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Namibia 26 TRAVEL NEWS

VOLUME 27 No 4 | WINTER 2019

Behati

AND THE RHINOS

YEARS OF EXPLORING

NAMIBIA

Oshituthi shomagongo A CELEBRATION OF MARULAS IN THE NORTH

GENERATION WANDERLUST

Namibia has a Wine Route? VOLUME 27 No 5 SPRING 2019

N$45.00 incl. VAT R45.00 incl. VAT

The Mountains are calling and I must go.

Kaokoland

EPIC ADVENTURES FOR THE INTREPID EXPLORER

www.travelnewsnamibia.com


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LY

LET’S MAKE THE

IVORY TRADE

DISAPPEAR

Amarula and the elephants are intimately connected through our African roots and the Marula fruit, which is why N$1 from every bottle of Amarula (750ml) sold is donated to Wildlife Credits and the Sobbe Conservancy. This partnership enables smart conservation, where Namibian communities are rewarded through performance payments for protecting wildlife, allowing the local wildlife to thrive and people to prosper. #DontLetThemDisappear

EXPERIENCE THE HOME OF THE

MARULA FRUIT BUY AMARULA TO ENTER

@AmarulaNamibia

amarula.com

Not for Sale to Persons Under the Age of 18.

BUY AMARULA TO ENTER

MARULA FRUIT

THE HOME OF THE

EXPERIENCE

NOT OUR ELEPHANTS


Namibia TRAVEL NEWS

"There's nothing like exploring new, or even old, places with good friends. Our group of avid adventurers scoured the rocky playground of Spitzkoppe for that perfect Instagram-worthy shot. Here Marian, Abe and Theuns enjoy a shaded reprieve from the scorching sun under that famous rock arch... legendary for a very good reason." - Elzanne McCulloch

is published by Venture Media in Windhoek, Namibia www.travelnewsnamibia.com Tel: +264 61 383 450, Hyper City Unit 44, Maxwell street, Southern Industrial PO Box 21593, Windhoek, Namibia MANAGING EDITOR Rièth van Schalkwyk SUB EDITOR Elzanne McCulloch elzanne@venture.com.na PRODUCTION MANAGER Nina van Zyl nina@venture.com.na PUBLIC RELATIONS Janine van der Merwe janine@venture.com.na LAYOUT & DESIGN Liza de Klerk design@venture.com.na CUSTOMER SERVICE Bonn Nortjé bonn@venture.com.na ONLINE MANAGER Ruairí Hammond digital@venture.com.na

TEXT CONTRIBUTORS Elzanne McCulloch, Pompie Burger, Nina Van Zyl, Willie Olivier, Le Roux van Schalkwyk, Rièth van Schalkwyk, Laurent Hesemans PHOTOGRAPHERS Elzanne McCulloch, Pompie Burger, Nina Van Zyl, Willie Olivier, Le Roux van Schalkwyk, Rièth van Schalkwyk, Ruairí Hammond, Hugh Lippe, Laurent Hesemans, Henri Slabbert, Louis Wessels Travel News Namibia is published quarterly, distributed worldwide and produced solely on Apple Macintosh equipment. The editorial content of TNN is contributed by the Venture Media team, freelance writers and journalists. It is the sole property of the publisher and no part of the magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

PRINTERS John Meinert Printing, Windhoek

ADVERTISE WITH US

To advertise in Travel News Namibia or any of our other publications, contact Janine van der Merwe Cell: +264 81 122 4833 | Email: janine@venture.com.na | Website: www.travelnewsnamibia.com

OUR PARTNERS Afrocentric

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The

Rules Don’t Apply

INTRODUCING NEW UNAPOLOGETICALLY NON-ALCOHOLIC SAVANNA LEMON. CRISP SAVANNA FLAVOUR, WITH A HINT OF LEMON.

Savanna, the unapologetic cider

Alcohol Not for Sale to Persons Under the Age of 18.


ABOUT VENTURE

VENTURE MEDIA Venture Media is the pioneer of Namibia tourism promotion. We are the leader in spreading the tourism word around the world. We distribute accurate, credible, up to date and regular tourism-related information on paper, in social media, on the World Wide Web, and on mobile apps. We have reached hundreds of thousands over more than two decades. Be part of our community and let’s do it together.

MAGAZINES BY VENTURE MEDIA NAMIBIA TRADE DIRECTORY 2019/20

A Manufacturing Basket filled with Opportunities...

NETWORK

THE GREEN ECONOMY

2019/20

A review of Namibian Trade and Industry Vol 28

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA is a high-quality glossy Namibia travel and lifestyle magazine tasked with promoting Namibia to the world. Travel News Namibia is published quarterly in English and annually in German. The NAMIBIA HOLIDAY & TRAVEL is an annual tourism directory with over 200 pages of updated information on the country, regions, people, activities and wildlife. The NAMIBIA TRADE NETWORK is an annual trade and industry portfolio and is the pillar of information dissemination to the private-sector and the promotion of foreign investment.

WE'RE A SOCIAL BUNCH

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EDITOR’S LETTER

SPRING IS FOR CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS OF OUR RIDE FOR RHINOS Spring is in the air and the thorn trees will be in full bloom when this edition hits the streets. Or should I rather say “hits the road”? Don’t miss the wormwood trees along the B1 and the blackthorn everywhere. I will not mention or lament about the weather at all, except to say that for all those photographers who love the Namib without grass: now is your chance to capture sand and dramatic rock. The desert is a proper desert again after a long dry spell – hot and dry and dramatic, with blue skies and red sunsets, yellow moons and bright stars. If you read this when you are in the country already, be assured that Etosha will provide an animal feast for the eye at every waterhole as it always does this time of the year, but especially now that there is no trace of water in the veld and the vegetation is so sparse that it will be difficult to miss anything that moves or drinks. My annual visit to Damaraland in Namibia’s northwest for the Travel News Namibia initiative Ride for Rhinos – since 2015 first in autumn and then again during the winter months – confirmed enough positives to blot out much of the harsh realities we are bombarded with every day. To be in a part of the country where jeeptracks are about the only evidence that people move around in the area; where there is no signal for mobile devices and thus no connectivity to the rest of the world (for a week); absolutely no trace of plastic or any kind of litter as far as the eye can see; where you encounter free-roaming rhinos every day, their short rounded horns the only evidence of the threat posed by poaching; to spend time with a small group of cyclists who donate large sums of money for the privilege to take part in a cycle tour to meet local rhino rangers who dedicate their lives to monitor these animals’ movements with such success that not a single one has been poached in the past two years in the conservancies of the northwest. We, the Venture team, dreamt up this initiative to apply our skills as storytellers to create awareness of the importance of the environment in circles where that topic is normally not on the agenda. Five years later we applaud the people who came on board as donors to make that dream a reality. The truth of tourism is that it is a collaborative effort, as is caring for the planet. We joined forces with influencers in tourism and local business to make a tangible difference in the lives of the trackers on the ground with practical donations, and leaders in the corporate world to use their influence to change perceptions. The absolute joy of sharing such an experience with people who love the challenge of cycling in a harsh environment, but who are also connected in their daily lives to the real world with all those challenges, ignites synergies that bear the ultimate fruit. Enjoy the inspiration in our spring edition which as always will surprise you with a new look at well-travelled destinations, new places to see and adventures to attempt as we have done for the past 26 years.

Rièth van Schalkwyk

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA SPRING 2019

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CONTENTS 10 BUSH TELEGRAPH What's up in the industry 14 GENERATION WANDERLUST heads to the mountains 22 OMBU CULTURAL VILLAGE Experiential interpretation of history 25 BEHATI PRINSLOO The face of rhino conservation 25 THE SECRET GARDEN in Lüderitz 30 KAOKOLAND for the intrepid explorer 40 RIDE FOR RHINOS marking the fifth year 44 PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURE Laurent Hesemans 52 NAMIBIA'S WINE ROUTE The world's most epic 60 THE OSHITUTHI SHOMAGONGO celebration of the marula tree 68 BIRDING WITH POMPIE Getting to grips with LBJs 76 TRAVEL NOTES from a vagabond 80 ONCE UPON A TIME When roans did roam

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CURRENT PRESIDENT: Hage Geingob

Secular state

Multiparty parliament Democratic Division of power between constitution executive, freedom of religion legislature and

90%

Christian

judiciary

Freedom of the press/media

ECONOMY MAIN SECTORS:

Mining, fishing, tourism and agriculture

BIGGEST EMPLOYER:

46%

Agriculture

MONEY MINING: MATTERS

FASTEST-GROWING SECTOR: Tourism Diamonds, uranium, copper, lead, zinc, magnesium, cadmium, arsenic, pyrites, silver, gold, lithium minerals, dimension stones (granite, marble, blue sodalite) and many semiprecious stones

CURRENCY:

The Namibia Dollar (N$) is fixed to and on par with the SA Rand. The South African Rand is also legal tender. Foreign currency, international Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club credit cards are accepted.

TAX AND CUSTOMS

All goods and services are priced to include value-added 15% tax of 15%. Visitors may reclaim VAT.

ENQUIRIES: Ministry of Finance

Tel (+264 61) 23 0773 in Windhoek

TRANSPORT

Public transport is NOT available to all tourist destinations in Namibia. There are bus services from Windhoek to Swakopmund as well as Cape Town/Johannesburg/Vic Falls. Namibia’s main railway line runs from the South African border, connecting Windhoek to Swakopmund in the west and Tsumeb in the north. There is an extensive network of international and regional flights from Windhoek and domestic charters to all destinations.

17%

NATURE RESERVES:

of surface area

HIGHEST MOUNTAIN: Brandberg OTHER PROMINENT MOUNTAINS: Spitzkoppe, Moltkeblick, Gamsberg PERENNIAL RIVERS: Orange, Kunene, Okavango, Zambezi and Kwando/Linyanti/Chobe

EPHEMERAL RIVERS:

Numerous, including Fish, Kuiseb, Swakop and Ugab

FLORA

LIVING FOSSIL PLANT:

BIG GAME:

Elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, leopard, giraffe antelope species mammal species (14 endemic)

reptile species frog species bird species

ENDEMIC BIRDS including Herero Chat, Rockrunner, Damara Tern, Monteiro’s Hornbill and Dune Lark

DRINKING WATER Most tap water is purified and safe to drink. Visitors should exercise caution in rural areas.

TIME ZONES

GMT + 2 hours

ELECTRICITY 220 volts AC, 50hz, with outlets for round three-pin type plugs

www.travelnewsnamibia.com

37,000 km gravel

HARBOURS:

Walvis Bay, Lüderitz

MAIN AIRPORTS: Hosea Kutako International Airport, airstrips Eros Airport

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RAIL NETWORK: 2,382 km

narrow gauge

TELECOMMUNICATIONS:

6.2

Welwitschia mirabilis

20 240 250 50 676

5,450 km tarred

telephone lines per

200 ENDEMIC 14 vegetation zones plant species 120 100+ species species of lichen of trees

PHYSICAL

CAPITAL: Windhoek

INDEPENDENCE: 21 March 1990

ENVIRONMENT INFRASTRUCTURE ROADS:

100 inhabitants

MOBILE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM: GSM agreements with

Direct-dialling facilities to

221 countries

117 countries / 255 networks

INFRASTRUCTURE

SOCIAL

824,268 km²

FAUNA

GENERAL

SURFACE AREA:

13,650 people 4 medical doctor per

privately run hospitals in Windhoek with intensive-care units

Medical practitioners (world standard) 24-hour medical emergency services

POPULATION

2.5 million 400 000 inhabitants in Windhoek (15% of total)

ADULT LITERACY RATE:

85%

DENSITY: 2.2 per km²

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE:

English

14 regions 13 ethnic cultures 16 languages and dialects POPULATION GROWTH RATE:

2.6%

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS:

over 1,700 schools, various vocational and tertiary institutions

FOREIGN REPRESENTATION More than 50 countries have Namibian consular or embassy representation in Windhoek.


INDULGENT SPA DAYS

AT ONGAVA

Ongava Game Reserve is considered one of the finest private game reserves in Namibia, with a stellar reputation in conservation and incomparably exciting safari experiences. Guests can now look forward to another indulgence at Ongava: wellness treatments provided by Nomad African Spa, a wellness centre located in Windhoek. Nomad African Spa focuses on training young women from underprivileged backgrounds in an effort to combat inequality.

WE

CYMOT ONLINE STORE

We are big fans of the local outdoor brand, CYMOT, and even more so since they launched their online store at cymot.com. You can pick products right off the website, pay securely and the package will be delivered straight to your door. The TNN team tried it out and the result was more than a few happy campers.

Your Turn: CYMOT is giving TNN readers 25% off their Kudu bow tents when you buy it online*. Simply use the code 9119010460 during checkout and get 25% off the price. Visit cymot.com and start shopping. *Discount valid throughout September 2019. www.cymot.com

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NEW BEER GARDEN

BUSH TELEGRAPH AT BREWER & BUTCHER A beer garden is the latest attraction at the already popular Brewer & Butcher in Swakopmund. The restaurant is known for its hearty meals and its beers brewed on-site. Now, these can be enjoyed in the cosy and unpretentious beer garden in the courtyard at the back - sure to be packed on misty days at the coast. To make a booking or view the menu, visit www.strandhotelswakopmund.com/activities/thebrewer-and-butcher

IT’S ABOUT TIME!

Regional travel received a massive boost with the launch of local aviation company Westair Aviation's scheduled passenger service, FlyWestair. These additional flights within Namibia now give travellers more options when it comes to exploring the country. See more on page 63. For flight schedules and prices, visit flywestair.com


DID YOU KNOW?

LÜDERITZ TWINS Namibia is not the only country with a Lüderitz! In fact, there is a village named Lüderitz in Germany. Representatives of the two celebrated their common name by unveiling a large sign to commemorate their connection. Namibia’s a capella group African Vocals performed in the local church which was packed to capacity.

13,000 KM

EES NAM FLAVA TOURS Visitors to Namibia have one more reason to extend their stay in the capital. German-Namibian Kwaito artist, Ees (Eric Sell) has launched Nam Flava City Tours in partnership with Wild Dog Safaris. Expert guides take visitors around town to experience a few must-sees in Windhoek from one of Ees’ own retro busses.

the distance between the two.

373 HOURS

the time it would take to drive from one to the other.

2260 HOURS

the time it would take to walk from one to the other.

Book your place on the next NamFlava Tour at +264 61 25 76 42.

Fika

[fee-ka] - Swedish (n.) a moment to slow down and appreciate the good things in life.

EMPOWERING THE WOMEN OF SWAKOP’S DRC TOWNSHIP

The DRC Women’s Project in Swakopmund will soon have a new home for women to create their beautiful beadwork. Construction has begun on a centre that will not only have a workshop for the bead-workers but will also house the Grow Together Kindergarten and DRC soup kitchen. Support this project and its beneficiaries by shopping for unique crafts at Kubatsirana in Libertine Amathila Street, Swakopmund. Contact anja.rohwer@katuturaprojekte.com for more information.


BUSH TELEGRAPH

WINNERS OF THE

ECO AWARDS 2019 These companies make us proud with their passion for ecologically-friendly tourism in Namibia! //Huab Under Canvas - 5 Flowers Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel - 5 Flowers Fish River Lodge - 5 Flowers Ongava Lodge - 5 Flowers Little Ongava Lodge - 5 Flowers Ongava Tented Camp - 5 Flowers Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp - 5 Flowers Gondwana Kalahari Farmhouse - 5 Flowers Okonjima Lodge - 5 Flowers Anderssons at Ongava - 4 Flowers Pack Safaris - 5 Flowers

FLTR: Stephanie Mohrmann (Ongava and Okonjima); Dominic Duraan (Journeys – Fish River Lodge) Bettina Frank-Schultz (Gondwana Kalahari Farmhouse); Hazel Milne (Eco Awards Namibia); Jack Chakanga (Wilderness Safaris – Skeleton Coast Hoanib Camp); Granville Maasdorp and Robin Donenburg (Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel); Jason Nott //Huab Under Canvas – Ultimate Safaris); Conny Berg (Pack Safari)

ONDILI OPENS NEW LODGE NEAR FAMOUS TWYFELFONTEIN ROCK ART Nestled between the rolling boulders of a granite outcrop, Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp is conveniently situated just a tenminute drive from the famous Twyfelfontein rock engravings. Take a scenic drive along the ephemeral Huab River and have a picnic in the surrounding valley. View the unique geological formations and look out for rhinos and elusive desert-adapted elephants. A visit to the Damara Living Museum offers a fascinating glimpse of the people, the heritage and soul of Damaraland. Alternatively, simply enjoy the solitude of nature with gentle sunrise and sunset hikes to the rocky summit overlooking the valley below. Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp is located 90 km west of Khorixas, accessible from the junction of D2612 and D3254. For more information email info@twyfelfonteincamp.com To make a reservation, please contact reservations@ twyfelfonteincamp.com

NAMIBIA’S FIRST

ZERO WASTE SHOP

CAMELTHORN LAUNCHES

NEW IPA

Namibia Breweries continues to impress us with their growing range of products. The latest addition is Camelthorn India Pale Ale (IPA) brewed from Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops. The typical hops-heavy taste combined with the fruity and floral notes makes for a beer that is surprisingly easy to drink. Learn more on page 21.

POMPIE’S CARMINE BOOK We are excited about the publication of our favourite birder’s latest bird book, Chariots of Fire by Pompie Burger, which features a stunning selection of photographs of Carmine Bee-eaters during their breeding season. Chariots of Fire by Pompie Burger is available at the Namibia Book Market tel. (061) 236 938

The World Plastic-Free Month of July kicked off with a bang in Windhoek – the opening of the Zero Waste Shop, a true first for Namibia. The store’s products are kept in large containers, from which customers can pick or pour what they need, preferably into their own containers. The aim is to avoid all manner of packaging, in particular plastic. Therefore the store also sells cotton bags and a wide variety of glass jars. Find the Zero Waste Store on the corner of Sam Nujoma and Stein streets (next to Sam’s Hobbies and Toys).


JOIN US FOR A ONE OF A KIND SENSORY EXPERIENCE… The Midgard Taste Festival sets the beautiful outdoors alight with live music and an alluring array of food and drinks - an experience that tantalises all your senses. Bring your friends, your appetite for a good time and you’ll be sure to leave with a sweet after taste for more.

SAVE THE DATE. 2

N OV E M B E R

2 0 1 9

WEATHERMEN & CO


GENERATION WANDERLUST:

The Mountains are calling

and I must go

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Here’s to the adventurous at heart. The free spirits. The wanderers and the wonderers. Text and Photographs Elzanne McCulloch

O

ur daily lives can be a wonderful maelstrom of exciting moments, and yet our hearts may still yearn for new places, new faces, new moments of unique experience. A few years ago I came across the term “Generation Wanderlust”. It struck a chord. “This is me,” I thought. Fast forward half a decade, and far more than a few thousand kilometres of explorations across Namibia and the world, and the wanderlust has yet to fade. There’s always another corner of the world to explore. Another site and sight to absorb. And though the Instagram accounts and endless self-importance of my generational peers often leave me with a sour taste, the intrinsic need to discover has not disappeared.

It is this wandering heart - this curious spirit - that leads my group of friends and me to the far corners of Namibia every time our work schedules allow. At the first sign of an office-free day, the familiar ping of a busy WhatsApp group announces the start of another adventure. As if there’s a race official firing a starting gun, we’re off planning at a breakneck speed. Where will we go? Who’s coming? Who’s packing what? Two ribs for the braai or three? A public holiday on a Thursday, quite a few applications for leave submitted for the Friday. Five bakkies packed with the essentials. A group of friends headed for another adventure. Namibia is famous for its melange of travelling destinations, as well as the diversity of accommodation options, catering to each preference and bank account. Luxury lodges are the pinnacle of ‘what dreams are made of’ and Namibia’s assortment of spectacular establishments is akin to a sevencourse gastronomic spectacle at the most exclusive of French restaurants. Swoon-worthy, yet somewhat unreachable for the hungry passerby gazing longingly through the window on his way to the corner bistro for the day’s special. Some destinations are part of the quintessential “one day when I’m grown-up” bucket-list checkbox. So for a group of young adults, barely dipping their toes into the grown-up sphere of living, with adventure-rich hearts, but not necessarily the bank accounts to back it up, camping is the ideal meal.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA SPRING 2019

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OF ALL THE ROADS YOU TAKE IN LIFE, MAKE SURE THAT SOME OF THEM ARE DIRT. It is approximately two hours into the drive from Windhoek when, to the northwest of the road that leads to the coast, a strange collection of peaks disrupts the horizon. The protrusion might remind a European visitor of an ancient church spire, or a Gaudi-esque cathedral, rising from the flat desert plains. To us Namibians it is an iconic landmark that we’ve grown up with. Decembers driving to the coast from the interior were marked by a car game where the first to spot the towering peak would win (what we won is not of much consequence). The Spitzkoppe, an inselberg of rounded granite, is the first stop on our long-weekend camping adventure. An ideal waypoint when travelling from the interior to either the coast or to Damaraland in the Kunene Region – our destination for this tour. The community campsites at the Spitzkoppe are among my all-time favourites in the country, and I’ve visited most. A quick stop at the gate to pay the friendly attendant and then an exploration of the labyrinth of campsites dotted all along the base of the mountain to pick our spot for the evening. The Spitzkoppe is Namibia’s most popular rock climbing destination. Even if braving the heights is not for you, there are various trails leading to awe-inspiring lookout points. I highly recommend scampering up the slopes in late afternoon to see the sun set, gin and tonic in hand of course, or early the next morning to see it rising over the eastern horizon. In the summer months, good rains provided, various rock pools offer a wonderfully refreshing dip. Consult the map, available at reception, for swimming spots, lookout points and ancient rock-art sites. With our fire’s flickering flames dancing on the rock encasing our campsite, we relish in the first evening of our well-deserved break.

LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS BEHIND

Tourism is a very important part of Namibia’s economy and a source of livelihood for many locals, but can also be quite destructive if done wrong. Please follow these responsible tourism principles: • Everything you take in, take back out with you. Never bury your rubbish or used toilet paper! • Make fires only in designated fireplaces. • Bring your own firewood. Refrain from using wood found in the surroundings for your campfire. • Keep your impact on the environment as low as possible. That means not breaking off that branch spoiling your view. • Stay on existing tracks and trails.


GENERATION WANDERLUST

Ruairí Hammond

The Brandberg - Namibia's highest mountain

ALWAYS TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE The D3716 will lead you from the Spitzkoppe to the D1930, the road to the small town of Uis. Here we stocked up on basics and filled up our tanks for the journey to follow. Both Uis Guesthouse and Brandberg Rest Camp have cold draughts on tap to quench that dry-desert-air-thirst or to have a relaxing lunch stop. From Uis, our next destination was on the western side of Namibia’s highest mountain – the Brandberg. A beautifully scenic gravel route led us around the southern edge of the mountain. Make a few pit stops, take out your camera and capture the view, the scenery is dramatic and remarkable. The 107 km route to Save the Rhino Trust’s Ugab Camp is an adventure all in itself. We followed our trusty Tracks4Africa GPS guidance down a rough 4x4 trail, stopping now and then for the requisite photo of an interesting plant or rock. The rugged campsite is located in the Ugab River and offers communal ablutions. It is operated by the non-profit organisation Save the Rhino Trust which

MAKE YOUR TRIP HASSLE-FREE •

Be sure your tyres are in good condition. Though Namibia’s gravel roads are mostly well-tended, it may be daunting for the inexperienced gravel road driver. Do not drive with tyres that are too hard and be sure to drive slowly, as there can be surprises like wildlife on the road or rough patches along the way.

The most important thing to have in your car is water. At least 5 litres per person per day!

It is a good idea to have a satellite phone with you on an adventure such as this, as many of the areas do not have cellphone reception. Satellite phones can be rented at a number of places in Windhoek, including Adventure Camping Hire and Radio Electronics.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA SPRING 2019

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Geological wonders in the Ugab River

'Dollar' bush

Morning view of the Brandberg

Lunch under one of the giant Ana trees, birding to our heart’s content and mesmerising geological wonders were the order of the day. monitors black rhinos and protects them against poaching in an area of one million hectares, from the Ugab River all the way to the Kunene River on Namibia’s northern boundary. Camping is free of charge, so consider making a donation in support of the wonderful work done by SRT. From here the tour became slightly more adventurous. I would not recommend this part of the journey during the rainy season to anyone who does not have experience with off-road driving or to groups with less than three vehicles. Travelling eastward up the Ugab River is probably one of the most dazzling routes in the region. It is not for the faint of heart though, as the thick sandy paths can be treacherous.

TNN TRAVEL TIP:

For those not so keen on a serious off-road adventure, follow the two and a half hour route back around the southern edge of the Brandberg from the Ugab Save the Rhino Trust Camp (D2303-D2342-C35-D2359). Brandberg White Lady Lodge is easily accessible via this gravel road. You can then either explore the river area around the lodge yourself, or join one of the lodge’s desert-elephant drives to spot the speciallyadapted giants.

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CAMPING IN THE AREA: SPITZKOPPE CAMPSITE

Activities: Stargazing; famous rock climbing and bouldering; hiking and walking trails; birding - spot the Herero Chat Price: N$170 pp www.spitzkoppe.com

UGAB SAVE THE RHINO TRUST CAMP

Located in the Ugab River Save the Rhino Trust information centre Sometimes visited by desert-adapted elephants GPS coordinates: -20.962604, 14.133839 Price: Free of charge. Please make a donation to SRT. www.savetherhinotrust.org

BRANDBERG WHITE LADY LODGE

At the base of the Brandberg Desert-adapted elephants frequent the area Birding and hiking trails Scenic, Sunset and Desert Elephant Drives Price: N$ 150.00 pp plus N$ 40.00 per vehicle www.brandbergwllodge.com

With the Brandberg looming over us we made our way along the 4x4 track, tell-tale signs of elephant activity visible all along the way. Lunch under one of the giant Ana trees, birding to our heart’s content and mesmerising geological wonders were the order of the day. We only got stuck once… but luckily there were enough Toyotas to help our Amarok friend out of a soft and sandy situation, and enough beers on hand that evening to make the skaamkwaad (shame pain) go away.


GENERATION WANDERLUST We met up with our giant tusked friends at Brandberg White Lady Lodge, where the promise of water lures herds of desert-adapted wildlife during the dry season. We spent the night on the banks of the Ugab River again, enjoying the beautifully appointed campsites and indulging in warm showers. Another night under the bewitching canopy of stars that is the evening sky in Namibia’s northwest. Shining so bright that the majestic silhouette of the Brandberg stood out against the navy backdrop of night. A scrambled egg breakfast in a skillet over the coals as the Brandberg’s highest peak, Königstein, was set alight by the rising sun. What a view to wake up to. Packing up our gear, dragging our feet as we go. And so ends another adventure… As we make our way back to Windhoek via Omaruru, the volcanic Erongo Mountain range stretches out along our journey. Another mountain, calling for another time. Another adventure on the horizon. TNN

DID YOU KNOW? SAFETY AROUND ELEPHANTS

Populations of desert-adapted elephants can be found in Damaraland and the Kunene Region to the north. Although they are the same species as the African elephant, seen in Etosha National Park, desert elephant have longer legs, are taller and have larger feet which make them better adapted to the soft sand in their environment. These elephants have particular, more cautious feeding patterns. They rarely fell trees, break fewer branches and drink only once every 3 or 4 days, whereas an average African elephant found elsewhere normally drinks between 100200 litres of water a day. When you come across a desert elephant on your journey be sure to follow this advice: • Avoid areas where they might feel trapped • Never stop your vehicle in their path • Drive slowly and keep your noise levels low • Keep to existing roads and tracks • Stay in your car when encountering a herd of elephants • Do not camp at waterholes or near natural springs

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Namibia is the land of contrast. With Journeys Namibia you can experience this diverse land at your own pace. We offer a portfolio of uniquely located lodges, situated near Namibia’s great attractions. Feel at home and enjoy every moment of your adventure with us.

With a strong focus on eco-tourism, our lodges and experiences also benefit the communities within which they are located. Our partnerships with communal conservancies ensures that tourism benefits both conservation and the people who call the land home.

Immerse yourself in the wilds of Namibia with our selection of epic adventures and activities. Hiking, biking, canoeing, rhino tracking and so much more. Create your active journey and lasting memories with us.

+264 61 228 104 | www.journeysnamibia.com


ADVERTORIAL

Namibia Breweries launches

NEW CAMELTHORN IPA A

beer-loving country, Namibia has that bitter-malt taste firmly imbedded in its cultural makeup. Beer has been brewed in this country for over a hundred years, with recent varieties even brewed in the tradition of the Aawambo abounding. At the turn of the previous century, when it was barely a settlement, Windhoek already had three breweries supplying the residents. Today, Namibians can be proud of this beer-brewing heritage. When the initial breweries eventually merged to become Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL), a company was created that prides itself on producing a range of beers according to the most stringent quality standards. It is on the principles of purity that the brewers at NBL play with flavours, experimenting with a wide variety of hops and malted barley from all over the world. The Reinheitsgebot, a historic standard of beer making that stipulates the use of hops, malt, water and nothing else, still guides the way NBL produces its famous beverages. NBL’s latest edition, the Camelthorn India Pale Ale or IPA, is the result of trial and error and a worthy addition to the existing range of Camelthorn Helles and Urbock. IPAs are heavier than, for example, Pilsners, and the Camelthorn IPA follows in this tradition, with a highhop bitterness and overall fruity flavour. Before becoming synonymous with the Craft Beer movement, IPAs originally were a type of beer enjoyed in colonial India. At the time, beers were imported all the way from England. The journey was long, and conventional beers went bad before reaching their destination. To better preserve beers, brewers began making them stronger and more hop-heavy, with the idea that they could be diluted when they arrived at their destination. However, consumers took a liking to the unique taste and kept the beer as it was. And thus the India Pale Ale was born. The Camelthorn IPA is a delicious combination of Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops. A deep warm amber colour that is slightly darker than the Helles, the Camelthorn IPA is a delight to the tastebuds with its spicy taste and distinctive grape, berry and floral notes. The result is a beer that is surprisingly easy to drink. TNN

+264 61 320 4999 nambrew@olfitra.com.na www.nambrew.com

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Living history at

Ombu Cultural Village Text and Photographs Le Roux van Schalkwyk

A people without the knowledge of their history, origin and culture, is like a tree without roots. - Marcus Garvey

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alking from one exhibit to the next and viewing artefacts through glass panes, museums can leave the visitor detached from the subject in question. Living museums, on the other hand, give an experiential interpretation of history, bringing it to life by imitating the conditions of a natural environment, historical period or culture. Ombu Cultural Village showcases the history of the Ovaherero people by providing a window into their past while connecting visitors to their present. The authenticity of the Ombu Cultural Village sets it apart from other run-of-the-mill living museums. It serves as a medium to transport visitors more than a hundred years back into the past. At the same time, the village is the permanent residence of a modern-day Herero family, providing a unique and intimate perspective of the Ovaherero culture, family life and daily routines. A tour of the Village takes you on a journey through 200 years of history and development. The buildings showcase a change in the design, building methods and style of housing over time. The nine period-specific dwellings built in the traditional semi-circle, progressing from clay and wood to modern houses of brick and mortar, hold a wealth of history which in turn is explained by one of the friendly guides. On entering the houses, visitors learn how Ovaherero people have lived, collecting and preparing food, making perfumes and clothing, during different periods over the last two centuries. Visitors are encouraged to enhance the experience through touch, smell and taste during the tour. Villagers can be seen tending livestock, milking cows, churning omaere (milk) and performing day-today tasks. Visitors are welcome to interact with them and ask questions to understand the intricate Ovaherero culture better. In this way, Ombu Cultural Village not only documents and preserves the heritage and culture of the Ovaherero people, but allows visitors to reflect on the past while being informed about the present. Ovaherero folklore, dance, dress and traditional practice reveal a culture centred around cattle. The different facets of the belief system, customs, initiation ceremonies, marriage and economic system are also described. Ombu Cultural Village is located on the D1525, 48 km from Otjiwarongo and 122 km from Okahandja.

The last stop of the tour is the thoughtfully designed museum, built in a semi-circle to imitate the shape of a traditional village. The museum contains a rich collection of weapons, tools and artefacts used in hunts, food preparation and other daily tasks from the 19th century to the present. Physical displays, artwork and audio-visual presentations provide accounts of Ovaherero history, migration, wars and how political and economic changes have influenced the social and cultural spheres of the community. The Ombu Cultural Village was not only created to give visitors a better understanding of the Ovaherero people but also to preserve the heritage, culture, and traditional knowledge for future generations. TNN

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Our journeys change lives

Desert Rhino Camp

Pioneering conservation coalitions in north-west Namibia since 2003, and a proud runner-up of the Namibia Responsible Tourism Awards.

www.wilderness-safaris.com


SAVE THE RHINO TRUST NAMIBIA AND WILDERNESS SAFARIS

SRT was founded by the late Blythe Loutit, her husband Rudi, and the late Ina Britz in collaboration with local government and traditional leaders. The aim was and continues to be to monitor and protect the last free-roaming population of black rhinos in the world. After a shocking decline of 98% of black rhinos between 1960 and 1995, the population has stabilised, but is still under threat. Today, there are approximately 2,400 black rhinos left globally. In Namibia, SRT’s trackers and Rhino Rangers patrol the vast northwest, covering an area 25 000 km2. They come from the local community and possess an intimate knowledge of the area’s rhinos and their habitat. Their involvement in protecting the world’s largest free-roaming population of black rhino has meant the survival of the species here. Wilderness Safaris, an eco-friendly tourism company, protects around 2,4 million hectares of land throughout southern Africa. In 2003, in a joint partnership with SRT, they established the Desert Rhino Camp in the Palmwag concession area. Encompassing 1 360 km2, the area is patrolled exclusively by SRT with support from Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Namibian Police. Visitors to Desert Rhino Camp have the unique opportunity to experience what it is like to track rhinos while making a tangible difference to the species’ conservation.

The face of

RHINO CONSERVATION Text Nina van Zyl Photograph Hugh Lippe

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amibian-born supermodel Behati Prinsloo recently joined forces with Save The Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT) in an effort to raise awareness for rhino conservation on the global stage.

As part of her partnership with the organisation, she visited Namibia and immersed herself in the work undertaken in the public and private sector to protect Namibia's critically endangered black rhino. Behati joined trackers from SRT and rangers from the Conservancy Rhino Ranger Incentive Programme in north-western Namibia to track rhinos across the rugged terrain, while learning about wildlife crime and gaining a deeper insight into the commitment needed to protect Namibia's rhinos. With generous aerial support from Westair Aviation and B2Gold, along with these tourism partners, Behati’s trip included visiting the orphaned rhinos raised at Mount Etjo Safari Lodge; Desert Rhino Camp, a joint venture partnership between Wilderness Safaris Namibia, SRT and conservancies, designed to support SRT trackers in an area where black rhinos roam free; a stop at DeRiet in the Torra Conservancy where the community has made a choice to live with wildlife; and Ongava Game Reserve, a great example of Namibia’s progressive rhino custodianship program. TNN

The opportunity to come home to see what is happening, to meet people caring for orphaned black and white rhinos, and to work with the trackers, rangers and communities to raise awareness is very important to me. Someday, I want to take my children to experience these animals in the wild. - Behati Prinsloo


The Secret Garden Text and Photographs Nina van Zyl

It is a rare indulgence to f ind a great café in a small town. A place to take your dog-eared book, be greeted by familiar faces before you order a hot coffee, sit back and relax. And sometimes, one has to travel a little out of the way to f ind it.

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cross the road from the Port of Lüderitz is an unassuming door set in a high grey wall. As I step through it, it is as if I am Mary Lennox discovering her secret garden all over again. During my first visit to the Garden Café I was blown away. It was hardly an expected experience in a town where the majority of restaurants cater either to cruise ship masses or complacent fast-food diners. Garden Café is a fresh alternative to the norm, with its unpretentious charm and warm interior. But no restaurant or café could last long on atmosphere alone. Owners Lea and Pauli Schroeter have created something that few mom-and-pop establishments manage to do. As is attested by its rave reviews (it is rated number one in Lüderitz on TripAdvisor), the Garden Café is much more than just personality. For one, there's the food. Oh boy, you can't forget the food.

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The couple had discussed opening a coffee shop for a long time but took the plunge only after Pauli sustained an injury that kept him from his day job. And then, serendipitously, the town's one lone coffee shop closed, seemingly overnight. Serendipity seems to be a theme with the Schroeters who not only share a surname (with a slight variation: Schroeder versus Schroeter), but also a few family birthdays. And even though both were born in the same hospital and grew up in the same town, it was only as adults that they happened to meet one day on a Lüderitz sidewalk. Chef Tafara Mutangi pops his head out from the kitchen as I walk by and gives me a big, bright smile - the toothpaste commercials type of smile. He looks like your younger brother's mischievous friend, but my, can he cook. And what is even more unusual is that most of the ingredients used in his dishes come straight from the garden at the back. The Schroeters both


have a hand in the baking at the café, from the typical German-style brötchens and gateaux to cheesecakes, lemon meringues and melkterts. Before they found Tafara, they even did the cooking.

Everywhere one looks, there are little gems. The result is a wabi-sabi interior that has the hushed tones of a museum combined with the familiar comfort of grandma's house. Right next to the entrance is a complicated-looking setup that turns out to be a hydroponic system for growing vegetables and herbs. I'm told by Lea that it's her husband's handiwork. So is all the handworked wooden furniture inside: the counter, the tables and chairs; the quirky mini green-house outside made of reused window frames; the weathered wooden doors used as room dividers. The doors are from the old Kapps Hotel; some were found half-buried in the sand along the beach; some might even be from Kolmanskop. Turns out Lea's grandfather was a bit of a collector, with many of his finds ending up with Lea. Everywhere one looks, there are little gems. In one room hang black and

white photographs which might easily be overlooked. On closer inspection they are snapshots of Lüderitz life at the turn of the last century. These unpublished historic images were the handiwork of a prospector who rented a room in Lea's grandfather's house, where eventually he passed away. It's no surprise that his abandoned albums were added to the family's collection. Every object in the café, from the cutlery to the cups, was the couple's personal possession before finding its way to its designated spot in the café. Some were handed down from relatives, some were wedding gifts. The result is a wabi-sabi interior that has the hushed tones of a museum combined with the familiar comfort of grandma's house. Outside, in the café's garden, with the dappled sunlight warming me, I watch the pet tortoise creep out from under a strawberry bush, its face inches from one of the vibrant red oblongs. I resist the urge to put out a hand and pet it. Or to pick the strawberry, if I'm honest. The other patrons wouldn't notice; they're too absorbed with their slices of fresh cake; their plates of brötchen with home-made mustard sauce. Instead, I sit back in the white rattan chair and sip my steaming cup of coffee, feeling as content as the statuesque salamander sunbathing on the garden wall. TNN

Owner Lea Schroeter

LOCATION:

Garden Café, 17 Hafen street, Lüderitz.

Garden Café’s Chef Tafara Mutangi

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ADVERTORIAL

A Victorian Safari

Step back in time to discover the dramatic landscape of the Namib with the opening of Zannier Hotels Sonop Lodge.

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ith spectacular views of the endless desert landscape, rugged mountain horizon and antelope that wander nearby, the elegant Zannier Hotels Sonop Lodge is the perfect setting to experience the stunning wilderness of the ancient Namib Desert. Nestled in the heart of the desert, 230 km from iconic Deadvlei, the Victorian-safari inspired lodge sits perched on a hill of monolithic boulders, spread out amongst the rocks and cradled between rocky mountain outcrops. This distinctive property is the newest addition to Zannier Hotels, a group of exceptional establishments in unique locations in France, Cambodia, Belgium and Vietnam. With a dedicated spa, modern amenities, magnificent attention to detail and interesting Victorian antiques scattered throughout the lodge, the group's second Namibian property offers a truly luxurious experience, yet is characterised by its immersion in the natural environment. All of the ten tents are designed to complement the property's serene setting and breathtaking mountain views, best enjoyed at the heated pool overlooking the golden grassland or from the elegant cigar lounge in the warm glow of sunset. Horseback rides, e-mountain biking, two scenic drives, an astronomy experience, group yoga and an open-air cinema are activities included in the stay. Spend a luxurious day at iconic Sossusvlei or float above the desert dunes in

a hot-air balloon. Scenic drives to secluded spots reveal the endless unblemished environment, with no man-made structures in sight. Enjoy your breakfast in the company of a quiver tree far from the lodge, watching the first rays of the day dapple the hilltops. Guests who prefer a little indulgence can try signature treatments at the tranquil spa, inspired by the desert and using the luxurious local Myrrh oil, Mbiri, harvested by Namibia's nomadic Himba people. Or simply enjoy a glass of wine from the excellent biodynamic wine list made up of labels from well-known South African wine regions, as well as from Domaines Roger Zannier. Sit down to a decadent silver service dinner, sipping from delicate crystal glassware with glowing chandeliers overhead. A stay at the Zannier Hotels Sonop Lodge isn't just an experience of yesteryear's luxury, but an ode to the opulent beauty of the Namib Desert. TNN Fly directly to Zannier Hotels Sonop Lodge from Windhoek with a Scenic Air chartered flight. Get in touch with Scenic Air at +264 61 249 268.

NOTE: We offer 25% discount for Namibian and SADC Residents.

+264 (0) 84 0000 888 reservations@sonop.com www.zannierhotels.com/sonop

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Feast the eye, feed the soul

Kaokoland for the intrepid explorer Text and Photographs Rièth van Schalkwyk

The ephemeral rivers in Namibia’s far northwest and the land between them are as fascinating as the different seasons. What you see is determined by the wind and the rain and the time of day. Whether you drive north to south or the other way. Whether you approach the Hoarusib from Sesfontein or Orupembe. Whether you drive to Purros from the north with the afternoon sun behind you or approach from the south with the sun in your face. Soft and golden in winter or with dramatic clouds to the east in summer. The picture you store in your memory will be of two different places. It can be so windy that the Hoanib is hidden in a veil of dust, with only the silhouettes of giraffes outlined in the riverbed. Or so hazy on the plains between the Khumib and the Kabere Mountains that the zebras look like moving rocks.


Sesame trees on a pan north of Opuwo. Gnarled, distorted and deformed by innumerable dry seasons and countless hungry browsers.


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here is something about this part of Namibia that awakens the adventurer in travellers. Something that captures the imagination and does not let go. Perhaps it is driving for a day, often just on a track, with no other vehicle in sight, sometimes passing a remote or even deserted village or a Himba herdsman with a walking stick and his dog. Or is it the sheer beauty of the landscape with its multi-layered horizon, its ancient rock formations cracked and stratified to form dramatic graphic lines and textures? Can it be the surprise at finding water with birds and greenery, baby springbok and gemsbok calves in the desert, in the dry season? We planned our itinerary to include the layered landscapes of the northwest, a glimpse of the four ephemeral rivers, a full moon, a dark moon, the magic of dark skies with brilliant stars and the Milky Way in all its glittering glory. Sunsets and sunrises over plains, campfires at dusk and nothing but the sound of owls at night and francolins at daybreak.

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We like to think that there are few countries in the world where unspoilt nature is as easily accessible as in Namibia. It is often said that Windhoek is a city in the bush. Exit in any direction and look back after thirty minutes of driving: you will not see the city. That is if you don’t choose the highways. Few departures are as satisfying as heading into the bush in a camper. Especially during the camping season, when there is a crispness in the air and the mountains have that almost opaque sheen as they have in watercolour paintings. The excitement of preparation and packing is addictive and starts weeks before the actual departure date. My mission with this safari was to show my friends a part of Namibia that is indescribable. No matter how many times I have been back since my first safari more than 30 years ago. It looks different, and the same, every time. And it never made it easier to describe or photograph.


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Once you recognise the “attitude� of a tree stripped to the bare essentials it is easy to identify who they are. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: A moringa next to the road outside Uis A hawk perched on a corkwood Towering over Himba boys shows just how enormous these young baobabs are So you thought bottle trees all look alike? Not where they have to put up with hungry browsers How may floods through how many centuries did this camelthorn withstand? If only it could tell that story.


Another mission that is easier to describe, and one that even does justice to it in print, was to identify as many of the corkwood trees as I possibly could. It was the dry season, which means corkwoods have no leaves and through my eyes look their most dramatic. The lovely otherworldly shape of their branches and bark is irresistible. Altogether 31 species are known to occur in the dry regions of Namibia, and most of them grow along our planned route. With my brand-new updated version of Colleen and Barbara’s Trees and Shrubs of Namibia and a wonderful new camera with a proper fixed-zoom lens I was ready to take on the challenge. Don’t think that those far northern regions are reached quickly and easily from Windhoek. It takes time. The first 800 kilometres can take a day, depending on the company you keep. Starting off on the tar road heading north past the small towns of Outjo and Kamanjab to Ruacana, not even a flat tyre will break your speed. But the sight of a beautiful chestnut tree with its multi-coloured bark, white against smooth granite rocks on a koppie, will certainly bring the convoy to a halt for a photo. The road between Kamanjab and Ruacana is straight and rather boring, but it is a feast for tree-lovers: leadwood, apple leaf, mopane, terminalias, chestnut trees and several different corkwoods. This is a perfect introduction to tree-ing. At least the trees don’t fly away before you can identify them. But then again, as the kilometres pass by, you realise that even though these gnarled old trees have stood there for hundreds of years, it is still difficult to identify them at speed, especially for a novice. The real adventure starts where the tar road ends at the Ruacana hydro-electric power plant. The exciting sound of tyres on gravel and the smell of dust. We will have this pleasure for two weeks until we hit the tar again in Outjo.

After a recent road upgrade, those behind the steering wheel can now catch a glimpse of the Kunene every now and then as we head west along the river. It is exciting to see flowing water in this desert country. One gets this treat only on the northern and southern borders. The highlight at sunset is to be in a boat on the river when the full moon rises. Make sure to drive along the river with the sun at your back, west in the morning and east in the afternoon. Tree-watching just gets better. Gold-stemmed, chalk-white or peeling paper-thin bark of corkwoods, baobabs, moringas and maeruas growing along the river on the dry side of the gravel road that follows the contours of the Kunene close to the river. Then, higher up and over foothills, it continues through dry tributaries, all the way to the Epupa Falls. It is really beautiful to watch the spectacle of cascading water from up on the hill or close to the falls at the golden hour when the sun lights up the trunks of baobabs perched precariously on the rocks. Turn your back on the river, albeit reluctantly, and head south again, with the Zebra Mountains to the east and the Baynes Mountains west, passing more baobabs and driving slowly through the village of Okangwati to Opuwo. Remember that it is the last place to fill up with petrol and stock up on essentials. From Opuwo the route leads north again, crossing plains, up and down mountain passes, through mopane forests, past deserted fields, small villages and settlements with kraals made with dried branches, green fields, springs and makalani palm trees. Lunch under a leadwood tree in a sandy riverbed may attract a surprise visit from Himba women and kids.


ACCOMMODATION EPUPA FALLS

There are several places to camp or lodge close to the falls. Depending on the water level the noise of the falls can be quite intense at Epupa Lodge and Campsite which is closest to the falls and an easy walk there. The Gondwana Collection recently took over the OmarungaEpupa Falls Lodge and Campsite. The luxury Epupa Tented Lodge has a rafting centre which is worth adding a day to your itinerary. The Kapita Waterfall Lodge is perched high on the hill to the east of the falls. Take note that the campsite on the lookout point facing the falls is not registered and no legal fee should be paid for taking photographs from there.

Louis Wessels

ORUPEMBE

The Marble Campsite has everything you need if you are geared to camp in the middle of nowhere. Water, a shower, shade under mopane trees and a view. An even better view is had from the House on the Hill, which is real luxury with three self-catering chalets. If you have been the unlucky one who missed all the Lonemen up to this point, your luck is about to change – there is one waiting for you under a bottle tree. In the same area, Etambura Tented Camp provides five canvas and thatch en-suite tents, each with its own deck and a truly stunning view. There is an airstrip in the area, but it is not the kind of place where you would just show up unexpectedly.

ALL THE WAY UP NORTH

No camping is allowed in the Hartmann’s Valley. You may drive in and around it and then out again. The landscape is pristine and delicate and has been entrusted to those who can ensure that the communities whose land it is benefit financially, and they also see to it that the fragile environment is looked after. Most of the guests at Serra Cafema Camp (Wilderness Safaris) and at Schoemans Camp (Skeleton Coast Safaris) arrive on fly-in safaris. On the river, if you drive down the course of the Marienfluss, there are Camp Syncro for camping and the Okahirongo River Camp for luxury lodging.

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PUROS

It is a special treat to camp under enormous old camelthorn trees at the community campsite on the bank of the Hoarusib. The elephants are used to people, but it is advisable to take notices like the one on the tree seriously. Stay in your vehicle or get into your vehicle when they wander closer and, as the one on the photograph did, pull out the water pipe from the sink. Okahirongo Elephant Lodge blends so well with the landscape and is so unobtrusive that you will be forgiven to assume it is part of the village. The exquisite stone wall at the entrance is a work of art and the selection of African art inside the lodge is beautiful and interesting.

KUNENE RIVER LODGE AND CAMPSITE

To hear the famous Cinderella Waxbill scurrying in the undergrowth causes great excitement and a scurrying of a different kind. Kunene River Lodge was always the place to find these endemic birds before they moved away for some unknown reason. For years they became the elusive must-see bird – that few visitors saw there, except on many faded photographs in the bar. In 2019 they were spotted close to the Ruacana Falls and, to our delight, back at their old roosting place on the riverbank. Few camping sites in Namibia offer the luxury of green lawns, solid shade and a view across water. That special treat is reserved for camping along the rivers on the northern borders.

SESFONTEIN

The name of this village means six fountains, and indeed there are six of them. Ask a local to point them out to you. When you manage to find your way through the myriad of jeeptracks out of the Hoanib River, stay at the Sesfontein Fort, one of the oldest and quite charming facilities in the far northwest. In the blazing summer heat it really is cool inside and the beer is ice-cold. Sesfontein is also the only reliable source of fuel. Just outside the village, on the route south, turn off at the stylishly designed new billboard to the Ongongo campsite at the spring with the same name. The site was recently redeveloped and makes the most of the rather small riverine area between the carved out banks, providing easy access to the spring and a wooden deck to while away a day of rest. Make sure to buy a trinket from the Himba children selling their mother’s fare at roadside stalls.


Breakdown, flat tyre, photo stops and more photo stops. The sun is low and the campsite still a mountain pass and a gravel plain away. One can plan the itinerary, but never quite the time it takes to get there. But, as our Venture motto proclaims – the journey is the destination. When you reach Rooi Drom remember that the best is yet to come: The pristine landscape of the Marienfluss, from where you can reach the Kunene River and actually camp on the riverbank, or down the Hartmann’s Valley where camping close to the river is not possible. From this point heading north, past any one of the three drums – red, green or blue – the landscape is difficult to describe without sounding like a poet who just doesn’t quite get the words right. Even the best camera equipment cannot capture the mood. It is almost a relief to spot a Loneman, because at least then you can focus and shoot and breathe out. Or a white-stemmed row of shepherd’s trees because you know how to frame the scene and not be disappointed later with what you have captured on camera. Feast the eye and feed the soul knowing that it is a privilege to have experienced that magical pristine landscape that will never be more true than the imprint it makes on your conscious mind. Turning south heralds the last stage of the adventure. Characterised by the dry rivers of Kaokoland, with exotic names like Khumib, Hoarusib, Tsuxub, Hoanib, Hunkab, Obob, Uniab, Achab, Khoigab, Huab and then, finally, the Ugab.

Henri Slabbert

If you drive north from Sesfontein, you might just spot the Hanging Loneman. And what a sight.

It is a privilege to drive down a dry riverbed where the absence of visible water does not seem to bother the gemsbok, ostrich, giraffe or elephant moving up and down the river courses, feasting on the leaves and pods of trees and shrubs, seemingly unperturbed by vehicles. It is hard to imagine how deep the roots of the age-old Ana trees must reach to find enough moisture to produce these nutritious pods. The most fascinating quality of all these rivers, apart from the trees that have survived against all odds and the animals, of course, is what you see on the riverbanks. The geological features surrounding each river look different, yet all of them date back to the same geological period millions of years ago. Smooth soft sand, blown against a rocky outcrop, leaving only a crown of black basalt on top. Different layers of rock pushed horizontally to create a dramatic, graphic display. The days slip away too fast and before you know it, the rising sun sets the Brandberg on fire after one last night under the stars. With heavy hearts we start out on the long road back to reality on a wide white gravel road. As we leave Uis, an enormous chestnut tree waves us a final farewell. Like a slideshow the images flash through my mind and all I wish for is that our photographs will be a reminder of the indescribable beauty even though they will never match the reality or capture the atmosphere. TNN

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THERE’S ALWAYS A STORY

IN NEDERBURG Share yours by using the hashtag #NederburgNamibia

Con n ect rol l i ng v i n eya rd s w ith cool , Atl anti c breezes, b re ath takin g mountai n v i ews and the en erg etic buzz of South Afri ca’s m o st c reative c ity. Thi s i s how we bri ng on e of the worl d’s m ost vi brant wi nes to l i fe.

NEDERBURG NAMIBIA

Not for Sale to Persons Under the Age of 18.

Not for Sale to Persons Under the Age of 18.

www.blakadvertising.com www.blakadvertising.com

FROM A PLACE WHERE VITICULTURE AND CITY CULTURE CONNECT


ADVERTORIAL

AN ATMOSPHERE OF HOSPITALITY - THE WINDHOEK COLLECTION

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aya Angelou once said that people will forget what you said, forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. What a wonderful notion, that the atmosphere and vibe we exude creates a lasting impact. This is also the case with places. We associate a feeling much more vividly than any exact detail. It is the character of a place, that certain je ne se quoi, that keeps you coming back time and again. And nowhere in the capital is that more evident than in the quiet neighbourhood of Klein Windhoek where, amidst the soft gurgle of a trickling fountain and the hum of voices, a mood of wonder exists. Where three restaurants, tucked into a beautiful courtyard, amalgamate into a wonderfully rich, engaging and enjoyable atmosphere - home to the capital’s most gratifying dining experiences. Now, adjacent to this epicentre, a new nucleus for the luxury traveller is under construction. Seemingly just down the road, a self-catering haven for visitors to the country’s enigmatic capital awaits. This is the story of The Windhoek Collection.

where the menu celebrates the lighter side of life, with focus placed on all-time favourites such as pizza and burgers. Enter The Stellenbosch Market, home to a quaint café that serves everything from the best coffee, to freshly baked pastries and light lunches. It is also the site of the best wine market in town. Ideally situated in Nelson Mandela Avenue, close to service stations, shops and a multitude of restaurants, Hillside Executive Accommodation self-catering apartments have an open-plan design with modern, stylish finishes, giving guests a feeling of space and comfort - perfect for families and short or long stays. Opening to guests on the 2nd of September 2019, The Windhoek Luxury Suites will be a stunningly appointed luxury establishment catering to tourists and business travellers alike. A mere 50m from The Stellenbosch restaurants, with three different room types, a swimming pool, secure parking and the most ideal location, The Windhoek is the perfect destination for your stay in the city. TNN

The Windhoek Collection comprises Windhoek’s most popular eateries: The Stellenbosch Wine Bar & Bistro, The Stellenbosch Tasting Room and The Stellenbosch Market, as well as the selfcatering Hillside Executive Accommodation apartments and the newest addition to the high-end accommodation market in the capital - The Windhoek Luxury Suites. First came The Stellenbosch Wine Bar & Bistro, with its menu of premier quality meat complemented by the finest wines from Stellenbosch. In Namibia, fine quality meat will always be the star of the show at any dining experience. It made perfect sense then that owners Jean Engelbrecht, Andrè Compion, Leeba Fouché and Michael Smith brought together what they know (and produce) best - the finest Namibian meat paired with the very best wines from Stellenbosch in South Africa. Since opening its doors in 2010, The Stellenbosch Wine Bar has become synonymous with fine-dining. Its opening was soon followed by sister restaurant The Stellenbosch Tasting Room,

THE

WINDHOEK COLLECTION

www.thestellenboschwinebar.com www.tastingroom.com.na www.thewindhoek.com www.hillsidewindhoek.com

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FIVE YEARS OF

RIDE FOR RHINOS Text and Photographs Le Roux van Schalkwyk

The 2019 RMB Ride for Rhinos, which took place in July, marked the fifth year that riders donned their cycling gear and got on their bikes to pedal through the rugged, but scenic terrain of the Palmwag Concession.

W

hile non-cyclists would not necessarily understand the attraction of sitting on a tiny seat and navigating your way over rocky and bumpy jeep and game tracks, there is a definite allure to it for those in love with the sport. The experience of noiselessly riding through the extraordinary landscapes of Damaraland with springbok, gemsbok and giraffe lazily watching you as you cruise past is priceless. The highlight of any day is a rhino sighting, which cyclists were lucky enough to have on consecutive days. The main aim of Ride for Rhinos is to raise money in support of Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), a non-profit organisation that carries the burden of policing an area of more than a million hectares, with few fences and no national park status. All this in the name of keeping the last free-roaming population of black rhinos in the world safe. As the fight against rhino poachers is far from won, there is no time for complacency and that is why SRT is intensifying its efforts in the face of this very real threat.

Twenty cyclists, four days, one monumental experience.

As in the previous years, participants in Ride for Rhinos get the opportunity to interact with SRT rhino rangers during afternoon game drives and around the campfire at night. This serves as a fantastic way to learn more about the important work that these passionate people do on a daily basis.


The first night saw everyone gather at Wêreldsend on the south side of the Palmwag concession where the final brief was given for the next couple of days’ cycling. The next two nights were spent camping under some pretty mopane trees in the concession area, each day starting with an early morning ride, followed by an afternoon game drive. The last leg of the route took riders to Wilderness Safaris’ Desert Rhino Camp where they rested their weary bodies in the lap of luxury. The RMB Ride for Rhinos, founded and organised by Venture Media, is a very special event in the sense that it does not rely on donations from foreigners, but is a Namibian initiative supported by Namibians - the actual custodians of the black rhino. TNN

From left: Uwe, Danie, Jurgen, Brian, Santie, Daneel, Elfrieda, Sandra, Axel, Johan, Mark, Sheenagh, Owen, Conrad, Greg, Martin, Luanne, Jeanne, Aletti, Lesley, Beaulah, Britta and Kym.

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ADVERTORIAL

WHY SHOPPING ONLINE WITH CYMOT IS SIMPLE, SAFE AND SECURE

Y

ou might be surprised to learn that online shopping is available in Namibia. In fact, here is the oh-so-delicious news, and that is that CYMOT has an absolutely great online store and delivery is free for purchases over N$ 1000. In Namibia. Planning to take yourself off to sit on the banks of the Kunene River, you might suddenly realise you lack an essential piece of camping equipment. There’s no time like the present. Pop onto the CYMOT online store and get what you need, right there and then. It doesn’t matter where you are, or even what time of the day, with online shopping you can make your purchase quickly and easily. There’s nothing like hovering your mouse over an item, that item, the one that caught your eye, and… click! Now it's a matter of taking out a debit or credit card and completing the payment. Then, just when you have gone on with your day - the doorbell rings and your package sits on your doorstep. It’s like gifting yourself with what you’ve always wanted, in the most awesome way possible. From fishing, camping and automotive equipment to tools and protective gear, it’s all there, right on the CYMOT online store. Forget standing in queues or even getting out of bed - the CYMOT online store lets you get what you want from the comfort of your home, or wherever you are. Not bad. TNN Tel: +264 61 295 6000 Email: info@cymot.com Web: www.cymot.com

Congratulations CYMOT on developing a worldclass online shopping experience. User-friendly, fast, efficient, safe and ultimately secure! A first for Namibia! I wish all our procurement could be done this way and delivered to our doorstep! - Tristan Cowley, Managing Director, Ultimate Safaris

Ordering gear from CYMOT was just like any other online experience. Making the selection from North America and having it delivered to an address in Windhoek was straight-forward and secure. Cheers to CYMOT. - Phil Collyer, Phil Collyer Photography

Ordered camping gear on the CYMOT online store last night at 20:00. NamPost Namibia courier delivered to my office at 11:30. My first of many online purchases from CYMOT - it’s just so easy and very secure! - Stefan Hugo, CEO, Tribefire Studios

Your Turn: CYMOT is giving TNN readers 25% off their Kudu bow tents when you buy it online*. Simply use the code 9119010460 during checkout and get 25% off the price. Visit cymot.com and start shopping. *Discount valid throughout September 2019. www.cymot.com

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Rock Arch Namib-Naukluft Park 10mm, ISO 400, f/3.5, 320 sec, composite


Photography Feature:

Laurent Hesemans Laurent Hesemans is a Namibian f ilmmaker and photographer based in Windhoek. With a love for nature stemming from his childhood growing up near Sossusvlei, Laurent is passionate about exploring Namibia through his camera. He studied animation, editing and visual effects at AFDA f ilm school in South Africa, and, together with his wife Liberty and friend Renier de Bruyn, runs Endemic Productions, a Namibian production company.


Western honey bee (Apis Mellifera) Remhoogte Pass 105mm+Raynox 250, ISO 500, f/6, 1/800 sec

Palystella Sexmaculata Sossusvlei 105mm+Raynox 250, ISO 2000, f/6, 1/250 sec


PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURE

Crab spider with prey (Genus Thomisius) Aurora Western Cape 105mm ISO 200 F3.2 1/160 sec

The Namib seems so empty, but when you look closer there’s so much life.


BELOW

Robust burrowing scorpion (Opistophthalmus Carinatus) Namib-Naukluft Park 105mm+Raynox 250, ISO 2000, f/8, 1/200 sec

ABOVE

Namib sand gecko (Pachydactylus Rangei) Sossusvlei 105mm+Raynox 250, ISO 1600, f/6, 1/320 sec

Namib sand snake (Psammophis Namibiensis) Sossusvlei 105mm, ISO 200, f/4, 1/640 sec

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PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURE

Horned adder (Bitis Caudalis), Sossusvlei 105mm, ISO 200, f/4.5, 1/250 sec

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER

“G

rowing up in the desert I had a love for insects and reptiles and nature in general very early on, and as soon as photography became affordable for me, I became passionate about uniting those two worlds. One of my favourite aspects of photography is being able to reveal things that are hidden - and macro is an incredible way to get a closer look at the world around us. I started out with a Nikon D100 which I received secondhand from my mother. These days, I use a Nikon D5300 and sometimes a Sony A7sii. For my macro work, I mostly use a 105mm macro lens with a diopter lens attached. Sometimes, to get a little bit closer to my subjects, I will also use reversed stacked lenses - mostly a 400mm with a reverse 20mm

attached. Whenever I can I use a micrometric sliding plate to get good focus stacks. For astrophotography, I use a sky tracker to achieve better results. What I love about macro stacking techniques is the technical aspect of it: mastering difficult and new techniques, and constantly trying to improve on them. Focus stacking is unique because you’re not just aiming for a perfect shot, you also need a sequence of well-lit and well-composed images with which to create your final shot - so all of them have to be almost identical, moving closer to your subject in increments of a fraction of a millimetre. It is also challenging because much of what I photograph is in the wild, and getting my subjects to remain motionless is almost impossible! The Namib seems so empty, but when you look closer - there’s so much life. My perfect day is walking around the dunes and plains around Sossusvlei, finding tiny creatures in the vast desert.” TNN

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IT’S TIME FOR THE PERFECT BEER

OUR PERFECT BEER IS AVAILABLE IN 16 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT NBLEXPORT@OL.NA

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DESERT AIR Africa S afaris A Truly Exceptional Experience

Untamed wildlife, endless sunshine, vast landscapes and diverse cultures... A lion’s mighty roar heard from a campsite or five-star lodge. The beauty of the bush and the excitement of a safari - a holiday in Namibia is an unforgettable experience. At the heart of every great journey are your preferences and needs. Whether you are an adventurer, wanderer, sun-seeker, an experienced explorer, solo traveller, honeymooners, a family with kids, or a group of friends, Desert Air Africa Safaris will create and craft an itinerary that is perfectly suited to what you want. Desert Air Africa Safaris is passionate about sharing the ultimate African safari. After more than two decades in the aviation and tourism sector, Desert Air cemented its reputation as a company that values the client experience above all else. The company was built from the ground up by Thys Rall, providing convenient and comfortable chartered flights throughout Namibia. From its humble beginnings, today the company is genuinely family-run, passing on the experience and passion for the industry for generations. Following in her father’s footsteps, Carien Swanepoel, née Rall has taken up the reins as the company’s Head of Safaris and Marketing. Her goal, she says, is to make sure that every visitor to Namibia has an experience that is unique to them. “We make sure that a trip to Namibia is a trip of a lifetime.” Carien and her team will see to it that your safari in Namibia is a perfect fit. With Desert Air Africa Safaris, you will walk in a client and walk out a friend. TNN

T: +264 61 228 101

T: +264 61 223 699 /+264 81 472 3070

E: info@desertair.com.na

E: safaris@desertair.com.na

www.desertair.com.na

www.desertairsafaris.com


Red wine going through a second fermentation in vats in which tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softer tasting lactic acid. This process is known as malolactic fermentation.

The World’s Most Epic

Wine Route

Of all the top things Namibia is known for, wine is not really on the list. It’s time that we introduced you to the establishments on Namibia’s very own wine route and, of course, the wines they produce. Travel News Namibia's own wine expert/ connoisseur, Le Roux van Schalkwyk, explores... WELL, THAT’S A BOLD STATEMENT

Let’s get some things out of the way first. As for being the longest wine route in the world, our route falls 100 km short. Route 62 in South Africa claims to be the longest as it takes you from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth covering a distance of 850 km, while our route comes in at just over 750 km. We lost the title of having the world’s most arid vineyard to a vineyard on the edge of the Atacama Desert, which is the driest nonpolar place on Earth. Our wine route, however, is surely the prettiest in the world, though no doubt there will be those who argue that nothing beats green landscapes with rolling vineyards (as Namibians we know better). So, which name to give to a wine route that includes stunning landscapes, friendly people, national parks and quaint little towns along the way? It certainly makes for a road trip of legendary proportions that can best be described as epic. The first thing to remember is that the route featured here is simply the shortest, but by no means does it have to be followed as is. There is so much on offer on either side of the road that taking detours is highly recommended. And remember, this is not a race. Take your time, there is lots to see and lots to appreciate along the way.

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ATTRACTIONS IN THE AREA • • •

Visit the natural mountain springs of Namib-Naukluft National Park. See the world-famous Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon. Go further south to NamibRand and get lost in the expanse of the largest private nature reserve in southern Africa. Head north to Namib-Naukluft National Park and experience the oldest desert in the world.

NEURAS WINE & WILDLIFE ESTATE Starting off with the oldest vines, Neuras is situated in the foothills of the Naukluft Mountains and is known as the vineyard with the second-driest terroir in the world. The name Neuras originates from the local Koikoi language, meaning "place of abandoned water" in reference to the five springs that rise along a geological fault line. During Namibia’s German colonial era a farmer by the name of Ernst Hermann started growing vegetables and cereals at Neuras in 1894 to feed the Schutztruppe (colonial troops) that patrolled the district. He also planted some table grapes. More than a century later these same table grapevines are still producing fruit and inspired Allan Walkden-Davis, the predecessor of the current owner, to plant a vineyard and produce an arid terroir wine. Walkden-Davis and his wife Sylvia planted Shiraz, Merlot and Petit Verdot in 1998 and bottled the first Neuras wines in 2001. In 2012 Neuras was bought by its current owners, N/a'an ku sê, who have since increased the original 1.2 hectares of vines to just under 4 hectares. N/a'an ku sê has also expanded to combine their ecotourism brand with wine-making and wildlife conservation. The Neuras range consists of three red wines: Neuras Shiraz, the Neuras Triple Cultivar Blend (Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Grenache) and the Neuras Triple Clone Shiraz (three different clones of Shiraz grown in the same block). At around 5000 bottles per year this is no commercial winery, but like the other wineries in Namibia, that is what makes it special. It is interesting to note that the country’s first rum and brandy were distilled at Neuras. Apart from lovely accommodation on the farm, Neuras is also home to seven cheetahs brought there as a result of human-wildlife conflict. Guests can view the feeding of these cats and learn more about the conservation efforts of N/a'an ku sê.

ERONGO MOUNTAIN WINERY The latest Namibian winery and also the largest, Erongo Mountain Winery was started by Wolfgang and Esther Koll. Its first vintage was produced in 2014. The 9-hectare piece of land originally had an olive grove of about 3500 trees, but due to extremely cold temperatures one winter’s night, most of the plants died. It was then decided to plant a vineyard and start a winery instead. The winery boasts four red blends, three white wines as well as a fruit-flavoured sparkling wine made from the indigenous maguni fruit harvested in the Kavango Region. Situated on the northern bank of the Omaruru River just west of the town, the picturesque tasting room and restaurant overlook the small vineyard. As the only winery with its own small bottling plant and labelling machinery, one could call it the most commercial winery in Namibia. Make sure to stay for lunch after a tasting. The German-French cuisine with Mediterranean influences, local specialties and rarities prepared by Michelin-star chef Frederic Lutz is the perfect accompaniment to their range of wines.


ATTRACTIONS IN THE AREA: • • • • •

KRISTALL KELLEREI Guarded by ancient camelthorn trees, Kristall Kellerei and its vineyards are situated two kilometres east of Omaruru on the southern bank of the Omaruru River. Here it is a common sight to see camelthorn pods scattered among grapevines. Kristall Kellerei started in 1990 when wine-lover Helmut Kluge planted the first vines on land chosen for water availability and a general lack of frost. The first vintage year was 1996 and made him the first winemaker in Namibia after Windhoek’s Catholic mission station (see box on right). Early in 2008 another wine-lover, Michael Weder, bought Kristall Kellerei from Kluge and added Malbec, Mourvèdre, Shiraz and Barbera to the existing varieties of Colombard and Tinta Barocca. Apart from the Sunbird Late Harvest Colombard, Rüppels Parrot Colombard and the Paradise Flycatcher red blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Ruby Cabernet, Tinta Barroca) guests can also taste the impressive range of spirits produced at the Naute Kristall Distillery 550 km south of Windhoek, close to Keetmanshoop where Weder now resides.

Camelthorn trees overlooking the grapevines at Kristall Kellerei

Climb to the top of scenic Spitzkoppe. Visit the historic town of Swakopmund. Spot wildlife at Erindi Private Game Reserve. Learn more about big cat conservation at Okonjima Nature Reserve. Discover the wonders of Waterberg National Park.

DID YOU KNOW? Although Kristall Kellerei does not hold the record for the first wine produced in Namibia, it does lay claim to being the first winery. The first wine was made in the 1890s at the Catholic mission station in today’s suburb of Klein Windhoek. Wine was made for administering during communion, as the costs of imports from the Cape Colony or Europe were too extravagant.


LEFT

Delicious home-made snacks complement the wine tasting.

WHAT IS TERROIR?

THONNINGII WINE CELLAR Nestled in the heart of the gorgeous Otavi Mountain Valley, Thonningii Wine Cellar with its rustic stone cellar imparts the feeling of visiting old family friends on their farm. The founder of Thonningii, Dr Bertus Boshoff, a medical doctor by profession, planted the first vines on his plot in 1991. Although the first vintage was only produced in 2005, there had been a lot of experimentation to find out which cultivars were best adapted to the terroir of the valley. Luckily for Dr Boshoff, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree as his son Gilmar studied viticulture and oenology, and after a few years of gaining experience in the industry in South Africa returned to become winemaker at Thonningii. Today the farm consists of 5.5 hectares of Shiraz, Tinta Barocca, Barbera, Viognier, Colombard and Verdelho vines, from which some delightfully elegant wines are produced. As with the other wineries, production is on a small scale, at around 7000 bottles per year, which comprise a white and a red blend, a Shiraz rosé, Shiraz, Tinta Barocca, Barbera and even a Grappa. Have a snack platter with your wine tasting. They are heaven for any foodie, stacked with farm-produced treats prepared by Gilmar’s mother Ebbie. For those who wish to stay for the night, Otavi Vineyards Self-Catering and Camping run by Gilmar and his wife Tamara offers rustic cottages and campsites overlooking the picturesque vineyard. TNN

ATTRACTIONS IN THE AREA: • •

A short drive north will take you to world-famous Etosha National Park. Head northeast to discover the wild beauty of the Kavango and Zambezi regions.

One of those words that put blank expressions on people’s faces when used in wine-talk, but seldom anyone asks what it means. Terroir is the French word to describe all of the environmental factors that can influence the distinctive character of wine grapes and therefore the wine made from them. The factors include soil type, climate, geomorphology and even organisms growing in, on, and around the vine blocks.

Otavi Outjo

B1

B8 Thonningii Wine Cellar

Otjiwarongo

C33 Erongo Mountain Winery

Kristallkeller Winery B1

C33 Karibib

Okahandja

C32

Windhoek

D1985 C28 D1982 D1998 M36 C14 C14 Solitaire

B1

C19

Neuras Wine & Wildlife Estate D850 D854 Maltahöhe

Otavi Vineyards SelfCatering and Camping is a great overnight option at Thonningii.


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IN NEDERBURG Share yours with us by using #NederburgNamibia

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Not for Sale to Persons Under the Age of 18.


ADVERTORIAL

GOING SOUTH FOR A

Weekend Getaway S

poilt for choice when choosing a destination for a quick escape from the rat race, we often forget that Namibia Wildlife Resorts has excellent options less than three hours from Windhoek. For a weekend excursion or even something a little longer, consider a trip south with this itinerary: On your first day, head south from the capital for 250 km on the B1 until you reach the Hardap Resort, set on the banks of Hardap Dam and overlooking the large body of water. The dam is an important source of water for the area and for the green scheme that grows crops under irrigation. Although building this dam was first envisaged as early as 1897 by the German colonial government, construction only started in 1960. Since its completion in 1963, Hardap Dam has been a popular destination for locals. Apart from offering some excellent fishing as well as game viewing in Hardap National Park, the resort is also an ideal stopover when going further south. The restaurant overlooking the dam is great for sundowners, and the meals and the friendly staff make it a real treat when staying for the night.

From here, swing onto the C19 towards the small town of Maltahöhe, from where you turn onto the C14 or Walvis Bay road. 100 km further on, just before Büllsport, take the D854 on your left and after a short 20 km drive, you will arrive at the gate of NamibNaukluft National Park. The park was originally established in the late 1960s as a sanctuary for the endemic Hartmann's mountain zebras and now forms the Naukluft section of Namib-Naukluft National Park. NWR’s Naukluft Camp is an excellent place to relax in a little slice of Eden set against the stark arid desert surrounding it, or for hiking enthusiasts who’d like to explore the Naukluft Mountains.

Hardap

Perhaps better known for its campsites set under shady false ebony and sweet thorn trees on the banks of the Naukluft River, the camp was revamped five years ago and six chalets were added for visitors not so keen on camping. The comfortable and stylish chalets are found at the start of Waterkloof, a large ravine which is a paradise of crystal-clear pools of spring water that lazily tumble over moss-covered rocks. Sustained by the plentiful water, massive trees fill the ravine and provide a sanctuary for birds, small mammals and insects.

The Waterkloof rock pools are a short hike away from the chalets, but for longer hikes, there are four different trails to choose from. The Olive Trail starts near the camp’s reception and bar and at 10 km is the shortest hiking trail. It is named after the population of wild olive trees that grow along the trail. The Waterkloof trail takes you upstream along the Naukluft River. At the halfway mark the trail turns up towards the mountains and reaches its highest point at 1910 metres, with epic views of the surroundings, before slowly taking you back to the Naukluft River and the camp. The whole trail is 17 km long and takes about eight hours to complete.

Naukluft Camp

Waterkloof Rock Pools

For those who enjoy more of a challenge, there is also an eight-day, 120 km hike with seven overnight stops. Every overnight stop is equipped with water and a structure for sleeping. This trail is gaining in popularity due to how tough it is and the beautiful scenery along the way. Booking is essential, however, and be sure to plan your trip well in advance. Next time you need some time outside the big city, remember that you don’t need to travel far to find yourself in some of Namibia's best spots.

Tel: +264 61 285 7200 www.nwr.com.na

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A Holistic Approach

to Sustainable Tourism

Text and Photographs Le Roux van Schalkwyk

Meeting new people and unfamiliar destinations are some of the reasons why we travel. This again rang true when I visited Nambwa Tented Lodge and meant so much more than I could have imagined.

A

frican Monarch Lodges with its portfolio of Nambwa Tented Lodge and Kazile Island Lodge recently launched The Sijwa Project. This inspiring initiative aims to create a closed system in which not only the environment surrounding the lodges is protected, but the local community is also included in skill-sharing and empowerment – but more on that later. Taking my seat on the aeroplane, a familiar face is seated next to me. Although we’ve never met, Michelle McLean is instantly recognisable. Coincidently she is also on her way to Nambwa, and her reason for visiting is similar to mine: to learn more about the inspirational The Sijwa Project. It is Michelle’s first visit to the Zambezi Region since 1992, shortly after she was crowned Miss Universe. She is in the country for the Miss Namibia 2019 pageant, but as an ambassador for solar energy and education she’d heard about The Sijwa Project and wanted to learn more about it. The Sijwa Project has a broad vision of empowering the local community by creating jobs, preserving traditional knowledge, teaching skills and conserving the surrounding environment through a variety of proposed activities. With the highest rate of unemployment in Namibia found in the Zambezi Region, and the inability of those in power to prevent the destruction of our resources in this part of the country, the owners of African Monarch Lodges, Dusty and Tinolla Rodgers, have carefully structured a project that will address these problems through a holistic approach.

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This bold project will be multi-faceted and in the end selfsufficient. A sustainable approach has been chosen by African Monarch Lodges which runs throughout, from the newly installed solar plants at each lodge to initiatives empowering the staff and their families. African Monarch Lodges’ plans include setting up a cultural centre where the community can show their traditions to visitors and acquire or develop artisan skills, plus setting up a glass and aluminum recycling plant to turn every waste matter into a sell-able commodity and eventually building a pre-primary school. All the various elements of the project will be interconnected. While at Sijwa I was able to see the first wall being built with eco-bricks by lodge staff and some members of the community. By stuffing used plastic bottles full of waste and sand, sturdy bricks are made. Combined with the traditional knowledge of using clay from termite mounds as mortar, walls are built. The hope is that by adding value to used plastic bottles and other discarded plastics, the community will start using the same techniques to build their homes instead of using wood. A greenhouse is also part of the newly built structures at Sijwa. It will form the centre of a permaculture garden that will provide the two lodges and the surrounding community with delicious fresh vegetables. The dedicated “worm chefs” at both Nambwa and Kazile play an important part in this process. These chefs’ duties, apart from cooking, include making sure that all suitable food waste goes into their worm farm and to keep the worms


ADVERTORIAL happy and thriving. The compost generated by the worms is then used for growing crops. Dusty and Tinolla’s commitment to The Sijwa Project is so strong that when they got married at the lodges earlier this year, they took an unorthodox approach to wedding gifts. Instead of gifts, they asked guests to rather donate money to the project. The donations were enough to set the project in motion and are the reason that I have the privilege to be here. Being able to engage guests who are passionate about sustainable tourism is only part of the experience when visiting African Monarch Lodges. Experiences surrounding your stay at these establishments in the heart of Bwabwata National Park are what make it special. The measure of detail put into every meal, every activity as well as the delightfully luxurious rooms is a testament to this.

Nambwa is set in paradise and every moment spent there is special: from arriving by boat, navigating the channels of the Kwando with hippos or crocodiles around almost every turn, to the wildlife that thrives on and around the lodge’s grounds. The region is known for its rich and diverse birdlife and excellent sightings are guaranteed by just sitting on the deck in front of your tented accommodation. But it’s not only the small creatures that frequent the lodge. Elephants enter at night to feed on the pods of the camelthorn trees and the fruits of the marula trees. You will also realise that the wooden walkways were built so high because elephants don’t like bumping their heads when passing through. TNN

Striving to make your overall experience even better, a permanent yoga instructor is now available at Nambwa. Guests can join yoga sessions in the extraordinary setting of Bwabwata, in full view of its local inhabitants of hippos, elephants and buffalo. Yoga retreats are offered on a regular basis, giving guests the opportunity to concentrate on yoga while in the lap of luxury and in the serene surroundings of the park.

Tel: +264 81 125 2122 Email: reservations@africanmonarchlodges.com Web: www.africanmonarchlodges.com

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Nambwa Tented Lodge is a now run on solar power. Guide Eustace Libulelo shares his traditional knowledge with Michelle McLean. Used plastic bottles being filled to be used at The Sijwa Project. Building the first wall using eco bricks at Sijwa. Eva Eichorn is the resident yoga instructor at Nambwa Tented Lodge.


The Oshituthi shomagongo a celebration of the marula tree in Aawambo culture

Text and Photographs Willie Olivier

With its rounded crown the Omugongo, or marula tree, is the most conspicuous tree at homesteads and in fields in Owamboland. Celebrated in praise songs and poems, it is by far the most important fruit tree in the area and is even protected by customary law. Its pivotal role was recognised when the Oshituthi shomagongo (Marula Fruit Festival) was inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2015.

N

o other tree plays as important a role in the social and economic life of the Aawambo. What makes the marula tree truly remarkable and unique, though, is that virtually every part of it can be used.

FROM FRUIT TO JUICE TO DRINKS

The ripe fruit has a sweet-sour taste and can be eaten fresh or made into jams and jellies. But it is especially known for its use in producing omagongo, a refreshing wine made from the fermented juice of the marula. The plum-sized fruits are usually produced from late January to April or May. When still green they drop to the ground and are left to ripen for two to four days. Women and young girls from the surrounding homesteads are invited to collect the fruit in piles under each tree and to sort them according to quality. Each tree’s fruits have a distinctive taste and are not usually mixed, except during years of poor harvest. The extraction of the juice takes place in the morning and is a social event for the women. Singing, telling jokes and catching up on gossip, this tradition is an important occasion for them to teach the production process to the next generation.

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The women use the sharp edge of a cow’s horn to pierce the fruit’s leathery skin and then twist around the nut. The juice is squeezed by hand into a clay pot, which is then covered with a cloth and stored in a cool, dry place to ferment for up to four days. The fermentation of the sweet fruit, however, takes longer. The alcohol content is usually between 4% and 4.5%. And of course, the ‘owner’ of the tree from which the fruits came will be compensated with some of the juice produced. Omagongo is brewed by most families and the first brew was traditionally presented to the king or chief first. It is served to visitors and friends, and at weddings and other special occasions. Stored under the right conditions the omagongo can still be enjoyed after nearly a year. For the teetotalers there is a marula juice alternative. When water is added to the squeezed fruit and left overnight, it produces a refreshing beverage called oshinwa, which is enjoyed by children and women.

NUTS, OILS, SKINS AND SHELLS

Rich in protein, with an oil content of 46% and tasting like walnuts, the kernels of the marula nut are eaten raw, roasted,


or pounded in a mortar to extract the oil. The highly prized oil is presented to visitors as a gift. It is used during weddings, celebrations and feasts, and as body oil by women. It is served with various dishes or used in the preparation of food. The eedi (oil cake) that is left is also added to food or eaten as a snack. It is an important food supplement for elderly people who can no longer cultivate large omahangu fields. The nuts are dried in the sun, then stored and processed after the main harvest. They are opened by holding them on an upturned axe blade and striking them with a wooden stick. Two or three kernels are extracted with a needle or a flattened nail. With their rough surface the shells of the nuts are used as a substitute for sandpaper, and as the moving pieces (“cattle”) in the popular Owambo game owela. They are also used as a substitute for firewood. During the process of extracting the marula fruit’s juice, its skins are set aside in separate piles to be used later as a supplement for livestock feed, especially in times of drought, and as a fertiliser for the crop fields. Then there are the leaves and branches of the tree, which are chewed as a remedy for coughs, or brewed to make a tea. Ceremonies at the start of the marula season were traditionally celebrated separately by the eight Aawambo communities until 2001, when the first combined ceremony was held in Ongandjera. The two-day ceremony is a celebration of the cultural heritage of the Aawambo. It preserves century-old traditions and indigenous knowledge, and unites the eight Aawambo communities. The program includes cultural performances as well as the narration of stories around the fire about the festival’s history and the history of the hosting community. TNN The 2019 Oshituthi shomagongo was hosted by the Ongandjera traditional authority. The next festival is in 2020 and will be celebrated in Omabalantu.

A clay pot filled with omagongo, alongside the traditional cup used to drink it. Omagongo is the fermented beverage made from the marula tree’s fruit.

BELOW:

The author enjoying omagongo with Tate John Nekwaya in the latter’s olupale (reception area).


This can be your

Naturally Namibia story

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O

n Monday, 24 June 2019, a new era in Namibian aviation took flight with Westair Aviation’s first scheduled passenger flight.

Its accreditation of Designated Carrier status by the Namibian Transport Commission has made Westair Aviation an official scheduled passenger airline, with flights to various destinations in the country and the sub-region, under the brand name FlyWestair. FlyWestair currently has two operational routes, including Windhoek Eros Airport to Oranjemund, three times a week, and Windhoek Eros Airport to Ondangwa four times a week, twice daily. FlyWestair will soon add more routes to other destinations in Namibia and the sub-region, including Cape Town (serviced from Oranjemund and Windhoek), Walvis Bay, and Johannesburg.

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100% Namibian owned, Westair Aviation has earned the highest accolades in the industry. It is a Flight Safety Foundation, BARS (Basic Aviation Risks Standard) approved service provider. This is a safety standard that was developed by the Flight Safety Foundation to create the benchmark for air operators. It’s aligned explicitly to the needs of blue-chip organisations such as mining companies, oil and gas companies, big government agencies, and practically all travellers concerned with the status and safety of an air carrier. Westair Aviation currently holds BARS “Gold” status, which means that the company has had this accreditation for longer than three consecutive years. This is one of the highest safety accreditations in the industry. Flights with FlyWestair can be booked through all major travel agencies or via www.flywestair.com.

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S’more

n. A s’more is a popular campfire treat, consisting of a marshmallow and a piece of chocolate generally placed between two Marie biscuits.

by Annelien Robberts

Nature lovers

are not always disguised as campers. Whether you are a camper, a glamper, a hotel- or a lodge-hopper, chances are you’re a nature lover to some extent if you’re travelling around Namibia. Since 2019, travellers can delight in a pocket-friendly, stress-free rendezvous with nature. Gondwana Collection Namibia has recently introduced Camping2Go in three different locations in the country, with more sites to be rolled out soon. This means more spontaneous camping trips without the hassle of packing your vehicle until the rear-view mirror becomes the white elephant in your car. (We prefer elephants in the wild.) More campfires and campfire stories. More marshmallow roasting and s’mores. More nights spent under the stars. More immersions in nature. More quality time with loved ones. And as a consequence, fewer drained, agitated, over-modernised people. Camping2Go is an affordable accommodation option at three of Gondwana’s lodges: Namib Desert Camping2Go, Etosha Safari Camping2Go and Kalahari Anib Camping2Go.

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Each of the permanent tents has four beds and a huge en-suite bathroom with a shower. With the fully kitted out kitchen that includes a fridge, stove, sink and all the necessary cooking utensils and cutlery on the outside terrace, you only need to pack your clothes and food. If you like s’mores and camping, you will agree that you absolutely need (s’)more nights around the campfire. Discover the accommodation options in this article, as well as some mind-boggling fun facts that will add extra flavour to your campfire stories. All Camping2Go guests can make use of lodge facilities, as well as book activities on offer at the different lodges.


Change numbers! There are two number 3s and it goes until 4. (My mistake, sorry!)

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KALAHARI ANIB Four permanent tents await among the red dunes near Kalahari Anib Lodge, which lies 30 kilometres from Mariental and is accessible by sedan car. Travellers love to combine their trip to the Kalahari with a trip to the Fish River Canyon.

Fun Facts

to share aroun

d the c ampfi

re: 1. The Kalaha ri Desert is ge nerally known semi-desert, be as a cause contrary to other desert it receives som s, e rainfall and is home to va plant and anim rious al species. Ho w ev loose sandy so er, due to the il, the rain pass es straight thro the surface an ugh d accumulates underground. 2. It is the sixth largest desert on earth and the se largest in Afric cond a after the Saha ra. 3. The desert stretches over more than 90 square kilomet 0,000 res, covering Bo tswana, Namib and South Afric ia a 4. Many trave llers visiting th e Kalahari in Na combine their mibia trip with a visit to the Fish Rive Canyon in the r deep south. It is the largest ca in Africa and th nyon e second large st in the world the Grand Cany after on. 5. The charac teristic red colo ur of the Kalah is caused by iro ari dunes n oxide. Next time you are th why not put it ere, to the test with a piece of pape a magnet? r and

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA SPRING 2019

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NAMIB DESERT

After spending an unforgettable day in the desert enjoying the remarkable sights of Sossusvlei and the Sesriem Canyon, it is time to unwind. A total of eight permanent tents, only a stone’s throw away from the Namib Desert Lodge, have been set up at the foot of the fascinating fossilised dunes.

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Fun Fa c to sha

ts

re arou 1. Fos nd the silised d c ampfi These fo unes are in fa rmer d re: unes w ct dunes-turn Gondw ere alre e an ady pre d-into-stone. sand co a Namib Park sent in about 2 m th 0 millio phases pacted into s n years e now andsto 16 to 8 ago. Th n m e il d li u o e ring mo n years 2. How ago. re hum ever, id today ’s desert conditi on N Therefo amib Desert, s prevailed in many p even d re, exp ur ar e desert on earth rts regard th ing ‘humid’ p ts of e Nam e . 3. The ib as th riods. Namib e oldes S t a n d coverin g 899,5 Sea, a UNESC 0 O 0 w h e o ctares, 4. The was for rld heritage s sand is it med m erosion Mount uch late e, a l de ain r. the Gar s. It was wash bris from the iep Draken ed into s the Atl and alo /Orange River antic O berg ng the a n d d epos cean by wes erly win ds carr tern coastline ited on the se ied the a floor . Consta million san so nt dunes. f years swept d into the inte south-westit into h r uge fie ior and over 5. The lds of s and an most in d triguin fragme g fossil nt s o f s disco large e as we k ve re d g gsh no h e re a variatio w them. The ells similar to re re are ns that several ostrich eggs differ in in the outer t exture, thickness and t h at t h which er sug g ostrich e were diffe -like bir rent ty ests ds. pes of


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ETOSHA nhFarae cartosund the campfire: rk Fu to s nal Pa

a Natio declared uare Park was e 22,270 sq f m o a G a a re a n a cies, e g n 1. Etosh sp nd coveri mammal in 1907 a ibian e to 114 h m p o h am 6 is 1 s, it species, le ti p kilometre re 0 1 ecies, 1 340 bird sp sh species. ce even one fi d an s e in referen speci e Place” it h of W % 5 t 2 a re ut means “G vering abo 2. Etosha ssive mineral pan co to the ma ed that form the park. hari Basin e la a th K y b e d th fe f Originally n is part o . a o p g s a e ar h rs T a ye f ye 3. ousands o 00 million ried up th around 10 d ke la . e d ange er, th Kunene Riv course of the river ch and the n e h w o as raided ag a village w , an, d m n o e g w le e g to San killed. On in re rd e o w cc her n A l e ti om 4. , cried un but the w d her family f an o everyone p h u at d e e d ri at the The lake d . ke la distraught ve ed a massi tears form ite pan. a huge wh d in h left be – aterholes over 40 w s a at h rs rk a lle e p t trav 5. The tes amongs hich favourite si some of w s, al im an t o sp to h ic wh ve. ise be elusi can otherw

Enjoy an adventurous trip to world-renowned Etosha National Park and stay in one of the eight tents near the Etosha Safari Lodge. Drop in to the Oshebeena Bar at the Etosha Safari Camp for live African music performed by the Etosha Boys or stop at the Okambashu Restaurant for a delicious dinner.

Campfires are synonymous

with the Namibian way of life. Gather your friends for a camping weekend and head to one of the above-mentioned sites. Admire the night sky far from light-polluted urban areas. Tap along to the natural beats and rhythms of nature. Summer is fast approaching, which means we will soon be spending more time outside. Cosy up around the campfire after an adventure-filled day, s’more in one hand and an ice-cold drink in the other. www.gondwana-collection.com

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Getting to grips with

LBJs Text and Photographs Pompie Burger

To explain something that you yourself do not understand can be extremely heart-warming. It can become so warm that even cold hard facts cannot put the matter to rest. I have been trying to sort out larks, as in identify, classify and file in the correct folder, for many years. My initial thought was to wait a bit until I was able to identify and list all the easy ones, putting all the LBJs (Little Brown Jobs for all the non-birders) on a sort of waiting-list. After many years I came to the conclusion that before I want to get to grips with larks, I first had to differentiate between larks and pipits, maybe even the odd scrub robin. I have been busy with this process into the small hours of the morning for more than ten years and have come to the conclusion that to master the art of this very intricate process I need to buy some more books. 68

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The music is all around you, all you need to do is listen - August Rush

Dune Lark - Namibia's only true endemic bird seen at Wolwedans.

I

started with bird books, but later I realised an anatomy book will also come in handy. Much later I came to the realisation that sounds/music/calls/whistles/singing are indispensable, so CDs were next on my shopping list. It does not make them more attractive when Roberts, the father of birds in southern Africa, describes these birds as drab, but remember, “We are ugly, but we have got the music” (Leonard Cohen). Without going into the gory details as far as books are concerned, I have gone through a stack of bird books (LBJs made simple, Look-alike birds, Chamberlain’s

LBJs, "LBJs for the stupid", etc), bought, begged, stole and borrowed (to be returned as soon as I am able to sort out the lark/pipit saga). To “complify” the problem, the habitat where you find the birds will also affect the identification, for which you also will need a few more books (atlases). I started off with the listening (CD) part. Apparently this is the most important part of lark identification. Listening to music is a very relaxing and satisfying activity because you can study the calls/music much better, lying down, eyes closed.

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Not trying to sound too much like Herman Charles Bosman, every time I start the process I fall asleep. At the same time, the series of dreams that follow is so exciting that I end up listening to the same call over and over, pretty much as in the Jan Spies story of Psalm 119. Unfortunately, at some point, I had to start with the larks, but the less said about them, the better, so try to enjoy the scenery and ignore the facts. Step one is trying to separate larks from pipits. To do this, there are a few critical "look for" points. To make everything even more complicated (Thesaurus does not know the word complify, how stupid) is the fact that pipits and larks are the largest groups of birds, so LBJ ID is challenging. They are not closely related to each other. One third (45) of the world’s population occur in southern Africa, 23/31 lark species and 6/14 pipit species. The good news is that Namibia has a lot of these, so no better place to start this very exciting search for knowledge to identify the world of drabs. Once you have differentiated between larks and pipits using the easy step-by-step instructions on the opposite page, you are well on your way to starting with the next step - that is, if by now you have any idea of what is going on. If not, go back to start and do not collect N$ 200, and please just concentrate and listen because the music is all around you.

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ABOVE Monotonous Lark listening to the music.


BIRDING WITH POMPIE

Rufous-naped Lark. A Zambezi Region specimen.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LARKS AND PIPITS: LARKS

PIPITS

COLOUR:

Brownish Well marked Richly coloured

Greyish Monotonous Pale

BILL:

Small, conical, decurved, varied

Long, slender

LEGS:

Short

Long, slender

PLUMAGE:

Intricately decorated

Simple

BEHAVIOUR: Slow moving

Squatting down Tail still Raise crest Run away

CALL/ DISPLAY:

DWELLING:

Starks Lark near Spitzkoppe. Typical of this species with its raised fringe.

Fast/darts Seldom crouches/ stands up straight Wagging tail Fly away

Song and dance Protracted and varied When happy

Simple Monotonous

Ground-dwelling

Terrestrial

Only when flushed

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Grey-backed Sparrow-lark, almost a sitter.

Fawn-coloured Lark in the Kalahari south of Mariental

Benguela Longbilled Lark near Brandberg.

Spike-heeled Lark. Common in Etosha, just look for the spike.

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BIRDING WITH POMPIE

ABOVE

Dusky Lark in Etosha. One of the relatively easy ones to ID.

STEPS TO IDENTIFYING A LARK:

1. Habitat: If in a bird-cage - it is probably a budgie 2. Size: If very small - it is a cisticola, go back to larks 3. Bill: Thick bill - it is a Thick-billed Weaver, back to larks 4. Legs: Beautiful legs - Miss Namibia, stay there 5. Tail: Short tail - Bateleur, long tail Blue Crane, you are lost 6. Wings: Big - angel, and saved 7. Call: Beautiful - Springsteen, relax.

Once you have done the ID and are sure you are dealing with a lark, it should be easy to sort it into one of the following groups and, voila, you’ve done it: • • • • • • • •

Unique Larks: Dusky, Spike-heeled, Red-capped, Large bill Karoo/Desert Larks: Dune, Barlow’s, Karoo Small Desert Larks: Sclater’s, Stark’s, Gray’s Savanna Larks: Sabota, Fawn-coloured Mirafra Larks: Melodious, Monotonous Clapper Larks: Flappet, Eastern Clapper, Cape Clapper Sparrow-Larks: Grey-backed, Chestnut-back, Black-ear Long-billed Lark: Short claw, Eastern, Agulhas, Benguela, Karoo

The last wonderful good news is that you will also find the most geographical variation in larks. This means that you will have to deal with that terrible word “subspecies”. Imagine, there are indeed 11 subspecies of Spike-heeled Larks. Not to sound too negative, I really still struggle to identify a Spike-heeled Lark, end of story. Eventually, I succumb to the age-old trick of asking a proper birder to help me, although I really am getting better as time goes by. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, Wisdom comes at a time when it is no longer needed. TNN

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TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA SPRING 2019

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Travel Notes from a Vagabond 76

By

lie Wil

ier

Oliv

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


Willie Olivier is a veteran journalist and travel writer. He has been compiling guides and travel directories for visitors to Namibia since before independence. In this series for Travel News Namibia, Willie compiles notes, thoughts and take-aways from his travels. Interesting facts, little-known happenings and anecdotes of the adventures of this vagabond.

SEPARATED BY THOUSANDS OF KILOMETRES Despite being the smallest antelope in Namibia, the Damara dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii) never fails to attract the attention of visitors to Etosha National Park and Waterberg Plateau Park, where it is easily seen. Few people, however, are aware that the Damara dikdik population of Namibia and south-western Angola is geographically isolated from the East African population by close to 3 200 km. Its common name in East Africa, Kirk’s dik-dik, and its species name is a reminder of the Scottish explorer and naturalist, Sir John Kirk, who collected the first specimen in East Africa. The Floodplain Acacia, Acacia kirkii, was also named after Kirk. The Damara dik-dik is one of four species of the genus Madoqua that occurs in Africa, but it is the only one found in southern Africa. The other three species, Günther's dik-dik, Piacentini’s dik-dik and Salt’s dik-dik, occur in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.

A LONELY GRAVE ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD For those hiking the Fish River Canyon, the German Soldier’s Grave, as it is commonly referred to, is a wellknown landmark and an encouraging sign that the end of the journey and Ai-Ais is near. The tragedy that led to Lieutenant Thilo von Trotha’s death began to unfold when the Germans had defeated a group of Nama fighters led by Cornelius Fredericks at Kochasdrift towards the end of May 1905. Von Trotha decided to negotiate a peace deal with Cornelius Fredericks and rode unarmed to his camp on June 14th, 1905. Unbeknown to him, a German cavalry detachment had been sent to recover stolen cattle at a nearby farm a few days earlier. When shooting broke out, he hastily sent a message to the commander of the Germans to cease fire. But then, walking to his wagon to write another note, Von Trotha was shot in the back by Christoph Lambert, a cousin of Cornelius, who was convinced that Von Trotha’s visit was merely a ruse. Von Trotha’s last words were: “I did not have a rifle.”

WHAT’S IN A NAME? Afrikaans can be a very descriptive language, and this is certainly illustrated when one considers a few plants and trees with Afrikaans names. Take for example Ziziphus mucronata, or Wag‘n-Bietjie (“wait a bit”), which has recurved spines that will restrict your movement should you find yourself entangled in it. Then there’s the Jakkalsbessie (Diospyros mespiliformis), which according to one explanation, owes its jackal-related name to the presence of the plant’s seeds in jackal dung. Another reason, perhaps, is that its inconspicuous fruit is as easily overlooked and as seemingly elusive as a jackal. Also very descriptive is the Afrikaans name for Ochna pulchra, Lekkerbreek, which means “breaking easily” in reference to the tree’s brittle wood. The Sambokbossie (Senecio junceus) owes its name to its root-like branches that resemble a sjambok. Then there are also some very descriptive but rather explicit names, such as Buffelbal (Rothmannia capensis), named after the resemblance of its fruit to the testicles of a buffalo. The Snotappel (Azanza garckeana) has fruit that turns soft and slimy when it ripens. Whenever I’m intrigued by a plant’s name, I immediately grab my copy of Common Names of South African Plants by C.A. Smith. It was published in 1966 by the South African Department of Agricultural Technical Services but has regrettably long since gone out of print. TNN

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Cradled amongst Camelthorn trees and vistas of undulating Kalahari sands crusted in golden grass, Otjimbondona offers those seeking exclusivity, luxury and tranquility the ideal African retreat.

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A delightful setting and peaceful bush ambience. No matter the occasion, River Crossing Lodge has something special to offer. +264 61 40 1494 | reservations@rivercrossing.com.na | www.rivercrossing.com.na

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Once upon a time… WHEN ROANS DID ROAM Text Willie Olivier

F

or most visitors to Khaudum National Park seeing roan antelope is high on their list, if not topping the list. Few visitors are, however, aware that the landing strip in the Khaudum omuramba was built nearly 50 years ago when conservation history was made.

rudimentary in those early days. In October 1970, in the north of Khaudum, the operation was underway.

In the 1970s, roan antelope numbers were in serious decline as a result of the decrease in their range. With a shoulder height of 1.4 m, the roan is southern Africa’s second largest antelope. Black and white facial markings, long pointed ears and high shoulders are distinctive features of this antelope that is closely related to the sable antelope and the extinct blue buck. It owes its English name to the colour of its coat – a greyish-brown tinged with strawberrycoloured hairs.

Originally, the plan had been to capture the animals in nets, but this proved to be too impractical, so instead they were herded into open terrain with a helicopter to be darted. A second challenge arose, however, when four of the first six antelope that were immobilised died as a result of exhaustion, overheating and stress. Adjustments were made to the drugs administered to the animals, and it was also decided to transport them to the holding boma on the back of an open truck rather than in crates, in an effort to keep their body temperatures within a normal range. This plan also enabled the capture team to keep the animals wet while they were being transported.

To safeguard the species from becoming extinct in Namibia, a plan was made by the Directorate of Nature Conservation to capture roan antelope in Khaudum, where they occurred in large numbers, and relocate them to Etosha National Park. Not only was the capture operation conducted in a very remote area, but game capture and immobilisation techniques were rather

Transport by road over a distance of over 1,000 km, including a 150 km stretch of sandy 4x4 bush tracks, proved to be impossible. After a successful experiment to determine the effects of prolonged immobilisation, it was decided to transport the animals by air. A senior captain of Suidwes Lugdiens was flown in to select a suitable landing strip, and a chartered

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Safair C130 Lockheed landed on 20 October 1970 on the strip that was specially prepared for the operation. 74 captured animals were immobilised for between three and five hours and flown in three groups over a distance of 400 nautical miles (740 km) to Otjovasandu in the far west of Etosha National Park. It was the first time such a large group of ruminants were transported under sedation over such a massive distance. After a month in quarantine the roan antelope were released into a specially constructed enclosure. Several of the cows were pregnant when they were caught and by 1973 the number of roan antelope had increased to 159. And although some animals were released into Etosha National Park, they did not establish viable populations as roan antelope are highly selective feeders. Their natural range is restricted to areas where the mean annual rainfall is above 400 mm and a population will decline after successive years of drought, even in areas where the mean annual rainfall is between 400 mm and 500 mm. However, a founder population had also been released at the Waterberg, where the mean annual rainfall is above 400 mm, and went on to establish a viable population there. TNN


www.wolwedans.com

Wolwedans is more than a collection of desert camps and lodges. It’s a collection of dreams. Experience an eco-tourism destination committed to the long-term conservation of the NamibRand Nature Reserve. At Wolwedans, we strive to set an example in conservation-centred, sustainable tourism, balancing people, planet and prof it, since 1995.

...simply out of this world


Photo: Alexander Heinrichs

Namibia. Endless Horizons.

With sweeping views as far as the horizon and a light that bathes the landscapes in a kaleidoscope of colours, Namibia truly touches the soul. A journey to the country is unforgettable. The land of contrasts really does have something to offer every visitor: magnificent landscapes, fascinating wildlife, numerous outdoor activities, beautiful places to stay and hospitable people. Namibia is a year-round destination with more

than 300 days of sunshine and exploring the country is both easy and safe. After a comfortable flight, you will arrive in a completely different world. Namibia is exciting, exotic and familiar all at the same time.

Head Office Corner of Sam Nujoma Drive & Haddy Street Windhoek Namibia

Europe Schillerstraße 42 – 44 D-60313 Frankfurt am Main Germany

South Africa 25th Floor, Atterbury House, Unit 2502 9 Riebeeck Street Cape Town, 8001

Tel. +264 (0) 61 – 290 6000 info@namibiatourism.com.na www.namibiatourism.com.na

Tel. +49 (0) 69 – 13 37 36 0 info@namibia-tourism.com www.namibia-tourism.com

Tel. +27 (0) 21 – 422 3298 naminfo@saol.com www.namibiatourism.com.na

Postal address: Private Bag 13244, Windhoek, Namibia, 1001

Postal address: PO Box 739, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa

Profile for Venture Media

Travel News Namibia Spring 2019  

Spring is in the air again and we're off to far-flung destinations to explore the hidden wonders of Namibia's wild corners. Go off the beate...

Travel News Namibia Spring 2019  

Spring is in the air again and we're off to far-flung destinations to explore the hidden wonders of Namibia's wild corners. Go off the beate...