Oyster farming in Namibia is big business, and Namibian Oysters are very popular and tasty. Originally the oysters were bred in Chile and then brought to Namibia, but now there are also oysters bred locally in heated aquariums in Swakopmund.
Oyster farming in Namibia has a long history, starting in the 1980s in Swakopmund where oysters are grown in large salt pans where sea water is pumped in. In 1986, farms were started in Walvis Bay and in Luderitz, and today farming is also practiced in Orangemund. Outside of Swamopmund, Intertidal racks and bags are used as well as longlines and rafts. The longlines support barrels containing oysters.
Amazingly, oysters mature to eating size in just 8 months in Namibia, must faster than other areas where it typically takes years. For example, French oysters may take 3 years to mature and Maine oysters often 4 plus years.
So, what do they taste like? Well, historically most of Namibian oysters have been exported to South Africa, and although that is changing with new markets opening, I found myself in South Africa and hungry!
Namibian farmed oysters are excellent! Sometimes referred to as cultured oysters, they are intense and not for the neophyte oyster eater! They are a very meaty oyster and quite saline. Not remotely as sweet as the wild South African Mossel Bay oyster. A long saline aftertaste with slight bitterness.
I did prefer the Mossel Bays this time, but what I really loved was having them both side by side. Obviously both African, very different styles, and both excellent!
In case you are wondering, I had them at Montego Bay Seafood in Johannesburg.|