Namibia TRAVEL NEWS
Coast GINNING AT THE
ON A STUDENT BUDGET
THE TINY TOWN OF UIS
VOLUME 28 No 2 AUTUMN 2020
N$45.00 incl. VAT R45.00 incl. VAT
Skeleton Coast TRANSFRONTIER PARK
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 email@example.com 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 PRODUCTION MANAGER Elzanne McCulloch firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLIC RELATIONS Janine van der Merwe email@example.com LAYOUT & DESIGN Liza de Klerk firstname.lastname@example.org
Namibia TRAVEL NEWS
Coast GINNING AT THE
ON A STUDENT BUDGET
THE TINY TOWN OF UIS
VOLUME 28 No 2 AUTUMN 2020
N$45.00 incl. VAT R45.00 incl. VAT
Skeleton Coast TRANSFRONTIER PARK
COVER IMAGE I found this strange young family of elephant wandering up the Hoarusib River during a visit to Journeys Namibia's Shipwreck Lodge in Skeleton Coast National Park. The two older bulls were raising their young brother after his mother died a few months prior. An odd arrangement in the animal kingdom, but that is the magic of the Skeleton Coast. Here, in this desolate corner of the desert, life thrives and endures against all odds. - Elzanne McCulloch
TEXT CONTRIBUTORS Elzanne McCulloch, Pompie Burger, Le Roux van Schalkwyk, Mel Kelly, Charene Labuschagne, Dr Laurie Marker, Vera de Cauwer, Theo Wassenaar, TOSCO, Lee Tindall, Willie Olivier PHOTOGRAPHERS Elzanne McCulloch, Pompie Burger, Le Roux van Schalkwyk, Liza de Klerk, Charene Labuschagne, Cheetah Conservation Fund, Willie Olivier, Wessel Swanepoel, Tertius Knoetze, Vera de Cauwer, Chris Muashekele, Lake Oanob Resort, TOSCO, Gerhard Thirion 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.
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NAMIBIA TRADE DIRECTORY 2019/20
Namibia TRAVEL NEWS
THE GREEN ECONOMY
Coast GINNING AT THE
ON A STUDENT BUDGET
THE TINY TOWN OF UIS
A review of Namibian Trade and Industry
VOLUME 28 No 2 AUTUMN 2020
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TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA is a high-quality glossy Namibia travel and lifestyle magazine tasked with promoting Namibia to the world. Travel News Namibia is published quarterly in English and annually in German. The NAMIBIA HOLIDAY & TRAVEL is an annual tourism directory with over 200 pages of updated information on the country, regions, people, activities and wildlife. The NAMIBIA TRADE NETWORK is an annual trade and industry portfolio and is the pillar of information dissemination to the private-sector and the promotion of foreign investment.
WE'RE A SOCIAL BUNCH
It is Autumn in Namibia
– THE GOLDEN SEASON
few years ago in Travel News Namibia we had a series about the weather. Annabelle Venter researched and wrote it. Spectacular photographs taken during specific seasons added that extra drama. The most dramatic images of the four seasons were those of autumn. The majestic clouds and spectacular sunsets. Usually the rainstorms are powerful and accompanied by thunder and lightning. Rain does not continue for days on end like a grey curtain as it does in the greener parts of the globe. Showers in a desert country enriches the atmosphere with scents and sounds that energise all living creatures. The smell of rain on dry soil is intoxicating. Watching springbok on the white Etosha Pan against the purple clouds that had moved on but left the dramatic backdrop confirmed my belief that indeed it is. All Namibians are fixated on the weather. When you grow up or live in a desert country where the rain means life or death – not just a matter of “should I take my umbrella” – it is no wonder that we start most conversations with “wasn’t the rain yesterday a blessing”. As you can see on the cover, the elephants in Damaraland have adapted to desert conditions and still walk their ancient paths despite the devastating drought of the past years. We have lost large numbers of wildlife and domestic stock on commercial and communal land, but the awe-inspiring landscape is still there to inspire and enchant the most well-travelled photographers who thought they have seen everything. Fortunately for our readers, we have much to share in this Autumn edition to entice you to come visit again, or plan your first safari. If you are conscious of over-tourism or your carbon
footprint or the positive impact that your tourism money will have on the place you visit, Namibia can offer you some of the best options. Read about the B2Gold Rhino Gold Bar Project on page 54, an initiative that will ensure a sustainable future for the communities in the northwest who live, monitor and protect the biggest wild population of black rhino in the world. Writer and filmmaker Ginger Mauney, a long-time contributor to our publications and Board Member of Save the Rhino Trust, came up with the brilliant idea; Mark Dawe, Country Manager of B2Gold sold it to his mining company and in January the project was launched in Windhoek with great success. Be assured that in every edition of Travel News Namibia you will find the gems that make this country a destination that inspires – whether your heart goes out to people or nature, your soul needs beauty, your body yearns for adventure and your eye needs to focus through the lens. Every season is the best and in every direction you go there are gems to be discovered. In the 30th year of Namibia’s Independence, we welcome you to come and celebrate peace, freedom and prosperity with us.
Rièth van Schalkwyk
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
CONTENTS 10 BUSH TELEGRAPH What's up in the industry 14 GENERATION WANDERLUST Namibia on a student budget 20 CONSERVATION Explore the Cheetah Conservation Fund 22 DAAN VILJOEN Tackle the Rooibos Trail 26 IONA SKELETON COAST Africa's newest Transfrontier Park 34 LAKE OANOB RESORT Celebrating 25 years 36 TINY TOWNS Uis: The Gateway to Damaraland 40 STILLHOUSE GIN Capturing the spirit of Namibia 44 PHOTOGRAPHY FEATURE Le Roux van Schalkwyk 52 SUSTAINABLE TOURISM Plant trees, teach kids, light up, share skills
54 RHINO GOLD BAR PROJECT Helping rural communities save a species
56 BIRDING WITH POMPIE Snake Eagles of Namibia 62 THE 'SEW GOOD' COMMUNITY PROJECT One stitch at a time 64 LIVING WILD In the land of sand and freedom 80 ONCE UPON A TIME The first German surrender of World War I was signed under a tree in Namibia
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
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.
Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel Big Sky Lodges Okonjima and AfriCat The Mushara Collection Ongava Private Game Reserve Villa Margherita Namib Sky Balloon Safaris Skeleton Coast Safaris
CURRENT PRESIDENT: Hage Geingob
Multiparty parliament Democratic Division of power between constitution executive, freedom of religion legislature and
Freedom of the press/media
ECONOMY MAIN SECTORS:
Mining, ﬁshing, tourism and 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
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
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.
of surface area
HIGHEST MOUNTAIN: Brandberg OTHER PROMINENT MOUNTAINS: Spitzkoppe, Moltkeblick, Gamsberg PERENNIAL RIVERS: Orange, Kunene, Okavango, Zambezi and Kwando/Linyanti/Chobe
Numerous, including Fish, Kuiseb, Swakop and Ugab
LIVING FOSSIL PLANT:
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.
GMT + 2 hours
ELECTRICITY 220 volts AC, 50hz, with outlets for round three-pin type plugs
37,000 km gravel
Walvis Bay, Lüderitz
MAIN AIRPORTS: Hosea Kutako International Airport, airstrips Eros Airport
RAIL NETWORK: 2,382 km
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
INDEPENDENCE: 21 March 1990
ENVIRONMENT INFRASTRUCTURE ROADS:
MOBILE COMMUNICATION SYSTEM: GSM agreements with
Direct-dialling facilities to
117 countries / 255 networks
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
2.5 million 400 000 inhabitants in Windhoek (15% of total)
ADULT LITERACY RATE:
DENSITY: 2.2 per km²
14 regions 13 ethnic cultures 16 languages and dialects POPULATION GROWTH RATE:
over 1,700 schools, various vocational and tertiary institutions
FOREIGN REPRESENTATION More than 50 countries have Namibian consular or embassy representation in Windhoek.
Liza de Klerk
BUSH TELEGRAPH MORE CONVENIENCE AT TORRA Torra Bay is now equipped with banking and WiFi connectivity. FNB in partnership with Q-KON Africa installed a Twoobii Satellite Business Broadband Solution, so you can now pay with your bank cards for your accommodation, goods at the shop as well as fuel, using the FNB Point of Sale devices. Added to this, campers now enjoy free WiFi in the middle of the desert.
MORE ‘NATURALLY’ NAMIBIAN Naturally Namibia, a collection of some of Namibia’s top owner-run safari experiences, has welcomed Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel to the group. The elegant 41-bedroom hotel is part of Am Weinberg Estate in the upmarket suburb of Klein Windhoek. See www.amweinberghotel.africa Congratulations to Stephanie Mohrmann (right) in her new role as Naturally Namibia global ambassador and Welcome to Desireé Willemse (left) in the role of Ongava Sales & Marketing Systems Manager. Ai Aiba Rock Painting Lodge and Erongo Wilderness Lodge saw some stunning interior renovations. A new flair for established favourites on the outskirts of Damaraland.
Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel
FLYWESTAIR Namibia’s first private passenger airline, FlyWestair, recently expanded its flight schedule to serve all its destinations every weekday and on Sundays. You can now fly between Eros Airport in Windhoek and Ondangwa, Oranjemund and Cape Town six days a week. The airline is continuously updating its schedules and destinations, so keep an eye on its website for more developments coming soon. It’s about time.
MORE SUPERIOR AT HOHENSTEIN Ondili recently introduced new Superior Chalets at Hohenstein Lodge. The private and spacious chalets boast a living room, en-suite bathroom and extra large twin beds, as well as your own shady terrace with spectacular views.
Journeys Namibia are as busy as buzzing bees and have new products to show for it. Exciting hiking packages have been developed for visitors to Journeys’ Fish River Lodge, including a rustic accommodation option for those hikers wishing to spend the night at the “edge of eternity”. Sharing memories around an evening campfire has never looked this good. Guests at Hobatere Lodge now have the added option of a Boma Experience - an outdoor dinner under Namibia’s dazzling night sky, complete with African Bush storytelling and delectable fire-cooked meals. A truly immersive experience, the Tree House at Hobatere gives guests the opportunity to savour the solitude of nature at a private waterhole and a unique overnight stay in an exclusive wildlife area. A new property has recently been added to the Journeys portfolio: Little Forest Garden Retreat Guesthouse. This family-orientated guest house is located in the tranquil Eros neighbourhood in Windhoek.
Images: Denzel Bezuidenhout
MORE TIME TO
MORE TO YOUR JOURNEY
Hiker's heaven at Fish River Lodge
Boma Experience at Hobatere
Discover more about Journeys at www. journeysnamibia.com
We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us
MORE WILDERNESS AT
The Tree House at Hobatere
Wilderness Safaris’ famous Little Kulala near Sossusvlei is undergoing renovations this year. Scheduled to reopen in June 2020, the desert retreat will maintain its much-loved look and feel. The emphasis remains on celebrating the splendour of the Namib Desert.
ITâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S TIME FOR THE PERFECT BEER
OUR PERFECT BEER IS AVAILABLE IN 16 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT NBLEXPORT@OL.NA
Not for Sale to Persons Under the Age of 18. Enjoy Responsibly.
Namibia on a
student budget Text Charene Labuschagne 14
Liza de Klerk
Hi, my name is Charene and I am addicted to travel magazines. The glossy covers and saturated double-page spreads have tickled my fancy ever since I was little. It most certainly started with my parents’ loyal monthly purchase of Go! magazine, which I would ooh and aah over long before I could read. See, I’m a serial dreamer driven by beautiful images of all the places I plan to visit before I kick the bucket. Unfortunately, I currently find myself on a humbling student budget. That means travel, if not on my parents’ expense, simply put, ain’t gonna happen. In Namibia specifically, travel has become a rather expensive sport if you don’t earn in euros or US dollars. So here is my guide to exploring my homeland on half a paycheck rather than half of your life’s savings. TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
BIG PAN BREAKFAST (From Antoinette De Chavonnes Vrugt's My Hungry Heart) Use a large frying pan, heat oil and sauté the onions until golden. Add bacon pieces, garlic and pork sausages to pan and cook until brown. Add green pepper and button mushrooms. Continue to stirfry until soft. Add baked beans and chopped tomatoes. Season to taste, add sugar and allow to simmer for a few minutes. With the back of a soup ladle, make hallows in the sauce and break an egg into each hole. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and cook until the eggs are done. Sprinkle grated cheese over the breakfast pan and serve with white bread, vetkoek or farmstyle health bread.
CUTTING BACK ON BOOZE SAVES YOU A SH*TTON
I recently did Sober October. Not because I think I have a problem, because I don’t, but because my boyfriend was doing it and I am very, very competitive. I began the challenge on the 7th of October because I had attended Rocking The Daisies the weekend prior and you cannot get away not drinking Jägermeister. It’s obligatory and any Namibian knows you do not reject a shot of the herbal goodness. Drinking in the student town of Stellenbosch is not a spectator sport - you either get on the bandwagon or you stay home. But I was not going to lock myself in my duplex digs and miss out on the fun. #FOMO
2 large onions, sliced 20 ml cooking oil 3 cloves of garlic, crushed 125 g bacon pieces (or bacon rashers diced) 250 g pork sausages cut into pieces 1 green pepper diced 100 g button mushrooms, sliced 1 x 410 g chopped tomato 1 x 410 g tin baked beans in tomato sauce 100 g grated cheddar cheese 6-8 eggs Pinch of salt Freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomato
save you a lot of extra cash. Luckily you don’t have to sacrifice the authentic Namibian experience: pick up My Hungry Heart by Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrugt, which comprises all the Namibian recipes you need. Yes, you will have to wash the dishes, but home-cooked meals - or even better, meals cooked on an open fire - add a whole new facet to your adventure (and cooking repertoire.)
YOU DON’T NEED A MASSIVE 4X4
What I realised one fateful Thursday night - Stellenbosch also does not abide by regular “drinking days” - when the bill arrived and I owed a mere R50 (including tip), was that a lifestyle of drinking soda water is significantly more affordable. Even in a student town where booze is alarmingly cheap, soda water is cheaper. I saved a lot of money (which I ended up spending on Woolworths grapes) but nonetheless, cutting back on alcoholic beverages, albeit challenging, saves you a pretty penny. And those add up to a considerable amount - especially when you’re looking at a 5/7 drinking week. Your wallet (and your liver) will thank you.
Namibia notoriously has some of the most hectic dirt roads. And although a lekker Land Rover will certainly help with the gravel travel, it is not a prerequisite to exploring the coolest places. These vehicles are undoubtedly rugged but also famed for being very heavy on fuel and rather expensive to hire. I drive a 1998 Toyota Rav. My father calls it a Dinky Toy because it is small, slow and very sassy. But regardless, it takes me places - at 80km/h with the aircon off - because it is still a four-wheeldrive vehicle. Some of my family members from abroad have braved the Namibian landscape with two-wheel-drive sedan cars and still effortlessly reached their destination. In one piece (unlike a Landy.) Let’s be honest, if you’re travelling on a student budget you’re not going very far, so a smaller rental will certainly get you there. You might have to squeeze your gear and sacrifice legroom but you’ll be saving so much money you won’t be bothered.
PREPARE YOUR OWN MEALS
JUST ROUGH IT
It is very, and I mean VERY, tempting to dive headfirst into the food scene that is Namibia. With such a diverse culture and corresponding selection of food, I don’t blame you for wanting to indulge in Kapana, Eisbein and Mopane Worms. And you should without a doubt experience them - in moderation. But preparing your own meals whilst on your adventure is going to
Within our borders is a collection of luxury lodges bold enough to lure even Angelina Jolie. But we can’t afford those, no matter how much soda water we drink. Luckily, Namibia also comprises some spectacular camping facilities. If you choose wisely, you could find yourself glamping instead of camping. Proper ablution facilities, cool, sparkling pools and built braais
OUR GENERATION WANDERLUST SPECIAL SPOTS: Waterberg walk Camping along the Kwando River Spitzkoppe Arch Epupa Falls Fun near the Desert Grace Naukluft Pools Sossusvlei Waterfall swim at Warmquelle
are just some of the amenities you can expect. When I was younger and my parents were brave enough to take us on camping trips, my sister and I would spend a solid sixty minutes scouting for the best spot to pitch our tent, and then have a massive argument while doing so. In later years we discovered that singing Bohemian Rhapsody is the only way to avoid the squabbles, and lo and behold - we can now pitch a tent in six minutes flat while staying on key. I have much fonder memories of camping terrains than 4-star, air-conditioned lodge suites.
awaited trip. There is a whole bunch of things to keep in mind when setting up this budget, including the nifty sedan’s rental and petrol money, as well as the small fee they charge for campsites. Once you have the non-negotiable expenses sorted, you may begin adding a couple of dollars for the food you’ll be cooking yourself and the soda water you’ll be taking along. I’m ashamed to admit that I have lived off baked potatoes (a campfire staple) for a solid week. And although it’s not nearly as glamorous as the grapefruit diet, it’s cheap and easy, and honestly - who doesn’t love potatoes?
SETTING DAILY SPENDING LIMITS
Foregoing luxury at the expense of simply travelling is probably the most rewarding sacrifice. Because at the end of the day, whether you like to admit it or not, you’re perhaps going to treasure the memories of your limited legroom far more than those of your air-conditioned accommodation. TNN
When you’ve gathered all the money you’ve saved (thanks, soda water), it’s essential that you give yourself a guideline of how much you can afford to spend each day of your long-
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
10 QUESTIONS you should ask about your next TPMS (tyre pressure measure system)
So you consider installing a TPMS on your vehicle. Here are 10 questions you should ask before making the final decision: 1. IS IT EASY TO INSTALL? •
Internal sensors vs external sensors.
Internal sensors are installed inside the tyre, which means they are protected from theft. But at the same time, when you install the system you need the help of a tyre repair shop. Each tyre has to be dismantled for the sensor to be installed inside the tyre. The same has to be repeated at some time in the future, the sensor battery or the sensor (if the battery is not replaceable) needs changing. •
External sensors are installed on the valve instead of the valve cap. This is typically a five minute DIY installation. You also have the option to install an anti-theft device that will protect the sensor from vandalism.
A TPMS has the purpose to increase driving safety and the reliability of your vehicle, as not to get stranded on the roadside. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to install it correctly. A manufacturer who takes this seriously will provide several ways of installation support:
Videos: Explainer videos that will show installation and setup step by step can solve problems and answer questions that might arise during installation.
User Manual: A user manual will explain in detail and in your own language all the details of the system down to the package contents and conditions of warranty.
Technical hotline: Ideally there is also a phone number available if you have any questions or doubts.
2. IS IT EASY TO USE? A TPMS is a technical system that can also be used by laymen. What you want is information about the current status (pressure, temperature) of your tyres plus a warning (audible, visible) in case something is happening that might lead to a problem. You should not be expected to have a PhD in order to understand the complexity of settings or system functions.
3. HOW ABOUT READABILITY? While driving, you have a lot more things to do than babysit your TPMS. The TPMS therefore should be easily accessible and also easy to comprehend. If you have a display that shows all tyre pressures in big letters, so that you can read and grasp them in one short glance, this is the ideal situation. Having to tap a button to activate the display or to flip sequentially through the tyre information is more of a distraction (that might lead to destruction) and reduces driving safety rather than improving it. 4. DOES IT PROVIDE ADJUSTABLE WARNING THRESHOLDS? You may want to operate your vehicle using different tyre pressures for different driving situations. So adjusting warning thresholds should not be complicated but easy to do. A clearly structured settings menu will make changing the warning thresholds swift and easy. It should not be more than pressing a few buttons. 5. IS THE SENSOR ROBUST ENOUGH FOR THE INTENDED USE, I.E. IS THE SENSOR CASE MADE OF METAL? TPMS sensors are exposed to all weather conditions and also to all kinds of road conditions. In addition there is mechanical stress from the tyre rotation. With every bump that the tyre gets, the sensor gets a bump of the same magnitude when making contact with the rim â&#x20AC;&#x201C; if sensors are installed on rubber valves. A plastic sensor case may withstand this mechanical wear for a certain time, but in the long run a metal sensor case shows a clear advantage. Rugged and robust? Metal will go much farther. 6. ARE SENSOR BATTERIES REPLACEABLE? Sensors are electronic devices and they need electrical energy coming from a battery. Make sure this battery is replaceable, and that replacing a battery is an easy task, too. Otherwise prepare for replacing all your sensors after 4-5 years, which will cost as much as buying a new system. A replaceable battery might last just two years or even only one year, but three or even five batteries will be much cheaper than a new sensor. Consider the cost of ownership! 7. ARE SPARE PARTS AVAILABLE? Check with your future TPMS supplier. A TPMS is a technical system and an automotive accessory. As such it will see wear and tear and things may break eventually â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not a big thing if your supplier has the necessary spare parts. A display holder is broken? You lost a cigarette lighter adapter cable? This is no reason to throw away the system. The same goes for a defective sensor.
8. WILL SPARE PARTS BE AVAILABLE IN 10 YEARS? How long do you generally plan to drive a car? This is ideally how long your TPMS should serve you. Since it is a retrofit system, why not take it along from this car to your next one. Easy, if you have a reliable supplier who can still support you with spare parts. TireMoni has a history of doing just that. 9. IS SERVICE AVAILABLE? Sometimes things wear and break that you cannot fix yourself. Air might leak if a sensor gasket is worn down. Your display might fall and the glass breaks. In this case a reliable supplier can offer his service and repair your system. 10. WHAT IS THE PRICE OF THE SYSTEM? Considering all the questions above, a low price system is in the long run often more expensive than an adequately priced system of excellent quality that comes with a decent level of service and support. TNN
Tyre Pressure Monitor TM-160 (TireMoni 6-Wheel) N$ 3782 Product code: 9131002039
Tel: +264 61 295 6000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.cymot.com
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
COME EXPLORE NAMIBIA’S CONSERVATION ORGANISATIONS Laurie Marker invites Namibians and international guests to visit CCF 364 days of the year.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund is a one-of-a-kind place. Located near Otjiwarongo in central-north Namibia, CCF is a full-scale conservation NGO working to save the cheetah and its ecosystem.
rom day visits to overnight stays at our eco-friendly Cheetah View Lodge or the exclusive Babson House, at CCF you can see first-hand what it takes to save a species. Our visitors enjoy watching our Ambassador Cheetahs at the Cheetah Run and our Livestock Guarding Dogs at our Model Farm. Additionally we offer daily activities such as a personally guided tour around our centre and Cheetah Museum, daily feeding of our orphaned non-releasable cheetahs, and guided game drives to explore our Reserve. Our Research and Education Centre overlooks the picturesque Waterberg Plateau with many opportunities for photographing the surrounding wildlife. We are pleased to share our fresh homegrown and homemade foods at our café and we have a unique gift shop.
CCF’s Research and Education Centre is the base of our conservation efforts to save cheetahs in the wild. The centre offers visitors the opportunity to learn about what we do, but the majority of our work is done where cheetah occur in the wild. In 2020 the Cheetah Conservation Fund is celebrating its 30th year anniversary. CCF is a research, education and conservation institution dedicated to the long-term survival of the species. Interns, volunteers and staff, both local and international, work at the buzzing CCF facility that includes a full-time veterinary clinic and a genetics lab. CCF’s mission is to save the cheetah from extinction. This remains a difficult challenge due to ongoing indiscriminate
CONSERVATION killing of cheetahs by livestock and game farmers, habitat and prey loss and the illegal wildlife pet trade. The estimated wild cheetah population in Namibia is 1,400 adults and adolescents out of a world population of approximately 7,500. CCF supplies scientific data and information derived from observations to the Namibian government and governments of other cheetahrange countries so they may enact policies based on the most accurate, up-to-date information available. CCF works closely with the farming community as 90% of cheetahs live outside of protected areas. The drought of the past two years has taken a toll on the wild cheetahs as well as the wildlife they prey on. Cheetahs prefer wildlife over livestock. In addition, farmers and researchers have reported many deaths of cheetahs caused by wild leopards, as leopard numbers have increased throughout the cheetahs’ range in Namibia. And, cheetah cubs continue to be taken from the wild by farmers for pets, which is illegal. Many of these cubs are confiscated by MET and brought to CCF. Livestock, rangeland and wildlife management are key to living in harmony with cheetahs and other predators. Strategies developed by conservation organisations like CCF, such as the advancement of conservancies, non-lethal predator control (including the use of livestock guarding dogs, and herd health and management) and integrated wildlife-farmland management, have been very successful. CCF shares these strategies with farmers in their programmes called Future Farmers of Africa (FFA), which aims at the reduction of livestock loss and stopping the killing of predators. CCF promotes the use of specialised Livestock Guarding Dog breeds (Kangal and Anatolian Shepherds) to guard small stock. CCF’s research has shown that farmers employing such dogs have reduced their livestock loss by up to 80% and even 100% of what they had before getting a guarding dog. Predators avoid areas where guarding dogs are patrolling or barking loudly. As a top predator, cheetahs usually select the weaker, young, or slower or older game and thereby help to maintain a healthy wildlife population. Cheetahs also feed the veld. When they hunt, other carnivores such as jackal, leopard, birds of prey and vultures will also feed off a cheetah kill, thus reducing the need for these predators to prey on domestic animals. CCF is launching a new base in the eastern parts of Namibia, in the Omaheke Region and areas around Okakarara, this year: the
CCF East – Carnivore Conflict Support Base. That area consists of freehold, resettled and communal livestock and game farms. Farmers in the Okakarara communal conservancies and the north-eastern areas of the Omaheke Region experience conflict with the endangered African wild dogs, which they persecute and kill. With a global population of about 5,000 animals, the African wild dogs is one of the most endangered carnivores in the world. Namibia has about 300 African wild dogs. We need the farmers’ help to stop killing cheetahs and African wild dogs, as both these species are experiencing a sharp decline throughout the country, and the farmers in fact agree. CCF works with the Namibian government to implement programmes centered on farmers, school learners, job training and livelihood diversification, habitat restoration, eco-labelling, the advancement of conservancies, and nonlethal options for predator control. CCF has developed many free learning materials which include books and articles on reducing conflict with predators. For farmers who experience human-wildlife conflict we run a national 24 hour helpline to offer advice and assistance.
We need the farmers’ help to stop killing cheetahs and African wild dogs, as both these species are experiencing a sharp decline throughout the country, and the farmers in fact agree. CCF continues to help conserve both the cheetah and the African wild dog by continuing with its FFA and school environmental education programmes, developing humanwildlife conflict mitigation tools, building relationships with farmers, as well as conducting ecology research of the carnivores. By assisting the farming communities with better rangeland management an increased biodiversity will help the balance between wildlife and livestock farming, in turn allowing coexistence between farmers and wildlife. Programmes for schools and farmers are also available at the CCF Centre and groups are welcome to visit. TNN For additional information contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cheetah.org.
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
Tackle the Rooibos trail Daan Viljoen is so close (to Windhoek) Text and Photographs Willie Olivier
Soon after setting off on the 9 km Rooibos Trail in the Game Reserve on a chilly morning, we stopped in our tracks as we spotted a herd of blue wildebeest heading to the waterhole beyond the office.
fter watching their antics for a while we continued along a dry river course for about one kilometre where a signpost directed us to turn left. From here we ascended steadily and paused to catch a fleeting glimpse of a gemsbok (Oryx gazella) that took flight but stopped to look at us once it felt safe.
The trail took us through thornveld savannah vegetation, a mosaic of thorn trees and other species, including the red bush willow or rooiboswilg (Combretum apiculatum) after which the trail has been named. In Namibia it is commonly referred to as the kudu bush or koedoebos â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a reference to the popularity of its leaves with kudu and other wildlife. Some of the trees along the trail bear name tags, making it easy for those unfamiliar with Namibiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plants to identify them.
TICK OFF 200 BIRDS
Our first destination, a trigonometric beacon 1 783 m above sea level, was reached sooner than we had anticipated. The beacon marks the highest point of the park and lent itself as the ideal place to have a cup of coffee while we enjoyed the spectacular 360 degree view. To the east we looked down on the Windhoek valley and the sprawling city while the rolling hills of the Khomas Hochland unfolded around us. We counted ourselves lucky as there was a small group of Hartmann’s mountain zebra and two blue wildebeest in the valley below us and a few minutes later, three gemsbok appeared. The game reserve’s kudu, red hartebeest, springbok and giraffe unfortunately evaded us. After a short break we shouldered our day packs to tackle the next leg of the trail which meanders downhill for quite some way before climbing up to a ridge. A long steady descent along another ridge followed with some sections that needed to be approached with caution – largely because of the loose gravel. About 45 minutes after leaving the beacon, we arrived at a river bed which is usually dry. We crossed the river course several times and decided to take another short break to top up our energy levels with some nuts and raisins, biltong (good protein) and some energy bars. After following the river bed for about 30 minutes we came to a jeep track, but after just a few metres a signpost directed us to turn left. A steep uphill slog of 20 minutes awaited us until we emerged at the old restaurant complex. An easy 15 minute walk along a tar road took us past the Augeigas Dam back to the start, just over three hours after setting off. The dam with its 31.5 m high wall was built in 1933 following the devastating drought of 1931/2. A rich variety of waterbirds, as well as game, are attracted to the dam when it contains water. But unfortunately it had received little inflow during the past rainy season and we saw only a solitary duck on what little water was left.
DID YOU KNOW? • The park is only 25 km outside the capital and open throughout the year. Day visitors have access between 06h00 and 18h00. • An entrance fee is payable at the office. • Visitors over 16 years: Foreign N$ 40; SADC citizens N$ 30; Namibians N$ 10; Sedan vehicles N$ 10. The office opens at 06h30 and hikers are required to sign in before setting off and to sign out after completing the trail. • A fee which varies seasonally is payable by day visitors using the Boma Restaurant and other facilities of Sun Karros. Bona fide hikers who enter the park before 10h00 are not required to pay the Boma Day Visitor fee. Sun Karros, however, reserves the right of admission. • A map of the trail is available at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism office in the park.
Liza de Klerk
With a checklist of over 200 species, Daan Viljoen offers exciting birding opportunities, including several nearendemic species. Rüppell’s Parrot, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Carp’s Tit, Rockrunner, White-tailed Shrike and Violet Woodhoopoe are among the noteworthy species that have been recorded in the park.
The Wag-'n-Bietjie Trail is a shorter and easier option, suitable for families with children. Starting near the office, the trail follows a dry river course for 1.5 km to the Stengel Dam which is usually dry after poor summer rains, but after a good rainy season the dam attracts a variety of birds. The trail owes its name to the common Afrikaans name of the buffalo thorn: ‘Wag-'n-bietjie’, which means ‘wait a bit.’ As the name suggests, you can easily get caught up in the sharp, hooked thorns on its branches. TNN
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
A Culmination of Perfection A culmination of perfection is what comes to mind when visiting Droombos, an exclusive lodge that refuses to be associated with the ordinary. And rightly so. Situated only a few minutes drive outside Windhoek, Droombos brings a unique flair to celebrations of any kind. Whether it's celebrating birthdays, weddings or the beauty of Droombos by staying in one of the luxurious rooms, the dream-like atmosphere of the manicured gardens and towering ancient trees will enchant you. Droombos creates an opulent setting that is a perfect eclectic balance between nature, self-sustainability and luxury. RAMMED EARTH WALLS
Using an ancient technique, most of the structures at Droombos are built with rammed earth walls. The first examples of this building style were found in excavations at Jericho dating back to 8 300 BC. Rammed earth walls also make up a part of the Great Wall of China, and the Romans, too, used this method extensively. Although the history is fascinating, it is not the reason why this well established technique was used at Droombos. It's the environmentally friendly way of building that fits in with the establishmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s core values. Furthermore, the instantly recognisable red kalahari sand that is used provides an earthy backdrop which is not only natural but compliments the wonderfully laid out gardens around the lodge. Rammed earth walls are excellent insulators, creating rooms that are cool in summer and retain heat in winter. These walls
are completely non-toxic, non-polluting and they breathe naturally. This means safer, people-friendly buildings that are low in embodied energy and extremely comfortable to live in. The thickness and density efficiently cuts out external noise which ensures an excellent sleep, free of disturbance.
Without a doubt the stars of the gardens are the two massive camel thorn trees which are both more than 500 years old. Silent guardians that provide shade for the events arranged on the lush green lawns beneath the long branches of their green canopy. The large garden is a small paradise not only for birds but it is also a popular space to host specialised events. The 100 poplars, 140 apple trees, massive blue gums, wild figs and a number of cherry and wild mulberry trees create a garden unlike any other in Namibia. Additionally, the vegetable and herb gardens don't just add
Suitable for everything from conferences, corporate functions, weddings, celebrations to baby showers, Droombos is the perfect location where your dreams will become a reality.
to the diversity of plants in this green space, but supply the restaurant with the freshest produce, straight from the land. The lawns and ample shade make the garden perfect for lazy Sunday picnics, but it is similarly ideal for baby showers, kitchen teas and birthday celebrations.
Each room has its own personality and is named after one of the plants in the garden. The beautiful rammed earth walls are complemented by rosewood ceilings and floors. The spacious suites each have extra-long king-size beds, covered in lush Egyptian cotton, and a gorgeous bath that will rejuvenate travellers after a long flight or eventful Namibian safari.
THE PERFECT VENUE
Suitable for everything from conferences, corporate functions, weddings, celebrations to baby showers, Droombos is the perfect location where your dreams will become a reality. With the range of venue options at Droombos, every event is covered.
THE BLACK BARN
Accommodating more than 500 people, the Black Barn is a large contemporary building that was intentionally designed to be versatile and can effortlessly be adapted to host any type of event from corporate functions to weddings to product launches. Its large side doors open onto a wooden deck that overlooks the well-manicured old camel thorn garden.
DIE ROOIE GALLERY
Don't be fooled into thinking that this is purely a gallery. As with the other function venues at Droombos this delightful rammed earth building is versatile and can be set up to your exact needs. The perfect space for an unforgettable art exhibition,
but it also works beautifully as a wedding chapel and for many other purposes. A place to celebrate all things beautiful, the Die Rooie Gallery accommodates up to 250 people.
The smallest of the venues is the Library. It has room for up to 40 people which makes it suitable for a small conference or for an intimate dinner with family and friends.
Large glass panels ensure a scenic 180 degree view onto the Droombos garden. Matching the view is the simple yet delicious menu. Sourcing only the finest ingredients from across Namibia as well as freshly harvested vegetables and herbs straight from the Droombos garden, guests are treated to a culinary feast. The seasonal ingredients not only create an ever-changing menu, but also ensure an environmentally friendly dining experience. The delicious treats, baked freshly every day, are enough reason to come to Droombos for coffee and cake and a quick escape from the city.
PUB AND LOUNGE
This English-style pub entices with its rich rosewood ceiling, floor and bar counter complemented by inviting couches and stylish decor. It is a great place to meet friends for a drink after work or to decompress after a long day's drive. Droombos is a celebration. It celebrates nature and our place in it. Whether gathering as family and friends to experience the union of two loved ones, a baby shower as part of the excitement of welcoming new life, or a beautifully arranged corporate function in the old camel thorn garden â&#x20AC;&#x201C; make sure you have it at Droombos. TNN
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
Iona Skeleton Coast: Africaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newest Transfrontier Park and Namibiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s third, straddles Namibia and Angola
It’s rough and it’s wild
oth Skeleton Coast National Park in Namibia and Iona National Park in Angola are true wilderness areas: remote, pristine, with a very low human population density. The name Skeleton Coast refers as much to the many whale and seal bones, as it bears witness to the difficult conditions for human survival in the desert, especially for survivors of the numerous ships that sank along the treacherous coast. The wilderness of the new Transfrontier Park is appealing for ecotourism, but goes hand in hand with difficult accessibility. Road infrastructure is limited and can only be negotiated with four-wheel drive vehicles. Camping infrastructure is limited as well. Travellers need to take their own fuel, food and water along. In the Skeleton
Coast there are only two places where camping is allowed and both are in the south of the Park. Iona, Angola’s oldest and largest national park, has four basic camping sites that were recently erected by the European Union. The two parks are not connected by roads, as there are no bridges across the Kunene River which forms the border between Namibia and Angola. The closest bridge is at Ruacana, about 300 km upstream of the Kunene River Mouth. Crossing the river by boat is complicated by the aggressive crocodile population. To realise the tourism potential, there is much investment needed in a range of infrastructure, including campsites and other accommodation, improvement of cross-border access and a way around the elaborate customs requirements.
Terrain conditions are rough in Iona National Park
Iona Skeleton Coast (SCIONA) became southern Africa’s newest Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) in May 2018. The Park, located in the northern Namib Desert of Namibia and Angola, covers an area about the size of Belgium (31,500 km2). TFCAs connect protected areas across international borders and are collaboratively managed. The largest TFCA in the world is Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) in Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. Recognising the potential of these natural and cultural assets to protect ecosystems and drive environmentally sound human development, the SADC member countries have put into place a legal framework that guides management and optimises sustainable returns. There are now eight TFCAs in the SADC region, of which three are shared by Namibia.
Tertius Knoetze Wessel Swanepoel
Beached whale in Skeleton Coast National Park
The Kunene River near Otjinungwa, the natural border between Angola and Namibia
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
Jackal and brown hyena are found in most parts of the park, as well as small numbers of cheetah and leopard, while desert-adapted lion prey on seals along the Skeleton Coast. Poaching still continues and carnivores are often poisoned. The few rangers operating from Möwe Bay for Skeleton Coast National Park and from Espinheira for Iona are ill equipped to deal with poachers. They only have a few, not wellmaintained cars at their disposal and lack sufficient means of communication, especially as there is no mobile phone network. We expect that large mammals will migrate from north-western Namibia, where populations were increasing until the drought of the last few years, to Iona National Park. Since the Transfrontier Park has no human barriers, animals can roam freely. The Namibian government aims to re-establish the historic migration patterns that allow wildlife to cope with the highly variable climatic conditions. Support of the local population will be required to realise this, especially to battle poaching. Semi-nomadic Himba, Curoca and other communities live in the east of Iona National Park, while Himba and Zemba communities live east of the Skeleton Coast. Local communities in Namibia are already taking ownership of their wildlife through the conservancy system. The success of the
Vera de Cauwer
The desert-adapted game in the park include springbok, ostrich and Hartmann’s mountain zebra. They are especially found near natural springs or along the ephemeral rivers, linear oases that run through the desert from east to west. Historically there were more species and larger populations in the parks. Populations plummeted during the liberation struggle in Namibia and the civil war in Angola. Heavy poaching during these periods caused the disappearance of elephant, rhino and giraffe from Iona and the northern parts of the
Skeleton Coast. Place names referring to these majestic animals and rhino rubbing stones are all that remain. The endemic black-faced impala used to occur along the Kunene River but is now restricted to Etosha and the southern Kunene Region in Namibia.
Vera de Cauwer
When scientists say that a species is endemic to an area they mean that it occurs only there and nowhere else on earth. Because endemic species are more vulnerable to environmental change – they simply have fewer places to escape to when threats appear – an area with a high number of endemic species is usually very important for conservation. Containing a large part of the Kaokoveld Centre of Endemism, the Iona Skeleton Coast Transfrontier Park is such an area. It is also characterised by high species diversity and many super-endemics – species occurring only in the park. Endemism is especially high in the mountainous areas and the transition zone from desert to semidesert where the coastal fog still has an influence. Kaokoveld endemic species include the desert plated lizard, the near-threatened Damara tern and Euphorbia rimireptans, a species discovered only in 2018 as part of the SCIONA project. Welwitschia mirabilis, the Namib icon (and national symbol of Namibia), occurs in the park as a near-endemic of the Namib Desert. The lichen fields and dune hummocks along the coast form a fragile ecosystem easily damaged by off-road driving.
Giant Welwitschia just north of Iona National Park
Rhino rubbing stone in Iona National Park
SCIONA is a project implemented by the Namibian University of Science and Technology (NUST) providing support towards realising Iona Skeleton Coast Transfrontier Park and aiming to address some of the large knowledge gaps for the area. Conservation technologies such as apps, camera traps and satellite tagging, are designed in cooperation with the local communities that live in Iona and east of Skeleton Coast Park and with support of the Angolan and Namibian ministries. The project is implemented in partnership with ISCED - Huíla and with funding from the European Union. More information at: sciona.nust.na
Exploring the terrain with local community members in Iona National Park
conservancy system is based on the potential to generate income from the sustainable management of resources, for example by renting concessions to lodges, selling quotas for trophy hunting, or collecting natural resources such as the wild myrrh. It provides the communities with strong incentives to protect these areas from the many threats they face. Unfortunately the communities have seen little benefit from their proximity to the Transfrontier Park. The current drought affects the Himbaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s livestock grazing patterns and increases humanwildlife conflicts, especially between carnivores and livestock. Tourism may offer an alternative income for the local population but it is currently very restricted with fewer than 2000 visitors per year, and these are mainly anglers attracted to the cold Atlantic Ocean. Even though the tourism sector is better developed in Namibia, there are relatively few permits issued annually to enter Skeleton Coast Park. Permits are mainly requested by shore anglers visiting Torra and Terrace Bay. The area does, however, offer many potential tourist attractions other than angling. The spectacular scenery, the fairy circles, cultural tourism, the Pediva hot springs, the Kunene River which forms an oasis in the arid landscape and ends in a wetland hosting pelicans, thousands of migrant birds and two tortoise species (amongst others), are tourism destinations or
attractions waiting to be developed. Local communities have expressed interest to diversify their income, including through tourism. It will, however, take time to obtain the necessary institutional support and to learn how to deal with tourists and their different cultural backgrounds. The fact that tourists rely on a monetary economy is an obstacle to income generation as local communities mainly rely on bartering, especially in Iona. Many challenges thus have to be overcome before the Transfrontier Park can become a premier tourist destination, while at the same time serving transboundary conservation purposes and accommodating the local population. The SCIONA project is now playing an important catalyst role in this. The most important challenges will be outlined in the integrated development plan that is compiled by the Namibian and Angolan governments, with assistance by the project. The plan, which includes an evidence-based ecosystem management plan, will provide strategic guidance for realisation of the Transfrontier Park and serve as a tool to attract funding to address further challenges. These developments are testimony to the commitment and interest shown by the Namibian and Angolan governments and local communities to succeed in making Iona Skeleton Coast Transfrontier Park a model for socio-economic development based on the conservation of biodiversity. TNN
Text Vera De Cauwer and Theo Wassenaar, Faculty of Natural Resources and Spatial Sciences, Namibia University of Science and Technology
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
Immerse yourself in the wilds of Namibia with our selection of epic adventures and activities. Hiking, biking, birding, rhino tracking and so much more. Create your active journey and lasting memories with us.
Auas Safari Lodge | Fish River Lodge | Grootberg Lodge | Hoada Campsite | Hobatere Lodge | Shipwreck Lodge | Little Forest Garden Retreat Guesthouse
Historic Solitaire, at the edge of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, has something for everyone. Delicious food and wine, fresh pizza, draft beer, and our famous apple pie. A General Dealer, petrol and tyre repair will get you sorted. Stay-overs include popular Solitaire Lodge and secluded Solitaire Desert Farm. Take a guided scenic drive, or relax by the pool. Enjoy our desert vistas and free-roaming wildlife habitat on foot, by fat bike or from a hot air balloon.
Open Space for Wildlife bordering Namib-Naukluft National Park Visit historic Solitaire in the heart of the 18,000ha Solitaire Land Trust - Lodging, Food, Activities & Services Book online at: www. solitairenamibia.com
Lake Oanob Resort Celebrates
25 Years The popular Lake Oanob Resort on the banks of the Oanob Dam recently celebrated its 25th year of operation. An impressive milestone for a business that started humbly, but always with a bigger vision in mind.
anob Dam attracts water-loving Namibians like moths to a flame, especially during those boiling hot summer months. Only an hour away from the capital, Lake Oanob Resort is particularly popular as a weekend getaway, but its world-class facilities also attract scores of foreign visitors. What started as a vision, shared by a few people, of the recreational potential of the dam and its surrounds, has proven a dream to be a reality for 25 years already. A lot more was envisioned for the resort than purely aquatic recreational activities and accommodation. In the year 2000, the development of a small game park started with the construction of a game-proof fence and the introduction of some indigenous game species. Giraffe, sable antelope, eland, gemsbok, zebra, waterbuck, hartebeest, wildebeest, springbok, impala, nyala, blesbok, kudu and ostrich have since been successfully introduced to the scenic 6 200 hectare area that the resort is situated on. By creating a game reserve, Lake Oanob Resort was able to add game drives to its list of activities, which includes boat rides, canoeing, aqua cycling, tube rides, swimming and birding. The resort is also popular among casual hikers because of the wildlife and the beautiful routes available. The Rustic Bar was the first building completed and opened its doors to the public on 5 December 1994. Construction of the marina, the reception area and a few campsites started in 1995. A year later the first
luxury chalet, named Mufasa, was built. Unfortunately it burnt down only a month after it was completed. The fire, however, was just a small speed hump on the road and the chalet was rebuilt the same year together with a second one, Rafiki. n terms of lakeside accommodation, guests have a choice of options depending on preference. The resort boasts 13 comfortably furnished selfcatering luxury chalets and 10 ensuite rooms which together can house just short of a hundred people. For the more adventurous there are 31 campsites, each with its own unique character. Completed in 1990, Oanob Dam was built in the mountainous area 7 km west of Rehoboth to provide the small town with freshwater. The dam is fed by the Oanob River that flows eastward from
the central highlands. It is considered part of the Nossob-Auob Basin which is located in south-eastern Namibia across part of the Hardap, Karas, Khomas and Omaheke regions and is predominantly characterised by the Kalahari Desert shared across the Namibian-Botswana borders. The dam collects water that would otherwise seep into the sand south of Rehoboth. Several local business people saw the recreational potential that the large body of water has and decided to put their heads together to make a dream a reality. In 1992 they established the Acasia Resorts company with 42 shareholders, each of whom contributed N$ 1 000 as an initial investment. Negotiations to lease the piece of land surrounding the dam were initiated the same year and an agreement was approved by the Namibian
cabinet during 1994. On 11 November that year the lease was signed and construction work started immediately. Starting with only two employees in 1994, Lake Oanob Resort has grown substantially, serving around 36 000 guests in 2019 alone, and currently employs a staff of 80. The popularity of the resort is evident in the number of guests received each year both from Namibia and abroad. In an effort to reduce the resortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s carbon footprint, two solar plants have recently been set up. Furthermore, a vegetable garden has been established for the restaurant and achieve a measure of self-sufficiency. Because of the existing drought, barley has been planted to provide feed for the fenced-in game of the small reserve. TNN
the Gateway to Damaraland Text and Photographs Le Roux van Schalkwyk
ost to an annual sports flying weekend and a Land Rover festival, Uis is a small town that offers loads more than what itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dusty exterior and old mine dumps suggest. Mining towns are usually prosperous while the mine is extracting whatever sought-after mineral is found there. Creating not only employment, but also business opportunities that come with the influx of new people into the settlement. Unfortunately mines have a limited lifespan and their viability also depends on the global market and prices of the minerals they extract. This can result in those small towns becoming ghost towns when the mines are forced to close down. The tiny town of Uis was faced with this situation when its tin mine had to close its doors right after independence in 1990. Through ingenuity and determination, however, its residents shifted the focus from mining to tourism and brick manufacturing. The tin deposits at Uis were discovered in the early 1900s. Although some small-scale mining did take place it was not until the 1950s that IMCOR Tin, a subsidiary of ISCOR, the well-known South African company, started full-scale operations. IMCOR Tin built Uis for its employees and developed the mine into the world's largest hard rock tin mine. It became the most important source of employment in Damaraland. The collapse of tin prices in the late 1980s was terrible news for the viability of the mine and it had to shut down in 1991, which meant a massive loss of employment and an exodus of people from Uis. In 2006 Namclay Bricks and Pavers found a unique way to create employment and at the same time partly rehabilitate the mine. The company uses a special process to extract clay from the former mineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s slimes dam which is used to produce high strength weather-proof bricks. Due to their high thermal mass the clay bricks are natural insulants, making them an ideal building material to regulate indoor temperatures in Namibiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hot climate. The bricks from Uis are instantly recognisable by their light yellow-brown clay colour. Apart from brick production, tourism was the other saving grace for Uis. Its location makes it an excellent gateway to
Its location makes it an excellent gateway to popular Damaraland, where travellers can fill up with fuel at the petrol station or do some last minute shopping before continuing on their way. popular Damaraland, where travellers can fill up with fuel at the petrol station or do some last minute shopping before continuing on their way. The Brandberg Rest Camp is well-known in the area as a base for exploring further into Damaraland. The rustic bar and restaurant with its eclectic mix of locals and tourists offers an ice cold drink and a hearty meal to the weary traveller. The large pool is also very inviting during the boiling hot summer months. Uis is just over 30 km away from the White Lady rock painting in the Brandberg, the highest mountain in Namibia. This ancient art, painted by the San inhabitants of the area in prehistoric times, has baffled scientists for years. Only theories exist as to what the figure of the "white lady" represents. First discovered in 1918 by German explorer and topographer Reinhard Maack and described by him as having an Egyptian-Mediterranean style, the painting has enticed many anthropologists and amateurs to try and unearth the true meaning of this image. One theory suggests that the Brandberg may have been visited by travellers from the Mediterranean Sea, while another claims that the white figure might have been a visitor of Viking descent. Modern theories take a simpler stance, assuming that it depicts a shaman painted in white during a ritual dance. The amount of earth that was moved during mining operations is impressive. Sadly, the towering mine dumps are the welcoming feature when entering Uis, as a reminder of the town's history. Recently, mining operations have slowly started again, but at least this time around Uis has made a name for itself as more than just a mining town. TNN
OUR ETOSHA RESORTS
SOME OF OUR PRIZED POSSESSIONS
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in seclusion, on the rim of the majestic Etosha Salt Pan and aLaLi Resort is situated at the base of a dolomite hill, nesfar away from the public self-drive routes, Onkoshi provides a tled amongst shady Mopane trees in Namibia’s legendbeautiful escape within the Etosha National Park. The 15 freestandary Etosha National Park. The thick vegetation in the area The offer leisure asa varifishing, sun-bathing etc.to There ing Miles chalets (30 beds) overlook the activities vast pan, which such is home to makes it a popular draw leopards, are rhinostourist and elephants. ety of exotic wildlife, including a crowd of pink flamingos 4 of the attractions in the surrounding areas and such as seal watching at Cape Cross or big 5 game in the rainy season. Some of the most popular waterholes of the park are located in visiting the Dead Sea and climbing to the top of the Namib’s massive dunes. close proximity to Halali, and the floodlit waterhole at the camp is an attraction to both wildlife and the visitors seeking to spot it. The unobstructed panoramic sunrises and sunsets are spectacular sights to behold. At night, the stars fill the vast open African sky, The guided morning, afternoon, and night game drives arranged allowing for sensational stargazing opportunities. at the resort provide flexible opportunities to see the wildlife. ocated
OKAUKUEJO RESORT MILE 72
NAMUTONI RESORT MILE 14 +264 67 229 300 ile is306situated +26414 67 229
in the northern outskirts of the popular holiday OVERVIEW town of Swakopmund. It is the perfect place to sit back and relax, just a few uiLt into an old German Historic Fort built in 1897, Namutoni minutes’ drive from the buzz of town Resort is the perfect setting for a cultural adventure African andsavannah. just aIt isstone’s throw from the ocean. located in the eastern part of the Etosha National
Park in close proximity to the Fisher’s Pan – a hotspot for birders.
The romantic fort overlooks the flood-lit King Nehale Waterhole from which visitors can enjoy views of wildlife without leaving the resort. The swimming pool and bar offer moments to relax and socialize.
+264 67 229 800 short +264 67distance 229 852
from popular fishing town, Henties Bay, Mile 72 is the campsite of OVERVIEW choice due to its lovely weather and proximity to fantastic fishing waters. With kaukuejo , located 17 km from the southern entrance 240 ofcampsites that Park, canis famous accommodate the Etosha National for its floodup lit to six people, thecan campsite is the waterhole, where visitors observe at close quarters a spectacle of wildlife congregating and interacting. perfect choice for small groups and big.
Accommodation is provided to suit every need, in premier bush chalets overlooking the waterhole; bush chalets and double rooms; or family chalets. Other facilities include a restaurant, bar, shop, swimming pool, kiosk and camping facilities.
The campsites take a maximum of 8 pax per site. There are braai facilities for campers and flat bases to make fire. The camp opens at sunrise and closes at sunset as per the general park regulations and day visitors are only allowed to use the picnic facilities up until 16h00.
DOLOMITE MILE 108 RESORT +264 65 685 119 +264 65 685 116 pristine landscape
of endless horizon and unblemished beach, Mile 108 is A a great option for the more adventurous. OVERVIEW
MileoLomite 108 situated a restricted short scenic distance Resortis is located in a previously area in from Cape region Cross, theNational largest seal colony the western of Etosha Park, rich in biodiversity and one of ofthe most-visited destinations due to the absence mainstream tourism. The dolomite formations area give the resort and provide a lush vista. no inin theNamibia. Theits name fishing waters inWiththe less than 15 waterholes, wildlife very common around surrounding area is sightings knownarefor surf sharks the resort and provideThe excellent photography opportunities. Black and kabeljou. camp has 170 campsites and White Rhino have often been spotted at the Klippan waterhole. with a maximum of six people per site. Moreover, the specially arranged game drives bring you to the most exclusive areas of the park, generally only known to conservationists.
BOOK ON THE GO Our app has been reimagined from the ground up so you can get a little more from it. You can now make and pay for your bookings while on the go. View our resorts and camps even when you are offline. NamLeisure Card applications can also be made right from the app. Download it now for your iOS and Android device. www.nwr.com.na/app
+264 61 285 7200
1. Mile 14
ocated in the western part of the Etosha National Park 2. Mile 72 between the Okaukuejo and Dolomite Resorts, Olifantsrus 3. Mile Campsite is a camping-only facility, there are 108 no chalets available here. The facility has 10 campsites with 5 power stands whereby two campsites are sharing at one stand.
+264 61 22 4900
BE SON DERS
Founded on a love for travel and exploring, Besonders celebrates life, people and places around the globe. Our products are like memories which you take with you â&#x20AC;&#x201C; from where youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been, to where you are going. Our t-shirts are made from locally sourced, high quality cotton, giving them a perfect shape and feel. They are made to last and will feel like an old favourite when you put it on for the first time. Proudly designed, made & printed in Africa.
Stillhouse Gin Capturing the Spirit of Namibia
Text and Photographs Le Roux van Schalkwyk
A cliché, but very true: Namibia is a country of contrasts. From its people to the environment, the diversity found in this country is quite surprising for a land predominantly made up of desert and with a population that doesn’t even number three million. Yet, this heterogeneous mix of characters and surroundings is the reason why more than a million people visit the country annually.
wakopmund, the popular coastal town with its rich history and beautiful Wilhelmine architecture, is home to the craft distillery Stillhouse Atlantic which creates gins that embody the Namibian spirit. The distillery uses Namibian ingredients that may seem to contradict each other just as much as Namibia seems to be made up of conflicting elements, but yet produces gins that come together in a perfect balance of flavours. Established in 2017, Stillhouse is a boutique distillery owned by Sandy and Pierre le Roux. It all began as a hobby for Sandy who is responsible for distilling these delicious juniper spirits. Starting at home with a 20 litre pot still, she experimented with various spirits, but mainly gin. She decided to increase her knowledge of the process by doing a course on gin making in South Africa. This was the catalyst that ignited her passion for distilling and soon afterwards she completed the master distillers course. When she upgraded to a 100 litre still she realised that her hobby was taking up too much space in her house: the seed for starting a small distillery was planted. An opportunity for this dream to become true presented itself soon enough and Sandy decided to leave the world of graphic design and focus on producing spirits. The name Stillhouse originated in the United States and is an old-fashioned term for a distillery. It means exactly what it says: a place of distillation. Atlantic was added for living at the coast and being a family of surfers and therefore very close to the ocean. The distillery’s flagship product is the Stillhouse Gin. When developing this gin the focus was on blending traditional botanicals with Namibian botanicals like the !Nara melon, hand-picked sea lettuce and plants endemic to the world’s oldest desert. Of the 14 botanicals contained in the gin, 10 are found locally. While the other botanicals produce the floral and
citrus notes, the !Nara adds a cucumber and earthy flavour that brings the gin together nicely. As with the rest of the country’s diverse landscapes, the coast is no different. Famously known as the coastline where dunes meet the ocean, visitors come from all over to experience the visually pleasing contrast of sea and sand (the ‘sand sea’) merging. In the same vein Stillhouse pairs the !Nara, growing on the dunes, with sea lettuce - which is not only symbolic but each of them also adds its own unique characteristics that give Stillhouse Gin its distinct flavour. The Stillhouse Wild, launched recently, is softer in flavour and not as robust as the Stillhouse Gin variety. Its distinct light pink colour is the result of wild hibiscus being one of the ingredients. Pink-coloured gins are usually infused with rose petals and somewhat overdone, whereas thankfully the Stillhouse Wild is unpretentious and offers a much wider flavour profile than other pink gins. Other ingredients that add to the complexity of this particular Stillhouse include pink pepper, African rosemary and cascara coffee cherries. The third member of the Stillhouse range is not a gin, but a liqueur and the recent recipient of a gold medal at the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards. The Umber Coffee Liqueur is a cold brew liqueur, made by infusing the spirit of Stillhouse Atlantic with rich freshly roasted coffee from fellow Swakopmunders, Two Beards Coffee Roasters. The result is a liqueur with earthy, chocolatey flavours complemented by notes of summer fruit. It is an excellent choice for Dom Pedros or even an addition to milkshakes. TNN Stillhouse Atlantic is situated in Unit 5, Kornblum Eastern Concepts, Einstein Street, Swakopmund. To book a tasting or for more information email Sandy at email@example.com.
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
Wild corners and islands for change:
African Monarch Lodges and The Sijwa Project
Text Elzanne McCulloch Photographs Le Roux van Schalkwyk
e meander through the wet and green wonderland that is Bwabwata National Park. Our guide Eustace regales us with anecdotes from his childhood, imparting important bush life skills to our city selves. I awoke this morning to the soft pitter-patter of rain on the canvas roof of my luxury tented suite. Everything is so different this morning. My mind immediately senses it. There is no sound of an alarm clock. No feeling of weary acceptance of yet another ‘everyday’. There will be no rush hour traffic to the office today. No meetings in boardrooms. No routine. Today will start with that crucial first cup of coffee – with a view that is so far out of the ordinary, my brain will find it hard to catch up. The green sheen of nature is all my eyes can absorb. My alarm clock is the sound of an African tree squirrel chirping away on the wooden deck porch outside my tent. My only scheduled meeting for the day is with my guide Eustace - and a game-drive vehicle. The only possible traffic we might encounter is a herd of 50 or more elephants as they pass through this wild corner of north-eastern Namibia. No, today will most certainly not be an ‘everyday’. In the far north-eastern reaches of Namibia, in what used to be known as the Caprivi Strip, now the Zambezi Region, an unparalleled wilderness is hidden. This riverine woodland
region, so often overlooked for Botswana’s more wellknown delta, is one of the truly special gems in Namibia’s vast arsenal of safari experiences. The Kwando River has its catchment area in the central Angolan plateau and along the slopes of our northern neighbour’s Mount Tembo. From there it meanders down toward Botswana, crossing Namibia at the ‘hand’ of the country’s protruding ‘arm’. Here it creates a border between communal conservancies and Bwabwata National Park. And it is here, in this wild conservation area, that African Monarch Lodges runs two very special establishments. Nambwa Tented Lodge and Kazile Island Lodge are the only two lodges found within the park. They cater to luxury and adventure tourist profiles alike and offer the most spectacular escape for those who want to truly enjoy the natural treasures of the region. Owned and managed by Dusty and Tinolla Rodgers, these havens were created on the principles of responsible tourism. They employ staff from the neighbouring communities – individuals who not only know the region, but have a unique appreciation for and understanding of it. The lodges themselves were built to support and not obstruct the flow of nature, with Nambwa Tented Lodges’ wooden walkways raised high enough to allow the multitude of elephant inhabitants right of way.
ADVERTORIAL Dusty and Tinolla Rodgers
The Rodgers have taken responsible tourism even further with the founding of The Sijwa Project in collaboration with the Mashi and Mayuni communities who live along the park. The Sijwa Project is a sustainability enterprise like no other nearby. Recycling, repurposing, an indigenous tree nursery, permaculture systems and much more, the aim of The Sijwa Project is to empower local community members and sustainably utilise waste from the lodges, as well as produce fresh produce for the lodges and the local people. In late 2019, Sijwa welcomed the introduction of its first indigenous trees for its nursery and aquaponics project. Guests at Nambwa Tented Lodge and Kazile Island Lodge are encouraged to buy and plant trees to offset their carbon footprint. The construction of a permaculture system that will involve vegetable and fruit farming, a chicken coop, beehives and much more, is also underway.
An island for change in the heart of KAZA, the largest conservation area of its kind in the world. With African Monarch Lodges the Rodgers see it as their responsibility to proactively preserve the natural haven they call home. To affect change not just around them, but also among the people they share the land with, and without whom they would not be able to appreciate, enjoy and share the beauty of the Zambezi Region. As they put it: â&#x20AC;&#x153;As lodge owners we are custodians of some of the last species in the wild. We take this seriously.â&#x20AC;? TNN
Tel: +264 81 125 2122 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.africanmonarchlodges.com
Le Roux van Schalkwyk Growing up, I loved spending hours going through the stacks of our family photo albums. It eventually led to me trying my own hand at photography with this trashy early-model digital camera my dad bought when I was in high school. Even though the camera had a lot of shortcomings it allowed me to play around and learn things like basic composition without the cost of developing film.
I love the way in which the soft light during sunset can make even the harshest environment look so inviting. Hoanib River 24 mm, f/13, 1/20 ISO 160
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
This young lion stubbornly and half playfully kept chasing away the doves around the waterhole. Etosha National Park 400 mm, f/10, 1/640 ISO 500
Hottentot Bay is with a doubt my favourite place in Namibia. It is as secluded as it is beautiful. Fishing boats use the bay as a safe haven to anchor for the night which in turn creates the potential for incredible photos at sunset. Hottentot Bay 260 mm, f/13, 1/500 ISO 200
Gentleman, the elephant bull, rested his head on a leadwood tree while lazily covering himself with sand. Aba-Huab River 250 mm, f/8, 1/500 ISO 640
Each sunset in the Namib is unique. Tiras Area 105 mm f/11, 1/80 ISO 640
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
y first camera was a Canon D400 DSLR which my parents gave me for my 21st birthday. Playing around with this camera taught me how to manipulate in-camera settings in order to create an image that I wanted to produce. These days I shoot with a Canon 5D MkII and my camera bag contains 24-105 mm and 50 mm lenses and a 100-400 mm lense plus a Fujifilm X100S. Living in Namibia itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s almost impossible not to photograph the beautiful wildlife and endless landscapes that are so plentiful. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also very challenging because of the heaps of incredible photos of wildlife and landscape that already exist, as well as the new images that are produced daily. Instead of seeing this as negative, I try to use it as motivation to create images that feel unique and tell their own stories, but in a slightly different way. TNN
The remains of a jetty at Hottentot Bay that have been taken over by birds. Fog in these parts can get so dense that you don’t dare to wander too far. Hottentot Bay 105 mm f/13, 1/800 ISO 200
Even though white rhinos have a friendlier demeanour than their cousin, the black rhino, it was still scary tracking this big creature on foot through dense bush. By the scratches on the animal’s back you can clearly tell how thick the bush is. Waterberg National Park 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/250 ISO 320
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
At home among the rocks
Ondili’s new Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp
Text Elzanne McCulloch Photographs Le Roux van Schalkwyk
ndili Meumbo is an Oshiwambo expression meaning ‘I am at home’. With its selection of lodges across the country – including Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge, Teufelskrallen Lodge, Desert Homestead Lodge, Desert Homestead Outpost, Hohenstein Lodge and Ti Melen – this Namibian hospitality family has cut its teeth on the fine art of the authentic safari experience. Now they have wandered into the wild northwest of Namibia’s enigmatic Damaraland, and found a new home among the rocks. The landscape astounds on a morning nature drive with our guide. A tapestry of incredible rock formations surrounds us. The patterns on the mountains we slowly drive past remind me of abstract art that would not look out of place in a high-end gallery in New York. Two springbok stroll across dry plains and a flock of ostrich peck away in the background. Everything is peaceful. Quiet. Still. The clear blue sky overhead a crowning glory to the beauty of it all. The rough and rugged landscape. This raw nature. We have wandered into one of our favourite regions, Damaraland. The iconic geological wonders of the area and the harsh beauty is what draws visitors, but there are even more wonderful stories hidden among the rocks strewn about over millennia. The area is home to one of the most noteworthy concentrations of rock engravings in Africa, and it is inhabited by desert-dwelling wildlife and people alike. You will be enthralled by all the region has to offer, here, where thriving life seems almost unimaginable. Dawn breaks over the mountains to the east and sets alight the mopane-dotted
landscape laid out in front of our tent. After a leisurely breakfast we embark on a nature drive. The emphasis is most certainly on nature. To be enjoyed and appreciated. These experiences are what set Namibia apart from so many other destinations in the world. This honour that has been bestowed on us. Unblemished earth. Untouched, raw and rugged. Something worth fighting for, something worth preserving. There are never any guarantees of spotting wildlife, especially not in this unpredictable terrain. Weather and whim could lead the region’s wildlife herds (or individuals) in any direction. Some walk more than 70 km in a day in search of grazing and water. Yet, luck was on our side during our visit. We had the honour of spending some time with an old elephant bull. Calm and nonplussed, he clearly has all the time and patience in the world. Our guide makes sure that we are not directly in the old bull’s wandering path, and we spend our time snapping away with our cameras as he gives himself a dust bath and then seems to take a short nap leaning against an old Ana tree. Our love and longing for capturing the beautiful creature satiated, we leave the old man to his wanderings and head home to our tented sanctuary among the rocks. A midday dip in the refreshing pool, drinks in the cool shade of the sitting area, and a delightful braai for dinner. What better way to spend a day in Namibia? With only 12 furnished en-suite tents, Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp is small enough for an intimate stay, away from the crowds. The camp is unassuming in the best possible way. Tucked into the flank of a rocky outcrop, the ‘glamping’ tents are comfortable and yet still inspire a sense of adventure. There is a connection with nature, without
the hassle that some associate with camping. Beautiful simplicity is the style and it is wonderfully unpretentious. Other popular and worthwhile activities in the area include a visit to the nearby Damara Cultural Village where you can learn about ancient skills and the enigmatic people who have called the area home for generations. Or a visit to Namibia’s first World Heritage Site – Twyfelfontein. This open-air art gallery houses over 2 000 rock engravings by San shamans, some estimated to be more than 6 000 years old. Whether it is history, wildlife or the beauty of the dramatic landscape that calls your heart to Damaraland, we can highly recommend a stay among the rocks with Ondili at Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp. TNN Book now or find out more at ondili.com
DID YOU KNOW? WHEN VIEWING DESERT-ADAPTED ELEPHANT THERE ARE A FEW IMPORTANT RULES TO STICK TO: • Avoid areas where the animals might feel trapped. • Don’t obstruct their movement when you encounter them. • Drive slowly and keep your noise levels down. • Keep to existing roads and tracks. • Stay in your car when encountering an elephant herd. • Don’t camp at waterholes; use nearby campsites instead.
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
Plant trees, teach kids, light up, share skills Tourism can support or destroy.
TOSCO (Tourism Supporting Conservation) is an initiative started by Felix Vállat in 2012. We have a responsibility to ensure that Namibia’s wilderness areas remain pristine and the people who look after it and live with wildlife are able to maintain a respectable lifestyle. Tourism can support or destroy. TOSCO believes that its impact can be signif icant when it is used as a tool for sustainable development.
aving his own ecotourism company, he realised that the tourism sector has a responsibility to safeguard the natural resources it depends on and thereby ensure that Namibia’s wilderness remains as enjoyable in the future as it is now. Tourism is amongst the fastest growing industries worldwide and travelling to natural areas can be harmful. TOSCO has now become an established organisation that offers a platform for tour operators who want to commit to responsible tourism. With funds from their memberships, a team of dedicated volunteers and interns runs a variety of programs which focus on sponsoring research, supporting people living with wildlife, raising public awareness and travelling cleaner. To ensure programs run successfully, TOSCO works with a variety of partners in the field, including Desert Elephant Conservation, Save the Rhino Trust and Desert Lion Conservation, as well as strategic partners including NACSO, WWF and IRDNC. Vice versa, partners increasingly approach TOSCO when they need tourism expertise. 2020 has exciting developments in store for TOSCO. Here is a sneak peek of what we will be working on.
Awareness signboard at Sossusvlei entrance Living with wildlife Info centre at De Riet Clean Up Day with schools, 2019 Flip Stander and Felix Vallat
LIVING WITH WILDLIFE PROGRAM
Forced by drought, elephants and lions are attracted to settlements in search of water and livestock respectively, causing human-wildlife conflicts in areas where humans and animals co-exist. The Living with Wildlife program’s main focus is on preserving wildlife by supporting rural people that bear the cost of living with wildlife. Support is given in the form of incentives to look after the wildlife. TOSCO will be leading the Lightforce project in partnership with IRDNC and a French NGO, equipping 20 kraals and 100 houses in north-western Namibia with solar lights. The lights will help farmers keep their livestock secure and deter predators, whilst also keeping elephants away from villages and their crops. Local people will be trained so that in future they are able to maintain the lights themselves. Another exciting and innovative project is Wildlife Credits Namibia which, in collaboration with WWF Namibia and CCFN, focuses on rewarding communities for verified conservation performance. This will be measured, for example, by monitoring wildlife sightings, breeding success and land management,
Carbon offsetting at Farm Okukuna with TOSCO team Carbon offsetting at a school Timo Behrens of TOSCO team and Otjimboyo Conservancy game guards
possibly with the help of artificial intelligence. Funds for performance payments will be generated from the tourism industry and any other national or international business that desires to associate its brand with Wildlife Credits Namibia. Furthermore, TOSCO will continue the Conservation Contribution project that is based on the idea of paying local communities an entrance fee for entering communal areas, just as we find it normal to pay for entering a national park. Through the collection of voluntary fees, TOSCO has already built a Visitor Information and Craft Centre at De Riet in the Torra Conservancy. The next phase will be to renovate bungalows and create a campsite managed by locals, allowing the village to become self-sufficient through tourism. Finally, TOSCO sponsors game guards in north-western conservancies with equipment. They play a crucial role in patrolling and in monitoring wildlife and other resources, and contribute to annual game counts that give an indication of the status and distribution of wildlife. Their work has led to increased understanding amongst locals of the resources in their area and how to manage and utilise them sustainably.
CLEAN TRAVEL PROGRAM
This collaborative effort between TOSCO, Eloolo Permaculture and various tourism stakeholders is driven by the goal to offset carbon emissions generated by tourists travelling in Namibia. These emissions are determined with a carbon calculator which can be calibrated to reflect the vehicle type and number of kilometres travelled. Indigenous and food producing trees are then planted for sequestration of the carbon generated, thereby ensuring cleaner travel. This project has the ripple effect of also benefiting the local communities where the trees are planted. In time the trees will provide shade and food security, which in turn is a direct incentive to ensure the survival of the trees. There is also an educational component when the trees are planted, as communities learn about how best to look after the trees, which is facilitated by follow up visits to the various tree planting sites. With humble beginnings and 139 trees planted in 2019, this
project has the potential to expand exponentially. It kicked off with a bang in 2020 with 500 trees ready to be planted at various sites including Dagbreek School in Klein Windhoek and Farm Okukuna in Katutura. The range of sites will expand to also include private properties and may one day have the potential to reforest areas of Namibia. In addition to the tree planting initiative, TOSCO assists in coordinating clean up groups on World Clean Up Day. The focus this year will be on the tourism sector again, whereby tour operators compete to collect the most garbage along their way.
TOSCO has joined forces with PAKO Kids Magazine to raise awareness amongst the Namibian youth of the importance of looking after the environment. We believe that teaching the next generation at an early age will make them become proactive adults who are concerned about the welfare of the environment they live in. Through cartoons we aim to explain issues such as human-wildlife conflict in a fun and educational way. We will furthermore continue to identify sensitive areas throughout Namibia where to place sign boards for tourists, making them understand why it is important to respect the environment and ecosystem while travelling.
TOSCO encourages tourism businesses to become a member and hence a leader in responsible and sustainable tourism. Why? • Make your business sustainable by looking after the resources it relies on. • Improve your image as a responsible tourism operator. • Add value to your safaris by sharing conservation experience with your guests. • Enhance your safari experience by developing privileged relationships with local people. TNN Get in touch via email@example.com.
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
THE RHINO GOLD BAR PROJECT A monumental initiative to help rural communities save a species Text Elzanne McCulloch
“What difference can 1000 ounces of gold make?” asked the booklet on our dinner table. A prospectus compiled by Canadian mining company B2Gold to introduce a new project. A project of colossal proportions. During the course of an evening, what I imagined would be another corporate grandstanding event morphed from project-launch-slash-donationhandover to a celebration of philanthropy on a level never before seen in southern Africa. An initiative not just spectacular in the enormousness of the monetary value of its contribution (a whopping N$25 million worth of gold), but also in the scale in which it will be implemented. Sustainably and with an ultimate focus on longevity. The N$25 million will represent the spot price of gold plus a 15% conservation premium.
he prospectus answers its own question regarding the aid power of 1000 ounces: “At B2Gold, we believe it has the power to help rural communities in Namibia save a species.” The species in question? Namibia’s unique and special population of desert-adapted black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis bicornis. The communities? The local population and conservancies of Namibia’s Kunene Region who have been given the burden, and privilege, to safeguard the largest population of free-roaming black rhinos on earth. A monumental task, worthy of monumental support.
Gathered at Droombos just outside Windhoek on January 30th, a collection of Namibia’s most prominent business personalities, B2Gold executives (some coming from as far as Canada) and the shining stars in Namibia’s conservation fraternity gathered beneath canopies of camel thorn trees to clink glasses and later celebrate the largest single contribution to conservation Namibia has ever seen. Launching the project, Save the Rhino Trust board member Ginger Mauney (who designed the original concept), B2Gold Namibia Country Manager Mark Dawe and B2Gold President Clive Johnson each addressed the gathered masses. Passion
According to B2Gold “The funds will be used in two ways: A portion of the proceeds will be invested to provide longterm sustainable financing for black rhino conservation, while significant funding will be applied immediately to conservation actions in the field, including support for patrols, intelligence activities and to rural communities for whom the protection of rhinos is their birthright.”
radiated from their every word and an infectious and exciting energy permeated the room. Applause was about as common as speakers pausing to take a breath between words. SO WHAT ARE THE 1000 OUNCES GOING TO ACHIEVE, YOU MAY WONDER? The gold, which was mined right here in Namibia and sponsored in full by B2Gold, will be minted into a limitededition collection of 1000 gold bars in varying sizes: 10 halfkilogram bars, 690 one-ounce bars and 300 half-ounce bars. It is the first time in history that gold has been minted and used for the sustainable protection of an endangered species, making these gold bars almost as rare and unique as our black rhinos. Perfect symmetry. By buying these gold bars, individuals around the world can secure an investment that has historically been more stable than any other commodity, and simultaneously contribute to one of the most critical biodiversity conservation initiatives globally. WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS? (RHINOS CAN’T DO ANYTHING WITH GOLD!) Proceeds from the sale of the Rhino Gold Bar will be managed by an Advisory Committee established by B2Gold that will include representatives from Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT), Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), the Namibia Chamber of Environment (NCE) and the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
That’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? Our communities, with invaluable support from NGOs such as SRT and IRDNC, are at the very core of conservation in Namibia. Our CommunityBased Natural Resource Management programme is the cornerstone of our celebrated success as a nation. As Dr Margaret Jacobsohn, esteemed Namibian conservationist, said at the event: “Individuals can make a difference, but only communities can change the world.” “CREATIVE PHILANTHROPY FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR PLANET” - B2GOLD At the start of this new decade, north-western Namibia celebrates more than two years of no poaching. This is a success story built on the dedication and indispensable efforts of a collection of people, organisations and governmental institutions that banded together to fight a war for the conservation of a species. NGOs such as SRT, IRDNC, NNF and NACSO. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibia Police, Blue Rhino Taskforce and Namibia Defence Force. And above all: the conservancies, Save the Rhino Trust Namibia, Rhino Rangers and individuals from local communities who build their existence on and around the rhino economy in north-western Namibia and dedicate their lives to the protection of the species. The support from The Rhino Gold Bar project will be a lifeline with longevity. TNN To view the Rhino Gold Bar prospectus, visit www.b2gold.com To invest in your own special natural Namibian resource and to help conservation organisations and communities invest in the future of Namibia’s rhinos, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
Snake Eagles of Namibia
Text and Photographs Pompie Burger
I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like snakes, and I am scared of snakes. The fact that I know Dr Christo Buys, the snake whisperer of Namibia, does not make any difference to either my fear or dislike. One of the main reasons for being scared is the fact that I had to treat a few people that had been bitten by a snake, and invariably they were bitten while in bed (where I spend a lot of time) or at night walking around minding their own business. Another major problem is that I do not know the difference between venomous and harmless snakes. What I do know is that they all have snaky eyes.
BIRDING WITH POMPIE
Western Banded Snake Eagle in Mubala Conservancy
Western Banded Snake Eagle with a black mamba
Black-chested Snake Eagle in flight looking for its next snake
Brown Snake Eagle
Brown Snake Eagle in Etosha National Park
like Snake Eagles. They do not have snaky eyes but large beautiful, almost owl-like yellow eyes, and more importantly, they kill snakes. Although Namibia has only three different Snake Eagles, they are all on my wish list whenever we travel. It looks like God has released the three Snake Eagles from north to south: first all three, further south only two and eventually just the Black-chested Snake Eagle, which is indeed the most widespread and most common Snake Eagle in southern Africa. The Western Banded Snake Eagle is a rather special addition to Namibiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s selection and occurs only in the Zambezi Region.
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
Western Banded Snake Eagle, only found in Namibia's northeastern Zambezi Region.
As with most raptors, there are a few challenges facing the birdwatcher. These eagles are few and far between, the juvenile, immature factor is as real as in all the other raptors, and most of them are either quiet or have a rather nonspecific call (good for me, I cannot identify birds by their call, anyway). The main important ID factors are indeed their big heads, big yellow eyes (compared to their body size) and that all the other raptors eat snakes. Their scientific name Circaetus means Harrier, and often they are called Harrier Eagles, which explains their hunting method of hovering and diving down ambushing its prey. Snake Eagles are not immune to snake venom and can be immobilised or killed by venomous snakes, and blinded by a spitting Cobra. Their tarsi (feet and legs) are thickly scaled which serves as a protection against snake bite. After catching their prey, they will carry it with their tarsi to a perch to devour. As with many raptors, Snake Eagles are no exception as far as identification is concerned, although in this case it is more difficult to separate them from other raptors and not from each other. For instance, the Black-chested Snake Eagle’s lookalike is the Martial Eagle. The difference being that the Snake Eagle is smaller, has big yellow eyes and a large head (compared to its body size), and its underparts are pure white in contrast to the Martial Eagle’s dark brown spots. Probably the biggest difference is in flight, where the Snake Eagle is almost pure white with the black neck and head sticking out, while the Martial Eagle has black primaries and secondaries with fine black and white barring. The Brown Snake Eagle is a brown raptor - need I say more? You can go through your list of brown raptors and if you are still uncertain, the big head and large yellow eyes might be the solution to your problem. Being the largest of the snake eagles does not help much to differentiate it from
other large brown raptors, neither does the fact that they are silent (they very seldom call). They do tend to spend a lot of time perched on top of open trees, if that will help your attempt at identification. The Western Banded Snake Eagle is for various reasons my favourite. One of them is the fact that they occur in Namibia and not in South Africa and that they occur in my favourite hunting ground, the Zambezi Region. They have a rather unique habitat of woodland, riverine forest and creeper-laden trees, which explains why their distribution is so limited. They are much more secretive than the other two, more vocal, often spotted only after hearing their loud staccato koah kok-hoaaa call (I could never work this out). Once spotted, this eagle seems to be quite approachable, and if disturbed it will not fly too far off and wait for you to take some more pictures. One of the ID problems is that it is not a brown but a grey raptor, which is the next large group of unidentifiable raptors. Apparently its call and the black tail with a broad white band visible from the top and below (unfortunately only seen in flight) are important identification signs. The big head and yellow eyes should also help to do the final diagnosis. The best time to look for them is early morning and late afternoon. At midday they will often soar high above. A waterhole is also a good option, that is if you have the patience to sit there for hours, because they often drink water and also like to take a quick wash. If you love snakes and are not scared of them, there is a possibility that you might get irritated seeing one of your favourites getting carried away, especially by a Snake Eagle and not by your presence and tender love and care. The Bible is quite adamant about snakes in Luke 10:19 “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on all scorpions and serpents, and over all the power of your enemy, and nothing will injure you”. TNN
BIRDING WITH POMPIE
Brown Snake Eagle in Nkasa Rupara National Park
Julia Gomachas, originally from Maltahöhe in the arid south of the country, was the first craftswoman to join the Sew Good group. The incredible patchwork designs on the project’s bags are the result of her creativity and skill.
The ‘Sew Good’ Community Project Text Mel Kelly
One Stitch at a Time
A group of Nama women, who live in the Windhoek suburb of Otjomuise, came together in mid-2019 to form ‘Sew Good’. The community project is aimed at addressing the growing challenge of environmental pollution in Namibia by sewing beautiful products from upcycled waste materials. REDUCING OUR RELIANCE ON PLASTIC Most people now recognise that we all need to adapt our lifestyles so that, as far as possible, we steer clear of the plastic bottles, wrappers, bags and containers that we use just once and then discard without much regard for the consequences. Recycling, at best, is a compromise: recent investigations have shown that across the globe some of the plastic waste that is separated by conscientious consumers for recycling in fact ends up contributing to pollution ̶ cynically by being transferred to landfill sites or dumped at sea by the very companies commissioned to process it. The large South African retail chains operating in Namibia commendably stock a range of alternatives to single-use carrier bags. But these products are only rarely made by Namibians, and some in fact represent a ‘greenwashing’ exploitation of the eco-friendly ethos since the production of certain bags-for-life, canvas bags and paper bags is at least as damaging as the infamous alternative (albeit some are eventually biodegradable).
SEW GOOD: MAKING GOOD BY DOING GOOD Women with sewing skills launched a new community group in Windhoek in June 2019. One of Sew Good’s aims is to create genuinely Namibian alternatives to the various eco-friendly products already available. The project uses sample books of glorious fabric to make sturdy, long-lasting shopping bags as well as a wide range of other household items. The high-quality fabric remnants that they upcycle come from luxury design studios. When lines are discontinued as decorating fashions change with the seasons, the shops generously donate their wallpaper and fabric books to be transformed into a growing range of stylish products, rather than letting them go to waste. By repurposing the swatches of textiles into hard-wearing items the members of the group are able to make a sustainable income in economically challenging times. They are also developing useful planning, budgeting, marketing and promotional skills that will help them to become self-supporting eventually. The Sew Good group sells its stunning, tough shopping bags at the Zero Waste Store in Stein Street, Klein
Each Sew Good item is totally unique. Shown here: an unlined heavy-duty shopping bag. Windhoek. Pop in there to purchase an alternative to those banned plastic bags before you travel to Etosha or another protected area (information on all the different product lines can be found on the Sew Good Facebook page). Shopping bags and gorgeous, lined tote bags are just the beginning. Amory Tjipepa, for example, uses furnishing fabric to hand sew patchwork blocks that can be stitched together into cushion covers, quilts and pet bedding. And as winter approaches, customers are able to buy luxury velvet and satin scarves to keep out the chill of an early morning game drive. In fact, every new donation provides an opportunity for the women’s imaginations to take flight. They are even experimenting with wallpaper samples to make covers for mobile phones and cases for sunglasses. LOCAL IS LEKKER WHEN IT COMES TO GREEN LIVING A virtue in purchasing Sew Good products is that they are manufactured here in Namibia by a self-supporting group, so every cent goes straight into the pockets of the women involved. If you would like to visit the producers at their work from home premises to view the items they make, you can now do so courtesy of local business Xceptional Tourism Services, which offers a Katutura Interactive and Cultural Township Tour to put visitors in touch with small-scale craft producers in Windhoek.
PLASTIC BAGS AND NAMIBIA’S WILD PLACES Visitors to Namibia frequently remark on how clean the towns and countryside are compared with other tourism destinations, but this doesn’t mean that trash isn’t a problem here. For example, this stormwater channel in the centre of Windhoek is all but blocked by accumulated plastic garbage and polystyrene takeaway containers, a situation that will inevitably create upstream flooding in residential areas once the eagerly longed for rains arrive. A ban on most types of single-use plastic bags in Namibian parks and nature reserves came into effect just before Christmas 2018 and the penalties for bringing plastic bags into protected areas are severe. For example, a spot fine of N$ 500 must be paid if you are caught with prohibited plastic products inside a park’s boundaries. Use the waste bins at park entrances to dispose of banned plastic items such as the carrier bags you might have accumulated in your car (who doesn’t use their vehicle as a mobile rubbish bin on long journeys?). Furthermore, a national levy on the non-biodegradable single-use plastic bags formerly provided gratis by Namibian retailers was gazetted by the government in August 2019. Each carrier bag requested by consumers at tills anywhere in the country now has to be paid for. Both of these measures are a clear indication of Namibia’s growing commitment to address the scourge of plasticbased pollution. *Mel Kelly is a British writer and editor who has lived in Namibia for 20 years. She contributes regular articles for The Namibian newspaper and her fiction is published at www.kalaharireview.com
When you buy from Sew Good you are helping Namibian families to help themselves and protecting our fragile environment, too. TNN For more information visit www.facebook.com/ sewgoodnamibia. To enquire about commissions/ orders and discounts on bulk purchases contact email@example.com. For general information on the background to this initiative, as well as potential future Good for Namibia projects see www.goodfornamibia.home.blog. Find out about Xceptional Tourism Service’s township tours at www.ecotours-namibia.com.
Patchwork blocks created from upcycled upholstery fabric are turned into a variety of cushion covers and quilts by Amory Tjipepa of the Sew Good project.
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
In the land of sand and freedom
Text Lee Tindall
‘’How does one end up here?” asks the cyclist parked under the tree outside our house. ‘Here’ is our house in the middle of a gravel plain, surrounded by towering mountains, small boulder strewn koppies and not much else. This is not an uncommon question, and you would think that by now we would have a quick answer. There’s the short, medium and long answer. The long answer requires a dive into both my and my husband’s childhoods, and the short answer is simply, “we’ve done life a little differently than is conventional and that yields slightly different results”.
ut at this moment, here in the cool shade of an ancient palm tree, the medium answer seems appropriate. After being in tourism in South Africa for the better part of our young adult lives, and now seven months pregnant, we felt it best to use that time and just married to move countries and start new jobs. This is pretty much how we do life: when our plates are fullest we simply add more, it makes for an interesting combination of high stress, hysterical laughter and pretty unimaginably awesome adventures. We stuck to what we knew – tourism – and entered the Namibian tourism industry with all the enthusiasm and energy imaginable. After some time in the central part of Namibia, we were offered a position to manage a small, reasonably quiet lodge in the south. Without having seen the lodge, or the area, we, in our usual ‘what’s the worst that can happen’ style jumped at the opportunity. Our earthly possessions, one child and a dog fitted in with two bakkie loads of stuff. This move would mean more time for our son, then almost two, and a chance to put our stamp on the lodge and run with a product. After our daughter was born, fiercely, dramatically and on her own terms, we chose to make a career switch to conservation. This meant another move. Our earthly possessions, the number of pets and number of children had all grown along with our need to do more for the planet, more for ourselves and more for the generation of humans, of which we now had two to keep alive, raise and enjoy. A leap of faith. What felt like a million boxes and trailer loads later we arrived. Then yet another move, more trailer loads, the dog, cat and now the added bonus of goldfish and we reached Keerweder, the Warden’s Base of NamibRand Nature Reserve. We had arrived! Our hearts were light, our eyes twinkled and my soul rejoiced as I unpacked boxes, settled children and created a home and space in which our free-range kids would roam, while learning to love the little things and find joy in themselves. In this medium-length story many adventures, much growth and a lot of life are skipped. The parts in which our own resilience is tested, the time when our darling daughter’s birth came suddenly
and my husband drove over 300 km to get us to Mariental, where she was safely delivered despite the odds being stacked against her, the bit where our then 18 month old son spent an entire day on the back of a bakkie on a giraffe capture mission, and didn’t skip a beat, or even the time when he and I sat on, not at, the kitchen table the day before my daughter’s birth and watched a snake make itself comfortable under the fridge – we took this as an opportunity to read up about snakes and look at the patterns on it. Some of these stories, the moments and the grit they come with, create foundations so strong they are unshakeable and cemented with the peace that this life allows us. Here, under the palm tree, this moment takes me back to the very first time we opened the car doors in the south, that moment when a wall of dry air hit me so hard I felt winded, and the view extended so far I wondered if I’d see the curve of the earth. That moment where our son’s first instinct was to run, to feel the sand with his hands and to run his little fingers along the tips of the grass that reached his chest – a legacy of above average rainfall Namibia experienced in 2011. In the year 2012 we had our very first taste of the Namib and it has since taken root in our hearts. The desert, and all it holds, has raised us all, it has guided my husband and I and led us to where we are now, it has allowed my children a freedom to explore, to experience and to roam. After many questions and much judgement for choosing a life less conventional, a life perhaps more risky than most, I still don’t have all the answers, I cannot say for sure if this is the best way, but I can unwaveringly say: it is the best way for us. It allows us to steep ourselves in peace, to watch our children race back from a bike ride to beat the setting sun, to hear them identify birds, scorpions and wildlife and roll the Latin names around their mouths. and to know that their childhood is unburdened by conventional worries and concerns. It also gives me the gems I hope to fill this series with. I have wondered about sharing our journey, whether our adventures are worthy of being read by others. In sharing our journey and more adventures, I hope to give people a moment of peace, a moment of feeling
the freedom and the liberation of a life lived differently. A life of wonder, curiosity, carefully caught and released scorpions, sunsets and conversations about conservation as the sun sets. TNN Lee Tindall was born in Namibia. With her parents, who were employed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, she lived in some of the remotest, most beautiful protected parts of the country. It was there where her love and enthusiasm for nature developed, a passion that she keeps kindled to this day. In April 2016 Lee and her husband Murray – along with their two small children, beloved golden retriever Rocco, ferocious cat Yzer and several goldfish originally named Goldie 1, Goldie 2 and Fred – moved to the NamibRand Nature Reserve, where Lee is the Research and Environment Warden, based at Keerweder. Her duties include staff management, assistance with natural resource management and monitoring, research projects, liaison with visiting scientists and film crews, environmental awareness raising and outreach. She is also the coordinator and secretary for the Greater Sossusvlei Namib Landscape, a not for gain association focused on large landscape conservation and upliftment. Follow her new series 'Living Wild' in the upcoming issues of Travel News Namibia.
TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
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TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA AUTUMN 2020
Once upon a time… THE FIRST GERMAN SURRENDER OF WORLD WAR I WAS SIGNED UNDER A TREE IN NAMIBIA Text Le Roux van Schalkwyk
bout 3 km north of Otavi, close to the railway line, is a rather unimpressive gravestone-like structure, overgrown with bushes and surrounded by the remnants of what long ago used to be a fence. A truly unflattering memorial commemorating an important event not only in world history but one that also changed the course of history in Namibia and South Africa. What is the significance of what transpired here 105 years ago? On the freezing morning of 9 July 1915 troops of the Union Defence Force (UDF) are assembled at Otavifontein and nervously make final checks. They’re waiting for orders to advance towards the positions of the German Schutztruppe at Khorab. The deadline for the Germans to accept the terms of surrender offered to them has come and gone, and the UDF troops know that this will probably be their final action in the campaign for German South-West Africa (GSWA). If the order to advance is given, UDF soldiers would simultaneously gallop in from all flanks towards the encircled Germans. The governor of German South-West Africa, Theodor Seitz, and Victor Franke, the commander of the Schutztruppe in GSWA, had only a few days before come to the conclusion that their small number of troops had finally
been outmanoeuvred and were all but defeated by the strong contingent of South Africans moving in from all sides. On 6 July they had met with General Louis Botha and his staff to discuss the terms of surrender. They were given until 02:00 on the 9th to respond to Botha’s terms. If the deadline was not met, hostilities would recommence. Botha, it must be noted, was not only commanding the UDF troops in GSWA, but was also the prime minister of the Union of South Africa at that time. The last head of state in the modern era to lead his troops in battle. At 02:30, as the UDF troops were about to move out, Botha received the response from Seitz, stating that he accepted the terms. The news was met with wild cheers from the South Africans. Later that morning Seitz and Franke arrived by train to meet with Botha and his staff at kilometre stone Kilo 500. The Germans had marked every kilometre of the railway line from Swakopmund to Tsumeb. The location for the meeting was directly between the two opposing forces. At 10:00, on a wooden table set up in the shade of a wild syringa tree, the formal surrender of the German troops in GSWA was signed by Seitz, Franke and Botha. It became known as the Treaty of Khorab. The significance of this event might easily be lost on people, considering
that in Namibia the First World War lasted for only 203 days. It was just a small sideshow to the horrific bloodshed in Europe where over 20 million people were killed in the Great War. Yet, the UDF secured the first major allied success of the war at a time when the Allies desperately needed some good news. The horrors of trench warfare were only starting to surface and there were still three more years of enormous death tolls before the war came to an end. In the Namibian context the surrender of the German forces signified the beginning of Namibia effectively coming under South African rule – it lasted for 75 years, 22 of which saw an armed struggle for independence. Today the Khorab Memorial remains mostly undisturbed, safe for the occasional history nerd like myself who visits it. Next to the forgotten monument, the syringa tree, which more than a hundred years ago provided shade for the signatories, is nothing more than a sad looking stump. The only thing that sets it apart from the other tree stumps in the area is a rough stone plinth built around the trunk. As dilapidated as it looks, when visiting the site you can’t help but imagine the wild syringa with a canopy full of leaves witnessing the events taking place in its shade all those years back. TNN
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Photo: Alexander Heinrichs
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