Namibia 2017: Sand Sand Sand, Meat Meat Meat.

Hot. as. HELL! And I’m not talking about someone.

I have arrived this morning. Hoping to post photos of my trip in this one thread whenever possible. Keep in mind that Namibia is a developing country and internet is slow and not always available.

Needed to stock up on my snacks before leaving. The same bag costs twice as much at the Haribo airport shop but not at a supermarket just a few steps away. The price of most thing at this supermarket is normal, as in not grossly inflated because it’s inside an airport.

My flight. I like making photos of flight departure board with my flight on it.

My bag weighs under 5kg and that’s including my own bed sheet and pillow case. I bring no more than 5kg when going to a warm destination. The bloody camera battery chargers and toiletry weigh more than most things. Lots of people have cabin baggage bigger than my checked rucksack.

Dinner at the airport. Koeln-Bonn airport is small and old but less hassle. I really like it. Not many interesting places to eat or drink here, however.

Margherita

Big portion of tartare. Asian flavoured.

Flight duration is a little over 10 hours. It was uneventful except I can’t really ever sleep on a plane due to an enormous amount of stress (noise level, being uncomfortable, stupid passengers, interior temperatures, security controls etc). Make flying and travelling a luxury again. I would support that.

Anyway, almost there. Namibian coat of arms. Two gemsboks (Oryx) and African fish eagle. Gemsbok is the most common game meat in Namibia. (I ate it for the first time today for lunch)

Welcome to Namibia, kiddos. Everything is brown and dry (until you enter the desert).

Namibia is a bit like Scandinavian countries: vast, tiny population, multilingual, has natural resources etc but the mentality is quite different. Conservative, anything that’s not heterosexual is illegal.

Spring has just started in the southern hemisphere. In the summer it gets even hotter, around mid 40C. The date should be today, the 18th.

Airport is tiny. Only 1 plane lands in a short while and the runway can be clearly seen from where I was queuing for passport control. Runway is just right outside the building. You could almost see the faces in the plane windows! Took almost an hour till my turn and it was only half way through. I was worried someone would walk away with my rucksack but thankfully it was fine.

Because of the heat I have fluid retention, which already started on the plane. By the time I got to my lodging I was twice my size! So bright outside couldn’t see what I was focusing. No jet lag as we are in the same time zone. It takes me a week to recover from jet lag.

There are lunch photos but no time for that now. Have to get up early tomorrow for a tour that lasts until sunday. One of the nightmarish scenarios for an introvert is being stuck with people for any length of time. Namibia is expensive and if one doesn’t rent a vehicle to travel around alone then they join a tour. Either way it’s expensive here. There are 12 people in my group who all booked the tour from various agencies. One thing is for certain: you have to get up early every day due to the heat and distance to be covered. This is a massive and sparsely populated country.

This will be ready to eat when I get home (in 3 weeks time).

Making all my (childhood) dreams come true.

7 Likes

I am curious to hear about the food on tours like these. My guess is they may bring you to villages near your tour routes where the villagers will cook you the food that they eat?

Hopefully its not to restaurants because then the food may be a bit less colorful and interesting.

You are an inspiration.

This is the book I read when I was nine years old. It was a window to another world, and one day I hope to visit Kenya.

Just got back from my fantastic 6 day tour. I had internet briefly on the third day but it was so painfully slow I gave up. Took forever to load anything there and even here in the capital it’s modem days slow. The rest of the time there was internet in the middle of nowhere. So many photos, mostly of animals and nature, but I will get them sorted out in chronological order whenever possible.

Some more photos continued from previous post.

First lunch in the capital. Beers on tap are Hansa lager and Stellies pale ale. The lager is nothing special, the pale ale is a lot better than nothing. Good bitterness and drinkable. This is no craft beer country and thus I consider myself lucky they even have this pale ale on tap.

Kudu steak. Unfortunately I didn’t see any live kudu on the game drives in the national park Etosha. Have had kudu steaks before at home, however. Kudus are not numerous in the first place, gemsboks on the other hand are. Anyway, the sauce has mushrooms and bacon bits. Next time I know not to order any sauce with my steak. I don’t like thick sauces like this with steaks.

It’s supposed to be rare, although the meat is still tender and nice. No more sauce and I shall make sure to mention what a rare steak looks like. Maybe I should have brought with me a picture of rare and medium rare steaks side by side to show them.

Why do restaurants still use these silly metal baskets?

Know what you eat.

The metal cup in the middle is Schnapps for the end of the meal.

Meat pron. The meat on the skewer is rare. Very nice.

Got the pale ale again and porter by the same craft brand. The porter tasted metallic. Nothing should taste metallic.

ATMs here can give you either Namibian or S. African notes.


Dinner much later. I only barely touched it, though. Temperatures are in mid 30s Celsius but it does not stop Namibians from bbq’ing and making wintry food. One of a few traditional Namibian meals called “Potjiekos” (a little pot of food). Basically you use whatever you have (left) in the house but it must be cooked in a heavy cast iron pot with 3 legs and over charcoals.

Looks good only when it’s being cooked. The white paste is corn paste/porridge which has no taste whatsoever (to me at least). How it is served:

A few shots inside a small supermarket. There are also unbagged fruits and vegs but bagged fruits are smaller. Most fruits and vegs are imported from neighbouring S. Africa.

Lots and lots of meats. Offal is normal.

I brought my own jar of Bovril but it’s dead normal here to eat that and Marmite. The label is different.

All kinds of biltong everywhere. Like S. Africans, Namibians snack on biltong at any time.

I have been snacking on my biltong every day. Now I’ve got a collection of it. These are from the first day alone. Haribo gummi is bought at the airport. I checked the price here the other day, it costs 2.5 times more. (Gave 4 to my tour guide. He and his young daughter have a sweet tooth.)

Signs on the gate of my lodging. In case it does not get through your thick head!

Namibia is supposedly “the safest country in Africa” but everyone here knows theft and muggings are prevalent. Tourists who flaunt their western things are often easy targets.

Also, some snacks on the plane just before landing. The yellow chunk is my own ginger root.

2 Likes

Back in the capital for a night and have internet. Painfully slow but at least it loads a page after a short while.


Food on my 6 day tour is camping style so nothing fancy. My knowledgable guide also drives and cooks. Not only is he a genuine tribal man but also a cool, calm and funny man. I was lucky to have a pleasant group, otherwise it would be painful to be stuck with them. We were 13 people in total, including the driver and myself.

Massive distances to cover every day. First lunch was a quick one.

After a long day of driving and wild animal viewing in the national park (north of Namibia) our guide made us dinner. We stayed at a camp site inside the park on the first night.

It’s my party and I braai if I want to…

My plate: lamb, chicken skewer and sausage. Just like in neighbouring S. Africa, braai (bbq’ing to us) is the way to cook. Don’t like meat all the time or don’t like meat at all? Gonna have a tough time here. They couldn’t believe such a thing as vegetarianism even existed. It’s getting better now, though. Tour ops do cater to their clients’ dietary needs.

My guide/driver/cook in his tribal attire and accessories. More photos of him later.

Some snacks and alcohol for the coming days:

Springbok biltong. Dried cured meat of native game springbok. Biltong is Africaans word for dried cured meat.

Gemsbok is commonly known as Oryx (its Latin name). Oryx is the most popular meat in Namibia. Kudu also but especially Oryx.

This “urbock” (not an animal) is sweet for my taste. It’s not my favourite style of beer. Box wine is easier to carry around for days, but I got it because most days on the tour we were nowhere near a shop.

Before lunch today we picked up alcohol, water and snacks and whilst in the supermarket I made a few photos. Forgot to look but the asparagus is probably from S. Africa, just as most fruits and vegs here are.

Cheeses are also imported from S. Africa. If not then they are just industrial stuff from Europe.

There is always a biltong section, just bigger or smaller and how expensive.

More biltong.


(Safari photos next time)

7 Likes

Really interesting posts! Thanks for sharing!

A guy I know and his wife, both vegetarians, went to Africa on holiday a few years back. Ended up having to eat meat/seafood as the only way to get fed. No vegetarian offerings at all. Presumably better now as you suggest.

Fascinating! Thanks.

Photos of some animals I saw in the national park on the first day. Saw even more than I was able to photograph them mostly because they are vigilant and easily startled. It’s better to enjoy watching the animals quietly.

Park entrance.

We were very lucky to be able to see so many animals on the first day.

The hogs were seen long before we even reached the park. Road signs with the warthog on them are all along the way.

Impala and gemsbok horns .

Quite an extradinary looking bird, unfortunately it does not stay still for the photo session.

A very big bird.

Many many plains zebras in this park.

When they cross the road we would all stop and watch.

And off into the sunset they went.

Mother and child.

Always watching. All the animals.

See what I mean?

A steenbok resting under a tree. Every tribe in Namibia has their own beliefs in certain animals. A steenbok crossing in front of you is bad luck according to my guide’s tribe.

The more you look at it in the eye the more you feel hypnotised. A bit creepy.

Pattern in ears.

You have to be silent when viewing elephants. Seen here is one of the member of the group.

Killer in the grass.

Everyone likes lions, I don’t. King of the jungle? King of laziness is more like it. Lions hunt only 20% of the time, the rest they just sleep and mate. Lioness hunt most of the time. This one has battle scars and a torn ear. He’s a lone male.

A lonesome tree.

Namibia has the big 4, we saw 3 of them in an afternoon.

Always watching.

Spotted a lioness drinking by the water hole. A minute or 2 later another lioness came out of the bush.

They came out one after another, 5 in total. I have respect for lionesses.

A calm beast, red hartebeest.

4 Likes

Ooouch!

They could have mentioned being vegetarians. Something could have been done about it before the tour started.

Back in the capital today after 5 days in Swakopmund, a beach town extremely popular with (German) tourists and domestic tourists alike. It’s very windy in the capital today and that makes the heat tolerable but quite chilly for Namibians who have to wear their thick jackets. Tomorrow is my last day in the country then it’s a 10hr flight home.

Back to where I left off last time: lunch and dinner on second day of the tour, still in Etosha national park where we drove around all day looking for and watching wildlife.

Even the cheese comes from S. Africa. I tried this one but it was not so good. They all claim the cheese to be “traditional” but most of it doesn’t really taste it. Rubbery Dutch style cheese is most prevalent, which I don’t even touch at home.

Bought it myself to eat at breakfast. Didn’t eat the whole little wheel in 1 go (even though I could :sweat_smile:)

Lunch at the same spot last night. Pick any spot you like at the camp site. BBQ pits are everywhere. Everyone brings their own grill grates in case the BBQs are all taken then they can use a flat surface like this one to grill. That’s our tour’s safari vehicle. Most safari vehicles here are customised for long trips.

My simple lunch.

On the second night we stayed at a fancy safari lodging just outside the park’s entrance. Food is served buffet style and there’s a bit of everything for everyone.

.


.

.

I got one of each game meat, plus some blue cheese.

More meat and some vegs.

In case I forget where I stayed:

Lodging inside the park on the first day: http://www.etoshanationalpark.org/accommodation/halali-camp

Lodging outside the park on the second day: http://etosha-village.com/accommodation.html

1 Like

More animal photos from this day’s safari. I shall get to the rest of the photos when I am home again and back to my routine.

Just like 2 drops of water.

Always watching.

Spotted hyena emerged from the bushes and made its way across the road in front of our vehicle.

Just passed in front of the vehicle walking away but finally turned around to check us out.

Off into the sunset.

One of them as they were passing through.

The most common animal in the wild here. Very elegant.

Always vigilant.

Feathers and pasty white skin of a male ostrich (same one as above).

There are several (sub) species of starlings in Africa, this one is most common in this area. The iridescent colours change in the sun as the bird moves.

Right above me.

A jackal drinking at a water hole.

Elephants always make my day, my favourite animal of all. A group of them resting and standing in each other’s shadow to keep cool.

No animal has so great wisdom and power as the elephants.

So huge but moves about so quietly with grace and dignity.

There are several babies in this group. No one could resist smiling watching the little ones.

Most of them stand still with only their ears moving to keep cool.

1 Like

SBaby elephants! Honestly, some vacations, it’s better to consider food as fuel and enjoy the magical place you are experiencing. :sunglasses: It looks like you are having a wonderful time. Thank you for sharing your photos.

1 Like
“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold