Page 1

Namibia TRAVEL NEWS

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

VOLUME 25 No 6 | HAN 30 YEARS SPECIAL EDITION

30 REASONS WHY

WE LOVE NAMIBIA N$40.00 incl. VAT R40.00 incl. VAT


Namibia TRAVEL NEWS

is published by Venture Media in Windhoek, Namibia www.travelnewsnamibia.com Tel: +264 61 420 500, 1 Mozart Street, Windhoek West PO Box 21593, Windhoek, Namibia

TEXT CONTRIBUTORS Nina van Schalkwyk, Annelien Robberts, Elzanne Erasmus, Rièth van Schalkwyk

MANAGING EDITOR Rièth van Schalkwyk

PHOTOGRAPHERS Elzanne Erasmus, Pompie Burger, Xenia Ivanoff-Erb, Annabelle Venter, Anja Denker, Paul van Schalkwyk, Gerhard Thirion, Tarry Butcher, Hentie Burger

PRODUCTION MANAGER Elzanne Erasmus elzanne@venture.com.na

PRINTERS John Meinert Printing, Windhoek

PUBLIC RELATIONS Janine van der Merwe janine@venture.com.na LAYOUT & DESIGN Liza de Klerk & Elzanne Erasmus CUSTOMER SERVICE Bonn Nortjé bonn@venture.com.na

Travel News Namibia is published quarterly, distributed worldwide and produced solely on Apple Macintosh equipment. The editorial content of TNN is contributed by 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.

ONLINE EDITOR Nina van Schalkwyk nina@venture.com.na COVER PHOTOGRAPH Elzanne Erasmus

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH WHAT’S HAPPENING IN

NAMIBIA

janine@venture.com.na


EDITOR'S LETTER

AN UNTAMED NATURE IN A DEVELOPING WORLD Growth is not the problem. Although it seems that it actually is. For a tourist destination that sells because of its endless horizons, its untouched wilderness, its wide open spaces, free roaming animals and natural beauty, growth can be a serious problem. The world used to be wild and untouched. Every beach stretched into eternity and animals filled the plains. That was before we cut down forests and planted crops, became herders and farmers and gave up our hunter-gatherer existence of living in harmony with nature. Before we started to “tame” nature and develop the world around us. We have proof that people come to Namibia again and again because they are intrigued by a place where it really is still possible to feel that you are totally alone. Where a dark night sky is not the exception but the rule everywhere, other than in and around towns. Where you can watch animals’ natural behaviour in their natural habitat. Where you can still see so much of nature kilometre after kilometre, for hundreds of kilometres on end. When we brainstormed on the theme for this special edition of the Hospitality Association one of our team came up with 30 reasons why we love Namibia. We loved that immediately. We could have continued to find hundreds of slogans to prove it, delving deeper into the details of what a fascinating country we have. To be in a position to celebrate three decades of an associating, means that for thirty years there have been people who led the way, inspired others, fought for shared ideals and worked hard behind the scenes. For 25 of these years, Travel News Namibia wrote about all the achievements, developments and growth. We recorded the opening of every new lodge and saw them grow into large companies, or become better at staying small and intimate. We welcomed a first generation and saw the second take over. The problem with recording a piece of history is that small important details disappear because there is so much to write about. We have to make sure people continue to buy and read the magazine, so there must be inspiration and information in equal measure. The other challenge with a magazine such as this is limited space. How do we do justice to 30 years and 400 members? The only way was to invite all 400 to write something about themselves, or task us to write something about them, and the first 30 who jumped at the opportunity would be included. Some of those featured in this edition have been there long before HAN or Travel News Namibia. Through the years we met others when they built their lodges or registered their guest farms. Some for the first time this year, when they took the plunge, invested in tourism and joined our tourism tribe. The participants in this magazine represent a cross section of the product and the people in the hospitality sector. They all have amazing stories, longer and more interesting than the available space we had to share them. They have one thing in common: to grow and protect the goose that lays the golden egg. To end with the full quote by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai in the year of Sustainable Tourism, which is our wish for the next 30 years of HAN and of tourism in Namibia: “Growth is not the enemy. Growing numbers are not the enemy. Growth is the eternal story of mankind. Tourism growth can and should lead to economic prosperity, jobs and resources to fund environmental protection and cultural preservation, as well as community development and progress needs, which would otherwise not be available.” Congratulations to HAN on 30 productive years.

Rièth van Schalkwyk


ABOUT VENTURE

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

MAGAZINES BY VENTURE MEDIA 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 DIRECTORY, is an annaul trade and industry portfolio and is the pillar of information dissemination to the private-sector and the promotion of foreign investment.

WWW. TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM TNN online is home to more than 20 years worth of content. We’ve been online since 1995, keeping readers across the world up-to-date with what’s happening in Namibia! Visit us today for the most amazing photos, enticing stories and comprehensive information on all things Namibia!

WE'RE A SOCIAL BUNCH


MESSAGE FROM HAN

30 YEARS OF REFLECTION Message by HAN National Chairman 2017 - Shepherd Chinhoi

30 years of service to the Namibian tourism industry is truly a milestone that calls for reflection! When the few existing tourism accommodation providers came together in 1987 to deliberate on opportunities to promote and professionalise the tourism accommodation industry, the Namibian landscape was very different. For one, this beautiful country was not even independent yet, laws and control over the tourism industry were restricted to an Ordinance regulating Hotels, Motels and Hostels, and to basic traffic rules for the operators only. This calls for a word of gratitude, and an expression of great appreciation of all past HAN Chairmen and their Executive committees for their vision and dedication, without which HAN would not be where it is today. We have come a long way since then, and it is with some pride and satisfaction to realise that in all of 30 years the Hospitality Association of Namibia has been a strong partner in shaping the Namibian tourism industry, instrumental in drafting tourism legislation and in addressing the needs and interests of the tourism accommodation sector and tourism as a whole together with other stakeholders and guiding authorities. In all of its endeavours HAN has kept focus over the years on working towards the common good of all, not only in the accommodation sector but also the wider tourism industry, through active engagement, partnerships and hosting annual platforms for engagement, networking and ensuring that Namibians are ready to adapt and excel in an ever-changing international tourism business environment. Words such as environment, landscape and milestones play a vital role in our industry, and HAN has in all its efforts ensured that despite striving to commercialize and ensure profitability – we as Namibians remain humble and respectful of our environment and landscape. I believe that milestones can only be achieved by hard work, going the extra mile and turning over many a stone and stumbling block to create a smooth pathway for tourism to prosper. This requires commitment and respect for our land, its people and the places in which we operate.

to provide regular tourism statistics to key stakeholders, financial institutions, authorities and key investors interested in contributing to tourism growth. While this, too, can be viewed as a positive contribution HAN is making to the industry, the HAN leadership regards the low support and participation from industry in this effort as a “low-light” among the many highlights HAN can reflect on over the past three decades in which it has worked to serve tourism in Namibia. We hope and trust that our target to step up our efforts in processing tourism statistics will show the desired results in the near future. For now, let us celebrate our milestone in style. It is not without reason that HAN has chosen Denim & Diamonds as the theme for its 30th Anniversary Gala. Denim is the clothing/uniform needed most often to execute the hard and rough work that goes into building a tourism hub, while diamonds attracted people to Namibia more than a century ago and resulted in the first modern infrastructure development in this country. Over the years we have reaped the benefits of some hard work: Kolmanskuppe and most recently Oranjemund opened up as new tourist destinations in Namibia, adding to the many and most diverse attractions this country has to offer. A strong connection remains between tourism and gemstones, and as we celebrate the glitz and glamour of reaching the 30-year milestone, HAN is already looking beyond, with ideas to develop new routes and niche tours through Namibia that may take our valued guests to destinations in the far north and even underground, to showcase the richness of what Namibia has to offer. HAN remains committed to serving the tourism industry for decades to come and prides itself on having established a loyal and trusted team of sponsors and partners, whose generous contributions have helped HAN to achieve this milestone.

Looking back over the past 30 years there are many events, developments and achievements that speak of a generally successful growth in the Namibian tourism landscape, some of which will be reflected upon with great stories in this beautiful “brag book”, summarising tourism success stories of Namibia over the past 30 years. At some point HAN realised that there is a need to measure performance and success in order to be able to reflect and build on the work done in the past, and at the turn of the century started to process occupancy statistics on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. For the past 17 years, i.e. for more than half of its existence, HAN has been one of only a few institutions

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

3


Elzanne Erasmus

IS NAMIBIA THE MOST COMPETITIVE AND DESIRABLE

TOURISM DESTINATION IN 2018? A chronicle of the 30 constructive years of the oldest, longest serving tourism association in Namibia. Tourism truly is an industry of “Denim & Diamonds” – where hard work and tough attire are essential. An industry that offers countless encounters to expose the glitz and glamour which a country like Namibia holds in terms of its uniquely beautiful environment, its amazing diversity of fauna and flora, its cultural diversity, the wealth of colourful gemstones hidden beneath Namibian rock and sand and the warm hospitality of its people. "Denim & Diamonds" is the perfect motto for HAN's 30th Anniversary Gala, aptly hosted at the Safari Hotel in Windhoek, where the Hospitality Association of Namibia was founded 30 years ago and which has been a member of HAN ever since. Looking back over the past 30 years, HAN has had a major influence on the developments in tourism in our country. The consistency, perseverance and dedication of the Association to raise issues in the interest of our tourism sector are evident throughout. HAN may not be able to tick off boxes point-by-point on issues raised with authorities, but we have always been part of the conversation.

1987 By Gitta Paetzold.

Based on its constitution, drafted by Johnie Hamman in the summer of 1987, the Hotel Association of SWA/Namibia was established in March 1988 at the Safari Hotel in Windhoek. Fifteen hoteliers attended the first AGM and seven hotels joined as members. Johnnie was elected Chairman and Tom Mutavdzic of Canyon Hotel in Keetmanshoop his deputy. With Tim Parkhouse and Jutta Kasimir of Namib Sun Hotels (now O&L Leisure), Ria von Seydlitz of Immenhof Guest Farm and André Snyman of Hotel Schweizerhaus they formed the first Exco.

1988 4

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

1990

Namibia gains independence The Association is renamed the Hospitality Association of Namibia, HAN. Chairman: Tom Mutavdzic The first Tourism Minister, Nico Bessinger, attends.

1991

The New Namibian Era Chairman: Tom Mutavdzic, Vice: Peter Kastner


1993

Hospitality is a 7-days-a-week, 365-days-per-year Industry Chairman: Arno Janetzky Vice: André Snyman

1997

1994

Back to Basics Chairman: André Snyman Vice: Johnnie Hamman Prime Minister Hage Geingob announces the approval of the Tourism White Paper.

1995

1996 The Hospitality Industry – A vital Part of Tourism Chairman: Johnnie Hamman, Vice: Ria von Seydlitz HAN’s Code of Conduct is adopted

Tourism – A Challenge or a Gamble? Chairman: Tom Mutavdzic Vice: Johnnie Hamman Gambling Bill is passed

Go the Extra Mile & be the Perfect Host Chairman: Udo Weck, Vice: Werner Beddies After 10 years, Mata Mata gate finally opens

1998

A brighter Future through Co-operation Chairman: Udo Weck, Vice: Brian Black First bilingual HAN website appears on the world-wide-web

Elzanne Erasmus

1999

Hospitality in the New Millennium Chairman: Brian Black, Vice: Werner Beddies Namibia Holiday & Travel Expo is launched


2000 Destination Namibia – Aiming for Excellence Chairman: Brian Black Vice: Graham Howard Legislation on B&Bs is passed

2001

2002

Paul van Schalkwyk

Tourism Growth – through improved Service & Cooperation Chairman: Graham Howard, Vice: Ernst Sauber NTB is gazetted and Gideon Shilongo becomes the first CEO

2003

Planning Today for Tourism Tomorrow Chairman: Werner Beddies, Vice: Ernst Sauber All tourism enterprises register with NTB

Namibian – and Proud of it Chairman: Ernst Sauber Vice: Willem de Wet

Elzanne Erasmus

2004

Tourism for all – You’re Welcome Chairman: Willem de Wet Vice: Manni Goldbeck Transformation Charter is adopted

2005

Tourism – We are in it Together Chairman: Willem de Wet Vice: Manni Goldbeck Willem Konjore becomes Minister of Tourism

6

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

Pompie Burger

2007

Tracking Trends in Tourism Chairman: André van Rensburg, Vice: Nesi Magg HAN celebrates 20 years and has 400 members Etosha is 100 years old

Elzanne Erasmus

2006

Tourism is Everybody’s Business Chairman: Willem de Wet, Vice: Manni Goldbeck HAN Eco Awards are introduced


HAN 30 YEARS

2008 Mature in Sustainable Practices Chairman: André van Rensburg Vice: Nesi Magg

2009 2011

It’s Dry but We Live it! Chairman Christie Benade, Vice: Werner Beddies HAN shows senior learners “a day in the life of a tourism worker”

2010

It’s Real – It’s Time for Tourism Chairman: Christie Benade Vice: Robert Nienaber HAN brings tourism and mining together HAN moves into the mainstream: an office in the Old Breweries

Namibian Tourism and Beyond Chairman: Christie Benade, Vice: Werner Beddies Soccer World Cup takes place in South Africa Building the Namibia Brand Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah becomes Minister of Tourism

2012 HAN’s 25 Adventurous Years Chairman: Christie Benade, Vice: Robert Nienaber

2015 Tides of Change in Tourism Chairman: Rudi Putter Vice: Janet Wilson Moore Pohamba Shifeta becomes the Minister of Environment and Tourism

2013

A digital Highway through Namibia Chairman: Rudi Putter Vice: Janet Wilson Moore 10th Adventure Travel World Summit takes place in Swakopmund First Women in Tourism Conference in Namibia

Elzanne Erasmus

A digital Highway through Namibia Chairman: Rudi Putter Vice: Janet Wilson Moore Namibia holds 3rd place as the most competitive tourism destination in Africa (according to the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitive Index)

2017

We keep the Stats to measure Success Chairman: Rudi Putter Vice: Janet Wilson Moore The most successful tourism year since recording of figures started in 2000.

2016

2014

Work towards an Awakening World Chairman: Shepherd Chinhoi, Vice: Janet Wilson Moore This calls for great communication, co-operation and teamwork among all players in Team Destination Namibia, and HAN remains willing to create the platform and be the catalyst for dialogue and change for an even greater future for tourism. 2017 is a milestone year for HAN as the oldest and most active private sector tourism organisation in Namibia. As we reflect on its history, its challenges and successes, it is also the time to find new opportunities for growth and development – for the accommodation sector and the entire Namibian tourism industry. The association is equipped and ready to tackle the challenges that the highly technical and fast-moving international travel trade presents.

SERVE

Service Excellence Respect Value Ethics TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

7


NAMIBIA TOURISM BOARD

INTEGRATED MARKETING

Namibian Tourism Board Strategies - Maureen Posthuma

The Namibia Tourism Board’s Integrated Marketing Strategy ensures that each promotion segment (Consumer, Trade/ MICE, PR and Online) is linked by using all marketing channels: Offline, Online and Social Media by all project partners.  All major marketing initiatives are part of a 360° approach and are not stand-alone activities.  The Namibia Tourism Board is specialised in brand cooperations thus cross promotions with well-known international lifestyle, outdoor, automobile, photographic, fashion and food brands. Since 2003 NTB partnered with more than 45 product brands mainly in Europe. These campaigns reached more than 500 million consumers via the various channels (online, offline, social media and point of sales) offered by these product brands. This Namibian success story could only be realised with the ongoing support of mainly Air Namibia but also South African Airways, Condor and the entire Tourism Industry – both Inbound and Outbound.

CROSS PROMOTIONS WITH 30 INTERNATIONAL BRANDS – a Namibia Tourism Board success story YEAR 1 2012 2 2012 3 2012 4 2013 5 2013 6 2013 7 2013 8 2014 9 2014 10 2014 11 2015 12 2015 13 2015 14 2015 15 2015 16 2015 17 2015 18 2016 19 2016 20 2016 21 2016 22 2016 23 2016 24 2017 25 2017 26 2017 27 2017 28 2017 29 2017 30 2018

8

MARKET

BRAND PARTNER

Germany, Austria, Switzerland Germany Germany Germany, Austria Germany Germany, Austria Switzerland China Germany Germany Germany China United Kingdom United Kingdom Germany Germany Germany Germany Austria Switzerland Germany, Austria Germany, Austria, Switzerland United Kingdom Switzerland Switzerland Germany, Austria, Switzerland Germany, Austria, Switzerland Germany United Kingdom Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands

Skoda Bundesliga Football Tsg 1899 Hoffenheim Biosphere Expedtions & Land Rover Studiokanal Cinema & Böklunder Deuter Engbers Schild Huawei Samsonite Sundance Müller Milch Landrover Taylor Morris Land Rover Vaude Constantin Film “Das Magische Königreich 3D” Kamps Crumpler Ford, new “Ford Ranger” Ford, new “Ford Ranger” McKinley Land Rover “The Last Defender” The Grand Tour (2-Part Namibia Special) Transa Ford, 2nd Year “Ford Ranger” Beefer Foodboom Samova Nikon Olympus Cameras

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


NAMIBIA TOURISM BOARD 2001-2011 30 SUCCESS STORIES

Brand Cooperations and Cross Promotions


CONTENTS 4

HOSPITALITY ASSOCIATION of Namibia

35

BACKPACKING for the Generation Wanderlusters

8

NAMIBIA TOURISM Board

38

EXTREME Adventures

16

ROAD tripping

41

TOWNHOPPING: small towns with big hearts

17

SAVOUR the sunsets

44

HAVE A BEER in every “buurt”

17

WATERBABIES’ paradise

47

ON THE COALS from north to south

19

TAKE TO THE skies

49

THE BRIGHTEST STAR in the sky

22

OH AND THE Big Five!

49

LIVING Museums

26

SCALING the mountaintops

52

A KALEIDOSCOPE of Culture

31

A THOUSAND STEPS in the sand

54

MOUNTAIN BIKING and nature

32

SOLITUDE, silence and wide open spaces

54

TINY CREATURES with big tales

32

THROUGH THE lens

55

A CAMPING LIFE for me

10

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


Pompie Burger

The Brandberg, Namibia's tallest mountain.

Paul van Schalkwyk

Elzanne Erasmus

60

RHINOS: Namibia’s gentle giants

62

KALAHARI dreaming

62

AND OF COURSE the sunshine

66

WHITE places

67

ANCIENT secrets

71

DISCONNECT to reconnect

72

NEVER TOO OLD to be an adventurer

74

THE NOT FORGOTTEN South

78

WE ARE Namibia

Paul van Schalkwyk

NAMIBIA’S NEAR-ENDEMIC and special birds Paul van Schalkwyk

57

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

11


Kaokoland & surroundings 16 34

Etosha

Twyfelfontein 2

4

6

9

16

23

24

32

6

16 21 34

North East surroundings 2

Skeleton Coast 16

21

23 Waterberg & surroundings

Erongo 4

26 34

5

23

25

East surroundings 8

27 28

Swakopmund & surroundings 2

6

Windhoek & Surroundings

13 16

3

23 24 31 32

4

10

11 12

15

16 18 19 23 24 26 29

Kalahari 26 23 17

Sossusvlei & Naukluft 1

19 20 23 26

30 32 33 34 35

LĂźderitz & surroundings 22 23

Fish River Canyon 16 23

12

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

7


MAP OF NAMIBIA

ZAMBEZI REGION 24

3 2

6

23 21

ADVERTORIALS LISTING 1.

Ababis Guest house/Naukluft Experience p. 46

2. Active Ventures pp. 76-77 ADVERTORIALS LISTING

19. Lüderitz Nest Hotel p. 18 20. N/a’an ku sê p. 34

3.

African Monarch Lodges p. 23

21. Namtib p. 68

4.

Big Sky Lodges p. 40

22. Natural Selection p. 30

5.

Cheetah Conservation Fund p. 53

23. Namibia Wildlife Resorts p. 25

6.

Classics Collection p. 28

24. O&L Leisure p. 48

7.

Dornhügel Guestfarm p. 42

25. Okonjima/Africat p. 69

8.

Eningu Clayhouse Lodge p. 79

26. Ondili Lodges & Activities p. 63

9.

Etosha Heights Private Reserve p. 70

27. Onjala p. 51

10. GocheGanas p. 56

28. Otjimbondona p. 65

11. Heinitzburg p. 21

29. River Crossing Lodge p. 37

12. Hillside@Tenbergen p. 73

30. Solitaire Desert Farm p. 33

13. Hotel Schweizerhaus p. 58

31. Swakopmund Lifestyle Apartments p. 43

14. Iwanowski p. 81

32. Taleni Africa p. 50

15. Joe's Beer House p. 45

33. Tok Tokkie Trails p. 39

16. Journeys Namibia p. 61

34. Wilderness Safaris p. 36

17. Kalahari Game Lodge p. 64

35. Wolwedans p. 29

18. Lake Oanob Resort p. 20

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

13


Paul van Schalkwyk


30

REASONS WHY WE LOVE

Namibia


Namtib Desert Lodge

1

ROAD TRIPPING A ribbon of road stretched out front, dust behind. Nothing else. Silence and solitude. Or: tunes blare from the radio, wind rushes through the window, deafening ears. Friendly faces by the side of the road, selling their wares in woven baskets. Elsewhere desolate stands packed with dusty rocks, rusted can for payments. Busy towns, sleepy towns, dusty stop-overs, farm stalls, lodges, hotels, campsites. Sunsets and look-out points. Useless signposts and pointless markers. Byways and long ways. Snacks, drinks, coffee breaks on the side of the road. Chance encounters, new friends, and engaging stories. Destination reached, unpack, rest. Then do it all again.

16

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


Elzanne Erasmus

2

SAVOUR THE SUNSETS There is a reason why Namibians love sundowners. Every sunset is a cause for celebration. It’s almost impossible to not experience an awe-inspiring sunset here. One where the sky turns a softer shade of blue as the sun dips low. Then the dramatics: orange and pink. Streaks, if you’re lucky and if it is the rainy season. Clouds create an interlude of light and shadow, reflecting the highlights. The spectacular display reaches a crescendo. The sun touches down. Over a dusty landscape it is bright red. Over the ocean, wait for the green sparks. Then it’s gone, and as suddenly as it began, the show is over. Slowly the colours die down, retreat behind the horizon, and darkness sets in.

3

Windsurfer Antoine Albeau competing at the Lüderitz Speed Challenge.

WATERBABIES’ PARADISE For water lovers, Namibia provides the perfect opportunities to get wet and wild. The famous lefthand breaks along the coast entice surfers from across the globe. Strong winds in Lüderitz set the standards for world-class speed junkies. Namibia as a surfing destination became known in the international surfing community in 2008 when an American surfing magazine wrote about a two kilometre wave named Skeleton Bay. Suddenly, Namibia came to the attention of surfers everywhere. Local surfers have known the country's secrets for a while, of course. But this supertube is actually a more recent phenomenon, resulting from a change in the coastline of the Pelican Point peninsular between Walvis Bay Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. Other hot spots have been popular for much longer. Surfers come to Cape Cross, one of the most visited places in Namibia, for its left-hand break. They have to deal with officials from the Cape Cross Nature Reserve, though. The seals keep to themselves for the most part, with a curious head bobbing up now and then to eye you on your board. At least they

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

17


Lüderitz NEST HOTEL

O

ur multiple-award winning Lüderitz Nest Hotel offers its guests one of the most spectacular locations in Namibia – directly on the rocks and the sea. Besides being so close to the natural marine environment of Lüderitz Bay, with its plethora of marine bird life and the soothing sounds of the ocean, the views from our hotel are unlike any other in Namibia.

Our hotel was the brainchild of well-known Namibian hotelier Tom Mutavdzic. Tom saw the huge potential of initiating, designing, developing and launching a quality four-star hotel in Lüderitz. He had a strong intuition that one day Lüderitz would be a soughtafter tourism destination. He and Ulf Grünewald, another highly respected hotelier, successfully constructed the uniquely designed hotel. All rooms and public spaces have direct sea-views! On 24 April 1998, HE. Dr. Sam Nujoma, the first State President of Namibia, officially launched our hotel. Naturally it was a huge privilege to have the head of state launch our hotel. Present at our illustrious launch were leading figures from Namibia’s tourism industry, dignitaries, the media and local stakeholders. Prior to the launch, our hotel became a fully registered member of both HAN and the Namibian Tourism Board (NTB). Since 1998, the Lüderitz Nest Hotel with its 70 rooms, 3 Executive Suites and all

modern comforts has hosted guests from Namibia, South Africa and from around the world. Our quality establishment has received multiple awards, including those of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN). We do a lot for the local community and all our staff undergoes regular training. Our hotel works closely with reputable Namibian and international tour operators, and the Namibian Tourist Board for marketing and selling Lüderitz… the diamond of Namibia!

Ulf Grünewald, our long-standing General Manager, is also closely involved with the Lüderitz Rotary Club. As he puts it: “I have seen many positive developments in Lüderitz, despite the ups and downs in our local economy. My involvement over the many years with and through our hotel has enabled me to get intrinsically involved with many community upliftment projects via our local Lüderitz Rotary Club. I have seen the positive impact that our hotel has made and continues to make on the community of Lüderitz. I am proud to be called a Buchter and to contribute in any way that I can towards the upliftment of Lüderitz and its peoples”. Lüderitz, with Namibia’s first and only fishing harbour (up to 1994), an array of historical German Art Nouveau buildings, Kolmanskop Ghost Town and wild pristine landscapes, is one of Namibia’s top tourist destinations. According to the Lonely Planet Guide

Book, Lüderitz was voted number 6 out of the top 12 places and attractions in Namibia and Botswana. Lüderitz also appears in many Guinness World Records books for holding the most national and world speed sailing records in windsurfing and kiteboarding. One of Namibia’s last untouched wilderness regions, the Tsau//Khaeb National Park, located just south of Lüderitz, is home to southern Africa’s highest coastal rock arch, the Bogenfels, as well as the truly fascinating Elizabeth Bay Ghost Town (E. Bay). E. Bay can only be accessed with a locally registered tour operator and this tour will offer you a direct insight into the unbelievable engineering that was necessary to initiate, develop and manage the world’s most modern mining town of its day with trains, electricity and an entertainment hall – in the middle of the Namib Desert next to a barren inhospitable coastline. Both the Namibian windsurfing and kite surfing speed records have been achieved at the Lüderitz Speed Challenge and as of 2017, 113 National Speed sailing records have been broken. Many more will surely follow at this, the world’s premier speed sailing event. The beautiful, natural and expansive Lüderitz Second Lagoon, where the annual speed challenge is held, also provides the perfect spot for other windsurfers and kiteboarders to test their skills. And with the added bonus – lots of space and no crowds…

Tel: +264 63204000 Email: reservations@nesthotel.com Web: www.nesthotel.com

18

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


do not hog the waves. A good tip to enjoy the waves at Cape Cross is to buy a permit from the reserve's office beforehand. There are plenty of good waves along the stretch of coast between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. The beaches are open to the public, and all you have to look out for is a local braving the freezing waters for a swim. Well-known spots include Guns, Thicklip, Wreck, Lockjoint and Tiger Reef, all located around the Swakopmund area. Further south the strong winds of Lüderitz make for a different sort of surfing. Windsurfers and kitesurfers get the best out of a famous wind that blows throughout the year. The annual Lüderitz Speed Challenge draws local and international competitors. The six-week event sees the world's top kite and windsurfers compete for the best international sailing speed. Since the first event in 2007, participants have set 17 speed sailing world records on the lagoon. At the 2012 event no less than seven windsurfers broke the 50-knot barrier. Popular windsurfing areas are Grosse Bucht and Grosse Lagune.

Paul van Schalkwyk

4

TAKE TO THE SKIES

Paul van Schalkwyk

A fly-in safari is by far the best way for travellers to experience the most of Namibia in a relatively short amount of time. In a country as vast as Namibia, reaching far-flung destinations by car can take many hours. The distances are often formidable. Fly-in safaris, on the other hand, let you explore the country in complete comfort. Not only that, but many of the destinations are off-limits otherwise. With an aeroplane as your safari vehicle it is possible to explore the country from an angle few get to have. The breathtaking views make for memorable moments. The experience of being among the clouds, with the horizon a fuzzy line between the ground and sky, is life-changing. The restricted northern section of the Skeleton Coast Park is only accessible by fly-in safari. This area has seen little external contact or influence. A fly-in safari will prove to be the experience of a lifetime. It is a region far off the beaten track. Few tourists have the opportunity to visit this mysterious outpost. Namibia’s northern coastline makes up a large section of the Skeleton Coast Park. It is a prime example of how dramatically Namibia’s landscapes contrast one another. Ancient rock formations juxtaposed against

the roaring dunes of the Namib Desert. It is an otherworldly panorama, especially when your vantage point is from above. Fly-in safaris are one of the most popular adventure options in Namibia. Take a fly-in safari to Kaokoland, the Kunene River environs and the Skeleton Coast Park. The relatively unexplored areas of the Kaokoland guarantee a real adventure. Visit semi-nomadic Himba communities. Search for desert-adapted rhinos and elephants. Discover the rugged and mysterious landscapes.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

19


5

reasons we love

LAKE OANOB RESORT

L

ake Oanob Resort is famous among locals. It’s become synonymous with a quick weekend away, a place to relax and have fun. If you need any further motivation, here are five reasons why we love Lake Oanob Resort:

1. The water Since Namibia is a desert country with almost no perennial rivers or natural lakes, and very few bodies of water open for public recreation, Lake Oanob Resort is all the more special. Built to provide water to the town of Rehoboth, the lake offers enough activities to keep its visitors busy. Trips by boat to explore its shores, a pontoon boat with catered meals, rowing trips or simply plain old swimming – these are just some of the options when it comes to what to do with all that water. 2. It's a place to sit back and relax or spend a special event by the waterfront Sometimes all that is needed to recharge one’s batteries is to get away from the daily routine and spend time in nature. Lake Oanob Resort’s luxury chalets are spaced along the shore with great views across the water. Family and friends can enjoy time together in the ample space available away from home. For those not keen on dipping their toes in the dam’s water, the surroundings are perfect for lounging on the deck, socialising indoors, splashing in the pool, bird watching, walks and nature-drives to experience the beautiful landscape and try to get a chance to view some of the 14 species, like giraffes, zebras or antilope and finally a drink by the bar. 3. Camping spots for nature lovers Sleeping under the stars is a real treat and Lake Oanob Resort is the perfect place to do so. The campsites are spread out at a slightly elevated position above the lake. Thanks to the abundance of water, many of the campsites have shady lawns ready for pitching tents. No sleeping on hard ground here. 4. There is a waterfront restaurant Lake Oanob Resort’s restaurant has arguably the best view of all, especially from its deck when enjoying a glass of wine. The restaurant caters for day visitors as well as weekend guests. Its proximity to the pool means that a quick dip can be followed by a bite to eat. Or else, try the Giraffe-Pool-Bar underneath the restaurant, where the chairs stand in the water to keep your toes wet as you wet your throat. Next to the restaurant is the lapa and the Tented Hall, which is often used for weddings, birthday parties, conferences and workshops. 5. Its proximity to the capital city Distances in Namibia are notoriously large, and getting from one spot to another can take the better part of the day. Which is why Lake Oanob Resort is such a gem. Only 90 kilometres south of Windhoek and less than an hour’s drive away, means that the lake is within easy reach for quick getaways or a weekend of fun.

20

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

Tel: +264 62 522 370 Email: reservations@oanob.com.na Web: www.oanob.com.na


Heinitzburg A

rchitect Wilhelm Sander constructed Heinitzburg castle when Count Schwerin commissioned a private home in 1914. He named the castle after his brideto-be, Margarethe von Heinitz. Today the historic castle on the hill overlooking Windhoek is the epitome of romance and one of Namibia’s highest-rated hotels.

Each of the 16 spacious rooms is individually decorated. Upon walking into the castle you are transported a century into the past, despite the chic, modern design of the rooms. The European-style finishes give an impression of opulence, all the while making you feel comfortable and at home. You can further enhance this time-travelling experience by visiting the Knight’s Room to marvel at historical artworks. It is also the ideal place for meetings and private parties. Heinitzburg also houses Leo’s at the Castle, one of the city’s finest restaurants. Affectionately known as the Gourmet Temple, this is where the chefs create magic with seasonal local specialities and international delicatessen. The fine-dining experience is complemented by the extensive and exclusive selection of ‘liquid diamonds’, which includes over 15 000 bottles of South African and European wines. The Felsenkeller (a wine cellar built into the mountain) is a tribute to the enduring

passion of owner Beate Raith and her late husband, Jürgen. They bought Heinitzburg in 1994 and turned it into the hotel and restaurant, which for Beate was a long-cherished dream come true. The wine cellar is also available for private parties. Tibor Raith inherited an innate love for cooking from his father Jürgen and has been creating a celebration for taste buds since the age of 14. He trained in Germany before finishing his hotel management studies in Austria. Currently, he holds the position of both Executive Chef and General Manager. For Tibor, Leo’s is all about giving food fundis an exceptional culinary experience to create an unforgettable taste sensation. Heinitzburg is a success story also with regard to the staff. Chef Neville, for example, who started out as commis chef is now Leo’s head chef. Heinitzburg is well known for pleasing people from near and far with exclusive accommodation and gourmet fare. Decorated in soft shades of silver-grey and a few tinges of red, the restaurant has a romantic feel that adds to the general atmosphere of the castle. Crystal glassware, silver cutlery, fine linen and freshly cut roses. Leo’s seduces you to share in the romance of its setting – you will be wooed by the food, the finest wines and impeccable service.

Tel: +264 61 249 597 Email: heinitzburg@heinitzburg.com Web: www.heinitzburg.com

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

21


5

OH AND THE BIG FIVE! The term "Big Five" was coined by big-game hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot, but it has since changed into a pseudo wildlife bucketlist item for foreign visitors on their visit to Southern Africa. The Big Five are lion, leopard, rhinoceros (both the black and the white species), elephant and African buffalo. Have you ticked them all off?

ELEPHANTS

Elzanne Erasmus

Namibia is especially famed for its now thriving population of some 600 desert-adapted elephants in Damaraland and the Kunene Region. Etosha National Park is home to a substantial population, and thousands more are migrating through the north-eastern Kavango and Zambezi regions and Namibia’s neighbours Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Fun fact: The elephant’s trunk is one of the most versatile organs in the animal kingdom – sensitive enough to take a peanut from a human hand and strong enough to lift a log weighing several hundred kilograms. It contains 150 000 muscles, can function as a drinking straw, weapon and scent ‘periscope’, and it is a tool for social interaction.

RHINOCEROS

Elzanne Erasmus

22

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

Namibia has the world’s largest free-roaming population of black rhinos outside national parks. It is home to over 90 per cent of the south-western black rhino subspecies, and together with South Africa forms the last real stronghold of black rhinos on the continent. Our white rhino population is also increasing. It had become locally extinct at the beginning of the 1900s, but the species was reintroduced from South Africa, both to national parks and to private farms and game reserves.


AFRICAN MONARCH Lodges A

collection of luxury tourism establishments, including Nambwa Tented Lodge, Nambwa Lagoon Camp, Kazile Island Lodge within Bwabwata National Park in the Zambezi Region, and The Village Courtyard Suites in Windhoek. Like all great stories, it started with a dream. A vision fuelled by passion. That’s how one man’s vision gave birth to African Monarch Lodges. Dusty Rodgers is a seasoned entrepreneur with a passion for building lodges in remote areas. His wealth of experience and love for the area has led to the establishment of a joint venture lodge collection built on the principles of Conservation, Communities and Conservancies in the Zambezi Region, previously known as the Caprivi. Dusty, born in Wales, moved to Zambia with his parents at the age of five and spent much of his childhood not only in the wildernesses of Zambia but also of countries such as Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Botswana. Dusty has called Namibia home for over 24 years. Having spent most of this time in the rural northeast, building relationships with local communities, it was only natural for his path to lead to joint venture tourism operations in the area. His approach to generating benefits for local communities and respecting their values and expectations has helped to shape Namibia’s foundation for its network of communal conservancies. Dusty met Tinolla Collins, a passionate hotelier of 23 years, in 2004 when she became the General Manager of his then operation Islands in Africa. After Tinolla worked in different

African countries until 2013, she teamed up with Dusty again and they are today not only co-owners of African Monarch Lodges - but colleagues, as Tinolla is the company's Managing Director - and they are also partners in life. African Monarch’s first Zambezi establishment opened its doors in 2015. Nambwa Tented Lodge, the first lodge to be uniquely situated inside Bwabwata National Park, was followed by Nambwa Lagoon Camp and then Kazile Island Lodge in March 2017. Nambwa Lodge is an exclusive community-based joint venture project situated on a riverine floodplain island next to the perennial Kwando River, on a private concession within the park. A campsite and the Lagoon Camp cater for a variety of travel styles and guests’ tastes can be accommodated in this special paradise. Kazile Island Lodge is situated 2 km across green marshlands adjacent to the famous Horseshoe Bend. The newest member of the African Monarch family is beautifully built in the treetops of Kazile Island, on the very edge of the meandering Kwando River. Last but not least there are The Village Courtyard Suites situated near the heart of the capital, Windhoek. With their soothing modern setting these self-catering apartments are the perfect choice for discerning business travellers and visitors alike. For Dusty and Tinolla hospitality runs through their veins and they have a deep love for the lodges they have established. A close and personal relationship with every staff member in their lodge family, many of whom have been with them since the early 90s, is one of the many marks of their success. Passion for the environment and their guests makes this their calling, not just an occupation. Tel: +264 81 125 2122 Email: reservations@africanmonarchlodges.com Web: www.africanmonarchlodges.com

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

23


AFRICAN BUFFALO

Buffalo are the heaviest species within the antelope family (Bovidae). Males weigh up to 800 kg and females up to 750 kg. The weight of a buffalo calf at birth is about 40 kg. Males achieve their full adult weight after about 7 years and females after about 5 years.

Elzanne Erasmus

In Namibia buffalo only roam the Zambezi Region (formerly the Caprivi Strip) and Waterberg National Park. The species is closely monitored and its movement restricted due to strict agricultural and livestock regulations.

Apart from their horns, the body shape of buffalo resembles that of cattle. The front hooves are significantly larger than the hind hooves, presumably because of the additional weight in the massive forequarters, head and neck.

LION Panthera leo needs no introduction. However, it should be noted that the lion is the only truly social cat species in existence. To see a lion in the wild is one of the greatest moments on a safari. Previous studies have indicated that lions exhibit unique behaviour, such as adaptations to survive in harsh environments.

These animals have both aesthetic appeal and financial value for tourism, and are one of the top attractions in Namibia’s parks and reserves.

Annabelle Venter

While the incredible desert-adapted lions of the Kunene Region are the most famous subset of Namibia’s feline inhabitants, the King of Beasts has also taken up residence in the bushland of Etosha National Park, the Zambezi Region and Khaudum National Park.

LEOPARD Except for the domestic tabby, the leopard is the most widely distributed cat species worldwide. From the Namib to the Arabian Peninsula and throughout Asia right down to Korea – wherever there is sufficient cover for concealment, leopards roam at night.

When the last figures were published in 2012, the leopard population was estimated to be between 13 356 and 22 706 animals. The accurate numbers of this elusive cat will probably never be known.

24

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

Nina van Schalkwyk

Leopards are found throughout Namibia with the exception of the Skeleton Coast. Secretive, stealthy and mostly solitary, the opportunistic leopard adapts to living in close proximity to humans, who are often unaware of its presence.


NAMIBIA WILDLIFE

I

RESORTS

n 2013 a new management took over the company, originally created through an Act of Parliament in 1998. It was a season of change and evolution, which became Namibia Wildlife Resorts’ philosophy. As we are the largest tourism company in Namibia it is our duty to lead by example and to set the trend. Travel and tourism are and should remain a learning experience. It is from this concept that the 75% discount sprouted, to allow Namibians to experience their own country. NWR belongs to the Namibian people and we hope to show how much the nation means to us.

Diversifying and differentiating the products on offer to cater for a wider range of needs is one of the strategies used to ensure that the value of Namibia’s protected areas is maximised. It is undeniable that our 21 resorts are situated in the most pristine regions of Namibia. We provide intimate park experiences through guided night drives in Etosha National Park; sunrise and sunset excursions to the majestic Sossusvlei; relaxing massages and wellness treatments using the healing properties of the natural hot springs mineral water at /Ai-/Ais. We also offer real adventure activities such as hikes into Namibia's iconic landscapes on signature trails such as the Fish River Canyon Trail and the Namib Naukluft Hiking Trail winding through the rugged Naukluft Mountains – considered to be among the toughest in Southern Africa. It is with a sense of achievement that we can say that the NWR brand is now well recognised and accepted in the source markets. Nevertheless, this is still part of an on-going process, and the NWR is committed to continue redeveloping the remaining facilities in its portfolio, and to playing its part in making Namibia the tourism destination of choice. Each of our resorts underwent renovations in the past 10 years. During the upgrading of facilities a truly Namibian flavour is brought to our product, enhancing development and job creation amongst otherwise marginalised rural communities. In recognition of the positive impact that tourism can have on local economies, NWR is committed to sourcing needed goods from local producers. “To some extent, I can say that the ‘hardware’ is now in place and the challenges that we face are ‘software’-related such as excellent customer service, effective maintenance of resorts, operational efficiency and sound corporate governance,” said Managing Director Zelna Hengari. “It is in dealing with these challenges that the company will record progress. Further to that, I want us to become sustainably profitable and to be operationally sound in all aspects of our business. Beyond providing quality employment, we need to pay dividends to our shareholder because the return on investment is a legitimate expectation of every shareholder and government is no exception.”

Tel: +264 61 285 7200 Web: www.nwrcamps.com

In order to reach its full potential, NWR has been incorporating strategic retreats for managers at one of our own resorts, Khorixas Camp, since March 2013 and will continue to do so. “As the management you set the tone of the correct culture that the company should have,” Ambassador Leonard. N. Iipumbu, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of NWR, explained.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

25


6

SCALING THE MOUNTAINTOPS Explore Namibia’s mountains and gain a new perspective from their peaks. We give you the lowdown of some of the highest mountains, and tips on what not to miss.

BRANDBERG

NAUKLUFT

The name originates from Afrikaans and translates as “fire mountain”. Although it was not named after the sweltering heat, hiking in the area is only advisable during the milder months from April to September. The mountain earned its name because of the effect created by the setting sun on its western face, which turns the granite massif into shades of burning red.

The name Naukluft is derived from German and means “narrow ravine”. This craggy mountain paradise is part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park and offers great variety. It is well-known as a hiker's destination.

Location: Damaraland in the Erongo Region in northwest Namibia is famous for its rocky red hills, shimmering crystals, gorges and expanses of ‘nothing’ where some tribes – including the Damara, the Himba and the Owambo – manage to make a living among the desert shrubs. Altitude: At 2 573 m Königstein is the highest peak in the Brandberg range and in the whole of Namibia. Ascent: There are various routes to the summit. The best way to experience the Brandberg is to participate in a guided hike up the mountain. Brandberg Rest Camp and the Brandberg White Lady Lodge are ideal bases to visit the mountain, on either full or half-day excursions. Don’t miss: The rock paintings, including the celebrated "White Lady" in Maack's Cave. Permit needed? Yes. Obtain yours now by contacting the National Heritage Council in Windhoek. Phone: 061 244 375

The Spitzkoppe, Namibia's Matterhorn.

Location: An hour's drive northeast of Sesriem and Sossusvlei, where the main escarpment juts out into the desert. Altitude: 1 995 m Ascent: The 120 km Naukluft Hiking Trail is one of the most demanding trails in southern Africa; it takes about eight days to complete. There are several ascents and descents on the way to the top through narrow gorges leading up to the high plateaus, and gentle meadows ending abruptly in steep rock faces. You can cut the route shorter with a four-day hike of 61 km that stops at the farm Tsams Ost, or a roundabout route of 55 km (also four days). Don’t miss: It is impossible to miss the abundant wildlife. So, make sure to have a guide book handy to identify the animals. Permit needed? Yes. A permit from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and a doctor’s health certificate are required for the Naukluft Hiking Trail.


HAN 30 YEARS

BRUKKAROS

SPITZKOPPE

The name Brukkaros is faithful to our language mixing culture, as the name combines the Afrikaans word for trousers (broek) with the Nama word karos (leather apron). The latter refers to the shape of a traditional piece of clothing worn by Nama women.

Dubbed the “Matterhorn of Namibia” (needless to say, because of its striking resemblance to the original), the Spitzkoppe is world famous for its climbing options. The group of bald granite peaks caters for rock ramblers of all calibres.

Location: Rising starkly from the surrounding plains the Brukkaros Crater resembles an extinct volcano, visible from the B1 between Mariental and Keetmanshoop. Altitude: 1 590 m Ascent: At the entrance to the crater, explorers have a choice. You can either head to the quiver trees and crystal fields on the crater floor or follow the route that turns sharply left and leads to an abandoned research station on the rim. The walk takes two and a half hours each way. Don’t miss: This geological illusion is a spectacular sight in itself. Some 80 million years ago magma came into contact with groundwater. Under the immense pressure of the resulting steam the surface rock bulged upwards into a dome. Ultimately there was an explosion and the dome collapsed, leaving the crater of Brukkaros. View spectacular rock formations, some with a deep blue colour, as well as the “rock waterfall”. Permit needed? No.

Location: Between Usakos and Swakopmund in the Erongo Region. Altitude: 1 728 m Ascent: There are three routes: Pontok - Takes you to a lookout point on the top of Spitzkoppe. +/- 4.5 h Difficulty: fit Matterhorn - A steep and exposed hike that ends at a high viewpoint not far from the summit. +/- 6-8 h Difficulty: very fit Bushman Circle - Includes a chain climb to Bushman’s Paradise and afterwards a flat walking surface with sand and rock. +/- 7 h Difficulty: moderately fit Don’t miss: The threatened Damara Tern, a small bird occurring mostly at Spitzkoppe. You may also see a flock of Namibian Rosey-faced Lovebirds in one of the huge fig trees at your campsite. There are at least 37 rock art sites and test excavations. Permit needed? Yes, can be obtained at the gate upon arrival.

Pompie Burger


Mowani

MOUNTAIN CAMP W

e create memorable experiences in exclusive and stylish properties built in magical settings which reflect and enhance the natural beauty of the surroundings. Inspired by the colours and textures of the natural landscapes, there is a mixture of elegance and earthiness in all the lodges in the group.

Mowani – as nature intended.

Dwarfed by massive ochre boulders Mowani Mountain Camp is absorbed into the landscape, making it one with our shared history of life in this prehistoric land. Game drives along ancient dry riverbeds reveal life that in its sparseness reminds us of just how special it is. Rare desert-dwelling elephant, springbok, gemsbok and jackal roam these plains, while their images are found etched in the rocks at Twyfelfontein, Namibia’s first World Heritage Site. www.mowani.com

Camp Kipwe – where the Rocks share their secrets.

Huddled among the rocks, with sweeping views across the Aba Huab valley, Camp Kipwe is full of surprises. It appears as if rocks have tumbled down the hill to reveal this gem of a camp. The setting is one of intimacy and space. An inviting lounge area, where birds fly in to enjoy the water seeping from the rocks, a refreshing swimming pool nestled between rocks and a scattering of bungalows complete this eco-friendly camp. In the surrounding space and endless views of Damaraland desert- dwelling elephants visit the Aba Huab River. www.kipwe.com The Ongumas – “the place you don’t want to leave”. Bordering the eastern side of the most iconic wildlife destination in Namibia, the Etosha National Park, lies the 34,000 ha Onguma Game Reserve with over thirty animal species, including black rhino. In summer Onguma becomes a bird-watcher’s paradise with thousands of birds migrating to the wetlands created by the seasonal rains and ephemeral river systems.

Tel: +264 61 232 009 Email: reservations@cbt.com.na Web: www.mowani.com

There are five lodges and two campsites on the reserve, each placed in a setting to enhance the style. The elegant, stylish Fort is ideal for discerning travellers. The tented camp with only seven tents is intimate and small, ideal for romantic wilderness seekers. Onguma Tree Top is a rustic safari camp with only four tree houses built on wooden stilts among thorn trees. Onguma Bush Camp caters for families in the classic safari style. Onguma Etosha Aoba is a traditional bush lodge characterised by warm hospitality. Why would anyone ever want to leave? www.onguma.com


WOLWEDANS L

uxury travel can effect positive change in the world and Wolwedans has managed to walk that magical line: providing a superlative wilderness experience, while preserving and improving the environment for generations to come. That dedication to sustainability is a thread that links each camp in the Wolwedans Collection. A founding member of The Long Run, in 2011 Wolwedans was inducted as a Global Ecosphere Retreat; a prestigious certification recognising the group’s achievements and successes in fostering sustainable eco-sensitive tourism, whilst encouraging community development and cultural stewardship in the region.

Wolwedans is more than just another circuit of tented camps offering daily game drives and a comfortable bed. At Wolwedans the goal is the very conservation of this fragile landscape, and the upliftment of the communities that call it home. The camps are essentially a series of canvas tents and chalets pitched on elevated wooden platforms, a low-impact style of construction that means every trace of their presence could be seamlessly removed from the landscape if needed. Wolwedans has also invested heavily in its bid to touch this fragile landscape as lightly as possible. All waste is recycled so that nothing impacts the pristine ecology, and much of the fresh produce consumed by both guests and staff is grown in on-site organic gardens, further reducing the carbon footprint of the camps. A state-of-the-art photo-voltaic power installation has slashed reliance on fossil fuels, while a water management system continually conserves this most precious of desert resources.

Each camp flaunts its own distinctive backdrop in the tapestry of landscapes. Dunes Lodge perches atop a sandy plateau with breathtaking views out across the reserve, while Dune Camp offers a similar immersion in the landscape on the edge of russet-orange sands. And it’s not only dunes that define the NamibRand. The dramatic Nubib Mountains guard the eastern horizon of the reserve, a mountain terrain hinted at by the enigmatic Boulders Safari Camp, where sundowners can be enjoyed from atop a spectacular rocky plateau. There are few better places to soak up the silence of the desert than the Wolwedans Private Camp. Easily the most exclusive getaway in the NamibRand, Private Camp is rented on an exclusive-use basis, allowing up to six guests (or families of up to eight) the luxury of their own private hideaway amid the sandy plains. It’s an escape that beguiles with its understated luxury. And just as the migrating dunes themselves find form in myriad shapes and shades, so the Wolwedans Collection offers a captivating diversity of experiences and activities aimed at moving guests towards active participation and away from passive consumption. This ethos is driven with activity-based experiences from horse-back riding, e-biking, walking the paths of the San and a meditative solitude experience, designed to encourage digital detox in this wildly natural place. Wolwedans exists to inspire a new way.

Tel: + 264 61 230 616 Email: info@wolwedans.com / reservations@wolwedans.com Web: www.wolwedans.com


Natural

SELECTION

L

et’s get back to the basics, let’s create camps with character.

And that is exactly what Natural Selection is doing. They offer a unique portfolio of owner-operated camps in southern Africa, from the west coast of Namibia to the south coast of South Africa and the east coast of Mozambique. All of the founders of the new company have their roots in Africa and started as guides in the bush decades ago. Dave van Smeerdijk and Colin Bell are old friends devoted to the simple premise that safari tourism, when done right, can be an incredibly powerful tool for conservation and protecting Africa’s last great wild places. During several years spent in Namibia, Dave worked with local communities, government and conservation organisations to help protect areas and critical wildlife habitats through eco-tourism projects such as the ones that Natural Selection Namibia is involved in now. With Ally Karaerua as Managing Director and Louis Nortjé as Director of Operations, the company has acquired concessions in the Nkasa Rupara National Park in Namibia’s Zambezi Region (previously Caprivi) from the Namibian Government, to build a tented safari camp from across Botswana’s Linyanti Reserve.

This camp will be accessed from Botswana and will form part of a circuit with three other camps, Sable Alley, Hyena and Skybeds in Botswana’s Okavango area and at the Natural Selection camps in the Makgadikgadi Pans. In Kaokoveld, Natural Selection has entered into an agreement with the Sesfontein Conservancy to build the 6-tent Hoanib Valley Camp at the confluence of the Hoanib and Obias rivers, which will open its door on the 1st May 2018. They are also involved in the development of the Shipwreck Camp in the Skeleton Coast Park, a 10 room lodge, which will open in 2018. Shipwreck Camp is an ecolodge currently under construction on a dune, three kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean. Etosha Heights Private Reserve boasts Safarihoek Lodge and Etosha Mountain Lodge, which will reopen on 1 March 2018. These two lodges, also part of the Natural Selection portofolio, are in a 65 000 ha private reserve, which shares a 70 km border with Etosha National Park on the western side of the park. This is indeed a complete destination on its own with rich wildlife, varied biomes and good hospitality. In South Africa the company is developing a camp in the Mkambati Nature Reserve on the Wild Coast and at De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape.

Tel: +264 61 252 197 Email: enquiry@naturalselection.travel Web: www.naturalselection.travel

30

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


HAN 30 YEARS

Elzanne Erasmus

7

A THOUSAND STEPS IN THE SAND

There's no better feeling than miniscule grains of sand trickling through your toes as you walk across the desert floor. Those grains that inevitably end up inside your shoes. There is no point trying to prevent it. The dunes will find a way in, a way to follow you home long after you have left the dune landscapes behind. So many visitors come to experience Namibia's desert destinations every year, and yet your tracks in the sand seem to be the first to have ever touched its surface. The unwritten rule is: Take only photos, leave only footprints. Footprints, however, even disappear overnight – as if no one ever touched the floor of the ancient landscape. The spirit of the desert is immortal: Your tracks will not remain for long, but the memories of your visit will stay etched into your soul like an eternal tattoo.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

31


8

SOLITUDE, SILENCE AND WIDE-OPEN SPACES.

Namibia, where the journey is the destination...

Annabelle Venter

Shaped in solitude at the south-western tip of Africa by geological forces some 55 million years ago, the Namib is regarded as one of the oldest and largest sand deserts on earth. Its name, derived from a Nama word, means “vast”. It extends for over 1 600 kilometres along the Atlantic coast and is certainly an immense expanse of sand – a paradise for adrenaline addicts wanting to experience sandboarding and skiing down the slopes of some of the highest accumulations of sand on the planet! But it is also the epitome of much sought-after solitude and silence to take a break from this modern, bustling world. Distances between towns are vast but worth the trip all the same. Taking on the open roads in this country will lead to rewarding discoveries. It’s not the distance that you should be considering – it’s the experience. There is a spirit within, a subtle reminder, a feeling of connection; all of this under our Namib skies with the endless shifting Milky Way. With a population of only 2.3 million people, Namibia’s night skies have minimal light exposure. The country is thus among the best in the world for stargazing. Perhaps this is why Namibia’s tourism sector is booming. More and more people feel the need for solitude, silence, wide-open spaces and open roads.

THROUGH THE LENSE

9

Your breathing slows. Careful. Moving your finger oh so slightly. Press. The perfect shot. The only sound is the shutter. Your prey looks up, suddenly disturbed. Stares straight at you. You, the silent stranger. Seconds pass. You stand ready for the next perfect photograph that forms as you stare, waiting for the optimal combination of sunlight and subject on your viewfinder. Opportunity presents itself again. And again. And… again. Animals, birds, reptiles. Even people, wide eyes and shy smiles. Sometimes even the wordless rocks lend themselves to your gaze. There is always magic to capture. That’s just how it is in Namibia. Photographers’ paradise.


Solitaire Namibia

T

here is a single stopover on the long drive between Walvis Bay and the dunes of Sossusvlei. The historic settlement of Solitaire comprises the original Tsondab General Dealer, a much-needed petrol station, Solitaire Lodge, Café van der Lee, McGregor’s Bakery, a tiny Dutch-Reformed church and an airstrip. The little town, dating to the early 1950s, became well-known more than 40 years later when the late Percy “Moose” McGregor began serving fresh apple pie to the occasional traveller in this remote region. Solitaire again found fame in the Netherlands when Dutch author Ton van der Lee published his memoir, Solitaire, about a paradise found and then lost in this quiet corner of the Namib. Café van der Lee, named in honour of Ton, serves a bistro-style lunch, including fresh pizza and draft beer. McGregor’s Bakery carries on in the tradition of Percy, and continues to dish up his famous apple pie, pastries, coffee and ice cream to hungry visitors. In the evening, Solitaire Lodge guests can dine under the stars or in the thatch restaurant, feasting on delicious food, paired with fine South African wines. In 2015, management carried out extensive property improvements and began the renovation of both lodges. Because the settlement includes buildings with cultural and historic interest the attempt is made, wherever possible, to restore and preserve the early, rural character of Solitaire. Set on the edge of the Namib-Naukluft Park, Solitaire lies at the centre of the 20,000-hectare Solitaire Land Trust (SLT), dedicated to habitat restoration and preservation. The area’s abundant free-roaming wildlife includes gemsbok, mountain zebra, wildebeest, springbok, aardwolf, bat-eared fox, leopard and cheetah. In addition to SLT initiatives, the trust supports the Greater Sossusvlei Namib Landscape coalition, NaDeet, and research involving Hartmann’s mountain zebra and carnivore populations. On the eastern portion of the SLT, the 15-room Solitaire Desert Farm offers guests a peaceful hillside retreat with stunning views of the Namib in the near distance. The open-air restaurant, surrounded by lush desert gardens, caters for indoor and outdoor dining lit by desert sunsets and starry skies. Solitaire Desert Farm has marked hiking trails in the foothills of the Great Escarpment where observant trekkers can spot abundant mammals and birds, many endemic to Namibia. Guests can explore farm roads on fat tyre bikes, visit the cheetah sanctuary or simply relax by the pool. Sundowners feature classic Land Rovers driven across the wild veld to a high point with spectacular views of the desert. For an incredible thrill, take a hot-air balloon flight across the grasslands and dunes. It’s an experience you will never forget.

Reservations: +264 67 240-901/3/4 Web: www.solitairenamibia.com

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

33


N/a’an ku sê Collection

T

his is a story that has been told many times over, but perhaps still not enough. A story that spread out from one person’s love for animals and nature to a dynamic duo that created a conservation empire with far-reaching benefits to the future of Namibian carnivores, landscape and even cultural safeguarding. A story that has reached international audiences, garnered world-famous devotees-turned-friends and has even featured on the small screen in people’s living rooms. This is the story of Rudie and Marlice van Vuuren and the N/a’an ku sê Foundation. N/a’an ku sê is an established and acclaimed conservation enterprise focusing on the preservation of land, cultures and wildlife in Namibia, with numerous successful projects, including the translocation and the rehabilitation of large carnivores and other wildlife. Marlice’s love of animals is a pillar of their operation. The N/a’an ku sê Collection is another. Where tourism ensures the future of conservation The tourism branch of the operation started on a small scale and they hope to continue it as such. As it developed, it started to generate crucial funds that could then be ploughed back into active conservation efforts. Rudie states: “N/a’an ku sê is a conservation project, with tourism as an economic driver. Responsible tourism has a different meaning to us than to the rest of the industry. Our job is to change people’s perception of animals and what conservation is all about. We can’t do it on a large scale. It needs an intimate and direct approach.”

Through the establishment of four different tourism hubs as well as their highly successful voluntourism programs, N/a’an ku sê has been able to efficaciously bridge the gap between tourism and conservation, making it a cohesive and integrated process, rather than an either-or scenario. “Tourism needs to create the opportunity for conservation to flourish”, says Rudie. Take a place like Kanaan Desert Retreat – out of the main tourism buzz point of southern Namibia, bordering on the Namib-Naukluft National Park, they have been able to rehabilitate an area which was once covered in fencing and roads. Now it is a 33 000 ha refuge of unspoilt nature, with all the wonders of Sossusvlei. Neuras Wine and Wildlife Estate, a unique winery set on the edge of the Namib Desert, might only produce an exclusive amount of wine per year, but recycles 9000 litres of water per week. How is that for sustainable development? In the capital, a small yet beautiful haven, quite literally named Utopia Boutique, serves as a quaint home away from home for those travelling through the city. The collection’s flagship, N/a’an ku sê Lodge and Wildlife Sanctuary, is not only the location of beautiful chalets only a 30-minute drive from the capital, but also a large rehabilitation and research centre which acts as the hub of their operations. Activities for visitors and collaborative work with volunteers from afar create a continuous flow of awareness and funds to keep their projects thriving for the future of the country’s natural and cultural conservation. That is the N/a’an ku sê story. Tel: +264 61 307 338 Email: bookings@naankuse.com Web: www.naankuse.com

34

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


10

BACKPACKING FOR THE GENERATION WANDERLUSTERS The urge to explore new places, also known as Wanderlust, should not be ignored. When faraway places start calling your name, why not opt for Namibia tucked into the southwest of Africa? With natural delights offering something for every backpacker, whether it’s bush or beach, it is the perfect country for backpacking.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO FOR BACKPACKERS:

Elzanne Erasmus

1. Get up close and personal with Namibian predators on a Carnivore Walk at N/a’an ku sê. 2. Visit Cape Cross and experience huge seal colonies. 3. Spend the weekend camping and self-driving through Erindi Private Game Reserve. 4. Spend the next full moon at the Spitzkoppe for the best view of the evening sky. It is also a well-known site for rock climbing. 5. Hike up the red rocks of Waterberg Plateau and discover the animal kingdom among the lush greenery. 6. Experience the fun of Henties Bay at the annual Touchies Tournament on the 26th of December. Any activity related to rugby is a must when in southern Africa. 7. Climb the highest dune in Sossusvlei, Big Daddy. 8. Have a sundowner at Tiger Reef Beach Bar on the edge of Swakopmund. 9. Hit the dunes on a quad-bike or speed down the face of one on a sandboard. 10. Spend the day bodyboarding or kayaking among seals and dolphins in the waters along one of the coast’s beautiful beaches.

Elzanne Erasmus

Nina van Schalkwyk

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

35


WILDERNESS Safaris T

oday, people want to know that their experiences make a difference to the world. They want to know that the company they choose to travel with has a ‘why’, a purpose to all that it does.

We are fortunate at Wilderness Safaris in that we’ve always been driven by purpose. For over three decades, we have been creating life-changing journeys, in some of the most remote and pristine areas in seven African countries: Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Throughout our 50 camps and safaris, our overall purpose or vision – to conserve and restore Africa’s wilderness and wildlife – has held fast over the years. Behind everything we do there is a reason, whether it is conserving endangered species, ensuring the benefits of ecotourism reach the people that live in or near the areas in which we operate, or inspiring positive change in the lives of staff, guests and other stakeholders. During their stay, our guests have the opportunity to experience this unique ethos through connecting with unspoilt natural environs and wildlife, seeing our conservation initiatives at work, or enjoying cultural encounters with the communities with whom we partner.

such as research, habitat management and reproductive science. Through our Children in the Wilderness programme, we hope to inspire rural children to care for the environment so that they can become the custodians of these areas in the future. Children in the Wilderness Namibia began in 2002 and has hosted 1 536 children on annual camps. Over 300 children so far are members of the Eco-Club Programme taking place at schools in communities adjacent to the areas in which Wilderness Safaris operates. In addition, Wilderness Safaris is fiercely committed to investing in new technologies to reduce dependence on fossil fuels with a long-term vision to achieve carbon neutrality in its camp operations. By making use of a variety of hybrid solar and other power systems to mitigate fossil fuel usage, the company has reached an annual saving of 4 844 tonnes of C02 (the equivalent of 3 340 return flights between Johannesburg and Heathrow!).

In Namibia, we are particularly proud of our pioneering community partnerships in the Torra Conservancy, our groundbreaking coalition with the NGO Save the Rhino Trust, as well as our involvement with the Desert Lion Project.

For our guests, our ‘off the vehicle’ experiences are tailored to ensure the most intimate back-to-nature encounters possible – whether hot air ballooning, climbing the world’s tallest sand dunes at Sossusvlei, tracking black rhino on foot in true wilderness, exploring ancient valleys and dry riverbeds in search of desert elephant, interacting with the fascinating Himba people or discovering the dramatic Skeleton Coast with its seal colonies and fascinating shipwreck remains.

Our two non-profit organisations seek to help further afield. The Wilderness Wildlife Trust is involved in financing projects

Wilderness Safaris operates seven camps and two Explorations (privately-guided journeys) in Namibia.

Tel: +264 61 274500 Email: info@wilderness.com.na Web: www.wilderness-safaris.com

36

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


River

CROSSING

A

s the tar road turns into gravel and the city fades into the background, nature takes over and the sounds of the bush become the soundtrack. The sky is already streaked with pink in anticipation of the sunset. Up ahead, a welcome sight: River Crossing, spread out in front of you. The front door stands wide open and through it a beautiful view beckons. Lush green, a tranquil swimming pool, cool comfort and relaxation. A friendly face greets you at the entrance and immediately makes your stay, though barely started, one to remember. River Crossing may only be 3 km from Windhoek, but the 6500 hectare game reserve is far enough from the capital to retain the atmosphere of a secluded farm somewhere on Namibia’s far horizon. Visitors to Namibia can begin their safari at this lodge or choose it to end their African experience before catching their return flight. The proximity to Windhoek is perfect for short shopping trips to load up on what is needed or was forgotten at home. Sightseeing in Windhoek is easy and when a long day on the sidewalks comes to an end, it is time to rest on the deck back at River Crossing with one of the most stunning views in the area. The sun dips over the horizon just as the city lights start to twinkle in the distance. The bush becomes alive as the evening awakens. A delicious dinner awaits, and then, of course, the ultimate luxury of a comfortable bed and a good night’s sleep.

Tel: +264 61 40 1494 Email: reservations@rivercrossing.com.na Web: www.rivercrossing.com.na

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

37


11

EXTREME

ADVENTURES

Mountain biking, tiger fishing, rock climbing, 4x4 desert trips and horse riding, to name but a few. Namibia is a country that lends itself to adventure activities. You are sure to find adventure around every corner. With adrenalin coursing through the veins and the beauty of the land warming hearts, it is easy to believe in magic. Here is a list of activities to get you going:

MOUNTAIN BIKING: Join the pedal power

Namibia provides many opportunities for exhilarating and tough mountain biking and and cycling experiences. The fun starts just outside Windhoek in the rolling hills of the Khomas Hochland Mountains, which form the rugged escarpment that further west descends into the Namib Desert. The altitude of the central plateau is between 1 000 and 2 000 metres. Extreme off-road cycling: Discover the 24-hour Desert Dash in December. Cycling teams endure intense heat and strong winds during the day, with endless horizons stretching ahead, and cold fog as they cycle through the night. There are four categories to choose from: riders have to complete a minimum of 140 km (teams of four), 200 km (teams of two) and a daunting 340 km for solo entrants. There is also a category for tandems.

TIGER FISHING: Don’t let it get away

The most important item at the top of the angler’s to-catch list is most certainly the feisty tiger fish. Throwing your line and letting it draw behind a slow-moving boat, while lazily watching passing mukoros, makes for a relaxing day on the water. The relaxation, however, soon gives way to pumping adrenalin when that line tightens and the heart-pounding struggle to pull in the fiercest fish, the tiger of the Zambezi, begins. The major rivers of Namibia’s Zambezi Region – formerly known as the Caprivi – are the Zambezi, Chobe, Kwando, Linyanti and Okavango. This water wonderland is home to more than 84 species of freshwater fish. Culminating in what can only be described as a fisherman’s paradise, the region is undoubtedly the perfect location for a Namibian angling adventure.

ROCK CLIMBING: Ain’t no mountain high enough

Chris Botha

Namibia is the ideal location for climbing, because we have no snow or freezing temperatures. But it is advisable to go climbing during the milder months of the year.

The rock climbing company Urban Friction arranges climbs in famous spots throughout Namibia. No experience is needed to join these tours, and everybody is welcome, from amateurs to professionals. The Mountain Club Namibia (MCSA Namibia) hosts regular outings to Spitzkoppe during winter. Dates for scheduled climbs can be found on www.mcnam.org. ● ● ● ● ●

Brandberg, with 2 573 m the highest mountain in Namibia Moltkeblick (Auas range), 2 480 m Bismarckfelsen (south of Windhoek), 2419 m Gamsberg (in the Khomas Hochland), 2 347 m Spitzkoppe, 1 728 m

HORSEBACK RIDING: The best view of the world is between the ears of a horse Experience the wide-open spaces, massive dunes, endless grassy plains and the variety of desert-adapted wildlife from the saddle.

Companies that provide horseback adventures: ● Desert Homestead & Horse Trails ● Namibia Horse Safari Company ● Horse trails into the Naukluft Mountains at BüllsPort ● Klein-Aus Vista for horse-riding at the edge of the Namib ● Okapuka Horse Safaris ● Equitrails Namibia ● Okakambe Trails

4x4 = OFFROAD: Practice maths daily

In Namibia you can literally get off that beaten track by going on a 4x4 desert trip. Although many areas of the country make for great off-road adventures, the coastal strip is by far the most beautiful and most challenging expedition for an off-roader to undertake. Along the entire coastline of 1 570 km the Atlantic Ocean borders the Namib Desert with its towering dunes and unexplored landscapes to the east. Trails in the Dorob National Park offer a wide choice of 4x4 tracks for adventure seekers. There are a few popular off-road vehicle zones in the dune belt between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay for short day trips. Two of the most popular 4x4 trails and destinations along the coast are Sandwich Harbour and the Skeleton Coast Park. A permit is needed for the former, to be obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Guided tours with concession-holding companies are the only way of exploring the Skeleton Coast National Park.


Tok TokkieTRAILS “I n the midst of the complexities of modern life, with all its pressures, the spirit of man needs to refresh itself by communion with unspoiled nature. In such surroundings - occasional as our visits may be - we can achieve that kind of physical and spiritual renewal that comes alone from the wonder of the natural world.” - Laurance S. Rockefeller

This quote perfectly fits the experience that Tok Tokkie Trails has offered ever since it was established 20 years ago. The idea for Tok Tokkie Trails, a guided and fully catered 3-day hike at NamibRand Nature Reserve, was conceived in 1995 when Marc and Elinor Duerr were asked why there were no trails for walking in Namibia. The question immediately captivated them. Due to its unique beauty, NamibRand Nature Reserve virtually suggested itself as the place where a trail should be done. And when they obtained one of the five low-impact ecotourism concessions in the reserve, Tok Tokkie Trails was born. After a lot of walking to figure out possible routes, Marc and Elinor offered the first Tok Tokkie Trail on 25 February 1997. Over the years the route as well as the Tok Tokkie Trails experience has been fine-tuned. In 2008 the Tok Tokkie Trails concession was transferred to Unlimited Travel & Car Hire cc (Kerstin Klein & Thomas Soutschka). Tok Tokkie Trails is “hiking with style” while getting close to the Namib’s beauty. Tok Tokkie Trails is a special experience for nature lovers who know that a beautiful landscape is best discovered at a slow pace. Guests can savour the pristine surroundings, be active outdoors, free their mind, have the unusual experience of being without a roof for more than 48 hours, and still enjoy the luxuries that they do not want to miss.

Tel: +264 61 264 521 Email: toktokkie@toktokkietrails.com Web: www.toktokkietrails.com

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

39


Big Sky LODGES “U

ltimately, we believe in simplicity. We trust nature. We believe in touches of luxury, but in a comfortable down-to-earth atmosphere. We like what we do, and we believe that it shows. We enjoy good, wholesome food served in generous portions. We are partial to fine wines. We believe in creating a comfortable, natural place for people to be.” Big Sky Lodges is a collection of four stylish, eco-friendly luxury properties in central and northern Namibia. Nestled between the granite boulders of the Erongo Mountains, Erongo Wilderness Lodge promises luxurious accommodation in the lap of nature. The twelve tented chalets provide utmost privacy and grand views of the dramatic wilderness that unfurls in front of the floor-to ceiling-windows, or the 80 m2 restaurant deck. It could well be the world’s best view for dinner. Visitors get as close to nature as can be and are able to explore the area on their own or with a guide. There are many rare and endemic animal species to spot, and especially birds to tick off one’s list. The Erongo Region’s unique ecosystem draws visitors to another Big Sky Lodges establishment nearby: Ai Aiba Lodge, the latest addition to the group. Ai Aiba’s twenty thatched twin bedrooms make for a luxurious African experience. Panoramic views of the Erongo Mountains from the restaurant and bar are the perfect setting for meals and sundowners. Recognising the importance of the Erongo environment, Ai Aiba Lodge and Erongo Wilderness Lodge are members of the Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, an association of farmers dedicated to the protection and preservation of the unique fauna and flora of the area. Big Sky Lodges emphasise nature, and pride themselves on their ability to offer an experience which is in tune with the surroundings. Etendeka Mountain Camp was awarded the maximum distinction of five flowers in the Eco Awards Namibia. The dramatic Damaraland landscape called for nothing less than a complete commitment to ecological sensitivity. The lodge is run on solar power throughout, and yet does not sacrifice luxury and comfort. Wholesome meals are enjoyed under the vast starry sky. Accommodation is provided in ten en-suite Meru tents, where a soft mattress and 100% cotton linen await.

Tel: +264 61 239 199 Email: info@bigsky-namibia.com Web: www.bigsky-namibia.com

40

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

For the ultimate luxury, however, one must head to the capital for a stay at The Olive Exclusive. The seven suites are individually decorated so that each sojourn is a different experience. The rooms come with everything one would expect, plus added little details. Extra length beds and private splash pools are some of the extras that make the Olive Exclusive a cut above the rest. The natural furnishings and organic textures throughout the hotel create a down-to-earth atmosphere.


12

TOWNHOPPING: SMALL TOWNS WITH BIG HEARTS Namibia is an agricultural society with many communities established in small towns. Aside from Windhoek, the big (and only) city right in the centre of the country, the rest of the towns are noticeably smaller. But this does not make them less significant. Au contraire, these tiny towns are bursting with flavour and character. Do not drive by without taking a peep.

Visit the Maize Triangle

Otavi, Grootfontein and Tsumeb demarcate the so-called Maize Triangle, a relatively high-rainfall area with a flourishing agricultural sector centred mainly on the cultivation of maize and lucerne, some of which is under irrigation.

Otavi

What to do and see • The Khorab Memorial dating back to the First World War • A historical mission station built in 1895, now Guest Farm Ghaub, 35 km northeast of Otavi • The Ghaub Caves, remarkable for their stalactites and rock paintings, which have been declared a national monument

Tsumeb Tsumeb is a hidden gem en route to Etosha National Park or the lush green regions of Kavango and Caprivi. This town gives you a glimpse into the ancient traditions of the San, provides an unexpected insight into Namibia’s industrial revolution, and reveals the many stories around the famed ‘green hill’. What to do and see • Unique geological formations: two deep, ice-blue ‘bottomless’ lakes – Otjikoto and Guinas • Dragon’s Breath Cave • Tsumeb Museum • Tsumeb Arts and Crafts Centre • Open-air market on the outskirts of Tsumeb • Arts Performance Centre presenting African dance, music and typical plays • Tsumeb Cultural Village Where to eat • Etosha Café & Beergarden • Sindano Court • Cosmos Nursery

Where to eat • The Fourways Stopover at the intersection leading to Tsumeb and Grootfontein hosts a refuelling station, biltong shop and butchery, take away restaurant and fresh vegetable market. • Have a braai at the on-site facilities of the Fourways Stopover. • The Camel Inn Restaurant and Bar

OMARURU

Grootfontein

What to do and see • Omaruru has become a kind of Todi (in Umbria, Italy) that draws artists looking for a creative environment, galleries to show their work and a laid-back lifestyle. Visit the many original German buildings that have been preserved and turned into art co-ops, restaurants, boutiques and studios. • Wronsky House, built in 1907 as a shop and still serving as a souvenir and bookstore today. • Read the Om Eye newsletter to find out about locals who specialise in photography, embroidery and quilts, paintings and weavings, items handcrafted from recycled car parts, sculptures carved from ancient tree roots, intricate traditionally woven baskets, jewellery created from handmade ostrich eggshell beads, and more. Add to that bread baking, wine making and the production of handmade chocolate. • The Franke Tower built to commemorate the Herero/ German war • The old Rhenish Mission House serving as the town’s museum

The small town of Grootfontein serves the surrounding cattle ranches and is the last urban centre on the road to Rundu and the far northeast. What to do and see • The Hoba Meteorite, the biggest meteorite known to man • The Grootfontein Museum, housed in a historic fort from the German colonial era • The large baobab tree northeast of the homestead of Keibeb Farm in the Grootfontein district; the tree is a national monument because it was regarded as the largest of its kind in the commercial farming area. • The grave of Axel W Eriksson (1846-1901), a well-known traveller, hunter and pioneer in South West Africa, on the farm Rietfontein. Where to eat • Bloom Coffee in Hidipo Hamutenya Street serves homecooked meals, cakes and light refreshments, and sells small gifts and jewellery. • Purple Fig • Kalkfontein Guest Farm

How does a sleepy little town, a mere spot next to the road somewhere in south-western Africa, become an art colony, enticing both artists and visitors from around the world? Omaruru, which in the Herero language means ‘this is a place where the grass makes the cows’ milk sour,’ has morphed into a creative centre and a hotspot for both locals and tourists.

Where to eat • Main Street Café • Omaruru Souvenirs and Kaffeestube

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

41


DORNHÜGEL Gästefarm T

his family-friendly guest farm offers a unique combination of a homely, yet stylish atmosphere and rustic farm life. Your hosts Melanie and Götz Nederlof as well as their children Alexander and Tamira are looking forward to making you part of a Namibian farmer’s family and will welcome you in German, English or Afrikaans. Meet our happy free-ranging cows and horses plus giraffes, kudus, elands, dik-diks, warthogs and other wildlife. You may even encounter the well-camouflaged leopard.

Dornhügel is one of the last unique farms with a homely atmosphere, stylish ambience and proper facilities. It is very conveniently located for day trips to Etosha National Park as well as several other attractions. The newly renovated rooms equipped with Wi-Fi, mosquito nets and air-conditioning for the hot days, offer you all the comfort you will need. We have single, double and family rooms for you to choose from. Travelling with children in Namibia is no problem at all. At Dornhügel we especially welcome families with children; in addition to the farming experience they also enjoy our little oasis with a swimming pool, table tennis table and an authentic Namibian tennis court. For the younger ones, we have a small playground with sand, swings and a trampoline. We have a range of activities to suit individual preferences to let you become involved in Namibian farm life. Join us on a game drive, at the waterhole, have a conversation with the farmer’s family or accompany our farmhands to their workplace for a day. Defy the glaring sun and help to clear areas of encroaching bush, provide water for the cattle, repair the fences or drive our bulldozer when our gravel roads need touch-ups. You can be sure that no sundowner has ever tasted as good as the one you will have that evening. Our Basotho horses are a unique feature. Volker and Susanne Ledermann established the horse stud and are horse people to the core. They acquired their breeding stallions and mares directly from rural people in Lesotho. At Dornhügel we do not ride, but our stud animals are real eye candy. A Dornhügel specialty is our delicious, organic beefsteak. The beef is sourced from our own herds of cattle which include Brahman, Simmentaler, Angus and the indigenous Nguni. We also hunt our own game to give you the opportunity to try different kinds of meat on our menu. Experience a traditional braai or a potjie in a cast iron pot, both a favourite cooking method in Namibia and ideal for socialising. We grow our own vegetables and cater for vegetarians as well. Freshly squeezed juices, homemade jams and delicious stone-oven pizzas are also on the menu. Tel: +264 67 240 439 Email: guestfarm@dornhuegel.com Web: www.dornhuegel.com

42

The Makalani palm trees at sunset are an unforgettable sight that you will take home with you. Apart from the acacia trees and the thorn bushes that gave Dornhügel its name, i.e. Thorn Hill, the enormous termite mounds are a characteristic feature of the landscape.

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


5

REASONS SWAKOPMUND LIFESTYLE

we love

T

here is no place like Swakopmund. The sleepy town that hugs Namibia's coast is a favourite among native and international visitors alike, and with good reason. And Swakopmund Lifestyle Hotel is not your average accommodation establishment, either. Stay in one of the spacious apartments, get first class treatment and fall in love with Swakopmund. To get you started, here are five reasons we love Swakopmund Lifestyle Hotel Apartments: 1. So much space Most modern hotels aren’t known for being spacious - often it can feel like you are expected to sleep in a shoe box. The alternative? Accommodation that feels like a private apartment in town, but with all the luxuries and amenities of a hotel. Swakopmund Lifestyle Hotel Apartments give guests the space they need to feel like locals. That means you keep your lifestyle, even when you travel. 2. The friendly people The staff at Swakopmund Lifestyle Hotel Apartments work like a team with the goal of making their guests smile. The atmosphere inside the hotel is warm and inviting. That’s because owner Déne Herselman is actively involved in the running of her hotel. Outside, in town, the friendly Swakopmunders will envelop you in their own brand of hospitality that will convince you to stay even longer.

HOTEL APARTMENTS

3. Eat with the best chef in town Swakopmund has a wide variety of restaurants all with mouthwatering menus to choose from. But if that doesn’t quite satisfy your appetite, why not cook up something yourself? Swakopmund Lifestyle Hotel Apartments have built in kitchens in every apartment. Get creative behind the stove, dish up, and enjoy dinner looking out onto the dunes. 4. Everything is within walking distance Even though Swakopmund has grown over the last few years, spreading itself along the beach with new developments popping up out of the sand annually, its essence remains the town centre. From the Swakopmund Lifestyle Hotel, shops, restaurants museums and more are a short stroll away. Walking around Swakop (as it is affectionately known), one will inevitably stumble upon a few gems. 5. Have an adventure! Don't be fooled by Swakop's laid-back nature! There's much excitement to go around. From sky-diving to camelrides, sand boarding and quad biking. Alternatively, if you are feeling extremely adventurous: a dip in the icy water. It is not for the faint of heart! Whatever you choose to keep yourself busy with during your stay, you can be picked up straight from the front door of Swakopmund Lifestyle Hotel Apartments to get there.

Tel: +264 64 404770 Email: info.lifestyle@iway.na Web: www.lifestyleaccommodation.com

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

43


Elzanne Erasmus

Paul van Schalkwyk

Beer gardens, beach shacks, shebeens, cuca shops With Namibia being a top-quality beer producer, it is no surprise that we love our beer. We take great pride in being one of the few breweries outside Germany that remain committed to the original purity laws of 1516, the Reinheitsgebot. A braai without a beer in hand would be incomplete. A road trip in Namibia without stopping to check out one of the many shebeens, beer gardens or beach bars will be downright wrong. Although it is hot in the desert there is no reason to go thirsty, as you will clearly see.

BEER GARDENS – AREN’T THEY GERMAN? Yes, they originated in Germany, and due to strong German influences in this former colony, beer gardens are an integral part of the Namibian culture. There are many to choose from throughout the country. Here is a list to get you going: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Joe’s Beerhouse in Windhoek Andy’s Pub in Windhoek Brauhaus Swakopmund The Raft’s Bar in Walvis Bay Casa Forno in Otjiwarongo Farmhouse in Outjo Omaruru Souvenirs & Kaffeestube in Omaruru Bar and Beergarden at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge Acasia Beergarden at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

BEACH BARS When visiting the coast, don’t let your throat go dry, especially in the exceptionally hot and humid east wind weather. Sometimes dense fog covers the coast, but we Namibians nevertheless enjoy our beer chilled.

44

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

Where to find a cold one at the coast: ● ● ● ● ●

Solitude Beach Bar & Restaurant in Henties Bay Skubbe Bar in Henties Bay Pirate’s Cove sports bar and pizzeria in Henties Bay Tiger Reef in Swakopmund Wambu Beach in Walvis Bay

SHEBEEN/CUCA SHOP What is it? A colourful array of shebeens, also known as cuca shops, are scattered throughout the country, their quirky names adding humour and character to the Namibian landscape. The name “cuca shop” is derived from a Portuguese brand of beer (Cuca) in Angola. These shops are also known for selling basic groceries. Shebeens were once illegal or informal bars where people met to catch up on the news and listen to music. Today they are legal and dotted throughout the country, often selling simple dishes in particular areas. Take the opportunity to mingle with the locals in a relaxed environment while expanding your knowledge of the local music scene. Delicacies such as mopane worms are served with stiff porridge made from mahangu (a kind of pearl millet cultivated in northern Namibia), which is complemented by the sandy spinach dish ekaka, a variety of cooked locally grown beans, dried eembe and makalani fruit, and a grainy omaluvu drink.

A couple of well-known shebeens: ● ● ● ● ●

Oshebeena Bar (Etosha Safari Camp) Xwama Cultural Village (Katutura) One Stop Cuca Shop (Etosha Village) Maspiri Bar (Windhoek) Wambu Beach (Walvis Bay)

Elzanne Erasmus

13

HAVE A BEER IN EVERY “BUURT”


JOE'S

T

BEERHOUSE

hey say that a stay in Windhoek is not complete without a trip to Joe’s Beerhouse. Visitors come in their hundreds every night to flock around the large wooden tables, share their tales and fill their stomachs.

restaurant still receives requests for photo shoots on its premises. Taking a look at TripAdvisor comments it is clear that the décor plays a major part of the appeal. Joe’s ambience is consistently rated well.

But where did it all start? And who was the famous Joe?

In 2007 Joachim sold the restaurant to Stimulus, which in turn sold it to Thomas and Carol-Jean Rechter. Whereas Joe’s Beerhouse was previously known as the place to “Live the Legend”, the tag-line has now changed to A Great Escape. As CarolJean says, “Joe was the legend.” And there can only be one legend.

Joe’s Beerhouse officially opened its doors in October 1991. Back then it was located in Grimm Street. But as its reputation spread and its success grew, the venue expanded until it eventually found a spacious new home at 106 Nelson Mandela Avenue. The famous “Joe” is Joachim Gross, originally from Germany, who toured the world as a master chef before settling in Namibia in 1986. Joachim infused his establishment with his passions – hunting and people. And although he didn’t have a budget for decor, hunting and his quirky style set the tone for what would eventually make the bar famous. The restaurant quickly became known for its cosy atmosphere, especially its décor. It is often featured on television and the

Taking Joe’s through the next few years would be a challenge, but the Rechters come with almost 30 years’ experience in the restaurant business. Thomas Rechter trained as a chef in Hamburg and together the couple built a strong reputation at their The Gourmet Restaurant in Windhoek. Carol-Jean notes that mostly they learnt all they know on the job. By the time the opportunity for Joe’s came around, they had gathered enough experience and understood the tricks of the trade.

Over the years the focus at Joe’s moved away from its bar. Despite Joachim being a fantastic chef, Joe’s had started out as a cosy German-style beerhouse. The intimate nature of the venue has not changed, but today the bar is not where all the action is. Thomas Rechter has adapted his role as chef from creating new dishes to enforcing a high standard in the kitchen seven days a week. The restaurant caters for about 500 people per night. Exotic game dishes as well as the classic Eisbein continue to be the most popular. Running a restaurant isn’t without its challenges, but it is evident that CarolJean thrives on it. “In this business what you put into it, you get out of it”, she says. But you’ve got to be tough. There is always something happening at Joe’s. Walk-in customers total up to a hundred a night and you never know what to expect. The team has to handle any situation. For the Rechters it is important to have staff with the right attitude and they provide training so that they can rely on each of them to play their part in the restaurant and interact with guests with aplomb. And they sure do.

Tel: +264 61 232 457 Email: info@joesbeerhouse.com Web: www.joesbeerhouse.com

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

45


THE

NAUKLUFT Experience C

ome and experience the most complicated geological formation in Namibia! Two of the original guest farms in the south still belong to the same families after several generations, and provide a variety of activities to fill a tenday holiday. No wonder they call it the Naukluft Experience. Formed in 2005, it is the brainchild of the Sauber family of BüllsPort and the Schulze-Neuhoff family of Ababis. One of the farms is surrounded by the Naukluft Mountains, the other lies at the foot of the escarpment, where the Namib Desert plain stretches west into eternity. Together these farms provide a platform from which to experience the essence of the Namib’s mountains and gravel plains, its intriguing biological diversity and abundant wildlife. Not least the interesting geology of a mountain range that is still sliding south. It is a little more complicated than that, but the mere thought is enough to make you look twice. Taking the route to the Namib via Remhoogte Pass, turn south to find BüllsPort or continue north-west to Ababis. Both are situated along one of the popular roads to the iconic Sossusvlei. Add “pause” to your itinerary. If geology is your interest, this area is the place to start the journey. If off the beaten track vistas and landscapes bring you joy, the variety on both of these farms are breathtaking. For photographers, the scope, scenes and settings are astounding. Hiking in the Naukluft mountains is a challenging, rewarding and extraordinary experience. The Naukluft offers enough variety and options to give true hikers a lifetime of opportunities. Don’t miss the Quiver Tree Gorge with the spectacular view from the Naukluft plateau. Johanna Sauber has bred Namibian Warmblood horses on BüllsPort for the past two decades. Riders and children have the extraordinary opportunity to explore on horseback, coming close to the mountain zebra, kudu and springbok in this rugged mountainous terrain.

Tel: +264 63 6933 71/ 63 Email: naukluft@iway.na Web: www.naukluft-experience.com Tel: +264 63 293 362 Email: info2@ababis-gaestefarm.de Web: www.ababis-gaestefarm.de Tel: +264 63 693371/693363 Email: info@buellsport.com Web: www.buellsport.com

46

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

In the desert water is life. Ababis with its springs was inhabited by pre-historic hunter-gatherers who built rock shelters and left evidence of their existence in the form of stone tools and artefacts as well as rock art. Ababis guest farm holds special treats in store for guests. Game meat, vegetables from the garden and products from neighbouring farms, prepared according to recipes inspired by the region’s Nama people, are served at the large dining table. Where else than on a farm would you be able to enjoy freshly baked bread, home-made marmalade and smoked beef for breakfast? Need to up your driving skills while having fun? Ababis has the only off-road Driving Academy to prepare you for the challenge of gravel roads. And when you say goodbye, be pleased to know that you have contributed to the Naukluft Foundation, backed by Ababis and Büllsport, that supports the local community and especially the primary school at Nabasib.


HAN 30 YEARS

Hentie Burger

Kapana at the Warehouse Theater

14

ON THE COALS FROM NORTH TO SOUTH On a journey through Namibia you will encounter different cultures, a continually changing landscape and blood-pumping adrenaline adventures. But keep a lookout for local foods, dishes and delicacies, and your palate will thank you for it. Every region of Namibia has something to snack on. A journey from north to south will deliver much to savour and enjoy.

Single Quarters and try kapana, the delicious fried meat dipped in spice. You might have to wait a while in a queue, as kapana could easily be Namibia's national food – this being a country of meat-lovers, after all. While at the market try Wambo cakes, which are simple, sweet and doughy. For the bold, a sampling of Mopani worms is an adventure in itself.

Start your food expedition in the northeast on the thumb of Namibia that protrudes into the wetter interior of southern Africa. There the soil is fertile and fresh fruits and vegetables show up on stalls on the sides of the roads. Satisfy your curiosity and try a monkey orange: the squishy flesh of this hard ball-like fruit has an altogether unusual yet pleasant taste. But beware of the seeds.

To the east of Windhoek is Gobabis, surrounded by "cattle country". Not that you need any excuse to indulge in local grass-fed beef. There is a reason why Namibian beef gets exported as far abroad as Europe. Luckily some of it is kept for us at home. Gobabis is in the Kalahari Desert where you might come across Kalahari truffles, and luckily they are not as expensive as their European counterparts. Like omajovas, Kalahari truffles are available only for a brief period. They last for some time, however, unlike omajovas which need to be used while fresh.

Travelling to the west into Owambo, the northern expanse of Namibia, you're likely to come across marula fruit, more recently used for their beautification properties and available in creams and oils. Made famous by the Amarula Cream liqueur. Trees are "owned" by families. The fruits can be eaten fresh, or enjoyed fermented for a drink. Further fermentation and distillation creates ‘brandy’ needed for the liqueur, but perhaps leave that to the experts. Owambo is also known for the spinach-like ombidi that grows in fields in the north. From the north follow the B1 arterial road down south to Windhoek. On the way you might spot curious mushrooms growing at the base of termite hills next to the road. These are known as omajovas and they are delicious, but only available for a brief period after generous rains. Do try them if you get the chance. Some restaurants even add speciality omajova dishes to their menu when the mushrooms are in season. A must-try! The capital city is your next culinary stop and offers much in the way of delicacies if you allow your mind to be open to the opportunities. Visit the open-air market in Katutura's former

On the other side of the country the Atlantic Ocean hugs Namibia's shoreline. The cold Benguela Current is rich in nutrients, which makes Namibia's beaches the perfect place to throw in a fishing line and pull out a fish or two. Henties Bay would be best suited for fishermen. Then there's Swakopmund, an hour further south. With its quirky German character it is the perfect place for beer and Eisbein (pork knuckle). Situated way down towards the southern part of Namibia's coastline, Lüderitz is a bit out of the way, but its oysters and stark magical landscape make up for the desolate location. Driving to Lüderitz means journeying through Namibia's south. Take it slow. Enjoy the scenic route, the long road, and often stop for breaks by the side of the road or at any of the farm stalls you come across. The vast, dry landscape turns up a few surprises, like delicious mutton from the surrounding farms, homemade biltong (dried meat) and the famous apple pie from the café at the Solitaire fuel station.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

47


O&L Leisure T

he company was first established in 1978 as Namib Sun Hotels, then changed to Namibia Resorts International in 1995. In 2012 it was finally transformed to O&L Leisure - a proudly Namibian hospitality company. Our resorts offer an unparalleled experience. Scrolling down our timeline is proof of our constant progression. Our philosophy is caring about the future, caring about everyone – this is the bare minimum that you can expect from the O&L Group. We have won first place in the Deloitte survey Best Company to Work For in Namibia and first place in the SADC region for several consecutive years. We are dedicated to developing passionate team members to host all our visitors as if they were their own guests and to continuously enhance their knowledge and skills in the hotel industry. Our greatest desire is to serve the purpose and make people realise that everyone matters. We aim to inspire! O&L Leisure is the proud owner and manager of the following establishments: Midgard Country Estate – an ideal family hide-away, a first or last stop for international visitors, the perfect venue for intimate meetings, team-building events or weddings. Acquired in 1937, company founder Carl Werner List originally farmed on the estate. It’s an

intimate world that offers 46 fully equipped rooms, Carl’s Dining Room & Bar, two swimming pools, the Pool Bar & BBQ Terrace, a gym and sauna, and a private skittle alley. The historic Midgard Train Station, just a two-minute walk from the main lodge, has been opened for school, church, scout or other groups. Mokuti Lodge – constructed in 1988, is the perfect venue for travellers wanting to explore the famous eastern part of Etosha National Park. The lodge is only a four-minute drive from Etosha's Von Lindequist Gate near the historical Fort Namutoni. Known for its excellent and diverse wildlife encounters, this Namibian icon has become a popular destination resort for international, Namibian and SADC visitors. Chobe Water Villas – in the lush Zambezi Region on the banks of the Chobe River and opposite renowned Chobe National Park and Botswana's safari town of Kasane. Getting there is an experience in itself because the only access is by means of a leisurely 15-minute safari-boat cruise from Kasane across the river, watched by hippo, elephant, buffalo and crocodile. Strand Hotel – in Swakopmund, re-opened its doors in 2015, offering extensive entertainment with its restaurants, bars, lounges, deli, oceanfront terraces and conference and banqueting centre. Its architectural inspiration is rooted deep in Namibian-German history and applied in a tasteful contemporary manner. Interior designers were tasked to create a “non-hotel” hotel. Simply very warm and comfortable – gemütlich, as they say in German – the Strand Hotel provides a genuine “sense-of-place” atmosphere which adds to any Namibian visit.

Tel: +264 61 431 8000 Web: www.ol-leisure.com

48

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


Paul van Schalkwyk

15

Where exactly is deepest, dark Africa? According to the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA) it is NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia. Imagine a desolate desert landscape where the horizon reflects no light once the sun has set. No headlights. No streetlamps. No lights to indicate the existence of anyone else in the world. Darkness creeps in and with it the star-studded night sky comes alive. With barely any sources of artificial light that could cause light pollution on NamibRand, the constellations reveal themselves in clusters of shimmering sequences draped across the firmament. NamibRand is the only International Dark Sky Reserve in Africa. It has one of the darkest night skies ever measured. And as such, you would be hard pressed for a better view of the night sky than in Namibia.

Paul van Schalkwyk

16

THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY

LIVING MUSEUMS

Elzanne Erasmus

Namibia’s living museums give you the opportunity to try your hand at all these “everyday activities” and more, to expand your knowledge of indigenous cultures as well as your general skill set. You never know when these skills might come in handy.

The six living museums of Namibia: • • • • •

The Living Museum of the Ju/’Hoansi-San at Grashoek (on the way to Tsumkwe) The Living Museum of the Mbunza, 14 km west of Rundu (towards Nkurenkuru) The Living Museum of the Mafwe, reached from the turn-off at Kongola in the northeast The Living Museum of the Damara near Twyfelfontein The Little Hunter’s Museum on the outskirts of Tsumkwe offers a three-day programme in the Nyae Nyae conservancy where traditional hunting is still allowed The Living Museum of the Ovahimba (40 km north of Opuwo, en route to Epupa Falls)

Paul van Schalkwyk

Have you ever milked a goat? Had your face painted with red dots by a lover during his marriage proposal? Played an erose (cattle horn)? Covered your skin with red ochre to protect you from the sun? Made a fire from sticks and grass in the hopes of being worthy to become a spouse? Gone hunting with a San hunter’s bow and arrow?

A brief history: Werner Pfeiffer’s idea of setting up living museums in Namibia sprouted when he met the residents of the small village of Grashoek while working on another project. Werner had experience with a similar concept in Europe, re-enacting Stone Age times. Over the years he adapted it to encompass Namibian cultures. The Living Museum of the Ju/’Hoansi-San was opened in 2004, offering a unique San experience to visitors. Two years later Werner Pfeiffer and Sebastian and Kathrin Dürrschmidt founded the Living Culture Foundation Namibia. In subsequent years they met with other cultural groups around the country and several living museums were established. You will enter a living museum as a visitor, but leave with the feeling that you have become part of another culture.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

49


TALENI AFRICA Sossusvlei Lodge

“W

hen the dust settles and the sun slowly sets, splashing the endless desert valleys with glittering fragments of pink, orange and gold, the mighty Namib bears her soul to those willing to listen. It is that moment which keeps us captivated in her harsh softness year after year. This is their reply to why they prefer to manage Taleni Africa from the middle of the desert! Karl Heinz and Christelle du Toit-Oosthuizen, Managers of Taleni Africa’s Sossusvlei facilities, are the second generation custodians of Sossusvlei – a proclaimed UNESCO World Heritage Site in its entirety, an iconic place in the centre of the universe, their universe. “To us this is a way of life. It’s our home, our passion and not just a job, and our guests can feel it”, says Christelle. “We pride ourselves on the consistency of our products and try to re-invest in our facilities continually.” Sossusvlei Lodge, the oldest of the six properties, originally opened in 1994. Major renovations have just been completed. The rooms still have the recognisable “tented” look, but they are solid luxurious structures now. The Taleni Collection caters for all types of travellers at three of the most iconic destinations in Namibia: Sossusvlei,

Swakopmund and Etosha. Groups, self-driving visitors and campers are equally welcome to experience this perfect combination of sand, sea and safari! The popular self-catering Desert Camp was opened in 2006, the Oasis Camp Site in 2010, and in 2015 the new Desert Quiver Camp was born. In 2012 the cosy Hotel Zum Kaiser in Swakopmund became a family member. Etosha Village was fully renovated in 2016 and a new campsite established; both are nestled in the lush mopane forests found in the Etosha area. “Our brand image and actions reflect the love and passion that we have for our country’s physical beauty, the wildlife, its people and food”, says Karl Heinz. Taleni properties are famous for their exceptional buffet dinners, exciting activities as a means to interact with the environment, and caring staff. “As a family-owned company, founded by Willie Du Toit, we develop carefully and strategically and make sure that we keep our service standards consistent and at higher than expected levels. We function as a family. Our staff and management teams are equally valued and committed to our calling”, Karl Heinz says. “By mid-2018, the whole collection will be renovated, and then we’ll start making our endless dreams about further growth and exciting new ventures a reality.”

Tel: +27 21 930 4564 Email: reservations@taleni-africa.com Web: www.taleni-africa.com

Desert Quiver Camp

50

Hotel Zum Kaiser

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

Etosha Village

Desert Camp


Onjala I

magine the owner of the lodge clocking his 200th hour behind the controls of a bulldozer, removing the bush encroaching on the plains and spoiling the view.

This, says Peter Pack, has been his joy the past year. To see how the landscape opens up and the plains game converges along the riverbed where one can actually spot it. That is not his only pleasure at Onjala, the flagship property of Pack Safari’s.

The red soil and koppies of the central eastern highland of Namibia is where Peter grew up and where he always wanted to establish a lodge. Although Onjala is not on the traditional tourist route, it is mostly fully booked. Little more than an hour from Windhoek and even half that distance from the international airport, many itineraries start and end there. If you are a seasoned Namibia lover, looking for peace and quiet, there are many ways to keep occupied at Onjala. For stargazers, this is the place to be, with dark night skies, no light pollution, the perfect equipment and little cloud cover most of the year. Peter and Manager Heiner Soltau ascribe their success to good food, comfort, the beautiful savannah landscape and pleasant, well-trained staff. “We don’t expect commitment from our staff that we are not prepared to give. That goes for the food, the quality of everything that we offer, even little details like a variety of teas served in a porcelain teapot, the best coffee and excellent wines. Not least, our good “eco” standards.”

Tel: +264 61 259325 Email: web@onjala.com Web: www.onjala.com

Guests love the Zensations spa. Zelda Soltau has put her heart and soul into this exceptional treat in the bush. While her highly qualified therapists treat you to a tactual sensation, the African bush unfolds before your eyes. Two of the spa beds are tucked into a private, open-air terrace. Your only company the occasional gecko or mouse scurrying into their burrows. If you are lucky you may even witness a kudu, warthogs or other animals making their way to the waterhole while you are, fortunately out of harm’s way, on a wooden platform. A narrow stone path leads back to the main spa for more soul-soothing treatments or sunbathing on the deck, or to blow off some steam in the sauna or Jacuzzi – all with a view, of course. “To stay on top of ever-developing spa trends and the best quality treatments, our therapists regularly undergo training. Our guests are well travelled and discerning, so we just have to offer quality service”, says Zelda. “Our relaxed, pretty setting is ideal for yoga retreats and we welcome groups of girls for a break-away weekend from Windhoek.”

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

51


17

A KALEIDOSCOPE OF CULTURE What does it mean to be a Namibian? Namibia's population is a smorgasbord of people with vastly different cultures and languages. And within those cultures are even more sub-groups, with varieties in dialects, traditions and dress. The Himba in the northwest of Namibia are known for their nomadic way of life, as well as the women’s beautiful skin covered in red ochre (not to mention their funky head-dresses). They were originally part of the Herero, but the group split from the middle of the 18th century. The Herero reside mostly in central Namibia, near Waterberg. Herero tradition places a high importance on the Holy Fire, which is their connection to their ancestors. The women's typical long dresses are Victorian-inspired, with headscarves in the shape of cattle horns, known as otjikaeva. Then there are the many subgroups of the Owambo people, who together form the largest population group. On festive occasions Owambo women don bright pink dresses that hang loose to just below their knees. The Nama are the only remaining descendants of the original Khoisan from South Africa. Their language is noted for its clicks. Another group, the Damara, also speak a language with clicks. Their culture and history is quite distinct from that of the Nama, however, and their origin is still shrouded in mystery. The San, probably the very first inhabitants of Namibia, make up a small minority of the population. They speak a language full of clicks, and some still practice a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The Kavango and Zambezi (previously known as Caprivi) people in the northeast share many similarities and a common history. These groups are well-known for their woodcarving skills. Then, of course, there are the Rehoboth Basters, a product of southern Africa's tumultuous history. They are descendants of Europeans in the Cape Colony in South Africa, their Asian slaves as well as indigenous people such as the Khoisan. The Basters, as they called themselves, adopted Afrikaans as their mother tongue and followed western traditions. In the 1860s they left the Cape, moved north and finally settled in Rehoboth. The Afrikaners, another small group adding to Namibia's cultural diversity, are also the descendants of European settlers at the Cape. When the Cape became British many Afrikaners migrated further north and crossed the Orange River. Their language, Afrikaans, is mostly derived from Dutch with African and Indonesian influences.

Tarry Butcher

The kaleidoscope of Namibian cultures also includes German, Portuguese and British customs. German traditions have been kept alive since the brief German colonial period ended in 1915.


Cheetah CONSERVATION FUND W

hen Dr Laurie Marker first came to Namibia in 1977 she saw how farmers killed cheetah indiscriminately. The situation was dire. Namibia was losing 800 to 900 cheetahs a year during the 1970s and 1980s. Cheetahs were considered to be vermin, not animals to save but to eradicate. Farmers were determined to wipe them out, believing they needed to protect their livestock and livelihoods.

Dr Marker had experience working with cheetahs in the U.S., at Wildlife Safari in Oregon and at the Smithsonian Institution's Centre for New Opportunities in Animal Health Sciences in Washington D.C. After her visits to Namibia, however, she decided to relocate permanently with the intention to make a tangible difference. She set up the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia in 1990 with the aim to use researchbased conservation to keep Namibia’s cheetah from what seemed to be inevitable extinction. The challenge was to protect cheetahs and at the same time help local farmers to save their livestock from the predator. The death of one head of cattle or goat was a huge loss for subsistence farmers, many of whom were economically disadvantaged. CCF recognises that an important aspect of conservation is education and economic support. The fund established a breeding program of Anatolian shepherd and Kangal dogs. Six thousand years ago in Turkey these dogs were used to protect sheep from wolves. Now CCF breeds the dogs to protect local farmers’ livestock from cheetahs. The program has been overwhelmingly successful, with farmers reporting a decline in livestock losses ranging around over 80 percent. Another program that is vital to conserving cheetahs is to reduce or stop bush encroachment. The economic loss as a result of bush encroachment is N$700 million per year. The change in the cheetah’s natural environment means that its hunting grounds are significantly reduced, placing even more pressure on the fragile balance between farming and wildlife. A solution was found by clearing tracts of land of overgrown native vegetation and processing it into a clean-burning wood briquette fuel product known as Bushblok. The environmentally friendly and economically sound CCF bush project that produces and markets Bushblok has been a great success thus far. Tourism inevitably supports conservation, especially at CCF, which has a host of activities that allow visitors to “witness conservation in action.” For overnight guests the lodge facilities cap off a great experience. There are fewer than 8,000 cheetahs remaining globally. Namibia may be the Cheetah Capital of the World, but there is still a long way to go. Visitors and guests of CCF support its admirable efforts to save this animal from extinction. The next 10 to 15 years are vital. As Dr Marker says, “Saving the cheetah means changing the world so that the cheetah can survive.”

Tel: +264 67 306 225 Email: ccfinfo@iway.na Web: www.cheetah.org

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

53


18

MOUNTAIN BIKING AND NATURE The ultimate combo Owing to Namibia’s diverse terrains and sunny weather, mountain biking and cycling have seen a spike in popularity over the last couple of years, attracting local and international cyclists alike. The fun starts just outside Windhoek in the rolling hills of the Khomas Hochland Mountains which form the rugged escarpment that further west descends into the Namib Desert. The altitude of the central plateau is between 1 000 and 2 000 metres.

If you prefer cycling in rugged, natural locations where what you see is what you get, Namibia is the place for you. Nature is not bothered to make way for man-made luxury. Our raw trails make cycling so special.

Chris Botha

The Namib Desert stretching from horizon to horizon is a central attraction – even, or perhaps especially for cyclists – and has prompted the introduction of fatbikes. Mountain bikers, however, are undeterred by tough terrain.

Cyclists with a passion for nature leave nothing behind but tracks – that is to say if the surroundings allow it. Tracks left in the soft dune sand are shortly afterwards erased by restless winds and covered with a new blanket of fine grains. Elsewhere in the country, signs of bikers on single-track trails are likely to become covered with animal footprints or washed away by rain in the summer months. The only proof of bikers’ presence remains in the gallery of their memories.

19

TINY CREATURES WITH BIG TALES

54

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

Annabelle Venter

The landscape may look completely barren and hot to the touch, but stay a while in the stillness and watch as the Namib Desert reveals the secretive creatures that thrive there. Consider this: annual rainfall is usually 1-20 mm. Except in 2011, when it rose to 100 mm. Although it is one of the world’s driest ecosystems, the gravel plains of the Central Namib stand out from other hyper-arid desert habitats of the world. There is a great diversity of beetles, fish moths, sun spiders, scorpions and lizards to be found here. Whereas the Sahara Desert has four darkling beetle species, a single location in the Namib has over 40. Most of the Namib's species are endemic, i.e. they occur only here and nowhere else. They are able to survive in this dry habitat because of the moist air blown in from the coast. Dew and fog moisten stones, soil and plants. Namib beetles are famous for their


Elzanne Erasmus

20

Gerhard Thirion

ability to use fog. Before dawn, these beetles do a headstand on dune tops, back legs straight and backsides in the air. When the fog condenses on their bodies, the water droplets roll down into their mouths. Only two Onymacris species perform this feat, called fog-basking. In a single session, a beetle obtains water equal to an eighth of its body weight. Lepidochora beetles construct small trenches in the sand for fog water to accumulate. Other Namib dwellers get their water off other surfaces, such as vegetation or lichen. Some, like sidewinder snakes or Palmato geckos drink fog water off their own bodies. An incredible adaptation of beetle larvae enables them to take up moisture from the air. Blue-green algae, cyanobacteria, are living fossils. They thrive under the desert's quartzes, where conditions are perfect for them. The bottom of the stones allows enough light to filter through but at the same time protect the lichen from UV rays. Moisture collects under the rocks, feeding the algae. In turn, other organisms get their nutrition from the algae. And so, in a variety of interesting ways, all of these tiny creatures manage to exist in one of the harshest landscapes on earth.

A CAMPING LIFE FOR ME

All you need for an adventure is the time to explore. Get into your car and drive until the tar road turns to gravel and you find yourself immersed in nature. At a campsite of your choosing hammer a few pegs into the ground for your tent; or sleep under the wide expanse of stars with only a sleeping bag between you and the soil. The crackle of the campfire is the only sound in the stillness of the night. Connect with nature and soothe your wild soul. Contemplate life, love and everything in between as you recline in your not-socomfortable camping chair, but nevertheless probably the most comfortable spot you can imagine. Your swimming pool is a river; your shower a bucket or a wet-wipe and an extra swipe of deodorant. Your company? A medley of different creatures, some with beaks, some with fur and some with scales. Or your human company, along for the ride, and chosen for their shared appreciation of the journey. Camping isn't about the destination, after all.

Anja Denker


GOCHEGANAS

U

do Stritter, together with his son Ingo, converted the former dairy farm into a game reserve when they bought it in 1997. GocheGanas opened in 2004 with state of the art accommodation and spa luxuries. The name means “place of camel thorns” in Damara and perfectly sums up the surroundings. We offer a soothing experience of serenity and harmony amid mind-blowing African bush scenery only 29 km outside Windhoek. Each of our 15 spacious Elegant Suites boasts a private timber deck and en-suite bathroom. There is one Family Suite consisting of two separate double bedrooms connected by a large terrace. The décor and design of the buildings are a celebration of African cultures. Need a host for your conferences? A safari is the perfect way to combine business with pleasure. Harmoniously perched on a mountain crest, this fine location offers a magnificent atmosphere with inspirational views. We are also renowned for our top of the range selection of wellness and beauty treatments that will invigorate your mind, body and soul and help you unwind. Facilities include eleven treatment rooms with all the latest equipment such as a crystal bath, heated indoor pool and a cave sauna in a cathedral-like masonry vault. Our therapists regularly benefit from training courses of European standard in Windhoek and on site. Our great outdoors offers endless adventures. Rhino, bat-eared fox, giraffe, mountain and plains zebra, cheetah, jackal, leopard, blue and black wildebeest, eland, gemsbok, red hartebeest, kudu, springbok, waterbuck, steenbok, duiker, klipspringer, ostrich and warthog abound on the 6000-hectare reserve. The tranquil surroundings, stunning landscapes and glimpses of herds of game beckon our guests to enjoy the variety of activities we have on offer, such as walks and guided game drives. Our knowledgeable guides were fully trained by Wilderness Safaris. They conduct game drives in the early morning and late afternoon, including a halfway stop for guests to enjoy snacks and drinks. To preserve the rich diversity of our wildlife, our team has devised the Wildlife Welfare Program. Anyone with the heart and the resources is most welcome to invest in their favourite species or program of choice in the highlands of Namibia and thereby contribute to the conservation of our world heritage.

Tel: +264 61 224 909 Email: reservations@gocheganas.com / info@gocheganas.com Web: www.gocheganas.com

GocheGanas is a community-oriented establishment. We offer career opportunities to Polytechnic students and those who attend vocational schools in northern Namibia. The emphasis is on integrating surrounding communities. We also aim to promote the creation of local arts and crafts. Our vegetables, fruits and herbs are mostly home-grown. Guests do not have to settle for anything less than fine food prepared with the best ingredients, endless African vistas and relaxing treatments. Meanwhile, the work behind the scenes continues, as here at GocheGanas we believe that it is not just a place – it is an experience.

56

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


21

Rüppel’s Parrot

NAMIBIA’S NEAR-ENDEMIC OR SPECIAL

Pompie Burger

Birds

Rüppel’s Korhaan

1. Dune Lark (Calendulauda erythrochlamys)

Pompie Burger

Namibia's only true endemic is the Dune Lark. This diminutive bird makes its home among the sandy dunes of the Namib. It has much longer toes than other larks. This is an adaptation to negotiate soft sand. Dune larks are sedentary and do not drink, which comes in handy in the desert.

2. Herero Chat (Namibornis herero)

The Herero Chat is the bird with the most 'endemic' name. But it also boasts the highest concentration of any endemic species. These chats are not exactly rare but are nonetheless special to spot. The Spitzkoppe is a hotspot for Herero Chat spotting.

Damara Hornbill

3. Rüppell’s Korhaan (Eupodotis rueppellii)

This bird is well-known in the Namib’s gravel plains. It can usually be spotted single or in pairs. The male is larger than the female and sports a black moustache, eyebrows and vertical line behind its cheek. The female has black diamondshaped markings on her back.

Elzanne Erasmus

4. Barlow’s Lark (Calendulauda barlowi)

Southern Namibia is home to Barlow's Lark. This species favours succulent scrubs - especially the euphorbias found east and southeast of Lüderitz. Barlow's Lark was still believed to be a subspecies up until 1996.

5. Gray’s Lark (Ammomanopsis grayi)

Also endemic to the Namib’s gravel plains, but with a wider distribution than Barlow's Lark, Gray’s can be found from just north of the Orange River in the south to Angola in the north. Their distinctive aerial and vocal display is hardly ever witnessed, as it only occurs in the twilight hour, usually in virtual darkness.

6. Damara Tern (Sterna balaenarum)

An endemic of the coast, the Damara Tern is the most endangered species in southern Africa because its breeding sites are simple scrapes on the ground along the coast.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

57


Hotel

I

Schweizerhaus

& CAFÉ ANTON

n a world of constant change, some wonderful things fortunately stay the same. At least they do in Namibia’s premier holiday destination, Swakopmund. The palm trees, the jetty, the lighthouse, the Woermann House, the scent of the fir trees as you get closer to the main beach, the Mole (pronounced moo-le), the aroma of ice cream (or is it the memory of real soft serve), the street vendors, the entrance to the Swakopmund Museum. The playground with its brightly coloured, old-fashioned swings and slides, the familiar sight of the beach, the waves and the breakwater.

same delightful German confectionaries, made according to recipes passed down from Manfred Anton to his daughter Heidi and her daughters Silvia and Desirée. The view from the terrace, or from inside through the large panoramic windows, has changed slightly since some new buildings have come into the picture, but these will hopefully just be an update of the memory all visitors have, and never change the whole picture.

And when you stand on the wall under the palm trees, turn round and look back to the town: there is another landmark that has stood the test of time. The place where, literally for generations, the gingerbread house brought magic to hundreds of children who looked through the window or, if they were brave enough, ventured inside to see if the cookies and candy were real. And drove their parents mad with their endless nagging that they needed to be there some days before Christmas, when they would be allowed to strip the gingerbread house.

When Heidi and her husband André Snyman took over in the nineties, some delicate changes were made but the Schweizerhaus and Café Anton never lost their character. In a young independent country, half the age of this establishment, it is refreshing and comforting that the hotel furnishings do not look exactly the same as everywhere else in the world. Heidi marvels at her father’s foresight when he built the hotel a good fifty years ago and gave each room an en-suite bathroom. In those days it was the trend in ultimate luxury – now it is a basic requirement.

Fifty years later, the striking building from the sixties is still the Hotel Schweizerhaus with Café Anton on the ground floor. Same name, same location and run by the third generation of dedicated hoteliers from the same family. You will still find the

“We should be aware of international trends and what our visitors from all over the world consider essential, without losing the essence of who we are,” says Heidi who is one of the founder members of the Hospitality Association.

Tel: +264 64 400331 Email: reservations@schweizerhaus.net Web: www.schweizerhaus.net

58

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


Rosey-faced Lovebird

HAN 30 YEARS

Elzanne Erasmus

Added to that, breeding coincides with the peak holiday season in December.

7. Rüppel’s Parrot (Poicephalus rueppellii)

The loud and colourful Rüppell’s Parrot is also endangered. The illegal export of wild birds for the caged-bird industry threatens their numbers.

8. Rockrunner (Achaetops pycnopygius)

The very musical Rockrunner has a large distribution across Namibia and is easy to spot in Windhoek at Avis Dam. Rockrunners have a rich call resembling that of a robin, which is often heard early in the morning.

9. Violet Wood-Hoopoe (Phoeniculus damarensis)

Pompie Burger

The musical Violet Wood-Hoopoe is the most endangered of Namibia’s endemics, with less than 3 000 of them left. Hybridisation with Red-billed Hoopoe (Tockus erythrorhynchus) further decreases the population. Rockrunner

10. Monteiro’s Hornbill (Tockus monteiri)

Of all the hornbills, Monteiro’s Hornbill occupies the driest habitat – the savannahs of northwest Namibia.

11. Damara Hornbill (Tockus damarensis)

The Damara Hornbill is another late addition to the endemic list. It is found in northern Namibia and was initially seen as a subspecies of the Red-billed Hornbill.

12. White-tailed Shrike (Lanioturdus torquatus)

The icon of Namibia’s endemic birds is the White-tailed Shrike. It is probably the most visible and familiar of all the endemics. Spot them on a visit to the Naukluft Mountains.

13. Bare-cheeked Babbler (Turdoides gymnogenys)

The Bare-cheeked Babbler is the most vocal endemic. It can usually be seen foraging among foliage on the ground. Pompie Burger

14. Carp's Tit (Melaniparus carpi)

Violet Wood-Hoopoe

Carp's Tit is the smallest endemic bird. It is more often heard than seen. One can find it chattering in small groups in mopane trees in Namibia’s central-north region.

15. Hartlaub's Spurfowl (Pternistis hartlaubi)

Pompie Burger

Carp's Tit

Hartlaub’s Spurfowls are highly secretive creatures. The duet between male and female is beautiful and quite distinctive. These fowls are relatively rare, with only a few thousand members, and they occur in the north-central and northwestern areas of Namibia.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

59


22 Elzanne Erasmus

Rhinos

NAMIBIA’S GENTLE GIANTS A gentle and majestic giant is ambling across an arid plain. The creature blends into the beauty of his surroundings. He is at peace with his environment. He belongs there. He is a part of the soil and the rocks and the scattered green protruding from dry earth. He is a part of the pulse of the land. From afar, watchful eyes observe his journey. The observers admire the creature as they admire the landscape around him, and they smile because they know that the beauty they see before them is a true reflection of the natural order of things. They smile because they are lucky enough to be enthralled by the magnitude of the moment. What do you do when something as important as an entire species is standing at the edge of a cliff ready to tumble at any given second? Do you stand by and watch or do you save them? Between 1970 and 1992 the black rhino population suffered a 96% decrease, with total numbers dipping as low as around 2 400. Today, thanks to on-going conservation efforts and the wildly successful Rhino Custodian Programme established by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the species has been saved from near extinction. With the support of headmen, communitybased game guards, rural communities and innovative tourism developments, poaching has declined drastically and the rhino population has more than doubled in the past 25 years. Namibia is an example of a country with many success

60

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

stories regarding rhino conservation. Only one rhino was poached in 2016, compared to 22 rhinos lost in 2014. These figures do not include conservancy statistics.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WHITE AND BLACK RHINO? White rhinos are usually larger than black rhinos and have a more pronounced hump on the back of their necks. Their eating habits differ, as white rhinos are grazers whereas black rhinos are browsers and prefer to feed from bushes and trees. This leads to a number of different physical characteristics: black rhinos have smaller heads and a hooked front lip which helps them strip leaves off branches, white rhinos have a wide front lip which is perfect for grazing on grass.

RHINO HORN FACT FILE: •

• •

Black rhino have two horns, which throughout their life grow continually from the skin at the base (like human fingernails). Rhinos from different areas can have horns of different shapes, and sizes also vary. The shape of the horn also differs between sexes: males tend to have thicker horns while females often have longer and thinner ones. The horn consists of thousands of compressed hairlike strands of keratin that make it extremely hard and tough, but it can break or split during fighting. The front (anterior) horn is longer than the rear (posterior) horn, averaging around 50 cm.


Journeys I

NAMIBIA

sn’t it the dream to see all of Namibia in one go? To meet many ethnic groups and enjoy the sound of languages as diverse as the landscape? To see the sun set over a canyon, then over a dune in the sea of sand? Two days later over the sea, then from a mountain top or across a waterhole where rhinos come to drink as the sky turns pink? To watch gemsbok on the dunes, a brown hyena on the beach, an elephant on the salt pan, mountain zebra scaling rocky cliffs and a herd of springbok graze on an infinite plain?

In the days shortly after independence a generation of young guides accompanied adventurous travellers through Namibia with enthusiasm and exuberance. One of them, Dominic, tells stories of how they would put up stretchers in the middle of nowhere, because that was as far as they got before nightfall, and enjoy a night under the stars. The guests did not mind. For them it was part of the Namibian experience. The freedom and adventure of travelling in a country still partly undiscovered, with few regulations, required an intuitive kind of approach on the part of those who led the way. Those were the pioneering days when a new generation of conservationminded guides started out. “We did not have that much experience but simply followed the trends that would later define what makes Namibia one of the most sought-after destinations today”, Dominic says. “Namibia is eco-friendly not because of regulations, but because of the expectations of the travellers who come to Namibia and who expect the kind of products that we are continuously developing further.”

Dominic heads Journeys Namibia, a lodge management and marketing company that still operates according to those early ideals, except that now they employ about 200 people, share their skills and knowledge in communal conservancies and private nature reserves and still provide training, develop eco-friendly properties and inspire young rural Namibians to climb the tourism ladder from the bottom to the top.

In 2005, Dominic was part of the team that developed and operated the first conservancy-owned lodge in Namibia. #Khoadi/Hoas was their first project in the Torra Conservancy, followed by a special camping site, Hoada, and the recently revamped Hobatere Lodge. From there, travellers venture further north to the newly acquired Kunene River Lodge and then circle to Etosha from a different direction. “Our mission is to introduce new routes that are also a little off the beaten track”, says Dominic. Off the beaten track it will be when in June next year they open Shipwreck Lodge in the Skeleton Coast Park – the place for the sundowners on the dune, one mile inland from the ocean. Journeys ventured into the deep south as well. Fish River Lodge, on the western side of the Fish River Canyon, offers hiking and biking in a totally different, dramatic landscape. As a last stop before leaving or a first stop upon arrival, Auas Safari Lodge is Journey’s closest offer to Windhoek or Hosea Kutako International Airport (less than an hour from each). Heading for the lodge visitors will take a gravel road, smell the dust and may even have to stop for a gemsbok to cross the road.

Tel: +264 61 228 104 Email: reservations@journeysnamibia.com Web: www.journeysnamibia.com

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

61


Elzanne Erasmus

24

AND OF COURSE THE SUNSHINE… 365 DAYS PER YEAR

23

KALAHARI DREAMING: VISTAS, !NABAS AND HIDDEN TREASURES

The Kalahari is a vast and ancient desert system stretching across southern Africa and encroaching into the eastern part of Namibia. Adorned with camel thorn trees, other acacias and red ebony, the vistas of undulating Kalahari sands crusted in golden grass capture many hearts. Contrary to what we might at first believe about this incredible semi-arid savannah, the Kalahari holds a trove of treasures. You will meet a whole host of exotic creatures, including the black-maned Kalahari lion, buffalo, kudu, ostrich and hundreds of bird species. Every year a local delicacy called Kalahari truffles makes its appearance for a very short period following the first good rains. Locally known as !nabas, these truffles are used in mouth-watering recipes. The Kalahari is home to hunter-gatherers, the San, who have been living in the area for approximately 60 000 years. They have kept most of their ancient traditions alive and are astonishingly well-adapted to the harsh life in the semidesert. The San are known worldwide for their extraordinary skills as hunters and trackers. Why not expand your skill set by joining in on a traditional hunt? This can be done with real hunters from the Living Museum of the Ju/’Hoansi-San at Grashoek. Surrounded by a silence that echoes into eternity, the Kalahari is the place to find peace and time out from the rat race.

62

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

Namibia is a country that thrives on sunshine. After all, we have 365 days of sunshine per year. Even our national flag sports a sun symbol in the upper left-hand corner.

With so much sunshine on our hands we have more than enough opportunity for outdoor adventures. An invite to a braai every weekend is no surprise. Sports events, either at schools or played professionally, are the order of the day. Renewable energies such as wind and solar power are important factors since independence in 1990. Private companies and organisations focus on independent energy supplies for tourism facilities such as remote lodges and tourism camps. Solar-powered or photovoltaic devices feed waterholes at world-famous Etosha National Park. Village clinics and schools far away from the national power grid have electricity and warm water thanks to off-grid solutions with solar and wind energy. Photovoltaics help rural schools in Namibia to connect to the internet with the most modern means. Schoolnet, a donor-based organisation, has already equipped hundreds of remote schools and some educational centres with computers powered by solar panels. Sunshine is our pride and joy, but the arrival of the rainy season always calls for celebration. Whereas most of the globe curses when it rains, and then hides indoors, rain in Namibia is a sure way to get people outdoors and shouting with joy. Unless, of course, the downpour causing the happiness is accompanied by lightning. Rain showers offer something for all the senses – most of all smell. Go ahead and ask a Namibian what their favourite smell is. Do not be surprised if people tell you it is the smell of rain or the smell of an approaching thunderstorm. For the first few days following the season’s first rains, offices, cafés and Facebook updates are abuzz with rain stories. And afterwards we are equally happy when the sun reappears.


6Ondili Lodges REASONS TO VISIT

1

& Activities

Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge: hike through the Kalahari Desert Take a walk on the wild side with a multi-day walk through the desert landscape of the Kalahari. The 30 metre-high striking red dunes form the backdrop to this enigmatic landscape. The abundance and variety of wildlife make walks and drives exciting activities. The luxury accommodation at Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge is the ultimate comfort in a secluded location.

2

Teufelskrallen Tented Lodge: do some serious game viewing The Kalahari Desert beckons to be explored and a game drive is certain to yield sights of giraffe, eland, black as well as blue wildebeest, gemsbok, nyala and more. Nature walks and game drives reveal the area’s breathtaking beauty. The restaurant 'Altes Farmhaus' is open for the public and offers delicious meals and a beautiful green garden.

3

Hohenstein: Spitzkoppe and its environs Nestled at the foot of the Erongo Mountains’ highest peak, visitors to Hohenstein Lodge are in close proximity to the spectacular Spitzkoppe. Semi-precious stones like tourmalines, aquamarines and rock crystal are found on the steep mountain slopes of the Erongo. Guests of Hohenstein Lodge have the opportunity to take an inside look at the lives of small miners, who search the mountain for gem stones.

4

Desert Homestead Lodge: guided horse trail rides in the Namib Desert Experience the Namib from a totally different vantage point – from the back of a horse on a ramble through the desert. Desert Homestead Lodge is famous for its guided trail rides. Its horse safaris take guests into the wide expanse of the Namib, and at night the bedroom is under the stars. At the lodge itself, creature comforts reign supreme in the stylish yet simple thatched chalets that sit softly atop the beautiful, fragile environment.

5

Desert Homestead Outpost: gateway into the desert The perfect starting point for venturing into Namib-Naukluft National Park is Desert Homestead Outpost Lodge. The 30 km drive to Sossusvlei, Dead Vlei and Sesriem Canyon makes for an easy day trip. The lodge arranges scenic drives, horseback safaris, guided walks and balloon rides over the desert.

6

Ti Melen B&B: Great stop-over Situated in Namibia’s capital city of Windhoek, a short walk from Avis Dam and surrounded by mountains, Ti Melen is the perfect place to unwind and relax between safaris, or for the first or last day in Namibia. The tranquil atmosphere invites guests to relax while birdwatching or taking a dip in the pool. The proximity to Avis Dam allows for easy strolls or hikes in the natural environment.

Tel: +264 61 240020 Web: www.ondili.com

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

63


Kalahari

GAME LODGE

O

n the banks of the dry Auob River and surrounded by warm red dunes lies the Kalahari Game Lodge. On what was once a farm with sheep and cattle, the 40 000 ha tract of land was transformed into the original ecosystem again. Grassland was restored, fences were removed and naturally occurring animal species were reintroduced. The conservation and protection of the area has led to the ecosystem returning to its eternal rhythm, bringing along with it the many animals that now call the surroundings of Kalahari Game Lodge their home. Kalahari Game Lodge boasts the only free-roaming Kalahari lion population in Namibia. These lions differ from their counterparts in the rest of Namibia in that their manes are much darker, almost pitchblack. To retain this unique feature, the population’s genealogy cannot be mixed or diluted.

The lions are constantly monitored via GPS, which means that guests at the lodge have the opportunity to track these great beasts and encounter them up close in their desert habitat. Other animal species to look out for are the endangered brown hyena, pangolin, African hedgehog and the striped polecat, all nocturnal, which makes them a highlight of the night drives. By day the game drives hold a different variety of fauna in store. From tiny pygmy mice to tall giraffe, white-backed and lappet-faced vultures, the landscape continually reveals something to observe and admire. Due to the desert environment animals are easily spotted at pools of water during the rainy season, or along the riverbed. At the end of a full day of exploration it is back to one of the lodge’s eight luxury en-suite chalets. Each of the chalets has a private patio with idyllic views of the surroundings. The swimming pool is the perfect place for desert-weary travellers to cool off, while the warmth of the fire pit is welcome during chilly evenings. Lodge Tel: +264 63 252 052 Head office Tel: +27 21 880 9870 Email: reservations@kalaharigamelodge.com.na Web: www.kalaharigamelodge.com.na

64

Seasoned campers will experience the surroundings in a more rustic fashion. Six exclusive campsites are located in the soft sands of the picturesque Auob riverbed. They are spread out to allow for privacy and have the necessary facilities.

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


Otjimbondona KALAHARI

T

he sound of thunder, the smell of rain, the colour of the red sand and the yellow blossoms of a camel thorn tree next to the road – that is what strikes you as you get out of the car to open the farm gate.

Almost a hundred years after the Slaney family started farming with sheep and cattle at Otjimbondona, Wilfried and his wife Anita moved back to the land of his forefathers. With more than 20 years’ experience in tourism and their love of the land, they took the bold step and invested in their dream of having a boutique lodge on a hill on the fringe of the Kalahari. A love to explore and to share took Wilfried, a commercial pilot, on fly-in safaris across borders and all over Africa with guests of Profile Safaris, their fly-in safari company established in 1991. Having settled down at Otjimbondona does not mean that Wilfried has given up flying. The Cessna is readily available to take to the sky with guests who are on a safari that starts or ends at Otjimbondona for a day or two. For those who just want to soak up as much as possible of the luxury in the bush, day excursions to the desert, the coast or Etosha start at the airstrip down the road. Imagine you land at Hosea Kutako Airport, drive 3 km on a perfectly paved road. Then turn onto a gravel road, meandering through farmland with different types of fences and sign boards, funny sounding names and even a gemsbok crossing the road, a kudu jumping a fence. Then without warning, the driver slows down, stops at a gate. Up to this point you have not seen a single person, a house or another car. And then you drive up the red sand path to the top of the hill. And voilà. There it is. The most spectacular view. 360 degrees all round. That could have been enough to impress any discerning world traveller, until they walk down the other side of the hill, along a sandy path between thorn trees, to their accommodation. In this day and age, where everything is on-line and nothing a secret, it is almost sad that what lies on top and down the other side of the hill is no longer a surprise to the visitor who has seen it already electronically. In the modern villas, creatively decorated with the finest quality of everything, from the linen to the lampshades, with Anita’s attention to every little detail, you will find your bed with a view, a bath with a view, a plunge pool with a view, a couch with a view. Plus peace, perfect peace.

kalahari Tel: +264 81 243 5478 Email: welcome@otjimbondona.com Web: www.otjimbondona.com

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

65


25

WHITE PLACES

With the very famous Etosha Pan, Deadvlei, salt works at the coast and oshanas, Namibia is a country worth its weight in… salt.

Salt was once considered to be as valuable as gold. When our way of life changed from hunting to agriculture and we started to domesticate animals in 7000–6000 BC, we also began to realise the need to supplement our diets with an intake of salt. But with few surface salt deposits and limited means to access them, salt gained a value that little else could match. Salt was a sought-after commodity all over the globe, including southern Africa. In Namibia, dried-up pans like Etosha and Deadvlei provided a source of salt. Today, however, salt is no longer equated to the worth of gold, and it is liberally sprinkled onto food with barely a thought of its long and convoluted history. It nonetheless seems fitting to take a few moments to extol the virtues of salt. After all, this ‘white gold’ helps our bodies to function and keeps our hearts pumping.

Etosha Pan is a vast, bare, open expanse of shimmering green and white that covers an area of around 4 800 km², almost a quarter of Etosha National Park. This distinctive geological feature is visible from space. At 130 km long and up to 50 km wide in places, it is the largest salt pan in Africa. Several million years ago the pan was a huge lake, until tectonic movements forced the Kunene and other rivers that fed the lake to change course and flow into the Atlantic Ocean. Eventually the lake dried up and left a salt pan behind. In the Owambo language Etosha means ‘great white place’. The area was originally inhabited by the Hei//om San, the well-known hunter-gatherers who co-existed in harmony with the huge herds of wildlife in the area. It was only in 1851 that European explorers arrived at the enormous pan: Charles Andersson and Francis Galton provided the first written account of the pan.

Salt springs on the pan have formed little hillocks of clay and salt which are used by some of the park’s wildlife as salt licks. In the wet season, parts of the pan form rain water pools and in particularly wet years the entire pan becomes a lake once more, albeit only about 10 cm deep, and draws thousands of migrating flamingos. Deadvlei, situated close to Sossusvlei, translates from Afrikaans as ‘dead marsh’. It is assumed that the clay pan formed over a thousand years ago. The Tsauchab River would flood after heavy rainfall and form shallow pools of water. Camel thorn trees started growing in these marshes. However, the sand dunes that steadily began to take shape in the area quickly blocked off the Tsauchab River, along with any other possible water sources. The area’s climate shifted and a dry period set in. The scorching heat of the sun caused the trees to dry out, but never to decompose. This process immortalised the trees, now 900 years old. In the last century two salt works were established along the coast, one north of Swakopmund and the other south of Walvis Bay. Salt is extracted from sea water in a series of evaporation ponds, to be used by the chemical industry and as table salt. Oshana, with Oshakati as the capital, is one of the fourteen regions of Namibia. The name ‘Oshana’ describes the most prominent landscape feature in the area: the shallow, seasonally inundated depressions that support the local agro-ecological system. The southern portion of Oshana is an extensive savannah plain stretching as far as the Etosha Pan, but the generally high salinity of soil and water render it unsuitable for grazing or cultivation. Namibia is full of etoshas – great white places. Not only are they a source of salt, but they also make for some of the most beautiful attractions in the country.

Annabelle Venter

Etosha Pan


26 A valley covered in Fairy Circles

Paul van Schalkwyk

ANCIENT SECRETS Dinosaur tracks, meteorites, mysteries of the Namib.

Sand dunes in all shapes and sizes provide compelling subjects for photographers, artists, scientists, tourists and adventurers. Vast gravel plains stretch out to infinity, inselbergs stand proud, and dunes, a magnet for people since before history was recorded, continue to beckon. And the ephemeral rivers, rushing unexpectedly through their dry courses recharging life-giving aquifers, have transformed landscapes in their various guises for millennia. Contrary to many other places in the world, Namibia does not boast medieval castles or age-old stone walls and fortresses. Namibia, nevertheless, has a lot of other ancient secrets that will reveal themselves once you come for a visit. Follow dinosaur footsteps as you walk back into the past – as many as 150 to 185 million years back. The cluster of small, shallow indentations on a rock surface on the farm Otjihaenamaparero, located close to Kalkfeld, was declared a national monument in 1951. The largest meteorite of its kind hit the earth’s surface close to Grootfontein. About 30 000 to 80 000 years ago, the Hoba Meteorite made Namibia its home. This mass consisting mainly of iron and nickel weighs about 50 tonnes and can comfortably be viewed from the amphitheatre that was built around it. For all the extreme and experienced adventurers’ hungry hearts, there is a possibility to explore the world’s largest underground lake, Dragon’s Breath. With its crystal-clear water and a surface area of two hectares, this is an ideal spot for cave diving. The cave was discovered in 1986, about 46 km north of Grootfontein, by the South African Speleological Association. Brukkaros – a geological illusion – is a spectacular sight between Mariental and Keetmanshoop. The mountain resembles a huge crater of an extinct volcano. But is it a volcano? Some 80 million years ago magma came into contact with sedimentary rock and encountered groundwater. The resulting steam created immense pressure which caused the surface rock to bulge upwards into a dome. Ultimately there was an explosion and the dome collapsed, leaving the crater of Brukkaros. The Namib Desert, thought to be the oldest desert in the world, developed some 16 to 20 million years ago – as attested to by the Tsondab Sandstone of the petrified dunes at Dieprivier. Wetter conditions prevailed until around 12 million years ago, after which the climate became much drier. The Namib is an immense expanse of relentlessly moving dunes and gravel plains along the entire coastline. Another one of Namibia’s fascinating secrets is the enigmatic fairy circle. Fairy circles are large, perfectly round barren patches that occur by their thousands along the eastern edge of the Namib Desert. They have fascinated scientists for several decades and contribute to the tourism appeal of the region. Their mysterious origin has led them to be called “Fairy Circles” colloquially, and legends ranging from local tales of God’s footprints to international recognition as a “UFO hotspot” have sprouted in short order. Solved or unsolved, Namibia has countless mysteries to be discovered. Travelling to Namibia will let your mind travel even further, beyond the boundaries of time. Whether you believe in fairies or not, one trip to this country is all you need to be left thirsting for more knowledge about our ancient secrets.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

67


DISCONNECT AT

NAMTIB

M

y father, Walter Theile, came to Namibia as a child in 1952. When the family moved back to Germany ten years later, it was his dream to return one day and own a farm at the edge of the Namib Desert. The dream became a reality in 1982 when Walter arrived to stay in Namibia with his wife, my mom Renate, and us two children, Nicole and me. In September of that year we moved to Namtib, which has been our home ever since. Namtib Desert Lodge was registered in 1991 and became a HAN Member in 1994. This makes Namtib one of the oldest lodges, if not the oldest, in southern Namibia. Conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources has always been the core principle of operations and as a family we adopted the Biosphere Reserve framework to formalise our activities. Applying these guidelines not only ensured that activities were ecologically sustainable, but the project also had to be economically viable in order to be truly self-supporting. I joined my parents on the farm in 2004. Two years later my wife joined and in 2010 my parents retired and handed the reins to Linn and myself. With fresh ideas and youthful energy we built on the sturdy foundation entrusted to us by our parents, staying true to the exceptional spirit of Namtib. Namtib does not offer your run-of-the-mill fanciful luxury, but an authentic experience: Silence, solitude, wide-open spaces, tranquillity, fresh clean air, dark starlit nights. Guests are offered space and time to truly relax and unwind, without a set program and without having to choose from a million activities. For those who wish to be active there’s more than enough to do at Namtib, with the main focus on hiking through the uniquely spectacular landscape surrounding the lodge. The variety of well-marked hiking trails offers everything from an easy stroll over the seemingly endless plains to more challenging hikes through the mountains. One of the trails is for mountain biking, with more to come. Bird-watchers also get their fair share of excitement, with almost 70 bird species identified so far, from the tiny Batis to the majestic Verreaux’s Eagle. We offer informative nature drives which provide a deeper insight into the ranching activities, the eco-system and what life is like on a farm on the edge of the Namib Desert.

Tel: +264 63 683 055 | Email: stay@namtib.net Web: www.namtib.net

Linn and I have big plans for the future, staying true to our motto “Take only what you truly need - not all you can”.


Luxury

MEETS CONSERVATION

N

ot just a game drive. Okonjima, “Place of the Baboons,” is a 22 000 ha private nature reserve that puts conservation back into the wild. “Okonjima is for everyone – not just for international visitors but for locals, too. That’s because the conservation message is for all walks of life,” says Donna Hanssen, co-owner of Okonjima. For her Okonjima is about reaching people, teaching them about the importance of the environment, in a way they will enjoy and remember.

Reservations: +264 67 314 000 Email: info@okonjimalodge.com Web: www.okonjima.com

Ahead of the times. Their family did things differently, Donna says. The Hanssens bought Okonjima with the intention to farm cattle. But it became clear from the get-go that the land had one major set-back: leopard. The area was known for its dense population of leopard. At the advice of friends and neighbours the Hanssens did what most farmers were doing at the time. Trying to protect their livelihood, their cattle, they hunted and killed the leopards that were continually raiding their livestock. But the Hanssens were farmers because they loved the land, loved living on it. And they realised that there had to be a better way to live with leopard. They wanted to leave the land in a better state than when they had gotten it.

The Hanssens began to make use of new technologies and research, and today, they try to teach to others what they’ve learnt. Wildlife is a gift. If we don’t look after it, we lose it. As the Hanssens’ children became more involved in Okonjima, it was inevitable that the farm eventually turned into a reserve – a haven for the animals they once hunted. The massive area that makes up the reserve protects orphaned, rescued and injured big cats. “We always wanted to be conservationists,” says Donna and adds that the only way conservation can be a success is through business. Which in the case of Okonjima is tourism. “We learnt that conservation is not only about animals, it’s about the big picture, about educating the people.” A visit to Okonjima provides the perfect opportunity to meet Namibia’s big cats in a safe environment – that happens to be a luxurious spot to relax. Okonjima supports the conservation of Namibia’s big cats through its AfriCat Foundation. Tourism keeps the wheel turning, and Okonjima is extremely well prepared to cater for its guests. Conservation and tourism are probably the most compatible activities in a country like Namibia. Many tourists only take photographs, but contribute financially to the welfare of the country simply by choosing to come here. And as with all things, there is a balance.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

69


ETOSHA HEIGHTS:

Private Reserve

F

ounded in 1999, Etosha Heights is one of the largest private reserves in Namibia, sharing an approximately 65 km border with Etosha National Park, and offers a robust 60,000 hectares of unspoiled wildlife and tranquillity. At the end of each thrilling day, returning to the comfort, hospitality and convenience of one of their lodges, you still feel part of the sights, sounds and smells of the bush. Their dedicated team offers you true Namibian hospitality and an individually tailored safari experience. As a custodian of extensive land neighbouring Namibia’s flagship national park, Etosha Heights endeavours to sustainably manage its important ecosystems and biodiversity, while allowing for low-impact tourism. Together with Dr. Morgan Hauptfleisch – ecological scientist, Namibia University of Science and Technology - and his team, they recently started using cutting-edge wildlife photogrammetry to monitor the distribution and numbers of their wildlife populations. This provides an important tool for understanding why animals prefer certain areas to others and will also allow them to detect and respond to potential problems such as bush encroachment, overgrazing or erosion.

Tel: +264 67 312 521 Email: safarihoek@rhinotrek.net Web: www.etoshaheights.com

70

Through the use of on-the-ground observation by personnel on Etosha Heights

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

Private Reserve and the Protective Wildlife Game Rangers coupled with the use of camera traps strategically placed they monitor their wildlife population, especially the Black and White Rhino. Among other factors, positive identification, individual habits, territory ranges and the success of breeding is managed in this manner. The reserve is an active participant in the Etosha Rand Lion Conservation Project. The aim of the project is to provide scientific basis for a more sustainable approach to lion management. They also host and assist the researchers of the Namibia National Cheetah Survey in a study that aims to provide data on the population size and distribution throughout Namibia. They now started establishing a vulture feeding program at the Safarihoek hide to help maintain the population numbers as well. Additional to the above-mentioned conservation projects Etosha Heights Private Reserve is also home to a number of lodging establishments namely Etosha Heights Campsites, Mountain Lodge, Safarihoek Lodge and Outpost Farmhouse. Each individually unique, distinctive and optimally situated for various target markets. Spend a few days at Etosha Heights and leave as part of their pride.


HAN 30 YEARS

Elzanne Erasmus

27

DISCONNECT TO RECONNECT:

THERE ARE IN FACT PLACES WITH NO CELL PHONE SIGNAL What makes Namibia exceptional is the fact that it is one of the politically and economically most stable countries in Africa, and one of the most technologically advanced that fulfils all modern requirements. Despite our technological development, however, a mobile phone signal is not a given throughout the country, especially in remote locations. The best advice we can give you? Disconnect to reconnect. Get off the beaten track for a moment and allow the best prescription medicine – being on safari – to work stress-relieving miracles. Who wants to be bothered anyway by the ‘ping’ of an incoming message or that irritating buzz of a vibrating phone when standing atop a dune at Sossusvlei? So head out into the wilderness. There may not be Wi-Fi, but we promise you’ll find a better connection! Unwind and let the subtle reminder of the ‘old you’ set in. This is not a case of surviving, but much rather of thriving.

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

71


28

NEVER TOO OLD TO

TRAVEL

Just because Namibia is seen as this rugged, soulful, liberating, natural destination does not mean that you need to be twenty, fit and able to climb a mountain, crawl through the bush, hike down a canyon with a backpack or tumble down a dune to experience it all.

An aerial of of the Huab River valley.

With all your worldliness and wisdom as a seasoned traveller, do it the “slow” way. As in the "slow movement” way to "connect more meaningfully with others". To connect meaningfully is totally possible in Namibia because Namibians are friendly and open and want to tell you about themselves and their country, and they want to hear about yours. And we have time. You will come across the saying that God gave the white man a watch, and gave time to Africa. That’s us. "Connect more meaningfully with place” also happens naturally, because when you start your journey in a comfortable airconditioned rented vehicle, with a driver/ guide, camping chairs, a little fridge with cold drinks and wine, a basket with flasks and snacks in the back, and reading material in the seat pocket, you will literally sit back and relax, and through the window enjoy the slow-changing scenery as it goes by. From paved to gravel roads, through dry river beds and over rough terrain. You will get to the edge of the canyon, and to places so high up that you could fool yourself into imagining you have climbed to that top looking down over the expanse of a living desert. The cockpit of a small aircraft is the highest moving viewpoint of all and the least exhausting.

72

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM

Paul van Schalkwyk

And when the sun sinks lower, and your host lights a fire outside, invites you to join the conversation before supper, or to watch the sun set while you sip on your G&T, relaxing on a comfortable camping chair somewhere seemingly in the middle of nowhere, you have actually arrived. Slowly.


W

hile enjoying a freshly prepared meal at the trendy Krisjans Bistro in Tenbergen Village’s tranquil courtyard you will hardly be aware of the buzz at the flourishing Hillside@ Tenbergen hotel next-door. This cosmopolitan hotel offers exclusive, upmarket accommodation for corporate guests, and its central location also makes it suitable for independent holidaymakers. Although located near Maerua Mall and the Veld Street business area, the hotel is sheltered from the city’s noise in a secure complex. The executive businessman looking for something above the ordinary will feel at home here. The spacious rooms are tastefully decorated with finishes in the European style, including a work station. Hillside@Tenbergen offers modern conference facilities in an intimate space. A luxury suite will give you a full DSTV bouquet for entertainment after hours. Travelling with children? The family rooms include a sleeper couch suitable for two children. The Hillside brand was developed when Victor Liebenberg and Con Brand decided to enter the property development sector. When Con, a qualified engineer, phoned his accountant-friend Victor about their first potential investment Victor imagined a small property with only a couple of apartments. It turned out to consist of 36 apartments! What started out as a single self-catering accommodation facility developed into an exclusive brand at several locations around the city – Hillside@Maerua, Hillside@Nelson Mandela, Hillside@Ardeco and Hillside@Tenbergen. Our executive accommodation with all its intrinsic qualities caters for the local and international market. Hillside@Tenbergen, which opened in October 2016, is the newest addition but definitely not the last. Manager Elma Truter has been part of the Hillside family since 2011 and knows all the ins and outs of the business. Even before Hillside@Tenbergen was officially opened Con phoned with the news that he had booked a conference. Business took off with a bang and today we can guarantee

Hillside @ TENBERGEN successful business sojourns at the best location, with good food and high-speed Wi-Fi.

Hillside@Nelson Mandela is a self-catering facility and an accommodation hotspot in Windhoek, owing to our spacious units, cleanliness and excellent security. We have studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units with free Wi-Fi, secure under-roof parking, braai facilities and laundry services. World-famous Joe’s Beer house is within walking distance. Hillside@Ardeco is located 300 metres from the Hidas Shopping Centre. Ardeco offers the same executive-quality, modern self-catering units that are a Hillside trademark and in high demand. Hillside@Maerua Mall consists of one-bedroom and twobedroom self-catering units on the 2nd floor of well-known Maerua Mall. This is the perfect location when the family comes along on your trip, as the cinema and a variety of shops and restaurants are right on the doorstep. Allocated parking bays, central air conditioning, free internet, DSTV, security doors and executive furnishings are all included in the package. Tel: +264 (61) 400 340 Email:tenbergen@hillsidewindhoek.com Web: www.hillsidewindhoek.com

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

73


Paul van Schalkwyk

29 South

THE NOT FORGOTTEN

There is much to explore in the arid south. Take the 335 km route from Keetmanshoop to Lüderitz and see the landscape change on the way to the coast. Farm stalls are dotted along the road with interesting stories to tell and delicious snacks for sale. Take your time!

Start in Keetmanshoop, the south's de facto capital. Then, 45 km further west, stop at the Seeheim Hotel for – as the sign at the entrance tells you – biltong, droëwors, salami and apple pie. Back in the day, the early 1900s to be precise, Seeheim was a busy stopover point for train passengers. In those days Seeheim had two hotels and even a brothel. Now Seeheim is the point from which to take a detour from the C12 to the Fish River Canyon and to /Ai -/Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park further south. A short drive on the D462 will take you to Alte Kalköfen, German for old limestone ovens. The kiln can be spotted near the entrance of Alte Kalköfen Lodge. The wide veranda is the perfect place to enjoy wonderful lunch fare, with everything from game pie and salad to a farmer's burger, salad platter and a slice of apple pie. The veranda overlooks an ancient camel thorn forest that is said to be more than a thousand years old. Take a look at owners Hilde and Frikkie Mouton's lithops nursery. These “stone plants” are known to burst into bloom with delicate flowers at certain times of the year. Further west, 50 km from Aus, Kuibis Restaurant on a sheep and cattle farm owned by Kathleen and Japie Loots has been going strong since 1992. Toasted sandwiches, pies, homemade cookies, koeksisters and ginger beer are on the menu, and you can also stock up on homemade biltong and fresh meat. Just before you reach Aus, make a stop at the small WWI graveyard. It is the final resting place of South African and German soldiers, many of whom died during the flu pandemic of 1918. The somewhat sleepy character of Aus is in stark contrast to its history. In 1908 the settlement experienced a boom during the diamond rush, and again several decades later when the karakul market flourished in the 60s. Fill up on fuel and supplies at the Namib Garage One Stop Shop. Bahnhof Hotel with its colourful flags sits on the site of the town's first hotel that was

74

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


HAN 30 YEARS built in 1906. The name refers to the train station on the LĂźderitz line which attracted many visitors back in the day. Take a break at the hotel for cake and coffee.

The Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world.

Further west is Klein-Aus Vista, an attractive choice of accommodation, owned by the Swiegers family. The lodge also has an appealing campsite and there are great trails to explore amongst the granite gneiss hills. Hire a bike or simply use your legs and enjoy the fantastic views across the striking landscape of grassy plains and sand. KleinAus Vista marks the point where the Pro-Namib merges into the Namib Desert. Paul van Schalkwyk

20 km west of Aus take the turnoff to the Garub viewpoint to see the Namib's wild horses. Park your car and follow the stony track that leads to a hide overlooking a waterhole. This feral horse population has survived for more than a century in the Namib's extreme environment. A desert horse of the Namib.

Jaco Venter

On the last stretch to LĂźderitz the landscape again changes from sandy to gravel and grass gives way to the rocky desert. Kolmanskop, the old diamond town, is perched on the outskirts of LĂźderitz. It is definitely worth your while to visit this famous ghost town and walk among the old wooden houses that are slowly reclaimed by the desert sand. Apart from Sundays, Kolmanskop is open until 13:00, with guided tours at 9:30 and 11:00. Imagine the finery and fancy lifestyles of the tiny population that inhabited the town, before it was deserted because diamonds were no longer found there. Kolmanskop is the perfect place for the avid photographer to take amazing shots. Peeling wallpaper, dappled light and mounds of sand gathered in abandoned corners provide spectacular photographic material and hours of fun.

Kolmanskop, Namibia's famous ghost town.

Xenia Ivanoff-Erb

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

75


ACTIVE

Tel: +264 81 389 5730 Email: aventures@iway.na Website :www.activeventuresmarketing.com

Ventures

A

fter school I went to England and Scotland for an internship in the hospitality industry. After my return I worked as a tour consultant and expanded my personal network. My motto became that voyages are not about the ships we board, but rather about the people we meet on them. I spread my wings to pursue a new journey: marketing Active Ventures. I am especially passionate about the indigenous cultures of Namibia where one can join in traditional dancing and singing. This type of sharing brings people from different backgrounds together and the sights of a country are only complete with locals in the picture. The establishments that I represent provide everything from a warm and friendly welcome, homemade meals and comfy accommodation to adrenaline-packed activities.

Tel: +264 64 402 779 Email: reservations@khowarib.com Web: www.khowarib.com

- Daniela Robberts

Tel: +264 81 716 1600 Email: bookings@desert-tracks.com Web: www.deserttracks.com

Desert Tracks Tours are scheduled in the morning and late afternoon to avoid the scorching heat. Discover the living desert on a morning drive, or join us on 4x4 excursions to Sandwich Harbour, Rรถssing Mountain, Walvis Bay Lagoon and the salt works, Cape Cross, the Dead Sea and so much more. For any of these exciting activities we pick you up at your accommodation establishment in Swakopmund or Walvis Bay.

Khowarib Lodge & Safaris is the luxury way to experience the rugged and remote northwest known as Kaokoland. Magnificent Khowarib Lodge and specially adapted 4x4 vehicles provide adventure off the beaten track without sacrificing luxurious comfort. Caesar Zandberg will take guests to the most remote and spectacular places. With more than 25 years of experience in Kaokoland he knows this mysterious region inside out.

Atlantic Villa Boutique Guesthouse & Conferencing is the perfect Swakopmundgetaway. The water feature at the entrance is reminiscent of a mini Victoria Falls and romantically lit at night. We are famous for our uninterrupted ocean views. Savour your dinner in the cosy wine cellar or enjoy entertainment in the chocolate and whiskey bar. Gerhard van der Merwe started the Atlantic Villa twelve years ago by converting a family house into an intimate guesthouse. It was later expanded into a boutique hotel with 44 rooms. Tel: +264 64 463 511 Email: bookings@atlantic-villa.com Web: www.atlanticvilla.iway.na


Taranga Safari Lodge on the banks of the Okavango River conducts walks before breakfast time when the scores of birds are most active. Manager Stefan Steyn deems it important for guests to stretch their legs and boost energy levels before departing to their next destination. The Kingfisher River Bar provides a relaxing place to enjoy a drink and watch the sunset while floating on the river. Experience the Okavango wilderness in luxury. Tel: +264 66 257 236 Email: info@taranganamibia.com Web: www.taranganamibia.com

Bush Bird Aviation offers magical scenic flights in a 7-seater aircraft. The windows are located below the wings to allow for uninterrupted views of the landscapes, which is also ideal for photography. Tel: +264 64 407 160 Email: reservations@sossusfly.com Web: www.sossusfly.com

Roy’s Rest Camp started in 1995 as a cattle ranch and rest camp on one of the oldest farms in the Grootfontein district. The Dorsland Trekkers laid the foundation of the town in 1885 and played an important role in its further development. A trip to Namibia will be incomplete without a visit to a farm. At Roy’s Rest Camp you can enjoy traditional boerekos. Like our food, memories are homemade and seasoned with love. Tel: +264 67 240 302 Email: roys@iway.na Web: www.roys-rest-camp.com

Tel: +264 66 686 021 Email: reservations@campkwando.com Web: www.campkwando.com

Levo Dolphin & Seal Tours was established in 1990 by Ottmar Leippert who befriended an old seal they called Oupa (grandpa), which had become entangled in fishing net. Hop on board a speedboat with a small group of people for an unforgettable marine cruise. Choose between our Seal & Dolphin Tour in Walvis Bay, Sandwich Harbour or the Topnaar Tour, a must for keen birders. Complementary drinks and fresh oysters are served on board with a light lunch.

Camp Kwando is the perfect place to unravel the hidden secrets of the Zambezi Region where the hauntingly beautiful call of the African Fish Eagle will follow you long after you return home. Camp Kwando’s main shareholders, Renaud and Berengere Gautier, are Swiss. They fell in love with this area and are determined to do their best to contribute to a sustainable development of the region. The Kwando River is protected on either side by wildlife management. It is the migration route of large game species moving between Botswana and Angola. There are no fences because it is part of KaZa, Africa’s largest conservation area. Tel: +264 64 207 555 Email: bookings@levotours.com Web: www.levotours.com


Elzanne Erasmus

30 We are

NAMIBIA

Years ago the Hospitality Association of Namibia coined the phrase: Tourism is everyone’s business. This could not be truer or more applicable in any other place in the world, purely because here, in Namibia, we breathe the land. We are intricately connected to it. We are a unique nation and we are uniquely in love with our own country. We are proud and strong. We are constantly surrounded by the natural wonders of the land we call home, constantly in contact with its people. If you walk down a sidewalk in Namibia and see someone approaching, it would be a very rare thing not to greet each other. Whether it is a smile or a nod or a full-blown: Hello, how are you? Here, we commiserate with each other in times of drought, and we dance and rejoice together when the first rains fall. We gasp and moan in shared outrage at being incorrectly referred to as “Nambia”, and then turn around and laugh together amongst ourselves at our unique idiosyncrasies. Every Namibian’s go-to pose when a camera is pointed in our direction is most definitely our right hand raised before us, index finger bent and thumb extended in our country’s iconic shape. We share a love for our mixed vernacular, “Namlish”. Here, things are lekker or !na, never just okay. The youth refer to their elders as Uncle, Aunt, Meme, Tate, Oom, Tannie. We celebrate the dramatic sunsets with sundowners from the closest elevated viewpoint, our local artists create songs to commemorate this favourite of past times. Weekend evenings are spent around a braai fire with a locally brewed beer in hand, no question about that. Summer vacations are spent on the plaas or at the coast or in the north: wherever home truly lies. “This is my Namibia” might mean something different to each Namibian, but at the core there is little difference in our individual definitions or descriptions of the sentiment. To us, Namibia is home and heart. We are Namibia. We may have used this publication to highlight some of the key things we so adore about this land of milk and honey, of endless horizons and smiling faces, but in truth… there’s nothing we don’t love about Namibia.

78

WWW.TRAVELNEWSNAMIBIA.COM


ENINGUClayhouse LODGE

T

here are few surprises as exhilarating as turning the bend in a track, when in front of you a structure arises that blends with the surroundings so beautifully that it seems as if it could have been there forever.

No wonder guests return to Eningu year after year to savour the good food, the comfort and creative environment of this intimate lodge among thorn trees deeply rooted in the red sand of the Kalahari. The welcoming faces of staff considering themselves part of the Eningu family enhance that first impression. The staff has been trained in the Eningu way since before the first guests arrived in 1994. Eningu was built with more than a hundred thousand bricks made on site from clay sourced in the Seeis River. When she visited Namibia for the first time, and fell in love with the country, Bettina Berner never imagined that one day she would make Namibia her home and that this special place would become her life and love. Over the centuries many pioneers underestimated the challenges of Africa, but in the end the reward of succeeding makes it worth the investment of giving your all. As you walk through the entrance into the garden with its extraordinary sculptures you are not transported into another world, but embraced by more of the special magic. Because the essence and elements of the natural landscape continue throughout – into the charming lounge, with interesting details, artefacts and art from Namibia, through to the airy, rustic rooms. The feeling of infinite space, warmth and authenticity is tangible. No wonder the furthest suite is often reserved for guests who stay for weeks. There is little to disturb the magic of the Kalahari bushveld. No fences, no boundary walls, no

structures. Just the clear blue sky, the African sun and the sound of crickets and birds. The thick clay walls are the perfect insulation against the heat of Namibian summers and the cold winter nights. Eningu is the word for porcupine in one of the Oshiwambo dialects. The lodge, only 65 km east of Hosea Kutako International Airport, is where many repeat visitors wind down after a whirlwind Namibian safari, says Bettina, herself a seasoned traveller. In 2011, shortly after she bought the lodge, she renovated it completely, but without changing its essence. “We offer good food and good wine, meat from our farm and vegetables from our own garden. We even boast a temperature-controlled wine cellar to make sure the wine is preserved well and served at the perfect temperature. “The main activity we recommend is just to relax. Take a leisurely walk along the trails through the bush to absorb the soul of the Kalahari – the sounds and sights of the African bush. It is often something that travellers on safari in Namibia don’t have time for. Our guests’ good fortune is the art studio of world-renowned Namibian sculptor, Dörte Berner, a few kilometres down the sand track on the neighbouring farm.

Tel +264 64 46 4144 Fax +264 64 46 4155 info@eningulodge.com www.eningulodge.com

"We promise our guests a laid-back experience of Africa"

TRAVEL NEWS NAMIBIA HAN 2017

79


Foto © Pier Tegas

IWANOWSKI’S

Michael Iwanowski Namibia pioneer

INDIVIDUAL ADVENTURE JOURNEYS & TRAVEL GUIDES 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF IWANOWSKI’S

Michael Iwanowski has been travelling to Africa for more than 40 years. In 1983 he wrote the first German travel guide for Namibia — the cornerstone of Iwanowski’s Reisebuchverlag. Hence we are celebrating our 35th Anniversary in 2018. In addition, we just published the 30th Anniversary Edition of our Namibia travel-guide. Since 1983 we have enlarged our assortment of travel guides to global destinations, with a focus on the needs of individual travellers.

AFRICA IS OUR PASSION

In addition to the publishing company, Michael Iwanowski founded the travel agency Iwanowski’s Individuelles Reisen. Not only Michael Iwanowski, but also the team of our travel experts has spent many days and weeks on the African Continent — a cumulative 14 years!

WE SAY THANK YOU!

All of these years of great achievements would not have been possible without our partners. We want to thank our team and our partners abroad. Every lodge, tour operator, and all other participants who have made a contribution to our story. We are looking forward to ongoing cooperations and many successfull years to come.

OUR TEAM IN GERMANY

Iwanowski’s Individuelles Reisen GmbH Salm-Reifferscheidt-Allee 37 | D-41540 Dormagen Tel: +49 (0) 21 33/26 03-0 | Fax: -33 E-Mail: info@afrika.de

www.afrika.de

OUR STORY IN PICTURES

Iwanowski’s Reisebuchverlag GmbH Salm-Reifferscheidt-Allee 37 | D-41540 Dormagen Tel: +49 (0) 21 33/26 03-0 | Fax: -34 E-mail: info@iwanowski.de

www.iwanowski.de


With the people, for the peop le; to

g et

her i

n H •

A• N

H•A•N members • offer a total of over 10 000 beds and close to 6 000 rooms in Namibia • enjoy special deals and rates from a number of companies and suppliers H•A•N offers • its members representation at all levels, official, commercial and internal • ongoing information flow and communication via electronic channels

www.hannamibia.com

Travel News Namibia HAN Special Edition  

The special Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) 30 year anniversary issue of Travel News Namibia, featuring 30 Reasons Why We Love Nami...

Travel News Namibia HAN Special Edition  

The special Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) 30 year anniversary issue of Travel News Namibia, featuring 30 Reasons Why We Love Nami...