Namibia has a few standout seasonal delicacies you should take the opportunity to sample. Kalahari truffles – known as ||nabba or mafumpula locally – are dug out of the desert sands of eastern Namibia after the rains in April/May, and used to flavour sauces and soups. Omajava – tasty giant wild mushrooms – are plucked from the bases of termite mounds from late January to March, when they are occasionally available from roadside stalls. Swakopmund asparagus (Sept–May) is another favourite, possessing a distinctive flavour due to being grown in brackish water.

The culinary rite of passage for many tourists, though, is the chance to tuck into a bowl of mopane worms (omagungu in Oshiwambo), something you are only likely to want to do once. Harvested across northern Namibia (and indeed in other parts of Africa) from February to April, they are actually the caterpillars of emperor moths that gain their name from the fact they are found in mopane trees. Highly nutritious, they are dried and sold as crispy snacks, or cooked in a variety of ways. Still, no amount of frying in onion and tomato can disguise their bulging heads and prickly legs; nor does the knowledge that they are packed with protein make them any easier for the unpractised to swallow.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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