Desert of the Skeletons (Full Documentary)

Huge deserted beaches surrounded by dunes, where boat masks have forgotten the company only the remains of unfortunate creatures are called skeletons Coast. This side of the Atlantic, east of Namibia, is the gateway to the Namib Desert, which follows the Kalahari. There we find groups Bushmen and Himba, atavistic residents of these arid regions. The Bushmen demonstrate their integration in the most hostile of friendly means by hunting and gathering techniques. (featured Image from Naankuse Lodge)

Joining them pursue their prey poisoned arrows wounds on an expedition lasting several days and observe the survival of an entire clan in the harsh dry season. The Himba us their nomadic life, in which everything revolves around the goats and cows grazing. Among its strongest features see the symbolism of their hair and body ornaments, his main artistic expression, know the rules that govern the formation of polygamous marriages and will attend the rituals “esuko” where women gain maturity within the tribe. (by New Atlantis Full Documentaries)

 

Traditional Namibian Song and Dance

In Namibia, traditional music is mostly found in the villages and less practised and enjoyed in urban areas. Local and foreign contemporary music in its multiple forms is notorious in all the corners of the country. Traditional music in rural areas contributes to diverse functions linked to rituals at birth, death, marriage, healings, before and after hunting and fishing, circumcision, social evenings, stories telling, cattle exhibition naming of places, animals and babies, including many other activities. Music in rural areas is the reflection of all aspects of the life of the people where it is created, performed and even dies, contrary to the contemporary music in the urban areas which only cater for entertainment in clubs, bars, functions, shops and hotels. (featured Image Kuru San Dance Festival – Bushmen of the Kalahari by Afrika Calls)

Because of its isolation in the past with the rest of the world, Namibia under the South Africa rule has known only the music from that country. The censorship enforced at the time did not favour the hatching and blooming of the local music and dance. The music from other African countries, especially from the central, Eastern and Western Africa was linked with the word terrorism in Namibia. All those who listened to this music were called terrorists. This music was considered to be dangerous for Namibians to be exposed to, especially when the masters of the time could not understand the message in the songs. The American and British music was well established without any difficulty. That is why many artists from these two countries are well known in Namibia. Nineteen years after independence, Namibian artists did not come up with tangible Namibian contemporary music. They keep on being influenced most by the artists from the countries above mentioned and South Africa. Some attempts on the Namibian contemporary music creation took place before and after independence, but because of lack of support, those who were involved got discouraged. After independence, a lot of new genres of music have penetrated the Namibian arena.

Now, according to Francois H. Tsoubaloko Traditional Song and Dance here in Namibia is classified and should be understood under the following terms below:

     + Traditional dance

Traditional music and dance in Africa are most linked to rituals or social functions, as the immediate reference to human being, to a moral being, to a spirit, to conscience, to human traditional and rural life, transmitted from generation to generation. Dance is part of the culture, which is acquired and developed through informal education. All these performances are linked to the core of a specific world of ideas and beliefs. They also reveal a certain outlook of the world and life for certain human structure, the understanding of which brings it closer and makes it easier for us. It is a lineage of knowledge through practice, training and self-access. There exists a very good developed system of music and dance in place, most are on a special rhythmic system. The following given names of dances are the dominant ones in the country, but they might be some out there that are not yet discovered, linked to rituals, healings, social gatherings etc.

Photo above: San dancing around evening camp fire (from African Crafts Market)

Outjina and Omuhiva: Among the Herero community, outjina is danced by men and omuhiva by females. The two take place during celebrations and social evenings.

• Okunderera: This military marching type of dance takes place during celebrations, especially on the 26th of August, which is the National hero’s day and at the same time as Herero day. The Herero community celebrates this event at Okahandja seventy kilometre north of Windhoek. This day for the community serves to pay tribute to chief Maherero and the other Herero fallen heroes in the history of the liberation struggle.

Oudano or Uudhano: Within the Owambo people, this dance is a very common one. It is danced in two versions: The first performed by adult women, using slow motion, men are welcomed if they wish so, the second performed by girls with fast motion.

Omupembe: This dance among the Aangadjera people was forbidden in the past by the South African regime of occupation, for its nature that resembles military training practice. Young men during this dance jump over other people’s heads.

Ondjongo: Among the Ovazemba and Ovahimba communities, this dance is performed at any social celebration. It involves both men and women, songs are also known as ondjongo.

Okankula and Onkandeka: The first is play performed by elder people in a seated position, the second is also a fighting play performed by young people.

• Omutjopa: Accompanied by two traditional drums, omutjopa is also a dance performed by the Ovazemba community.

Shipero: This dance involves also drums and danced during social recreation functions, in north-east Kavango.

Epera: Three drums of different sizes are involved in this dance that takes place at the royal family’s functions, it is also being used during other rituals.

Ukambe, Kambamba and Nondere: The first dance is known as rain season dance, second is a quick dance with feet and the last one last one as hand and neck dance, all from Kavango region.

Kayote, Niakasanda, Liyala: In the Caprivi region, three names of dances take place during healing functions.

• Divare: This dance takes place during the healing rituals. Below a 9 minute clip about the San “Healing Dance”. This beautiful clip also shows the background of the “Healing Dance” (also read our past Blog Post on “The beauty behind African Storytelling” to gain a deeper understanding).

      + Our personal entertainment recommendation:

There are a bunch of various traditional Song and Dance performances available all throughout Namibia. Dates of performances may vary accordingly. However, for the individual who is interested in a traditional showcase (approx. 45 minutes), we highly recommend the “Showcase Namibia” which is performed daily from Monday to Friday at the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek. What makes this Show ideal is the time which it is being performed. The show starts off at 15h30 CAT hence making it the ideal event for guest’s looking for some “afternoon entertainment” (for other afternoon entertainment please download our Adventure Collection .pdf). Even if you are returning home after a beautiful Namibian Vacation and are boarding an evening flight back home, gives this very original showcase a try if you have some time to spare. It will leave you refreshed, energized and in a positive mood before heading out to Hosea Kutako International Airport, guaranteed. My personal favourite throughout the Show is the drumming session and most definitely the kwaito dance session at the end. It definitely grabs hold of the viewer when embracing the entire theatrics behind this stunning show. Very impressive indeed!!!

Image: Showcase Namibia flyer (by the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek)

• Location: Warehouse Theatre, 48 Tal Street in Windhoek City Centre (Tel: +264-61-402 253). ⇐ click for Google Maps

• Details: Show Start at 15h30, Refreshments available at Theatre, daily performance from Monday to Friday, very fresh/new musical performance (since 2019), traditional and non-traditional musical Instruments, semi-traditional garments, nice “Skit” elaborating on some of the diverse cultures and languages present throughout Namibia. Rember to also check out the links shown on the flyer for more information!

• Entrance fee: N$170, oo (booking not mandatory)

     + Our second recommendation:

The Joes Beerhouse Drumming Circle also is a very favoured event which is very interactive. As the event states “Drumming Circle” they even encourage you to bring your own traditional drums. So should you own some Bongo’s (or similar), then take them along. Although an evening Event, still well worth it. “This weekly drum circle was recently declared as “one of the 25-MUST-HAVE-Experiences in Windhoek” by The Namibian’s columnist Martha Mukaiwa!”

Image above: Graphical Media about the event (from Joes Beerhouse)

• Location: Joes Beerhouse, Nelson Mandela Avenue, Windhoek (Tel: +264-61-232 457) ⇐ click for Google Maps

• Details: Show Start at 18h00, Refreshments available at the Venue, Wednesday, 06.03.2019 (ends 18.12.2019), very interactive Showcase, traditional and non-traditional musical Instruments, semi-traditional garments, great for bigger groups. Rember to also check out the links shown on the flyer for more information!

• Entrance fee: None (however, booking recommended)

     + Other links:

• For the love of Dance (Namibian Sun Newspaper Article)

• Namibian Tales – 11 pages .pdf Document about the San musical culture (and more), great read!

• A study of Sipelu Music and Dance among the Masubia People of the Zambezi Region of Namibia (111 pages .pdf Document).

The beauty behind African Storytelling

Firstly, to everyone engaging and reading this specific Blog Post, I would love to wish you all a blessed and beautiful European New Year’s Eve 2018-2019. Please don’t drink and drive because spending time in Prison over New Year’s Eve is never a simple encounter. So, let’s have a look at the following. What in general, are oral traditions? Oral traditions are messages that are transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages may be passed down through speech or song and may take the form of folktales and fables, epic histories and narrations, proverbs or sayings, and songs. Oral Traditions make it possible for a society to pass knowledge across generations without writing. They help people make sense of the world and are used to teach children and adults about important aspects of their culture. Many international cultures obviously pass history down from one generation to the next, in order to prevent past mistakes from recurring. But the most beautiful storytelling has to come from pure African tribes (disregard of location). African (or Bantu) elder tribe individuals tell some of the most stunning and exciting Story’s imaginable. In my personal opinion based on my past experiences, the most charming storytelling always ALWAYS came from true African (Bantu) elders. (image by YouNeek Studios)

     + The art of storytelling

There is a rich tradition throughout Africa of oral storytelling. Although written history existed for centuries in Africa, most written memories (history) has been captured in Arabic, hence the majority of people did not read or write in Arabic. So the transmission of knowledge, history and experience in generally “West Africa” was mainly through the oral tradition and performance rather than on written texts. Oral traditions guide social and human morals, giving people a sense of place and purpose. There is often a lesson or a value to instal, and the transmission of wisdom to children is a community responsibility. Parents, grandparents, and relatives take part in the process of passing down the knowledge of culture and history. Storytelling provides entertainment, develops the imagination, and teaches important lessons about everyday life.

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Traditional African Storytelling (photo from Pinterest)

A storyteller’s tools are not just words, but gestures, singing, facial expressions, body movements and acting to make stories memorable and interesting. Sometimes masks and costumes are used via dance or performance to help with the folklore understanding or to support a spiritual ritual undertaking. Many African storytellers perform epics that can be hours or even days long that relate history and genealogy, battles and political uprisings of a community. They use riddles, proverbs and myths to educate and entertain. Storytelling is an important shared event with people sitting together, listening and even participating in accounts of past deeds, beliefs, taboos, and myths. Gifted or well-known storytellers often repeat the story with the same words and same expressions in each performance as they travel. They also add new material to an old story to make it more interesting or meaningful to different audiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Traditional African Storytelling combined with a song and dance performance (photo from Face2Face Africa)

Oral storytelling emphasizes the repetition of the language and rhythm, which are two of its most important characteristics. Storytellers often repeat words, phrases, refrains, sounds, whole lines and even stanzas. The use of repetition helps the audience remember the chorus and allows them to join in with the storyteller. Most… or almost all African storytellers pays close attention to the beat and how the words sound. Using short phrases makes the stories easier to understand and recall from memory. When audiences who are familiar with the stories actively participate in their telling, they feel a sense of belonging to the community. This is true with almost all African Tribes, no matter if Oshiwambo, Bushman (San), Zulu, Xhosa, Swahili or many, many others.

For instance, the Griot (pronounced “gree-OH”) is a storyteller and oral historian in West African culture. He is the social memory of the community and the holder of the word. The Griot is the keeper of facts and important events of his time. It is his responsibility to pass this knowledge on to future generations, as well as that of past times passed down to him by his ancestors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: Baba the Storyteller in West Africa (photo by Sierra Madre Weekly)

Originally the Griots were court musicians who sang at weddings, naming ceremonies, and religious celebrations. They later evolved into advisors to nobility and messengers to the community. They sing songs of praise for their leaders and recount the great deeds of ancestors and the history of the society. Griots are also advisors, ambassadors, negotiators, mediators and advocates of the king to his allies and noble families. They are rewarded for their service to individuals and the community. Their fee varies and ranges from a few coins or a blanket to more substantial payments depending on the audience and the skill and popularity of the storyteller. In World Affairs Council of Houston page 2 West Africa, Griots have been practising their craft for hundreds of years. Griots are described as “the all-seeing, all-knowing eyes of society.” There is a spiritual and ethical dimension to their performances and it is believed that special forces are released through the spoken or musical part of their performance.

     + What is African Storytelling?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The photo above from Getty Images – Artistic Development offering African Storytelling with Princess Ayo Durodola

Traditionally, African people are rooted in oral cultures and traditions and as a result, they have esteemed good stories and vibrant storytellers (Ngugi wa Thiong’o 1986, Vambe. 2001, Chinyowa 2004, Vambe 2004). Ancient writing traditions do exist on the African continent, but most Africans today, as in the past, are primarily oral peoples and their art forms and stories are oral rather than in written form (Achebe 1958, Chinyowa 2001). Since olden times, storytelling within the African culture has been a way of passing on traditions, codes, values of acceptable behaviour, as well as upholding and preserving good social order. Before writing and reading were developed in ancient Africa, Africans used storytelling as the most form of preserving their history, traditional culture and ritual ceremonies (Chavunduka 1994, Vambe. 2001). The tradition of African storytelling is one of the oldest in African culture, across the continent (Vambe. 2001).

     + Our favourite African proverbs:

Proverbs are an illustration of a vivid and fundamental truth. In our opinion, globally the most mesmerising proverbs come from elderly African’s (Bantu) and South American Indian Tribes.

• It takes a village to raise a child.

• When a king has good counsellors, his reign is peaceful.

• No matter how long the night, the day is sure to come.

• One falsehood spoils a thousand truths.

• Do not call the forest that shelters you a jungle.

• When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him.

• It is best to bind up the finger before it is cut.

• The fool speaks, the wise man listens.

• Do not say the first thing that comes to your mind.

• A little rain each day will fill the rivers to overflowing.

• Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you.

• Not to know is bad; not to wish to know is worse.

• Do not follow the path. Go where there is no path to begin a trail.

     + In conclusion

As writing this Post, I honestly believe the African Tribal elders truly understand and have mastered the delicate art of true storytelling. The character trait of the Storyteller most probably has been created due to the lack of Television, Internet, Radio or similar. Hence the artistic nature which creates the beauty while sitting down to tell a story (history) to the young ones around. I honestly urge every national or international visitor to engage in a conversation with a tribal elder (disregard of location) and openly listen to a story which is being shared with you as a person. Should you listen with an open mind one will notice that the story told comes with a form of “bare-honesty” and first-hand experience which so often isn’t present in Hollywood Movies or the like. The true African individuals just tell the most enchanting storeys. Some sad, some romantic, some dangerous, some thrilling but definitely always open and honest. To be bluntly honest, from almost all the many awesome people which I have met in my life, it is very straight-forward: “African elders make the best Storytellers on mother earth”. Without any doubt!  But nevertheless, we would like to wish everyone celebrating the European New Years Eve a safe and sound evening. Take care of yourself and looking forward to seeing you in 2019. 🙂

     + Extra download(s) and link(s):

• The immigration calender (pdf.)

• An African Storybook Guide for children (pdf.) 

• Visit Africanstorybook.org for diverse children-books/comics for download

• New Years Eve in Africa

Searching for reforestation

Dear reader, we would love to point out that this informational Blog Post is of vital importance to all of mankind. Therefore we ask you politely to read and watch this post till the end in order to understand the magnitude of the literature and information provided and respond accordingly. Don’t worry, your reaction is not going to cost you a single cent. So, without further due let us look at the following starting with the World Wide Web itself. With the daily growing Internet “digital library (eg. Web pages, Blogs, Online Shops etc.)” and an estimated 3.6 Billion users, the importance of search engines is basically on top of the list regarding general day-to-day internet services. In a simple explanation, a Search engine is a web software program or web-based script available over the Internet that searches documents and files for keywords and returns the list of results containing those keywords. Today, there are numbers of different search engines available on the Internet, each with their own techniques and specialities. In essence, Search engines are the workhorses of the world wide web, returning billions of potential and diverse Information or services to billions of queries on an hourly basis, with some of the major search engines being Google, Yahoo, Shodan, Ask, WebCrawler, Dogpile, Bing and others. To give you an idea of how big the Internet actually is the “Millforbusiness-Website” gives a decent up to date estimate of the ever-changing numbers. (Image by Pixshark.com)

Currently, this all might sound somewhat confusing, and what does this have to do with reforestation(?), but do yourself the favour and keep on reading to gain clarity.

In the 2018 survey, they found that there are 1,630,322,579 websites currently online which compared to the year 2008 a count was reached at 186,727,854 websites.

If you look at the data on the Millforbusiness-Website and minus the amount from the year 2017 from the website count of the year 2018, we get a total count of 5,212,899 new websites created.

If you divide the 5,212,899 newly created Websites with 365 days this equals up to 14281 websites day, that’s a whopping 571 new Websites coming online every hour! In order to find these Websites, all Search Engines are a vital online Tool to find these Websites for whatever reasons (Information, a Service, an online Purchase etc.) If we look at the Search Statistics from Google alone, an insane number of approx. 3.5 Billion search queries are made daily. That’s a total of 1.2 trillion searches a year just from the Google Search Engine alone!

So what exactly does this have to do with our Website sharing Information on Tourism, Wildlife or Fauna and Flora??? Don’t be concerned, this is not a dry Blog on Website tutorials or alike. We just want to introduce you to a Search Engine which is putting up a lot of effort to reforest the globe. This is something worth a Nobel Prize in our humble opinion.

Very simple, we want to make the public aware of the Ecosia Search Engine which doesn’t just fill their pockets like the other big greedy competitors. Ecosia returns to mother earth by every search made. This undertaking deserves the utmost respect and support. Ecosia is a Search Engine which plant’s trees. In their own Words “Ecosia users have planted 40 million trees just by searching the web. Trees are vital to fighting climate change. Scientists agree that halting deforestation is just as urgent as reducing emissions. Protecting and restoring forests could reduce worldwide emissions of CO2 by 18%.” – from the Ecosia Website – The Ecosia Search Engine works just like any other Search Engine, plus they have a nice feature of a live running counter of how many trees have been – or are up for planting below the search box. With the funds collected they evaluate selected locations for the next area where planting trees are of importance and which can provide the highest survival rate for the trees as such (see video clips below for more insight). They prefer to plant Acacia trees (see link below or click here) and have a separate Bank Account to help Woman start their own business. As a cherry on top of the cake, they don’t sell your private information to other third parties (like 90% of all Search Engine providers) and do not force you to accept Internet cookies or trackers. Utmost Respect for eliminating the “online dodgy stuff” and the financial support towards female self-empowerment!!! In writing this, there are a helpful more of aspects which I can write about but we try to keep things short (the Video clips below will explain more).

Have a look at their Introduction Videos below:

A clip on how Ecosia decides on how and where to plant new trees (the human value behind this is stunning):

One clip on the impact Ecosia already had in Madagascar (more clips can be found on the Ecosia Website or via YouTube):

If you have a closer look at the facts as for how many trees are cut down each year, IntactForests.org concludes that intact forest landscapes from 2000-2013 were reduced globally by 70,000 square kilometres per year (about the size of Costa Rica) for a total of 919,000 square kilometres. As to the “number of trees” this represents, it’s impossible to get an accurate count. In regards on the Tree density in primary forests varies from 50,000-100,000 trees per square km, so the math would put this number at 3.5 billion to 7 billion trees cut down each year. Symbolically speaking, we are cutting down the “lungs of the earth” at an alarming rate. That’s why we support the use of the Ecosia Search Engine by all means necessary.

If we take a closer look at the scenario, it is well documented that the earth Oxygen levels are dwindling. According to this article from the Dailymail UK, it states that we experienced a drop of 0,7% drop of the earth’s Oxygen levels due to CO2 emissions, general consumption and deforestation. This value is expected to grow in near future. To simplify the matter, each person uses around 550 litres of oxygen per day (according to howstuffworks). So with the estimated amount from the year 2018 of 7.7 Billion people on planet earth that’s a usage of  4235,000,000,000 litres of Oxygen per day. In general, one fully grown tree at 30 meters (100 feet) produces around 118 litres of Oxygen per year (according to AAAtreeserviceny). At the deforestation rate of 7 billion a year that’s an Oxygen supply loss of 82,600,000,000 per year. If one does further calculations from these statistics one will clearly see that we are heading for a global disaster regarding our air-supply alone (disregarding food supply’s, clean water supply’s etc.).

Just to understand the terminology, Reforestation is not the same as afforestation, though both are directed towards propagating greenery. Afforestation is the endeavour to forest an area which originally had no tree cover what so ever. It is the effort to create a new forest in a previously unforested area or a part of the land that was not under forest cover. The Ecosia Search Engine doesn’t handle the effort under “afforestation”, which is well explained in the Video clips above.

Reforestation simply means the effort put in by repopulating an area which has lost its tree population due to human intervention or natural disasters. It is an initiative different countries are undertaking to maintain ecological balance as beautifully explained in the Madagascar Video clip above.

 Have a look at this Website from The World Counts just to see how fast we are currently destroying our own life-support. The live online measurements will leave you literally “gasping for air”.

Some of our past Blog Posts with similar field of interest:

• Conservation of Namibia’s Ecosystem

• Namibia’s Bush Encroachment Issue

As a closure, we would love to leave you with a simple insight. If for eg. Ecosia reaches a reforestation amount of 1 billion planted trees (per year) at a success rate of 40% survival of each Tree (Percentage is taken as an example) this means that this enterprise has given 400,000,000 trees back to nature by the simple support of your online searches. From the estimated 7 billion trees cut down yearly, this has an impact of 5,7% of reforestation to deforestation. This means that according to the statistics and specific to this example only – at 5,7% success rate, it will take Ecosia 17,5 years to reforest a one-year calculation/count/estimate of deforestation statistics. Another thing to take into account is that it takes multiple years for a tree to reach it’s full growth, meaning that before a tree reaches a considerable minimum size (not fully grown) to make an environmental impact on the global atmosphere, could take up a minimum of 3 years (only true for fast-growing trees – click for the general encyclopedia). For one tree to help with the maintenance of our atmospheric gasses and the global warming problem, this is a relevant fact which is very often forgotten or overseen. With our current technology, cutting down beautiful age-old trees takes a matter of minutes. Replacing them is an entirely different ball-game. The Ecosia Search Engine Project is difficult, complex but remarkably beautiful. Please Note: This specific example excludes other non-mentioned “Reforestation Projects”.

Some short clips on deforestation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwqvSE0UV0w

It isn’t in our control in which manner you understand or think about this Blog Post and is up to each individual themselves. But a wise person once said: “These current problems do not burden us, however, the next generation(s) will thank us for the mess in which we left them behind.” -unknown-

         Nevertheless, you do the math on the Information given above – definitely, something to think about…

Your support is vital:

Go to the Ecosia Search Engine 

Go to the Ecosia Facebook Page 

Other reforestation Project links:

• The Eden Reforestation Project

• The Carbonfund Reforestation Project

• The UNFCCC Project (.pdf document)

• The Andes Reforestation Project

No true Adventure without Potjiekos!

So, what is Potjiekos?
Let’s be honest about it, who doesn’t love a good stew on cold rainy days or in a relaxed outside atmosphere? Let us put you in the educational line and tell you how we in Namibia get our culinary juices flowing. The Term “Potjiekos”  also sometimes known as Poikiekos, is a traditional Afrikaner dish hailing from southern Africa. One can agree that the Potjie is the equivalent to the Moroccan Tagine if you want. It originated with the Voortrekkers in the 1800’s and is still widely prepared and enjoyed in Namibia and most of southern Africa today. Since the days of the first settlement at the Cape when food was cooked in a black cast-iron “potjie pot” which was hanging from a chain over the open kitchen fire, simmering along. The history shows that the Potjie came from the Dutch ancestors and settlers of the South African community, who took with them heavy iron cooking pots as one of their cooking utensils. If you never had a Potjie as a Guest inside Namibia, be prepared to experience one throughout your travels. Random or planned (?) there is a high guarantee that you will be offered or invited for a tasting.

In most of Namibia and southern Africa, the Word “Potjiekos” means only one thing, food prepared outdoors in a cast iron, three-legged, round pot using either wood coals or charcoal. “Ons kry nou kossies” meaning as much as “It’s feeding time” is a general outcall which can be expected at every Potjiekos gathering.

It is a very straightforward dish which comes in hundreds to thousands of variants. Most of them are easy to prepare when you know exactly what you are doing (We’ve seen a couple burned and neglected ones). Basically, most variants when done properly (!), a Potjie needs little to almost no supervision and in essance prepares itself, except for a few recipe exceptions. It makes an excellent social meal hence it allows one the time to saviour the company of your friends and family while preparing the meal. “Potjiekos“, translated from the Afrikaans Language translates as ‘Little Pot’ (Potjie) and ‘Food’ (Kos). Although it resembles a stew it is not a stew and is not prepared like a stew (depending on the recipe* – see E-Book for more details linked below).

The range of different recipes is as wide as the imagination stretches and preparing a Potjie meal is very much an individual thing. The best meat to use for “potjiekos” is what is known as stewing beef, gelatinous and sinewy cuts of beef which become deliciously tender when simmered for a long time, developing a strong meaty flavour. Other meats such as goat, chicken, venison, mutton and even fish or various kinds of seafood make ideal Potjies. Please Note that Seafood Potjies is a complete topic on their own! Dishes being prepared via a Potjie include all protein-based dishes, vegetarian meals, various Bread and even Desserts. To put emphasis on Bread prepared from a Potjie is always a highlight. You will recognise a true Potjie professional who has the ability to offer well made and un-burned fresh bread from a Potjie. We love burned ends but when it comes to open-flame made foods, Potjie Bread so with becomes a simple measure for the ranking of a Grill-Master. This individual seriously knows his cooking! Especially on a large scale preparation…

A Hippo Adventure Tours insider Tip: Make some Popcorn with your Potjie on your next Camping weekend. It’s cheap and really simple. You will notice how your camp spot neighbours will suddenly become your new best friends. Another insider Tip, a Potjie makes for an excellent beverage cooler due to its metal properties.

So how do you prepare your Potjie?

A Potjie has structured layers. The bottom layer contains the meat (not true for seafood though*), the middle layer includes vegetables and the top layer the starch. A Potjie is a very informal way of preparing food which makes it somewhat difficult to set guideline measurements to provide amounts or specific recipes for the dishes. Download the listed E-Book below for further in-depth details. The reason for this is that it all depends on the size of the pot and the specific type of Potjie being prepared. But excellent Information and general guidelines are included in the E-Book linked at the end of this Post. With Potjies everything becomes unique hence one can add any ingredients you want, nothing is wrong. In Namibia, we would say “gaan mal” which translates to “go crazy”. If you Stick with a few basic rules you will easily succeed.

• On the 1st Rule
Potjiekos is made up of layers and their order is important. As mentioned above, always place meat at the bottom, then the vegetables and then the starch (not true for Seafood Potjies).

• On the 2nd Rule
This dish doesn’t like to be rushed! Potjiekos is cooked slowly, depending on the recipe, expect 1.5 to 4 hours on moderate heat. So do yourself a favour and start way before dinner time.

• On the 3rd Rule
The fire is a crucial part of your Potjie masterpiece. Unlike a Braai (BBQ), the choice of wood or charcoal doesn’t make much of a difference. As long as it can be regulated. Remember, this is an open flame prepared meal. Yes, Potjies prepared on Gas Stoves is also valid. Mostly on rainy days but it somehow doesn’t provide the true Potjie ambience. Try to keep it real!

• On the 4th Rule
Use enough, but not too much, liquid. You are not making a stew or a soup! Soggy Potjies is a definite no-go! With experience, you will become a Master in Potjie preparation. Potjies rich in gravy is mostly prefered when instead of Rice, Bread is available for dunking. Well observed is that many “Potjie Fanatics” out there are on a heavy debate about this one!

• On the 5th Rule
Traditional recipes require for you to not lift the lid unless you want to serve the meal or suspect something is wrong with the Potjie. Some recipes call for different actions though!

     + How to break in your brand new Potjie:

If this is your first ever Potjie with a new pot we recommend the following steps in order to remove manufacturing residue. Believe us when we say, you DON’T want your first culinary offerings to taste of metal or other industrial elements!

• Firstly, properly wash the inside thoroughly with boiling water and a scouring pad (or sandpaper) and then dry over open flames.

• Secondly, coat the inside of your utensil thoroughly with cooking oil and heat until the oil begins to smoke. Any cheap cooking oil will do!

• Thirdly, by using a paper towel, clean the inside. Repeat until the towel wipes pick up no more residue.

• Lastly, on cheap Potjies repeat if necessary! We recommend purchasing a quality Potjie, it will outlast generations or more if properly cared for so with making it an once in a lifetime investment. Also, go for the cast iron Potjies. The aluminium Potjies are not recommended for a once in a lifetime buy. Our advice from Hippo Adventure Tours would be to go for either (1) Cadac, (2) Bush Baby ( the Original and best!), (3) BestDuty or (4) Megamaster. Expect a general sales price for a Number 3 sized Potjie at around N$850.oo or higher.

So, if you followed our advice your new Potjie is now ready for use. This simple utensil will last a lifetime if properly cared for and on top of all, the more you use it the better it becomes. After each use wash, dry and coat the inside with oil. Store with the lid off in a dry place with absorbent paper crumpled up in a ball inside the pot to prevent oxidation. If you are purchasing a new Potjie generally for a group of four to six people a Size No.3 Pot is just about right. Look for the Number on the Lid of the Potjie, if it has an embossed Number 3 on it then be assured that its a Number 3 size pot. Generally available at most Hardware and Outdoor Retailers throughout Namibia.

Cool Books on Potjiekos:

+ Potjiekos:

This publication is a Co-Production with the South African Lifestyle Magazine “Huis Genoot” which makes this one the best and oldest all-around guide available on the Market. Although an older release date, most Potjie Fans agree that this Publication could be called “the culinary Bible”. Great methods, handling, preparing, diverse recipes and other “must-knows” are explained inside this simple guide. If you want to buy only one Book, this one would be our recommendation!

A huge variety of traditional favourites and gourmet dishes are included, making this the one cookbook that every potjiekos enthusiast should have. Creamy curried seafood potjie, Greek fish stew, Venison hotpot, Malay sheep’s tripe, Succulent oxtail, Mediterranean half-necks of lamb, Neck of pork with baked apples, Mrs Pachoo’s curried mince, Creamy tomato meatballs, Chicken Breyani, Chicken livers in a red-wine sauce, Sugar bean curry, Pumpkin potjie, Savoury samp, Biltong pot bread, Orange pot cake … Potjie recipes to make your mouth water, whatever your culinary tastes!” (Taken from the Book Introduction)

Author: Marlene Hammann
Category: Food & Drink
ISBN: 9780798127851
Date Released: 12 December 1994
Price (incl. VAT): N$ 180.00
Format: Softcover, 128 pages

+ Braai and Potjie

A publication ideal for the outdoor cook beginner which includes recipes, tips and techniques on all things concerning cooking on an open flame, Safari style!

South Africa’s climate is so good that outdoor cooking, ingrained into our psyche by the early indigenous people and the Voortrekkers, who learnt the art from them, is almost a national sport! Men congregate around fires, debating about whether to use wood or charcoal, each with their own way of doing things. In the early to mid-1800s the Dutch, French and German immigrants formed a new nation – the Afrikaners. And those who ventured north were known as the Voortrekkers (meaning pioneers). There was a unique cooking culture that developed with the Voortrekkers. The ox and wagon and horse were their only means of transport and provisioning was limited. So, in order to survive, they had to hunt and roast the meat on open fires, thus giving birth to the braai, a tradition that is now so established in South Africans’ culture. Some ate their meat with griddle cakes or roosterkoek while others, who had come into contact with black tribes and had been introduced to the staple food of Africa, mealie meal porridge or pap, began enjoying that with their braaivleis. As there was little space for pots and pans on the ox wagons, the settlers developed a one-pot meal called potjiekos. A three-legged cast-iron pot was used and filled with meat, vegetables and starch, like potatoes, seasoned and covered with a lid. Braai and potjie, flavours and traditions invite you on a journey into our great outdoors where we light a fire and encourage you to stay a while and enjoy this unique South African tradition.” (Taken from the Book Introduction)

Author: Sophia Lindop
Category: Food & Drink
ISBN: 978-1-4314-2201-2
Date Released: May 2015
Price (incl. VAT): N$ 135.00
Format: Paperback, 184 pages

 + Laat die Potte Prut (♥ Brand NEW Publication)

The Title “Laat die Potte Prut” translates as “Let the Pots simmer”. Although an Afrikaans Title, this book is available in English providing very new and modern takes on Potjie cooking. The authors of this Publication are well known due to their participation on the hit TV-Series “The Ultimate Braai Master” in South Africa. The series is frequently aired on the DSTV Travel Channel.

The best recipes from the popular potjiekos cooking show on Via. Every recipe is delicious: from mussels in a creamy sauce, scrumptious oxtail, bredies and even a three-tiered cake, all made over the fire. From easy to ‘grand’, economical to special, this book caters for every taste.” (Taken from the Book Introduction)

Author: Piet Marais and Erik Oosthuizen
Category: Food & Drink
ISBN: 9780798176897
Date Released: 11 June 2018
Price (incl. VAT): N$ 265.00
Format: Softcover, 192 pages

Listed Books and similar Publications are available Online at Amazon or for locals at Takealot (Prices may vary as listed inside this Post).

Download this free Potjie Recipe E-Book provided and compiled by the South African located Klipplaatz Bush Lodge.

Making a Potjie for a larger crowd? • Get your protein ingredients at Hartlief in Windhoek, click here for our review! • Also, support locals by using Omuriro Firestarters (also available inside our Adventure Shop). You will do the earth a favour and won’t be disappointed by this beautiful product.

Below, an ideal clip for the making of a semi-true and semi-authentic Potjie. Unfortunately, the stirring of ingredients doesn’t make it a 100% authentic Potjie. Nevertheless, a very good introduction though…

 

14 of Namibia’s outstanding local Products

We at Hippo Adventure Tours love Namibia and support local Namibian Businesses who go through great efforts to manufacture outstanding Namibian Products. For all Holidaymakers and Visitors spending some time within our beautiful country, we would love to share some of these Products. Keep an eye out for these Items and judge for yourself. One will notice that all these Brands supply great Products which can stand up to International Competitors. Something locals are very proud of.

So, without further due, here is our first listing, hand selected by the Hippo Adventure Tour’s Team:

     + Choice No.1 – Namibia Dairy Products

Do you know the difference between Oshikandela Plain and Nammilk Omaere Plain?  Oshikandela is a smooth low-fat drinking yoghurt that can be used as a complete meal replacement all on its own. Omaere is a full-cream cultured milk known for its high nutritional value. It is a brilliant source of nutrients for the entire family and a healthy choice to use as a mix for breakfast, cereal and pap* (*Pap – a cooked maize porridge generally consumed all throughout Namibia). This Product is packed in bright coloured Dairy Containers with traditional African design elements, very hard to overlook on the shelves. Generally available at most general Retailers all throughout Namibia.

• Generally, Prices for a 2 Litre container roam around N$47,99.

Manufacturer: Nammilk

     + Choice No.2 – Cold Cuts and fresh Meat Supplies

Love your Cold Cuts or not sure where to get trusted Meat Products? Namibia’s biggest butchery enterprise is at your doorstep for trusted offerings. Hartlief has been committed to providing and manufacturing quality products not only for the Namibian Market but also border-crossing. Hartlief hasn’t changed its processes in this time and continues to produce premium meat the same way it always has. Time and tradition is the secret behind this family-oriented business for the last 70 years. Their Head office / Butchery located in Windhoek offers a comfortable Rooftop Bistro and a fully stocked On-Site Retail Shop for Walk-In Customers, selling both individual Items and Bulk. Some of their Range Items include Ham’s, Spread’s, diverse Salamis, Sausages and a great offering on Bulk Meat options.

• Ideal for your next Potjie (click for details) !!!

More Information: Hartlief Website 

     + Choice No.3 – Namibian Beer

Namibia’s premium quality range of Beer’s are well known for being an all natural Product, brewed using only the finest imported ingredients. The complete Product palette delivers a refreshing taste profile for the social drinking occasion. We can almost guarantee Visitors in Namibia that you will cross these Beverages throughout your stay here. Produced by the Namibia Breweries Company located in Windhoek, one can say that most of the Range is highly refreshing beer products. Beers like the known “Draught range” can be found on tap at selected outlets, as well as in the unique ‘big’ 450ml nonreturnable pack – ideal for any outdoor occasion or any social gathering. Some Product Range listings include Tafel Lager, Windhoek Lager, Windhoek Draught, Windhoek Light, the newly added “Camelthorn” Range and many more. Did you know that Namibia Breweries respects and cherishes the 1516 Reinheitsgebot method of brewing up to this day? Just like mentioned inside their branding: “Made of the Right Stuff”.

• Generally, a 440ml Can of Windhoek Draught sells for about N$20,00.

More Information: Namibia Breweries Company Website

     + Choice No.4 – Namibia Diamonds

Everybody knows Namibia has a long ongoing History regarding superior Diamonds (read our past Blogs for more Info). The company Hard Stone Processing aka. “HSP” processes rough diamonds from various De Beers owned mines, including Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Canada. Namibian All rough sources are from ethically responsible suppliers and HSP guarantees the highest level of corporate standards to its clients. This company produces classic brilliant cut diamonds branded with ‘Cut in Namibia’, to distinguish them as ethically responsible Namibian products. Raw Diamonds handled via HSP are polished and cut to triple-excellent standard, to meet the global standard for top cut high-quality diamonds. Should you buy some Jewellery throughout your stay in Namibia which includes Diamonds, there is a high possibility that those Gemstones have been handled via HSP.

More Information: Hard Stone Processing Namibia Website

• Would you like to know more about Namibian Gemstones?

     + Choice No.5 – Namibia Wines

If you are a Wine connoisseur than don’t ignore this one! It’s not just only Stellenbosh and France where the best Wines are being bottled. Situated in Omaruru, the Erongo Mountain Winery can be found. At 1200 meters above sea level, situated along the Omaruru river and surrounded by the beautiful rugged mountains of the Erongo region (Namibia) this Winery produces a Range of Wines which can take on any International Wineries. Wines from the Erongo Mountain Winery are trailblazing, together with the innovative boutique winery is pioneering the Namibian wine industry one Vintage after another. Their Collection to keep an eye out for include Ohamba, Namibian Kiss, Krantzberg, Etosha Blend, Chenin Blanc. Our personal recommendation would be the Etosha Blend, a depth of Shiraz spice and sweet fruit complements the Cabernet Sauvignon’s boldness and dark berry flavours. To add a small Insider Tip, try to get hold of their renowned “Devilsclaw Apperativ” (available inside the Hippo’s Shop), made purely from the Devilsclaw (Latin classification: Harpagophytum) which outranks Europe’s “Jägermeister” by miles! In our humble opinion, the delivery of this Product regarding their Bottle Design deserves a Red Dot Design Award. Rumour has it, apparently extracts from this ingenious plant has been used by Namibian indigenous Tribes as a very successful natural medicinal heart remedy (?).

• We stock many of their Products within our Hippo Adventure Tours Shop.

• Ideal for your next Potjie (click for details) !!!

• Like to know more about Namibian medicinal Plants?

More additional Products from this Namibia Distillery are available and can be reviewed here. 

     + Choice No.6 – Namibian Olive Products

Who doesn’t love good quality Olive Products? No matter from quality Namibian Olive Oil up to Olives packed in Brine. These Products contain no additives whatsoever, compared to commercial Products which usually are loaded with dodgy preservatives. The olives from the Ruheleben Olive Farm, located at the Namibian Coast are popular with the locals and Visitors alike. Also, hence the superior quality of these Namibian Olive Products are used in many of the local Namibian restaurants. Green and black olives are handpicked and sorted for the curing and bottling process. From raw fruit to the packaged product is a long process, very labour intensive in order to put the emphasis on a superior quality. A range of Products free from strange commercially used chemical additives. As they say, quality takes time and special attentional care.

Have a look here for more Information on Namibia Olive Products 

     + Choice No.7 – Namibian Plant Cosmetics

Yes, Namibia Produces Cosmetics! Ever heard about “!Nara”? The !Nara plant, also called !Nara melon or !Nara fruit which belongs to the botanical family of pumpkin plants. The scientific name is formerly known as Acanthosicyos horridus. This species of Plant is a thorny shrub that is endemic in the Namib Desert and only grows in the dunes along Namibia’s Kuiseb river bed. The nurturing and healing properties gained from the Oils of the !Nara plant has been known to the indigenous people of Namibia for centuries. For the !Nara cosmetic products, the dried !Nara seeds are cold pressed in a special, patented spiral press without the use of solvents or other additives. Body Oils, soothing Night Creams and Deo Creams are some of their available Cosmetic choices.

Complete details about these Namibia Cosmetics can be found here.

• If you like medicinal Plants have a look at one of our previous Post’s here

     + Choice No.8 – Namibia Canned Products

The fishing Enterprise, Etosha Fishing, offers Atlantic mackerel in a can. This one is specifically selected by Hippo’s for our Backpacker Guests. The value addition of horse mackerel in a Can, Namibia’s favourite national fish product, branded as “Efuta Maasbanker canned product range” are offered in three flavours namely tomato, chilli and salt water. This is a truly Namibian product “dressed” in the traditional bright magenta coloured label, and get’s its name from one of the indigenous languages meaning “from the ocean”. The product is not only available in Namibia, but is also generally available throughout southern Africa. Expect to see it on the shelves.

• Depending on location, expect Prices of N$20,00 and up. Great buy!

Have a complete look at the entire canned Fish Product Range available

• Also, read this Blog Post about Namibian Atlantic Deep Sea Trawling

• An Anglers Paradise here in Namibia (fresh water)

     + Choice No.10 – Namibian Gin

Did you know a nice glass of Gin and Tonic is a good preventative for Malaria? The quinine found inside tonic water is what really helps the prevention of malaria. It has a bitter taste hence which it is complemented by the addition of gin. That’s the reason why British colonialists in India started to drink the combo in the first place. Stillhouse Gin is a true spirit from Namibia’s Atlantic Coastline. Distilled using 14 botanicals inside Stillhouse’s Gin recipe, 10 plants are being foraged locally throughout Namibia. Careful choices have been made regarding their choice of organically grown citrus, free from pesticides or chemical fertilisers. Tiny batches of this Product are Distilled in-house making each bottle of aromatic Stillhouse Gin a masterpiece with an individual finish to create a unique work of uniqueness and taste. When it comes to rare liqueurs, add this one to the list.

• Prices range generally around N$450,00 and higher.

Would you like to know more about Namibian Gin? 

     + Choice No.11 – Namibian Poultry

There is nothing better than some spicy chicken on a braai (BBQ). Namibia produces and offers some outstanding poultry food products available throughout all of Namibia. Namib Poultry, located just outside Windhoek in the direction of Okahandja puts great emphasis when it comes to our chickens. Once again for Namibian Company’s, high value for chemically free, organic processing is on top of the line. Unlike frozen Products imported from South Africa, this Company is ensuring optimum freshness!

• Pre-packed and supplied via General Retailers, expect a weighed Price range around N$60,00 per kilo.

• Ideal for your next Potjie (click for details) !!!

See where this Poultry Product comes from

     + Choice No.12 – Namibian Firestarters (Hippo’s favourite Product choice)

We all love a good campfire or braai (BBQ). So why use petroleum products when there is a better alternative? Here is our choice for one of our favourite Namibian Products. Omuriro is a fairly new Product available on the Namibian Market. Omuriro which translates as “Fire” in the native Otjiherero language is Namibia’s finest all natural firelighters. Completely made from the toughest hardwood brush trees found throughout southern Africa. Nothing compares to this Namibian product made entirely from the renewable Acacia Black Thorn. All Self-Driver Guest’s, Hikers and Camper’s should make sure to include this one inside their Gear.

Hippo’s choice Award reasoning: Although all the listed Products and suppliers listed here are Top of the Range, why does this Product get to receive our Company Product choice Award? Omuriro firestarters represent the true essence of a natural, hands-down stunning Product. For a type of “Result producing surplus” which in general get’s destroyed via burning, a lot of effort, labour and down to earth thought went into this beautiful item. Don’t be fooled by its professional Package Design! If you are an Individual who respects Nature and the Earth as a whole, you will know exactly what we are raving about. Each individual “burning Stick” is self-explanatory, where one becomes aware of the fact that this Product has been put together based on a design concept which seems simple. Nevertheless, on a deeper insight into this Item, the historical history of mankind as such so with reveals itself. Showing humble properties on methods which have been used through the ages, even before daily petroleum-based competitor products available these days. We would just like to note that this Company is not just using selected invader Bush and 90% natural ingredients, but they also have a unique employment scheme for our fellow Namibians. So with, they do help people in rural areas with high unemployment like Omaruru location, Kalkfeld and Omatjete to become Entrepreneurs and even employ others. Furthermore, they do deliver Tooling and Material and collect monthly what has been produced (Complete Firelighters or components). It is very encouraging to see how this undertaking has a very positive impact already. Additionally, they employ 10 Individuals inside the factory in Omaruru Town, which for a new manufacturing establishment is very commendable. Respekt!

• Available for round about N$29,00 at selected locations. Also available inside our Shop, when in Stock!

Ideal for your next Potjie (click for details) !!!

More details on these Firestarters can be found here

     + Choice No.13 – Namibia dried Meat Snacks

You thought we gonna leave out Biltong, didn’t you? For those of you who don’t know Biltong, it can be compared almost to America’s favourite Snack known as “Jerky”. Most people unfamiliar with Biltong soon learn to love this Food Item and just can’t help reaching for a little more from the snack bowl. And while everything is good in moderation, biltong is one of the better snacks to enjoy. Visitors will come across this Product all over throughout their Safari at General Retailers, Service Stations or Potjies* (7/11 Portuguese Retailers) who always have Biltong Stocked. Different Ranges include Chilli Bites, Rangers, Droewors (same like Biltong just in Sausage Form), Wheels, Stokkies and many, many more. The Okahandja located Enterprise “Closwa” is a consistent supplier of this much-loved Snack.

• Expect to pay around a minimum of N$95,00 per kilo, depending on Type, flavour, size and location of purchase.

One of Namibia’s biggest commercial suppliers of packaged Biltong

     + Choice No.14 – Namibia Leather Products

If you want to buy a fashion item which last’s a lifetime than we at Hippo’s can only recommend the Products manufactured at Nakara. Given the extensive range of raw materials with all different properties on their own, the many processes developed over time leather making is highly versatile and leather manufacturers can produce qualities with widely varied properties and looks. Nakara produces a wide range of natural leather garments, ostrich bags, belts, wallets, coats, purses, handbags selective from a wide selection of game skins (Oryx, Springbok, Kudu, Zebra,). Products are sold at Nakara’s boutiques in Swakopmund, Windhoek and Nakara Factory Shop Windhoek. No pleather anywhere around here! They also offer custom tailored Masterpieces on request.

Check out Nakara’s craftsmanship leather Products here.

Something extra (Choice No.9 – Branding) – Hippo Adventure Tour’s small insider Tip:

Take a look out for Products branded with the Team Namibia Logo. This show’s that it’s purely approved and quality inspected Namibian Goods. You can be ensured that they will be good for you.

Details on Team Namibia available here

Although there are a whole bunch of manufacturers and producers available throughout Namibia who supply superior products, unfortunately, we can’t list everyone in this Post. Nevertheless, we want you to watch this Space as we are going to list more inside an upcoming Post in near future. We lovingly ask our Namibian Guest’s to visit the above-listed Company’s and/or purchase and try their Products should you come across them. At Hippo’s we are committed to support and promote all Namibian suppliers who enable us to get hold of their well-respected offerings. In essence, as we preach here at Hippo’s: “Don’t just be a Tourist in Namibia, – experience Namibia”.

Also, read about our choice of 26 reviewed Restaurants in Windhoek here.

Click this link for a complete List of Top Products Exported by Namibia

Image rights: Photos owned by each mentioned Producer