Thanks to the wide range of different cultures and ethnic groups in Namibia, the country’s cuisine is incredibly diverse and enjoys the many different influences with which it has been infused over the years. In general, the cuisine is very meat-centric, though there are vegetarian options. Namibian food also involves a lot of maize-based accompaniments, such as mealie pap, a doughy maize paste.
Potjiekos are commonly found throughout Namibia and are made by throwing meat, vegetables and some seasoning into a huge pot and then leaving it to cook for a few hours. Braaivleis (barbecued meat) is also popular and is served with mealie pap, salad and veggie dishes. Having braai is quite a social event and allows people from the neighbourhood to congregate with plenty of good food and beer. While beef and chicken are commonly found on the barbecue, sausages and game such as antelope, oryx, kudu and even giraffe are all part of the Namibian diet as well. In coastal settlements such as Swakopmund, seafood also forms an important part of the local cuisine, and local Walvis Bay oysters are as good as any found in Europe or North America!
If you’re looking for something a bit different in Namibia’s culinary scene, mopane worm are a delicacy and a great source of protein. Biltong, which is the dried meat of a springbok, gemsbok or kudu, is a favourite snack food and is usually washed down with a local brew such as Windhoek.
Safe eating while travelling in Namibia
Generally, the biggest problem travellers will face in Namibia is the contrast between the local diet and what you are used to back home. The introduction of maize and other foods can cause stomach problems for more sensitive stomachs. Another issue is that meals might not have been prepared to the same food hygiene standard as back home. The best way to avoid getting unnecessarily sick is to avoid eating anything that looks old or poorly cooked.