What to drink in Namibia?

Namibia – the land of extreme temperatures. It can be excruciatingly hot or freezing cold. To beat the summer heat or to fill up on something warm during winter, I present you with a guide on what to drink in Namibia. Throughout the country, you have numerous options, from alcoholic to non alcoholic, or traditional drinks to enjoy.

Namibians are a culture who love their beer. I would like to start you off with Windhoek Lager. A beer brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot of 1516, using only malted barley, hops and water. It is widely available and is the perfect thirst quencher on a hot summer day. Key here – it should be ice cold. I would like to quote the MD of Namibia Breweries Mr. Hendrik van der Westhuizen about his love for Windhoek beer: “To me, the essence of Namibia is captured in liquid form in each 330 ml bottle of beer.”

Windhoek Lager

Windhoek Lager

Beer is loved so much in Namibia that some dishes are even made with it. An example of this is beer bread or the very famous Beer-can chicken. (This is a story for another day) The Windhoek brand is available in a Lager, Draught and Windhoek Light. Other beers commonly available in Namibia include the famous Tafel Lager, Hansa, Club Shandy, Heineken, Amstel Lager, DAS Pilsner, Guiness and Urbock.

Camelthorn is a local brewery established in 2009 which name derives from the Namibian Camelthorn tree. They have a variety of beers available for you to choose from and even a “Fresh” Weissbeer for the ladies with a low alcohol content, no sugar and no artificial colourants.

Camelthorn beer

Camelthorn beer

A product you are going to love and probably get addicted to is a refreshing Namibian soft drink Called Vigo. It comes in two fantasticly exotic flavours – namely Marula and Wild Orange. Made from malt, this drink will make your tastebuds bounce from excitement. (Malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried in a process known as “malting”)

Vigo

Vigo

Let us stick to the Marula for a moment. The Marula tree is indigenous to the north of Namibia and plays a very important role not only to animals but humans as well. The bark of the tree is stripped by elephants, and the leaves eaten by various animals. The fruit contains a high percentage of vitamin C. This is a great source of nutrition for animals, humans and is also used in a whole range of products.

The marula fruit is used to make a South-African drink called Amarula, a favorite among the ladies. Its a velvety creamy liqueur and the perfect sundowner drink served with crushed ice. When sitting with friends, having a bash, ask the barman for the very famous Springbokkie. It’s a shooter, with 1 part Peppermint liqueur and 1 part Amarula. Bottoms up….

Marula fruit and Springbokkie

Marula fruit and Springbokkie

Other drinks made from fruits you will find at a Oshiwambo settlement is whiskey or rather schnaps called Ombike. Its made from the fruit of the Makalani tree and is distilled to a very strong type of shnapps. My Oshiwambo friends however gave this information to me with the following important advice. When drinking Ombike, make sure you have enough water, headache stillers and a pair of sunglasses for the next morning. It is a very strong type of shnaps that makes you lean…. against tables, chairs, and in the end you fall over.

There are various other types of traditional drinks widely available around the country. It just depends on which region you are in. The Oshiwambo people make their own beer with mahangu (type of cereal) and it’s called Epwaka. The tombo version of beer made with mahangu however is a very strong beer that will also leave you with laughter but with regret the next morning. Another form is Oshikundu a yeasty-tasting millet beer that is brewed and drunk the same day.

Mahangu plant and Oshikundu mix

Mahangu plant and Oshikundu Mixture

In the Caprivi region, opt for a beer called Munati when you roam amongst the locals. Please remember to first find out about traditions and rules before just entering a settlement. Various cultures in our country feel very strongly about how you approach them, how you dress and behave when visiting their houses.

After all this drinking, laughing and partying, you will need a booster in the form of an energy drink. We have our own energy soft drink called Wuma (powered by EES). Who is EES you might ask? EES is our proudly home grown Namibian German rapper and kwaito artist. This Vitamin enriched energy drink is just the thing to get your gears back in place after a long night of shenanigans.

WUMA (powered by Ees)

WUMA (powered by Ees)

When staying over at a Gondwana Collection lodge, the house wine is the Grootepos brand from vineyards in the Western Cape, South-Africa. The range of wine is full bodied and soft with a unique taste of freshness. Gondwana Collection also boasts with their own bottled water available all the Gondwana lodges.Stampriet in the Kalahari is a place that is fortunate to have artesian water and at the Kalahari Farmhouse this gift is utilised by the Self Sufficiency centre where water is derived from a huge water reservoir underneath the Kalahari Dunes.

Kalahari Desert

Kalahari Desert

In Omaruru, in the Erongo region, lies another water source of its own kind exists. Oasis Natural Mineral water is a brand available in Still or Sparkling water. This is not where it ends. You can also enjoy the Oasis soft drink range in flavours of Orange, Grapefruit, a zesty Lemon, a herbal lemonade called FarmDudler or sip on a NamCola.

Oasis

Oasis

During winter time, Gluhwein is your companion. This Hot Mulled Wine is typically made from red wine, citrus and an assortment of spices like cloves.

Enjoy your time in Namibia.

This is not the only drinks available in our country. There are various imported products from all over the world, and our fridges are stocked with your favourites.

Alcohol is not for sale to persons under the age of 18 and driving under the influence is not permitted in Namibia. If you are wondering how to keep your beer and drinks cold in this very hot weather during summer, go to our camping tips.

That’s it from me.

No wait. I forgot something. Jagermeister!! This herbal liqueur is made from more than 50 herbs and spices, including citrus peel, poppy seeds, anise and juniper berries, filtered and mixed with caramel, alcohol and water. It’s a very famous and unique drink from Germany but should be served ice-cold. As we say in Namibia: Prost.

Jagermeister

Jagermeister

Tell me about your favourite Namibian drink.

When was the last time you had a true Namibian drink?

Leave a comment below.

Compiled by :

Jessica Schoombee

Jessica Thomas is a local freelance writer. She is an eccentric young lady who has a love affair with writing. Get on board her journey of discovery.

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What to do in Namibia?

What to do in Namibia? This is a very valid question to ask but also very difficult to answer. There is just so much to do! If I have to tell you about everything when travelling in Namibia, by the time you are done reading, you will be too tired to even think of going on a holiday. I have handpicked interesting ones for you to choose from.

Encounter the heartbeat of the Canyon on a Mule Trail

The Fish River Canyon is a place that speaks directly to your soul. Located in the south of Namibia, the Canyon is the second largest in the world and the biggest in Africa. This indescribable stretch of beauty is 160 km wide, 27 km wide and at some places it reaches a depth of 550 m. The true impact of this serene and beautiful landscape is only felt once you stand on the edge and cast your eyes over the horizon.

2. DSC_7646

Discover the magnificence on a mule trail with friends and family. A canyon exquisitely carved by the patient hands of time. A team of sturdy mules carries gear to the camps nestled on riverbanks or positioned on the edge of eternity. Skip stones, take a dip in the river or decipher animal tracks in the sand. When night descends, sit around the fire under a dome of stars – relishing wilderness.

Discover the Namib Desert

Take a walk along a Namib Dune trail

The Namib Desert, meaning vast place in Nama (native language), is one of oldest and largest deserts in the world. It’s the perfect place to set your heart free.

Namib Desert

Namib Desert

Follow a rich, red dune trail, edged by fossilised dunes, in one of the oldest deserts in the world. Discover the abundance of life in the desert: white lady spiders spin silken homes, beetles and lizards glisten in the sunlight. Golden moles leave sand ribbons in their wake and gemsbok peep heads over sandy ridges. The trail leads to Namib Dune Camp with views of the sublime landscape where ripples of sand extend to grassy plains and purple mountains, in a medley of subtle hues. Roll your bed out onto the deck of your cabin to savour the Namib night. Let the desert magic stir your soul.

Adventure in the sand

This legendary landscape houses some of the highest dunes in the world and is an adventure Mecca. Sand/dune boarding will endow you with unimaginable entertainment. Grab a dune board and start to make your way down at a speed of up to 50 km p/h as the wind brushes through your hair. It’s daring, it’s fast and it’s fun.

Take a walk through nature on a walking trail

Hiking in Namibia

Hiking in Namibia

Feel the good Namibian earth underfoot. Stretch legs and souls on our walking trails and become acquainted with the land. Some of the greatest journeys begin with a simple step and the best seats are often on the mountain tops. Away from the bustle of civilization, time slows down. Agamas sun themselves on rocks, birds flit through the vegetation and camelthorn trees adorn themselves with crescent-shaped pods. Breathe in the clear air and rejuvenating energy of the land. If you are looking for a camping trip tip, click here.

Mountain Biking excursion

For the more adventurous, rediscover freedom while weaving through the granite hills of Klein Aus Vista. The 4th annual Klein Aus- Vista MTB Challenge will take place over on 2 & 3 May 2014 and will consist of 2 stages. Click here to get an entry form.

MountainBiking

Mountain Biking

A series of routes offer excitement and adventure for the intermediate and advanced mountain bike enthusiast. Meandering dry river courses, rugged valleys and orange-tinted granite-gneiss outcrops characterise the terrain while the lofty heights – reaching altitudes of 1250-1700m – offer vistas of the Pro-Namib where the desert dances with the grassy plains. Keep eyes open for klipspringer, kudu and Rock hyrax in the hills, springbok on the plains and Black eagles that circle the sky, celebrating boundless freedom

Nature Drives

Namibia definitely has it all. There are endless landscapes, enriching cultures, opportunities to discover memories, but also the mysterious beauty of wildlife. What more do you want?

Elephants in the Bwabwata National Park

Elephants in the Bwabwata National Park

Seize the opportunity to experience sunset amidst the red sand dunes of the Kalahari, the throne of ancient fossilised dunes in the Namib and the vast and lovely Gondwana Canyon Park. Or, take a trip through one of the most diverse biomes on earth in the Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park, the wildlife haven of Etosha or the Bwabwata National Park in the Zambezi, where gentle rivers of life merge with African bush. This is time to sit back, relax and let the guides lead you into wonderland.

Gondwana Collection Namibia recommends:

Savanna Car Hire 

savanna car hire

Caprivi Car Hire

Caprivi Car Hire

Photo- fari ….

Namibia is a photographer’s play den. The perfect destination to go on a photo safari, or Photo-fari as I like to call it.

 Gondwana Publicity Shoot

Capture every moment of your discovery through your cameras lens. Around the next corner and under a stone, an opportunity to sight the incredible lurks. Each area has its own surprise just waiting to astonish you. There’s a contrast of sky and ocean holding hands, a lion protecting its pride, a villager greeting you with a smile or the romantic sun setting over a herd of grazing springbok.

River Excursions 

Hakusembe river excursion

Hakusembe River Excursion

Let the waterworld of the Kavango and Zambezi regions lull you into peaceful reverie. In the northeastern corner of the country, lush vegetation balances desert extremes and waterways wind through bush savannah. The melodic sound of bird calls wafts through the day, to be joined in the evening by the chiming of reed frogs and the grunting of hippos. Glimpse villagers rowing their bwato and fishing on the riverbanks from the Hakusembe River Queen and hop aboard a boat at Namushasha to explore the lush waterways of the Kwando River. Water lilies brighten the channels and waterbirds fly up into glossy trees. The peace of the river permeates your being.

Fishing

The Namibian coastline is considered as one of the best angling spots in the world. Spend a day on a fishing safari or simply go for some rock & shore angling. Try your hand at catching steenbras, catfish, barbel, galjoen and blacktail. For tigerfishing, the Caprivi will fulfil your wish to spend a day with the water as your companion.

Traditional Village Excursions

Namibia is rich in culture throughout.

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

A bushy path leads from Namushasha River Lodge to a traditional heritage centre under the boughs of a great, old baobab tree. As if on a treasure hunt, colourful information boards along the way provide exciting clues to understanding the natural river bounty and the intriguing Caprivian way of life. Rich detail, encompassing diverse topics such as musical instruments, hippos, fishing, basketry and traditional healers, is complemented by the Caprivians themselves who welcome you warmly to their village under domes of sweet-smelling thatch. Be prepared for song, dance and laughter.

 

 

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What Food to eat when in Namibia?

Food. What is the true meaning of this? Is it a grilled steak served on a bed of steamed rice with garlic butter on the side? A freshly tossed salad with just a hint of rosemary tickling your taste buds? Or perhaps that double chocolate cake from the café on the corner with the extra cream? Regardless of your culture, tradition, country of origin, or the language you speak; food is the one thing we all have in common. It’s the GPS when you are lost in translation.

Let me take you through the best Namibia has to offer to tempt your senses. They say when in Rome, do as the Romans do and walk like an Egyptian. Here in our country we say: ”When in Namibia, eat like the Namibians “.

Get your appetite and napkins. I want to take you on a tour from the South to the North of Namibia on a lip smacking food tour.

Our first stop is the beautiful main city of Namibia, Windhoek. We are having lunch at the nearest café we can find. The road to the south is long and we need something to kill the hunger pains. Order yourself a Brötchen. If it doesn’t say Brötchen on the menu you are at the wrong café. A Brötchen is a true Namibia gem meaning bread roll in German. Although it’s originally from Germany, in Namibia it has a unique taste and texture of its own. It’s as if Namibians have a secret ingredient.

Whether you order it with cheese and ham or something sweet, just make sure you have one. If you are very hungry and a Brötchen will simply not do, try a Wiener Schnitzel (meat without bones that has been hammered flat, rolled in flour, egg and crumbs. It is then grilled in a pan.)

schnitzel

If you are staying over in Windhoek, a cultural tour to Katatura should be on your bucket list. Visit the Xwama Cultural Village for traditional food like Tripe, Wild Spinach and Mopanie worms.

Now we are ready to get on the road heading south.

We are stopping at Kalahari Anib Lodge for a bowl of sweet potato soup. The lodge is ideally located between immensely red dunes, 30km south of Mariental. If soup is not really your thing, try the Boerewors wrapped in bacon, starter. It has a contrasting taste that will confuse your tongue but you’ll like it.

Sweet potato soup & Bacon wrapped sausage

Sweet potato soup & Bacon wrapped sausage

Let’s scoot over to Kalahari Farmhouse, located in the midst of the Kalahari in the valley of the Auoab River near Stampriet. It’s where goodness grows. Literally! Here you will find livestock, dairy, a cheesary and butchery. It’s the ideal spot to have a fresher than the leaves in the jungle salad called the Farmhouse salad. Every ingredient is grown on the farm. Even the Feta cheese is freshly made at the cheesary.

To add a bit of Italian flair to your Namibian holiday, the Farmhouse Pizza is a perfect choice.

Farmhouse salad & Farmhouse pizza

Farmhouse salad & Farmhouse pizza

We are taking on the road to the historical Fish River Canyon and stopping at the Canyon Village in Southern Namibia. We have 3 stops in this area and thus I am starting you off with something small. We are having a traditional serving of Vetkoek & Curried Mince. A vetkoek is deep fried bread dough and can be served with mince or something sweet like syrup.

Vetkoek with curried mince

Vetkoek with curried mince

Wipe your mouth because we are moving on.

The next delight is waiting, a mere 13 km’s further on at the interestingly decorated Canyon Roadhouse.

If you are not that hungry, an oryx sosatie (meat on a skewer, usually with vegetables in-between) is just the thing to nibble on. For the more ravenous, try the famous Roadhouse burger and chips. Compliment it with an ice-cold true Namibian beer brewed by the German “RheinheitsGebot”. For dessert, the legendary Roadhouse Amarula Cheesecake is an absolute must.

Image by : Tanya Meyer

Image by : Tanya Meyer

The compass directs us to Canyon Lodge, located in a romantic setting of granite boulders. We are just in time for cake and tea. On today’s menu is Carrot Cake. This mouth-watering dessert has a rich texture and is soft on the tongue.

Carrot cake

Carrot cake

The road we are taking next leads to the charmingly situated Desert Horse Inn located amongst the Aus Mountains. They are famous for using Rooibos buchu tea in dishes, drinks and desserts. The delectable Rooibos beef and Apricot casserole will leave you asking for more. If you want a taste of seafood, try the Rooibos rubbed Kingklip. The perfect companion to your meal is Rooibos Buchu Ice Cream with a maizemeal cardamom crumble. What a mouthful of yummy all rolled into one sitting.

Image by: Tanya Meyer

Image by: Tanya Meyer

For a mouth-watering seafood experience, visit the colourful coastal town of Luderitz. The oysters are fresh all year round.

The next stop is Namib Desert Lodge located at the foot of the fossilised dunes on the edge of the Namib. Here you have to try the very traditional Bobotie (Pronounced BOE-BO-TEA). What makes the dining experience at Namib Desert Lodge so special is the restaurant. The Namibian heat can be excruciatingly hot, but this open plan restaurant stays naturally cool, making it the perfect place to enjoy your meal.

If you are thinking of camping or doing a self drive tour, Gondwana Collection Namibia recommends:

Caprivi Car Hire

Caprivi Car Hire

Savanna Car Hire

savanna car hire

Another excellent address for fresh seafood in Namibia is Swakopmund. Rock lobster is available in season between 1 November and 30 April. For an absolute full of flavour fish, Galjoen is the word to remember. It is also known as a black bream and is quite an acquired taste. You either hate it or love. It’s a must try though.

Do I have you hungry and in the mood for travelling now? For tips on travelling in Namibia, visit our Travel Tips Namibia Part 1 and Part 2 blog entries.

Where are we heading? Straight to the heart of Damaraland. To the beautiful Damara Mopane Lodge nestled between vast gardens. It’s the ideal gateway to the fantastic sightings of Twyfelfontein and the Vingerklip rock stack. Curious as to what we are having?

We start with a malodorous smoked meat salad on a divan of lettuce generously sprinkled with Feta cheese.

Smoked meat salad

Smoked meat salad

For dessert it’s Apricot Flammerie. What do you suppose is the main ingredient? Its maizemeal. This dessert consists of a mixture of various cooked ingredients like milk and sugar, whipped cream, maize meal and apricots. When the mixed ingredients have reached boiling point, is placed in forms to cool down.

Its time to hit the road and head on over to Etosha. Let’s take a look at what they are dishing up. One thing that is important to remember in Namibia, game meat is served in a lot of places. Like the game meatballs and tomato sauce you will find at Etosha Safari Lodge or Quiche- Lorraine Etosha-style. For this dish, the beef is replaced with game. As I mentioned earlier about the galjoen, game meat is one of those things you just have to try. The taste doesn’t quite play on everybody’s TV but at least you tried it.

Next stop: Etosha Safari Camp. The restaurant is ”shebeeningly” decorated with cultural furnishings. Before you sit down and order, get your camera’s gears rolling and snap the objet d’art around.

As you might know, Namibia is known for maize, maizemeal or maize porridge. In Afrikaans we call it Mieliepap. At Etosha Safari Camp, mieliepap is cooked along with a variety of vegetables, pieces of steak, and topped with cheese to form the most delectable savoury dish. It’s filling and very tasty.

For dessert and if in season, the SpikyGherkin Cheesecake is so invitingly divine you will not be able to stop eating. No. Don’t worry. The cheesecake is not made of gherkins. In Afrikaans it’s called Gemsbok komkommer cheesecake. It’s a type of cucumber slash gherkin, that you find in the wild and is indigenous to Namibia. It almost has the texture of the cucumber you are used to.

Cocktail

Cocktail

To cool off from the summer heat, have an invitingly colourful cocktail. For an exotic island feeling, Piña colada is always a good option or something blue to compliment the red and purple of the setting sun. Doesn’t that sound like a great day?

I hope you’re stomach isn’t too full yet. We still have 2 destinations of delectable cuisine to visit.

I want to make a quick stop en route to our next destination for an absolute favourite of mine. We are popping in at a Biltong shop for some true Namibian style snacks for the road. Biltong is a delicacy made from fine cuts of meat, marinated and spiced with only the finest ingredients. It is then hung to dry for about 3 weeks. Most people in Namibia are very particular about their biltong especially the people who make it. Year old traditional recipes are used for the marinating process. To make this experience much more pleasant – get some true salted farm butter at a local grocery store. Put a small scrape of butter on every bite of biltong. Yumm – mmy

Our journey takes us to the beautiful Okovango region to Hakusembe River Lodge. You would expect I want to tell you about the fish to eat here. No. We are putting our mouths to a very scrumptious Eland Steak (game). Its flame grilled to perfection and served with creamed spinach, freshly grown in the Hakusembe gardens. Apparently the preparation of the steak is what makes it so absolutely heavenly. I would love to share it with you, but the chef says it’s a secret. I did everything to get it out of him. I searched his cell phone, computer, and his note book. I am guessing there is wine involved, because I saw a bottle suspiciously chucked away in a corner. W.C Fields once said – I love to cook with wine, and sometimes I even add it to my food.

Eland steak

Eland steak

We have arrived at our last stop. The beautifully situated Namushasha River Lodge. It’s the place where nature meets you with a handshake and a kiss on the forehead. Here you can simply relax while listening to wildlife deep in conversation with its neighbours across the river.

Enjoy a variety of delicacies to choose from at the buffet. Something for everyone’s taste.

Sit on the deck overlooking life’s treasure while sipping on something cool. Let us end this tasty journey with a delectable chocolate dessert and forget all about our worries in the world.

Chocolate dessert

Chocolate dessert

What a journey it has been. Enjoy Namibia, its food and its people. If you are wondering how to book your holiday to Namibia click here.

See what the Gondwana Collection Facebook fans had to say about their favorite Namibian dish.

See you soon.

Written by :

Jessica Schoombee

Jessica Thomas  is a local freelance writer. She is an eccentric young lady who has a love affair with writing. Get on board her journey of discovery.

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