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NamibRand Becomes Africa's First International Dark Sky Reserve

  
  

Image by George TuckerNamibia’s NamibRand Nature Reserve (NRNR), pioneered by conservation hero J.A. Albi Brückner, is one of Africa’s largest private nature reserves. Recently NRNR has expanded its conservation role to include preserving the star-filled nighttime skies that shine above its dunes and mountains. These efforts in night sky conservation have earned the reserve high honors as the International Dark-Sky Association newest International Dark Sky Reserve.

The NRNR is a “Gold” tier reserve, which places the Reserve’s night sky in the IDA’s darkest and strictest available category. IDA Executive Director Bob Parks explains, “The night sky over the NamibRand Nature Reserve is exceptional, as are the efforts the reserve has taken in modifying its lighting for the sake of its wildlife and visitors.”  

Game viewing is replaced by stargazing at night, as visitors to the Namib Desert can see the Milky Way, the Southern Cross and Scorpio, amongst other spectacular starry sights, that much more clearly!

Check out some exceptional photography on Dr. George Tucker's flickr page

Tips for Driving in Namibia

  
  

Namibia has an excellent road system that reaches just about every popular tourist destination in the country. However, the majority of the roads are gravel, and in the more remote areas they become tracks, which require careful driving, and for safety considerations, a second vehicle. Here are some tips to help get you to your destination safely.

  1. First and foremost, in Namibia we drive on the left side of the road.

  2. Passengers in the back as well as the front seats must wear seatbelts.

  3. To drive a vehicle in Namibia, you need a valid driving licence and must carry it with you when you are driving. If your driver’s licence is not printed in English, it is advisable to travel with an International Driver’s Licence.

  4. Make sure you are fully insured.

  5. Before leaving on your self-drive tour, make sure the brakes of your vehicle are in good working order.

  6. Your tyres must have the correct air pressure for the roads on which you’re planning to travel and also for the amount of luggage and number of passengers in your car.

  7. Always carry at least one spare tyre. When visiting remote areas, it is advisable to carry a second spare tyre and a tyre-repair kit.

  8. In Namibia, four-by-four vehicles are recommended when travelling through remote areas.

  9. You should carry a well-equipped first-aid kit.

  10. Plan your trip carefully, ensuring that you have enough fuel for the journey you have planned. Fill your tank at every available opportunity, even though you may not be in immediate need.

  11. Always carry water when you travel. Plan to have enough water for your entire journey, also in case you have a breakdown or become stuck.

  12. It is advisable to leave your itine-rary with your tour operator, hotel or friends. In the unlikely event that you become lost, authorities will be able to find you if they know your plans.

  13. Make sure you have a current, authoritative map before you leave on your trip. When you leave the official roads marked on your map, there may be no road signs to direct you and the condition of the road may be poor.

  14. Take time to listen carefully to the safety briefing given by your car-hire company. Ask advice on the condition of the roads in the areas you plan to visit. If your car has extra fuel and water tanks, use them.

  15. Watch out for animals crossing the road or grazing near the roadside. Both wild and domestic animals frighten easily and can jump directly in front of your moving car.

  16. Avoid travelling at night. Wildlife is most active at dusk, and the possibility of a collision at this time of day is vastly increased.

  17. When entering any game park or other area where there are wild animals, read the safety guidelines provided. It is dangerous to leave your vehicle when you are in a wildlife area. The only safe way to look at a wild animal is from the safety of your vehicle.

  18. As distances are long, take regular breaks.

Conservation Hero – Ou Jan Tsumib

  
  

Jan TsumibWith global green awareness currently rising, conservation heroes tend to be very public individuals, whose achievements are well documented in the media. Amongst these is a small cohort of people whose actions go unnoticed, but whose efforts almost subconsciously inspire those around them to care more for our planet: We know them as “unsung heroes”.  Namibia's Ou Jan Tsumib is one such person.

Ou Jan, a Hei//om bushman, born in the wilds of Etosha, has spent an entire lifetime looking after the land he was born on. He addresses the wildlife, the plants and the changing seasons of the bush with a father-like voice and speaks of elephants and mopane trees as equals to himself. He worked in conservation all his life for no other reason than to get him closer to the soil that supports the life he so admires ,and in so doing has acquired an unequaled understanding of the web of life in this domain. He has also influenced everyone he has had contact with by generously sharing his knowledge and inspiring them to care more about the natural world. 

Winner of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award, Ou Jan Tsumib’s quiet voice, dignified manner and wealth of understanding about the world around him make him a true conservation hero.

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