Many of you have been asking, “Who won the Share My Namibia Grand Prize?” Well – we’re sorry, but unfortunately it wasn’t you.
Our lucky winner is Vivienne from Boston, Massachusetts. A life coach and lifelong environmental activist, she is serendipitously on a year's sabbatical. Vivienne chose her sister Jane, a potter and graphic artist, to travel with her, and the two will take a 12 day road trip through Namibia in mid-April.
Vivienne (left) and Jane are excited about their trip to Namibia
Vivienne says, “My sister and I are just so thrilled about this trip!” The sisters have traveled to three continents together, and it will be their first trip to Africa.
Vivienne and Jane will travel to Otjiwarongo, Etosha, Damaraland and Swakopmund. We look forward to hearing about their trip when they return!
Remember our first campaign, Conservation Destination? Where we followed the exploits of Dara the Damara Tern, Chase the Cheetah, Roger the Rhino and Holden the Golden Mole, just a few of the endangered (but awesome!) species in Namibia? Well, Rob Sambrook from Vancouver Canada was the lucky winner of our grand prize and he and his wife Natasha recently spent ten days exploring Namibia's conservation successes!
Here's what they had to say about their trip, along with some of Rob's incredible photographs:
We were absolutely thrilled to win this trip to Namibia, courtesy of the Namibia Tourist Board. Even so, the experience exceeded our expectations. The itinerary, with our excellent local guide Perez, included two days at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), just outside Otjiwarongo, and a few hours North of Windhoek. Here, Dr Laurie Marker and a committed group of volunteers and staff run a program which seeks to rehabilitate and release captured or orphaned cheetahs back into the wild; one of the biggest challenges being to find suitable habitat to do this. Therefore there is a lot of outreach work with landowners, as well as the care of the cheetahs themselves. Dr Marker and all the staff made us feel very welcome, and we had a full programme of activities, including feeding the cheetahs, attending their exercise sessions, visiting the genetics lab, and a couple of sundowner drives, where we saw oryx, warthog, hartebeest, baboons, mongoose, numerous birds and a very inquisitive honey badger.
From CCF we drove north to Etosha National Park. It was the end of the dry season, so it was a great time for wildlife spotting, as the animals were drawn closer to the watering holes. We saw many giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, oryx (gembsbok) and springbok, as well as the small and elusive dik-dik and steenbok. We were fortunate to see a leopard on two occasions, as well as herds of elephants cooling off in a watering holes, and on day two, a solitary black rhinoceros doing the same. Numerous hyenas and jackals were on the prowl, and we also watched hyenas, jackals, marabou stork and vultures squabbling over a recent kill.
Driving west through the park on the third and final day, we saw lions on two occasions, including a pride of about dozen, including five cubs. We watched them for about an hour as they played right on the edge of the shimmering white Etosha pan - wildebeest, zebra and ostrich all watching cautiously.
Accommodation was two nights at Mushara Bush Camp, a luxury camp with permanent, spacious, ensuite canvas tents, and one night at the similarly appointed Andersson's Camp. Here, we sat on the terrace and watched and photographed black rhino and giraffe at the floodlit watering hole while a thunderstorm provided a dramatic backdrop.
From Andersson's Camp we drop to Swakopmund, on the Atlantic coast, where we relaxed for the afternoon, and photographed the dramatic sand dunes, which come right up to the edge of town. The following morning consisted of a sandboarding and sand-tobogganing excursion to the dunes. Hard work, but a lot of fun. A spot of shopping, and selection of great seafood, then we were off south-east towards the Namib desert.
The last two nights were spent at the Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust, which offers programs for school children in environmental education, energy and water conservation, as well as desert ecology. We were fortunate to be there at the same time as a school group of around 40 girls and boys, and participated in a number of their activities, including dune walks, scorpion hunting, setting traps for night-active creatures and watching the beautifully clear night sky. We also had a sundowner drive, where we were fortunate to see a pair of wary bat-eared foxes, and to watch the sun setting over the brilliant red dunes.
Overall impressions of Namibia were that it is a safe and welcoming country with a harsh, but spectacularly beautiful natural heritage. It has good infrastructure, with range of accommodation for all budgets. We feel that we have only just scratched the surface, and would certainly like to go back, and explore some more.
Thanks for sharing your travel tales, Rob and Natasha! We're sure you've inspired our readers. We hope you can come back and explore someday soon too!
The people of Namibia invite you to share our country and explore the rugged, natural, soulful, liberating place we call home.
A visit to Namibia is the experience of a lifetime. With the tallest sand dunes, one of the deepest canyons, and the friendliest faces in the world - Namibia is a place that will always stay with you.
But don't take any one person's word for it... take everyone's word for it.
Visit our "Share My Namibia" Facebook page now to begin exploring some of Namibia's most iconic destinations through the eyes of those who know it best - local Namibians.
Learn how Namibia inspires artists to paint, musicians to sing, athletes to run, children to dream, and man to embrace, protect, and conserve nature.
Experience Namibia for yourself by participating in our Share My Namibia sweepstakes. Win an all expenses paid adventure for two to Namibia.
Share our Namibia and let's explore endless horizons together.
Happy Earth Day Everyone!
And welcome to Conservation Destination: Namibia.
Namibia is home to the most successful conservation story in Africa. It’s the story of species that were teetering on the edge of extinction thirty years ago, which are now thriving. It's the story of communities saying, “Yes, we will live with wildlife.”
Over the next six weeks you will have a chance to follow the inspirational stories of our conservation heroes who have dedicated their life’s work to conservation of species, habitats and sustainable living.
Their stories will inspire you to see the world differently and for two lucky people, this will REALLY mean seeing a different world: Namibia! During this campaign, you can enter our sweepstakes to win a ten-day all-inclusive trip to Namibia, to experience the “Greatest Conservation Story Ever Told,” for yourself.
The winner of our sweepstakes plus a traveling companion will track free roaming rhinos; care for rescued cheetahs; take in the vast array of wildlife on Namibia’s coast and in its deserts; and explore Namibia’s Endless Horizons.