Traveling While Plant Based and Gluten-Free in Namibia: Part Two
By Molly Patrick
May 7, 2022,
This is not a sponsored post. We did not get paid or compensated for anything mentioned, photographed, included, or linked.
If you haven’t read part one of Traveling While Plant Based and Gluten-Free in Namibia, check that out and then come back. In this post, we continue our trip through Namibia, eating plant based and gluten-free as much as possible in a country where people depend on game animals for their calories and German influence lingers due to colonization.
Luckily, I am not new to traveling while eating a plant based diet. The gluten-free part is new to me and that put a wrench in things, but I managed to make it work. I did feel like an asshole a couple of times when talking with locals.
They couldn’t fathom avoiding meat, dairy, eggs, and bread. They weren’t rude or judgmental about it, just mystified. For them, eating these items is a privilege. And here I am, choosing not to eat them. I had stocked up on my own food, so I didn’t go hungry, but I was acutely aware of these types of cultural differences during this trip.
Okay, let’s do some traveling!
The map said it would take four hours and 15 minutes to get to Twyfelfontein (or ǀUi-ǁAis), but because the roads were entirely dirt and sand, it took us almost six hours. It’s a good thing we had four-wheel drive because we definitely would have gotten stuck otherwise.
Earlier in our trip we picked up some groceries and kept certain things in the fridge that was in our truck (badass, right?!) The fridge was really helpful for things like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, fruit and opened soy milk. Our room at this lodge didn’t have a fridge, so we turned our truck fridge to the lowest setting and left it on overnight (the fridge, not the truck). The fridge was powered by its own battery that was charged by the truck. The people we rented our truck from advised against leaving the fridge on overnight because it could drain the fridge battery, but it was either that or risk our perishable food go bad. The battery held overnight, and our perishable food stayed cool.
When we arrived to the lodge, I brought a bag of non-perishable food into the room – some fruit, rice cakes, peanut butter, chips, corn flakes, and dehydrated soup. When we returned to our room later that night, I discovered literally thousands of ants in the food bag. Those fuckers were eating everything but my dehydrated soup.
Luckily, I didn’t bring all my food into the room, but the tears did come when I saw those ants in my food bag. At that point, we were very far from civilization. If we didn’t have two gas tanks in our truck, we would have run out of gas because there was literally nothing in this area for hours and hours, and definitely no place to buy new groceries.
From the lodge at Twyfelfontein, we went out with a local guide to find some of the wild elephants that live in the area.
Namibia’s desert-dwelling elephants, a type of African bush elephant that has adapted to the desert, are rare to see, and there aren’t many left. They are thinner than other types of African elephants, more brown than grey to fit in with their environment, and they have bigger feet.
Our guide drove us around for three hours, trying to find them. This wasn’t a fenced park or game reserve situation. This was as out in the wild as it got. When we finally spotted this herd, my jaw dropped, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. They were so beautiful and so free.
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