festival, luderitz crayfish, crayfish Namibia, what to do in Namibia, what to see in Namibia, Namibia tourism

Sperrgebiet 

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Bogenfels

A Taste of Namibia: African-Portugese Inspired Recipe

  
  

Namibia is popular as a business and shopping destination for our Angolan neighbours and many Angolans are based in Namibia, so naturally a bit of African-Portuguese inspiration rubs off on our culture and our cooking. To get your taste of Portugal in Namibia, try out this recipe for pork with thyme and olives taken from “My Hungry Heart: Notes from a Namibian kitchen” by Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrug (and published in Travel News Namibia, which you can download online through our app here)

 

Pork with Thyme & Olives: My Hungry Heart

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Photo by Hentie Burger taken from My Hungry Heart

 

1.5kg deboned pork neck (or leg of pork)

1 large onion, chopped

Sprigs of thume (or dry)

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

8-10 cloves garlic, whole

350g ripe tomatoes (or 1 tin)

125g small pitted black olives

500ml light stock

50g butter

1 bay leaf

15ml oil

Parsley

Seasoning salt

60ml white wine

Black Pepper

125g pitted green olives

 

Preheat oven to 190*C. Wipe the pork with a clean cloth. Make several deep incisions into the meat. Stuff each incision with a sprig of thyme, a clove of garlic and a black olive.

Heat the butter and half of the oil in a frying pan and brown meat all over. Set frying pan aside and place meat in a roasting pan. Season with salt and black pepper and roast for about two hours, basting occasionally, until the juices run clear when the meat pierced with a skewer.

Meanwhile, add remaining olive oil to frying pan and fry the onion slowly until transparent. Add the garlic, tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Add bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Season to taste. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until thick.

Take the meat from the roasting tin. Cut into thick slices. Pour the juices from the tin into a saucepan and skim off the fat. Add the wine and green olives and stir over a low heat. Now add to the tomato sauce in the pan.

Return the sliced meat to the roasting pan. Adjust seasoning. Pout the sauce over the meat and return to the oven for about 2- minutes. Serve with roast potatoes.

Of course, nothing tastes better than eating the real thing on Namibian soil... so start planning your Namibian taste adventure with our handy Travel Planning Guides!

 

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My Hungry Heart: Notes from a Namibian kitchen

Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrug

Photos by Hentie Burger

Text by Christine Hugo

Buy it here

 

 

Fore more recipes, download our Digital Publications app by clicking below:

 


The Sundowner: Six Top Spots to Toast the Sunset

  
  

Life on safari can be chaotic - the 5am wake-up calls; being held up by an elephant plodding in front of your vehicle; travelling to the rhythm of wildlife and weather, rather than the hands of your watch. But there is one thing that remains constant: the welcome, refreshing cocktail every day at dusk. Have a drink as the sun goes down and celebrate all that you have achieved during your day in paradise.

The sundowner can take many forms: a poolside glass of Champagne, gin from a makeshift folding table bar in the middle of the desert, a cold Windhoek Lager popped from an ice chest on the dunes. All are memorable and magical. Here we share some of our favourite sundowner experiences across the country - six places we'd love to be at 6pm each day!

Mowani Lodge

Mowani Lodge Sundowner

Feel like a Flintstone! Sit atop a huge rock and gaze across a boulder-strewn valley as the sun stains the stones a vivid red. Mowani Lodge, located conveniently close to the rock art of Twyfelfontein, offers one of Namibia's most dramatic spots for a sundowner. Lounge on the logs and floor cushions facing the valley, while staff from the boulder-top bar serve you your tipple of choice, and gaze out across the scarlet scenery as the sun sinks behind the distant mountains.

  • Find out more about Mowani Lodge here.

Etosha National Park

Etosha sunset

Wildlife congregates around Etosha's many waterholes as the sun dips and the temperature follows. As the animals quench their thirst after a hot day by the Etosha pan - so can you, from the comfort of your own private deck or lodge bar. Accommodations within the park overlook the waterholes for a truly immersive Africa experience - abundant in elephant, giraffe and various antelope species - but also rhino, lion and jackal. Sit back and watch the wildlife documentary play out in front of you in 3D!

Swakopmund

Swakopmund Sunset

Swakopmund sunset. Photo by coda

The sound of the sea is always soothing - and never more so than after a day spent in some of the world's driest dunes! Fortunately, Swakopmund offers various sea-view locations for your sundowner. Oyster fans will love the Jetty 1905 Restaurant at the end of the pier, or have a sunset dinner at 22 Degrees South, at the foot of the lighthouse. Tiger Reef Bar is right on the beach, and will appeal to party animals. Alternatively, just buy a couple of cold beers and sit yourself down on the sand. Blanket recommended!

Namib Desert

Namib Desert sunset

Watching the Namib Desert at dusk is like stepping into the sunset itself. The sand glows red, the sun-singed grass a luminous blue, the sky is washed with pink and the fairy circles are golden as they catch the dying rays. Mountains loom purple as the moon rises. Sip Namibian wine or South African Amarula and soak up the silence of the rainbow-coloured desert. Once the sun has vanished, don't rush back to your cabin - as that the Namib is one of the best places in the world for stargazing!

Damaraland

Daamraland Sundowner

Damaraland is one of Namibia's bleakest and most haunting regions. Trek out with your guide into the barren, rock-strewn desert, learning about the fauna and flora that miraculously survives in this vast wilderness. As the sun begins to sink, forms appear on the horizon - lodge staff, with chilled drinks and biltong to revive the happy hikers before the trek back to the lodge for dinner. This is one of Namibia's most isolated sundowner spots.

Hilton Skybar, Windhoek

Hilton Windhoek

Windhoek at sunset

All this talk of desert, rocks and emptiness may not appeal to everyone - so when in Windhoek, be sure to stop by its tallest building for a drink on the rooftop bar. The Windhoek Hilton is located downtown and served cocktails every day at dusk - surrounded by a lively crowd, swimming pool and views across Namibia's capital city.

More great sunset photos from our friends

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Sunrise over the Zambezi, Katima Mulilo from Robert @Rob_JB

 

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Sundowner view, Avis Dam, Windhoek from Swa Safaris

 

sunset namibia, chobe river, caprivi namibia

Chobe River sunset from Matt @Landlopers

 

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Etosha skies from Vicki @LaNomadita

 

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Five Reasons to Book a Township Tour in Namibia

  
  

Most visitors come to Namibia for its wide open spaces, its magnificent landscapes and its abundant wildlife. But on your way across this vast country, it's always worth spending a morning taking a tour of quite a different kind - in a township.

1. See the Real Namibia

Market in Katutura

Soweto Market, Katutura

Namibia's emptiness is breathtaking - but of course, the majority of Namibians are not found in the vast desert expanses. If you really want to discover what daily life is like, you need to spend some time in town. In both Windhoek and Swakopmund, more people inhabit the townships than the cities themselves, and they are growing much more rapidly. Though their dark past goes back to the apartheid era, the townships are now thriving communities with their own market places, nightlife, restaurants - and even malls - and a township tour is a safe and educational way to discover the culture here.

2. Sample Traditional Food

Traditional Namibian food

Xwama Cultural Village Restaurant, Katutura

Braais, biltong and game steaks are delicious, and you are sure to have your fill in Namibia's restaurants and lodges. But for a more traditional taste of Namibia, you need to step outside the tourist hotspots. Township tours often include a some taster dishes - including mahangu (millet) porride, bean soup, and ekaka - a delicious wild spinach. The brave can try the Smiley Head (a whole goat head!) or the infamous mopane worms - spicy, fried and surprisingly tasty. Don't miss out on a glass of homebrew omalovu beer!

3. Find out What is Inside a Herero Lady's Hat!

Herero dress

Tour of Mondesa, near Swakopmund

A visit to a Herero home is an opportunity for a fascinating cultural exchange. The Herero follow two religions - Christianity and they traditional "Holy Fire", and they are also polygamous, although the first wife is allowed to choose subsequent wives so they are all friends (or even sisters!). During your chat, be sure to inquire about the Herero's unusual clothes - military uniform for men, and striking, colorful Victorian-style dresses for women. More importantly, be sure to ask what the strange, horned hats represent - and what is inside them!

4. Get a Crash Course in Clicks

Click language lesson

Language lesson in a Nama household, Mondesa

The Damara and Nama people speak using clicks, and before entering their homes you will be taught how to greet them in the local language, so get ready to click away! As if remembering a new word wasn't difficult enough, there are four types of click, and using the wrong one can change the meaning of the word entirely!

5. Give Something Back

Community projects

Community project in the Democratic Resettlement Community (DRC), Swakopmund

Tour companies operating in the townships support the people who live there, and part of each tour fee is invested in community projects such as kindergartens; paying the local families involved in the tour; and supporting local initiatives, such as handcraft workshops with womens groups.

On the edge of the townships there are "informal settlements" originally intended as temporary shelters for those arriving from rural areas, but many have become more permanent settlers in these areas which lack basic facilities such as electricity, and are dependent on shared water sources. These areas in particular are supported by the tour operators, who may be funding community centres, education and health initiatives for Namibia's poorest residents. Your guide will be able to tell you more about how your chosen tour company is involved.

The two tour operators below are highly recommended:

Katu Tours - Bike tours of Katutura township, outside Windhoek

  • Tours departs at 8:30am Tuesday to Sunday (3-12 people), clients must arrive 30 minutes earlier.

  • Starting/ending point: Penduka Project at Goreangab Dam, Katutura (See Map below)

  • The tour takes 3.5 hours and covers a total distance of around 7km at a relaxed pace. 

Hata Angu Cultural Tours - tours of Mondesa township, outside Swakopmund

  • The tour incorporates visits to the houses of Nama, Damara and Herero people, a shebeen and a restaurant serving Owamb food, for a complete cultural experience.

  • Daytime and evening tours are available.

  • You will be collected from your accommodation in Swakopmund and driven to Mondesa.

A Taste of Namibia: Kamanjab Steaks

  
  

A quintessential Namibian experience is the family braai or barbecue, but not just anyone can man the grill - it needs to be the braaimaster, and their skills will be on trial!

If you want to make the cut with your Namibian friends, try this recipe for Kamanjab Steaks, taken from My Hungry Heart by Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrug (and published in Travel News Namibia, which you can download online thorugh our app here)

Kamanjab steaks, Namibia

You'll need 2kg of venison steak (or any other steak if you don't have venison). You can use cuts from the loin, leg (topside or silverside) and shoulder, but you can really use any cut, since the tenderising and marinade ensure that it is always soft.

Marinade

  • 30 ml mustard powder

  • 30 ml barbecue spice

  • 60 ml lemon juice

  • 60 ml oil

Sauce

  • 50ml butter

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 125g bacon, chopped

  • 100g mushrooms, chopped

  • 250ml cream/milk

  • 30g cake flour

  • 50ml mayonnaise

  • 50ml chutney

Cut steaks (two per person) into 1cm-thick slices and beat with a mallet to tenderize the meat.

Cover steaks with olive oil and juice. Sprinkle with mustard powder and barbecue sauce. The steak can remain in this marinade for 3-4 days.

In a very hot, metal steak pan on the fire or on a gas hob, fry the steaks in searing hot butter for 30-60 seconds on each side to seal.

To make the sauce, fry the onions, bacon and mushrooms together in the same steak pan until tender. Mix all the other ingredients together and add to the pan. Stir to thicken.

Place the meat into an oven proof dish, cover with the sauce and keep warm until you are ready to eat.

Grab a Windhoek Lager, and enjoy!

Fore more recipes, download our Digital Publications app by clicking below:

A Taste of Namibian Wine at Kristall Kellerei

  
  

Located between Namibia’s national capital - Windhoek - and adventure capital - Swakopmund - is the small artists' community of Omaruru. Turning off the highway, visitors are immediately greeted by twisting knots of wood, several meters high, carved into elephants and giraffes; photographers' galleries; and pleasant, shaded cafes. Omaruru is a unique Namibian town with a not-so-well-kept secret: a picturesque vineyard with internationally renowned wines and spirits.

Kristall Kellerei is tucked away in a grove of tall trees, a few minutes drive from Omaruru town center. The winery was founded in 1990, the first year of Namibian independence, and yielded it’s first bottle of wine five years later. Since 2008, Kristall Kellerei has been owned and operated by Michael and Katrin Weder, both self-taught wine makers.

Kristall Kellerei Colombar Grapes Omaruru Namibia Kristall Kellerei Omaruru Namibia Wine Tours

As you can expect, winegrowing is not the easiest task amidst a landscape known for dryness and extreme fluctuations of heat and cold. The Weders believe, however, that this Namibian environment makes the wine unique: “the grapes are fighters.”

Along with a red blend of Ruby Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tinta Barocca called “The Paradise Flycatcher”, the idyllic 4 hectare vineyard produces a crisp, white Colombard grape, traditionally used in parts of France for distilling of brandies. Kristall Kellerei’s bottled Colombard is light and dry with spicy fruit notes. It’s been a hit with wine lovers the world over: about 10,000 bottles of red and white are produced each year. The grapes are harvested from January-March, and the small staff of locals – including the Weders - completes every aspect of the distilling process by hand.

Kristall Kellerei’s products don’t end with wine. Those looking for something stronger will be pleased to sip on the local spicy nappa ("Namibian grappa") or the prickly-pear schnapps called Matisa (“how are you?” in the local Nama language) derived from the fruits of the cacti on the property.

Kristall Kellerei Wine Tour Namibia

Kristall Kellerei is open from 8am to 4:30pm Monday-Friday, and on Saturday from 8am to 12:30pm. All winery tours are personally given by Michael or Katrin, and include a walk through the grounds; an in-depth explanation of the growing process; a peek into Namibia’s only wine cellar; and – if you’re lucky – some quality time with the pearl-spotted owl that watches over the place. Tastings of both the wine and spirits are available at the end of the tour, and light lunch of local meats and cheeses can also be prepared with advance request.

For those unable to make the journey to Omaruru, Kristall Kellerei’s products are available at bottle shops (liquor stores) throughout Windhoek and Swakopmund. Their handy 500ml size makes a perfect portable gift.

Contact Kristall Kellerei for more information about the tour, seasonal activities, or to arrange a longer stay at their self-catering accommodation located onsite.

What Makes Namibian Oysters So Special?

  
  

Fresh oysters in Namibia

For most people, the words "Namibian cuisine" probably conjure up images of a succulent springbok steak, a bag of cured kudu biltong or perhaps even the infamous fried mopane worm - chewy and spicy. But one of Namibia's greatest culinary treats is surely more associated with Parisian restaurants and Champagne than with Africa: the oyster.

However, visitors to our coast would beg to differ that the French have all the fun when it comes to the original aphrodisiac. Served in beachside restaurants from Swakopmund to Lüderitz, the fresh, local oysters are best eaten raw, with lemon, pepper or a few drops of tabasco to truly appreciate their subtle marine flavour. Slightly more squeamish customers can try a cooked dish, such as oysters Rockefeller.

But the best oyster experience has to be out at sea, within sight of the oyster "nurseries" themselves. Boat tours leaving daily from Walvis Bay cruise past the seal colonies, hungry pelicans and playful dolphins to the mouth of the bay, where blue flotation barrels bob in the waves. Tied beneath the barrels are baskets filled with succulent oysters. A single oyster can filter an incredible 30 liters of water an hour to feast on plankton, so it is essential that the seawater can circulate freely. For this reason, the baskets are raised and thoroughly washed every six weeks, removing algae, barnacles and limpets which can stop the oysters feeding. On board, the captain serves trays of fresh oysters with lemon wedges - which spoiled passengers can wash down with glasses of ice-cold sparkling wine, surrounded by views of the bay and leaping dolphins. The bracing sea breeze certainly helps work up an appetite!

Walvis Bay boat tour with oysters

Passengers enjoy a tray of fresh oysters on Mola-Mola's boat tour of Walvis Bay

So how did a species which can only breed in warm water come to thrive in Namibia's chilly seas, with an average temperature of just 14 degrees centigrade? Originally, the oysters were all bred in and then imported from Chile, and allowed to mature in Namibia. More recently, a heated aquarium in Swakopmund means that they are now bred locally, before being transferred to the ocean baskets.

But why go to all that effort to farm oysters outside their natural habitat? It turns out that Namibia's cold Benguela Current is the secret... While a classic French oyster takes three years to grow, Namibian oysters can be harvested after just eight months! The cold water contains more oxygen and plankton, allowing for super speedy growth. Our oysters are exported across the globe - but there's nowhere you can eat them quite as fresh as in Namibia - on a boat, a jetty, or during a romantic sunset meal.

Oysters in Swakopmund

A bowl of oysters is served in a Swakopmund restaurant

Information:

  • Join a tour in Lüderitz to find out what happens before the oysters reach the table. Tours start at the processing factory and end with an optional tasting with wine at the Oyster Bar.

  • Take a boat tour in Walvis Bay - see the barrels where the oysters grow, and eat fresh oysters on board your boat as it bobs around in the ocean breeze.

  • Enjoy a sunset meal at Swakopmund's Jetty 1905 restaurant - live and cooked oysters are a specialty along with other seafood treats. The restaurant is at the end of the pier so diners will enjoy glorious views as well as the sound of the waves crashing beneath them.

  • The Lighthouse restaurant overlooks the beach in Swakopmund, and also serves fresh oyster platters in an informal setting.

5 Things I Love (and Miss) Most About Namibia

  
  

I journeyed to the United States for the first time as part of a delegation of 14 Namibians hosted by Austin Lehman Adventures with stops at the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in Wyoming; Monterey, California; and Washington, D.C., to work in the US headquarters office of WWF

I have loved every minute of being in America, but there are some things I miss about Namibia. I’m certain they are things that you, as a tourist visiting my country, would love.

The feeling that everyone is family in Namibia. When you live in country of only 2 million people, you get know your neighbors. In my culture, neighbors are known to be a backbone, the first people you call to celebrate a birthday, or to grieve with. Your neighbor’s friends and family members automatically became part of your life.

The circle of family starts with neighbors and thereafter grows into a bond that is unbreakable. I personally believe this one of the reason why Namibians are friendly and helpful at all times. From childhood they learn to open up to strangers.

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The wide open space. One of the things I really appreciate about Namibia is the wide open space. You can drive for hours without seeing people or any buildings! Every time I have a chance to drive out of the city – such as to the Nye Nye Conservancy in the north, where I work frequently – it’s a blessing.

From the moment I leave the capital of Windhoek, I start seeing the changes in landscape immediately. Short-grass plains turn into shrubs, which evolve into trees the more northerly we go. I see wide expanses of land, I can spy the top of mountains, I can peer into the sky as far as it will go. And when it gets dark, I could stare into the night sky for hours watching the stars.

The ease of shopping in Windhoek. America is known for its amazing shopping malls – which are large and can feel overwhelming. I prefer the personalized simplicity of buying items in Windhoek’s shopping areas. The stores aren’t too crowded, you have a good number of choices, and it’s at a relaxed pace.

The “kapana.”  After a morning of shopping at Wheaton Mall in suburban Maryland, my friend Oscar and I went to eat lunch at a food court.  As we entered, we were greeted by waiters carrying trays with samples of different types of foods – spicy Thai meats, sweet and sour Chinese chicken, little wedges of pizza.

That immediately reminded me of Namibia’s Single Quarters, which is an open-air market in the Katatura township in Windhoek. The market is famous for its kapana. Locally known as “outete,” this dish consists of flame-grilled beef or lamp chopped into medium-sized chunks. It’s served with a spicy sauce of onions and tomatoes. To help you make up your mind which vendor sells the best kapana, you can stop and try different samples. The cooks invite you to their stands to try a taste.

And the best part of kapana? This meal is not restricted to any specific time of day. You can eat it anytime! Most people will have it for breakfast after a night of heavy partying. It’s believed that the chili that accompanies the dish can help you beat a hangover!

The well-protected wildlife conservancies. When I spent time in the Western United States, I met members of the Crow Nation from a reservation in rural Montana. These wonderful Native American people told us about their connection with Mother Nature and how that has been passed along from generation to generation – how their rivers and mountains and grassy plains all bear names with cultural significant to the Crow Nation.

It surprised me to find people in America who were connected to their land the way we are in Namibia. The way the Native people spoke about their land reminded me of Namibia conservancies program, in which we work to protect wildlife and wild spaces (which then has the added benefit of attracting tourists and boosting our local economies). Helping the people who run conservancies is my job with WWF-Namibia, and it’s an honor to be a part of a great program that fights poverty and conserves our natural resources.

I miss the wonderful people who work hard to support our conservancies and the heartfelt locals who live in the conservancies. I saw the same spirit in the faces of the Crow Nation people that I met that I see in my Namibian brothers back home.

photoMartha Mulokoshi is a World Wildlife Fund project officer based in Windhoek, Namibia. Her role is to support tourism business development and bolster communal conservancies in establishing viable joint ventures with private partners. She also supports business enterprise efforts of a nonprofit organization that aims to socially and economically empower the San people in the rural Nyae Nyae Conservancy in northeast Namibia (the first conservancy in the country).

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