Campfire cooking – what we packed and cooked in Namibia

Written by Cyndi

Cyndi is about educating. Her greatest love is to teach, both in the public arena and within the large corporate food companies, to enable everyone to make better choices so they too can enjoy greater health throughout their lives. Considered one of the world's foremost experts in Nutrition, Cyndi brings over 40 years experience, research and knowledge.

July 2, 2015

A number of people have been asking me how do I eat healthy food when I’m travelling – and especially what I ate while in Namibia travelling through remote areas.

I travel a lot so I’ve got it down to a fine art after two years travelling around Australia 15 years ago and the many overseas trips that I’ve taken in the past 10 years to third world countries. 

Being prepared is number one, especially when you are travelling on a plane for a long distance. Let’s face it; aeroplane food is the absolute worst so be prepared to take food with you that will sustain you for the long haul flights. I usually take my own tea bags and ask for hot water for my drinks. My favourite tea at the moment is Healtheries Black Adder or Buddha’s tears (both available in health food stores and grocery stores).

I’ve talked about plane travel before – here is the link to what I take with me on flights – Healthy Food and Travelling. 

My trip to Namibia was a wonderful experience; I wanted to be prepared with the basic foods I eat from the Changing Habits range as I wasn’t sure what would be available in Namibian grocery stores.

Longevity of foods was a must
I took the following, not only to cook with but to keep our immune systems strong and to have the energy we needed for three weeks of camping, hiking and off road four wheel driving.  I needed foods that would last, as we were never sure what foods would be available along the way. We were travelling in remote areas where grocery stores and food stores did not exist. Thinking about the longevity of foods was a must. I did one shop in Windhoek at the beginning of our trip and a very small top up in Opuwa (soft cheeses and cream) toward the middle of the trip, otherwise the foods below are all that we had for the three week period, apart from a few meals out at Epupa Falls in the north of Namibia and one dinner in Opuwa.

Changing Habits Foods taken from Australia to Namibia:

Other products I purchased from home:

  • Organic turmeric powder – (we will be stocking this at Changing Habits from this September)
  • Organic ginger powder
  • Organic cinnamon powder (we will be stocking this from September too)
  • Black Adder Tea

My grocery list once I got to Namibia:

  • whole black pepper corns with grinder
  • dried meats – 2kgs
  • fresh wild game meats
  • chicken drumsticks
  • eggs (couldn’t find organic so stuck with what was available in the grocery store)
  • salad greens
  • tomato
  • red pepper
  • cucumber
  • cans of coconut milk
  • yams and pumpkin (lots of these) as they last longer then cruciferous vegetables
  • onions – lots (Howard was sick of onions by the time we finished the trip!)
  • garlic – lots
  • avocado
  • cream
  • fermented soft cheeses
  • butter
  • nuts
  • dried fruit, peaches, pears, sultanas, mango, guava
  • apples
  • mandarins
  • pears (these were horrible, so I ended up cooking them in cinnamon and they were a magical desert with cream on top)
  • organic coffee
  • organic tea

All cooking was done on an open fire and one gas top on top of a gas bottle – rudimentary.

Easy breakfasts and lunches
Our breakfasts consisted of an adapted version of the chia pudding or eggs, onions, garlic and salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato and avocado). 

Because we were travelling throughout the day I would make a packed lunch of a dried fruit and nut mix which I made up myself, a fermented soft cheese, dried meat and an apple and mandarin each.  If we had any leftovers from the night before I would pack that too, but I have to admit that didn’t happen often. Our glass water bottles were capped off with a tsp of camu camu.  If I was unsure of the water I would boil it and add a few drops of iodine – wonderful for killing giardia.

Dinner cooked over an open fire
Dinner was meat cooked over an open fire, root vegetables cooked in the fire or a vegetable bake cooked in the fire and salad.  Or if I had time to do a slow cook I would place meat, vegetables, spices and coconut milk into the cast iron pot and place on the coals for an hour or so (I’ve put this recipe on our website).

All food was cooked from scratch, we had no packaged anything and the only tinned food I had was the coconut milk (couldn’t do it any other way as there were no coconuts in any grocery store).

Our camper was very basic, with a knife, cutting board and a few pots and pans, cast iron pot and nothing electric.  Apart from the baked cinnamon pear I made one night (due to the pears not tasting the best), I did make chocolatefor us to have after dinner. I always make my chocolate in the Thermomix at home, but taking the Thermomix was not an option – no electricity, so instead I improvised – here’s the recipe, it was quick and easy. This was a hit with the other campers, so in hindsight I should have taken another bag of cacao melts!

We ate very well, slept well and did not get sick – a plus when travelling through a third world country.

I am sorry I didn’t take any photos of the food I cooked, I thought it was just normal food but at the end of the trip one of the women we were travelling with wanted all my recipes, so I sat down on the last day and wrote them up, trying to think back to what I threw into what dish. I thought that I would share it with the people who were interested in what I did during my Namibian camping experience.

If I was camping anywhere these would be the foods that I would take, even on a trip through central Australia or a camping trip to the beach.  Just because we are on holidays doesn’t mean we have to forget about our health and the quality of our foods.

Happy changing camping habits,


Cyndi’s Namibian Camping Recipes:
Namibian Chocolate
Cyndi’s Namibian Chia Pudding
Cyndi’s Campfire Namibian Chicken Casserole
Namibian Caramelised Onions with Pork Chops

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