Have you been to Single Quarters in Katutura Namibia?

I invite Chris, one of my Gondwana colleagues, to join me for Kapana at Oshetu (ours) Community Market in Katutura, Single Quarters. He excitedly accepts my offer as it’s the best place for Kapana (grilled beef prepared on open fire). Beef is cut into small pieces, grilled and sold as it cooks.

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

Chris and I are on our way, and it’s a warm day. He says, “One sees the difference straight away.’’ He is noticing high-walled brick homes making way for corrugated iron housing. Providing shelter and business opportunities. Seeing businesses such as ice vendors, shebeens (bars), hair salons and tyre repair shops.

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

We arrive at the market, as we park outside a car guard immediately offers his services. We walk in and are immediately greeted by the heat, the noise and the sheer size of the place.

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

Chris notices people negotiating prices, choosing their desired items and engaging in varied discussions. I see Meme (Mom, as I refer to older women) in the company of Tate (Dad, as I refer to older men), who is busy negotiating a discount on a fruit sale. We look around for a bit and the first stall we spot is that of a TV repairman. He fixes any type of television imaginable. Old box sets, flat-screens. We see an odd black and white set as well.

Chris and I continue walking among the different stalls, taking in the atmosphere.  We stop by at another Meme (Mamaa in Otjiherero), who is busy sewing a Herero dress.

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

I tell Chris, “I’ll be right back.’’ I quickly jog into a salon where I warmly greet everyone. This is where Namtenya braids my hair.

Namtenya asks, “Who’s the oshilumbu (white person) with you?”

I say, “It’s Chris, my colleague.”

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

We chat for a bit while Chris walks to a shoe repair stall to ask about his old vellies (veldskoene/leather shoes). I join him and we continue exploring.

Selling traditional delicacies is one more Meme, smiling and explaining the different products.

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

To one side we see a few men surrounding a pool table, cheering and chanting as they enjoy a game.

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

Tic-Tacs, a pro salsa chef, emerges from this group to greet Chris. The salsa that he makes is an onion, tomato, vinegar and oil mixture enjoyed with Kapana. Chris says, “We should get salsa from him.”

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

With joy and style Tic-Tacs prepares the salsa. Chris is definitely the renowned guy in the market. I am sure that many here will remember him long after we have left.

Finally at the Kapana stations, the various Kapana masters call out, “Over here!” or “Have a taste here!” Kavax, a Kapana master, convinces us and works with Matthew, who cuts the beef in strips.

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

We decide to taste. Chris asks, “Is it good?”

“It’s good,” I say.

Kavax cuts beef pieces and wraps them in newspaper for us. Kavax and Matthew insist that I take photos of them with Chris, and request a return visit with the prints.

We take our meal and buy some cold drinks from the last Meme, who offers us a place to sit as well. I always say that Kapana does not taste good without a 500 ml coke and a junkie (vetkoek, fried bread dough).

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

This makes it a complete meal. I take a few more photos, while Chris asks, “Are we ever going to eat?” We tuck in. It does not end here, however, as very soon we are enjoying a second round of salsa and Kapana.

Here we sit, lost in conversation, looking around and realising how special this place is. A community of people who are dependent on one another. An entrepreneurial spirit.

Rights to Nela Shikemeni

I love how vendors offer services and products, which are associated with each another. Chris says, “Like we need the salsa from Tic-Tacs, he needs Kavax to supply the meat.” Both of them also need the ladies selling junkies and other traditional foods and cold drinks.

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The market is located on the corner of Shanghai and Vicky Ipinge Street in Katutura (Single Quarters), Windhoek. Originally, the area had a large apartment block named Single Quarters which accommodated bachelors and contract workers during the apartheid era. It was one of the areas that people were moved to during the forced relocation from the Old Location to Katutura.

Now it’s become home, and you feel at home. It is a place where people from different backgrounds come together.

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Look out for Chris’s post on 3rd November, he invited me to the Windhoek Oktoberfest celebrations.

Have you been to Single Quarters? Did you enjoy it? Let us know by sharing your story in the comment section below.

Author –  I’m Nela, from Windhoek Namibia but born in a small village called Omatunda in northern Namibia. I am passionate about writing, research and photography, as it helps me gain knowledge about people and my country.

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Is the Brukkaros Crater in Namibia a dormant volcano?

A daunting 650 metres above the surrounding landscape, between Mariental and Keetmanshoop, travellers will find the Brukkaros Mountains.

Rights for freakytracks

Brukkaros located on the Namibian map – Rights for freakytracks

What makes this site particularly unique is that the shape is distinctly circular and rimmed. Visible from the B1, the question has often been raised… is this strange looking mountain an extinct volcano?

Rights to Pinterest

Rights to Pinterest

Before we get to the juicy details, a bit of interesting information… Where does the name ‘Brukkaros’ come from? Following true Namlish culture, the name combines the Afrikaans word for trousers (broek) with the Nama word karos (leather apron). This links to a traditional article of clothing worn by Nama women.

According to scientific theory, Brukkaros formed about 80 million years ago. A magma pipe, molten rock and a mixture of mineral and organic matter, came into contact with ground water.

Rights to Wikimedia Commons

Rights to Wikimedia Commons

This whole process took place about a thousand metres below the earth’s surface. This contact led the water to heat to the point where it turned into vapor and expanded. Which in turn caused the surface to swell about ten kilometres across and five hundred metres high.

Rights to wikimedia commons

Rights to wikimedia commons

Magma continued to invade the space and caused a reaction that led to various explosions.

This whole endeavour was followed by a series of materials being deposited along the rim of the crater and then being eroded over millions of years to leave the 350 metres deep hole.

Rights to Cardboard Box Travel Shop

Rights to Cardboard Box Travel Shop

Visitors can follow a three-and-a-half-kilometre trail, accessible by 4×4, to enter the crater form the south. They can expect to see crystal formations in the rock. Once inside, visitors can explore the quiver trees and crystal fields along the crater floor.

Brukkaros Bird's eye view - Rights to fr.alltravels.com

Brukkaros Bird’s eye view – Rights to fr.alltravels.com

Alternatively, they can follow a route sharply left, and visit a research station along the rim of the crater. When visiting this site, be sure to take enough water to keep hydrated during your adventure.

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Rights to slm safaris

And here comes the game changer. Was the Brukkaros Crater an actual volcano once? Most scientific theories say no. While magma did have a hand in the creation of this natural site, a volcanic eruption did not.

As mentioned above, it was the magma coming into contact with the ground water that created the explosion and development of this crater. So, while it may not be an extinct volcano, it is still a very interesting site.

Rights to Southern Africa

Rights to Southern Africa

And a great place to stop and explore while traveling between the Gondwana Canyon Collection and Windhoek.

If you have any interesting stories about the Brukkaros Crater, we invite you to share them in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

Jescey Visagie

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Windhoek or Swakopmund over NYE?

New Years Eve is coming soon and the question, as it is each year, is where to spend the festive evening? In Namibia the big question is probably to stay in Windhoek or go to Swakopmund?

Let‘s start with Windhoek. As most Namibians will leave the city and go to the coast, where the climate is much more enjoyable compared to the heat in the central areas over December. Therefore Windhoek will be mostly empty and quiet. The most spots close their doors but hey, that can also have something positive if you are in need of some relaxed days and a much more laid back NYE.

Windhoek city - Image: Why Namibia

Windhoek city – Image: Why Namibia

If you want to have a quiet, special culinary NYE I absolutely recommend reserving a table. Because the restaurants and bars, which are open, will be fully booked. Spots to have a nice dinner could be…

Hotel Heinitzburg, it has a great view of Windhoek and a fancy atmosphere, the menu and wines are awesome but lean more toward the expensive side.

Hotel Thule, more or less the same thing can be expect, just a little bit more cosy due to the more intimate setting.

Joe’s Beerhouse is more likely the Pub and Restaurant location. Nice meals, good meat and cold drinks are awaiting you. The prices are good and the atmosphere will definitely be more festive than in the two hotels mentioned above.

Joe's Beerhouse

Joe’s Beerhouse

You have a nice place with a much nicer Braai? Braaiïng is the term in Southern Africa for a nice, tasty (and mostly consisting of meat) Grill or Barbecue. Supermarkets and butcheries are open. Get some wood, because coals are not well approved amongst Namibians for a Braai, and invite some friends. Cold drinks shouldn’t be missed.

Image: Coffeeshack.co.za

Image: Coffeeshack.co.za

Now we take a look on a typical Swakopmund NYE! Ready? Okay…

As most Namibians will hang around in Swakopmund during NYE and the festive days, you better check the availability of accommodations before you enter Swakopmund. Some camping places are maybe the last chance to avoid sleeping in the car in a supermarket‘s parking lot. If you are lucky to find accommodation for your stay over NYE in Swakopmund, here is what you could do.

Swakopmund - Image: Where to stay

Swakopmund – Image: Where to stay

A dinner at the seaside in one of the marvelous restaurants in Swakopmund. There are just too many to list them all, but here is list where you will find a guaranteed warm, welcoming NYE evening. Even here, book a table as soon as possible. Swakopmund Brauhaus, Secret Garden Bistro, Erich’s Restaurant and Wurstbude.

Swakopmund Brauhaus - Image: Tripadvisor

Swakopmund Brauhaus – Image: Tripadvisor

Swakopmund is definitely the place to be in Namibia, to have a great NYE Party . At the club Naps you will have the Monser Energy New Year’s Eve with Grimehouse Party. This will definitely be the hottest spot for young party seekers.

You have some friends in Swakopmund? There are definitely a lot of house parties going on at NYE. Maybe you will find your way to one of the house parties.

At the Beach you can relax and enjoy some drinks or a little snack, also there might be some fireworks to see in Henties Bay and on Langestrand.

Langstrand - Image: Walvis Bay Pristine Properties

Langstrand – Image: Walvis Bay Pristine Properties

You feel like it’s hard to decide which place to go to? Come back next year to beautiful Namibia to see both cities with their specific (Nam) flavour during the festive days.

If you have any other suggestions on where to spend New Year’s Eve, we invite you to share them in the comment section below.

Author – Marco Scholsen

 

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