Page 1

Namibia 27 TRAVEL NEWS

YEARS OF

TOURISM FOR

EXPLORING

NAMIBIA

Quiver Tree NAMIBIA'S TAKE ON A "FOREST"

Change GENERATION WANDERLUST

A love letter to Windhoek The Best (and most worthy) Namibian Destinations right now

FEATURED: EXPLORE NAMIBIA WITH YOUR

VOLUME 28 No 1 SUMMER 2019/20

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Kids

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WHEN LUXURY IS THE DESTINATION Your journey to the far reaches of Namibia should be as comfortably indulgent as your breathtaking destination. A 40-year heritage of luxurious interiors and unrivalled capability. - The King Air 350 is the perfect aircraft for your ultimate flying safari experience.

t +264 839378247 w westair.com.na e reservations@westair.com.na PO Box 407, Aviation Road, Eros Airport, Windhoek, Namibia


Namibia TRAVEL NEWS

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

Namibia 27 TRAVEL NEWS

VOLUME 28 No 1 | SUMMER 2019/20

YEARS OF

TOURISM FOR

EXPLORING

NAMIBIA

Quiver Tree NAMIBIA'S TAKE ON A 'FOREST"

Change GENERATION WANDERLUST

A love letter to Windhoek The Best (& most worthy) Namibian destinations right now.

FEATURED: EXPLORE NAMIBIA WITH YOUR

VOLUME 28 No 1 SUMMER 2019/20

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

Kids

www.travelnewsnamibia.com

"My four-year-old nephew loves to pretend that he is a 4x4 truck participating in an offroad obstacle course race. As he races along imaginary tracks he kicks up sand pretending that it’s his wheels that are spinning. Although he has raced on many different make-believe courses all over Namibia, the dunes are without a doubt his favourite." - Le Roux van Schalkwyk

TEXT CONTRIBUTORS Elzanne McCulloch, Pompie Burger, Nina Van Zyl, Willie Olivier, Le Roux van Schalkwyk, Charene Labuschagne, Marita van Rooyen, Ginger Mauney, Christina Hugo PHOTOGRAPHERS Elzanne McCulloch, Pompie Burger, Nina Van Zyl, Le Roux van Schalkwyk, Ruairí Hammond, Liza de Klerk, Charene Labuschagne, Matthew Walters, Prostudio, Bonsai Bistro, Ginger Mauney, Chantelle Bosch, Chrisna Greeff 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

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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

VOLUME 28 No 1 | SUMMER 2019/20

YEARS OF

A Manufacturing Basket filled with Opportunities...

NAMIBIA TRADE DIRECTORY 2019/20

Namibia 27 TRAVEL NEWS

TOURISM FOR

EXPLORING

Quiver Tree NAMIBIA'S TAKE ON A 'FOREST"

Change GENERATION WANDERLUST

A love letter to Windhoek The Best (& most worthy) Namibian destinations right now.

NETWORK

THE GREEN ECONOMY

2019/20

Namibia 27

A review of Namibian Trade and Industry

NAMIBIA

TRAVEL NEWS

VOLUME 28 No 1 | SUMMER 2019/20

FEATURED:

YEARS OF

EXPLORE NAMIBIA WITH YOUR

VOLUME 28 No 1 SUMMER 2019/20

Kids

TOURISM FOR

Change

EXPLORING

NAMIBIA

Quiver Tree

GENERATION WANDERLUST

A love letter to Windhoek

NAMIBIA'S TAKE ON A 'FOREST"

www.travelnewsnamibia.com

Vol 28

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

The Best (& most worthy) Namibian destinations right now.

FEATURED:

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.

EXPLORE NAMIBIA WITH YOUR

VOLUME 28 No 1 SUMMER 2019/20

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

Kids

www.travelnewsnamibia.com

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

Namibia’s fastest, easiest way to pay. Friends, family and your favourite business. ARTISA N H ANDC R AFTED L EATH ER GOODS HOME WAR E | TEXTIL ES | INTER IOR DESIGN & D ÉCOR T: +264812512169 E: leon@leonengelbrecht.com W: www.leonengelbrecht.com

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EDITOR’S LETTER

Take the kids along THIS SUMMER

T

hey say one of the reasons for over-tourism is travel writers. On behalf of all travel writers, including the team at Venture Media, I want to apologise for the fact that we just cannot help ourselves but be inspired by exploring. I like to think of our tribe as the modern day explorers. We discover new worlds and new words. Imagine you had to write about Sossusvlei, as some on our team have been doing for over a quarter of a century. There probably would not have been a word such as over-tourism because nonexplorers would have run out of new words long ago. For the summer of 2020, the 30th year of Namibia’s independence, we have chosen to not explore the coast. We are aware that this is where half the country congregates, especially in the hottest time of year and on top of that the driest year in many Namibians’ memory. It is not that we ran out of ideas or words. One visit to the coast and our team would have been inspired to create a magazine filled with stories and adventures to stir up renewed interest in every coastal town. Instead we opted for a different angle. Let’s take the kids along. Or even worse, teenagers. Some of us were children recently enough to still recount the feeling; one of the contributors is still at that age, and some had to delve a little deeper to find the travelling child in them. The verdict is that Namibia is magic for children, depending on how you dish it up. In every trip, in every direction we could think of, there are enough activity and adventure opportunities for any hyperactive child or bored teenager. Just choose your route and timing well. But it is not all child’s play in this edition. We also introduce you to a fun new place, Teaterhuis in Tsumeb, to stop at en route to Etosha or Zambezi. We give you a closer look at goggas (insects) through a photographer’s macro lens. Pompie Burger takes us on a river cruise with his usual quirky remarks and Willie Olivier shares some interesting anecdotes in his Travel Notes. Don’t miss Marita van Rooyen’s story about Oranjemund. It is the newest “town” in Namibia, although it was established decades ago. Somehow the fact that it was impossible to visit without a permit until recently gives it a special allure. Not least of all, that it borders the Sperrgebiet National Park, now re-named Tsau //Khaeb National Park, which will hopefully be opened to the public soon. Be entertained by our team of explorers, but rest assured that we will not willingly tempt you to contribute to over-tourism. We will redirect you to off the beaten tracks, kids and all. Happy holidays and may 2020 start with thundering clouds, followed by green valleys, then golden grassy plains and a collective sigh of relief from Namibians.

Rièth van Schalkwyk

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA SUMMER 2019/20

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CONTENTS 10 BUSH TELEGRAPH What's up in the industry 13 EVENTS What & where this summer 16 A SPINE QUIVERING SUNRISE in the Quiver Tree Forest 22 ORANJEMUND Transformation of a desert legend 28 BONSAI BISTRO The healthy alternative 32 THE WORLD IS BIG WHEN YOU ARE SMALL The most memorable experiences in Namibia

40 PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURE Chantelle Bosch 49 CONVENIENCE AT THE GATE Taleni's Etosha Trading Post 50 GENERATION WANDERLUST The city that raised me 54 CONSIOUSNESS IS THE NEW LUXURY Anderssons at Ongava reborn

58 TEATERHUIS A night at the theatre 62 BIRDING WITH POMPIE Riverboat birding 68 TRAVEL AND CHINA for good 70 CAMPING IN THE ZAMBEZI A 12-year-old's guide 76 TRAVEL NOTES from a Vagabond 80 ONCE UPON A TIME Namibia's Wild West

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TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA SUMMER 2019/20

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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

46

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.


BUSH TELEGRAPH

TRAVELLING IN STYLE WE

SUPPORT FROM THE TOURISM INDUSTRY

Touring through Namibia can now be done on new levels of comfort with the addition of two Zhong-Tong busses to the SWA Safari fleet. These vehicles are built specifically for Africa’s roads and come with creature comforts that make the journey more pleasurable. SWA Safaris is known for its adventurous spirit and love for the wilderness. The company has taken tourists to all corners of the country since 1954.

ASCO CAR HIRE TRUST SPONSORS HOSPITAL CLOWNS The Asco Car Hire Trust is giving back to the Namibian community by supporting the hospital clowns project of the Fun Factory Namibia. The team of professional clowns visit Windhoek’s Katutura State Hospital, spreading smiles and laughter, and lifting the hearts of the children who are patients and also those of their families. The clowns have received special training to be able to perform in the hospital environment. Their presence is a welcome respite from the otherwise serious atmosphere there.

FLYWESTAIR

FLYWESTAIR GOES INTERNATIONAL Local airline FlyWestair is now flying between Windhoek and Cape Town via Oranjemund. Have a look at their website for schedules and prices: www.flywestair.com. We love the FlyWestair Magazine, the official in-flight magazine of the airline, another product created by our publisher, Venture Media.

100 YEARS

OF MUCH MORE THAN JUST HOSPITALITY Olthaver and List, the company group behind some of our favourite lodges in Namibia (Chobe Water Villas, Mokuti Etosha Lodge, Midgard Country Estate and Strand Hotel Swakopmund), celebrated its centenary in 2019. We can’t help rooting for this proudly Namibian company - here’s to another hundred years of growth and inspiration.

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WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


THE DRIVE TO UPGRADE

NAMIBIA’S ROADS An initiative led by Namibia’s private sector to upgrade the roads experiencing high volumes of tourist traffic is underway in the area around Sossusvlei. At the helm of the drive is Chris Theron, a retired senior official from the Department of Roads. Theron realised that the upkeep of these roads is too large a financial burden for the Namibian government, especially in the current economic downturn, and with donations from lodges, companies and even individuals, upgraded the gravel road from Walvis Bay via the Kuiseb Pass to Solitaire and Zaris towards Sossusvlei. Theron successfully completed a similar project in Etosha National Park in July, where ten graders (two provided by the Ministry of the Environment and Tourism) overhauled the park’s 500 kilometres of road over a period of ten days, at an estimated cost of N$ 500 000.

FINALLY - A FUEL STATION RIGHT OUTSIDE ETOSHA! Taleni Africa is making your next visit to Etosha National Park so much better: their latest venture, the Etosha Trading Post, a mere 6.5 kilometres from the park’s Andersson Gate, is not only a fuel station, general dealer and curio shop but also offers fantastic camping facilities. The eight individual and four group campsites all have the basics like running water, power outlets, barbeque and washing-up facilities, plus private ablutions - an almost unheard of phenomenon at campsites. We love the farmstyle interior and the great selection of snacks and goodies. Read more on page 49. For more information contact products@taleni-africa.com.

NOW OPEN

THE WINDHOEK LUXURY SUITES The Stellenbosch Wine Bar and Restaurant is The Windhoek Collection’s best known establishment, but with the recent opening of The Windhoek Luxury Suites the group has ventured from the restaurant industry into the hospitality business. Located next to the Bougain Villas and a short walk from its collection of popular eateries, The Windhoek Luxury Suites is an elegant boutique hotel with family rooms, divine king size beds in all the rooms and a swimming pool. See the thewindhoek.com for more information.

Travel sparks our imagination, feeds our curiosity and reminds us how much we all have in common. - Deborah Lloyd


Our journeys change lives

RECONNECT

With Family ‌through life-changing, tailor-made experiences in Namibia’s extraordinary desert landscapes

www.wilderness-safaris.com


WHAT & WHERE

THIS SUMMER

Make the most out of your summer in Namibia with these fun and exciting events in the capital and at the coast. Have a look on Facebook for more information.

DEC 14 From 15:00 Summer Swing 2019 Rossmund Desert Golf Course Swakopmund

This year the Rossmund Golf Club prize-giving is highlighted with performances by South Africa’s talented musician, Jack Parow and others at Club Naps, treating all the players to a full VIP experience. For bookings email Dan: dan@dzgolf.com.na

DEC 21 07:00 Bank Windhoek Namib Tiger Trails Tiger Reef Swakopmund

DEC 21 13:00 Kom Ons Braai - Kus Kampioene Windpomp 14 Swakopmund

If you think your braai skills are the best in the country, prove it and you might walk away with N$10 000 in cash!

DEC 28 16:00 Carnival of Flames Swakopmund

End off 2019 on a high note with the second Bank Windhoek Namib Tiger Trails mountain bike race. There are three routes to choose from (25 km, 45 km and 80 km) plus a fatbike fun ride.

DEC 27 12:00 Spirit of Summer Beach Party Tiger Reef Swakopmund

Evolve Fire & Entertainment hosts this exciting Vintage Carousel-themed event with acrobatic fire performances plus food and drink stalls from Swakop Food Fest. Not to be missed.

DEC 26 Touchies Main beach - Henties Bay

Live music, the roaring ocean and feeling sand between your toes on the dance floor at Tiger Reef Beach Bar. If you like a good party, don’t miss this one.

This annual event is a rowdy highlight for the otherwise sleepy hobbyfishing town of Henties Bay. Live entertainment, contests, refreshments and, of course, a touch rugby competition are the order of the day.

DEC 31 19:00 New Year’s Eve Beach Party 2020 Tiger Reef Beach Bar Swakopmund

See off 2019 with the legendary New Year’s Eve party at Tiger Reef. The party is always very popular, so get there early.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA SUMMER 2019/20

13


This can be your

Naturally Namibia story

‘Naturally Namibia’ brings together the country’s leading safari families to provide a journey of unforgettable experiences. We offer thoughtfully considered safaris through exceptional landscapes with time to appreciate the best of Namibia’s independent lodges. We are owner-run and all the partners are involved in every aspect of our safaris.

www.naturallynamibia.com

Am Weinberg Big Sky Lodges Okonjima and AfriCat The Mushara Collection Ongava Private Game Reserve Villa Margherita Namib Sky Balloon Safaris Skeleton Coast Safaris


BE PREPARED FOR YOUR

SUMMER HOLIDAY Our Emergency/ Recovery Kit includes all the essentials necessary for when your car lets you down while exploring Namibia’s epic destinations this summer.

Glove Short-Cuff Pigskin Candy Black Shield Tyre Repair Fixit Kit Booster Cable Set 400Amp

Plastic Warning Triangle Heavy Duty Pressure Dial Gauge Emergency Raincoat Poncho

Jogger Head Light

Tow Strap 3500 x 50mm With 12mm D/Shackles

Spanjaard Tyre Fix 600ml

High Visibility Bib Orange Mutton Cloth Handy Pack 100g

Cable Tie 392x4.7mm (10)

SHOP ONLINE. SAFE-SECURE-RELIABLE. Free Delivery for purchases of over N$ 1000.

For more information contact info@cymot.com or call +264 61 295 6000

Insulating Tape PVC Black 18mm x 10m


A Spine Quivering

Sunrise

Text Charene Labuschagne Photographs Le Roux van Schalkwyk

Anyone who knows the first thing about Namibia knows that our sunsets are notoriously flamboyant. In the afternoon, when and if the soft cirrus clouds accumulate above the horizon, the African sun puts on a technicolour tutu and dances to the tunes of crickets. It’s this kind of sunset that deserves a rightful place on any bucket list.


L

ucky for my Namibian born and bred self, they’ve always been a regular occurrence - providing sufficient oohs and ahhs and awe-inspiring endings to nourish my soul. It wasn’t one of those kinds of sunsets on that day, however. My family and I, with my German exchange student in tow, were making our way to Keetmanshoop in the last light of the day. Low on fuel and weary after a long day’s road trip and subsequent Neil Diamond tribute, we pulled into the first service station we could find. The driving wasn’t over. We still had 20 km to go before we could unwind and tuck in. Hannah - my honorary sister from Heidelberg - and I were summoned to get out of the car and experience the gem that is Keetmanshoop after sunset. In the confines of the fuel station’s quick-shop we had front-row seats for a real-life telenovela. Now would be an appropriate time to mention that this wasn’t your average 24-hour store. All the groceries were kept behind the counter, which required you to place your order and frantically direct a sassy cashier (in a neon T-shirt exclaiming “Here to Party!”) to the goods you desired - all from behind a mesh screen, I may add. Once my mum had gone through the effort and was ready to pay for our stale chips and warm coke, the neon-clad local prioritised another customer who had been lurking in the background. Their brief dialogue remains a mystery as it was all in a low, mumbled murmur. But the gist of it could be summarised by the cashier’s response, which was a strongly worded ode to the customer’s mother. Rejuvenated by the comical fuel station experience, we braved the remainder of the road to the Quiver Tree Forest. Upon arrival at Quiver Tree Rest Camp we were eager to freshen up and unpack our vehicle before dinner. This was not an option, the barefoot hostess told us. Politely, she directed us to help ourselves to an authentic Afrikaans carrot salad, local meats and an enormous bowl of white rice at the buffet. With the resident cat and hound paying their routine visit to our table, we ate up and skedaddled to our suites. I was a keen photographer at the time, dabbling in the art as it was one of my subjects in high school. My teacher’s instructions were that I was to wake well before sunrise in order to capture the dawn break over the Quiver Tree Forest. Now, the Labuschagnes are a slow-starting lot. So far I had never seen a sunrise in my 17 years of existence - proof of the fact that 10 am is the customary wake-up call in our household. So, needless to say, my enthusiastic knocking on my parents’ door at 5 am was met with low growling - the kind displayed in brackets in thriller movie subtitles, right before bad things happen. By hook or by crook I managed to assemble my entourage and we trekked the short distance from our accommodation to the forest. Hannah from Heidelberg was promised a forest, so the sight of the sparsely scattered quiver trees had her puzzled. I had visited her hometown just the year before and saw first-hand what forests actually look like (they have nothing of our kind, I assure you.) As dawn broke on the boulders to the south,

promising yet another scorchingly hot day, I pulled out my birthday present of a tripod and propped my nifty DSLR on top - giddy with excitement about the good grades these photos were going to get me. It was in that instant that Hannah skittishly dared to ask where the forest was, as she couldn’t understand what I was photographing. A brief moment of silence followed, and my half-asleep parents broke out into rapturous laughter, loud enough to wake up the nearby hungover town. In all honesty I don’t think we ever filled her in on the fact that said sparsely scattered trees were, in fact, the forest. She probably gathered as much from our soul-shaking silence neither I nor my parents, who have lived in Namibia their whole lives, had seen the Quiver Tree Forest, let alone at sunrise (or an actual sunrise, for that matter). We spent about two hours wandering about, playing hopscotch with the massive granite boulders. Upon returning to our accommodation, the other guests just sitting down for breakfast. Jeez, I thought - these people have no idea what they have missed. They were bound for the forest well after breakfast which, in my opinion, albeit beautiful, doesn’t compare to the light on those trees at dawn. We gathered our belongings and took to the road once more, all of us a little bewildered by the fantastic landmark we had just visited. I have always appreciated sunsets. My favourite memories are of the whole gang on the deck of our family beach house in Henties Bay. We’d gather there after our separate daily doings - with bubbly and Zimmer & Gerrard - and watch the sun dip into the Atlantic. On camping trips at Oanob Dam and on hilltops in Windhoek with friends, the fire on the horizon would start a fire in me. But ever since that day near Keetmanshoop, when my parents got up at 5 am against their will, and my exchange student was underwhelmed by our definition of a forest, sunsets have sort of taken the back burner. The fact that Namibia has - in my biased opinion - both the single most beautiful sunrises and sunsets proves that whatever happens in between is nothing short of remarkable. The grades were mediocre, so I’ve resorted to inspiring you with my colleague’s professional images instead. Through photography we try to capture a scene in the most beautiful way possible, but the fact of the matter is that the Quiver Tree Forest at sunrise is already as beautiful as it’s going to get. So you might as well play hop-scotch with the boulders instead. TNN

Accommodation: Quiver Tree Rest Camp Route: B1 from Windhoek to Keetmanshoop, left onto M29 Related activities: Giant’s Playground

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA SUMMER 2019/20

19


Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge Experience a landscape of endless vistas, blue skies, spectacular nature and a rich bushmen heritage

12.000 hectares of unlimited vastness. A glance in all directions emphasizes the stillness and serenity. The spectacular view of game crossing the plains and mountainous terrain, intensifying the feeling of boundless nature.

Reservation: +264 81 258 5722 | Fax: +264 88 616 556 | Lodge: +264 64 694000 | Email: reservations@rostock-ritz-desert-lodge.com

www.rostock-ritz-desert-lodge.com


- Fyodor Dostoevsky

“But how could you live and have no story to tell?�

Read this issue online!

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ORANJEMUND – Transformation of a DESERT LEGEND

Elzanne McCulloch

Text Marita van Rooyen

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While gemsbok all over the country are known to be elusive animals, those in the south-westernmost corner of the Tsau //Khaeb National Park are of a different breed. Hard to believe they stem from the same legendary beast, these gemsbok have made the cosy town of Oranjemund their home. Here they wander lazily through the streets, doze under shady trees, and munch on fresh, green lawn when hunger hits. Although placed in the midst of a wild and ancient desert, these animals have become so comfortable with their luxury environment that the human residents had no choice but to accept their company. The gemsbok has since become the official representative of the town and features proudly on its coat of arms.

T

o appreciate the gemsbok in Oranjemund it’s necessary to understand the history of the town. Without the presence of humans there would be no lawn for the gemsbok to nibble on, but without diamonds there would be nothing at all. Established in 1936 as a mining town – to cater for the growing number of workers exploiting mineral deposits in the desert of south-western Africa – Oranjemund is strategically located on the northern bank of the Orange River, an area that has been known for many years as one of the richest diamond fields in the world. For decades the town flourished as a self-sustaining hub in the desert, created and provided for by the mine, in its various representations over the years. Inhabitants lived in a sheltered bubble, restricted to employees of the mine and their relatives, impenetrable by the outside world. Everyone was granted housing and basic services free of charge, and the town had its own cattle farm and vegetable gardens to supply all sorts of fresh produce to its residents. Social life was seen as key to the mental state of the inhabitants, and sports and cultural clubs were the order of the day. So was religion, with at least six churches in town representing various denominations. Life in the sheltered diamond town of Oranjemund continued undisturbed for more than 80 years.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA SUMMER 2019/20

23


Liza de Klerk

A TOWN IN TRANSFORMATION

Oranjemund opened its doors to the public in October 2017. Six years earlier it was proclaimed as a town and had begun the process of decoupling the town and mine. A transformation journey driven by Oranjemund (OMD) 2030 – a collaboration between the mine, the public sector and local citizens – it aims to create a sustainable environment for the town to thrive beyond mining. The OMD 2030 community organisation has since introduced a variety of initiatives centred on the five project areas of tourism, communication, community engagement, training and education. Night markets, cultural evenings, movie nights and bird counts have become regular events, while recycling centres have taken off and waterwise gardens were established. Newsletters and other communication channels have been set up, while learner exchange programmes and various partner projects are being initiated simultaneously. The latest partners to join the transformation are two Namibian start-ups, Dololo and SunCycles. Dololo is an entrepreneurship development agency which connects organisations and leaders through innovation sessions, impact workshops, coaching and team building. The agency is compiling a database on entrepreneurial activities in Oranjemund and plans to launch a support programme for small businesses, to provide training opportunities for the community. Specialised in e-mobility, SunCycles has been instrumental in assisting OMD in creating eco-friendly sightseeing activities in the surroundings for both visitors and locals. As a social enterprise the team supplied locally designed and assembled e-bikes to OMD 2030, and also provided training to local entrepreneurs to operate, maintain and service the bikes, thus generating additional business opportunities. More options to secure the sustainability of the town are being explored, and as the town’s first elected Mayor, Henry Coetzee, puts it: “…experience the spirit of Oranjemund, make a positive contribution towards the country’s economy and help create a first-inkind sustainable model town in Namibia”. Experience Oranjemund in the midst of its transformation - and say hi to the gemsbok! TNN

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HOW TO GET THERE

The long straight road down south is already a journey in itself, but they say when you hit the newly tarred stretch between Rosh Pinah and Oranjemund, you’re on the road to heaven – it’s that beautiful. From Windhoek, the distance is 976 km when you take the main highway south, or 826 km on the slow and winding way. If time is of the essence, get onto a FlyWestair flight from Windhoek to Oranjemund, which takes just over an hour and is available three times a week. For more information about Oranjemund, activities, accommodation and eateries see www.omd2030.com. For more on Dololo and SunCycles’ involvement in the transformation, visit www.dololo.io and www.ebikes4africa.org.

DID YOU KNOW? ORANJEMUND’S MOST FAMOUS INHABITANT It is said that in ancient Egyptian culture the oryx was a symbol of Seth, the god of chaos and the untamed desert. For many generations this magnificent creature enjoyed a reputation as a mysterious desert-adapted mammal. Boasting a mean set of horns, purposefully applied during self-defence, and a powerful body that can run up to 60 km/h, the oryx is capable of surviving without food and even without water for days. Four different species are found in arid regions across Africa, and the largest of them calls Namibia’s harsh deserts its home: Oryx gazella, or simply, the gemsbok.


WHAT TO DO IN ORANJEMUND

Next door the Jasper House Heritage Centre – the oldest building in the town and residence of the first mine manager – is now a museum where artefacts and records of the Sperrgebiet and early exploration years are displayed. The Heritage Centre houses a coffee shop in its garden, along with old digging machinery used during the early mining years.

Elzanne McCulloch

OMD 2030 has its Hub in Seventh Road, across from Spar – which you can’t miss because it is the only grocery store in town. The Hub is where locals and visitors can get information on activities and tours, make use of WiFi and printing services, buy locally made souvenirs in the gift shop, or rent the venue for conferences and events. The Hub also rents out e-bikes, providing an ideal opportunity to pack some snacks and explore the town and surroundings at your own pace.

Known as the link between the Richtersveld in South Africa and the Namib Desert flora, the flat top of Swartkops Hill is a Nature Reserve. Often visited by brown hyena and black-backed jackal, it is a biodiversity hotspot with succulents found nowhere else on earth. Swartkops is located within easy reach of the town and a great location for enjoying the sunset with 360 degree panoramic views, 70 metres above the river and surrounding desert. When you have a day, or rather a night to spare, Hohenfels is worth a visit (it’s open for campers). Rumour has it that the ruins of an old imperial German police and customs station now houses the ghost of the Nama mistress who died in distress, murdered by her German lover’s jealous daughter. While Hohenfels is a bit further out of town (roughly 20 km), it does offer spectacular vistas from high up on the “high rock” after which it was named, above the riverbank.

Elzanne McCulloch

A bit further westwards, along one of only two public access roads (the other one is the M118 to Rosh Pinah in the northeast), the lush Orange River delta spreads out to the ocean. A Ramsar Site, it is home to more than 4 000 birds of 40 different species that nest along its shores. Picnic and lookout spots, dotted along the river, invite you for a break to reflect on the incredible fauna and flora that inhabit these desert-adapted ecosystems. Met by the ocean with a stubborn persistence, the Orange River Mouth changes in appearance from day to day, as sandbanks push and shift the flow of water. Along the beach – of which only about one kilometre is accessible to the public – a number of vibrantly painted braai areas, sheltered against the elements, provide space for lunch.

Liza de Klerk

If you’d rather relax playing golf than having a beer, the Oranjemund Golf Club is renowned for being one of the toughest in the country, with golfers frequently being tested by unforgiving winds and punishing roughs. This is desert golfing at its best.

Le Roux van Schalkwyk

The Sands “Hotel” Complex is a must on any first-timer’s list: With more than 157 bars (10 of which are currently closed), all tightly packed into a maze of alleyways, it was established in the 1970s as an entertainment area for the mine workers, and today still very much serves as the preferred spot to socialise after a hard day’s work.

Liza de Klerk

While a walk (or e-biking) through town is already an activity in its own, public facilities are available in the form of a well-maintained swimming pool, library and various private clubs where visitors are always welcome, plus activities like horse riding and badminton.

ABOVE

Birding on the banks of the Orange River. The beautiful tree-lined main street. Jasper House Heritage Centre is the oldest building in town and now houses a museum. Spot several old tanks around town, one of which has pop-art flair. You won't miss the town's famous resident.

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EXPERIENCE LUXURY AT AM WEINBERG BOUTIQUE HOTEL Our elegant 41-bedroom hotel wraps around a heritage building, creating an inviting fountain courtyard that embraces the natural beauty of the Estate. The rooms complement the historic character, while modern amenities and 5-star touches ensure the utmost luxurious comfort. +264 061 209 0900 | info@amweinberghotel.africa www.amweinberghotel.africa


Bonsai Bistro:

The Healthy Alternative Text Le Roux van Schalkwyk

Le Roux van Schalkwyk

Opening its doors in Windhoek earlier this year, Bonsai Bistro has quickly become known for its delicious coffee, warm service and health-conscious food.

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itting outside her shop on a windy morning, owner Elzaan Nel explains how her business came to life. It all started when she saw a gap in the market for delivering gourmet sandwiches to offices. Called Bread and Butter, the business grew so quickly that she soon realised that she needed a commercial kitchen to keep up with demand. Running a commercial kitchen she might as well have a coffee shop in front, Nel figured. This idea also resulted in a shift away from gourmet sandwiches only to creating meals for healthconscious customers. Bonsai has been embraced by everyone looking for healthy alternatives. An indication of the diverse clientele is the eclectic mix of clothing seen in the shop, ranging from suits to gym attire.

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Nel’s passion for healthy food stems from her lactose intolerance. Being a sucker for desserts she was forced to look into dairy-free recipes. She quickly realised, too, how difficult it is to find food on the go that does not contain butter, cheese or other dairy products. This inspired her to make healthy food without compromising on taste or flavour. Calling them guilt-free desserts, some of the treats you’ll find at Bonsai are gluten-free vegan cakes, raw tarts and health brownies that contain your daily almond intake. Treats so tasty that if you didn’t know they were healthy you wouldn’t be able to tell. Even the vegan ice cream and the vegan sugar-free ice cream is so delicious that it’s difficult to tell it apart from the normal variety you would buy at a store.


Prostudio

Bonsai Bistro

“There is a misperception among people about healthy foods. Eating healthy is not just eating any salad or a low-carb meal. The ingredients are important. Your body needs food that is rich in nutrients and, importantly, makes you feel good after eating it,” she explains. It is critical to be well informed and that is why Nel does a lot of research to come up with delicious food that meets her client’s dietary requirements. Clients can order anything from gluten-free and vegan cakes, banting and keto cakes to sugarfree cakes. Just by looking at the reviews on TripAdvisor the popularity of these baked goods is clear to see. Bonsai also offers a sitdown menu for breakfast and lunch,

Bonsai Bistro

Bonsai has been embraced by everyone looking for healthy alternatives. Bonsai Bistro

Bonsai Bistro

FOODIES

among others with Keto and Banting options. Everything Keto is among the best sellers. Bonsai’s menus are seasonal and always take the clients’ needs and preferences into consideration. The premises in the Elysium Fields building off Berg Street is perfectly captured by its name, Bonsai Bistro. Although small, the atmosphere is always cosy and you can immediately tell that there is a lot more than meets the eye. Pro-tip: The almond milk cappuccinos are life-changing. TNN Bonsai Bistro is situated at 40 Berg Street, Elysium Fields Unit 12; open Mondays to Fridays from 07:00 to 16:00.

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A wild adventure with your Family

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iltong, snacks, binoculars, field guides... and don’t forget the kids. Finding something for young and old to enjoy is not always easy, but the wonders of Etosha National Park and its wildlife have always been an experience that can be shared across all ages.

When choosing family accommodation inside the park it is important to take the age of the children into consideration and what they will enjoy the most. The main camps of Okaukuejo, Halali and Namutoni are popular with family groups. Each camp has a swimming pool where the kids can keep themselves busy splashing around for hours, especially on hot days. The casual atmosphere and ample space of these camps make them more kid-friendly than Dolomite or Onkoshi Resorts. Olifantsrus is smaller than the other camps and caters exclusively for campers, but the hide at the waterhole allows you to get incredibly close to the animals. To see elephants and other game drink water almost within touching distance will fascinate any child (and adult.) Olifantsrus does not have a swimming pool or restaurant, only a shop with basic snack options such as sandwiches. Booking well in advance is important as accommodation is limited and fills up quickly.

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ADVERTORIAL

TIPS FOR VISITING ETOSHA WITH CHILDREN

Etosha is family-friendly but the first visit with younger children can still seem daunting. A little planning therefore goes a long way. Maps of Etosha are available for sale at the kiosks of each camp. Not only are these maps useful when planning game drives, but you can also show your children where you are going and give them a better understanding of the layout of the park. Older children can also follow the map and read the distances for themselves as you drive. Take field guides on birds and mammals along for your children to look up the animals they see. Field guides will also help you to explain the various animals’ characteristics and behaviour. Create a game around spotting animals: prepare checklists on which the children can tick off the different animals they see. Buy inexpensive binoculars or take along a discarded pair and show the young ones how to use it properly so that they are kept busy viewing the game for themselves. It will also keep them from asking for yours each time they spot something. Pack snacks for your excursion. Nibbling on something will keep the children happy as well as occupied while spending time at waterholes. It is a good idea to pack your snacks into reusable containers so that you don’t disturb the peacefulness at waterholes with the rustling of wrappers and other packaging. Take toys and books along for the journey. As interesting it is for adults to spend hours watching the interaction of different species around the waterhole, children get bored easily and happily turn their attention to something to keep them busy. Most importantly: plan shorter trips rather than staying out on a game drive for the entire day. Early mornings and late afternoons are best for game sightings and taking photographs, and temperatures are more pleasant. Spend the hottest part of the day in camp and let the children discharge their pent-up energy in the pool. Tel: +264 61 285 7200 www.nwr.com.na

Enjoy every second of this wildlife wonderland with the kiddos! It is an experience that will remain with them forever. TNN

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The World is Big when you are Small

- The most memorable experiences in Namibia Text and Photographs Elzanne McCulloch

When I was little my favourite place in the whole world was a shepherd ’s tree just outside our yard. My brother and I once spent days building a treehouse in the massive tree. Our necks craned skyward as we peered up at its lofty branches. I was 9, he was 5. Our “treehouse” consisted of a couple of wooden planks balanced amongst the branches. I later realised that it was only massive to us. Today, two decades later, I still look at the tree with fondness. I have to duck my head now to avoid bumping against the very branches that once seemed so lofty. And though the scattering of the sun’s rays through the textured canopy still seems otherworldly and beguiling, my towering fantasy tree is rather diminutive in the reality of adulthood. The world is so much bigger when you are small.

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t takes a special place to recreate that feeling in adulthood. To make you stand and stare at something in absolute wonder. A moment that makes your realise exactly how small you and your problems are in the grand scheme of things. A reality check that physically manifests itself as an instance in which you finally perceive that you are but a blip on the universal stage.

an ancient cathedral? What if that moment is experienced when standing atop a mountain of sand with a quietly wondrous desertscape as far as the eye can see. Or staring at the fathomless abyss of an enormous canyon. Eerie desolate valleys haunted by desertdwelling giants. Every full moon a supermoon. A glittering pink sunset melting behind mountains as the harsh glare of day mellows into twilight. A place of myth and mystery, yet way more real than Disney. Would that moment imprint itself on your mind now, as an adult? Now just imagine it through a child’s eyes…

I’ve found that feeling here in Namibia. Many times. Standing at the base of a towering dune. Looking down upon a valley from where the horizon-bending vantage stretches to infinity. Glimpsing life where it flourishes in an unyielding, weather-tarnished landscape. Feeling small can be the most wonderful freedom. I’m sure we all had those life-altering experiences as kids. When the world seemed larger than life and the moment ingrained itself on our malleable young minds and hearts. Though at a young age everything seems large, grandiose, spectacular. What was it for you? Disney World, your first visit to a metropolis,

That is what Namibia has to offer - a fantasy brought to life, moments and places bigger than the mind can imagine and the heart can fathom. Here is my list of the most magical, and worthy, experiences I’ve had while travelling through Namibia. From the southern stretches to the far northern hinterlands and hidden corners in between. Give your kids the gift of experiencing the magnitude of Namibia’s majesty. So that one day, when they return, they can smile in wonder that their magic tree has not shrunk while they were busy “growing up”. The beauty of their memories will ring true.

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KOLMANSKOP

A ghost town without the haunting, Kolmanskop on the outskirts of the south-western town of Lßderitz saw its heyday at the turn of the last century when diamond mining in the area led to an economic boom. Rising from the desert sands like fresh sprigs in spring, the town with a hospital that boasted the first x-ray machine in southern Africa, a town hall complete with huge ballroom, shops, a bowling alley and a residential quarter with luxurious mansions, did not stand the test of time. As the diamond fields in the immediate vicinity dried up, Kolmanskop’s entrepreneurial population moved on with the changing winds. Today, the sands have reclaimed much of its former glory. The eerie way in which the desert is slowly blanketing the old German architecture is not only a fascinating piece of history but also an enchanting experience. Wander among the old buildings, but be prepared - you will get sand in your shoes, and in your face, too, if the persistent wind insists on howling. The spooky hospital with its long central corridor will most likely give you the heebie-jeebies. If you do come upon a ghost he will probably be friendly, he died rich after all. Nod and send him on his way with guten Tag.

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Eric van Zyl

FISH RIVER CANYON

It feels like standing at the edge of the world. Stretched out below you is carved earth shaped over millennia by wild water, wind and other elements. This is the second largest canyon in the world, by far the largest in Africa, and it is Namibia’s most spectacular geological marvel. If you’re adventurous at heart a day visit will leave your appetite teased and your heart yearning for more. Perhaps next time you will book and plan far in advance and venture down into the canyon with a group of fellow adventurers for a 5-day hiking experience. Take a picture for now, and start planning for when the kids have grown a bit more and need to burn some of that excess energy.

NAMIBRAND NATURE RESERVE

The Namib Desert is the oldest desert in the world. Its towering sand dunes and abundance of life adds to its fame and special character. Adjacent to Namibia’s Natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Namib Sand Sea, is one of the largest private nature reserves in Africa. A dark sky reserve and landscape-level conservation phenomenon, this amalgamation of former private farms is today the epitome of nature preservation. Home to luxury lodges such as Wolwedans, adventure tourism operators such as Tok Tokkie Safaris and Namib Sky Balloon Safaris, and environmental education with NaDEET, NamibRand is a conservation dream come true. Fall in love with the dramatic red sands and unending landscapes that entice visitors from all over the world.

ETOSHA

My grandparents lived here for many years, managing Okaukuejo Camp. My father spent the holidays of his high school years counting game with the park staff. My aunts got married in Etosha in a beautiful double-wedding ceremony, the vintage photos of which remind me of a scene from Out of Africa. My grandmother’s ashes scattered at her favourite waterhole… Besides the personal connections, Etosha created some of my earliest memories of travelling Namibia. It’s a wild wonder. Teeming with game, birds and the beautiful contrast of savannas, woodland and the stark white pan. Etosha National Park will forever be a favourite. Sightings of elephant, rhino, lion, cheetah, plains game, giraffe and countless more are what built some of my dearest memories to this day. Like snapshots ingrained. I have yet to visit the park without another host of precious new memories to take home with me. Old and new, they have shaped my love for safari, nature and wildlife.

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ETENDEKA

A walking adventure like no other. Spend your days hiking through the harsh and enthralling landscape of Damaraland, where desert-adapted wildlife abounds, and your evenings sleeping under the inconceivable grandeur of Namibia’s night sky. Etendeka Mountain Camp’s Overnight Walking Trail is probably the most immersive experience you can have in the wild untouched hinterland of the Kunene Region. Unpretentious, nature is the star of the show here. There are no frills, and that is what makes the experience so heart-warming. This guided adventure into a unique and remote conservation area will remain in my ‘top experiences’ list. It’s just you and nature out there, and the ‘realness’ of it will astound you. After having explored much of what Namibia has to offer in my very fortunate role as a travel writer, this is the one experience that left me in awe of its authenticity. I cannot compare it to anything else, and would not want to try.

SKELETON COAST

The infamous Skeleton Coast. The Land God Made in Anger. A stretch of treacherous coastline that has seen the demise of many over centuries. It is estimated that over 1000 wrecks of ships and other crafts are strewn along its foggy beaches. Inland, the northern stretches of the Namib Desert are home to wildlife such as elephant and the now famous desert lions. The weather is very seldom ‘nice’ and the words harsh and inhospitable are not just adjectives used overzealously. Yet… there is a magic to the ‘nothingness’. The remoteness. The notion that for kilometres on end there is nothing but sand, drastic landscapes and creatures that survive in spite of all odds. It is not easily accessible, with tourism options limited to visiting NWR’s Torra or Terrace Bay, the wonderful new Shipwreck Lodge or exploring the region with an operator such as Skeleton Coast Safaris. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. So very worth it. I hope you get lost in the uniqueness of the Skeleton Coast and appreciate the fact that very few such places exist in the world.


BWABWATA

Elephants amble through the forest. A lark chants in the background. Baboons sit dreaming in the canopies. A hamerkop flies south. And all the while you’re surrounded by the song of nature that never falls silent. It’s green and that’s strange, because Namibia so seldom is. But the lushness and the water that flows in the Kwando River embodies life, and there is so much of that in Bwabwata. A people’s park it was dubbed. Communities and wildlife co-existing. It’s not always harmonious, but many are working tirelessly to help bring it closer to a space where conservation and humanity can thrive together. Camp in the wilderness or enjoy the luxury of Nambwa Tented Lodge or Kazile Island Lodge, the only accommodation establishments found within the park. A river cruise or a game drive will imprint itself in your memory bank. And along the banks of the river the sight of hundreds of migrating elephants will take your breath away. This is not like the rest of Namibia, and the juxtaposition is splendid. Namibia’s Zambezi Region, and especially Bwabwata National Park with its teeming wildlife and birdlife, is worth every second you allot to it on your Namibian adventure. TNN

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MAKING MEMORIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY

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rom the centre of Namibia up to world-famous Etosha National Park, visiting two UNESCO World Heritage Sites en-route and more, Naturally Namibia offers a diverse and unforgettable journey. Other than their stunning locations, all of the Naturally Namibia lodges and experiences have one thing in common: they are owner-run and delight with personal touches. You won’t find a warmer welcome anywhere else. After touching down in Windhoek, why not start your tour in style at the beautiful Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel. With luxurious rooms, a 5-star day spa and five fabulous restaurants available, the Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel will ensure you are relaxed and ready to embark on your Namibian adventure. Start your family expedition by heading out of the capital and driving north until you reach the home of the AfriCat Foundation on Okonjima Nature Reserve, who successfully run a program dedicated to the conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores. Guests will get the chance to learn more about Namibia’s magnificent predators, spotting them on a tracking excursion. Stay at Okonjima Plains Camp, with its homey atmosphere and farm-style character. Next, drive to the eastern boundary of Etosha National Park and stay at The Mushara Collection for a true in-the-bush experience. The lodge is only 10 km from Etosha’s Von Lindequist Gate, which means easy trips into the park for morning and afternoon game drives. Mushara Bush Camp is the perfect family lodge, offering comfortable family tents to host a family of 5 and children are entertained at the outside play park that has a jungle gym, an old tractor and a sand pit.


ADVERTORIAL

The private Ongava Game Reserve shares a border along the southern boundary of Etosha National Park. Ongava’s waterhole hides provide the remarkable opportunity to view wildlife up close. Guests are encouraged to visit the self-guided exhibition area at the Ongava Research Centre's Visitor Centre, and learn about conservation science and field-based research. Wrap up the day enjoying views of the beautiful bushland. Children welcome from 6 years and older. In the foothills of the Grootberg Massif in northern Damaraland is Etendeka Mountain Camp. Explore the enigmatic desert-adapted wildlife of the region on guided nature walks or a nature drive. Marvel at the geology and the endless views from atop an escarpment, famous for its wealth in crystals, where a proficient local guide will share information about the geological history and its interesting features, and stories about the country’s early occupants. Hike the stark beauty of Kaokoveld’s wilderness on foot with the Etendeka Overnight Walking Trails Experience. Trek through one of Nambia’s most remote and untouched landscapes on foot, stare at never-ending sundowner vistas of ancient rock formations and sleep under a blanket of billions of stars. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect with nature. Heading south, stop at Erongo Wilderness Lodge surrounded by a breath-taking granite boulder landscape. Raised wooden walkways and natural stone steps lead to the twelve luxury tented chalets. The best way to experience the beauty of the Erongo Mountains is during sunrise hikes and late afternoon strolls. The guides take you on unforgettable hiking journeys through the pristine wilderness which is a haven for birdlife and other rare endemic species. Also located in the scenically beautiful Erongo area is Ai Aiba Lodge, offering thatched twin and quadruple bedrooms. Visit the unique bushman rock arts either on foot as self-guided or allow the knowledgeable guides to take you on easy hikes. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon nature drive and visit the San Living Museum. Next it’s off to the coast and the adventure capital of the country - Swakopmund. It’s here where the kids can really let loose, exploring the desert while sandboarding down a dune, or cycling up a dune face on a fat bike or cruising on the ocean on a catamaran to spot dolphins and seals. Make Villa Margherita your coastal home and enjoy the fusion of contemporary art in historic colonial buildings. Each room is individually decorated with charming interiors, where modern meets classic for guests to relax in comfortable yet luxury room setups. Indulge in their organic bistro which is passionately run by the hosts.

After cooling off at the coast, head into the Namib-Naukluft National Park. This is where the tall orange-coloured dunes of Sossuslvei are found and also the iconic Dead Vlei, which is a dried-up pan with fossilised camel thorn trees forming a stark contrast to the bright blue sky. Join Namib Sky Balloon Safaris to rise with the sun and float in a hot-air balloon over the world’s oldest desert. The Namib Desert is stretched out below to all sides in a seemingly unending ocean of ochre and soft sienna sands, the horizon infinitely far away. For a truly comprehensive and unique way to experience Namibia, join Skeleton Coast Safaris on one of four bucket-list tours with a highly passionate pilot, who is also the guide. From bird’s-eye views, spot the shipwreck remains along the coast, be fascinated by the diverse and ever-changing geological formations and be fortunate to see desert-dwellers such as the endangered black rhino and desertadapted elephant. Their routes take guests from Sossusvlei up to the Hoarusib Valley in the Kaokoland, and all the way to the northwestern Namibian border overlooking the Kunene River. TNN

Tel: +264 (0)61 239 199 or +264 (0)81 2929925 Email: info@naturallynamibia.com Web: www.naturallynamibia.com

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PHOTOGRAPHER IN FOCUS:

CHANTELLE BOSCH An attraction to the unconventional led Windhoeker Chantelle Bosch to the coast, capturing what she considers the unappreciated wonders of Namibia’s micro universe. She is a guide for Living Desert Tours and, with her 7D i Canon equipped with a 100mm Macro f2.8L lens at hand, takes guests into the dunes outside Swakopmund to introduce them to the microverse.


Tractrac Chat hovering in front of the sun. 1/4000 sec f/10 40mm ISO 200


Ground squirrel hiding behind a grass stalk. 1/640 sec f/8 400mm ISO 400


PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURE

The dancing White Lady spider. 1/125 sec, f/9, 105mm, ISO 200

Flap-necked chameleon walking across a road. 1/500 sec, f/8, 190mm, ISO 100

Giant Ground Gecko profile. 1/400 sec 50mm ISO 200

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LEFT TO RIGHT

Majestic old gemsbok bull near Sossusvlei. 1/800 sec f/10 300mm ISO 200 Western Keeled snake profile 1/250 sec f/14 100mm ISO 200 Deadvlei - dead camel thorn tree after a rare rainstorm over Deadvlei. 1/1000 sec f/10 140mm ISO 400

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ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER

M

y all-time favourite photo is a lightning bolt at Namib Desert Lodge near Solitaire late one evening. My 600D Canon was still very new, and I was actually just fiddling around with the manual settings teaching myself about the bulb option. I was trying to capture the lightning bolts far away on the horizon. A bolt of lightning shot down very close to me just as the shutter closed (in fact, to this day I am pretty sure I heard the shutter close before I saw the lightning). The immediate thunder was deafening. I got such a fright that I tripped over my tripod, caught the camera on the tripod just before it hit the ground, picked everything up and just walked back the hundred metres to the lodge, shaking. Then I wondered about the last photo and when I looked at it on the camera, I could not believe what I captured! I think this is the moment that truly “sparked� my passion for photography.

Sossusvlei, a soft scene. This place has been photographed millions of times, so getting something "new" is quite a challenge. 1/800 sec f/10 105mm ISO 400

I never studied photography formally, but I have learnt a lot from my guests, from online articles and frankly, most of all by trial and error. I saved for a long time to buy the cheapest digital camera I could get - a little 2mpx Fuji Finepix. After two years I got frustrated with the quality of the photos and upgraded to a Fuji S9500 - that is the camera which taught me about photography, and it's macro was exceptional. Photography brings a moment in time to a standstill. Macro photography opens up an entire new world. It gives me the chance to teach humans about the fascination of small life. About the importance of opening your eyes to the wonder and beauty and significance of small creatures. My highest priority when photographing these animals is that they should not be stressed, meaning slow movements, no flash or at best a very weak flash with a diffuser. The rest can be done in Lightroom. TNN

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Family-friendly

Etosha

The comfortable and exciting Mokuti Etosha Lodge is perfect for a family holiday 46

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ADVERTORIAL

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n the eastern border of the Park is a stretch shared with the 4 000 hectares Mokuti Etosha Lodge private reserve. Only a short distance from the Von Lindequist Gate near the Namutoni Fort lies Mokuti Etosha Lodge, whose numerous exciting features and shady location in an Acacia and mopane woodland make it the perfect base for families to explore Etosha. Spread out across an area that changes from kaokoveld and mopane shrub in the west to woodland and grassveld in the east, Namibia’s Etosha National Park is a must-visit destination and the perfect family holiday. With elephant families and herds of springbok, gemsbok, kudu and zebra congregating around waterholes and lions, leopards and cheetahs lying in wait, centred around a stark white salt pan with a fringe of salt-tolerant grass, it is easy to see why. Game drives inside Etosha National Park with Mokuti’s experienced guides are an unforgettable experience: the numerous waterholes are ideal for observing the comings and goings of the many different animals, while you can cross your fingers and hope for a sighting of a pride of lions on the stretches of grassland - or even better, see these predators in action. Mokuti Etosha Lodge is a highlight itself. Its large swimming pool surrounded by a shady lawn is the unofficial post-drive meeting place. The poolside bar keeps you supplied with delicious sliders and drinks between your dips into the refreshing water. Mokuti Etosha Lodge appeals to families with a love of nature and activities. The Ontouka Reptile Park is a must for the not so squeamish, while the tennis courts and billiard room will keep the hyperactive busy. While the kids play, parents can indulge in peace and quiet at the spa.

Tel: + 264 67 229 084 (Lodge) Tel: + 264 61 431 8000 (Central Reservations) Email: mokuti.res@ol.na Web: www.mokutietoshalodge.com

At just four kilometres from the gates of Etosha National Park, make your family at home at Mokuti Etosha Lodge. TNN

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Windhoek Office: Tel: +264 61 249 268 Email: windhoek@scenic-air.com

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www.scenic-air.com

Swakopmund Office: Tel: +264 64 403 575 Email: swakopmund@scenic-air.com


Convenience at the Gate into Etosha TALENI'S ETOSHA TRADING POST Text and Photographs Le Roux van Schalkwyk

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t’s six o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon and Etosha Trading Post is pumping with holidaymakers. Some are stopping for a quick bite to eat and a cold drink, relaxing after a boiling hot day driving around Etosha National Park. Others are picking up supplies for the night’s campfire meal, snacks for the next day’s game viewing or trying to find whatever item was forgotten in the rush of packing. It’s inevitable to forget at least one crucial piece in your kit. Etosha Trading Post opened its doors in September and has already exceeded expectations in terms of business traffic. Early mornings and late afternoons are the busiest, coinciding with the time when people are on their way between Etosha and their respective lodges or campsites outside the park. With loads of accommodation options along the Outjo-Okaukuejo road, the popularity of this new shop and service station comes as no surprise. It is ideally located only 6.5 km from Etosha’s Andersson Gate, and word around the campfire is that even guests staying inside the park are regular customers because of the wide variety of products. Another good reason is the fact that the next-closest

place to buy groceries requires a 90 km trek south - to Outjo. The Trading Post is the brainchild of Taleni Africa, a tourism company which saw a need for a place to refuel and stock up on necessities. Apart from the service station, travellers are also able to repair or buy new tires, replace a faulty car battery and even get the vehicle washed for the journey home. The eccentricity of the decor adds to the charm of this new landmark. Wall features are made from old watering cans, farm tools, milk cans and horseshoes. Inside the shop there are countless antiques on display between products, even a working gramophone. The deli offers delicious bread and other freshly baked goodies daily. You can also find ready-made meals ranging from gourmet brötchens to salads and lasagne. For those early risers, a hot cuppa Joe’s and a signature koeksister will have you awake and ready for a day of game viewing. Furthermore you can restock on just about any drinks and food, buy camping gear and delicious products homemade in the district.

Campers will be delighted to know that the Trading Post offers eight individual campsites, each equipped with private ablutions and all the amenities required for a comfortable camping experience. Excellently positioned as a base from where to explore the wonders of Etosha, four extra-spacious campsites are also available for large groups. The campsite’s pool resembles a concrete farm dam complete with windpump and is an excellent way to cool down after a hot day in the car. The 24-hour security will ensure that your belongings are safe throughout the day. The Etosha Trading Post makes you feel as if you are on a treasure hunt, finding something new and wonderful around every bend. It should definitely be a stop on your next trip to Etosha, even if it is only to have a look around or taste a yummy koeksister. TNN


The City that Raised a

Wanderlust Generation

Text and Photographs Charene Labuschagne

It dawns on me that it remains an impossible feat to try telling the Wanderlust Generation how to “do” Windhoek. Due to our diverse nature, no two millennials have the same free-time agenda. You get the Friday-night braaiers who consume their weight in Castle Light and ribs, and the weekday warriors who prefer a glass of wine on any given day. Not every young adult is going to hunt for bargains in the main street or hit the social scene on weekends. More often than not, no two of us are exclusively any of the above.

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indhoek is a dynamic capital. It’s probably the single most diverse 5,000 square kilometres I can imagine - with the city centre comprising both buzzing business hubs in concrete high-rises and trendy coffee spots where you’ll find edgy millennials. I have to admit that it's difficult to write about a city you’ve lived in your whole life. Windhoek has been my stomping ground ever since I can remember: from playdates and ballet lessons to driving my first car through rush-hour traffic. Thus, having seen the capital grow in leaps and bounds, I’m going to tell you about the city that does, in fact, sleep - especially on Sundays and Public Holidays (and between Christmas and New Year.) One that is not of angels or heathens but rather a city that brought up a generation of aspiring hustlers. I’m going to tell you about the city that raised me.

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Ruairí Hammond

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Independence Avenue always scared me. As a little girl I would be hauled across the street by my arm, nearly popping out of its socket. The traffic always seems like rush-hour so haste is essential to survival. Locals have adopted an awkward jaywalking jog as a result. I used to stand by impatiently as my mom allowed optimistic vendors to persuade her into buying anything from wire and bead figurines to gemstones. This fine Tuesday was no exception. Only the roles had shifted - my boyfriend’s shoulder socket the victim and he the one frustrated by my prolonged browsing at the Ovahimba stalls in the parking lot below the Hilton Hotel.

Windhoek has taught us how to work for our money to afford luxuries, as well as how quickly one loses it on one too many beers on a Wednesday evening. We made our way from the Craft Centre on Tal Street, just off Independence Avenue. You’ll find a handful of vintage stores there Uncle Spike’s Book Exchange being the one I lose myself in. We’ve become such regulars that I can pop in anytime and shop (on my mom’s store credit.) Just down the road is The Red Shelf which I was forbidden to enter - the PTSD of a previous prolonged shopping experience by myself still prevalent.

ABOVE:

The Red Shelf ’s Vintage Clothing and Book selection

BELOW:

Bona-fide local interior designer

Strolling through the Craft Centre is a must, but sometimes a little too touristy for my liking. So instead, we took the alternative route - a vestibule with a maze of stairs and murals by local artists adorning the walls. It’s an unparalleled challenge not to call it a day right there, in the centre of Windhoek’s liveliest nightlife courtyards. But the hunt for bargains and a good picture for “the gram” continues. We shrugged off the persistent hawkers and continued our stroll past the odd mix of shop fronts - a barber, a cell shop, a takeaway and a pharmacy. Along these sidewalks, you’ll find entrepreneurs selling fruit and veg as well as airtime. Essentials, you know. Browsing through the stalls I start imagining decorative uses for African masks and baskets. The ladies selling these goods are forever reaffirming my creative vision, despite my boyfriend’s claims that I do not need an artistically carved fish on my console. Albeit tempting, I leave said fish in the parking lot and with my heart heavy, we head to Holtz to try on hats. This is by far one of my favourite shops in Windhoek. Located in the Carl List Mall, Holtz is filled to the brim and bursting at the seams with safari gear. Everything from belts and felt hats to vellies and two-tone shirts. It’s a must-stop shop before any adventure commences and I often find myself contemplating purchases I don’t need. I’m beginning to see a pattern here…


Our last stop for the day is Cramer’s for a generous scoop of salted caramel ice-cream. It’s so refreshing to see the cosmopolitan collection of locals winding down after a hard day’s work. I can also spot the regulars who have been sitting there sipping coffee from 2 pm as they do every day. It’s only on our stroll back to the Craft Centre parking lot that the mandatory ’gram-worthy’ shot is snapped. I’d completely forgotten about it - having been swept up in the organised chaos of Independence Avenue.

Accommodation: Chameleon Backpackers, Cardboard Box, Rivendell Guest House. Activities: Chameleon Safaris free city walking tour, Ees “Nam Flava” tour, Windhoek City Market, Sundowner drinks at River Crossing.

On the way home I get a phone call from a friend and in the blink of an eye we’re on her balcony, watching the sunset over Windhoek. The city lights go on, and as day fades into night we say cheers to having grown up in a city that allowed us the freedom to escape the chaos of high school with only a short drive out to the farm. This city taught us unprecedented kindness in giving a taxi driver right of way, and then regretting it shortly after because they’ve double-parked in the middle of the road to pick up a passenger. But you’d probably do it again in a heartbeat, albeit against better judgement. Windhoek has taught us how to work for our money to afford luxuries, as well as how quickly one loses it on one too many beers on a Wednesday evening. As I sit (on said Wednesday evening) among the new generation of corporates, Umbach, and entrepreneurs of every heritage and age, it dawns on me that it remains an impossible feat to try telling the Wanderlust Generation how to “do” Windhoek. Due to our diverse nature, no two millennials have the same free-time agenda. It’s with this awe-inspiring diversity that I urge the Wanderlust Generation to dive headfirst into every avenue that Windhoek has to offer. There are so many, you might just have to extend your stay. TNN

CLOCKWISE Finding parking is nearly impossible The Cosmopolitan crowd at Cramer’s Stopping for a scoop Slowtown Coffee Roasters The “Gram-worthy" Snap-shot

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Consciousness

is the new luxury Anderssons at Ongava reborn

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Text and Photographs Elzanne McCulloch

There’s a swing chair on our porch and an outside shower. The plants next to our front door are indigenous. There’s a TV screen in our room that live-streams the waterhole, and there is a visitor centre filled to the brim with data, research, history. I could get lost in there. Information and innovation for the good of nature. The staff smiling and oh so helpful. A long bench couch lines the entire area facing a waterhole frequented by wildlife, putting on a show. It’s authentic safari and every detail has been carefully considered. Even the glass that surrounds a lovely sitting area adjacent to the bar is customised with an anti-reflective UV coating so that birds don’t fly into it. Everything has been thought of. Consciousness is the new luxury. And the new Anderssons at Ongava is as conscious as they come.

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e take a late afternoon drive into the private nature reserve. Photographing lions as they laze away the remaining day in the last rays of sunshine. Muzzles still tinged red from a meal. Black rhino foraging through the bushland. For the first time I see giraffe lying down. A peculiar sight. The moon rises behind the mopane trees in sync with the setting sun on the western edge. A choreographed symphony. We sip on our gin and tonics and watch the blood-red sun dip behind the mountains some ways off. A white rhino and her calf cross the road in front of another safari vehicle. The guide and his guests are making their way back to camp for an evening of indulgent meals and enthralling conversation around a fire. When the lions visit the waterhole that night we hear their low bass growl first. Our meals abandoned for a quick walk down the long bunker-like corridor that leads to the hide. The photographic hide is at the very edge of the waterhole and the sound of the lions drinking while we sit in the silent darkness thrills. The chill of the early morning air helps me wake up (more than coffee ever could) as we head into Etosha National Park. Etosha, one of Africa’s most prolific and popular national parks, is Ongava’s neighbour. Our game viewer meanders through the “great white place” and we are treated to sightings of elephant tugging at nebrowni bushes with bright yellow flowers. Two honey badgers scrounge around in the bare earth for something to eat. Wildlife hustles for survival during this time of extreme drought. The worst we’ve seen in 100 years, or so I’m told.

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electrified fencing that keeps the elephants away from the pool and has found sanctuary among the lodge’s buildings. His ignorant friend is not as lucky. She’s caught up with him just beyond our view. In the very same dry and barren bush she previously used as cover. The world is changing and we have to adapt right along with it. We’re told not to use straws anymore and to have less children. We buy things with less packaging and share the right posts on our Facebook pages. We like those Greta Thunberg videos without really listening to her speech all the way through. We’re changing the world, we think.

The world is changing and we have to adapt right along with it. But what are we actually doing? Doing physically, tangibly?

Back at the lodge a lioness prowls along the shadowy edges of a bush just beyond the waterhole. Eyes keenly focussed on the two warthogs quenching their thirst. My eyes intently watch her small twitching movements through the telescope set up just beyond the bar area. A cold beer on the table to my left. Condensation running down the smooth glass. The sun is high. It’s hot even though it’s technically still winter. The earth is dry and the bush is grey. And it’s so hot. Not her normal hunting time. Yet, still she sits in the shadows cast by the dry and barren branches of a tree and watches the warthogs. Powerful muscles twitching. Instinct telling her to stay as still as possible, but anticipation betraying her. She’s still young. She slowly makes her way a few metres forward. Sticking to those shadows. She peers from behind the trunk of a bare tree. Muscles still twitching. One of the warthogs stops drinking and looks up. Whether he’s done or has sensed some unwanted energy in the air is unclear, but he glances around surreptitiously. Nervous. His friend is oblivious. It is this disregard that will be his downfall. She’s waited long enough now. Her twitching muscles tense, and as the nervous one starts to trot away she makes her move. Dust. A squeal. More dust. The nervous one flies across our view and out of sight. He’s catapulted himself over the

I mull over this at lunch with Dr John Mendlesohn, the director of the Ongava Research Centre. We talk about books and opinions. He tells me that they are pondering where to start with their research here. He wants to look at the bigger picture. How the natural world interacts and the way in which every link in the chain affects the next. Humans are a link in that chain, I think. Specialised and specific research topics are important, but who is looking at that big picture? We talk about the future of conservation. Landscape level. The story that needs to be told, and he asks me what I think that should be. I’m smiling, because I spent the last day-and-a-half marvelling at the new Anderssons. Driving around Ongava Game Reserve. Poring over the information at the Visitor Centre, all the while knowing that a group of researchers was busy setting up camp at the research base right next door. They will try to change the world. Or at least the way in which we approach saving it. This is the future of conservation. Like-minded individuals tackling big problems. A tourism institution that places more emphasis on how its operations are affecting its natural surroundings than its bottom line. Nature first. Consciousness. The luxury is there. The rooms are gorgeous and all your needs are catered for. Activities to keep you engaged. You will enjoy every bite of every meal and there will always be ice in your drink. You will not get off a game viewing vehicle with an ounce of disappointment. Yet, above all, you will feel something. A sense of consciousness woven into the fabric of this place. You might not notice the signs, but you will feel the thought that went into creating it. Consciousness is the new luxury. TNN

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The lovely painted ceiling inside the foyer.

Teaterhuis:

A night at the theatre Text and Photographs Nina van Zyl


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e were driving through Tsumeb on the way back from a weekend in Etosha when we decided to stop for coffee at a place I had heard about and was curious to see for myself. A renovated theatre called Teaterhuis (“theatre house” in Afrikaans) with 535 stunning red retro seats and a massive auditorium, it had been converted into a coffee shop and boutique hotel. Where were the rooms, I wondered. Did one enjoy your cake on the stage? The possibilities flitted through my head and I couldn’t help getting a little excited. After meeting owners Theo and Suine Bekker I quickly went from impressed to awed to absolutely bowled over in a matter of minutes. The last time I was in Tsumeb I hadn’t even ventured as far down the street as we had now, believing that the historic part of town came to an end after the second church. There it was: across from the politically correctly named United Nations Park, along Presidential Avenue. I’ll admit that I had expected something much smaller. Not this massive block that is the largest auditorium in Namibia. Yes, you read that right. Not even the National Theatre in Windhoek has as many seats. Built during the middle of the last century and known as the Van Riebeeck Teater, this theatre was the hub of Tsumeb social life during the town’s mining heyday. During that time it belonged to the mine, along with the gymnasium across the road. And while the gymnasium is still in use, it does seem a little in need of tender love and care. In contrast, Teaterhuis has that in spades. The fact that anyone took up the challenge of renovating this amazing space is impressive enough, but then I found out that the couple, their two sons and daughter actually lived there while they were at it. Imagine staying on a building site for not just a couple of months, but two years! That’s how long it took to return the theatre into something that could generate a proper income. What must have been so exciting was finding all the little storage rooms, the little nooks and crannies, tucked away in this corner or that, above the stage, behind the projector room, rooms with seemingly no way to access them, no stairs, nothing. It was a process of discovering and converting. All of it done with lots of guts and plenty of grit. I should mention, though, that Theo and Suine Bekker both come from the hospitality industry, so it’s not like they were newbies to the game. They were based in Oshakati, and with the kids going to school in Tsumeb there was a lot of travelling back and forth. Eventually, the distance and the long drives got to them. They needed to be closer to their children, although I wonder if they could have imagined how much closer their family would be getting. The theatre is not lacking in space. The mezzanine, where the projector and sound equipment was kept, was such a humongous space that it was turned into the family living quarters with four bedrooms. The boutique hotel has ten rooms of which two are luxury rooms with lovely views of the neighbouring park. The rooms are skilfully decorated, modern, yet warm and inviting. And everywhere are artworks which to my surprise were painted by Suine and her mother. Through all the strife and sweat that comes with any business starting out, the family is enjoying their theatre house. The younger kids act out their own made-up dramas on the stage (isn’t that just every child’s dream?), and on weekend nights the family gets comfortable with duvets, pillows and blankets in the aisles and watches movies projected on a screen. Imagine the kind of movie nights they must have. It is heartening that there are people like the Bekkers in the world. People who put their heart and soul into something quirky, something unconventional, something from our past that shouldn’t be forgotten. Something that needs to be preserved, and needs purpose. New life in an old building is, after all, never a bad thing. TNN

ABOVE The theatre is a hit with local couples planning to get hitched. This room is usually the bridal suite. Take the time to enjoy a cup of coffee on the stoep. Most of the decor items inside Teaterhuis were either gifts the couple received or found at second-hand and antique stores. Theo and Suine Bekker outside their theatre/boutique hotel, Teaterhuis.

SHOWS AT THE THEATRE:

Keep an eye on Teaterhuis’ Facebook page for updates on the latest acts to grace their stage.

CONTACT DETAILS:

Address: Corner of Main Street & Ilze Schatz, Tsumeb, Namibia Telephone: +264 81 739 8077 Email: teaterhuis@gmail.com Website: teaterhuis1.wixsite.com/ tsumeb

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A QUARTER OF A CENTURY of innovation and excellence

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years ago Bertie Ham did not imagine where his almost accidental business start-up would take him. With his business partner Renè Kronsbein, who joined a few years later, the business grew not only in size but also in technology. Today, Savanna Car Hire is a specialised car rental business at the country’s forefront of safe and reliable 4x4 safari camping vehicles. Namibia is the ultimate safari country for many reasons: the abundance of wild places, large areas of uninhabited land and natural vegetation, beautiful untouched wilderness offering dramatic panoramas, geological features that astound and a variety of landscapes that will amaze even the most blasé traveller. But above all, this large country has a road network that allows even the most adventurous to reach the furthest corners of this desert land. Visitors can explore its variety of interesting destinations along tar, gravel and salt roads, and venture off the beaten track on 4x4 routes over mountains and through dry riverbeds. Namibians who love camping and exploring have been going that way for generations. But visitors have only been able to taste the freedom of exploring on their own since specialised rented vehicles have become available. Bertie, who has tried and tested many cars over the years, starting with that very first Combi with which he took his family on camping trips, can tell you exactly what was wrong with which make and why, from their very first batch of small rental cars until they eventually opted for Toyota 4x4 double cab Land Cruisers as their flagship camper. Even though he considers these hardy and reliable cars to be the best suited and safest for Namibian roads

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and for the weight of the camping gear they have to carry, Bertie nevertheless reinforces the suspension and he does not compromise on the type of tyres. Safety and reliability will always be his first priority. Looking at the innovative ways he and his partner have adapted and improved the campers over the years, it is obvious that they are experts not only on the mechanics, but being avid campers themselves they also have

HANS CLOETE

Hans Cloete has always been good with his hands. At a young age he witnessed the forced removal of people from the Old Location to Katutura, at which time both his parents left Windhoek to stay on a farm out of town. Hans remained in the care of his older sister and her husband. Hans eventually followed suit, leaving school and a living situation that had become unbearable. His innate skills and handiness became obvious to the farmer, who encouraged Hans to return to Windhoek as a young man and find practical work. Finding his first job at a mechanical workshop, washing cars, he couldn’t help being interested in what was going on around him and soon learnt as much as he could about fixing cars. Now aged 67 years, Hans has a lot to be proud of. He has brought up his five children, all of them have completed matric exams and his son is about to finish his medical degree at UNAM. He couldn’t be prouder. Work hard, he says, and make the best of any situation.


ADVERTORIAL

ANDREAS JEROBEAN

Bertie Ham en Renè Kronsbein, owners of Savanna Car Hire

first-hand experience of what makes camping a comfortable and gratifying adventure. Bertie is very grateful to have Renè as his younger business partner who takes care of the day-to-day running of the business, allowing Bertie to concentrate on what interests him most, such as sourcing the next level of self-drive camping. With a smile he acknowledges that he may have reached the age when comfort and extra luxuries are important. No wonder then that the next addition to the Savanna Car Hire camper fleet will have a range of special features to entice the discerning, and perhaps older traveller.

Born in a small village near Oshakati, Andreas Jerobean had to walk 20 kilometres to school every day. After grade seven he decided to leave school and start making a living. This was prior to independence, and the rural countryside was a rough place to be. Young Andreas left home and worked at Rössing Mine before eventually finding his way to Windhoek and to Savanna Car Hire. Andreas has been with Savanna for eleven years now, washing and cleaning 4-wheel campers after clients return from their trips around the country. He finds it interesting, he says, how there are two kinds of people: those who clean the car before dropping it off and those who don’t. He cleans about fifteen cars a day, getting through his work as quickly and efficiently as possible. Andreas met his wife while they were at school together. She is in Ovambo with their children while he supports them from the capital. This way, he says, he has been able to provide a large house for them, which would have been impossible in Windhoek.

From a small building on Snyman Circle in Windhoek which Bertie and his siblings inherited from their father, Savanna Car Hire has expanded into an adjacent warehouse, covering every square meter and still there is not enough space. Their expansion did not only grow their own business, but because they make use of Namibian suppliers to build the camping cabs, these partners also innovate and expand. With a sense of responsibility, and of fun and lots of energy as the little warthogs with tails in the air on the Savanna Car Hire logo, there seems to be no stopping the team to embrace every new challenge. TNN

Tel: +264 61 229 272 Email: info@carrental-namibia.com www.savannacarhire.com.na

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There is nothing absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats (watching birds) - Grahame Kenneth


Riverboat

birding

Text and Photographs Pompie Burger

As if game drives in a vehicle aren’t bad enough, someone has invented boat trips. The worst part of this is that it gives an even better opportunity for lodges to entertain (keep busy) their guests with another form of boredom. One advantage is that boat trips have less dust. Maybe the drives originate from the cruise and not the other way round, but in the end it doesn’t really matter, it is all the same. After this interesting article I might be banned from all lodges (with rivers) in Namibia, but sometimes one has to get these things off your chest. You can even take pictures of hippos under water

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T

he one wonderful thing is that Namibia does not have that many rivers, so river cruising is still bearable. As mentioned above, all the ugly things of game drives are also applicable to boat cruises, but there are in fact a few terrible things to add to the misery of such an outing. For those lucky people who have never been on a boat trip, there are some things that you should know to make sense of this piece of crap (this story). There are a few items necessary for a boat cruise. A boat (you will be surprised), a guide/boatman (most often the same guy with the same surprises), a river, birds (no surprises) and guests (the ultimate surprise). Unfortunately, all of these items have their own pros and cons, so I will discuss each analytically, scientifically and in full detail. The river is probably the most important for obvious reasons. One can go on about how deep and wide it is, how strong the current is and how many bends and sandbanks there are, but I do not want to be stupid or sound negative about rivers at all. Essential to mention is that the depth is probably the most important factor, otherwise you will get stuck in the sand.

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As far as the boat is concerned, there are a few very important points worth mentioning and examining before you get on board. It must float, preferably with a working engine (onboard), except if it is a mokoro. The size will give you some clues on what to expect. Over 20 seats or a double-decker: you are in for a sundowner cruise; to be avoided unless you are an alcoholic/narcissist. A 5-10-seater is dangerous because then you might end up with other guests (will address this problem later). Ideally a two or maybe three-seater with only two passengers, not 100. For a bird photographer, such as myself, space is unfortunately very important for all my accessories like my wife Helga. This might sound chauvinistic/derogatory towards my wife, although you have to classify her somewhere in the greater scheme of things, and having expensive equipment herself, like the tripods, lenses etc. we can just as well put her there. The boatman can at times (most of the time) also be the guide. He/she is probably the most important item on the boat. He must be able to drive the boat, fix it and keep it afloat, not get lost and not have a history of poaching and speeding. He must know everything about the river’s dangers lurking under the water.


BIRDING WITH POMPIE No engine necessary

Of special importance: he must know the way back to the lodge, even after dark. As far as his birding skills are concerned, he must know where to find all the birds. If the guests happen to have an opinion on a species’ identification, he must respect it, even when the guest is wrong. He must laugh at my jokes even though they might not be that funny. While on the boat he must not talk on his cell phone, take his own pictures/selfies, not do any fishing on the side and definitely not try to jump slalom over hippos to avoid/cause casualties to his passengers. In exceptional cases he must be able to drive along with birds in flight at their own speed (see: photographer). The guests are in fact my favourite topic, for all the same reasons as with game drives. They are actually the most important item on the agenda, and not on the boat. The absence of co-passengers is the ideal situation. There are a few exceptions, the most important being Helga (see: items). She must be there to pass me a drink (drugs may be the road to nowhere, but at least it’s the scenic route), a lens or flash, wipe the sweat from my face, apply some more sunscreen to my face, adjust my chair and just be nice to me under these very trying and demanding circumstances.

Another possible way of transport on the river, but rather uncomfortable at times.


African Purple Swamphen, with a not too bad positioning by the boatsman.


BIRDING WITH POMPIE

As for other humans/tourists on board, they have a tendency to complain about the photographers swearing and taking all the best spots, and they also tend to get irritated when a photographer wants to take another picture (number 2500) of the same bird while smoking, to make the catastrophe even worse. Guests often talk too loudly, chasing away million-dollar birds (Dodos), or just behave like birders/photographers (bad people). Reading all these important but trivial points the reader might think I am an unsocial/antisocial person, but these are unfortunately all very real and valid points to consider. In conclusion I must mention that it will be very unlikely that you will ever see any river/seabirds without a boat, and a river view will give you a completely different and exciting angle to birds, animals, plants, even fish, except if you are an African Jacana who can walk on water or an African Darter who can see under the water. There is nothing as depressing as good advice, so for all my boat-loving friends and enemies: “It’s always worth the journey!” Worth mentioning is that boat trips for birdwatching are one of my absolute favourite activities, so if you book your next holiday/lodge make sure they have a boat/birding trip, and rivers on the agenda. TNN

Water lillies or Lesser Jacanas? Bet you will not see them without a boat. An African Skimmer unlikely to be seen from any place else than a boat.

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TRAVEL AND CHINA Text and Photographs Ginger Mauney

for good

Working with WWF in Namibia to raise awareness for the protection of rhinos, Ginger Mauney accompanied a team from Condé Nast China Traveler magazine to share Namibia’s conservation story and to forge a partnership for change that can help to stop the illegal trade in wildlife products. September 2019 marked two years without a single rhino poaching incident in north-western Namibia, but while Save the Rhino Trust Namibia, Conservancy Rhino Rangers and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism continue their efforts, the demand for rhino horn still exists in Asia.

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ravel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, said Mark Twain, the American author and humorist.

This point was beautifully demonstrated to me recently, not through travel to a far-off place to explore an exotic culture, but by travelling with people from a distant land in the country I call home – Namibia. Over a four-day period with a crew from Condé Nast China Traveler magazine any stereotypes I had loosely held about Chinese travellers, and particularly Chinese in Africa, were challenged on day one, withered by day two and were destroyed by day four. A team of bright, energetic, interesting and interested young people, led by Shawn Ong, the Deputy Editorial Director, were in Namibia to do a cover story for the October issue of Condé Nast Traveler, a glossy, high-end magazine, published in nine countries, that was launched in China in March 2013. When I met Shawn, and the photographer and videographer at Eros Airport, there was one problem. They didn’t have cameras. Their flights had been delayed, their luggage lost and they arrived in Namibia ready to capture stunning images but with no equipment that would allow them to do so.

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Leaving the airlines to sort out the luggage debacle, we flew to Damaraland Camp – Wilderness Safaris Namibia and the Torra Conservancy’s joint venture property in the northwest of Namibia – to begin scouting for the shoot. With expert advice from Eunice Wang and her company, Eunique Travel, the team had chosen to go to Damaraland, not just because of the stunning landscapes and warm, friendly people, but also because they were interested in rhino conservation. Their plan was to do the cover shoot, a video to promote it and a separate story and video on rhino conservation. That was the plan. But there was another problem. The rest of the production team’s flight had been delayed in Beijing and they would be a day late, which meant that what was already a tight schedule, became even tighter. When the entire production schedule was blown, Shawn laughed. We went to Fonteinpos village and he laughed with the children there. He laughed as he sang along with the staff at Damaraland Camp and he laughed when he saw a giraffe for the first time. It wasn’t the laughter of a crazy person, but that of a seasoned professional who understands that when you travel there are


certain things – like the weather and checked luggage – that are simply out of your control. It was the laughter of a kind man who connected with local children and camp staff and saw the spectacular beauty of the land and its wildlife. When the rest of the crew finally arrived the laughter continued, and at the centre of it all was a quiet, charismatic young man, Zhu Yilong. To those who know Chinese television and film, Yilong is a well-known actor, as well as a spokesman for brands such as Chopard, Coca Cola and L‘Oreal. He has over 18 million followers on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, and his digital magazine sold 410,000 copies in 1 second. At Damaraland Camp he was one of the team, yet it was his interest in rhino conservation that had prompted this trip. Through interpreters we talked about the challenges faced by Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT) trackers and Conservancy Rhino Rangers as they work to protect the last free-roaming population of black rhinos left on earth. The next day Yilong was part of these efforts. We travelled further north, where we met SRT trackers and Rhino Rangers and tracked a young rhino bull through thick mopane bush. Yilong and the crew spent time with Sebulon Hoeb, one of SRT’s most experienced trackers and leaders, and his son, Hofney, part of the next generation of rhino protectors who works as a Rhino Ranger in one of the conservancies, where communities benefit from the presence of rhinos through employment, tourism and joint venture partnerships. For the entire team, this was a brief immersion into a world they wanted to explore and we were keen to share. While Namibians work hard to protect rhinos in their natural habitat, we need partners around the world who will work equally hard to stop the demand for rhino horn. Rhino horn is keratin, the same substance as found in our hair and nails. It does not cure illness and it does not bestow status. Through Condé Nast Traveler and these bright, wellconnected individuals, this information can be shared with millions of people in demand markets, particularly China and Vietnam, to help end the illegal trade in rhino horn and other endangered species products. On September 22, World Rhino Day, Yilong became a Global Ambassador for WWF China with a mission to encourage responsible travel and to STOP the illegal trade in endangered wildlife products, with a strong emphasis on rhino horn. Yilong, Shawn, Eunice and the rest of this spirited team from China are part of the solution. With their belief in using the power of China for the common good, they will make a difference to the conservation of endangered species and, as they travel, they will break down prejudice, while spreading hope and laughter. I’d be happy to travel with them anytime. TNN

At the end of a successful trip to Namibia, Zhu Yilong, actor, and Sebulon Hoeb from Save the Rhino Trust. Eunice Wang, CEO of Eunique Travel and African safari travel enthusiast said, “Images of Namibia, the dunes, the elusive wildlife against its vastness, plus the added wonder that is the existence of luxury camps in seemingly impossibly remote locations, conjure up romance for Chinese visitors who are growingly in search of experiences beyond the material cosmopolitan offerings that they have frequented. We have identified many Chinese operators local to Namibia to provide ancillary services in culture and language, and sometimes diet, friendly to Chinese visitors, to pair with the stunning offerings of leading safari operators like Wilderness Safaris. Through our network of clients and industry colleagues, we have been able to communicate and promote tourism in Namibia quite successfully, and believe that what we see today is but the tip of the iceberg of things to come. As a result of arranging Zhu Yilong’s visit to Damaraland and his rhino tracking experience, inquiries both to our industry colleagues and us have picked up significantly.”

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Zambezi

A 12-year-old’s guide to camping in the

Text Christina Hugo Photographs Chrisna Greeff

My name is Christina and I am 12 years old. This year my grandpa turned 70, but I'm going to start this story with him still being 69. Since 70 is a big number, my grandma wanted our whole family to go travelling for his birthday.

A

ll the adults started talking about where we could go, and someone suggested an island. I thought it was a great idea! I imagined sitting on the beach, swimming, diving. Staying in a great hotel with a jacuzzi and WiFi. Sadly, what I found out soon enough was that a fancy hotel and jacuzzi are not my grandma's idea of fun. So going to a tropical island was out of the question. Then someone suggested camping in the Zambezi. The word camping meant that my grandma was already in from the beginning. I thought it could be fun, but if I got malaria they owed me a hundred bucks. So the Zambezi idea stuck, and that was that. We all looked forward to it and apparently I could drink a pill for malaria so

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it was sounding even better. Our lives went on until the week before the trip. Then everything got hectic! The adults were apparently under a lot of pressure. Preparing to go camping can be a bit chaotic, but the time you put into preparing pays off. It works out even better if you have the right equipment. Anyway, all the kids missed a day of school which was a bonus. Finally we were all stuffed into the car with a packet of snacks each, ready to go. Soon enough we were on our way to our first campsite, about five hours out of Windhoek. My mum is going all healthy so our snacks included the following: apples, bananas, oatmeal cookies, biltong and droĂŤwors and only two tiny packets of sweets.


Matthew Walters

We got to the first campsite before dark. I thought: “Yay, now we can relax!” How wrong I was. Just as I was about to sit down my dad said, “Come on girls, time to put up your tent”. I know what my fellow children are thinking - you have got to be kidding me! So we had to put up our tent, which is not as easy as it sounds. My dad was giving me instructions while my sister (who was supposed to be helping me) yelled about her socks that she couldn’t find. We were all done and sitting by the fire when my mom’s youngest sister and husband arrived with my three cousins. They are always late. Luckily they had a camper van so they didn’t have to set up camp in the dark.

We ate cupcakes before dinner because my grandpa was 70 years old. If I could suggest something to whoever is reading this and likes to shower when camping, it is this: do it early while it's still light. Having to scratch around for your things in the dark and then shower in the cold wind, because the showers aren't totally closed, sucks! Luckily I took my own advice from the beginning. The next day I woke up quite early, while the sun was just coming up. At least I think it was coming up, there was a huge wall made of stone next to our campsite so I couldn't be sure. This campsite was just a stopover (luckily) because we went to sleep with the sound of traffic zooming past. Delightful. But I survived.

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The first morning of the trip is like the first night: not the best. We only had time to drink one cup of hot chocolate before we had to start taking down our tents and pack the car (I can't say my sister was much help that morning, either). Our next campsite was Rainbow River Lodge on the bank of the Okavango River. It was another five-hour drive and we listened to the audio book The Witches by Roald Dahl. Outside were a lot of beautiful trees and a forest that looked like the Hundred Acre Wood of Winnie the Pooh. We stopped for lunch and played a bit of cricket and talked about my one-year-old cousin Hendrik and how he was making his family’s roadtrip a little unpleasant. Back on the road we drove past a lot of small villages and more beautiful trees. We arrived at Rainbow River Lodge late in the afternoon. We drove down to see the prettiest campsite ever! It was right by the river, with huge trees and green grass. The best part was that there were zero mosquitoes! Nothing! After we got out of the cars my cousins and I obviously did what normal kids under the age of fourteen do, we went to explore. I'm going to be honest, the only reason I actually went was so I could stall setting up camp. In the end I had to go back though. My sister and I chose a perfect spot for our tent, where we could wake up and see the river right outside our door. I then went to sit at a spot with a wonderful view of the sun going down over the river. The water turned pink, orange and a dark red with patches of blue here and there and we could hear the Popa Falls far away in the distance. Afterwards, back home, I think everyone missed that feeling of peace we had watching that sunset and hearing those sounds. We went to bed to the sound of water and hippos grunting. Now you must understand that the men in my family - most of them anyway - love fishing. The next day we did a boat trip with the whole family for the entire day, so the boys could fish. After a lovely shower (Rainbow's campsite had the biggest shower heads I have ever seen), I packed my bag for the boat

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- a book, nail polish and a warm jacket. The boat was big and flat, with a large table and chairs from where we could watch wildlife - elephants, hippos, crocodiles, birds - and catch some fish. The boat was steady and I could paint my nails in peace. We heard a lot of stories about the animals from the owner and the boys had all their fishing things in order and their rods in the water. They caught a fish called a Squeaker, which is apparently the sound it makes. It was a yellow colour with black dots all over. On our way back we stopped at a sand bank and played in the shallow water, 36 hippos staring at us from across the riverbank. We went back to the campsite wet and happy. The next day we went for a game drive in the Buffalo Game Reserve and saw very cute monkeys and lots of other animals. Our next camp was at Makolo. The campsite was beautiful, but I was in a bad mood. The only bad thing was actually the dust, because otherwise it really was pretty. An overgrown passage led from one campsite to the next. I put up my tent irritated with all the dust coming up my nose and into my ears, and with my sister who was doing everything wrong. The following evening we all went on a boat trip together, slowly moving through the paths that hippos had made between the reeds. The next stop was Livingstone Camp. We arrived at the campsite to find it occupied by a herd of elephants! I turned my head and there was an elephant literally looking right at me. I got a huge fright, but got over it quickly enough (if you go camping you have to expect elephants to stare at you for no reason). Livingstone was lovely. Since there was no fence around the site the animals roamed freely and we could hear them walking through the camp at night. It was great and I didn't get eaten by anything, so that was a bonus. I also didn't get Malaria! From there we turned around to make our way back home. We enjoyed the last night together on our family farm and ended our trip on a happy and awesome note. I never thought I would say this but I would DEFINITELY go on another trip with my weird and wonderful family. TNN


Imagine the early morning sun rays reflecting off of the water’s edge and the soothing sound of the water as it is gently broken by the bow of the boat cutting through its surface. An early morning or late afternoon boat cruise. Breakfast or sundowners. Around you the serenity of the African bush. Imagine you’re walking through the wild with a guide. Immersed in nature, surrounded by beauty. As close as it gets. Breakfast in a forest. A visit to the local community. Learning about the wonders of conservation, reducing, reusing and recycling. An engaging experience every step of the way. Wildlife abounds and the wet wilderness of Namibia’s Zambezi Region will enthral you. Your next wild adventure is at Nambwa Tented Lodge and Kazile Island Lodge in Bwabwata National Park, in the heart of the world’s largest conservation area.

reservations@africanmonarchlodges.com

|

+264 81 125 2122/+264 61 400 510

|

www.africanmonarchlodges.com


So Much More Than Just a Pretty View A

s humans living in concrete jungles we are permanently boxed. We have learnt to accept this as the norm. We forget about the healing properties of simply having space. An endless view that is liberating and allows our souls to breathe. In the heart of the unforgiving yet endlessly beautiful Damaraland, set on the highest mountain top in the area is a place where the heart can relax and the mind can wander.

Grootberg Lodge is situated on the edge of the Etendeka Plateau, affording a spectacular view of the Klip River Valley spread out underneath. The view is so enticing that it is easy to spend an entire day staring into the expanse far below. Managed by Journeys Namibia, Grootberg Lodge in ≠Khoadi //Hoas Conservancy is the first lodge in Namibia to be wholly owned by the community. The conservancy covers more than 3 000 km2 and is mainly inhabited by Damara people. Before it was established they mostly relied on subsistence farming or had to find work in other parts of the country. With the idea of creating shared wealth through tourism, registering a conservancy made the community the overall custodians and beneficiaries of the land. By reforming conservation efforts and educating the community on the potential benefits of being part of a conservancy, the success of this new undertaking was put into the rural people’s hands. Grootberg Lodge has created employment and also a regular income for community members. Furthermore, revenue generated through the lodge allows investment in social initiatives and provides means to assist the community.

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Apart from its unrivalled views, Grootberg Lodge offers a variety of activities which venture into the 12 000 hectares area of the Klip River Valley that has been set aside by the conservancy for conservation and tourism purposes. Guests can explore this unspoilt wilderness on guided elephant and rhino tracking excursions or a relaxing scenic drive across the plateau in the morning or evening. Those who prefer to maximise their rest and relaxation can book massages or other beauty treatments while at the same time enjoying the vista.

The latest activity at Grootberg is the Damara Cultural Tour that informs guests about the ≠Khoadi //Hoas Conservancy and its people. Guests are driven through the surrounding conservancy farms while one of Grootberg’s excellent guides tells them about the area and how people go about their daily business. The first stop is at a replica of a traditional Damara homestead. Guests are able to ask questions and are shown through reenactment how daily life was for this tribe of former hunter-gatherers and herders of livestock. Through interaction and spending time with their hosts, guests are afforded an exclusive opportunity to understand their origins, history, culture and traditions. Included is a visit to the ≠Khoadi //Hoas Conservancy office to meet the staff and gain knowledge of the conservancy’s structure and role in the community. The conservancy office is not only the heart of conservation efforts but it is also responsible for the wellbeing of its members. While a conservancy is great for the protection of natural resources and earning money from tourism, farming in an area where


ADVERTORIAL

predators and elephants roam free is far from easy. The excellent efforts by the conservancy staff, however, play a large role in finding ways to mitigate human-wildlife conflict and educate people as well as provide compensation for lost property, livestock or crops. Close to the conservancy office is a new Journeys Namibia venture: it empowers the local community and also adds value to what otherwise would be seen as trash. Glass bottles are recycled by crushing them into tiny fragments, which are melted in a wood-fired oven. The ‘new’ glass is used for making beads. The oven was built thanks to the funding and technical support received from MYEISHA, a Namibian company that produces high-end handmade leather handbags, and eight young people were taught in the art of creating glass beads. The collaboration with MYEISHA goes full circle, as the company buys the beads from the conservancy and uses them on the handbags as well as a jewellery line. Guests at Grootberg are shown the glass recycling process and have the opportunity to make their own beads. The Damara Cultural Tour is the best way to experience something out of the ordinary and gain a clear insight into the positive impacts and benefits that the conservancy enjoys as a direct result of owning Grootberg Lodge. A place to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul, explore the area’s nature, wildlife, meet its resilient inhabitants and learn from them: Grootberg Lodge will make you part of the community. TNN

Tel: +264 61 228 104 Email: grootberg@journeysnamibia.com www.grootberg.com www.myeishanamibia.com www.journeysnamibia.com

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Travel Notes from a Vagabond

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.

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WHAT’S IN A NAME? Scientific names of plants, animals and birds are more often than not Greek - or let me rather say Latin - to most people. But they provide fascinating information on numerous aspects such as their common names, characteristic features and in some cases also who collected them. Take for example the Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis). It is neither named after a sandwich, nor Sandwich Harbour, but after the type locality, Sandwich, a village on the east coast of England. Many birds owe their common names to the naturalists who first collected the specimens or in honour of that naturalist’s scientific contributions. The list of birds is quite extensive: Verreaux’s Eagle, Bradfield’s Swift, Rüppell’s Korhaan, Monteiro’s Hornbill – to mention but a few. Some species like the Damara Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus damarensis) and the Mosque Swallow (Cecropis senegalensis) – indicate the type locality. Specific names of birds also refer to distinctive characteristics. The specific name of the Black-bellied Bustard (melanogaster) is derived from the Greek words melanos (black) and gaster (belly).

The Marabou Stork’s specific name (crumeniferus) is a combination of two Latin words: crumena (a pouch) and fero (to bear) – a reference to its inflatable throat pouch. The name of numerous plants honours their collector. One such plant, Meyer’s Aloe (Aloe meyeri) has a restricted distribution in southern Namibia and the adjoining Richtersveld in South Africa. It was named in honour of the Reverend G. Meyer of the Steinkopf mission station in Namaqualand who first collected specimens of this species. Other plants and trees are named after distinctive characteristics. For example, the Buffalo-thorn (Ziziphus mucronata) owes its specific name (mucronata) to its pointed thorns. The specific name of the Laventelbos (Croton gratissimus) refers to the pleasant smell of its crushed leaves. The list is simply endless.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH A ‘SPOTTIE’

IS IT THE GROUND SQUIRREL OR NOT? The Cape Ground Squirrel (Xerus inauris) is a common small mammal occurring in southern Africa’s arid areas. It never fails to attract attention when it sits upright with its tail serving as an umbrella or when it dashes off at great speed to one of the many burrows in its warren when disturbed. It was only recently that I became aware that there are, in fact, two species of ground squirrels in Namibia. The Mountain Ground Squirrel (Xerus princeps) is confined to the mountains and hills of the western escarpment from the Fish River Canyon to south-western Angola and is classified as a nearendemic Namibian species. The more common Cape Ground Squirrel (Xerus inauris) occurs east of the escarpment in open terrain with sparse bush cover and plains. The two species are very similar in appearance and are difficult to distinguish in the field. The Mountain Ground Squirrel has three black bands instead of two on the long tail hairs. Its incisor teeth are yellow to orange instead of white.

TAKE A STEP WAY BACK IN TIME Have you ever been tempted to visit the National Earth Science Museum in the Ministry of Mines and Energy building in Aviation Road? It is a treasure trove of mineral and fossil specimens, as well as displays on mining. The fossil collections are especially interesting and include the oldest fossil ape found south of the equator, Otavipithecus namibiensis, the earliest flowering plants in Namibia and a life-size replica of a Massospondylus dinosaur which roamed the earth 200 million years ago – to mention but a few. The museum is located opposite the Safari Court Hotel. It is open Mondays to Fridays from 08h00 to 13h00 and from 14h00 to 17h00. Entry is free.

Spotted hyenas are known to mutilate and maim people sleeping out in the open. Many, many moons ago when we were all much younger, I was camping with some fellow travellers in the Hoanib River. As is customary, I looked around the campsite for tracks of anything that might visit unannounced at night, but saw nothing. As this was a ‘boys trip’ it was rather noisy and I decided to sleep a little distance away, using the vehicle as a windshield. Sometime in the early morning hours I woke up and my arm was wet and slimy. Panic gripped me as I tried to work out whether it was a nightmare or what it could possibly be. Moving as little as possible, I reached out for my torch and when I switched it on, there was my unwelcome visitor – a spotted hyena looking curiously at me. I sent the intruder skulking off into the darkness with a string of profanities and was extremely relieved when I realised that it didn’t have an arm or other body part in its mouth and my face was still intact. The rest of the night was spent in a very uncomfortable position on the vehicle’s roof rack. A lucky escape, I thought. Maybe I still smelt too fresh, or it was because what appeared to be a single young hyena. But the incident made me re-evaluate the sanity of sleeping out in the open where there are potentially dangerous animals!

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SWA SAFARIS

NAMIBIA

For your ultimate 4x4 self-drive safari.

+264 81 617 2604 | info@avahsrentals.com

www.avahsrentals.com

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76 + 78 Geverstreet (Dr. Kwame Nkrumah), Ludwigsdorf, Klein Windhoek NAMIBIA P: +264 61 25 88 67 | P: +264 81 127 2037 E: belvedere@afol.com.na | W: www.belvedere-boutiquehotel.com


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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welcome@otjimbondona.com | anita@profilesafaris.com Anita Slaney: +264 81 243 5478 | Wilfried Slaney: +264 81 127 4358 | PO Box 11013, Windhoek, Namibia Location: 120 km from Windhoek and 80 km from Hosea Kutako Airport

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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Experience with us the Beauty of Namibia, Wilderness of Botswana and Secrets of Zimbabwe

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25 YEAR

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• Personal service • One stop – shop (Accommodation, vehicle hire and activity bookings) • Specialize both in self –drive & guided Safaris • Cater for all: from family travel, filming crew, bird watchers etc. • Taste of African original • No hidden costs

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Once upon a time…

NAMIBIA’S WILD WEST Text Le Roux van Schalkwyk

M

y dad’s stories from when he was a young exploration geologist working in the Kaokoveld during the early 1970s have always fascinated me. Kaokoveld reminds me of a modern version of the old American Wild West, an untamed remote frontier where only those who knew their way would enter. Here are some of his anecdotes… Getting around and living in the northwest in those days was so much tougher than it is today. The area was still extremely isolated with many unmapped roads and unknown spots due to the poor road system, mainly accessible by 4x4 only, as well as the sparse population density. Due to the total remoteness of the Kaokoveld your field vehicle of choice and the equipment attached to it was therefore critical (read: you do not want a breakdown). Seeing another vehicle was almost unheard of and the ones you did see were government officials operating out of Ohopoho (the spelling of Opuwo back then). The locals had donkeys and their feet as the only means of transport. Land Rovers were virtually unknown in these parts as there was nothing that matched the reliability and power of the Ford F250 4x4 bakkie (or so it was believed). The large American 4x4 would be equipped with a mosquito-proof Pools

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steel canopy, double shock absorbers on the front wheels (fitted by Langner's Garage in Outjo), an extra 200-litre fuel tank and a 100-litre water tank at the back as well as some 16-inch cross-ply tyres. Without a proper tool kit, pump and tyre repairs and with the minuscule amount of traffic in these parts, you could easily get stuck between Purros and Orupembe for days or even longer. If normal conditions weren’t already tough enough on vehicles, the rainy season brought its own challenges. When wet, the Beesvlakte (an area called cattle plain) southeast of Ohopoho got so slippery that snow chains had to be fitted on all 4 tyres to get from point A to point B. Without them you were restricted to camp or had to slog it out on foot. Water for the field camp, situated in the central Kaokoveld about 130 km west of Ohopoho, had to be fetched in a 500-litre water bowser from the windpump at Omaue. It was not uncommon to spend hours there, begging and praying for a little bit of wind to turn the pump’s blades to pump some water. Cell phones were something of the still very distant future and communication was via the trusted TR 27 radio connected to the very efficient Walvis

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Bay radio/telephone system with its famous call sign “33”. It could connect you to anywhere on the globe but you had to remember that it was a one-way voice system. Saying “over” after each completed sentence told the operator in Walvis when to switch over to the other person on the line. Cooling facilities for food were extremely primitive and limited to the bulky, infamous Zero “freezers”. It was ages before the days of LPG appliances and Engel freezers. The Zero “freezers” were powered by paraffin, they were bulky, messy and poorly insulated with only a small cooler compartment that was unable to keep food frozen for long periods, especially during the boiling hot summer months. The cooling mechanism worked via an open flame mantle system, which created a hot box if not serviced regularly. This normally happened when you were away for your monthly shopping weekend in Outjo with the obvious disastrous consequences. As a youngster I regularly travelled through these areas with my family. Those trips, together with the colourful stories of my dad, awakened a wanderlust in me that is impossible to extinguish. 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

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Travel News Summer 2019/20