Traveling While Plant Based and Gluten-Free in Namibia

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Most of the lodges we stayed at only had a few guests. Namibia doesn’t get as many tourists as some of its neighbors, like Botswana or South Africa. COVID-19 has also hit tourism hard.

This dining room looked like a movie set. It was so peaceful and quiet. Most of the animals we saw roamed around freely.
Bar area overlooking a landscaped lawn with a ton of birds and small animals.
A snack before we went on our first safari! I brought a few of these almond butter packets from home.
Ready to see some animals!
These huge nests are made by hundreds of birds called sociable weavers. They were in practically every tree we passed!

Let’s talk about the most popular activity on an afternoon safari drive, the sundowner. This is when the safari stops and the alcohol begins. The guide will find a safe place away from wild animals (knock on wood) and set up a proper table with a tablecloth. Then out come the beverages and snacks. Lots of alcohol, sodas, sparkling water, and things like nuts, cucumber rounds, jerky (aka Biltong), chips, and dried fruit.

Then you drink and snack until sunset is over. Here’s the thing about sunsets in southern Africa, though. They last FOREVER. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it took three hours! Maui sunsets last approximately 15 minutes and I was not expecting marathon sunsets. They’re are jaw-droppingly gorgeous and an amazing thing to experience in the bush (ew, not that kind of bush), but an extended happy hour every evening can be a lot, especially if you don’t drink. After a couple of hours watching people get drunk and loud, I’m kind of over it.

Our first safari happened to be with three fellas from South Africa who were there to party. I was soaking in the beauty and they were soaking in the gin. I was mesmerized by the zebras and they were mesmerized by themselves. I was in awe of the colors and textures of the desert and they were in awe of how much they loved drinking. I was annoyed until I checked myself. Molly, I told myself, this is part of the experience. We can plan our adventures, but we can’t control them. So, I let it go and enjoyed the epically long sunset instead.

Sundowner in action. Luanne joined the fellas she named The Fratboy Three. Our safari guide (below), doubled as the bartender.
Our guide, John. We both drank sparkling water. Our safari truck and attached fridge (keeper of the drinks and snacks) is in the background.
Luanne and John. Luanne discovered her new favorite cocktail, pink gin with pink tonic from South Africa.
A shot from the daily three-hour sunsets.
One of our lodges had an organic farm where they grew most of their veggies. I ate roasted potatoes, rice, and a big salad for dinner. They had more plant based options that weren’t gluten free. I was super happy with my dinner.
Baked beans for breakfast. They may not have been plant based, though, because they tasted pretty smoky. I made sure to ask more questions when baked beans were on the menu going forward.
They had cereal for breakfast, but it was made from wheat. So, I took some cereal toppings and added them to my baked beans. Poppyseeds and sunflower seeds.

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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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