Traveling While Plant Based and Gluten-Free in Namibia

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I made a wrap for dinner with leftover black-eyed peas, avocado, lettuce, and cucumber.
And a side of carrots and orange juice!
I mean…a three-hour show of pure beauty. Cradled. That’s how I felt.

The next day, we got up super early and met a guide who took us to Sossusvlei, arguably one of the coolest places on earth. These red sand dunes are some of the highest in the world and look otherworldly. We climbed one of the more popular dunes and ran down to the bottom to a salt flat scattered with dead 900-year-old acacia trees.

The dunes are formed by the west winds pushing against the east winds and the sand is very rich in iron deposits. The deep red rusty color of the sand is caused by the salty ocean breeze corroding the iron rich sand, causing it to rust.

The dunes were steep, and when our guide told us to run down the side to reach the bottom, I had no idea how we were going to do that. I was sure we’d stumble and fall off the dune. We watched someone else first (I mean…), and we saw that your feet sink into the sand which sort of holds you as you slowly make your way down—it was so much fun!

40 million-year-old sand dunes.
Climbing up Big Daddy, a super tall dune.
Looking down towards Deadvlei a white clay pan of 900-year-old skeleton trees.
Deadvlei means “dead marsh.” The trees are all dead and estimated to be 900 years old, but the super dry climate prevents normal decomposition.
I could not stop looking at this. So many beautiful things on our trip looked photoshopped!
Back at camp from our dune adventure and ready to make dinner!
Steamed broccoli and coconut aminos packets from home.
Baked beans, grilled potatoes, and broccoli for dinner. It was so satisfying.
We quickly realized that our dashboard made the perfect clothes dryer.

The following day, it was time to continue our journey. We drove 4.5 hours on a dirt road to Swakopmund, a town on the Atlantic coast, south of the Skeleton Coast.

But first, breakfast. Granola, soy milk, banana, blueberries, and tea.
One thing I didn’t expect was that so many of the roads we saw were dirt and sand. Because of this, it took us a lot longer to drive distances than maps and GPS estimated. If the map said 4 hours, we knew it would probably be closer to 6.
The Cornerstone Guesthouse in Swakopmund.
This place felt so modern compared to the desert camp we’d just came from.
We found an Indian restaurant with gluten-free plant based options!! I have never been so happy to eat curry.
We savored every last bite!
I would have loved some Hippie Porridge for breakfast at this point, but for me, the whole point of traveling is to experience new things and get out of my routine. So, I wasn’t mad at this breakfast one bit. I was just happy to have something to eat.
Swakopmund was the last decent-sized town until the end of our trip when we returned to Windhoek. A nice coffee shop / healthy restaurant in town had this fantastic bowl of planty deliciousness! Quinoa, roasted beets and squash, avocado, cucumber, pumpkin seeds, and lettuce. It reminded me of our Wizard Plan food!
This was our chance to stock up on more food. We bought more fruit, veggies, canned beans, rice cakes, and a pot that we could cook and eat food from if we came across another stove.
Nice produce section. All the produce was from either Namibia or South Africa.
A cute little health store where I found some goods!
I got a warm and welcome feeling when I stepped into this store and saw grains, beans, and legumes. I didn’t buy any because I didn’t have a way to cook them.
Some gems I picked up from the health food store. I was most excited about the miso. All of the lodges we stayed at had an electric kettle so I could easily make miso broth.
Leftover Indian food in lettuce cups, an apple, and peanut butter as an afternoon snack in our room.
A walk down to the Atlantic Ocean in the fog.
We went to a restaurant called Ocean Basket for dinner because Luanne wanted oysters. I ordered an avocado roll and olives. The avocado was as hard as a brick, but I happily ate the rice and seaweed.
Kalamata olives. Mmmmm.
Breakfast before we headed north up the the Skeleton Coast and then east for a once-in-a-lifetime elephant adventure!
The Skeleton Coast is named for the casualties of its treacherous waters: shipwrecks and dead sailors plus the whales and seals they historically hunted. Again, this looked like a movie set. We took it in, bought a few gemstones from an older couple on the beach, and got back on the road to see where our adventure would take us.

To be continued…

Feel free to leave a comment or question below.

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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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