When visiting Namibia, Namibian cuisine is most likely a second thought. I personally do not know of anyone that has traveled to Namibia purely for the food. That’s not saying the food isn’t good, it’s actually quite great in fact, but the natural beauty of this country drives so many people to it that the food often becomes a rather tasty surprise. To make it an even tastier surprise, you’re going to want to look for a few things. Let’s look at what to eat in Namibia.
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When it comes to Namibian food, you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re not a vegetarian. Whilst you will find options for vegetarians in most restaurants, the population as a whole is more meat orientated.
The cattle in Namibia graze on the grass found in the wide-open savannahs. This leaves them free from antibiotics, hormones & other harmful substances that could be found in other more populated countries. It’s not just the cows though, the same can be said for lamb, goats & the plentiful game found in Namibia.
Now whilst Namibia is a meat-eaters paradise, lodges & restaurants usually have at least one vegetarian option on the menu. Normally a pasta of some sorts, but be sure to check with them when you make a reservation.
Namibian Cuisine: What to eat in Namibia
A braai is like a BBQ, but it isn’t… and don’t you dare call it a BBQ in Namibia. Namibians do not BBQ; they braai… and they braai as often as possible.
Namibian *braais tend to be long, and usually feature lots of the Namibian award-winning beers, along with plenty of meat and a sprinkling of salad, mostly for roughage.
The same can be said about braais in South Africa. There was a stage where we were braaing 5 times a week, we even tried braaing a pizza! Let’s just say we won’t be trying that again anytime soon. 😉
*Braai – Can be referred to as the grid & fireplace used to cook meat usually outside, or the social gathering when you ‘have a braai’.
Things you will typically find by a braai:
- Lamb Chops
- Skilpadjies/Pofadders – Lamb Livers, sometimes wrapped in bacon… should always be though!
- Biltong & Droëwors – Typical Namibian Padkos, travel food. The dried meat and sausage is a must have for every Namibian. I’ve yet to meet a Namibian that would choose chips over Biltong. 😉
One of my favorite foods to eat outdoors is definitely Potjiekos. This is a stew that is made in a large three-legged cast iron pot, the potjie. Heated with wood and charcoal & left to cook.
A good potjiekos has to cook the whole day and is made with meat, peaches, potato, other vegetables, chutney, wine, etc. delicious.
Every family tends to have their own secret potjiekos recipe.
Now, this is a must for everyone with a sweet tooth. Or as my mom would say, suikerbekkies (a sunbird that eats honey).
It is a very sweet pastry that is fried in oil and covered in syrup.
You can then either freeze them, and eat them cold, or enjoy them warm.
Caution: Can be more addictive than coffee! 😉
David: ‘Or you can just have Coffee with Koeksisters.’ 😎
This grilled meat can be enjoyed at the local street markets.
The meat is typically thin, spicy & cooked on an open flame.
Another interesting food to try at the local markets.
Does it taste like chicken? Hmmm, not so sure myself, what do you think? 😉
Related: Traveling light guide to Namibia.
These mushrooms are huge! Seriously, some can even be over a kilogram in weight… and you thought the meat in Namibia would be large!
You’ll only find Omajovas during the rainy season though, around the end of February onwards.
Head north of Okahandja & keep your eyes peeled to the bottom of the giant termite hills.
You may have more luck finding them at stands along the sides of the roads towards Karibib or Tsumeb though. Many locals harvest these massive fungi’s and sell them at roadside stalls to generate some income for their families.
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One of the harder to find delicacies would be the Kalahari truffle. Much like the name suggests, this is a truffle found in the desert sands of the Kalahari.
Whilst they may be quite hard to find on your own, if you’re in the north-eastern parts of the country in April-May, you may be in luck.
Check the roadside stalls for these truffles & you’ll be shocked at how cheap they can be if you’ve ever ordered traditional truffles in Europe. 😉
A Bushman Fondue is basically a regular fondue but on steroids!
Using a potjie as a fondue pot, over an open fire with large pieces of meat. Usually, game, like giraffe, crocodile, gemsbok but also beef can be fondued.
This delicious bread is made with over-ripened bananas and can be eaten as breakfast but also as a cake with the afternoon cup of coffee.
Related: 7 of Namibia’s best luxury lodges.
What to drink?
- Rock Shandy – Lemonade, soda water & bitters.
- Beer Shandy – Beer & lemonade.
- Brandy Coke – Coca Cola & brandy.
- Rooibos Tea – Tea made from South African fynbos.
- Dom Pedro – Ice Cream & Kahlua.
Whilst we’re still not sure whether a Dom Pedro is a dessert or drink, it’s widely accepted as both. Definitely, something you need to try.
Instead of Kahlua, Amarula or Frangelico can also be used… we prefer Kahlua though.
Make your own Dom Pedro with this recipe.
Now you’ve got all the ingredients to put together or look for, a lekker Namibian meal, enjoy!
If you enjoyed this post, we’d really appreciate it if you would share it with someone that may also enjoy it. 😊
Have you tried any of these southern African delicacies? Let us know how you liked them in the comments down below. 😊
Maike & David