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The Lüderitz Crayfish Festival

  
  

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The colourful fishing town of Lüderitz is getting ready to hold the annual Crayfish Festival from 30th May to 1st June 2013 - don't miss out!

What to do at the festival

Take a walk around the festival stalls, taste-testing the different crayfish recipes and sauces of our local “masterchefs”, watch them battle it out in a crayfish cooking competition and browse the many stalls of Namibian made products. Take in the harbour views, mix with the friendly locals and enjoy a wonderful ambience of fabulous smells, music & sunshine. Watch naval & police band marches and even a music festival at the local stadium.

The history of the festival  

The Lüderitz community decided to host an annual Crayfish Festival to celebrate the town’s unique sea-life, multi-cultural roots, rich maritime history, and of course, superior quality crayfish. The festival brings together people from Lüderitz, Namibia and the world, and the proceeds of the event go to help the various charities that benefit the less advantaged.  

Her Worship the Mayor and the friendly "Buchters" invite you to join them at this year’s festival!   

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When: 30th  May – 1st  June 2013

Where:  Lüderitz Waterfront, Lüderitz, South West Coast, Namibia

For more information about the festival programme, contact the Lüderitz municipality here. To find out more about Lüderitz and its crayfish, keep reading!

 

 

Photos from The 2012 Lüderitz Crayfish Festival, where many local and international tourists flocked to Luderitz for the festivities, along with The Honourable Prime Minister Geingob.

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Luderitz Namibia map, Namibia events, Namibia events calendar, luderitz crayfish festival, luderitz crayfish, crayfish Namibia, what to do in Namibia, what to see in Namibia, Namibia tourism   Luderitz Namibia map, Namibia events, Namibia events calendar, luderitz crayfish festival, luderitz crayfish, crayfish Namibia, what to do in Namibia, what to see in Namibia, Namibia tourism

Luderitz Namibia map, Namibia events, Namibia events calendar, luderitz crayfish festival, luderitz crayfish, crayfish Namibia, what to do in Namibia, what to see in Namibia, Namibia tourism

Luderitz Namibia map, Namibia events, Namibia events calendar, luderitz crayfish festival, luderitz crayfish, crayfish Namibia, what to do in Namibia, what to see in Namibia, Namibia tourism

Luderitz Namibia map, Namibia events, Namibia events calendar, luderitz crayfish festival, luderitz crayfish, crayfish Namibia, what to do in Namibia, what to see in Namibia, Namibia tourism 

What are crayfish?  

Well, to be specific, what we call “crayfish” here in Namibia are actually "West Coast Rock Lobster" (Jasus lalandii). The Crayfish Festival is a gastronomical feast of lobsters – if you’ve eaten them before, you’ll know why we go crazy for the firm and slightly sweet lobster tails. Steam them with a little lemon butter, or grill them on the braai (barbeque) and eat them fresh off the flames. Delicious! You might also hear the locals talking about “kreef” which is the Afrikaans word for crayfish.  

What makes Lüderitz crayfish special?  

It's not just marketing hype – the extreme conditions in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Namibia means these Lüderitz crayfish have the upper hand. The strong South Atlantic winds create an upwelling in the ocean that makes for the perfect environment for nutrients and micro-organisms to thrive. In fact, it is estimated that the annual new production of Phytoplankton and Zooplankton in the Benguela system is 30 to 65 times more productive per unit area than the global ocean average.    

Where to eat Lüderitz crayfish  

The festival stalls will be serving up a host of different crayfish delights. But for those looking for a sit-down crayfish meal with fine South African sparkling wine or French Champagne, then try lunch at the Penguin Restaurant at the Lüderitz Nest Hotel.     

Where to stay  

The Crayfish Festival is a very busy time for the fishing town, so if you haven’t already organised accommodation, be sure to book as soon as you can. Click here to find accommodation in Lüderitz.

What to do around Lüderitz

  • Taste some fresh Namibian oysters in between all the crayfish; they’re some of the tastiest in the world!

  • Take a walk around the town to see the early 20th Century German Art Nouveau buildings

  • Get out on the ocean with a Catamaran Marine Tour (email here to book)

  • Visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop (only 10kms from Lüderitz) for a date with history and some incredible photo opportunities

  • Explore the Sperrgebiet National Park, one of Namibia’s newest National Parks that was closed to the public for nearly a century

  • Take a marine cruise from the waterfront to see Dias Point, outlying islands with Namibia’s largest colony of African Penguins (Halifax Island), Heaviside Dolphins, Cape Fur Seals (Seal Island) and sometimes whales. 

  • Desert adventure activities are available including; 4x4 Guided and 4x4 self-drive tours into the vast Namib Naukluft Park to the north and the Tsau //Khaeb (Sperrgebiet National Park) to the south. 

  • Lüderitz is also home to the world’s premier kite and wind surfing speed sailing event, the Lüderitz Speed Challenge, which takes place every year between November to December.     

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Lüderitz architecture

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Kolmanskop

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Sperrgebiet 

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Bogenfels

Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Paul van Schalkwyk

  
  

Paul has been photographing Namibia from the land and the skies for over 40 years. His keen eye has won him more than 50 awards, both locally and internationally. We asked this Hasselblad Masters finalist to tell us just how he manages to capture the unusual, the unseen, the unreal

 

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One of his six photos nominated for 2014 Hasselblad Masters awards "Etosha Rain", photo by Paul van Schalkwyk


Tell us about your most unforgettable moment while shooting in Namibia.

Impossible to do, as there is simply too many to mention - from being stuck for eight hours after a cloud burst in the Namib desert, to being charged by a protective lioness and an angry rhino, to skirting around thunderstorms over the desert in my aeroplane.  Each one priceless!

 

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Thunderclouds, photo by Paul van Schalkwyk


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Animal tracks in the Etosha pan, photo by Paul van Schalkwyk


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Sand Tree, photo by Paul van Schalkwyk

 

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Skeleton Coast, photo by Paul van Schalkwyk

 

How does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

Namibia as a very demanding mistress and doesn't give up her secrets easily. She requires passion & dedication as well as a lot of sacrifice. If this is not your game, go the zoo.

 

“When you cross the barren planes, dunes & landscapes of Namibia for miles with a camera and tripod on your back, you shed parts of yourself all the way. You end up raw and naked, having gone through a catharsis. It changes you, it changes how you see.” 

 

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Etosha pan, photo by Paul van Schalkwyk

 

Which photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of?

I find it extremely difficult choosing.  My best three photo's always comes from my last shoot.  Each time I think I have reached the ultimate, only to be elevated to yet a higher level during the next shoot.  I would rather leave the choice of the best three images to the viewer.

 

What is your equipment of choice for your Namibian expeditions?

Other than my camera and tripod, a warm jacket. Not even in the South Pole have I been colder than in the heart of the Namib Desert.

 

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Desert Storm, photo by Paul van Schalkwyk


A photographer friend is desperate to capture the best of Namibia. What top 3 tips would you give them?

#1 The best introduction to Namibia will probably include a place somewhere in the Namib Desert, the coast and of course Etosha National Park.

#2 Do your homework, read Travel News Namibia and download Namibia Holiday & Travel (also available on the App store through Namibia Tourism Information) to get the best information about where you’re headed.

# 3 Make sure you plan enough time. Namibia isn't an instant destination and you will regret it forever if you don't allow more time.

 

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Etosha, photo by Paul van Schalkwyk

 

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Eye of Etosha, photo by Paul van Schalkwyk

 

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After desert rains, photo by Paul van Schalkwyk

 

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About Paul van Schalkwyk

Paul has received international acclaim for his multiple award winning films and photographs, which have been broadcast and published around the globe. He is a successful advertising practitioner and filmmaker but for the past ten years he has heeded the call to return to a life long and strong passion for photography. His acclaimed photographs have found a place in homes of many local and international collectors, galleries and institutions, and his are regularly published in local and international magazines. In 2013, Paul became the first Namibian to be nominated as a finalist for the prestigious Hasselblad Masters award. See more images at www.paulvans.com and www.tala.com.na or find Paul on Facebook

 

 

 

More Photographer Tips

This part of a series of blog post interviews with professional photographers on how to Capture Namibia. Every week we'll be posting tips, tricks and amazing photographs from these impressive photographers.

Follow us to get the latest in the Capture Namibia series:

          

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa

 Featured Photographers  

   
Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Marsel van Oosten, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Christopher Rimmer, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Paul van Schalkwyk, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, hasselblad masters

 Marsel van Oosten 

 Christopher Rimmer

Paul van Schalkwyk

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Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Hougaard Malan

Bill Gozansky

 Roy van der Merwe

 Hougaard Malan

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 Matthew Hood

 Ted Alan Stedman

 Jan & Jaye Roode

 

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Desert Perfume - Beauty Secrets of the Himba

  
  

For many visitors to Namibia, its vast desert landscape is the subject of striking photos, a backdrop for wildlife watching, a giant playground for off-roading, sandboarding and trekking. But for those who have lived here for centuries, the desert is their larder, their hardware store, their pharmacy… and even their cosmetics counter.

Strewn throughout the arid terrain are valuable plants which produce scented resins, moisturising oils and soothing balms. Himba women – widely regarded for their beauty and incredible hairstyles and body adornments – favour a myrrh resin from the commiphora plant, which they call omumbiri. The resin is gathered during the dry season, mixed with red ochre and animal fat, and stored in small containers made of cow horn. The women rub this paste into their bodies, giving them their characteristic red skin, and the rich, warm aroma of myrrh.

Himba woman covered in ochre

The Himba women stain their skin with the red paste, scented with myrrh, Photo by Mikael Castro

But now the secrets of the Himba perfume are being shared with the world. The Namibian Essential Oil Challenge competition was launched in order to encourage Namibians to create cosmetic products from omumbiri. Working with communities including the Himba, who know how to harvest the resin sustainably, the innovative participants produced an enormous range of products just from this one essential oil, including lip balm, soap, body scrubs, skin oils, body butters, incense and air fresheners.

In order to bring these delicious smelling products to a wider audience, a small factory has been opened in Opuwo, Kunene, to extract the myrrh oil. A visitor’s centre is also under construction, which will educate visitors about the harvesting and extraction process and offer a tour of the factory. There will also be a shop selling cosmetics, oils, incense and soaps produced by Namibian artisans.

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A Himba woman grinds ochre to make the traditional perfumed red paste, Photo by Mikael Castro

The project continues to monitor the harvesting process to ensure that it is being carried out sustainably and that the plants are not being over-exploited. At the same time, the income supports local communities who have little other means of income generation, and encourages them to manage their natural resources and environment so that harvesting can continue into the future.

More cosmetics to sample in Namibia

  • !Nara seed oil: The !Nara melon is harvested as a valuable food source by the Topnaar people living along the Kuiseb River. The seeds of the melon are pressed to extract the rich oils – which have been used for centuries by these desert-dwellers to protect their skin against the harsh, arid climate. !Nara oil is now available in various products such as soaps, creams and skin peels – so you too can benefit from the ancient moisturising secrets of the Topnaars!

  • Baobab oil: This characteristic African tree is more than just a pretty sight – the oil extracted from its seeds is rich in vitamins and extremely moisturising. It is also used to treat mild skin complaints, and some women in Africa may use it to treat their hair.

 

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!Nara seed oil products on sale in Swakopmund

Further information

  • The competition was organized with financial support from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA-Namibia) and the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich.

  • The winning products – Sophia Snyman’s “Desert Secret” and Tamarind Nott’s  - ‘Rare Scent” will be handed out to delegates during the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit, held in October in Namibia.

  • Shop for Namibian essential oil and resin products in Windhoek’s Craft Centre and Maerua Mall, and Swakopmund’s Kubatsirana Arts and Crafts Shop.

Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Christopher Rimmer

  
  

It's easy to be captivated by the contrasting and brilliant colours of the Namibian landscape. But professional photographer, Christopher Rimmer, looks at Namibia through a different lens. His black and white portraits, are not only striking, but expose the raw beauty of the people, animals and nature that are his subjects. We spoke to Christopher about why he thinks Namibia is "a photographer's dream".


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The Dominant Male, Western Etosha, Namibia, 2011 by Christopher Rimmer


Tell us about your most unforgettable moment while shooting in Namibia.

There have been so many, it is impossible to single out just one. I love waking up in the Kaokoveld and watching the sun slowly rise silhouetting a group of giraffe on the horizon. I love the silence and the whisper of the desert breeze and the dazzling galaxies of stars at night, the welcoming smile of a child. If you aren’t moved in some way by the sheer variety of beauty of Namibia, you just aren’t human.

 

"If you aren’t moved in some way by the sheer variety of beauty of Namibia, you just aren’t human"

 

How does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

Namibia is a photographer’s dream. The roads are good; the people are fascinating and friendly. The tourism infrastructure is world class, it’s safe and then there’s the quality of the light, which is quite simply – unforgettable! What’s not to love about Namibia? Sure there are some challenges, particularly for people who may be travelling in an arid region for the first time, but once you have experienced Namibia, it will stay in your heart forever. It is the only place on Earth where I have felt completely at peace. 

 

Which photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of?

 

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The Matriarch's Group near Okaukuejo, Namibia, 2010 by Christopher Rimmer


When I went to Etosha Pan in 2009, I initially stayed at the camp at Okaukuejo where I would stake out a nearby water hole frequented by two groups of elephants who visited during the heat of the afternoon, practically on a daily basis. Observing the elephants every day, I realized that one group was a matriarch’s herd comprised of females together with calves and sub adults of both sexes, and the other comprised male adults only. Whilst they often arrived at the waterhole around the same time, the matriarch’s herd would drink and then head off to dust in the distance leaving the male group at the waterhole where they stayed for the remainder of the afternoon. As the matriarch’s group moved off together to the dusting grounds, I noticed they had a curious habit of forming a long straight line, almost like a group of trained circus elephants. I also realized that, if I was able to capture this scene on film, I would have a stunning photograph. I had a problem though. I had a wide lens which would capture the entire scene but not without capturing a significant amount of edge distortion in the process. I resolved to return the following year with a special panoramic camera with which I was able to capture the entire scene distortion free in stunning detail. The resulting print is just over 3 meters long and you can see individual hairs on each elephant. This image has sold many times over all around the world. It is a very carefully planned photograph and I’m proud of it for that reason.

 

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Himba Girl with Baby, Swaartbooisdrift, Namibia, 2010 by Christopher Rimmer


This is the image that went all around the world when it was chosen by international news agencies to accompany a story about my photography being banned on Facebook. Facebook decided to remove some photographs of Himba women breast feeding their babies who were the subject of my 2010 Australian exhibition, ‘In Africa,’ on the grounds they were unfit to be viewed by minors. The obvious absurdity of this captured the media’s attention and I unwittingly became something of a poster boy for the benefits of breast-feeding! This photograph has travelled widely and later this year will be projected onto an enormous screen to coincide with its exhibition at the Montier en Der Festival in France. I often wonder about this woman and her child and I wish I could meet them again but I realize the chances are pretty slim.

 

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Elephant Calves, Etosha Pan, 2009 by Christopher Rimmer


This photograph generates a common reaction in nearly everyone who sees it – empathy. People emotionally connect to the scene of tender affection displayed by these two young elephants. As a photographer and a passionate conservationist, I realized early in my career that my photography had the potential to act as a catalyst for change if people emotionally connected with what they saw in my photographs and if they emotionally connected, they would care about what they were seeing. The world’s last remaining elephant herds need our care and our consideration if they are to survive and if they are to be seen in the wild by our children and our grandchildren. The land they need to live is being degraded and diminished by seemingly unstoppable human encroachment and the great herds are being slaughtered on an unprecedented scale for their ivory. So I’m proud of this photograph because I am aware of the emotional impact it has made.

 

What is your equipment of choice for your Namibian expeditions?

I use a large range of cameras, some film and some digital. I never leave home for Namibia without a small digital body and a 50mm lens. Everywhere I travel in Namibia, I’m amazed at how enthusiastic people, particularly children, are to see their image on the back of a camera. It is a great way to break the ice when photographing strangers. Most of the work I exhibit is photographed using Pentax 6 x 7 cameras.  

 

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Herero Woman, Ruacana, Namibia, 2011 by Christopher Rimmer

 

A photographer friend is desperate to capture the best of Namibia. What top 3 tips would you give them?

#1 Take a spare battery for your camera and try to keep both charged, you may be hundreds of kilometres from the nearest plug!

#2 Take a set of ND grad filters to reduce the dynamic range of your exposures.

#3 Don’t leave your camera in direct sunlight. Dashboards of cars are a great place to melt the plastic bodies of modern cameras anywhere it’s hot but particularly in Namibia!

 

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Giraffe at Etosha Pan Namibia, 2010 by Christopher Rimmer

  

Christopher Rimmer talks about his journeys to Namibia

 

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About Christopher Rimmer

Christopher Rimmer was born in England, grew up in South Africa and immigrated to Australia in 1981. His photography career started as a teenager, taking photos with a plastic 35mm Hanimex camera. Since then he has exhibited in Australia, the United Kingdom and France, is represented in several public and many private collections, and his critically acclaimed photographs of Africa have been widely published. Rimmer's work made international news in October, 2010 when Facebook banned his images of breast feeding African women from the site on the grounds that they were unfit to be viewed by minors. He is a member of the Royal Photographic Society and was shortlisted for British magazine B&W Photographer of the Year for his work in Southern Africa in 2011 and again in 2012. His most recent exhibition “Spirits Speak” opened at Without Pier Gallery in Melbourne, Australia in June, 2012. Rimmer's work will be exhibited in 2013 at the Manton and Montier en Der Festivals in France.

christopherrimmer.com

 

More Photographer Tips

This part of a series of blog post interviews with professional photographers on how to Capture Namibia. Every week we'll be posting tips, tricks and amazing photographs from these impressive photographers.

Follow us to get the latest in the Capture Namibia series:

          

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa

 Featured Photographers  

   
Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Marsel van Oosten, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Christopher Rimmer, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Paul van Schalkwyk, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, hasselblad masters

 Marsel van Oosten 

 Christopher Rimmer

Paul van Schalkwyk

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Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Hougaard Malan

Bill Gozansky

 Roy van der Merwe

 Hougaard Malan

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 Matthew Hood

 Ted Alan Stedman

 Jan & Jaye Roode

 

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The Penguin Runner

  
  

In October 2012, South African Dave Chamberlain set off from Walvis Bay, Namibia on a 2700km solo run for the African Penguin. 4 Months later, on a liquid-only diet and a pram as his only company, he arrived in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

 

Penguin Runner from Rhys Morgan on Vimeo.

 

Why on earth would he do something like that?

It is a little known fact that the African Penguin is listed as a “critically endangered” species by the IUCN. With rapidly declining numbers, the future survival of this penguin is uncertain.

Dave first heard about the plight of the African Penguin while on a charity run in Antarctica in March 2012. Being the son of an avid bird lover, Dave was surprised that he'd never heard about how serious the situation is for the penguin.  “We see penguins around, and we take for granted that they’re doing ok. But the reality is very different. ”

Dave realized the first hurdle in saving the penguin would be to raise awareness. So he set off on his run from Walvis Bay to Port Elizabeth, along the historical breeding range of the penguin, to spread the word. 

 

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How can you help?

  •  Click the button on the right to tweet about the plight of the African penguin right now!
  • Follow Dave at The Vidamago Foundation on Facebook and help to get the word out.

  • If you would like to make a donation you can do so here.

  • Or join Dave in his next run across Canada for the polar bears.  

  

 

A special thanks to Morgan Cardiff for the photos and footage, and for sharing this important story with us. All photos by Morgan Cardiff @ Rhys Morgan Images 

 

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Namibia wildlife, wildlife Namibia, wildlife Africa, Africa wildlife, save the penguin, the penguin runner

 

Namibia wildlife, wildlife Namibia, wildlife Africa, Africa wildlife, save the penguin, the penguin runner 

 

Namibia wildlife, wildlife Namibia, wildlife Africa, Africa wildlife, save the penguin, the penguin runner

   

Namibia wildlife, wildlife Namibia, wildlife Africa, Africa wildlife, save the penguin, the penguin runner

  

More links & information

  • Read more about The Vidamago Foundation and the Penguin Plod 2012 here

  • View more of Morgan Cardiff's photos here.
  • Find out about Conservation in Namibia here. 

 

African Penguins

Photo from Wikimedia Commons author Charlesjsharp 

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Landscape Escape to The Skeleton Coast

  
  

The Skeleton Coast, or "The Land God Made in Anger" as the Bushmen called it, remains one of the world’s last great wildernesses: harsh, still not completely explored, definitely untamed and extraordinarily beautiful. 


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The sky casts a ghostly shadow over the land, creating the illusion of a sunken desert, photo by Paul van Schalkwyk


There is no denying the Skeleton Coast is an unforgiving and eerie landscape. The cold Beguela current produces a thick, heavy fog that clouds the coast for most of the year. The icy surf of the Atlantic Ocean pummels the shore. The desert winds from the east bring less than 10 millimeters of annual rainfall.

The Skeleton Coast got its name from the bones that once littered the shore, remnants of the whaling industry. Today, the skeletons that remain are those of the ships that fell victim to the hidden rocky outcrops and blinding fog. You can still see these strewn vessels along the coast - the Eduard Bohlen, the Otavi, the Dunedin Star and Tong Taw to name a few. Not surprising then, that the Portuguese sailors once referred to the coast as "The Gates of Hell". 

 

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The skeletons of old shipwrecks that line the Namibian coast, Photo by Vicki Brown 

 

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Whale bones that wash up onto the shore, Photo by Tala Images 

 

The Skeleton Coast Park

The national park, which protects about one third of Namibia’s coastline, boasts dramatic landscapes of wind swept dunes, rugged canyons of richly colored volcanic rock and vast mountain ranges. See roaring and fossilised dunes, ancient lava flows, the Hoarusib castles of clay and the saltpans near the Agate Mountain.

Proclaimed in its present form in 1971, the park extends from the Ugab River in the south for 500 km (311 miles) to the Kunene River in the north, covering an area of 16,390 km2 (6,328 square miles).

There are plans to extend the park to include the entire Namibian coastline, which will make Namibia the only continental country in the world that has its entire coastline protected as a national park. The new park, provisionally called Namib-Skeleton Coast National Park (NSCNP), will be the eighth-largest protected area in the world, the sixth-largest terrestrial protected area globally and the largest park in Africa, covering an area of 107,540 km2 (roughly 41,521 square miles). 

 

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The wandering dunes that are shifted along the landscape by the winds, Photo by Paul van Schalkwyk


Signs of life

Despite being inhospitable, the Skeleton Coast is home to many animals. Gemsbok (oryx), springbok, jackal, ostrich and brown hyena roam the park while desert-adapted elephant and even black rhino, lion and giraffe travel up and down the dry river courses.

The Skeleton Coast Park is important for ancient wildlife migration routes east to the Etosha National Park. Many wildlife species rely upon the numerous west flowing rivers (known as ‘linear oases’) that thread through the park for survival. While rivers rarely flow, underground water and springs in the river beds nourish vegetation, riparian forest, and provide water, food, breeding grounds and shelter. 

 

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An Ostrich egg lies abandoned by its mother in the sand, Photo by Tala Images 

 

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Lonely jackal scours the coast, Photo by Paul van Schalkwyk


People also once lived in this harsh land. Remnants of the “Strandlopers” (beach walkers) can be found by the collection of old white mussels shells found along parts of the coast.

There are over 100 lichen species with more still to be discovered and their role is essential to the park ecology. The lichen grows on the plains and west-facing mountain slopes, changing color and becoming soft and leathery to the touch when the coastal fog pushes inland. 

 

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Above: Lichen colours the land; Below: just some of the hundreds of different types of lichen seen along the Skeleton Coast, Photos by Tala Images

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Visiting the Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast is a heavily protected conservation area. Certain areas (north of Mowe Bay) are off limits to any visitors, while the southern parts, entrances between the Ugab and Hoanib rivers, require permits.

Accommodation in the park is provided in a rest camp at Terrace Bay, previously a diamond-mining settlement, and at the Torra Bay camping site, open only from 1 December to 31 January. Overnight visitors must be in possession of a valid reservation for Terrace Bay or Torra Bay and arrive at the checkpoints at the Ugab Mouth and Springbokwasser gates not later than 15h00 and leave from these points not later than 17h00.

A day permit to drive directly through the southern region of the park is obtainable from the Ministry of Environment & Tourism Office in Swakopmund, as well as at the Ugab and Springbokwasser gates. Day visitors need to enter before 15h00 and leave by 17h00 and may not visit Terrace Bay or Torra Bay. 

 

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Entrance to the Skeleton Coast National Park, photo by Mikael Castro

 

Something for the explorer

Because of the highly sensitive environment and serious conservation efforts, not all of the Skeleton Coast is accessible to people. Take a flying safari over the national park to witness the vast display of shipwrecks and untouched landscapes from the sky!

 

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Soar above the wild coastline of Namibia to get the best views, Photo by Vicki Brown


Something for the brave

Take on the pounding surf off the Skeleton Coast to experience some of the longest tube rides the planet has to offer.

 

Brazilian-born surfer Kiron Jabour takes on the Skeleton Coast - Surfing video by surfeurope  

Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Marsel van Oosten

  
  

Marsel van Oosten is a nature photographer from The Netherlands. You might know him from his spellbinding timelapse video "Namibian Nights", in which he compiled 16,000 night time images shot over a two year period. A spectacular feat. And his other photographs are just as impressive. We tapped Marsel for the secret to shooting such incredible photos in Namibia and found out why he keeps coming back for more.


Tell us about your most unforgettable moment while shooting in Namibia.

I've got two unforgettable moments in Namibia. The first time I flew over the red sand dunes near Sossusvlei in a microlight airplane was spectacular. So spectacular actually, that scenic flights over the dunes have been part of our Namibia photo tour ever since. Another unforgettable moment was my first night shoot in Namibia. Never before had I seen so many stars - truly mesmerizing. Night photography is also an important part of our tour, as Namibia is simply perfect for it.

 

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Photo by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com

 

How does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

Namibia is very different from all the other countries in Southern Africa. It's one of the least densely populated countries in the world, and that doesn't go unnoticed - it's usually very quiet once you're away from the cities. As a result, there is also very little light pollution, and that is good for night photography. Politically, it is one of the most stable countries in the region and the people are very friendly. Prices are very reasonable and the infrastructure is very good and well maintained. In terms of landscapes, Namibia is unrivaled. The fairytale-like quivertrees in the south, the surreal desert ghost town near the coast, the highest red sand dunes in the world near Sossusvlei, and the hauntingly beautiful valley Deadvlei. Also, the wildlife viewing at Etosha is also very good, so Namibia has a lot to offer. The challenges are similar to those in other African countries - it can be brutally hot, distances between primary locations are often big, and in some places it can be very dusty. Nothing bad enough to keep us away though.

 

"In terms of landscapes, Namibia is unrivalled"

 

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Photo by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com

 

Which photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of?

My first star trail image from Deadvlei is one of my favorites because the star trails fit so well with the surreal location, and I was only the second photographer in the world to have shot star trails there. As a result it is also one of my most popular images - it has been published countless times, and it is part of a series of photographs that won me the title International Nature Photographer Of The Year at the International Photography Awards in the US. I do a lot of night photography in Namibia, and over the years many people have started to do the same. When people start copying you, you know you're doing good.

 

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Photo by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com 


In an effort to create something truly unique again, my wife Daniella and I shot a night timelapse video in Namibia - the first ever made. It took us two years to shoot, it was a lot of work, but it was all worth it when we won First Prize at the Travel Photographer Of The Year awards with it. 

 

Video by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com 

 

The third shot that I'm still very proud of, is a photograph of a blue room filled with sand that I took in the deserted diamond mining town Kolmanskop. It's rather straightforward, but the timing is perfect and so is the light. It was published as a double page spread in National Geographic magazine and it is without a doubt my most copied shot.

 

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Photo by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com 


What is your equipment of choice for your Namibian expeditions?

I always bring two or three camera bodies and four lenses, all Nikon; a 14-24/2.8, a 24-70/2.8, a 70-200/2.8 and a 200-400/4. A tripod with a good ballhead is also essential. I never leave home without my iPhone - for weather predictions, sunrise, moonrise, sunset and moonset times, and for calculating the position of the stars at any given time.

 

A photographer friend is desperate to capture the best of Namibia. What top 3 tips would you give them?

#1 First determine what you want to photograph. For wildlife, you need to go in the dry season. If you want spectacular clouds, you need to go in the rainy season. If you don't like the heat, you should not visit in summer, etc. There's a best time and place for every subject.

#2 Take your time. Namibia is a big country and it has a lot to offer. Distances are often quite big between destinations, so you won't be able to see the whole country in two weeks. From my experience it's nicer to spend more time at fewer locations than to rush from highlight to highlight.

#3 If you want your visit to be efficient and productive, just join us on our Namibia Untamed photo tour. You'll travel with a small group of like-minded enthusiasts, and we will make sure that you're standing in the perfect spot at the right time. We will also make sure you return with stunning images through location briefings, in the field tips, image reviews and night photography instructions.

 

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Photo by ©Marsel van Oosten | Squiver Photo Tours | squiver.com

 

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About Marsel van Oosten

Marsel van Oosten is a professional nature photographer from The Netherlands. His images are featured in galleries and museums, he is a regular contributor for National Geographic, and he recently won the title International Nature Photographer Of The Year for the second year in a row. Marsel and his wife Daniella run specialized wildlife and landscape photography tours and workshops for small groups of all experience levels to spectacular locations worldwide. For more information visit www.squiver.com 

 

More Photographer Tips

This part of a series of blog post interviews with professional photographers on how to Capture Namibia. Every week we'll be posting tips, tricks and amazing photographs from these impressive photographers.

Follow us to get the latest in the Capture Namibia series:

          

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Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa

 Featured Photographers  

   
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 Marsel van Oosten 

 Christopher Rimmer

Paul van Schalkwyk

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Bill Gozansky

 Roy van der Merwe

 Hougaard Malan

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 Matthew Hood

 Ted Alan Stedman

 Jan & Jaye Roode

 


Behind the scenes with World Nomads in Namibia

  
  

A couple of World Nomads are on their virgin African adventure here in Namibia. Fresh off the plane from Iceland and India, they chose Namibia as their third and final destination for a series of documentaries focusing on the real people and stories behind top travel destinations.

In Namibia, we're all for adventure tourism - getting travellers to experience life in Namibia and to interact with locals, rather than just being a passive observer. Maybe it's because we have so many different cultures here, or because there aren't that many people for such a big country. Either way, we're always happy to welcome travellers. 

“The people have been fantastic. Everyone we’ve met has just been so friendly and welcoming, not to mention really interesting to talk to.”

Here are some photos of the World Nomads team battling the dunes in Swakopmund and getting to know some of the locals in Mondesa township. Next on the agenda is a trip up north to meet the Himba and a wonder through Windhoek to find some of the more interesting and lesser-known characters who've made the capital their home.

Click the video below to watch Sussan's sandboarding wipeout (!)

 

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Desert as far as the eye can see, with fog hanging over the horizon for dramatic effect

 

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Sussan giggles nervously as Nico prepares her for speeding down a super steep dune face

 

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Mamma producer begins to wonder if this classifies as work, as the sandboarding pros get a rhythm work-out going

 

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A local Herero woman in Mondesa talks about the trials and tribulations of township life

 

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It doesn't matter where you are in the world, it's easy to spot the teenager's bedroom...

 

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Outside a pre-pay water pump in the informal settlements


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The home of the local healer, who spoke about how traditional practices and modern medicine co-exist

 

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Sussan gets serenaded by local township "a cappella boyband" Vocal Galore 

 

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At the end of the day, what more could you ask for but an ice cold Windhoek beer at the local shebeen, to soak in all the stories told and people met along the way

A Taste of Namibia: African-Portugese Inspired Recipe

  
  

Namibia is popular as a business and shopping destination for our Angolan neighbours and many Angolans are based in Namibia, so naturally a bit of African-Portuguese inspiration rubs off on our culture and our cooking. To get your taste of Portugal in Namibia, try out this recipe for pork with thyme and olives taken from “My Hungry Heart: Notes from a Namibian kitchen” by Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrug (and published in Travel News Namibia, which you can download online through our app here)

 

Pork with Thyme & Olives: My Hungry Heart

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Photo by Hentie Burger taken from My Hungry Heart

 

1.5kg deboned pork neck (or leg of pork)

1 large onion, chopped

Sprigs of thume (or dry)

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

8-10 cloves garlic, whole

350g ripe tomatoes (or 1 tin)

125g small pitted black olives

500ml light stock

50g butter

1 bay leaf

15ml oil

Parsley

Seasoning salt

60ml white wine

Black Pepper

125g pitted green olives

 

Preheat oven to 190*C. Wipe the pork with a clean cloth. Make several deep incisions into the meat. Stuff each incision with a sprig of thyme, a clove of garlic and a black olive.

Heat the butter and half of the oil in a frying pan and brown meat all over. Set frying pan aside and place meat in a roasting pan. Season with salt and black pepper and roast for about two hours, basting occasionally, until the juices run clear when the meat pierced with a skewer.

Meanwhile, add remaining olive oil to frying pan and fry the onion slowly until transparent. Add the garlic, tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Add bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Season to taste. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until thick.

Take the meat from the roasting tin. Cut into thick slices. Pour the juices from the tin into a saucepan and skim off the fat. Add the wine and green olives and stir over a low heat. Now add to the tomato sauce in the pan.

Return the sliced meat to the roasting pan. Adjust seasoning. Pout the sauce over the meat and return to the oven for about 2- minutes. Serve with roast potatoes.

Of course, nothing tastes better than eating the real thing on Namibian soil... so start planning your Namibian taste adventure with our handy Travel Planning Guides!

 

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My Hungry Heart: Notes from a Namibian kitchen

Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrug

Photos by Hentie Burger

Text by Christine Hugo

Buy it here

 

 

Fore more recipes, download our Digital Publications app by clicking below:

 


The Owambo People of Namibia

  
  

Despite being the most densely populated part of Namibia, the central northern region doesn’t often feature in tourist itineraries. Geographically and historically isolated from the rest of the country by the huge Etosha National Park, it is often forgotten. But overgrown with beautiful makalani palms, marula and mopane trees and the odd baobab make this landscape picturesque. It is also home to the Owambo people, who represent almost half of Namibia’s total population.  

About Owambo people  

In around 1550, the people referred to collectively as the Aawambo moved southwards from the Great Lakes in East Africa and settled between the Kunene and Okavango rivers.  

In the pre-colonial structure of Owambo society there was a king and his headmen in each of the seven Owambo groups, and the king always had the last say! Today only three of the Owambo clans – the Ndonga, Ngandjera and Kwaluudhi – still recognise their kings and are ruled by chiefs-in-council.  

Learning to speak Kwanyama

Good morning: Wa lele po?

Good afternoon: Wa uhlala po?

Good evening: Wa tokelwa po?

Thank you: Tangi

Yes: Ehee

No: Aaye

Where is the toilet: Okandjuwo oke li peni?

The Kwanyama constitute the largest of the eight Owambo tribes. The others are the Ndonga, Kwambi, Ngandyela, Kwaluudhi and Mbalanhu, and the smaller Nkolonkadhi and Unda.  

The Owambo languages are Bantu in origin, closely related to one another and commonly understood by Oshiwambo speakers. The Kwenyama and Ndonga languages have been developed into written languages.

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- A traditional Owambo homestead

Many traditional villages still exist and demonstrate the orderliness of their social structure. Their villages are hidden behind wooden fences. At the entrance visitors are welcomed before being allowed to enter the village. Inside, each area is separated with wooden poles and is dedicated to a particular group of people.

Owambo houses are traditionally of the rondavel type, mostly surrounded by palisades and often connected by passages.  

Cattle kraals usually form part of the complex. The Nguni cattle are contained within walls of dried thorn bush, and often used to help carry water and supplies to and from the villages.  

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- Keeping the cattle at bay with a makeshift fence

The villages are surrounded by cultivated lands. The Owambo practise a mixed economy of agriculture, mainly mahangu (pearl millet), sorghum and beans, and animal husbandry (cattle) supplemented by fishing in shallow pools and watercourses called oshanas.   

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- An Owambo woman prepares Mahangu

About a quarter of the Owambo region has been claimed by individual landowners, each occupying farms of several thousand hectares. Grazing and farming are communal but subject to the laws of the people.

Traditional land is used according to traditional right of occupation, which they get by paying cattle to the ‘owner’ of the ward (omkunda).

One of the best-known ornamental artefacts developed by the Owambo people is the ekipa, a button shaped like a beehive made from ivory or bone, which was traditionally worn by women on leather belts down their backs. According to experts, when an Owambo king hunted an elephant at the opening of a hunting season, the royal family had the right to the ivory. A woman wore the ekipa as a sign of esteem and royalty. The number of ekipas displayed conveyed her status in the community and gave an indication of the wealth of her family. The artefacts were worn on special occasions such as fertility feasts, weddings and funerals. There is also evidence the ekipa was used as money. 

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- Small bream are a tasty source of protein for the locals

Trading is strongly encouraged in the Owambo community, as is evidenced by the more than 10 000 stalls, cuca shops and numerous locally owned shopping complexes in the region. Large numbers of Oshiwambo people now work in other parts of the country and today’s workforces in the mining and fishing industries consist primarily of Owambo people.

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- Local bars (shebeens) line the main road and are a popular party spot for the locals 

The Owambo people have always played an active role in politics. Namibia’s ruling party, SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organisation), started as a non-violent pressure group referred to as the Owambo People’s Organisation. It was led by Andimba Herman Toivo ya Toivo and Samuel Shafiishuna Nujoma, the man destined to become the first president of an independent Namibia. 

Home industries such as dressmaking, wood carving, pottery and basketry provide an income for many Owambo women, who traditionally cultivated the land and raised the children. Today Owambo women are increasingly entering the labour market as nurses, clerks, shop assistants and teachers.  

Since 1870, following the advent of the Finnish Mission in Owambo, and subsequently the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, Christianity has played a major role in the lives of the Owambo people. Today more than half of the population has some link with these denominations. The Finnish Mission Church developed into an independent Owambo/Kavango Church, which also has adherents among the Kavango people of the north-east.

About The Four O-Regions  

The Owambo regions of Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena and Oshikoto were referred to in former years as Owamboland – the ‘homeland’ established during the sixties for the Owambo people by the South African Government – nowadays the area is referred to informally as the Four O regions. While the majority of Namibia’s Owambo live in these O regions, many have migrated southwards to other parts of the country.  

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The major portion of these four regions, which have a total surface area of just over 56 100 km2, consists of communal farming land, that is land where there is no individual ownership or demarcation, and where the majority of the inhabitants live from subsistence farming.  

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- Plains flood and lillies flower

Life on the vast plains depends on the seasonal efundja, the floods that feed the rivers and oshanas, flat shallow depressions, many of which light up with copious growths of white lilies soon after they have filled with water in the rainy season. It provides drinking water to humans and animals, protein in the form of fish and a habitat for large numbers of aquatic birds.  

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- Makalani palms close to a traditional village

The makalani palms (Hyphaene petersiana) tower over the landscape. Sap is tapped from the growing tip of the stems of these palms and left to ferment into a potent drink called Ombike (palm wine). The fruit of the makalani palm takes two years to mature and has a white, bony kernel. Referred to as vegetable ivory, the hard kernel is suitable for carving small ornaments, jewellery and curios.

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- Cattle help with the daily chores


Visiting Owamboland 

The best time of the year to visit these regions is April or May, after the rains. By this time the roads are suitable for driving on, the heat of the summer has abated and the wetlands still host many water birds, such as cranes, storks, ducks, herons and small waders.  

From Olukonda, the nearby attractions include the Ombuga Grasslands & Lake Oponono (1-2 hours drive away, accompanied by a local guide), the markets at Ondangwa and Oshakati (15–45 minutes) and the Etosha National Park (2-3 hours).  

Farther north west, the Tsandi Royal Homestead is home to the king of one of the seven tribes in Owambo. Since time immemorial it has been the centre for traditional values, customs and cultural practices to be passed down from generation to generation. Visitors will find themselves enchanted by the Uukwaluudhi tribe. Here they can take a step closer and meet the people of Owambo, gain insight into the local culture and way of life, learn more about the traditions of the Uukwaluudhi Kingdom and have the opportunity to meet the King in person. Craft outlets with traditional artifacts on display provide the opportunity to buy local handmade crafts including woven baskets, wooden cups and clay pots. A guided tour to the monument at Ongulumbashe (a historical place where the beginning of the liberation struggle in 1966 is commemorated) can be organised on request. The Tsandi Royal Homestead is located in Tsandi, the main town of Uukwaluudhi in the Omusati region, approximately 100 km from Oshakati.  

To gain a real insight into the north-central region, visitors are advised to drive right up to the north-western corner where they will be rewarded with the stunning sight of the Ruacana Falls in the mighty Kunene, one of the two rivers on the border between Namibia and Angola.

Some useful information and links  

This text has been adapted from Namibia Holiday & Travel – for more great information, download it from the appstore 

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