Traveling While Plant Based and Gluten-Free in Namibia

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As fresh and awake as we can be after 24+ hours in planes and a three-hour nap!

Let’s talk about plant based and gluten-free breakfast in Namibia. Fruit is easy to find in grocery stores, but you have to stock up because grocery stores are few and far between. Luckily, we had a small fridge in our truck, so I bought plums, bananas, grapes, nectarines, kiwis, and oranges.

Most lodges will also have fruit for breakfast, but a few lodges we stayed in only offered canned fruit with added sugar. I was pumped to have my fruit in our truck.

Bigger grocery carry non-dairy milk, so stock up before leaving the larger cities, like Windhoek and Swakopmund. We stayed at 17 lodges in our 30 days of travel. Of those 17 lodges, only one of them had non-dairy milk. That was no problem because I bought like ten cartons and kept them in the truck.

Cereal is the vegetarian option for breakfast at most lodges. Otherwise, it’s meat, bread, and eggs. I picked up some corn flakes and gluten-free granola at the grocery store in Windhoek because the cereal options were mostly wheat flakes and granola…with wheat flakes.

Fruit, potato triangles, granola, and almond milk.

I don’t drink coffee, but I love a cup of tea in the morning with a dash of brown sugar and some non-dairy milk. I brought an assortment of tea bags with me in a ziplock bag.

The next morning we were feeling refreshed and ready to pick up the truck, our main transportation for the upcoming month.

We asked someone who worked at the hotel where we could find local places in Windhoek with plant based options. She gave us the name of a restaurant and said to ask for oshigali and pap. Oshigali is a dish made from black-eyed peas that originates from the northern part of the country. Pap is a porridge made from maize or millet eaten on the side like you would eat rice.

Oshigali: creamy black-eyed peas. I was so excited about this, but it was the only time I saw it on a menu.
Pap on the right is made from pearled millet. I found out later that this dish is sometimes made with cream or milk, so I was sure to ask going forward. On the left is a special Namibian dressing made from the marula fruit and oil.

After lunch, we stocked up on supplies for the road at a local grocery store. We bought fruit, veggies, non-dairy milk, canned soup, canned beans, rice cakes (lifesaver!), peanut butter, and some potato chips (because no road trip is complete without junk food!).

I washed and dried some of our produce in the hotel room and got it ready for the road. Carrots, blueberries, romaine, broccoli, gluten-free tortillas, cucumbers, avocado, and plums.
Leftover oshigali lettuce boats with carrots and rice cakes for dinner.

Our 4-wheel drive truck was badass. It had two gas tanks, a fridge, two batteries (one for the truck, one for the fridge), a huge tank of water, an ax, a shovel, an extra gas can, GPS, a satellite phone, a small generator-powered air pump for the tires, and a snorkel. We didn’t know what was in store for us for the next month, but we felt prepared with our packed-out truck!

If we were to do this again, I would rent or purchase a portable cook top with two small burners. This would have made eating much easier along the way when food choices were super limited.

We named our truck Tommy and he was a champ!

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20 Comments

  1. Mary Ann Scanlon on April 16, 2022 at 9:57 am

    I was so excited to hear you two were going to Namibia. My favorite trip ever was going to South Africa and Botswana. Now I have to go back again. I love the photos and the food advice. Looking forward to planning this trip.

    • Molly Patrick on April 16, 2022 at 8:26 pm

      Oh my goodness, it was the best!!
      Namibia is highly recommended. This will not be our last visit!

  2. Carin DeGroff on April 16, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    Absolutely amazing trip. I am living vicariously through you!

  3. Devi Kasson on April 17, 2022 at 5:54 am

    Thats the way to travel and so cool that someone set it all up for you. I leave in 3 days to see the copper canyon in Mexico and will be using all your tips about food esp the biggest one about just accepting what is.
    Gracias!

    • Stephanie from Team Dirty on April 17, 2022 at 9:51 am

      Hi Devi,

      We’re so excited for you to experience all that Mexico has to offer. We hope our post helps you stay fueled with plants on your trip!

      xo

  4. Jackie G on April 17, 2022 at 6:23 am

    Breathtaking! Thank you for sharing your adventures.

  5. Laura Spinosi on April 17, 2022 at 6:55 am

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story!

    • Molly Patrick on April 21, 2022 at 1:43 pm

      You are so welcome! Happy to do it!
      Molly

  6. Robin Smith on April 18, 2022 at 6:50 am

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I feel like we are on the trip with you and the food pics are great! Thanks for showing us that you can eat simply and as close to plant based as possible even when on a trip without all your usual comforts.

    • Molly Patrick on April 21, 2022 at 1:43 pm

      Yes! So happy to show people how I do it.
      Not always easy, but mainly doable!
      xo
      Molly

  7. Leigh Hensley on April 18, 2022 at 3:56 pm

    Molly, thank you for chronicling your adventures. I love reading your food and travel tips. Cheers to enjoying the ride and learning from other cultures… for me, it’s the best thing about travel!

    • Molly Patrick on April 21, 2022 at 1:42 pm

      I couldn’t agree more!

  8. Sandy on April 19, 2022 at 1:27 am

    Seems like it was really tough to eat plant based on your trip (from my own perspective as someone that is flavour obsessed looking at your meals, you on the other hand seem happy, accepting and gracious, which is brilliant).

    My partner and I are PB but he has an egg allergy, so we really struggled when we travelled around smaller towns in Taiwan (we spent 2019 slowly travelling Asia eating PB but not oil free), we still remember the peanut butter and banana sandwiches made with sugary white bread that we ate for lunch in our car many times. I think in future, he’ll eat fish to widen our choices a little (he does from time to time anyway) and I’ll be vegetarian if need be, it makes for a more comfortable trip and gives us a chance to explore local cuisine when there aren’t any other options. But kudos to you Molly for keeping with the plan despite such limitations! You’ve got some serious willpower!

  9. Joan Lazaunik on April 19, 2022 at 8:54 am

    I am in awe of your adventures and greatly appreciate your sharing it with us! So very many places on earth that I would love to experience, I feel like I was there with you. Thanks.

    • Molly Patrick on April 21, 2022 at 1:41 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
      Part 2 will be published soon, so there is more to come.
      I very much enjoy sharing my adventures with you!
      Molly

  10. Heather on April 23, 2022 at 11:27 am

    Loved reading through your adventure! I just found your blog! I’m starting to be plant based more seriously after years of messing around! I’m stationed in Italy and moving to Germany soon! We ar heading to Morocco next month for my 50th birthday! I hope I can find plant based options! Thanks for sharing your adventure!

  11. Lis on April 23, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    Beautiful, even breath-taking in places. Thank you for sharing it all with us, especially the food pictures (to inspire us to new possibilities :).

  12. Julia W on May 9, 2022 at 11:56 am

    Oh, these photos are beautiful, and I am so glad you shared.

    I know this wasn’t the point of you sharing your photos at all, but I will tell you what struck me. I struggle with my weight. When I see the sizes of your meals it is eye opening because most of those meals look tiny to me. Upon reflection, I do habitually clear my plate and go beyond fullness. So it’s something for me to reflect on. Anyone else, or am I the only one?

    • Stephanie from Team Dirty on May 9, 2022 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Julia,

      Thanks for the love!

      You’re definitely not the only one who can struggle with eating beyond satiation. 😀

      Keep in mind that serving sizes can vary a great deal from person to person (and from meal to meal) and that there were meals and snacks that Molly didn’t share here. Typically, working on mindfulness and being able to notice when you’re hungry/satiated/just wanting to eat for stimulation or distraction can be really helpful with releasing weight.

      Molly’s done some coaching on this topic that may also be helpful for you. The replays are available with a Plant Fueled Life membership. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions and we’ll be happy to help.

      Cheers,
      Stephanie

    • Linda on May 10, 2022 at 4:49 am

      Julia, you are not the only one. At 61, food and weight have always been a struggle and I am working to become conscious of the difference between what I want (food heaped on a plate) and what I need. I’ve recently retired and life has slowed enough that I am allowing myself the time to be mindful of these things. I think, like our plates, we have overfilled our lives so we don’t take the time to truly reflect on what our real needs our. Good luck on your journey.

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