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).

26 reviewed Restaurants in Windhoek

When it comes to Restaurants in Windhoek there definitely is a large variety regarding dining-out choices. Fortunately, we have been to some of the most popular restaurants here and can, therefore, recommend them to make the choice easy for you. There are several restaurants you can visit, it all depends on your mood and the atmosphere you want to enjoy your meal in. Our listing below does not include franchise Restaurants because we want to support our local businesses as far as possible. Click on Restaurant name to view outside links for location, telephone numbers and more. As with most good quality Restaurant’s, please ensure you make early bookings because the listed locations below are very much favoured by locals and visitors alike. So expect a “full house”, especially on weekends. Seating can be denied when these places are doing their best they can do, which is delivering outstanding dishes. Also, rocking up before closing time and expecting them to serve you is a big NO-NO! Be considerate and try to show up on respected times for lunch (btw. 12:00 till 14:00) and dinner (18:00 till 21:00). If you are trying to be someone special by showing up at 21:50 expecting to order a three-course meal for a group of 4 will not make you any friends and much likely will be declined. Publishing your negative review on the web, as a result, will just be laughed at by most! Showing your respect towards the establishment by arriving on the recommended times is the way to go. Please Note, locations are NOT listed within a ranking system (First place, second place etc.) but in an order of a random numerical listing outlet. So no first place! You can establish this for yourself if you like…

     + No.1 – Joe’s Beerhouse: A legendary place and arguably the most popular restaurant in Windhoek if not Namibia. The food is great and they have a large variety of craft beers, however, it is the atmosphere that will make the biggest impression on you. Also a great selection of Game meats available on their a la carte menu. This specific location is by most considered as one of Namibia’s oldest and most renowned hang-outs, not just locally but by international visitors alike. Many will agree with us and many other individuals when we classify this specific outlet as the most famous Beerhouse in the whole of Africa. Give them a try and see for yourself why!

     + No.2 – The Stellenbosch Winebar and Restaurant: A very good all round Menu with a broad menu and great service. Placed right in the centre of Jenny’s Place centre in Sam Nujoma Drive provides a very charming and relaxed atmosphere. Also worth mentioning is that this Restaurant offers an outstanding wine selection!

     + No.3 – Kubata Restaurant: If you fancy some Portuguese cuisine then Kubata Restaurant is the place to go to. Specialising in seafood offering this is a good all-around restaurant, this Angolan establishment specializes in grilled seafood and divers meats. Their menu also comprises of many traditional Angolan dishes.

     + No.4 – Andy’s Pub and Grill: Pub-style eatery offering great Pizza’s and the biggest and best Currywurst within the southern hemisphere. Great atmosphere but expect a “Pub – or Bar-like” surrounding where service can be delayed when encountering many visitors. Just like their slogan states “lecker, locker, lustig” translating to “enjoyable, easy-going, fun”…

     + No.5 – JoJo’s Music and Art’s Cafe’: Once the hub for Windhoek’s millennials where talks of politics, pop culture, and side hustles would be had over drinks as the sounds of Black Vulcanite or local poets fill up the room. Those days are long gone though. With new ownership, came new things. Jojo’s Music & Arts Cafe is now a restaurant serving amazing food. The artistic chef presents the food so well that you will be compelled to take pictures of your food and share them on Instagram.

     + No.6 – Xwama Traditional Restaurant: If you are visiting Namibia, you need to try out the local cuisine. Xwama offers just that and will make you feel like you’re actually visiting an Owambo village. Found at the far end of the Independence Avenue in Katutura. Very traditional setup!!! Expect to find Menu choices which are not known by international visitors like eg. “Mopane Worms“. But try the Kapana, you can’t go wrong…

     + No.7 – The Beer Barrel: Offering an everchanging selection of craft beers and a very decent menu to keep you going. Very nice artisan beers are perfectly matched on the menu selections. Also, one of the only Restaurant’s which we are aware of us at Hippo’s which offer eating challenges like eg. “Eat this massive Burger and get a T-Shirt“. Situated somewhat outside of the main parts of Windhoek, Sam Nujoma Drive heading towards the Namibia International Airport. If visiting during the Namibian Winter make sure to take a Jacket along.

     + No.8 – Corner Pub & Grill: If you prefer to chill out with the boys, pop some beers, watch a game, and chow down on some burgers, head over to the Corner Pub and Grill by the Olympia public swimming pool or the Namibian Dive Association Club. It is nice, quiet, loads of parking space and their famous burgers are mouthwatering. Best in town!

     + No.9 – Seasource: Wholesaler, Take away and a sit-down outlet for the freshest Atlantic fish available in Windhoek with the biggest Namibian Oysters known to mankind. No frozen seafood anywhere in sight. A guaranteed freshness and a great selection of diverse seafood products always at hand. If you want fresh, this one is the one to visit. The logistic-management behind the perishable products are so rocking solid it’s downright remarkable! In order to guarantee quality freshness makes this outlet a true trailblazer, which for Namibia is second to none. These guys know their seafood better than anyone inside the whole country. If you can get your meal somewhere cheaper, you know it comes out of a deep-freezer. Also, check out their Sushi selection! P.S.: Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

     + No.10 – Garnish Indian Cuisine: Garnish is a destination for the food lovers who look for authentic Indian cuisine served in a traditional way. One of the popular restaurants in Windhoek, Garnish serves the finest traditional Indian cuisine and the celebration of this exotic and colourful culture. From Goa Prawns, Vindaloo Mutton to excellent Briyani, the Menu will satisfy all preferences. Located in Klein Windhoek in Sam Nujoma Drive, Kleine Kuppe and at the coast in Swakopmund. We recommend their Naan Bread and Butter Chicken washed down with an ice-cold Lassi. Yum!

     + No.11 – Daisho-Sushi: The best Japanese cuisine in Windhoek. Great sushi and also delicious hot meals on offer. Keep an eye out for their random all-you-can-eat evenings. Also, this is one rare location offering delicious meals accompanied by the choice of Duck protein, when available.

     + No.12 – Sumi Restaurant: Sumi means black ink, originating from the Japanese culture. Luxury, Privacy, Relaxation and food handled with respect are key elements of our dining experience at Sumi. The robata grill is located at a centre focal point forming the main design element in their restaurant. They have a very modern approach towards the entire Restaurant concept. In our humble opinion, this must currently be the most “Hipp” Restaurant in Windhoek which stands up to many European Restaurants or even better.

     + No.13 – Bush Bar: The Bush Bar is one of the newest Restaurants in Windhoek and is quickly finding popularity among all ages. They serve everything from Pasta’s and Pizza’s, Steaks and Burgers, diverse Sea Food meals, Chicken, Lamb or Pork choices and obviously your Salad’s. You have the options to either sit inside their Restaurant, Open air Deck, or “Lounge”. The Bush Bar is located in Tennis Street, Olympia, next to DTS Sports Club and across the road from the Olympia public swimming Pool. Note, if the front parking space looks all occupied, drive straight ahead. They have ample secure parking space available behind the outlet.

     + No.14 – Klein Windhoek Guesthouse Riverview Restaurant: Our Riverview Restaurant offers fine cuisine throughout the day, 7 days a week. It is fully licensed and provides a warm and friendly atmosphere. Whether you are in the mood for a buffet breakfast to kick-start your day, a hearty lunch or a delicious supper to reminisce on the day’s event. Their awesome Pizza’s put them on the Map. 😉

     + No.15 – Rivercrossing Lodge and Restaurant: Located approx. 3km outside Windhoek this 6500-hectare private Game reserve offers a cosy Restaurant with one of the best Sundowners imaginable. Always worth a visit! Rivercrossing is much loved hence to the fact of their location. Being a Lodge close to the international Namibian Airport makes it a preferred space for many Tour facilitators as an “ease-out method” after a long Safari before a departure. It is also very clear why some couples hold their Weddings there – it’s the stunning view!

     + No.16 – Hotel Heinitzburg Restaurant: Our Gourmet Restaurant overlooks the skyline of the Capital city and varied cuisine is served to range from local to international á la Carte, a true celebration of the senses. Some of the most amazing sundowner evenings within Windhoek. Top class service with a kitchen which speaks for itself! 5 Star dining guaranteed. Heinitzburg comes with a very interesting past which we will touch on in a future Blog Post.

     + No.17 – Hotel Thule Restaurant: Enjoying a meal in our On the Edge Restaurant or on our Terrace overlooking the city of Windhoek, is one of the highlights of a visit to Hotel Thule. Breakfast, with the sun casting its first rays over the city, is a good start to the day, whilst dinner – enjoyed in the ambience of our Restaurant and the city lights twinkling in the dark, is the perfect way to end a day in Windhoek. This location comes with a very interesting past which will be explained in a future Blog Post.

     + No.18 – SKW Club Restaurant: Mainly a Sportsclub hence the Name “Sport Klub Windhoek” has a cosy little Restaurant if you fancy some traditional German cuisine. Eisbein, Spaetzle, Kloese (traditional German Dumplings), Sauerkraut, Schnitzel and more are some of the German delicatessens on offer. Also, the location is the main host for Windhoek German Karneval (WiKa).

     + No.19 – Roof of Africa: A well known and popular hangout makes Roof of Africa a very serious contender. Offering an exceptional Wine list and a daily buffet open for guest’s and visitors alike. These guys also brew their own beer which speaks for itself. Very refreshing indeed! Try to book early because getting a Table at Roof of Africa is always a mission due to the popularity of the enterprise. As far as known to us, this is also one of the only locations in Windhoek which give you the choice to choose your pick of live crayfish inside their live saltwater-tank near the entrance (if available). Offering this option to guest’s is definitely not an easy one to maintain. That’s why when available, the stock goes fast! Yes, these Crayfish come from our beautiful Namibian Coast, hand dived only when in season.

     + No.20 – O’Portuga Restaurant: Located in Windhoek “Restaurant Street – Sam Nujoma Drive” offers a delectable Menu all around Portuguese dishes. Famous for their “home away from home meals”, their warm atmosphere and prompt service make them a much-loved location.

     + No.21 – Sardinia – Blue Olive Ristorante: A cosy little restaurant which always has at least two expensive, luxury cars parked in front of it. Sardinia is situated on the Sam Nujoma Drive which is considered by locals as Windhoek’s “Restaurant Street”. Besides that, their food is very traditional and indeed very good. Their pizza, in particular, is delicious. Considered to be Namibia’s No.1 choice when wanting to indulge in some Italian cuisine. What else to expect when run by a true Italian family. Not just your standard Lasagne or Spaghetti, this Restaurant goes all out when it comes to diversity. “Vieni a sederti perché il cibo è molto buono!” Early bookings are a must due to the popularity and great consistency throughout the years. Their longstanding quality reputation within the Restaurant Industry makes them one of Namibia’s top Wine and Dine experiences available. Also worth mentioning, Sardinia is one of the oldest Restaurants in Windhoek exceeding over 40 years in business.

     + No.22 – Yang Tze Restaurant: If you are in the mood for some authentic Chinese food then you should give Yang Tze Chinese Restaurant a try. Also one of the oldest Restaurants in Windhoek exceeding 40 years of service makes it worth to mention within this list.  

     + No.23 Fresh ‘n Wild: This specific restaurant offers a fresh approach to catering. The strive (like their name says) to use only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients of the highest quality and great emphasis on the use of organic ingredients to produce food that is exceptional in taste. Producing restaurant-quality food in every setting is of great importance to them. give them a try!

      + No.24 – Wilde Eend Bistro: Wilde Eend (Afrikaans for “Wild Duck”) is a relaxing bistro with a great atmosphere of garden and home. Location sometimes also referred to as “Avant-Garde”. The menu is great with generous salads and meals served by a very friendly staff. A fun place to visit with friends and family. Very beautiful outside seating area much loved by locals on weekends.

     + No.25 – The Social: The owners worked on a concept to bring people throughout Namibia together through modern and fine ambience, service and cuisine, hence the name of the Restaurant “The Social”. Overall, very clean, professional and combined with an outstanding menu. Very recommendable for a superior Namibian dining experience!

     + No.26 – Single Quarter:   Firstly note this is NOT a conventional restaurant. But it is nevertheless Single Quarter is a great place to eat and explore a completely new environment and social behaviour as a whole. It is a large covered market, where you queue up to buy a portion of freshly cooked kapana (beef) wrapped in newspaper accompanied by a freshly made salsa or chopped salad prepared just in front of you, washed down with a soft drink. Many visitors sit on a bench and enjoy socialising with the locals. There is no refrigeration, so all meat has been slaughtered the same day. So please ignore the leftover hooves or cattle heads present all over the place. Traditional African cooking is going on all over the place. This is a true African-Namibian experience as close as it gets. Definitely not for the squeamish!!! We recommend going with a guide who knows his way. Click the link above for a nice explanation about this outlet compiled via the folks from the Gondwana-Collection. (Image rights by Gondwana-Collection)

+ Be kind…

The people serving your meal most of the time come from a hard background trying to make ends meet. Be decent and give them a Tip! Generally, 10% of the sum of the dining experience total amount is accepted as the standard. If you adhere to this advice, next time if you visit the same location you will notice how you or your Group will be welcomed with open arms and orders will arrive at your table much faster. Plus it shows the quality of your positive and open character. It will never go out of fashion to be a humble and generous Gentleman or Lady!

+ Google Restaurant Map

To make things easier for you, below a semi-complete list of the above-mentioned Restaurants and other non-listed Restaurants. Some new locations can be seen here which have not been reviewed by the Hippo’s Team, yet. If you try them, let us know about your experience.

Give any of the above a try, you can’t go wrong! We recommend booking early at any of the locations to avoid disappointments (click links for Contact details and more). Hence there are many Restaurants in Windhoek which opened up didn’t prevail cause of diverse reasons unknown to Hippos. Therefore we only mention establishments which have stood the test of time (min. 3 years or more) and have been personally reviewed by our Team. If we have overlooked a Restaurant in Windhoek unknown to us feel free to send us a message. We would love to keep this Blog Post updated and fresh. We will gladly add you after we had a proper look at your outlet. So all Restaurant owners, give us a message. We are looking forward to checking out your undertaking. Nevertheless, if you need some company and feel generous, just hit us up with a call because we are always hungry :-). We are known for our honest and open social approach and might give you or your Group some culinary Hints and Tips on the way…

+ Also read this Past Blog Post about 14 reviewed Namibian Products.

(25 of the above-used Images owned by the mentioned Restaurant’s) 

Namibia Top 5 Social Hang-Outs

# 1: Joes Beerhouse

A legendary Windhoek institution, this is where you can indulge (albeit with a little guilt…) in flame-broiled fillets of all those amazing animals you’ve seen on safari! Seriously. We’re talking huge cuts of zebra tenderloin, ostrich skewers, peppered springbok steak, oryx sirloin, crocodile on a hotplate and marinated kudu steak.

Location: 160 Nelson Mandela Ave, Windhoek, Namibia


Opening Times: 4.30pm-late Mon-Thu, 11am-late Fri-Sun

# 2: Warehouse Theatre

The Warehouse Theatre opened its doors in 1990 in the Old Breweries Building. It is Namibia’s premier live entertainment venue and comprises a 300 seater/ 600 standing theatre, Boiler Room (Bar and Bistro) and Cellar of Rock. Freshlyground, Vusi Mahlasela and more recently Dilana and Under Kontrol, to name but a few, have had their Namibian debut on the Warehouse Theatre stage. 2014 Also saw two highly acclaimed performances by South African artist Johnny Clegg’s acoustic band. The Boiler Room hosts Open Mic nights every Monday from 20h00, Karaoke nights on Tuesdays, and local live bands on Wednesday nights.

Location: 48 Tal Street | Old Breweries Building,Windhoek, Namibia


Opening Times: 4:00 pm – 4:00 am daily

# 3: Kückis Pub

Kücki’s Pub is situated in the heart of Swakopmund, within walking distance from all major hotels and the main beach of Swakopmund. As our name suggests, we have a fabulous pub but are also well known for our seafood and grill restaurant. We have a very relaxed atmosphere, ample space on two floors and great food. Kücki’s Pub serves fresh seafood dishes and the best cuts of meat, grilled to perfection! Coupled with freshly tapped draught and a wide selection of good wines, your meal is guaranteed to be a winner!

Location: Tobias Hainyeko, Swakopmund, Swakopmund, Namibia


Opening Times: 10:00 pm – 23:00 pm daily

# 4: Dylans Late Night Club

“Draught beer flowed like water last night… and the Karaoke stars where owning the stage,” commented Tony, co-owner of Dylans Nightclub, Windhoek, Namibia. “A great big shout out to the Bottoms Up System and all the effort and support put in by Jared-Dwight Geyser and his tenacious team for going that extra 1.6km. The promises that were made were kept, and we are now proud to have the coldest draught beer in Namibia.” Dylans Night Club is like the capitol city of any country compared symbolically regarding the Namibian Nightlife. Just a simple, plain and highly entertaining adult venue.

Location: 17 Joule Street, Windhoek, Namibia


Opening Times: 20:00 pm – 08:00 am daily

# 5: Club Vibe

One of Windhoek’s rather newest club. Fresh, upmarket, funky and modern. Ideal for the individual who likes to meet new and random people…

Location: Strokes Street (next to Windhoek Show Grounds), Windhoek, Namibia


Opening Times: 20:00 pm – 03:00 am daily