Category Archives: Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Taming the daredevils of the Namib desert

There is nothing like the rush of adrenaline you get when you do something that scares you, or something that brings out the thrill-seeking adventurer in you. Whether you want to challenge a phobia, or simply want to feel more alive, there are a number of thrilling destinations that offer you the adventure of a lifetime- adventures the inner Daredevil in you will be incredibly proud of. What are these adventures? Let’s take a look- but before that, make sure your safety belt is on!

The Namib Desert is a mountain made entirely of sand. These sand dunes can be incredibly tall, and wide. There’s nothing like exploring Namibia’s portion of the Namib desert on a quad bike. But you need to have a backup game in mind.  Just in case!

The sand dunes go up in dust daily just next to the stretch between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund and the quad bikes roar to announce an adventure fit for daredevils has begun.

For Joao Coimbra who owns and runs Daredevil Adventures, it has been a second chance at life after he broke his femur (thigh bone) while riding a horse in 2008.

As a former rugby player, the outdoors has almost been the life for Joao, whether he was speeding down to tackle an opponent, riding a horse or bike, he has somehow almost been a daredevil.

“At that point, I was at my lowest in terms of confidence. I was unable to walk for a whole year. Actually, I could have walked earlier but I messed it up by trying to walk without a crutch too soon. The worst feeling I’ve had was when the doctor sat me down and told me I would never play sports again,” he says.

After walking again, an adventure isn’t just something he wanted to be able to go on again, it is something he wanted to offer to other people. Thus, since 2009 when he officially took ownership of the place and renovated it, about 45-60 people on a daily basis get to ride in the Namib desert on quad bikes, something that Joao has found that even many locals have only ever read of in a book, but hardly had the experience of.

It may not be the thrill of running down a field with an oval shaped ball in clutch, but the experience of running the quad activity arena has been his own adventure for the last eight years.

“Pretty much every different nationality that has visited Namibia as a tourist has passed through Daredevil adventures at least once,” he says.

On this particular day, a group of about 20 young French students’ and their chaperones eyes are lighting up as their led by guides to the bikes.

For many of them it is their first time. “We have had people from Japan, Russia, Ukraine, China, all nationalities really. Locally, Gazza, who is a good friend of mine has visited us frequently.”

South African celebrities, Kurt Darren, Robbie Vessels and Nicholas Lon have also made a stop at Daredevil Adventures, and while he may not have been able to share pitch with him, Joao welcomed South African rugby player, Percy Montgomery to the quad paradise.

Running the place with his mother Sandra and father, has created an interesting dynamic. “Your parents will always be your parents, whether you’re the owner or not, but we work well together. I learn a lot from them every day and they learn from me as well.”

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Skydiving in Swakopmund!

All of us need that extra step in our life- one that will add vigour back into our routines, and add a spring to our step. These adventures will challenge you, make you face your fears. After all, isn’t that the point of traveling? Skydiving is a bucket list activity!!!  A must do!!!

It is noisy, yet quiet. The waves cascade over you like a mighty force as you swim, and the waters are not wet at all. It doesn’t feel like you’re swimming at all.

No, you’re flying.

And that isn’t waves or water. It is wind, at 220km p/h and you’re traveling at terminal velocity. In fact, you’re 12 000 feet (4 kms) up in the sky and that is the feeling that skydiving gives you.

The calmness of your freefall against the raging of the desert winds and the adrenaline of your own mind is exactly what made Derick Gey van Pittius fall in love with skydiving 26 years ago.

It is almost poetic that his first jump was on 14 February 1991 and now after 11 500 jumps, he is still as in love with the sky as he was when he was 16.

Derick operates Skydive4Fun in Swakopmund.

“Every child dreams of flying, and I get to do it on a daily basis. It gives you a freedom that you can’t explain! Skydiving has been part of my life for as long as I can remember,” he says.

We are open on a daily basis, although weather depending! The tandem skydive is when a student skydiver is attached to a tandem instructor. The instructor guides the student through the whole jump from exit through freefall, piloting the canopy, and landing.

We also offer training courses for those interested in skydiving on their own.

“While it is very difficult to entrust a stranger with your safety, trained professional or not, 12 000 feet into the air, the world of skydiving has been completely enhanced by technology over the years. With systems that were developed by NASA, called the cybernetic parachute release systems, which allow parachutes to automatically pull once a certain altitude has been reached, skydiving has never been safer.

In fact, world renowned award winning German skydiver Olav Zipser says Skydive4Fun has some of the most modern computer systems.

Spending some time in Swakopmund to experience different sky cultures, Zipser says that the scenery of skydiving with the desert and ocean so close to each other has made this one of the most awesome skydiving spots he’s been to. And he has done over 23 000 jumps in a career that has seen him crowned champion, and trained skydivers who became champions many times.

“Being up in the sky, you feel like a mini astronaut. It’s like swimming in an ocean of gas and to be able to do this after 31 years and still fall in love with it every day is something I’m very proud of. The skydiving community in Swakopmund is very dedicated and they’re a great bunch of people,” he tells Us.

Derick’s passion is to not only have Namibia compete on an international level at the next world championships, but to make skydiving in Namibia a high sporting destination. Already it is a high tourist destination with about 300 visits from foreigners a month.

So next time you are at the coast, don’t just visit the beach and Dune 7, tame the Namib desert and its skies.

For more information or bookings, please contact skydive4fun at +264 81 243 6923.

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Walvis Bay Entrepreneur makes Belgian Chocolate with an African crunch

Chocolates sweeten more than just relationships. In fact, they can provide a new kind of life even for corporate events. That is what Adeline Bruwer, in a sweet sense, discovered.

From working in a bank for a decade, five years of pig farming, a transport and clearing business to creating chocolate art might not be the most consistent business trajectory, but for Bruwer, it was destiny.

Thanks to the pursuit of a 2010 dream, literally. When Bruwer had a dream in 2010 that she was running a chocolate factory, she discarded it as simply just that, a dream. It was the de-ja-vu of 2013 having visited a chocolate factory in Cape Town.

“I always loved chocolates, but never thought I’ll start making the most wonderful chocolates in the world myself. After my Cape Town experience, I began manufacturing the chocolate myself and in no time started training three domestic workers as we grew the business.”

Belgian Chocolatique is not just about making something sweet to munch on, but crafting memories that melt in your mouth. But establishing has been harder than she initially anticipated.

From sugarless chocolate to pralines for the diabetic, birthdays corporate events to weddings, Bruwer gets creative in her chocolate studio. Her business card chocolates are clear testament of this creativity. Even chocolate with your picture on it!

Ask President Hage Geingob, she says.

“It was around his 75th birthday when I personally met him at the little outlet of ours at the new International Airport of Walvis Bay during the opening ceremony when the President and First Lady each took a chocolate from my hands, putting it straight in their mouths, and the compliments thereof were hearty…

…That was a huge boost on our hard work and I really hope that we will be fortunate welcome him to our micro chocolate factory in Walvis Bay one day,” she says with delight.

Importing from Belgium, she works meticulously to see that all her clients are covered for.

The most popular chocolate is definitely the cinnamon cup, also known as the “melk tertjie”, which is actually a replica of a traditional Boere melktert in one bite. But a new chocolate, the Nutella truffle is gaining popularity.

From a factory in Walvis Bay, Bruwer supplies her chocolate all over the country, to as far as Legacy Hotel at the Waterfront in Cape Town, a corporate client for beautiful corporate gifts in  France and the wedding favours of England.

 

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Desert Hogs of Namibia

A group of men clad in leather jackets and T-shirts and scarves are gathered at Dros, just outside Tsumeb.

They’re not doing much, but members of the public look on nervously, or curiously, it could be. Some of the jackets have a patch on the back with strange words, many have tattoos, creating an intimidating sight for some which have already driven several people to either come closer or move over.

They are about 60 of them, and look like the bad boys in a Chuck Norris movie. Yet they have two things in common. Harley Davidson motorbikes. And despite their intimidating presence, have not actually been charged with any offences.

Tired of their humdrum lives, some middle-aged friends led by Reinchard Redecker in 2013 decided to temporarily ditch their responsibilities and take a motorcycle trip.

The freedom of the open Namibian road from the coastal town of Walvis down south along the Orange River was all the group wanted to experience, but not before close encounters with locals who take a dim view of bikers or with dangerous animals crossing into near-by farms for a kill.

It is now like a religion with a rising culture, in Namibia for the Harley Owners Group (HOG), Namibia Chapter whose convoy.

Harley Davidson is the most famous motorbike brand in the world that has formed community groups around the world of Harley owners who meet to promote a community lifestyle of Harley Davidson.

Reinchard Redecker says Harley Davidson promotes “freedom and a positive way to detox from the stress of work and life.” They travel to South Africa for servicing of their bikes and to purchase the latest one currently costing around N$370 000.

“We have monthly events in Omaruru, Tsumeb, Swakopmund and all over the country. Sending a bike to South Africa just to be serviced is a struggle and it inconveniences our events and bikers,” Redecker tells Us.But the culture of Harley Davidson in Namibia was given a huge boost when the Harley Davidson store was officially launched on 1 April in Namibia.

Under the M+Z Group brand, in just three months since opening their doors in December, Harley Davidson have already exceeded their yearly target within the first quarter.

More than 50 Harleys have been sold and each purchase gets a year membership to the HOG of Namibia.

General Manager of Harley Davidson Windhoek, Guilliaume Kruger, tells Us, “We do full service and have a custom shop.

As a result, the HOG of Namibia has grown tremendously. Today they have 104 members. We are also the sponsoring dealership of the Namibian Chapter.”

The fastest selling Harley is the Soft tail family. Our full range of Harleys go from N$96 000 to N$460 000, but as customisation is also done at the store, you can even build yourself a monster bike with the value of N$1 million.

With a background in advanced drive training and customisation, Kruger was selling and servicing Harleys on his own for four years.

He had his first bike when he was five.Their next big event is the Skeleton Coast Rally which will be held in Swakopmund on 4-6 of May.

There are 452 entries already and 100 Harley Davidson members from South Africa attending.

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The secret to Papa G’s recipe

Easter Monday, Africa Day, Braai Day, Sunday, Monday… whatever. Windhoekers love Papa G.

He has been entertaining and feeding scores of open-fire chicken fanatics with their amazing menu.

Sometimes it’s good to cater beyond the braai, but Papa G’s mobile kitchens prepare the best loxion chicken around town.

Papa G has over the past two years become a favourite spot for both up-and-coming urban professionals avoiding kapana in Kututura or that family running returning home from church.

In visiting these establishments, one realises just how communal the experience is.

The quality of chicken is also important as there is no point in enduring some of the more basic places if the meat is going to be tough and tasteless.

When German Modi first set up his chicken business his plan was always expansion.

It all began in 2013 when hungry folk drove past the corner of Rand Street and Shanghai Street at the strategic intersection between Khomasdal and Katutura, got a waft of the mouth-watering chicken and were compelled to park and grab a bite.

Then, German told his then staff of four, “Our business is not selling chicken, our business is selling ourselves, who we are.”

After all, many others were selling chicken at the same spot, it was starting to look like a kapana set. In order to survive, German needed something more. He needed a brand and a recipe, and thus Papa Gs was born.

He had always wanted to run a business that he had quit a formal teaching job in Mathematics and Science at Emmanuel Shifidi Secondary School to import ostrich eggs from South Africa, which he would sell to Oshiwambo women making traditional Oshiwambo waist beads.

But in 2012, struck with import restrictions for all bird products from South Africa due to the Bird Flu disaster that struck the globe, he found himself unemployed.

His first solution was to travel down south to the plantation at Aussenkehr to order grapes and sell them by traffic circle between Rand Street and Shanghai Street between Katutura and Khomasdal.

“I had seen the grapes during my trips to South Africa.

But as grapes are a seasonal produce, I soon became jobless,” he says.

Rotisserie chicken was the answer.

Everyone else was doing braai meat or kapana, and after observing the chicken trailer chicken business that was operating next to the Hochland Park cemetery, he improved the concept and ran with it.

“Within a year, we built another trailer in Olympia and we even eventually bought out the chicken trailer at Hochland Park as they weren’t doing much.

Due to some quarrels from other chicken vendors at the spot at the semi-circle in Khomasdal, we were forced to vacate and settled on Greysblock.

We opened another in Dorado Park and last year in December we opened a 5th in Walvis Bay,” says Papa G.

From four, today he employs 45.

Having grown up liking to experiment with food, German loved making up different concoctions until one eventually stuck, the Papa Gs recipe.

Demand for the secret Papa Gs recipe grew and the trailers started getting daily visits of 100-150 customers daily and 300-350 on weekends.

Anyone can sell roasted chicken, but his Papa Gs recipe is what has placed him as a peer next to the likes of KFC and Nandos.

When he’s at one of his trailers, German seems like a regular employee as you’ll probably find him at the till or blowing charcoal.

He did not even notice when the security staff of Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila stopped by and ordered his staff to “prepare this one very well, it is for the Prime Minister.”

The Dogg, Harry Simon and Paulus The Hitman Moses are also regular customers.

However, “With trailers, you’re restricted to selling chicken only. There is no electricity so you cannot even serve cold drinks regularly.

When it rains, our sales drop by 40% and it’s the same thing for the windy and winter seasons.”

Thus, in late March this year, he opened up the Papa Gs restaurant in the centre of the capital.

With it, he expanded his menu to compliment the chicken and now sells pap, rice, salads, burgers and others. It was always part of his expansion plan.

“The recipe is not in the chicken, it is in the planning and maintaining a focus,” he says.

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Spice up your Christmas Season with Garnish

If you want a new authentic, unfamiliar dish, and tongue-tingling flavour, try out the taste of Indian cuisine which can be both exciting and intimidating. Indian cuisine uses the whole palette of flavours; spicy, sour, sweet, and hot all at the same time, making it something that wants to jump off the plate.

One of the popular restaurants in Windhoek and Swakopmund, Garnish serves the finest traditional Indian cuisine and the celebration of this exotic and colourful culture. Garnish restaurant offers world of Indian traditional food which comes with a complete world of taste and served in a traditional way.

Co-owner of Garnish, Harsh Akheniya,”Garnish is a casual fine dining restaurant, offering eclectic Indian cuisine and warm hospitality, it specialised in various Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Indian cuisines.” Chefs combine all the techniques from other cuisines and add magical spices to get a titillating food experience. “It’s important for a Chef to put inconsideration of understanding the various dishes and flavours that make up Indian cuisine. It’s all totally different, and the only thing that connects it is a judicious knowledge of the use of spices,” says the Co-owner of Garnish.

The food is sourced from top quality seasonal ingredients featuring a high percentage of organic products from India and South Africa.

Garnish’s menu offers diversified and healthy options to choose from and defined as a main stream casual dining restaurant that caters to the community and local businesses. However, it provides a friendly, attentive service in a warm environment.

There are basic 20 to 30 spices that are used in many dishes; cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger, to name a few and there are an infinite number of ways of using them.  “Every spice has a reason for being there. They have health benefits, and they make the food more exciting and flavourful, says Akheniya. Contrary to common belief, not all Indian dishes are curries. However, “curry” has become a catch-all name for any spice-based meat or vegetable dish with a sauce.

Curries can be watery, dry, red, green, hot, or really, really hot—it’s completely up to the chef in charge.  In fact, a popular dish of chicken curry is one of the ordered cuisine, that basically attracts the President of Namibia, First Lady, Ambassadors and High Commissioners to the restaurant. Serve it with a side of dal (a stew made of lentils, peas, or beans) and some roti (a tortilla-like wheat flat bread) and you’ll feel as if you’re halfway around the world.

Come to Garnish for the authentic taste of Indian recipes in a fine-dining restaurant. Offering a wide selection of appetisers, starters, desserts and drinks, Garnish really goes above the traditional Indian food restaurant.

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Eating alone at Pepata

pep

The prospect of purposefully eating alone in public might seem daunting to some, but try reserving tables for one at Pepata. Alone doesn’t mean lonely, and going solo has some major benefits. Spending time with number one (that’s you, friend) can boost your creativity and make you like yourself more, especially at certain restaurants, not all of them. Plus, a table for one means you don’t have to fake-offer the last fry to anyone. It’s all yours.

I tried it at Pepata at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN), as I was in search of their highly popular Oshiwambo traditional dishes.

There are certain eateries which are always humming and buzzling with revellers all day long around Windhoek. From Spur to Dros in Tsumeb, some restaurants just need you to be with someone as small talk is inevitable when meeting up with a friend for a meal.

In such places, being alone is a sign something is not right. ‘How was your day, what’s up with your cat, blah, blah, blah.’ It’s a ritual that is even more exhausting after a long day of feigning interest in other people’s affairs at work. And it’s the substantive talk that makes people happier in the long run.

But a Pepata break from surface-level chitchat will give your brain a chance to contemplate other issues worth talking about next time.“The food industry is one of the major drivers of the tourism industry and that can only happen when we make sure we preserve methods of preparing traditional dishes.  A tourist gets to understand a people from the food they eat and so we cannot hope to impress when we serve food like sushi in Africa.

Rather we should serve our own traditional dishes such as Oshingali, Oshivambo chicken with ondjove and Oshiwambo spinach,” says  Jolokeni Nambahu, owner of Pepata Restaurant.

Mopane worms (omagungu), gritty mahangu porridge, wild spinach (ekaka) and bean sauce(oshigali) may not be everyone’s choice of cuisine but once tasted one will be urged to return.

So, leave your squeamish side at home, be daring and treat yourself to the different tastes of the north. Alone Pepata’s nutty marula oil ondjove or omagadhi enhances dishes such as chicken and wild spinach, giving them a rich and full taste.

“Put aside your inhibitions and usual culinary habits to try the different dishes of Africa. You may just be pleasantly surprised,” Nambahu says. She adds that it is important for local and cultural tourism players to work hand in hand with traditional authorities in the regions.

“I’m busy setting up our own oshivambo chicken farm; simply we want to make sure that we get our chickens from the farm as well as proper preservation. Supply is key,” she says.

Pepata has a VIP area for holding business meetings and also bigger areas for families. But still, try it alone first.

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Where to Eat In 2017

jonos

While a lot of what we do at Cuisines celebrates absolute precision – not every restaurant on this list is 100% authentic Portuguese, Japanese, Namibian, Chinese, African, American or India, but that’s the fun of living in a melting pot of a country like Namibia. Matangara, biltong sushi, noodles, anyone? This list throws Thai curries and crispy duck in with your sushi, and dim sum and pork belly in with your ramen to make a glorious Asian feast. Grab your chopsticks and enjoy!

Jonno’s Bistro

Snuggled on the top floor of the Auas Valley mall in Suiderhof is Jonno’s Bistro.  This is where everyone in Southern industrial part of the city comes to clinch deals, have a morning hot chocolate or are simply lured to the cozy café by the delicious food.

Besides the nice view, the first thing you are greeted by as you enter is the warm ambience and friendly faces of the staff.

Here’s the thing about Jonno’s Bistro. With such delicacies on their platters offering incredibly rich tastes like their Beef Rouladen braised in beef stock, roast pork belly with crackling and other scrumptious meals, you would think you were at a meat diner and forget that their coffees are just as rich.

When we popped in on a Friday evening, the theme was German which had our curious taste buds already buzzing as we walked past the glass doors. A jug of their German beer and warmly prepared schnitzels transports us to the countryside of Dinkelsbühl in Bavaria (Germany) and for a moment we forget we are in Windhoek.

If you are a fan of German culture, or perhaps just German football, this is no doubt the place to go after your Bundesliga team’s victory.

Founded by top chef Jonathan (Jonno) Gallagher, in a shopping center considered secluded in its cozy corner of Suiderhof, you will find all kinds of people in Jonno’s Bristo, in fact, my buddy from Katutura took a taxi all the way from Shandumbala just to come try their curry wurst.

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