Namibia in detail

Drinking & Nightlife

In the rural Owambo areas, people socialise in tiny makeshift bars, enjoying local brews such as oshikundu (beer made from mahango–millet), mataku (watermelon wine), tambo (fermented millet and sugar) or mushokolo (a beer made from a small local seed) and walende, which is distilled from the makalani palm and tastes similar to vodka. All of these concoctions, except walende, are brewed in the morning and drunk the same day, and they’re all dirt cheap.

For more conventional palates, Namibia is awash with locally brewed lagers. The most popular drop is the light and refreshing Windhoek Lager, but the brewery also produces Tafel Lager, the stronger and more bitter Windhoek Export and the slightly rough Windhoek Special. Windhoek Light and DAS Pilsener are both drunk as soft drinks (DAS is often called ‘breakfast beer’!), and in winter Namibia Breweries also brews a 7% stout known as Urbock. South African beers such as Lion, Castle and Black Label are also widely available.

Although beer is the drink of choice for most Namibians, the country also has a few wineries, including the Kristall Kellerei, 3km east of Omaruru. It produces Paradise Flycatcher, which is a red blend of ruby cabernet, cabernet sauvignon and tinta barocca, as well as colombard and a prickly-pear-cactus schnapps (a good blast). South African wines are also widely available. Among the best are the cabernet and pinot varieties grown in the Stellenbosch region of Western Cape province. A good bottle of wine will set you back between N$100 and N$250.

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