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