NamibFire Camelthorn
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Quick Stats
Date Of Review: November, 2023
Purchased From: Provided by Manufacturer
Date Purchased: October, 2023
Price: $48.99
Advertised Weight: 15.4 pounds
Type of Wood: Camelthorn
Strange Material: 2 plastic strips
Scrap Lumber: None
Smell: Mild, pleasant
Country of Origin: Namibia

Key Performance Indicators
Chips and Dust:
Medium and Large:
Max Temperature:
Burn Time:
Ash Production:

Quick Links
Other Information: Click Here
Statements From The Bag: Click Here
Lighting Instructions: Click Here
Safety Instructions: Click Here
Unusual Or Unique Statements: Click Here
Photos of Contents: Click Here
Other Photos: Click Here
Photo of UPC Code: Click Here
Contact Information: Click Here

Rate And Comment On This Charcoal: Click Here


We were approached by the manufacturer of NamibFire asking us to review their NamibFire Camelthorn Lump Charcoal. Obviously the word "camelthorn" caught our eye and we wondered what type of wood this is. First let us point out that this charcoal comes to us from Namibia, so we'll show you a map of Namibia to the right.
We recently reviewed The Good Charcoal Company charcoal which also comes from Namibia and is made from Acacia, but this charcoal is made from a different species of Acacia commonly known as Acacia erioloba. From Wikipedia:
"Vachellia erioloba, the camel thorn, also known as the giraffe thorn, mokala tree, or Kameeldoring in Afrikaans, still more commonly known as Acacia erioloba, is a tree of southern Africa in the family Fabaceae. Its preferred habitat is the deep dry sandy soils in parts of South Africa, Botswana, the western areas of Zimbabwe and Namibia. It is also native to Angola, south-west Mozambique, Zambia and Eswatini. The tree was first described by Ernst Heinrich Friedrich Meyer and Johann Franz Drège in 1836. The camel thorn is a protected tree in South Africa."
There's that word "camelthorn" again. Where does it come from? Also from Wikipedia:
"The name 'camel thorn' refers to the fact that giraffe (kameelperd in Afrikaans) commonly feed on the leaves with their specially-adapted tongue and lips that can avoid the thorns."
And one final interesting fact about the camelthorn tree is that it is commonly associated with the long running PBS wildlife program Nature, as the tree is used in the title sequence and program logo.

So, let's take a look at this tree called the Camelthorn. To the right, you see a photo of a typical Camelthorn

Namibian Camelthorn (Acacia erioloba)
tree. The tree can grow up to 20 meters high. It is slow-growing, drought resistant and somewhat frost-resistant. The tree can survive drought because its light-grey colored thorns reflect sunlight, and the leaves close when it is hot. The wood is dark reddish-brown in color and extremely dense. It is good for fires, which leads to widespread clearing of dead trees and the felling of healthy trees. It also produces ear-shaped seed pods, favored by many herbivores including cattle. The seeds can be roasted and used like coffee beans.

One last thing before we proceed with the review, the manufacturer was kind enough to send us some samples of the raw wood. Here are some photos. In this photo, the three pieces shown are about 6" in length and 1-2" in diameter. Their weight averaged 115g or about ¼ pounds:

In this photo we see a number of slices that show the endgrain of the acacia wood:

So now (finally), it's on to the review. NamibFire charcoal is double bagged with a translucent plastic bag enclosed by a white plastic bag that is made from woven plastic strips. This outer bag is very similar to the ubiquitous blue tarps you find in every hardware store. When we dumped the bag out onto the ground for inspection, we did find two strips of the white plastic which makes up the fabric of the bag. Otherwise, we found no scrap, no uncarbonized wood, and nothing else that didn't belong in a bag of charcoal.

As you can see from the following table and the photo of the sorted charcoal, the overall distribution of sizes is somewhat disappointing due the low percentage of medium and large pieces:

Large 1.5 pounds 9.7%
Medium 3.0 pounds 19.1%
Small 10.4 pounds 66.3%
Chips/Dust 0.8 pounds 4.9%

Total 15.7 pounds

However, most of the small pieces are usable for mixing with the larger pieces to build a fire. If you happen to own an Ooni pizza oven or some similar brand, that entire pile of small pieces is ideal for making pizza. The 4.9% chips and dust is Very Low () compared to all other brands of charcoal. The percentage of large and medium pieces, though, is Low () compared to all other brands of charcoal.

After we have sorted the charcoal and inspected it, we do our lighting test in which we see how many sheets of newsprint it takes to get a fire going in a Weber chimney starter. NamibFire took 6 sheets which is Average () compared to all other brands of charcoal. The smoke produced while the charcoal is starting is mild and pleasant. Also, while starting, the charcoal produced no sparking and no popping. Once the fire was raging in the chimney starter, there was only moderate sparking.

Next is the maximum temperature test where we let the charcoal burn in a medium Big Green Egg cooker with the vents wide open. NamibFire was able to reach 946°F which is High () compared to all other brands of charcoal. While the charcoal was burning, again there was only a small amount of sparking and no popping. The fire was relatively slow to spread, so it took a while to reach the maximum temperature that we observed.

Finally, we burn a measured weight of charcoal to see how long it burns and how much ash is produced. We light the charcoal with a MAP/Pro torch and we observed only a moderate amount of sparking and no popping. However, we always recommend that you use appropriate protection when using a torch of any kind to start lump charcoal. So the length of time that NamibFire charcoal burns is Average () compared to all other brands of charcoal. The amount of ash that was produced was Very High () compared to all other brands of charcoal.

So to summarize, the size distribution of this charcoal overall is somewhat disappointing in that there is a low percentage of medium and large pieces. However, the small pieces are all perfectly usable and the amount of chips and dust is very small. Lighting NamibFire was average and the maximum temperature was above average. However, the burn time was only average and the amount of ash produced was very large. All in all, we give NamibFire our Average rating.

One last word about availability. You can buy NamibFire charcoal on Amazon, but due to the fees that Amazon charges, it is far more expensive ordering from Amazon than ordering from the NamibFire website. About twice as much, in fact. If you are interested in ordering any Namibfire charcoal, it is probably best to visit

To the left is the rating that our readers have given this charcoal. If you have used this charcoal and would like to rate it and leave your comments, Click Here

To view reader ratings of all brands, Click Here.

Other Information


Statements From The Bag

"Competitive & Restaurant Grade", "High heat, low ash, long burning", "No additives, fillers or chemicals", "Sustainably hand harvested and produced in Namibia", "Burns hotter and longer than the competitors", "100% Natural Hardwodd Lump Charcoal", "Product of Namibia"

"About our charcoal
Namibian lump charcoal is of the highest quality:
– Most Acacia encroacher species have a high wood particle density. Thus burning HOTTER and LONGER than local hardwood species.
– Weather conditions in Namibia, usually high temperature and very low relative air humidity, are favourable for wood drying.
– The wood charcoal from commonly used encroacher species light easily, reaches cooking temperature rapidly and is known to impart a mild smoke flavour to food.

The production of charcoal provides an additional income source for small Namibian farmers and local villages, at the same time help rehabilitate degraded savannah ecosystems. This makes Namibian charcoal a unique and sustainable alternative to charcoal from regions prone to unsustainable forest management and deforestation."

Lighting Instructions

"Lighting Instructions:
1. Soak some papertowels (sic) in olive or vegetable oil, place on the bottom.
2. Add some Charcoal on top and pile it.
3. Light the papertowel (sic) and wait 15 min.
4. Scatter the coals, when a white ash layer forms you are ready to enjoy the braai or BBQ."

Safety Instructions


Unusual or Unique Statements


The Ruler Used In The Following Photographs

We use the following ruler in the photographs which follow. The black and white segments are
1 inch long. The upper scale is in inches, while the lower scale is in centimeters. The distance
between the centers of the two targets is precisely 9 inches.

Photos Of Contents

This photo is an overall view of the contents of the bag.

Here is a closer view.

Here are the larger pieces we found in the bag.

Here are the two strips of plastic we found in the bag. This is the material from which
the bags are woven.

Here are the contents of the bag sorted into large, medium, small, and too small/chips/dust.

Other Photos

This is how the bags arrived.

Photo of UPC Code

Contact Information

NamibFire USA
3175 Corners N Court
Peachtree Corners, GA

Phone: 404-615-3416


About This Review

If you are unfamiliar with our testing procedures, you may wish to read How We Review Lump Charcoal before reading this review. Also, you can read How We Score Lump Charcoal to learn about our scoring system.

Prices listed in our reviews are current as of the date of the review. We do not attempt to keep these prices current.

The conclusions and final rating given any charcoal are based upon the opinion of the author. We recommend that you use our rating only as a guide. You should read the entire review and decide what is important to you in making any buying decision.

Performance ratings are designated with stars, 1 star being the worst and 5 stars being the best:

= Performance is Far Below Average
= Performance is Below Average
= Performance is Average
= Performance is Above Average
= Performance is Far Above Average

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon at the bottom right corner. Click on the icon to display the image in a new larger window. If you wish to ensure that you are seeing photographs the same way that we are seeing them, we recommend that you calibrate your monitor to a PC-normal gamma of 2.2. You should be able to see the difference between blocks A, B and C below, as well as the difference between blocks 3, 4 and 5.


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