Travel News Namibia Autumn 2018

Page 1





VOLUME 26 No 3 | AUTUMN 2018






Lüderitz N$40.00 incl. VAT R40.00 incl. VAT



KING AIR 350 EXTENDED RANGE The King Air 350 offers twin engine safety, a luxury interior and unrivalled capability. Adding to its ability to landing on unimproved gravel runways, it offers a luxury VIP cabin with dual club seating for 8 passengers, fold-out tables and a refreshment centre. The King Air is the ideal aircraft for your next African flying safari, corporate excursion or mine visit. With its unparalleled range the King Air 350ER has the capability to fly between Windhoek in Namibia to the DRC or to Nairobi in Kenya. With its more than 40 year-heritage, the rugged design of the aircraft, and its robust systems make the 350 one of the most dependable and predictable aircraft in the operation today. Contact Westair Aviation and find out how the King Air 350ER can add value to your next flying excursion.

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This is a collective of Namibia’s most characterfilled independent experiences.

This is a celebration of African individuality. This is...


“As we drove into town I exclaimed: ‘This whole place is built on a rock!’ I feel this image is the perfect depiction of the solid historical gem, built by wise men, that is Lüderitz. Note on the left the Felsenkirche, which literally translates to Rock Church, and the startling blue Atlantic in the background .” - Elzanne Erasmus

is published by Venture Media in Windhoek, Namibia Tel: +264 61 383 450, Hyper City Unit 44, Maxwell street, Southern Industrial PO Box 21593, Windhoek, Namibia MANAGING EDITOR Rièth van Schalkwyk PRODUCTION MANAGER Elzanne Erasmus PUBLIC RELATIONS Janine van der Merwe LAYOUT & DESIGN Liza de Klerk CUSTOMER SERVICE Bonn Nortjé ONLINE EDITOR Nina van Schalkwyk TEXT CONTRIBUTORS Elzanne Erasmus, Pompie Burger, Nina van Schalkwyk, Annelien Robberts, Dirk Heinrich, Johan Fourie, Antoinette De Chavonnes-Vrugt, Sharri Whiting De Musi, Marita van Rooyen, Annabelle Venter

PHOTOGRAPHERS Elzanne Erasmus, Annabelle Venter, Annelien Robberts, Nina van Schalkwyk, Dirk Heinrich, Johan Fourie, Pompie Burger, Matthew Walters, Joyce Meyer, Matthias Ebert, Liza de Klerk, Hentie Burger, Sean Mc Culloch PRINTERS John Meinert Printing, Windhoek 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.








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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.


and the Environment in Namibia





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. CONSERVATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT IN NAMIBIA, an annual special edition of Travel News Namibia, is published in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.


TAKE THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED The new year is running away with us again. Especially in our part of the world, where it begins when we are still having our long summer holidays. In the rush of planning exciting projects with renewed energy and enthusiasm, January slips away unnoticed. Before you know it, the weather starts to change, although in Namibia we do not have to worry about a short summer. When adventurous visitors arrive in May, which is supposed to be the beginning of our winter, they are likely to experience the dramatic clouds, sunsets and beautiful landscapes painted with the best colours characteristic of the in-between season. A sheer joy in all parts of the country, with the added bonus that Namibia’s well-trodden tourist routes will not be overcrowded. Be daring when you plan your next – or your first – Namibia holiday and choose the first half of the year. You will be rewarded on many levels. In this edition we take you, as always, on a tour through the entire country, with accents and details on different aspects of what makes this desert country a feast for the eye and food for the soul. We are cautious not to delve too deep for those of you who have not even experienced the surface. Our aim is to lure you off the beaten track or along the welltravelled one, but to venture on a detour spending a few days hiking in the Naukluft Mountains or, if you are interested in rehabilitation of wildlife, to include a day or two at the latest addition to the N/a’an ku sê Collection. Continue on that route to the full stop at the end of the Namibian sentence. Because from Lüderitz there is no road leading anywhere but back to where you came from. At an international conference on trends I realised the value of forecasts. Not because we can necessarily do anything about the trends. In tourism it is more a question of: does our tourism product fit the trend of the moment? If it doesn’t we can try to make it fit, but by the time we succeed, it will be out of fashion again. Although tourism itself is very susceptible to trends, the fortunate side of it for Namibia is that our product provides in its core what has become important to the travellers of today. All we need to do is to make sure that we present Namibia in the way which attracts the kind of travellers who will not be disappointed by what they find here. We cannot be anything that we are not. We are one of the few countries in the world that still offer wilderness, wildlife and wild places. All of which cannot be created, it can only be preserved. Our biggest challenge in keeping up with the latest trends is to preserve what makes Namibia a sought-after destination, which is the opposite of mass tourism. You can contribute to solving this challenge by challenging yourself to be adventurous and to delve deeper when you plan your trip. Don’t take the cheapest, easiest, shortest option to just tick off the Top 5. There is more to Namibia than the obvious. Have a look at the lesser known parks, which we will feature in Travel News this year, and be inspired by what is done at Khaudum to preserve and protect. Every guide and lodge and rural community has stories to tell. To get the most from your visit, we invite you to meet local people and listen to their stories. Sharing is the trend, and Namibians are champions at that.

Rièth van Schalkwyk




AUTUMN 2018 52

10 BUSH TELEGRAPH The new and exciting 14 NAMIBIA'S NATIONAL PARKS Eco-friendly Khaudum 20 TAKE A WALK DOWN INDEPENDENCE AVENUE 22 CAMPING Q&A with Chrisna Greeff 24 BEING A SAFARI GUIDE with Wilderness Safaris 30 ROADTRIP TO HEAVEN down the C27 38 CAMPING RECIPES with Antoinette De Chavonnes-Vrugt 40 SENIOR SAFARI

20 6


44 THE TOWN BUILT ON A ROCK Exploring Lüderitz 51 TRAVEL GREEN - the Namibian way


72 44 52 PAST & PRESENT meet in a Windhoek Heritage Tour 58 BIRDING on the Chobe River 66 BUSHSURFING in the Naukluft Mountains 71 CONSERVATION CLOSE-UP Etosha's Blue Cranes 72 OKAVANGO RIVER a must-visit destination 80 THIS IS MY NAMIBIA



We pride ourselves on being the only group with lodges uniquely situated within Bwabwata National Park, in the heart of KAZA. The splendour of our northeastern establishments, and the iconic environment they are situated in, stimulate the senses and offer a true wilderness experience. Not to be forgotten are our Village Courtyard Suites at Windhoek’s business and financial heart. A soothing, modern and welcoming environment invites you to relax from the moment you arrive. Indulge in Namibia with African Monarch Lodges.






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Although poaching remains a challenge, rhino poaching drastically decreased in 2017.

NACSO has actively reviewed MET’s Human Wildlife Conflict Policy, which will assist in the fight against human-wildlife conflict. NACSO, in partnership with the Namibian Government and other interested countries, has established a Working Group charged with how to effectively engage rural communities in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

WE 10

Our new HQ in Hypermotor City that we share with One Africa TV, 99FM and Pay Today. Find us at: Hyper City 44, Maxwell Street, Southern Industrial

One of the highlights of 2017 has been the establishment of the Community Conservation Fund, paving the way to secure the longterm sustainability of support to community conservation in Namibia. The following information is proudly presented by the Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations (NACSO).

N$111 million - the amount that local communities gained through community conservation 5 communal conservancy and community forest associations were put in place and are joining forces to represent their constituents and to manage their natural resources. 164 natural resources-based enterprises hosted by 57 conservancies 19.66% - The proportion of the terrain that Namibia’s communal conservancies cover (162,030 km2 of the country)

8 consultative and information-sharing regional conservancy chairperson’s forums organised by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and NACSO. Their visions for 2018 were put on the table. 83 - The number of communal conservancies in Namibia

SUCCESS STORY SAVE THE RHINO TRUST’S CONSERVATION B2Gold is a key organisation that at the critical hour of our declining rhino population stepped in with a record-setting N$3 million sponsorship to SRT for the period 2015 to 2017. During a recent field visit B2Gold contributed a further US$25,000, and the President and CEO of the mining company, Clive Johnson, personally added another US$25,000. The results are hugely positive with zero poaching events recorded over the recent holiday period.


of all the paths you take,

make sure some of them are




The Atlasing in Namibia app introduces a public-participation citizen science project. As the distribution of many animal species may have changed in recent years due to pressure on habitats, land use changes and other factors, current ranges must be reassessed. All of us can now contribute to the biodiversity atlas by submitting sightings of all kinds of animal and plant species on the app.

“THE ELDERS CALLED IT MEDICINE” This avant-garde art exhibition showcases a selection of alternative photographic prints (cyanotypes) depicting various medicinal plants used by the Topnaar and Ju'/Hoansi San people. Apart from artist Marita van Rooyen’s own work, the exhibition also features works from community members, as it forms part of a larger project to increase awareness on the importance of preserving ethno-medicinal knowledge. The exhibition was opened by Professor Andre du Pisani who described the art works as “pure, delicate and fine”.

PANTRY AT AVANI What to say when your co-worker is on a diet… “See you later”. There is a new lunch spot on the block. AVANI Windhoek Hotel & Casino recently launched Pantry at AVANI, offering fresh and delicious food. Enjoy the live entertainment by local artists on Saturday nights. Lize Ehlers and Chris B, among others, have already wowed the audience with their melodious gifts.




The Wing It Diner recently opened a chicken wing haven on Fidel Castro Street in Windhoek. In addition to a flavourful variety of chicken wings, the diner also has waffles, ice cream, sandwiches, sliders, mac and cheese and a variety of sides on the menu. Bonus: Breakfast is served all day long.

Did you know that the giraffe is one of the most endangered animals in Africa? Not many people do. That is why, in the next few issues of TNN, we are sharing fun facts about this enigmatic animal that is increasingly under threat. Most people do not realise how serious giraffe depopulation is. How frightening is it to learn that there are fewer giraffes in Africa than elephants? Of the four species of giraffe, only one, the southern giraffe (found in Namibia), has stable numbers. The overall population has decreased by 40% over the last three decades. The International Union of Conservation of Nature has classified them as ‘Vulnerable’. The biggest reason for the decline in giraffe is the growth in human populations, which puts increased pressure on their habitats. Keep an eye out for more giraffe fun facts in the next issue.

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Not only is Namibia the land of endless horizons, large quantities of game and never-ending stunning vistas. The land of milk and honey also has quite a large number of national parks. With 18 proclaimed national parks to brag about, and more than 46% of the country under some sort of conservation management, Namibia is nature’s haven and therefore draws nature enthusiasts from far and wide. So come on a journey with us as we catch a glimpse of the fortresses that make up Namibia’s conservation arsenal. In every corner of the country, spanning a wide range of topographical spheres and biodiversity hotspots, these national parks will make you itch to pack a bag, dig out your camera and binos and hit the road or jump aboard the f irst plane headed our way.

NAMIBIA'S NATIONAL PARKS This year, Travel News Namibia explores the outliers. The off-the-grid, lesser known parks each of which are a unique slice of nature well-worth the often troublesome visit. The f irst among these ‘parks on the fringe’ is none other than Khaudum National Park, the last frontier, nestled in what was long ago known as Bushmanland. This proclaimed corner of the country is both a nature-lover’s and 4x4 enthusiast’s nirvana. Not only is it one of the wildest corners of the country, with game viewing and explorations of nature to rival any other, it also is now home to the most environmentally friendly ranger stations in Namibia. Namibian journalist Dirk Heinrich explores the great amount of effort and thought that went into the construction of the park’s new MET basecamps. So, on your next trip into this true wilderness, be sure to note the work that has been put into keeping the country’s key conservation areas as ‘green and clean’ as possible, and enjoy every second of the wild, thrilling adventure to come! BWABWATA NATIONAL PARK

















Text and photographs Dirk Heinrich


any challenges had to be overcome during the planning and building of the new ranger station and entrance gate in Khaudum National Park in northeastern Namibia. The new station is close to the northern border and serves as the park headquarters. The old station and reception office is about ten kilometres away. Firstly, the 46 kilometre stretch leading from the B8 tar road south to the northern border of the park is a track of thick soft sand, only suitable for off-road vehicles and a very slow pace. Secondly, the groundwater at the selected site is at a shallow eight metres below the surface, making it vulnerable to pollution. In order to safeguard the environment, the planners and builders had to find ways to minimise the network of tracks to and around the new station and the entrance gate, and to ensure that the groundwater would not be polluted during the building phase and thereafter. At the same time costs had to be kept as low as possible, but all the necessary services had to be available upon completion of the project in this remote part of the Kavango East Region, and all kinds of rubbish, building waste and hazardous materials had to be collected and disposed of. Delivering all the building materials to the site was not an easy task, because it took a six-wheel-driven heavy transporter several hours from the B8 to where the new Khaudum station is situated in the park. Therefore it was decided to make bricks on site, which was cheaper but had to be planned carefully so that no polluted water would seep into the ground and mix with the groundwater resources. The wastewater from brick-making and cleaning the cement mixers was collected in a plastic-lined pond and some of it was reused after the fine sediments had settled at the bottom. Dried waste was eventually taken to Rundu for disposal. Strict measures were implemented to avoid any environmental pollution during the building stage. ABOVE Over 400 000 bricks were made on site to build the 24 houses, administration block, storerooms, workshops and the multipurpose centre. Wastewater from brick-making was collected in a pond lined with waterproof plastic and some of the water was reused. The dried solid waste was eventually disposed of in Rundu. Part of the new Khaudum station. On the right is the sports field, with the workshop block, storerooms and battery room as well as the emergency generator, vehicle store and administration building above. On the left are three of the 24 houses for the staff. The foreground shows indigenous trees being planted. They are irrigated by an underground pipe system.



A total of 400 000 bricks, nearly 20 000 bags of cement and more than 8 million litres of water were used to build the station. On 26 October 2017 the new Khaudum station and entrance gate were officially opened by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta. Twentyfour houses, a workshop with wash bay/slaughter facility, a vehicle service pit and store rooms, a service block with emergency generator and battery room where the electricity from solar panels is stored, an electricity control room, a vehicle store, administration building, a community room and a multi-purpose centre were built. The new park station is self-sufficient: electricity is produced by a solar system and water is pumped from a borehole on site.


ABOVE Minister Pohamba Shifeta (left) and the German ambassador to Namibia, Christian Schlaga (right), at the new northern entrance gate to Khaudum National Park.

Most importantly, staff members have been trained (and continue to be trained until July this year) in housekeeping and preventative maintenance as well as waste management. There are manuals and activity schedules for everything. The staff members now ensure that all waste is treated as specified, taken out of the park at no extra cost and dumped at designated dump sites in the nearest town. To avoid additional costs, staff members have been instructed to take as much waste along with them when they travel to town.

BELOW The old station is about 10 km away from the new station, close to the Khaudum camping site and still unfinished lodge. A full moon behind the water tower at the Khaudum station.

Plastic, paper, glass and metal are deposited in different containers which are taken to Rundu on a regular basis. There is also a special container for hazardous waste like batteries of all kinds, bulbs and any electronic parts. Used cooking oil is stored in special 25 litre canisters to prevent it from entering the wastewater system. Mechanical and motor oils are taken out of the park in 20 litre containers. Other waste like nappies, sanitary pads and condoms are burned in a small incinerator, because none of these items are allowed in the sewerage system either. Sewage is collected in a three-chamber system where the water remains for at least 36 hours for the biological cleaning process to start. Thereafter it is pumped through a containerised trickling filter treatment plant. Solids are then moved back into the chambers while the cleaned water can be used for future vegetable gardens and via an underground pipeline-system it is channelled to indigenous trees which have been planted around the sports field and buildings.



FROM LEFT TO RIGHT Visitors have to watch out for wild dogs and elephants when driving through the park. The distance between Khaudum station in the north of the park and Sikeretti in the south is 110 km. The new entrance gate at Sikeretti north of Tsumkwe.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT From the new reception office and gate visitors have to travel 46 km through thick soft sand to the B8 (tar road). The battery room of the new Khaudum station. The station is selfsufficient and produces electricity with the help of solar panels.

BELOW The director of the Kf W in Namibia, Dr Uwe Stoll (left), the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta (middle) and the German Ambassador to Namibia, Christian Schlaga (right) in the information centre next to the park’s reception office.



NAMIBIA'S NATIONAL PARKS The new station was part of a project to build altogether 61 houses for MET staff in Khaudum on the northern border of the park, at Sikeretti at the southern border of the park and at Shisinze in Nkasa Rupara National Park in the Zambezi Region. The Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), a German development bank, financed the project with N$ 107 million, and Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism contributed N$ 29 million. Initially designated as a game park in 1989, Khaudum was proclaimed a national park in 2007. The park covers 3842 km² of Sandveld, boasts 13 waterholes and is the only park where roan antelope can be found together with gemsbok in their natural surroundings. Several thousand elephant, as well as lion, giraffe, common eland, common tsessebe, reedbuck and wild dogs call this remote, wild park their home. TNN For more information on Khaudum and the adventure of exploring the park, visit our website at ABOVE A tap for purified water, with the containerised trickling filter treatment plant in the background. BELOW Elephants at one of the 13 waterholes in the park.



Live music outside Cramer’s every week.

Mid-morning coffee break, anyone?

Independence Avenue at dusk

Take a walk down

INDEPENDENCE Text and photographs Nina van Schalkwyk


he great thing about Independence Avenue is that right in the city centre the character of Windhoek is condensed along a 1.2 km double-lane section of this thoroughfare.

It’s a mix of old, newer old and new. It’s got buildings from its colonial past, from the development boom in the second half of the 20th century under South African rule, plus modern buildings that herald a change in style and purpose. Local architects establishing a Namibian aesthetic, to set it apart. To redo the old, because nothing is just thrown out here now but instead is reused, re-invented. Those that are new are almost self-aware, sticking out in the landscape. The motley of buildings and businesses dotted along this CBD avenue is a testament to its history as well. There’s the 20th century flashback to Café Schneider and Continental Café. And there are recent, novel establishments like Cramer's, for organic farm-fresh (literally) ice cream, and Slowtown for coffee roasted in Namibia. Klara’s and Sumi, same owners, entirely different aesthetic, show that a new generation of Windhoekers is looking for something else. Klara’s specialises in locallysourced products and gluten-free foods in a deli-like setting, while Sumi is the type of place where champagne at lunch is not out of place, and yet locally made ceramics are used to present the stylish meals. Old favourites remain: such as the Spur Steak Ranch, right above the bustling midsection of Independence Avenue, where many Windhoekers will remember spending a birthday party, either their own or a friend’s. Or Sicilia, which in itself is an institution, for classic pasta and pizza, plus homemade gelato.




It has a loyal clientele and consistent with the change holds its own on its piece of the street corner. So while some buildings are getting spruced up and flashy, others remain down to earth, unchanging. It is a showcase of the real democracy of a city. Places that serve the “every person” with whatever they need – a takeaway after a long day, groceries, dry-cleaning or having their photo taken. Independence Avenue caters for all of them. And at the same time, of course, for visitors as well: with curio shops and outdoor markets, with Adrian & Meyer that make Africaninspired jewellery, perfect as an elegant keepsake of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Then there are the so-called ‘skyscrapers’, which house the big businesses and the banks. Bank Windhoek, Old Mutual, FNB, Standard Bank. Their staff, in suits or heels, spill out into crowds heading for quick lunches or coffee shop meetings outside at pavement tables. And so, the avenue has a place for everyone. A mix. A medley of people that come together along its way. TNN

Fresh loaves on offer at Klara’s.

The historic Gathemann building.

SPUR STEAK RANCH Also an institution, you can have a great view from the balcony on top and watch the world go by.

CAFÉ SCHNEIDER Sculptures of guinea fowls outside and a flashback interior.

BUSHMAN ART GALLERY For an extensive selection of African crafts.

CONTINENTAL CAFÉ Very old, older generation used to hang out there, now frequented by lawyers as a result of the proximity to the courts.

KUDU STATUE Doesn’t quite have the proportions of a real kudu, but a good place to start from, as it is a landmark.

MAIN POST OFFICE For when you want to send a postcard. Or you don’t have email.

ZOO PARK NAKARA Support local industry and purchase a Swakara coat to take home.

DELUXE COFFEEWORKS For a shot of happiness.


NIETZSCHE REITER Since 1934 this shop has whatever you need to get your camera sorted.

Massive trees, park benches, relaxed atmosphere. Excavations a few decades ago revealed ancient elephant skeletons.

SLOWTOWN Namibian coffee roasters.

CRAMERS Organic ice cream straight from the farm, open on Sundays and live music on Saturdays.


Support the locals who rely on tourism.

Right on the pavement, great atmosphere and great spot to people-watch.



For great city views from the Sky Bar.

No chicks involved, just elegance. Beautifully made leather pieces.

KLARA’S Delicious locally-sourced food and goods.

ADRIAN & MEYER For truly African-inspired jewellery.



A historic family-run business. Grab a quick lunch or snack.

Upmarket restaurant to see and be seen.



Enjoy a delicious meal at the groundlevel restaurant, The Pantry.

Classic Italian food, a local favourite.

WINDHOEKER BUCHHANDLUNG Sells local publications and German-language books, it’s been around for decades.

The new FNB building on its corner of the avenue.

A display of fresh food and grub to go at Klara’s.

Wecke & Voigts for savoury sandwiches


How to get the attention of your camping compatriots

Where there’s a bird, there’s a bird-watcher

THE CAMPING FILES Text Nina van Schalkwyk

In this, our f irst instalment, we have a chat with business woman and compulsive traveller, Chrisna Greeff, who lets us in on how the camping bug f irst bit, her favourite spots to pitch a tent, and her least favourite camping trends right now. Read on and get inspired to hit the road and explore Namibia’s wild side. My earliest camping experience was to the Kaokoland in 1985 with an old Series 3 Land Rover, my sister, cousins and friends. Our camping style has changed a lot since those days. On that first trip we only had illegal topographical maps, a trunk full of ice blocks, no tents and not enough film rolls.

Chrisna’s trusty Toyota Camper 2003 has 200 000 km worth of tour and camping experiences

The best thing about camping is the spirit of adventure that you get from it. It’s getting away from everything. The sights and sounds of nature. And the company of family and friends. I try to take short trips within Namibia throughout the year, and every second year a longer trip to other parts of Africa, which usually lasts six weeks. A trip to Ethiopia in 2011 through East Africa and back along the shores of Lake Turkana and northern Kenya was one of my favourites. We experienced exotic culture, unbelievable scenery and rich history. My favourite Namibian camping destinations are Damaraland and Kaokoland, because they are remote, rugged and incredibly beautiful. The right camping companion is adventurous, relaxed and easygoing. They never panic and can keep a sense of humour when things go wrong. I would have loved to go on an expedition with the Victorian-era explorer, David Livingstone. My tips to first-time campers in Namibia: do proper research, do not travel alone in remote areas, have more water than what you think you need, drive in 4x4 mode off road all the way, stay on the tracks and always take out what you took in. TNN



Smoke breaks are essential for patience


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The intricacies, difficulties and absolute wonder of being a

SAFARI GUIDE in Namibia. Text and photographs Johan Fourie


here are many things that can make or break your safari experience. Terrible weather, inconsiderate fellow travellers, bad planning etc., etc. If you’re a self-driver and camping, those things are largely within your control, but if you are travelling with a tour company or visiting lodges the one thing every avid traveller will agree on is that the most crucial person involved in making your safari and stay a winning scenario… is your guide. Safari guides carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Not only are they often responsible for the experiences of their guests – dealing with difficult personalities along the way – but their playbook of knowledge and how they portray and display the country to their charges will also directly influence the guests’ experiences. It is the jokes, insider info and titbits of information passed on by your guide that you will take home with you. Precious memories to be cherished for a lifetime.

Namaqua Chameleon

So what does it take to be a guide? Maybe if you have some insight into the ins and outs of their tough job you’ll appreciate them all the more! TNN spoke to Johan Fourie, the Training Manager of Wilderness Namibia, about what it means to be a guide and the training process that aspiring guides go through to become the know-all, have-all, fix-all, do-anything and everything superheroes they need to be.

Groups of potential guides are taken out into nature and exposed to the work of being a tour guide in the field.

On-the-job training: the 15 minute tyre change challenge For starters a little background information on guiding and the qualifications required in Namibia. There are four recognised guiding qualifications in the National Qualifications Framework. National guide (Level 4): involves extended tourism experience in a variety of ecosystems and landscapes. Apprentice guide (Level 3): national guides in training. Local guide (Level 3): Working in one particular geographical area, for example at a lodge in or around Etosha. Transfer driver (Level 2): moving guests between point A and B; naturally a driver will share some information but transferring guests is not guiding in the formal sense. These qualifications consist of specific unit

Common barking gecko

standards some of which are compulsory while others are elective. With each level the depth of scope and the number of unit standards increase. Various companies in Namibia, in tourism and other sectors, offer guide training on-the-job and/or in-house. Wilderness Safaris is an affiliate member of the Namibia Training Authority, one of the only registered tour guide training providers in Namibia.

Guides are sometimes also mechanics...

Wilderness Safaris works very closely with the local communities close to their various lodges. The company recruits individuals who already have a basic knowledge of the area, are able to speak English well, have good reading and writing skills, are over the age of 24 and in possession of a driver’s licence or at least a learner’s licence. An outgoing and friendly disposition is of utmost importance and candidates must be able to shoulder the responsibility of taking guests into remote areas. Guiding is a profession dominated by men, but some of the best guides are women. The reality is that there are difficult aspects to guiding. Much of your life is spent away from home which can be hard on a family. While out on the job the hours are long: every day starts well before sunrise and ends only after dinner. The magic of a Namibian sunset or sunrise on a daily basis is such a wonderful experience, however, that it often makes it all well worth it. The best part of guiding is being out in nature, sharing natural ecosystems and telling visitors about Namibia’s unique environment and all its various nuances, and how the environment and people interact. As a guide you will realise early on that we play an integral part in the enjoyment, understanding and interactions of our guests and their appreciation of the areas we take them to. The guide training process often starts with a series of entry level courses as an introduction to guiding. Groups of potential guides are taken out into nature and exposed to the work of being a tour guide in the field. Trainees often come directly from local communities, or they are staff members in safari camps who have expressed an interest in guiding and have the required qualities to become a good host. Guides are not just hosts, however. They are expected to have a wide scope of knowledge and skills and they need to have the right disposition and abilities. Necessary knowledge includes a firm grasp of the natural sciences, including geology, geography, fauna, flora, ornithology and astronomy.

...and definitely need to know what to do in sandy situations...

Also essential are history, current affairs, customer care, preparing meals, archaeology and, of course, a good knowledge of the land and its people. Great guides have in-depth knowledge of everything, from tiny little beetles all the way through to the largest mammals. They also need the skill to pass this information on to their guests in fun and interactive ways.



Our journeys change lives

35 years of

Travelling with Purpose ‌ Since 1983, our Purpose has remained the same. We are proud pioneers of sustainable and authentic ecotourism in Africa, creating life-changing journeys and inspiring positive action. Our story is one of conservation and hope; celebrating culture, communities and extraordinary wildlife encounters. Our story is about Africa. Our story is about Purpose.

Also essential are history, current affairs, customer care, preparing meals, archaeology and, of course, a good knowledge of the land and its people. Great guides have indepth knowledge of everything, from tiny little beetles all the way through to the largest mammals. They also need the skill to pass this information on to their guests in fun and interactive ways. To be a guide you need to be able to identify plants as well as discuss them and their various uses and value. You need to know the gestation period of each animal you come upon as well as their weight and the length of the animal’s horns. Not only do you need to know everything, but you must also be able to contextualise this information and describe the often unique behavioural and physical adaptations of species in Namibia in order to make the nature experience special for guests. So once you are an expert in all things biological, geographical, astronomical and then some, you need to learn the essential skills that you will often need in your toolbox. Such skills include tracking elephants in the north-western river systems, or joining the Save the Rhino Trust trackers with your guests to view rhino in the Palmwag concession area. We also train our guides in hospitality skills, like being able to set up a great sundowner – no sunset is better than when enjoying it with a wonderful gin and tonic in your hand.

Furthermore, guides need to be able to look after their equipment and vehicles and be excellent drivers that can take the required care. At Wilderness Safaris we focus on smaller groups that are more intimate; vehicles generally carry six or less passengers. In these situations our guides will focus on trying to tailor the outdoor experience to the interests of the guests they have on tour. Guests have just as wide a variety of interests as the guides themselves. Some love birds and only want to focus on that, while others want nothing to do with feathered creatures, but crave to see the large tusked or horned ones or those that roar. As a guide your job is to understand their interests, some of which you will know beforehand, but the rest you learn as the trip unfolds. It’s essential that a guide has a passion to work with people. In general guides develop a deep interest in nature and in the areas they take guests to. Some will become specialist guides, focusing on birding or photography, or become more adept at the history or geology of a place. TNN

Studying hard: Guides are are expected to have a wide scope of knowledge and skills and they need to have the right disposition and abilities. Necessary knowledge includes a firm grasp of the natural sciences, including geology, geography, fauna, flora, ornithology and astronomy.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE GOLDEN RULES TO GUIDING: • Be a custodian of your environment and respect the areas you visit. • Leave only footprints, take only pictures. • Find a balance between entertaining your guests and looking after the areas you visit. • The best guides also ensure they have fun with their guests: tell a good story and entertain. • Focus on the most interesting and visually appealing sight.



ADVENTURE AWAITS ETOSHA ANDERSSON TAXI Located in the beautiful and desolate northern reaches of Namibia, ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK is one of the country’s prime tourist locations and home to a large variety of wildlife.

Windhoek Office: Tel: +264 61 249 268 Email:

Swakopmund Office: Tel: +264 64 403 575 Email:



Grootberg Lodge


Hobatere Lodge

Hoada Campsite



Shipwreck Lodge

Etosha Möwe Bay

Terrace Bay

Namutoni Okaukuejo




Auas Safari Lodge


Outjo Khorixas


Uis Omaruru

Mile 108


Henties Bay


Desert Breeze Lodge





Walvis Bay Rehoboth

Auas Safari Lodge


Desert Breeze Lodge


The Stiltz


Sossusvlei Maltahöhe

Hoada Campsite Grootberg Lodge


Hobatere Lodge


The Stiltz




Shipwreck Lodge


Fish River Lodge

Rosh Pinah




Discover beauty in remote locations.

Kunene River Lodge

Grünau Ariamsvlei


Fishriver Lodge

A road trip to heaven

down the C27

Text Annelien Robberts

The sun rises from the east, as it invariably does… The magnificent light of the first rays sneaks over the edge of the Tiras Mountains, setting the already warm red hues of the desert dunes on fire. ‘This must be what heaven looks like’, comments my travel partner as we gaze in wonder. A kaleidoscope of sparkling light. Soft pastel shades washed across the early morning sky. Worth every second spent on the long journey from the capital to the south. Not that the trip was tiresome in any way. On the contrary: it was an exciting road trip like few others, dotted with both beautiful and peculiar sights, an abundance of tourist attractions, coffee stops and nature reserves. After a trip like that I am almost convinced that we found a road straight to heaven. We swapped velocity for leisure as we rambled on to the deep south. The platitude about the journey being the destination rings true with the C27. 30



s you depart from Namibia’s capital, an exciting road trip awaits! On your way from Windhoek to the C27, stop in Namib-Naukluft National Park. Explore the Naukluft Mountains by foot. Both the adventurer and the leisure-seeker are catered for with a choice of hiking trails matching different fitness levels. Discover the animals and the botanical treasures that thrive in this semi-desert savannah. Cool down in natural rock pools found all over the area. If hiking is not your cup of tea, gear up your 4x4 for an array of adventure trails, such as the Naukluft 4x4 Trail. It is the most difficult of its kind in Namibia and reputed to be the most difficult unguided 4x4 trail in the world. After the adventure, pitch your tent at NWR’s Naukluft Camp right next to the riverbed or opt for one of the lovely chalets. As you make your way to the C27 you will come to Sesriem, the gateway to the Sossusvlei section of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Walk in the echoing depths of the Sesriem Canyon, which is about 1 km long and 30 metres deep, carved into the rock by the Tsauchab River. Spend the night at the scenic Sesriem Campsite. Nothing takes your breath away like the incredible landscape of Sossusvlei, a large ephemeral pan amid red sand dunes. Climb to the top of the world’s highest dunes (up to 325 m)

and as your reward enjoy the most spectacular desert vistas. It goes hand in hand with a trip to Deadvlei, the neighbouring pan known for its petrified camel-thorn trees that dried up nearly a thousand years ago when the Tsauchab River changed its course due to shifting dunes.

COFFEE STOPS You will not easily go thirsty or hungry in the Namib Desert. •

Betta Campsite is a charming stopover where three roads meet: the C27, D826 and D831. Take time for coffee and cake and stock up at the small, though well-equipped shop. Perhaps you even decide to stay the night. Driving from Maltahöhe en route to Helmeringhausen, make a well-deserved stop at Lisbon Roadhouse. Enjoy refreshments and stock up on fresh farm produce. Helmeringhausen Hotel prides itself on making the best apple cake in Namibia. We agree that it is absolutely scrumptious. The hotel also offers light meals for the hungry traveller.

The area’s pans and towering mountains form part of the Namib Sand Sea, proclaimed as Namibia’s first Natural World Heritage Site in 2012. According to UNESCO it covers an area of over three million hectares and a buffer zone of 899,500 hectares. Take a scenic flight or float along in a hot air balloon above this impressive site composed of two dune systems, an ancient semi-consolidated one overlain by a younger active one. There is a plenitude of lodges in the area to rest your head at night. Sossusvlei Lodge boasts a sparkling pool, a bar, sundowner deck, beer garden and an al fresco terrace where you can enjoy exquisite food and award-winning wines. All of that while savouring magnificent views of the floodlit waterhole. Other lodges of the same group, the Taleni Africa Collection, conveniently located in this area are Desert Camp and Desert Quiver Camp. Or simply get in touch with yourself as you sit at a campfire at Sossus Oasis Campsite.

KANAAN DESERT RETREAT Pack your camera and snap away in the 33,000-hectare reserve known as a photographer’s paradise where wildlife and the environment are the first priority. It strikes the perfect balance between conservation and tourism, and offers tourists an unparalleled experience. Educate yourself on conservation while walking among cheetahs. This is the exact same spot that Angelina Jolie visited in June 2017. Capture great action shots of the cheetahs by joining a guided cheetah feeding session.

OTHER NEARBY PLACES • If you are coming from the north, the C19 from Solitaire will lead you onto the C27. On your way, stop at McGregor Bakery where the apple crumble is nothing short of enticing. • What is the story behind the odd-looking windmill halfway between Lüderitz and Aus? A farmer, Siegfried Schnebel, tailor-made this 15 m windmill to withstand strong winds while enabling him to make the most of the rich underground water veins. • On your way south you can turn from the C27 onto the D826 that brings you to the historic Duwisib Castle, constructed by the legendary Baron von Wolf for his wife in 1909. Visit the castle’s museum and stay the night for an exclusive experience. • Namtib Desert Lodge is nearby on the D707 – a worthwhile stop for any hiker, with breathtaking views of the Tiras Mountains.


Find activities that suit your preferences. Whether you are seeking the thrill of a lifetime or something more leisurely, Sossusvlei Activity Centre organises excursions to Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, hot air ballooning, helicopter flights, scenic flights and much more. Further southward on the C27, the NamibRand Nature Reserve will make you not want to miss out on a single sunset or sunrise. One of the largest private nature reserves in the world, it is nature’s haven. A glittering skyline and shimmering stars like you have never seen before will keep you company at night in Africa’s only International Dark Sky Reserve. A luxury stay at Wolwedans is the epitome of exclusivity, romance and seclusion. The landscape presents itself as a tapestry of colours and shapes. Become one with the surroundings by exploring the reserve on horseback. As Namibian author Amy Schoemann put it, “Imagine the flamboyant magnificence of the Sossusvlei dunes, the mystique and subtle beauty of the Skeleton Coast and the legendary red sands of the Kalahari synthesised into one multifaceted desert reserve.”


The NamibRand Nature Reserve is one of the largest private nature reserves in the world.

THRIVING IN THE DESERT Learn about local communities and their life in the desert. The Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET) Centre is a small NGO located on the NamibRand Nature Reserve. The organisation facilitates hands-on experiential learning in the Namib, which means that rural communities do not only hear about sustainable living, they actually live it.

Glide in the wind over the world’s oldest desert with Namib Sky Balloon Safaris, the basecamp is situated on the C27. The company holds an exclusive concession to fly in this area and will undoubtedly wow you with the most spectacular sights. Travelling in a group with family or friends? Soothe your soul at NamibRand Family Hideout. The eco-friendly house is fully equipped for selfcatering and can accommodate up to 10 people in four bedrooms. Take along your hiking boots and mountain bikes for hours of outdoor fun. So pack your car, load a fresh SD card into your camera and set off on an amazing journey down Namibia’s southern gravel paths. A host of roads leads to the C27 like tributaries to a great river. Veer off the beaten path when you can, the greatest adventures can always be found in the most unlikely places. And when you reach the red-dunes heaven, take a breath and let it seep in… you have arrived at your destination. TNN

Sitting pretty in a fairy circle



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Kanaan N/a’an ku sê DESERT RETREAT


magine sundowners at one of Namibia’s most iconic attractions, Sossusvlei. Kanaan boasts its own version of this iconic landscape. Except, here you have the beauty of the place all to yourself and you can stay until long shadows stretch across the orange sand. Toast the ancient camel thorn trees and watch the dramatic scene that plays out on the fiery horizon before the sun finally retreats behind the dunes. And as the air settles into a crisp, comfortable coolness you sit back in your seat on the game viewer which moves across the haunting landscape back to the lodge. Your stay at the Kanaan N/a’an ku sê Desert Retreat is bound to be memorable. The 35 000 hectares of land served as a sheep farm before it was gradually returned to its natural state. The Kanaan N/a’an ku sê Desert Retreat shares 36 km of its border with NamibNaukluft National Park. Its desert landscape is characterised by the same rust-coloured dunes and dramatic grey clouds when a thunderstorm approaches. Kanaan is part of a larger conservation network, the N/a’an ku sê Foundation. An appointed area within the retreat serves as enclosure for rescued cheetahs caught in the crossfire of human-wildlife conflict. A visit to the enclosure is exciting, educating, an up close experience of the fastest animal on the planet. The beautiful lodge sits astride a mountainside, its buildings made from canvas, wood and glass, ensuring minimal impact on the environment. Eight exclusive en-suite tented rooms, dotted along the hill in the shape of a crescent and overlooking the surrounding mountains, beckon guests for a siesta. The next morning, before you leave? Get seated on top of a red sand dune, watch agile Dune Larks flitting about and a group of gemsbok pass languidly. Another ceremony is about to begin: the start of another day. All around you the desert wakes up before you get into the car and drive off into the sunrise.

N/A’AN KU SÊ FOREST CONSERVATION REVEGETATION PROJECT This project involves setting up economically viable and ecologically sustainable nurseries at Neuras Wine and Wildlife Estate and Kanaan Desert Retreat in Namibia’s southwest. Indigenous seeds of various native tree and shrub species are collected and propagated using recycled water. These seedlings are then planted into areas where existing native vegetation has been reduced or lost because of human interference. Tel: +264 61 307 338 Email: Web:

The project outcomes will act as a framework to encourage and guide those interested in forest conservation within Namibia and across southern Africa, and as a catalyst for future forest conservation projects.



85 Hentie Burger


Text Antoinette De Chavonnes-Vrugt

If the idea of spending as much time as possible exploring the wilds of Namibia is appealing to you, but the thought of thinking up imaginative, tasty and do-able recipes to make each evening makes you nervous, we have a solution for you! Follow acclaimed Namibian chef and cookbook author, Antoinette, in her camping cooking series in TNN this year. Learn how to make mouth-watering dishes on the coals, on the go and on par with the best foodies out there. From bush breakfasts to pre-made salads and sauces, let Antoinette guide you and make your next camping trip a delicious one. ONE POT CAMPING MEALS The following one pot meals will make your life so much easier on a camping trip. It is less mess, and if you hate dish washing like I do, will be an absolute blessing. Your whole meal is ready in one go. A cast iron pot and a big pan will be your best friends.

BIG PAN BREAKFAST This dish is a combination of all our favourite breakfast ingredients in one big pan. This is an excellent way to feed larger crowds and it can be cooked on a stove, on gas, on the fire, or anywhere in the veld. You can add or take away ingredients to suit your taste. Serve with freshly baked bread, butter and home-made jam.

2 LARGE ONIONS, SLICED 20 ML COOKING OIL 3 CLOVES OF GARLIC, CRUSHED 125 G BACON PIECES (OR BACON RASHERS, DICED) 250 G PORK SAUSAGES CUT INTO PIECES 1 GREEN PEPPER, DICED 100 G BUTTON MUSHROOMS, SLICED In a large frying pan heat oil and sauté onions until golden. Add 1 X 410 G TIN CHOPPED TOMATO bacon pieces, garlic and pork sausages and cook until brown. 1 X 410 G TIN BAKED BEANS IN TOMATO SAUCE 100 G GRATED CHEDDAR CHEESE Add green pepper and button mushrooms. Continue to 6–8 EGGS stir-fry until soft. Add baked beans and chopped tomatoes. A PINCH OF SALT, FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER Season to taste, add sugar and allow to simmer for a few AND A PINCH OF SUGAR TO BALANCE THE ACIDITY more minutes. OF THE TOMATO Use the back of a soup ladle to make hollows in the sauce and break an egg into each hole. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and cook until the eggs are done. Sprinkle grated cheese over the breakfast pan and serve with the farm-style health bread that you can bake and freeze before the trip.




Pair with: FARM-STYLE HEALTH BREAD This bread is very easy to make because all the ingredients are mixed together with a spoon and left to rise in the baking tins. No kneading or double rising is necessary. This recipe makes a generous portion of bread, which is wonderful because it freezes very well. Mix the yeast with the cake flour. Add all the remaining ingredients and beat well with a large spoon until evenly combined to form a heavy batter. Grease four average loaf tins and sprinkle crushed wheat or seeds into the tins. Shake out the excess. Divide the batter between the tins to make them about half full, smooth the top and sprinkle with seeds or crushed wheat.


Allow to rise in a protected spot for about 40 minutes or until the tins are quite full. Bake at 190°C for at least 1 hour or until well browned and thoroughly baked if tested. Remove from oven and allow to cool in tins for a while to shrink slightly and ensure easy removal. Loosen the sides and shake the tins from side to side to release the loaves. Turn out and allow to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy! TNN

Get Life on a Table or My Hungry Heart to discover more of Antoinette's delicious recipes For more information on pre-orders, wholesale and retail contact Bonn Nortje at Venture Publications: Tel: +264 (0) 61 420 514,





(Not an Oxymoron)

Text Sharri Whiting De Masi

If your vision of vacationers in Africa is conf ined to young, f it, twenty-year-olds with state-ofthe-art rucksacks, think again. Namibia is the land for all ages, even prehistoric creatures like me and my friends. TRAVEL.

Seeing Namibia’s vastness requires time and you’ve got plenty of it. You want weeks, we’ve got ‘em. Months? Got those, too. This is the beauty of being a pensioner. Normally we rent a car to explore the country, but there are other ways older travellers can make the most of being in southern Africa: commercial aircraft, private plane and pilot, tour guide and driver, tour bus. There are balloon tours, bicycle tours, camel rides, motorcycles, and your feet to get you around. Even if you don’t plan to go trekking, supportive ankle boots are a real asset for older people who must climb in and out of vehicles during a safari, or when having lunch or a sundowner in the bush.


Rule of thumb: you do not, repeat do not, have to sleep on the ground in Namibia unless you have a very strong desire to do so, along with a very strong back. The last thing you want to do is wake up in the night and be unable to get out of your sleeping bag to find the loo or discover yourself frozen in place the next morning with sciatica. Instead, there are remote tented lodges with comfortable beds, farms with cottages, treehouses, country houses, and five-star hotels.



EAT. Namibia is swimming with fish, oysters and rock lobsters; there is wonderful game and excellent beef. Fresh veggies, German pastries, local beer and wine. Mealie meal and other soft foods. Salads. You don’t have to eat anything stranger than what you find in your local grocery store unless you are feeling adventurous (see Function below).

LOOK. It’s not necessary to trek into the bush to see Namibia’s myriad of species, although you may have that opportunity. Visitors to Etosha National Park are not allowed out of their vehicles and they do their bird and animal watching from the comfort and safety of their cars. No stress, no physical exertion. Yes, you can go on safari on the back of a horse, but you can see the best of Namibia from a four-wheeled vehicle as well. Need you be reminded to bring binoculars on this trip? Along with your glasses, eye drops, sunglasses, hat, sunblock, and zoom lens for your camera. We suggest having your cataract surgery done before you come to Africa on vacation. After all, you’re here to see wildlife and amazing landscapes without stumbling into the path of an aging elephant who can’t see any better than you do.

FUNCTION. Hmmm, how to put this? When traveling, your body may get a bit out of sync. New time zone, new food, new schedule, etc. Bring along your treatment of choice and know that there is more at hand in every pharmacy in every town. (There is always the bush potty for braver souls – refer to ankle boots above). If you plan to travel in a malaria zone, you should plan in advance which anti-malaria drug to take. Depending on your other physical ailments or medicines, your doctor will help you choose. Namibia enjoys an excellent medical system, with good hospitals in the main towns and medical rescue services using helicopters. There is a wide range of specialists. The country is usually very dry and you may need lubricating nose sprays or decongestants to keep your nasal passages happy. You might even want to pick up a few disposable face masks to block the dust when you travel in an open vehicle. TNN

WHAT NOT TO SAY 1. Don’t tease friends who insist on packing folding chairs in a very crowded SUV; you will be grateful when you need to sit down for a rest in the middle of nowhere. 2. Don’t insist on showing photos of your grandchildren while others are craning their necks to see giraffes and zebras. 3. Also, do not say: “Forgot my camera”, or, “Oops, deleted all my photos. Guess I shouldn’t have pushed that button.” “Forgot my pills.” “I miss my dog.”



"Ondili Meumbo� An Oshiwambo term meaning: I am at home

Bookings - Namibia Travel Consultants | Tel (+264 61) 24 0020 |





erfectly positioned on a rocky crest in the quaint coastal town of Lüderitz, Sea-view Zum Sperrgebiet offers a beautiful panorama of the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy one of 22 comfortable en-suite rooms against the stark backdrop of an unforgiving and ever-changing desert. Start your morning with a hearty breakfast before taking on the desert. Indulge your taste buds with a variety of seafood and mouth-watering meat dishes in the restaurant. Relax at the indoor swimming pool surrounded by plants or treat yourself to a sauna session after an adventurous day out. Have a drink at the hotel bar or in the lounge while admiring the sun setting over the ocean. Explore the colourful historic town with its friendly inhabitants by foot. Hotel staff will provide you with a map of the town and pinpoint sights and activities according to your personal preferences. Among the most striking architectural attractions are the Goerke Haus and Felsenkirche. Both adorn the slopes of Diamond Hill. The church on the rock with its beautiful stained-glass windows is truly unique, as all building materials – even the sand! – were shipped from Germany. The Waterfront with a choice of several restaurants is just a stone’s throw away. Sample ocean-fresh Lüderitz oysters paired with fine wine or bubbly. Several catamaran tours start there. Ask your guides to fill you in on the most interesting facts of the marine life that you will see, or even on life in Lüderitz in general. Be camera-ready to capture great snaps of African penguins, Cape fur seals, flamingos, pelicans and Heaviside’s dolphins. Look out for the fortunate sighting of a sunfish! The area is home to a large variety of aquatic birds, including cormorants and seagulls. Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate before heading back to the harbour. The Lüderitz Peninsula is characterised by numerous bays, lagoons and unspoilt stretches of beach. Popular beaches are Grosse Bucht, Sturmvogelbucht and Agate Beach. The latter boasts excellent barbecue facilities, long sandy beaches and good bathing opportunities. At Diaz Point a replica of Bartolomeu Dias’ padrão can be seen, while a memorial on Shark Island commemorates Nama Captain Cornelius Fredericks. Lüderitz airport is only a 10 minutes’ drive from town. Visit Kolmanskop ghost town and its museum – an absolute must for those who are interested in history. Sea-view Zum Sperrgebiet, centrally located, will make you feel part of it all. “Come Stay with us.”

Tel: +264 63 203411 Email:



The colourful houses of Berg Street

a rock

The town built on Text and Photographs Nina van Scalkwyk

Out on the ocean. Waves are splashing and the dolphins are chasing after us, jumping as if performing a circus trick, free to enjoy themselves, showing off. Their slick pale bodies dashing through the water, their dark skin patches revealed: Heaviside’s dolphins. They don’t follow us for too long, we’re obviously not interesting enough. The African Penguins don’t seem to notice us at all. Nor do the flamingos. The Cape fur seal ’s whole-hearted jump is graceful but nothing compared to his dolphin brethren. An entire colony of seals is barking and yelping from a bare, windswept island close by.


urther along, Halifax. Several derelict wooden houses, slowly being dismantled by the constant wind. What else is there? Guano mining has long since stopped. Thank goodness. Now the poor penguins build their mounds of excrement from scratch and bury into them to lay their eggs. The gulls won’t be happy. They’ve been feasting on penguin eggs for years. René, our skipper for the day, points out a Mola Mola, or sunfish, basking close to the ocean surface. Naftalie, his secondin-command, offers us cups of steaming hot chocolate. Cups hand-made by René’s mother. Three days and three nights in Lüderitz. The cool weather welcomes us after the heat that drove us from the desert near Sossusvlei. Settled in at the Nest Hotel’s Crayfish Bar and Lounge with a beer, overlooking the bay, we are glad about the exchange of sand for sea. Exploration of the beach below, the famous black rocks all around, desolate, as if no one has been here in centuries. I watch the red-beaked Oystercatchers standing proudly on the embankments, moving as soon as my shutter clicks. The sun dips lower. A lone traveller positions himself on the short jetty, covered up with an elegant hat and scarf, as if for a television commercial. The light turns golden. Everything is well. And that was the first day.

FROM TOP Sea birds get a free ride on a lonely fishing boat in the harbour Naftalie from Penguin Catamaran Tours with cups of hot comfort There’s no better place to have fresh oysters than in Lüderitz The quirky style of the Garden Café Classic buildings in Lüderitz’s main road



Lüderitz has a lot to offer when exploring on foot. Most importantly: start with good coffee. We take a short walk to the waterfront, from where we want to start our tour of the town. The waterfront precinct was developed right next to the harbour, overlooking the coming and going of fishing boats, smaller craft and the occasional ocean liner. Ships rest their large bellies in the cobalt blue water. A calm surface hides icy temperatures below. Seabirds dive underneath, catching their morning prey. We walk across the road and through a wooden door set in a length of continuous wall. Inside: a secret garden. The Garden Café. An old house, from the era of the first Lüderitz settlers, filled with knick-knacks and bric-a-brac. An antique typewriter, black and white photos of the town in the previous century, tins, treats, freshly brewed coffee and cake. Outside, a magical haven. An old tortoise relaxes in the sun, moving his head just so to observe the newcomers. All around flowers are blooming, pots sprouting life across every inch of space. A comfortable, subdued place. The magic of it is enchanting. Finally, we leave to go sightseeing. Architecture tempts snap happy camera fingers. We slowly make our way down the main road. Step, step, snap, snap. Some buildings are scruffy but solid. Others lovingly restored. Reminiscent of Swakopmund, but as it was many years ago. Peaceful, small, unbothered, not over-commercialised. The famous Blue House, or Haus Grünewald, which sits on Berg Street with other colourful abodes. Some front doors are still inlaid with quaint stained glass. The road is dusty and quiet, just off Bismarck Street – the main business artery where Lüderitz locals mill about on Saturdays. Not crowded either, just less empty.

Goerke Haus. The haunted house. Which is impossible because no one ever lived there, or that is what I tell myself. But maybe that’s what makes it so atmospheric. As if it is pleading with its visitors to stay just a little bit longer. So that it can be lived-in. Up the creaking stairs, a look into the modest bedroom, then up to the attic where there is another bedroom, spooky, empty, lonesome. Who would have the guts to sleep there? Portraits of the Mr and Mrs hang on the wall in the foyer. He, who lovingly built the house for her. She, who couldn’t stand to live here, in this house, in this town at the far end of the world, the southern tip of the dark content. For whom her husband abandoned the house and moved her back to Germany. Only now, restored somewhat to its former glory, the house may seem content to be opened daily to be gawked at by visitors, who walk around inside, remark on the bright rooms, the antique furniture. What else do they expect of an old dame? Close by is the famous Felsenkirche. The church, like much of the town, was built atop a rocky outcrop. It overlooks the town on one side and the ocean on the other. It is a famous picture: the church illuminated by the last rays of the sun, synonymous with Lüderitz itself. But today the light isn’t ideal,

we will come back later, at five, when the church opens for visitors. During our trip we inevitably meet locals, friendly and welcoming. These interactions are what travelling is all about. We have the second draught of beer served so far in a newly opened bar. The owner's face beams from behind the counter. Our friendly guide to all things local, Chrys, or Chryssoula Grünewald, manager at our hotel, Sea-view Zum Sperrgebiet, kindly organises a boat trip for us and gives us all the details we need on her hometown. She points out the landmarks of the area on a map before us. The small wreck found off the beach over there? Her grandfather’s. He built it himself, she says. He didn’t crash it there, though, she’s quick to add. He sold it to someone who then ran aground with it.

FROM TOP A bird’s-eye view of the colourful town Goerke Haus, haunted or not? The oldest church in town, Felsenkirche A trio of African Penguins on Halifax Island



On our last day we drive 10 km inland to Kolmanskop, Namibia's famous ghost town. Crumbling wooden structures, curling wallpaper with art-deco patterns, rooms painted bright red or green or faded blue. Sunrooms that are open to the elements, the roof long gone, windows without glass. Floorboards, some missing, a striped pattern of light across them from the barely existing ceiling. Then the wind picks up, engulfs the area in a sandstorm. We find shelter and warmth in the café, a cheerful room in the old theatre. The wind howls outside. We shake sand from our hair. The café fills up with guests, seeking refuge from nature's fury raging outside. It’s definitely not too early for a beer.

ABOVE Stunning stained glass windows as seen from inside Felsenkirche

BELOW A lonely hallway in Kolmanskop filling up with sand



Back in town we return to Felsenkirche, and at precisely five o’clock the heavy wooden doors open. The story of a secret letter and a time-capsule hidden away in the church’s cornerstone comes to light. A tale of how renovations of the church’s roof revealed hidden objects inside a copper cylinder which now stands inside near the entrance of the church. Newspaper clippings and bits of information as well as a copy of the original letter found in the time capsule are pasted on the wall behind it. My German is rusty, but the story is then related to us by Ziggy, a member of the church, who had been sitting quietly in one of the pews until it was time for him to lock the doors again.

FAST FACTS: 1. Namibia’s most famous ghost town, Kolmanskop, is situated in Sperrgebiet National Park about 10 km inland from Lüderitz. It was named after transport driver Johnny Coleman, who abandoned his wagon there during a fierce sandstorm. The discovery of diamonds in the early 1900’s led to an influx of people. The settlement became affluent and by 1915 was one of the richest towns in the world. The town’s hospital had the first x-ray machine in the southern hemisphere. The decline of diamonds in the area, and the subsequent transfer of mining operations to the south, gradually resulted in the town being completely abandoned.

Back to a waterfront restaurant, time for supper. As we settle around our table I can’t help watching our fellow guests. A man and a woman enter from the chilly weather outside. She moves to one table, then another and yet another before finally sitting down cheerfully. A jovial family of four make their appearance; the father cracks jokes with the restaurant owner to the dismay of his children. Backpackers sip their beers, look out across the waterfront and talk about their childhoods back home. The temperature drops. The sun begins to slant over the horizon. We watch the clouds turn neon pink. Fresh oysters and cold beer – to another day well spent. TNN

Permits to enter Kolmanskop can be obtained at the entrance gate daily between 08:00 and 13:00. Photography permits allow for longer stays. 2. The existence of the bay was first recorded in 1488 by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias who erected a stone cross there and named the windswept shores Angra Pequena (Little Bay). A replica of the cross is situated at the original location. 3. The discovery of guano deposits on the islands off Lüderitz around 1842 attracted the first entrepreneurs. They made the most of the opportunity to exploit the precious fertiliser which at the time was known as ‘white gold’. Three years later sources were exhausted and the bay was once again abandoned.

Light filters through the derelict roof of an abandoned Kolmanskop house

Visit our website to read more about Lüderitz’s interesting history:

The Lüderitz museum’s vintage displays of specimens and skeletons

WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Garden Café, 17 Hafen Street Penguin Restaurant, 820 Diaz Street Crayfish Bar and Lounge, 820 Diaz Street Diaz Coffee Shop, 25 Bismarck Street Essenzeit, 39 Hafen Street. Barrels, 5 Nachtigal Street.

WHAT TO DO: 1. Windsurf in some of the strongest winds on earth 2. Take a boat excursion to Diaz Point and spot sunfish, whales and dolphins 3. Look for the best-kept secret surfing spots and brave the icy water 4. Explore wrecks and hidden caves south of the town 5. Soak up the sun on the beaches 6. Load up on fresh oysters 7. Take a walk through history at Kolmanskop 8. Take a 4x4 route through the desert 9. Educate yourself on all things Lüderitz at the local museum 10. Survive a sandstorm and live to tell the tale



Enjoy the waves crashing at your doorstep E: W:

• Situated in the beautiful coastal town Swakopmund • Built in and around the restored Old Station Building dating back to 1901 • This 4-star hotel offers 90 spacious rooms • Recreational facilities include a swimming pool, a gymnasium and casino, 2 Cinemas with 3D, Hair Salon & Spa • Two-minute’s walk from city centre • Day trips to the desert as well as dolphin cruises and scenic flights can be arranged.

“There is still only one place to stay in Windhoek. Windhoek Country Club Resort - Your resort in the city” • Standard Rooms (wheel chair accessible) • Luxury Suites • Restaurant • Casino • Bars

• • • • •

Foreign Exchange Limited Wireless Internet In-house Gym Child Friendly 18 hole Championship Golf Course

Tel: +264 (0) 64 410 5200 | Fax: +264 (0) 64 410 5360 Email: | Website: PO Box 616, Swakopmund

Tel: +264 (0) 61 205 5911 | Fax: +264 (0) 61 252 797 Email: | Website: Location: B1 Western Bypass, Windhoek South, Namibia

TRAVEL GREEN – the Namibian way Text Marita van Rooyen


amibia is a vast land and the average tourist often spends countless kilometres on the road to see the untouched natural beauty, unsurpassed scenery and the free-roaming wildlife the country is renowned for.

Unfortunately every kilometre comes with a price, as carbon emissions caused by vehicles have a negative impact on this pristine land. In a move towards carbon neutral tourism, the Eloolo Permaculture Organisation and Tourism Supporting Conservation Trust (TOSCO) joined hands to create Namibia’s very own carbon offsetting programme. Donovan Wagner of Eloolo explains, “Travellers across the globe are becoming more environmentally conscious and in Namibia we are also getting more aware of where sustainable tourism is heading. For tour operators nature is their business and it is only sensible that they take care of the land and preserve it for future use.”

The initiative offers role players in the tourism sector, organisations and committed individuals the opportunity to travel with a clean conscience by donating for the planting of trees as a means to offset vehicles’ direct carbon emissions. It is estimated that each litre of diesel emits 2.64 kg of CO2, while one tree can absorb around 100 kg of carbon dioxide in its lifetime. For a 3 000 km trip through Namibia, an SUV or 4x4 (using 14 litres per 100 km) would thus have to support the planting of three trees to offset its emissions. The bigger the vehicle’s engine, the more trees are required for a guilt free journey. Two sites in Windhoek are currently being prepared as the first carbon offsetting nurseries – one at the Dagbreek School for the Intellectually Impaired and the other at Farm Okukuna near Goreangab Dam, which forms part of the City of Windhoek’s Food Security Programme. Felix Vallat, founder of TOSCO, adds, “This is one of the first steps we are

taking towards a more responsible tourism sector. It sets an example of sustainability, where tour operators give back to nature what they take.”

Ecosafaris Namibia, one of the tour operators currently on board, systematically includes tree planting for every trip taken. Asco Car Hire, one of the largest 4x4 car rental companies in Namibia, also offers this opportunity to customers. “This is just the beginning, as more and more operators show interest in joining the programme,” says Felix. Donovan muses, “What if each tourist who visits our country would offset with just one tree? Imagine the positive impact this would have on our environment.” TNN For more information on this initiative and to get involved, visit or Visits to the Dagbreek tree nursery can be arranged with Donovan at or Felix at



Asser Manya



meet in a WINDHOEK HERITAGE TOUR Text and Photographs Annabelle Venter

Curt von Francois' daughter (Josephine// Nawaxas von Francois) in front of his statue



About two months ago I met heritage guide Asser Manya for a cultural tour to discover new places in Windhoek. Even though I have lived in Namibia for 30 years, I realised just how much my knowledge of the city was lacking, so we recently met up again for the second part of the tour.

The magnificent wall mural inside the Ministry of Mines and Energy, by artist Anita Steyn


sser is a gentle-mannered Oshiwambo-speaking Namibian, born and schooled in Windhoek. His parents instilled in him and his siblings that ‘hard work in all of life’s endeavours is the key to success’ and there’s an Oshiwambo proverb for that: Uwanawa ihauzi poka pala kayela. He is one of the first specialised young Namibian heritage guides. Together with his partner Maria he set up Asmara Tours, offering cultural tours of Windhoek for visitors and locals to learn more about Namibian traditions passed down through generations. Asser studied heritage tourism for four years at UNAM, followed by a one-year post graduate diploma in heritage conservation and management. Thereafter he completed a 2-year internship with WWF at NACSO and then worked for IRDNC for a year. Today we are visiting two new locations, a first for both of us. They will form part of his tours in future. Asser tailors a tour to suit your requests but I discovered that even two days is too short to see everything! One needs time to absorb the atmosphere and talk to people to enrich your experience. Our first stop is the fascinating National Earth Science Museum housed in the foyer of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, next to the Safari Court. Entry is free and it’s open during regular office hours on weekdays. The museum illustrates the story of Namibia’s natural riches, focussing on minerals, palaeontology and mining. With displays showing the use of minerals in everyday products and a ‘dig’ where they can ‘discover and excavate’ buried fossils it makes for an excellent outing for children. It’s a favourite stop for schoolchildren during Heritage Week in September each year. Windhoek has several fascinating museums, and most are situated within proximity to each other along Robert Mugabe Avenue. On my previous trip with Asser we visited the Independence Memorial Museum which showcases Namibia’s freedom struggle up to independence in 1990. Afterwards we popped across the road for a few quiet minutes inside a famous landmark, the Christuskirche.

Amethyst at the National Earth Science Museum Fascinating geological shapes at the museum

Our second stop on this trip is the Xwama Traditional Restaurant. It’s a bit early for lunch but the restaurant is always open for visitors and locals to meet and browse. Asser shows me the fireplace on the soft sand floor, which is the most important meeting place in any home. Decisions and family bonds are made and reinforced around the fire. What was started by Twapewa Mudjanima Kadhikua 10 years ago in a river bed has now expanded into a ‘mustsee’ experience for tourists and locals alike. A conference centre and VIP dining area can be booked for formal events. The restaurant’s menu includes mopane worms, matangara (tripe), local spinach and mahangu cake to finish. BELOW VIP room at Xwama with poster of the inspiring owner Eclectic decor at Xwama restaurant

ABOVE Asser with Ovia Amuthenu, owner of the Old Location Restaurant. The traditional menu and courtyard at the Old Location Restaurant and bar.

The last stop today is the Old Location, Ohungi and Restaurant. The owner, Ovia Amuthenu, tells us that the building dates back to German colonial times in 1902 and later used to house a Portuguese business. Just outside the building is the historical connection to its name. A small wooden footbridge crosses a riverbed which before 1959 was the access route to the Old Location on the opposite bank. Across the bridge and further down the road is the site of the 1959 massacre of the township’s inhabitants in response to their protest against the looming forced removal to Katutura (‘the place where we do not want to live’). Ovia says his restaurant has now become a meeting place for young professionals living in the area, where they can enjoy traditional food and beer and where they network. For the older generation it holds nostalgic memories, not always bad ones. For one gentleman it was an emotional moment seeing the bridge, because his grandfather built it. A married couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the restaurant, recalling how they carried all their belongings across the bridge to a new life in Katutura. Asser’s own grandmother was one of the inhabitants of the Old Location, and when we visited her two months ago she shared many fascinating stories with me. She showed us old photos of her maternal grandfather, Curt von Francois, whom she never met, as well as a picture of her mother Josephine//Nawaxas von Francois sitting at his statue. Asser is clearly a favourite grandson and visits her with gifts and clients whenever he can!

Monkey oranges from northern Namibia are sold at the single quarters

WHY GO WITH A HERITAGE GUIDE? • You might miss all the best bits if you don’t know the area and you’ll get the most out of your city tour with a guide. • A guide can quickly assess your interests and take you to the right places so as not to waste your time. • He can advise you on the correct etiquette and answer all the questions you have on the history of Namibia. • There’s safety in going with a local because he can navigate roads and translate if need be.

ASSER’S TOP 5 PICKS • The Old Location cemetery – to contextualise your Namibian trip. • Single quarters in Katutura – a one-stop shop for anything you want to try in the township: kapana, spices, mopane worms, traditional ingredients, clothes, hairstyles, monkey oranges. • Earth Science Museum – an introduction to our paleontological and mineral history. • Penduka – local women’s artwork. You can talk to the artists and your purchases benefit the women directly. • Xwama – have traditional food and drink and reflect on what you have learnt about Namibia’s culture. It’s a homely ‘watering hole’ for all cultures to discuss and share experiences.

WHY STUDY HERITAGE TOURISM? An African proverb says ‘if you know where you come from then you know where you’re headed’. Asser explains that it provides a good grounding for any student wishing to work in the tourism sector. Patience is required – it’s slow-paced, laidback and a people-orientated field. He distinguishes two aspects of heritage studies: tangible heritage refers to cultural objects, whereas intangible heritage refers to the story behind the objects and is best conveyed by someone who has studied heritage and is involved in it on a daily basis.

ABOVE Asser and his ouma, Verona Nangombe View from the top of the Independence Museum looking down onto Alte Feste

‘History and culture are alive because the information is imparted by people through people for people’. TNN Book a tour with Asser through his website:





LAGER Things are relaxed here. We take time to enjoy our long sun-filled days and appreciate our stunning backyard. So whether you’re travelling to Namibia for business or pleasure, make sure you take some time to kick back, relax and take in the Namibian view with a Windhoek Lager.

Not for Sale to Persons Under the Age of 18. Drink Responsibly.



right yellow flowers of sweet thorns lining the entrance warmly welcome visitors to the country estate. Lush green lawns around the lodge stretch as far as the eye can see. Friendly staff members circulate to and from rooms in golf carts to assist guests with their luggage. Shaded by age-old trees and adorned with colourful flowers, Midgard has become a much-coveted venue for couples to tie the knot. It is also the ideal spot for conferences, parties and other events, among them the FNB Otjihavera Experience Mountain-biking Marathon that starts and finishes here. Midgard is nestled in the Otjihavera Mountains, an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Windhoek. Everything you will need to ensure a comfortable stay is available on site: Carl’s Dining Room & Bar, the Bali Boma, BBQ Terrace, three swimming pools, a gym and sauna and the Kegelbahn, a private skittle alley. Groups can rent the latter, so if you are looking for a fresh idea for your next party or team-building session, this could be it. The colourful playground keeps the children busy while you relax by the pool or enjoy other heart-racing activities such as tennis or volleyball. There are multiple ways to experience the Otjihavera Mountains – take a hike in the surroundings or go on a guided nature drive. The most popular attraction is a sundowner drive to Hilltop, where guests can enjoy a stunning 360° view over the mountains and watch the sun set with sundowners in hand. The four-legged friends you might come across include giraffe, blue and black wildebeest, gemsbok, kudu, hartebeest, eland, warthog, baboon and steenbok. Any birder will find paradise along the Swakop River. Take a stroll on the property and discover the Auto Museum with a collection of vintage cars, such as the 1952 Chevrolet Pickup. There is also a historic train station which now serves as a camping terrain. Bring your camping gear and sleep in the old Trans Namib train carriages. Other diverse spaces for events include an amphitheatre which is ideal for concerts and the boma with a central fireplace where festivities of any kind take place. An on-site vegetable garden ensures that the freshest produce is used for cooking. O&L Leisure is the proud owner and manager of Midgard – an intimate world that offers 46 fully equipped rooms. Bring along your friends and family to our tranquil haven.

Tel: +264 61 431 8000 Web:



BIRDING ON THE CHOBE RIVER Text and Photographs Pompie Burger

All great adventures have moments that are really crap

-Ellen Potter-

Hundreds of African Openbill relax on the flood plain.

To begin an adventure by expecting such moments sounds cynical. Without going into too much detail one needs to understand the essence of bad moments. Although this piece of poetry needs to get past Elzanne, it will suffice to say that everything in life has a good and a bad side (yin and yang). Sometimes the bad is so overwhelming that the good becomes invisible. At the Chobe River the good is so prodigious that you do not realise that there are indeed moments so bad they are in fact not forgettable.

An African Skimmer, White-winged Terns and a Reed Cormorant join forces on a beach.


irding on the Chobe flood plains is like falling into a big bowl of ice-cream, without the negative side effects of eating too much of it. Being a boatman for a bird watcher or bird photographer must be exhausting. Stopping every few metres for yet another bird. Imagine how tiring it must be for the photographer! When talking Chobe, most people think Botswana, but the Chobe River in fact forms part of the border between Namibia and Botswana (remember the Kasikili Island dispute?). There are three lodges on the Namibian side of the Chobe River from where you can do your expedition to the flood plains of milk and honey. Unfortunately, when the water level of the river is too low for boats, it becomes a problem to reach the flood plains from some of the lodges.

A Red-billed Oxpecker inspecting the back of a hippo.

Your first stop must certainly be at the rapids, because on the rocks you will see Rock Pratincoles and the Whitewinged Tern (look for the earphones on their heads). Water Thick-knees, Reed Cormorants and Whiskered Terns are common on the rocks, while Yellow-billed Storks like to settle in the surrounding trees. As far as flood plains are concerned, it won’t get much better than this. Even if you are not into birding, wildlife like elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and a large variety of antelope will keep you busy. There are few places in the world where one can get so close to wild animals that you can even smell them. The added advantage is of course that you can also get just as close to birds like the Red and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers feeding on the hippos and buffalo, and Western Cattle Egrets walking under and around elephants’ feet. If you look carefully you can even spot a dung beetle on the dung. In fact, if all else fails – which is highly unlikely – well, just enjoy a regular sundowner trip!



A Western Cattle Egret ready to be trampled by an elephant.

A very special and endangered species: the Longtoed Plover.

BIRDING WITH POMPIE The banks of the main river in Chobe National Park are a good place to get close to where African Fish Eagles and Giant, Woodland and Pied Kingfishers can often (read: always) be seen. You will even see a few passing speedboats and, under extreme conditions, lions. Massive tourist boats with ‘thousands’ of people looking for the Big Five are in abundance (I think you can even smell them – the Big Five, not the tourists). Because the area consists mainly of flood plains there are not many trees, but the odd dead tree provides a place for birds to take a breather. Darters, terns, cormorants and kingfishers like to do their fishing from these vantage points.

The good, bad and the ugly. (Dead fish, African Fish Eagle and Marabou Stork).

The grass plains and flood plains are the most common habitat of various egrets and herons. They are so common you might get bored at some stage. Fortunately, there are the specials such as the Rufous-bellied Herons and Slaty Egrets to prevent that from happening. Collared and Blackwinged Pratincoles are another very special breeding migrant seen on the grass plains. During summer large flocks of African Openbill either feed in the marshes or fly overhead in their hundreds.

A male and female Pied Kingfisher.

One of the specials of the Chobe: a Slaty Egret fishing in the shallow waters.

A Collared Pratincole showing off its flying skills.

An African Darter taking a breather on a dead tree in the flood plain.

Rock Pratincole on the rocks.

Two White-fronted Bee-eaters sitting in front of their nest on a sand bank.

BIRDING WITH POMPIE A Juvenile Bateleur sitting on crap.

summer. If you start a small fire (braai) in the grass you may attract Carmines hunting for insects. Purple Heron can often be seen along the river, with Fan-tailed Widowbird and Stone Chat decorating the tips of the reeds. The channels provide an entirely different habitat for the African Purple Swamphen, Allen’s Gallinule, Squacco Heron and Dwarf Bittern. This is also an ideal area to find the Malachite Kingfisher and, if you are lucky, the Halfcollared Kingfisher. African and Lesser Jacana prefer the backwaters where African Pygmy Geese are also not to be missed. On Impalila Island you may find the odd Pel’s Fishing Owl, but only if you have an extremely brilliant guide. During spring, when a lot of the acacia and albizia trees are in bloom, the Sunbirds are in full force and dressed to kill. Amethyst, Collared, Copper, Scarlet-chested, White-bellied and Marico Sunbirds are then in abundance. If you happen to see a Shelley’s Sunbird you are allowed to be thrilled. TNN

African Marsh Harrier: one of the specials of the flood plains. Raptors are not as common as one would expect but if you want to see a Bateleur or a Western Osprey, this is the place to be. Depending on how successful the crocodiles have done their hunting and eating, you may see a bouquet of vultures finishing the job for them. The most common and prized raptor sighting is the African Marsh Harrier, a near endangered species. They can often be seen where dead fish and leftovers are lying around. Here they compete with Marabou Stork, African Fish Eagle and other scavengers. Interestingly enough, lapwings are usually in the vicinity to give the raptors some much-needed company. If you find a Rosy-throated Longclaw on the grass plains, you can just as well go home and phone me. You have won the big prize. The “beaches” are always worth a stop: breeding African Skimmer (endangered species) are an exciting novelty. From here they also do their fishing (without getting their lines wet). The White-faced Whistling Duck usually occurs in bigger groups, sometimes up to a hundred or more, or less. It is a spectacular sighting when they take off in large numbers when disturbed. If you run (drift) into one of the Nikon Bird Photography Boats (you cannot miss them), just keep calm and smile when one of those canon-size lenses points in your direction, it may get you onto Nat Geo Wild. The reeds and grass along the river are good places to look for bee-eaters and swallows. Be on the lookout for Bluecheeked, Little, White–fronted and Southern Carmine Beeeaters. The Carmines breed along the Zambezi River during

FOOTNOTE (THE REAL MCCOY / WARE JAKOB): The only bad, sad issue is the number of boats with tourists on the river. As the authorities try to limit vehicles on the river bank of Chobe National Park, we hope they will consider limiting the number of boats on the river. One can only imagine what the long-term ecological effect will be if this overcrowding continues, not to mention my personal psychological deterioration.

The Lesser Jacana is a much sought-after bird in the back waters.

An albizia feeding a Collared Sunbird.



Ways to enjoy the Pantry at


has brought the business of good food to the people. A skilled and dedicated kitchen staff to spoil the palate sees to it that Pantry at AVANI is unforgettable. The Pantry is the perfect place for good food and good company. Whatever you feel like, you will find it there. Here are just five ways to enjoy Pantry at AVANI:


ll that glitters is gold! The city is bursting with energy as we gaze out of the floor-toceiling windows onto Independence Avenue where people are passing by on the pavement outside. Here, in the heart of Namibia’s capital, you are close to the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Yet you are treated to a relaxing atmosphere. The space you are in feels luxuriously intimate. You ponder what to order from the eclectic menu and when your steaming plate of food arrives you cannot help but give your undivided attention to it. Allow yourself to indulge in the experience of Pantry at AVANI Windhoek Hotel and Casino. Pantry at AVANI invites you to come in, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the absolute luxury that awaits right on the doorstep of 129 Independence Avenue. The official opening of Pantry at AVANI at the beginning of 2018

1. SHARE A ROMANTIC MEAL FOR TWO ON A SPECIAL DINNER DATE. Invite your significant other for a delicious dinner complete with candles, atmosphere and mouth-watering desserts. Get cosy in luxury and enjoy the twinkle of the city lights outside.

2. GRAB A SNACK WHEN YOU ARE ON THE GO WITH NO TIME TO LOSE. With freshly-made and healthy meals on display and packaged to go, there’s no waiting for your order and no time wasted. Grab your snack from the shelves and be on your way. After all, time is money and there’s no wasting it.


Pantry at AVANI is close to the most prominent businesses in town? Simply walking down Windhoek’s main road to Pantry puts your business meeting within easy reach and it will spoil you nonetheless.

4. REFUEL YOUR ENERGY WITH FRESHLY BREWED QUALITY COFFEE WHILE WORKING ON YOUR NEXT BIG IDEA. Getting work done in the dedicated business area is a breeze with high-speed internet, wireless printer and an Apple iMac for your use. Plus, the couches are comfortable enough for those inevitable think-breaks.

5. STOP BY FOR AFTER-WORK DRINKS AND ENJOY PREMIUM COCKTAILS OR CLASSIC WINES AND BEERS. There’s nothing like being at the centre of it all, with a finger on the pulse of city-life. A glass of wine will help you unwind after your hard day’s hustle. Pantry at AVANI is one of the first steps in the N$24 million modernisation project of the 5-star hotel. Design company DHL, a subsidiary of AVANI, also designed a grand new entrance lobby for hotel guests, as well as new pedestrian access.

Trading Hours: 7h00 to 22h00 T: +264 61 280 0336 E: Gustav Voights Centre, 129 Independence Avenue Windhoek, Namibia





Text Annelien Robberts Photography Venture Media Team

Millennials want to travel, and preferably in an authentic, interconnected way. We push conventional travel boundaries and design our own itineraries. We prefer to avoid mass tourism by rather staying with the locals. Peer-to-peer booking sites (think Couchsurf ing) and room-sharing services (need I even mention AirBnB?) are our travel guides for full-on local experiences that will reverberate with purpose and meaning.


arge parts of Namibia are uninhabited, which means that Couchsurfing manifestly makes way for Bushsurfing. Camping is a joyful way to connect with the environment and the company you take along. So, together with four other girls, I headed south on a camping trip. For the next three days, the answer to any question was bikini. Namib-Naukluft National Park was our destination – the largest park in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. The camping spots are right next to the river. Our spot also proved to be great for “connecting” with all kinds of animals. Since we left the Wi-Fi signal behind in the city, we were bound to find some other connection. At night, after dinner had been cooked and all that was left were smouldering coals, our only source of light were Bugger Off mosquito candles and a starlit sky. The smartest “thing” in sight was the person beside you. Not a Smartphone, an iPhone or the likes. No beeping or ringing. Bliss. Disconnected from the outside world, or anything further than two metres behind us, for that matter.


During daytime it was another world – this same black wall around us transformed into a cluster of sweet thorn trees adorned with bright yellow flowers. Unlike the dassies basking in the sun we were trying to lie torpid during the hottest time of the day, only chasing the sporadic shade provided by the sweet thorn trees. On one such lazy afternoon the dassies began squeaking for dear life. It is hard to believe that these rock hyraxes with their huge fangs are closest related to elephants! This mind-boggling fact was deduced from similarities in the structure of their feet and teeth but let’s leave it at that. (Remember the answer? Bikini.) Not long after the dassies started making such a racket, we were honoured with the rare sighting of an African wildcat swiftly making its appearance among the shrubs. We had two days of hiking through splendid hilly landscapes. Climbing into sycamore fig trees. Swimming in natural crystal-clear pools. Eating chops and braai pies (two pizza bases stuffed with filling and grilled on an open fire). Ticking off birds we spotted and expanding our knowledge of trees along the way. Lazing and reading during the hottest part of the day. After all, it is a semi-desert savannah. Namib-Naukluft National Park is a well-known hiker’s destination. Hiking is a fun activity for those seeking to connect with the environment, especially in the milder months of the year. An 8-day trail will take you in a 120 km loop. Intensity level? 10/10. This is one of the few hiking trails that require a medical certificate, which means you need exceptional fitness levels. If the mere thought of this already makes you drip with sweat, read on to discover less stressful options. 1921m Go ro ro







Trail turns away from Naukluft River


Last Water

Sociable Weaver Nest



Quiver Tree



8-Day Hiker’s Haven

Start of Trail

11km entrance


River The Waterkloof Trail


Half Way

Trail direction: anti-clockwise 17 km long Takes between 6-7 hours to complete (Follow Yellow footprints)

Road 8 day hiking trail

1910m Highest point of trail


Trail rejoins Naukluft river Pool


Goror osib





8 Day Hiking Trail (White footprints)





Namibia has some of the world’s most Namibia has some of the world’s most magnificent landscapes but there’s more… magnificent landscapes but there’s more...

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N ve



mai n r


Join Main River

alt er



e tiv

t …

Pool with Chains

Sociable Weaver Nest

Top of Plateau

Plateau road


River The Olive Trail

Trail direction: clockwise 10 km long Takes 4 hours to complete

Path on side of mountain

Road Land above 1 900m Start/End

ou a new we have dren. From For an unguided day hike, the Olive (10 km) and Waterkloof (17 km) trails are perfect. There are also 2 km and 4 km selfou or when guided trails – a great, leisurely way to explore. These short monotony. hikes are all the same rewarded with a swim in a natural pool that formed among the rocky ravines. You can choose between a bigger pool at the bottom and a small one at the top. It is nature’s own infinity pool without the chlorine.

Parking Area

In Namibia the summer months seem infinite, but the milder months are fast approaching. I will be one to take advantage of the last fiery sunrays before winter comes. A time of year that makes way for new adventures, such as a 120 km hike! But for now, when in doubt, bikini! Happy authentic travelling, Generation Wanderlust! TNN



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Matthew Walters




ranes are universally regarded as symbols of peace and good luck. There are 15 species worldwide, with the bulk of the Blue Crane population found in South Africa. A small outlying population in Namibia is described as being among the most mysterious of all cranes.

The Namibia Crane Working Group, an initiative of the Namibia Nature Foundation, has been monitoring this crane population since 2004, mainly by means of regular counts in the wet and the dry season. More than 30 chicks have been fitted with large green plastic rings, each of which bears a unique alphabetical code. Resightings of these ringed birds contribute to the recording of crane distribution, movements and breeding activity. Birdwatchers and other visitors to Etosha make an invaluable contribution by reporting ringed cranes, nests, chicks and numbers, and by submitting some wonderful photographs.

Joyce Meyer

This elegant, charismatic species breeds in Etosha National Park during the austral summer and rainy season, and this is the best time to see them: from around November to April. They spend the winter months north of the park, including in the Omadhiya Lakes area. On their return (from August onwards) the cranes first gather at Andoni, then move gradually down to the pan’s edge once it has rained, to take up their nesting sites again. These cranes are an enigma in that they are able to survive despite the presence of many predators and under arid conditions.

Reports of crane sightings to are much appreciated. TNN The Namibia Crane Action Plan is kindly funded by the Hessische Gesellschaft fĂźr Ornithologie und Naturschutz e.V. (HGON), in association with Mathias Stein & Barbara Hudec

Matthias Ebert

Blue Crane numbers in Namibia have declined from 80 in 1988 and 60 in 1994 to 35 in 2011 and then to only 23, with an encouraging increase again to 32 in 2017. The key questions and challenges that remain are: what are the causes for the decline in numbers, where is this happening and how can it be addressed?

Namibia Crane Working Group:




Okavango River Reasons why the

is a MUST-VISIT destination Text and Photographs Elzanne Erasmus

1. IT’S A PERENNIAL RIVER IN ONE OF THE DRIEST COUNTRIES ON EARTH Okay, so it’s true that the north-eastern Kavango and Zambezi regions aren’t the quintessential desert landscapes one may associate with Namibia. They are as lush and green as a southern African region can get, but they are still part of the country and often offer a welcome reprieve from the arid beauty that is a trademark of this special corner of Africa. That said, the first glimpse you catch of the mighty Okavango River as it meanders along the north-eastern edge of Namibia, creating a natural border with our neighbour Angola, will be a sight for dry eyes. The Okavango, which rises in the Angolan highlands, is a mass of perennially flowing water and the lifeblood of the people of the Kavango East Region. Not only is it a water source, but also the main source of food and commerce for many in the region. It sustains the natural green lushness of flora and beckons a healthy population of fauna to set up camp along its banks. The Popa Falls, a series of cascades and rapids, is a popular site for visitors, especially those seeking an amazing sundowner spot such as the river beach bar of Namibia Wildlife Resorts’ Popa Falls Resort.

A Red Letchwe ram ambling across the floodplains adjacent to the river

Elephants search for water by scenting the air

2. IT’S NOT JUST WET, BUT ALSO WILD The Okavango River attracts an abundance of life. People live along the river that allows them easy access to a consistent source of water, not only for themselves but also for their cattle and other livestock. What makes it truly special, though, is the fact that large herds of wildlife congregate along its banks, feeding on the greenery and escaping the more arid regions to the south. Bwabwata National Park, an amalgamation of several game parks, lines the main part of the river on both sides, namely with Popa Game Park, as it was previously known, the Mahango Core Area and the Buffalo Core Area of Bwabwata. In these sections of what is known as “the people’s park”, because of the fact that human populations live within the park borders, visitors are treated to sightings of plains game such as kudu, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and impala, as well as antelope less commonly found in other parks in the country, such as sable and roan antelope, plus African buffalo. Large herds of migrating elephants also call the park an on-again-off-again home and sightings of carnivores such as lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog are possible, though rare. Spot special game, not seen anywhere further south in Namibia, such as the bushbuck in the thick woodlands or red lechwe in the marshlands along the river.



3. BIRDS OF A FEATHER If you’re a birder, a twitcher or a crazy person as some may dub you, then the Kavango is the place for you! With over 400 recorded bird species in the region, most of them congregating along the waterways, there is sure to be ‘lifers’ abundant. With summer migrants and water birds making use of the lush landscapes, a drive through the national park or, even better, a cruise on the Okavango will make for amazing sightings. Tick off cranes, lapwings, eagles, weavers, kingfishers, herons, ducks, geese and many many more. Among our personal favourites are the Wattled Crane, Malachite Kingfisher, Squacco Heron and the African Darter and African Skimmer. And of course, who could forget…. the majestic Fish Eagle. Did you know that the Fish Eagle is the national bird of five African countries, including Namibia? Malawi, South Sudan and our neighbours Zambia and Zimbabwe take as much pride in the beauty and grace of this magnificent eagle as we do. So grab your Roberts and your binos and hit the river for some uber-exciting birding!

Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicoides)

4. BRING ON THE ADVENTURE Think boats, water, rapids, rods, reels, splashing, some thrashing, and ultimately… the thrill of the catch. The Okavango is an angler’s paradise and one of the best freshwater fishing destinations in Namibia. During the months of December and January (when the best fishing takes place) the river is a hotspot for those looking to ‘tame the tiger’ or, in layman’s terms, catch a tigerfish. Not an easy feat, tiger fishing is definitely an adventure sport. In Namibia we practice catch-and-release fishing, which means your conquest goes back in the water after you’ve snatched him up and taken your bragging photo. Off to 'tiger on’ and make another angler’s day. Trophy fish range from 4.5 kilograms upwards and there are multiple styles in which to attempt to get that satisfying tight line and tug, including trawling, spinning and drifting. Learn more about the subtle art of taming the tiger on our website!

5. ABSOLUTELY PICTURE PERFECT There’s nowhere better in Namibia to take a sunset photo than on the Okavango River during summer. There, I’ve said it. You can debate with me until you are blue in the face, but the photographs speak for themselves. There is a depth of colour and contrast as the river reflects the kaleidoscope of hues in the thundercloud-scattered sky above. The lush greenery on the river’s edge lends even more weight to the photo. There’s a story behind it. A fairytale. A day that has passed filled with beauty, adventure and wilderness. It’s not just a sunset, but the swansong to a day of clicking shutters as you captured every moment of your visit to the mighty Okavango. The rushing rapids at Popa Falls; the elephants lumbering through the brush in Mahango Game Park, heading toward the river; the spooked buffalo dashing through the thickets as you pass on the Jeep track; the Carmine Bee-eater perched on a branch, showing off his fancy shades of pink; the smiling face of your companion as he proudly presents his tigerfish to capture the moment for posterity; and the sunset… the bloody beautiful, colourful and breath-taking Okavango sunset… A gin and tonic in hand as you stare in wonder. It’s really something you daren’t miss! TNN

Close encounters of the hippo kind


FAIRY CIRCLE/TIRAS TAXI Experience SOSSUSVLEI’s unspoilt desert beauty, situated in the largest conservation area in Africa, the Namib-Naukluft National Park.

Windhoek Office: Tel: +264 61 249 268 Email:

Swakopmund Office: Tel: +264 64 403 575 Email:

Tel.: +264 61 256323 | A/H: +264 81 162 5791 Mail: |


Mushara Collection

The Beauty of Atmosphere S

erenity. Tranquility. A sense of splendour. That’s what awaits at one of Namibia’s premier luxury getaways, right on the brink of this enigmatic country’s most prized showpiece: Etosha National Park.

The quartet of family-run properties which comprises the Mushara Collection each has its own charm and unique qualities. There'll be one just right for you, your frame of mind, and your pocket. Wonderfully positioned just 8 km from the Von Lindequist Gate on Etosha's eastern boundary, the proximity to the Park provides guests with a wonderful contrast between wild and calm. The attention to detail is entirely evident in the stylish eclectic decor. The Mushara Collection really does have something perfect in terms of accommodation for absolutely everybody, but it's also about the 22,270 square kilometres which make up Etosha National Park, one of southern Africa's finest and most significant game reserves. Not unlike its namesake, the Purple Pod Acacia, Mushara is elegantly and beautifully submerged into the woodland wilderness it calls home. Muted light and the most beautiful interior design add to the atmosphere of these luxury establishments. Each camp has found its own niche with respect to style and ambiance. From the relaxing child-friendly Bush Camp to the exclusivity of Outpost and the ultra-luxury of the villas. And then there is the staff. Mushara Collection owners, Marc and Marize Pampe, say, "The greatest asset of the Mushara Collection is the staff - they are the spirit." When you visit and enjoy the high levels of service, you'll feel that spirit, and you'll be back. Discover the wonder of a beautiful atmosphere. An experience such as this can make all the difference to your next exploration of Namibia’s world renowned national park. May your Etosha adventure with Mushara be everything you’ve dreamed of! Telephone: +264 61 241880 Email:



A luxurious Private Nature Reserve and Wellness village, nestled on a hilltop and surrounded by the majestic beauty of the mountains. Sweeping views onto an awesome Namibian landscape. Only 25 minutes from Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia and 50 minutes from the international airport. Tranquillity and serenity on a Wildlife Sanctuary with wide open spaces.

A delightful setting and peaceful bush ambience. No matter the occasion, River Crossing Lodge has something special to offer.

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Get Travel News Namibia at : CNA and Exclusive Books branches in South Africa as well as Pick 'n Pay, SuperSpar, Checkers and Woermann & Brock in Namibia. TNN is the premier luxury travel magazine for the country's most discerning lodges. Find a copy in-room or at reception at any of our advertisers.



THIS IS MY NAMIBIA By Annabelle Venter

My life in Namibia is a magical kaleidoscope of visual feasts. Every season of every year holds new treasures waiting to be discovered. My work is devoted to visual pleasures, focusing on wildlife, ceramics and photography, but I also love to use words to convey my message. I could never choose just one image or experience to sum up ‘my Namibia’, so here are a few of my favourite things!

1. The smell of the first summer rains that makes me drop what I’m doing and rush outside. 2. Living with wildlife in my garden – a yellow mongoose pops in to see who’s at home. 3. The space and the bluest of skies. Silence and room to think, dream and be creative. 4. The endless bird show in our garden. Hard to drag myself away, and I’m acquiring an extensive bird list! Meet Mr Red-billed Firefinch.

5. Turbulent purple skies, squalls that whip crazily at the trees and my hair and make me feel so insignificant, yet so alive. 6. Dust and Land Rovers. Not always by choice, but definitely an integral part of my life in Namibia! 7. Semi-precious stones from the Klein Spitzkoppe mountains. This is rough silver topaz, rolled by nature. 8. Namibia’s favourite sundowner enjoyed on the terrace of Hotel Thule. A recently acquired taste for me.

9. Wild camping, and discovering that a free-roaming desert lion passed your camp in the night. 10. Delectable local organic ice-creams all year round. From ‘cow to cone’ by Cramer Ice Cream, always inventing new flavours. 11. Southern Carmine Bee-eaters on the Zambezi River in September! Their twittering sound is music to my ears. 12. You never know what you’ll see on Namibia’s roads. Cheetahs, aardwolf, pangolin, elephants, wild dogs and even a leopard!

13. The Etosha Pan. Silent, mysterious, empty and yet so full of life. If only this cracked earth could speak. 14. Coffee and cake is SO Namibian. My favourite cappuccino is to be found at the Stellenbosch Market in Windhoek. 15. What would life be without leopards? Happy times, glorious memories and photos to prove it! 16. The spectacular roadside summer flower show is high on my list. The pink lilies are at the top!



Wolwedans is more than a mere collection of camps. It’s a collection of dreams. Its ethos lies in setting an example in sustainability and continually fulfilling its commitment to the conservation of the NamibRand Nature Reserve.

...simply out of this world

Photo © Gerhard Thirion

Namibia. Wild at heart.

An untamed wilderness that will always leave you spoilt for choice. Mother Nature is waiting for you.

NAMIBIA – Head office C/O Haddy & Sam Nujoma Drive Private Bag 13244, Windhoek Tel: +264 61 290 6000 Fax: +264 61 25 4848 Email:

GERMANY Schillerstrasse 42 – 44, D – 60313 Frankfurt am Main, Tel: +49 69 1337 360 Fax: +49 69 1337 3615 Email:

SOUTH AFRICA Cape Town Ground floor, The Pinnacle Burg Street, P O. Box 739 Tel: +27 21 422 3298 Fax: +27 21 422 5132 Email:

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