Eating Vegan in Windhoek

Namibia is on my top 10 destinations of all time. Its a country that has it all in terms of nature, wildlife, culture and tradition. But because nothing can be that perfect, Namibia doesn’t really stand out for its abundant vegan food options.

But this is not a good enough reason not to visit this stunning country. There is always a way around, and being true that is difficult to travel Through Namibias as a vegan, it’s also true that is possible.

The only thing is that you will not remember this country for its outstanding food and flavours, but you will, I assure you, for other reasons.

With time I hope that Namibia will become a more vegan-friendly country, if not for anything else, to conserve their ecosystems, environment, and wildlife.

For a piece of more comprehensive information about being vegan while travelling independently in Namibia, you will find this article interesting.

Windhoek

Have lived in another Sub-Saharan country,  some people would say that Namibia is Africa for beginners. I’m not sure they are right but the capital city of Namibia, Windhoek is quite modern and in a way kind of ‘Western’ when compared with other African countries.

Windhoek is far from being the highlight of a trip to Namibia but can be a great place to begin and end your journey. In contrast with other parts of the country, Windhoek has more accommodation choices, cultural sights, an urban buzz and food variety. So let’s discover where you can find vegan food in Windhoek.

Where to eat Vegan in Windhoek

Plant’d

Is the first vegan restaurant opening in Namibia and as far as I know its the only one. They serve delicious buddha and granola bowls, pizza, pasta, scrambled tofu and refreshing freshly squeezed juices. The food is super tasty and they use quality ingredients.

Restaurants with some vegan options:

Olivia’s Kitchen

They serve a divine mushroom pasta with vegan cream, lots of vegan smoothies, sandwich with vegan cheese, salads with vegan feta and plant-based milk for coffees. Their food is locally sourced and freshly prepared.

Bonsai Bistro

This Bistro serves vegan sandwiches, baked goods, juices, smoothies and have daily vegan/vegetarian specials. I can’t recommend enough the Morrocan bowl, vegan omelette, vegan cakes and tarts.

Garnish Indian Restaurant

For some authentic Indian flavours, this is the right place to go. They serve delicious spiced food and cater for vegans and vegetarians.

The vegan options are well marked on the menu. The food is really tasty and filling.

Do you know any other good places in Windhoek serving vegan food?

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 vegan food scene

It’s not easy to travel as a vegan in Namibia. For most Namibians, the idea of veganism is slightly bizarre, to say the least. So expect the following at restaurants, “Do you have any vegan options?” or “are there any dishes without meat?” Staff: “We have delicious chicken and also fish..” and when you say you don’t eat either, you will see a shocked faced followed by a hummmm.. 🙂 at least that was my experience.

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 like I did, 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. 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 outside the capital city…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