Vegan in Namibia

Namibia is a stunning country in Southern Africa. Well known for the Namib Desert, the Atlantic Ocean coast and the diverse wildlife.

To travel around Namibia you can take an organized tour or rent a jeep and drive on your own. Public transports are nearly non-existent and are not a solution for travellers.

Namibia’s food scene

It’s not easy to travel as a vegan in Namibia. For most Namibians, the idea of vegetarianism or veganism is slightly bizarre, to say the least. So expect the following at restaurants, “Do you have any vegetarian/vegan options?” or “are there any dishes without meat?” Staff: “We have Chicken and the fish is good” and when you say you don’t eat either, there will be a shocked look followed by a hummmm.. 🙂

Namibia is a ‘meat-eating-country’ with lots of restaurants selling game like oryx and kudu. Some places even offer you to hunt your own meat, there’s also a big market for fur and leather products.
Meals in Namibia tend to be heavy on meat with no avoidance of animal products.

How to Eat vegan in Namibia

If you chose a tour, you need to make sure they will cater adequately to your needs, and you will not need to worry about it for the rest of your trip.

On the other hand, if you travel independently, you need to have a few things in consideration.

Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, is a cosmopolitan place where it’s wise to stop at the supermarket to stock up on supplies.

Windhoek also has a couple of Vegan & Vegetarian-friendly Restaurants, but definitely nothing like a big vegan scene with loads of alternative restaurants.

Larger towns will have at least some restaurants that will be able to adapt something to suit your needs, but not always with the same understanding as you about butter, milk, honey etc. Namibians are kind and generous and will work to accommodate you as possible.

In Windhoek and other larger towns, you can find most things you have at home like cereals, soy milk, fruit, peanut butter, jams, baked beans, fresh vegetables, pasta, rice, chickpeas, dried fruit and nuts, olives, bread, granola, chips, rice cakes, etc..

If you can cook your own meals from larger town supermarkets then the choice is pretty decent. So cooking your own meals is probably the best option you have.

I would go even far and say if you want to eat well…and keep costs low, your best option is to head to the grocery store and cook your own meal.

On the street and open markets you can sometimes find people selling tomatoes, carrots, oranges, fat cakes (fried dough, usually vegan), ice pops, and Oshikundu.

Oshikundu or Ontaku is a local drink made from fermented millet. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties exist.

Vegan awareness Namibia

Travelling vegan in Namibia is far from ideal, but the country is starting to open to the concept of a vegan lifestyle. VAN’s (vegan awareness Namibia) is a non-profit organisation creating awareness about cruelty-free living in Namibia.

Responsible tourism in Namibia

Although the food may not be the highlight of your trip, remember that you will be surrounded by animals and nature on its best.

Namibia has vast areas of wilderness and an extraordinary variety of unique landscapes and ecosystems. As a traveller you should support conservation projects and the communities.
Refusing to take part in any activity that goes against the protection and wellbeing of the animals and ecosystems.

Namibia has dug deep to protect its outstanding natural heritage, making it easy for travellers to choose sustainable ways to travel around the country.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

Have a plant-based diet in Angola.. is it possible?

Angola, land of contrasts, music, dance, earth smells, nice people and colorful landscape. Angola is still a difficult country to visit and lacks in touristic infrastructures. The differences between the capital city Luanda and the rest of the country are abysmal in all aspects, so food is no exception. Angola is in south-central Africa, from its past Portuguese cuisine has significantly influenced Angolan cuisine.

Luanda is one of the most expensive cities in the world and has some imported vegan and vegetarian products in some supermarket at a very prohibited price and some restaurants with vegan/vegetarian options available.

But if you are visiting or traveling to another place in the country the story is completely different. You might struggle to eat, because there is not enough options if any available.

The big markets are busy places and you will need help to find them, they are located in the middle of a shanty town, where you can find seasonal fruits, vegetables, roots, some cereals (rice, flour, corn, etc..) and beans, but they don’t have much variety. In town you will find women’s selling fruits and vegetables in the street.

Outside Luanda will be quit difficult to find a supermarket with vegan options due to the lack of supply and demand, or even a restaurant that has a vegetarian or vegan option available.

If you are staying in a hotel you can make a special request, for a vegan meal, but don’t expect anything too fancy. If there is a possibility just cook your own meal, that will be the best solution!

Typical dishes/sides/snacks/deserts that are vegan:

  • Funge: Plain carbohydrate made from cassava with a texture like mash potato, generally served with a full-flavored spicy sauce.
  • Farofa: Toasted cassava flour with a salty and smoky flavor.
  • Feijão de óleo de palma: Stewed beans in a palm oil sauce.
  • Mukua: Dried fruit from the baobab tree, often used for ice cream.
  • Kussangua: Traditional non-alcoholic drink made from cornflour.
  • Chikuanga: a bread made from manioc flour, served in a wrap of banana leaves (from northeast Angola).
  • Cocada amarela, yellow coconut pudding made with sugar, grated coconut, egg yolks, and ground cinnamon. (vegetarian)
  • Doce de ginguba, peanut candy.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

 

Vegan in Mozambique

I don’t really want to demotivate anyone, but if you’re a vegan traveling in Mozambique you’re going to have a hard time.

1383915_10200673552109384_560808564_nAs you know they have a famous cuisine and are one of the best countries in Africa foodwise, but is all about tiger prawns, seafood, fresh fish and, chicken.

I traveled from north to south only by public transports and thought lots of rural areas, where there isn’t any infrastructures, restaurants, cafes, food stall or surprisedly not even many street markets. So you are asking the same question I did, where and what to eat?

If you are in a rural area, you need to rely on the local people and what they can do for you, but communication can be a big problem, because if they don’t speak Portuguese (what is possible and probable) they will speak one of the 43 languages spoken in the country (yes you read well 43..)

If you are in place that has a “restaurant” you will do all your meals there and again, struggling with communication, try to explain what you can eat and understand what they have. Maputo is the exception,  has good options, and its easy to find your way around.

Mozambique was colonized by Portugal in 1505, their cuisine has been deeply influenced by the Portuguese. One of the most eaten dishes is ncima a thick porridge made with ground maize and water, in my opinion just serves the propose of giving you energy.. it’s tasteless, but vegan 🙂

Here is a list of some vegan dishes that I came across:

  • Mucapata– rice with coconut, absolutely delicious, very common in Mozambique island.
  • Xiguinha – Made with cassava and cacana leaves, common in Inhambane province.
  • Pão – white bread rolls, you can find it in any market baked in wood-fired ovens in villages.
  • Matapa – made from stewed cassava leaves, ground peanuts, garlic and coconut milk, more likely to get it if you end up staying with locals.
  • Collard Greens in Oil – it’s a sauté of onions and collard greens.
  • Chamusas – triangle shaped pastries, asked for the potato ones.
  • Cassava with Red Sauce – sauce made with fresh tomatoes, green peppers, onions, garlic and  oil
  • Rice and Beans – its a very common dish.
  • Mucuane – with boiled cassava leaves, tomatoes, coconut milk, ask if is made with shrimp or Cashews.
  • Quiabo a Zambiana  Okra
  • fresh sugarcane juice
  • pão de sura – it’s a coconut sweet bread more typical in the Inhambane province
  • Cashews  – they have nut trees growing all over the place. You’ll see people selling bags of cashews on the side of the road and on the beach. they sell while plain, roasted piri-piri, roasted salt.
  • Fruits and vegetables– fruit and veggies are available at markets and on the sides of roads all over the country, depending on the season you can find good papayas, coconuts, mangoes. Avocados okra and collard greens are also seasonal, avocados only in season for a few short weeks. Others, like tomatoes, cassava or beans, are available year-round.  Green peppers, onions, and bananas seem to go through recurring phases.

    photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

🚌 If you are planning to visit Mozambique, or if you are just curious.. check the post about my trip – Mozambique.. it’s maningue nice 

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