More game meat – kudu, zebra, croc and ostrich

Dune sunrise

Sunrise at Dune 45

We spent about 10 days in Namibia, and it was my favourite country that we visited. It’s a large but very sparsely populated country, with a population of about 2 million, which makes it the least densely populated country in the world after Mongolia.

Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990. Politically it’s very stable and is one of the safest countries in Africa. It’s said to be “Africa for beginners”. It’s also the only country in the world to specifically address conservation and protection of natural resources in the constitution.

Namibia

The Dead Vlei

The climate is very dry, and much of the country is occupied by deserts. Desert may not sound very interesting, but oh, it’s beautiful. I was so taken with the landscape. I adored the swirling red dunes, although I didn’t like walking up them as much as I liked them aesthetically!

Our last night in Namibia was spent in the capital city, Windhoek. Most of our group went to a restaurant called Joe’s Beerhouse. I’m sure all tourists to Windhoek visit this restaurant – it’s very well known for game meat. It’s decorated with all sorts of knick knacks – most hanging from the ceiling! For example, we were seated under a bicycle, which thankfully stayed hanging.

Game meat menu

Excuse the hair – it gets everywhere!

The menu had many, many options (if you eat meat that is). As I looked through, I immediately saw what I was going to order – the Bushman’s Sosatie. This was a kebab of chicken, kudu, zebra, crocodile and ostrich.

Surprisingly, considering the fact that we were a large table of 25, our meals didn’t take too long to arrive. And unlike our other large group dinner, the food all arrived together! This gave those of us who had ordered the Bushman Sosatie an opportunity to conduct a meat tasting.

Game meat skewer

Chicken, random vegetable covered in bacon, kudu and zebra

First up was the very pedestrian chicken. It was terrible – overcooked and dry. We quickly moved on. The next item was some random vegetable, perhaps squash, covered in bacon. The fact that I didn’t recognise it probably says something about how much attention was paid to it.

Next on the skewer was kudu.

Greater Kudu

Greater Kudu

The Greater Kudu is a distinctive large antelope that is found throughout eastern and southern Africa. It has long spiral horns and is one of the tallest antelopes. The meat was tasty and very similar to beef steak. I was expecting a more gamey taste, but it wasn’t really there. I’ve read some accounts that described kudu as a strong tasting meat but I didn’t think so.

Zebra

Following the kudu was zebra. Zebra, surprise surprise, was very similar to beef but slightly sweeter. The texture was different and quite distinctive. It was drier and grainier than beef.

game meat skewer with corn

Zebra, crocodile & ostrich plus 2 corn fritters

Moving along to the white meat pictured after the eggplant – crocodile. This was a firm white flakey meat – which some say tastes like chicken. I disagree. It has a very delicate flavour and I thought it tasted slightly like fish. It was very pleasant and is definitely something I would be keen to have again.

Last but not least was the ostrich, languishing at the end of the skewer. My, what a revelation this was! After the chewy ostrich steak from the other meal, this was amazing. It was cooked perfectly and was really tender and moist. This ended up being my favourite meat on the skewer, with the crocodile coming a close second.

The only negative of the night was splitting the bill. Strangely, they gave us separate bills for drinks, but all the food came on one large bill. It ended up being over $2000 Namibian dollars in total – guess who got the job of counting all the money!? Even with my superior counting skills, the waitress said we were short, even though most of us had added a tip. I still don’t know if she was cheating us or if I just can’t count. It didn’t matter. We paid extra so we could get out of there, nursing our tummies overloaded with red meat.

African game meat: Oryx and Ostrich

Oryx at waterhole

While in Africa, we had the opportunity to try some game meat at different points along the way. Me being me, I jumped at the chance.

First up was the roast oryx/gemsbok in burgundy sauce that was on the menu in a restaurant in Swakopmund, Namibia.

Oryx are large antelopes with long spear like horns and black facial markings (above on the right). The one above was at a watering hole in Etosha National Park.

When I ordered the meal, I wondered if it was okay to do so (ie were they endangered?). I’ve just read that Wikipedia says that it is considered a threatened species. o_O Anyway, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been on the menu if it wasn’t okay or from an okay source (I hope).

Oryx

On to the meal – you know how people say, “it tastes like chicken”? Of course it didn’t! It tasted like beef but slightly gamier. The texture was very similar to beef.

That same evening, we went to another restaurant in Swakopmund where ostrich steak was on the menu. Ostrich is a dark red meat, and apparently is very low in fat and cholesterol.

Ostrich meat

Oh, the ostrich. Service at the restaurant was terrible, and I received my meal last – about 20 minutes after Alastair, who got his first! Admittedly, we were a large group, and as our guide Heini always said, “There’s no time in Africa!”

As you can see from the photo, the ostrich was rare – very rare. I quite like my meat bloody, but this was too rare and was very chewy (the larger piece was just seared on each side and completely raw in the middle. However, the parts that were cooked a bit more were nice and tender. Again, it tasted like beef but I thought it was slightly milder in flavour.

It wasn’t the best steak, but it satisfied my curiosity!

Home sweet home

We’re home!

We had an amazing time – it felt like we were away FOR AGES but the time also passed by very quickly.

The food we ate was hardly amazing although better than I expected (we went overlanding, and most meals were cooked with supplies from the truck over a fire or portable gas stove). We ate a lot of stews and meat, mostly red meat, and hence it’s very nice to come home and have fresh vegies!

It will take me a little while to catch up with stuff – more interesting posts to come!