Namibia Basics: Where to Stay and Eat
In Namibia its meat, meat, and more meat. Except, that is, for the fresh seafood in Swakopmund.
That’s the seared ahi tuna at The Jetty 1905.
But before we get to the topic closest to my heart — and stomach — a few recommendations about places to stay. BTW, all of the places listed below comped us on the lodging. Nonetheless, I think that my comments are fair and unbiased, but you should check out reviews on Trip Advisor and elsewhere for more specific information from a wider range of sources.
In Windhoek we stayed at the Pension Moni, a pleasant, no frills place a few minutes removed from the central district.
Our accomodations in Etosha were at the Etosha Safari Lodge, a spacious, attractive property with roomy chalets overlooking a wide expanse of forest.
For our first two nights in Swakopmond we stayed at The Stiltz on the beach. The separate chalets, raised on stilts, are linked by a boardwalk. The chalets are large and comfortable, but dark. The dark wood walls have something to do with that, but I was also told that they keep the lighting dim so as not to attract mosquitos. It works. I didn’t see a mosquito the whole time we were there.
In Sossusvlei we stayed at the Kulala Desert Lodge, an intimate group of attractively designed and appointed tented chalets with great views.
On our last night, back in Swakopmund, we stayed at the Desert Breeze, an architecturally distinct, spacious and especially attractive collection of chalets overlooking the sand dunes a couple of miles from the center of town.
The main culinary attraction in Windhoek and at the lodges was game — oryx, kudu, springbok, eland, ostrich, etc. I’m not a big fan of game, but I did try it several times. It was always good, but like I said it wasn’t my favorite. That said, I enjoyed every meal and would recommend all the restaurants we tried in Windhoek. They included the elegant Stellenbosch Bistro and Wine Bar, the Sardinia Blue Olive Restaurant for Italian food, and Joe’s Beerhouse, a popular, informal, wildly-decorated outdoor restaurant famous for game and red meat in general. We also had an excellent lunch at the cafe at the Namibia Craft Centre.
In Swakopmund, it was seafood. At The Tug at the foot of the jetty, I had Kinglip Papillotte, a fillet with shrimp and mushrooms baked in foil; at the Hotel Europa Hof, it was grilled prawns with garlic; and at the Jetty 1905, it was sushi and seared ahi tuna. Probably the biggest surprise of all was the Thai style red curry calamari stir fry in coconut sauce at the Fish Deli, an unpretentious lunch place in the heart of the city. As you can see from the photo I could hardly contain myself and ate at least a third of the dish before I could stop myself and take a photo.
Don Mankin is a travel writer, business author, psychologist, organizational consultant and executive coach. He is the author of “Riding the Hulahula to the Arctic Ocean: A Guide to 50 Extraordinary Adventures for the Seasoned Traveler.” To check out his blog, visit http://www.adventuretransformations.com/wordpress/