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Go Big Namibia Day 8: BIG RUSH

  
  
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Emeritta Lillo is on the road with the #GoBigNamibia tour. Each day she'll be sharing their adventures, so stay tuned for some handy travel tips and inspiration. Follow the team on Twitter @NamibiaHorizons #GoBigNamibia and Facebook for a chance to win

Our eighth day on the road and we’re still going strong. Today’s adventure started with the Living Desert Tour through the Namib Desert along the western coast of the country, just outside Swakopmund. As impressive as the coastal dune belt is, it was the fascinating variety of desert-adapted wildlife that really charmed us.

Watching our guide Chris handle a Namib dune gecko, gently persuade a Namaqua chameleon to feed and pointing out a Peringuey's adder deftly camouflaged in the sand made us all appreciate the hidden gems of the Namib desert. Chris' dedication to conservation in the Dorob National park and passion for the resilient flora and fauna of this region was truly inspiring. 

After lunch we headed back into the desert for adrenalin inducing sandboarding. There’s nothing like barreling down the side of a dune at high speed, whether it’s on a sandboard or a piece of plywood.

Stay tuned for more adventure travel in Sossusvlei tomorrow!

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A Peringuey's adder well hidden in the sand

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A Namaqua chameleon - he is a black color in order to absorb heat during the cold morning.

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A Palmato Gecko - one of two types of geckos living in the Namib Desert. Check out their webbed feet which make it easier for them to move on the sand.

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Our energetic guide, Chris, describing the wonders of the desert to us.

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 The Go Big Team, in the afternoon, getting ready to carry their sandboards up the dunes.

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What goes up....

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Must come down! Emeritta crusing down the dunes.

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Liz about to take off on the lie-down board.

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Ending the day with a well-deserved sundowner at the Tiger Reef on the beach.

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Go Big Namibia Day 7: BIG SPACE

  
  
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Emeritta Lillo is on the road with the #GoBigNamibia tour. Each day she'll be sharing their adventures, so stay tuned for some handy travel tips and inspiration. Follow the team on Twitter @NamibiaHorizons #GoBigNamibia and Facebook for a chance to win

 

Today took an unexpected turn with a flat tyre on our early morning drive... Thankfully our guide David was on hand to change it. But with the day's plans a little out of step, we decided to make a detour to Twyfelfontein. And what a detour it was.

Pronounced a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007, Twyfelfontein lies within the Huab basin in the Kunene region, flanked by burgundy-red sandstone rock mountains. It is named after the elusive spring water that occurs in the area. It boasts one of the largest concentrations of ancient rock paintings and engravings in Africa, more than 2500 in total. A short hike took us to see the “dancing kudu” etched on the ancient rock, as well as the amazing “Lion’s mouth” engraving.

Damaraland blew us all away with it’s stunning landscapes and ancient, mystical stories of shamen and San life. Namibia truly is the land of big space.

Lunch was served at the incredible Camp Kipwe, a uniquely designed lodge tucked away between the giant boulders of Damaraland and well worth the drive. 

Onwards to Swakopmund!

 

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The Go Big Namibia crew saluting Grootberg Lodge before heading off

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Taking a tour of the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein

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The dramatic backdrop for today 

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Checking out some ancient art

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The famous "Dancing Kudu"

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Rachel has a taste of the sweet, fresh water that gave Twyfelfontein its name

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Lunch between the boulders at Camp Kipwe 

 

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Go Big Namibia Day 6: Big Tracks

  
  
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Emeritta Lillo is on the road with the #GoBigNamibia tour. Each day she'll be sharing their adventures, so stay tuned for some handy travel tips and inspiration. Follow the team on Twitter @NamibiaHorizons #GoBigNamibia and Facebook for a chance to win

Just after sunrise, the team set off from Grootberg lodge through the Klip River Valley for a day of rhino tracking. This region of Namibia is renowned for it's lush, unspoilt beauty, rocky landscapes and free roaming wildlife.

We navigated the bumpy ride with smiles and cameras flashing, taking in the spring-sprinkled trees and beautiful zebras and antelope.  

Three hours later we received word that the trackers (who had set off on foot earlier) had spotted a rhino. We left the vehicles and headed up the mountain on foot. After about a kilometer, we were lucky enough to spot the male rhino named Hans Otto. He was resting in a clearing. We were sure to stay upwind from him so he couldn't catch our scent.

The black rhino population in the area has increased from three in 1998 to ten in 2013 due to the diligent work of the #Khaodi/Hoas Conservancy, their commitment to conservation and their brave promise to live side by side with wildlife.

On the way back to the lodge, we even encountered a small pride of young lions sunning themselves under the trees - a photographer’s dream. Another brilliantly adventurous day.

 

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An early start, but the views alone made it worthwhile

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The long drive in search of the rhinos

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At last we spot some rhino tracks

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We set off on foot to get a closer

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The reward

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Diligent conservancy managers document every rhino sighting to keep tabs on these endangered animals

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And we found some lions on drive home (as you do)

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Grootberg lodge - a sight for sore eyes after a long day of rhino tracking

 

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Go Big Namibia Day 5: Big Culture

  
  
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Emeritta Lillo is on the road with the #GoBigNamibia tour. Each day she'll be sharing their adventures, so stay tuned for some handy travel tips and inspiration. Follow the team on Twitter @NamibiaHorizons #GoBigNamibia and Facebook for a chance to win

This morning we said goodbye to Etosha and headed SouthWest towards the Khoadi/ Hoas Conservancy, one of the oldest conservancies in Namibia.

Around noon we arrived at Grootberg Lodgethe only lodge in Namibia owned 100% by the community. The lodge is perched on the rim of the breathtaking Etendeka Plateau, overlooking the Klip River Valley. I think this view is in contention for the most stunning view in all of Namibia.

After lunch we met our guide, Martin, who took us to visit the Himba - the last semi-nomadic tribe in Africa. It took us about 2 hours to reach the Himba village, which lies at the end of an oasis lined with green makalani palms. It was a stark contrast to the barren and rocky landscape that we have been driving through all day!

They greeted us warmly and we all met each other shaking hands and repeating one another’s names. Marianna, an 18 year old Himba woman, showed us how they rub ochre on their body and how they burn special herbs as a perfume. We were able to buy some traditional jewelry from them and before we left they treated us to a traditional dance. Ees, of course, joined in.

 

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Spectacular views from Grootberg Lodge

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Makalani palm trees line the way to the Himba village

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Marianne, our Himba acquaintance

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Himba women's hairstyles reflect their age and social status

(read more interesting facts about the Himba here

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The red ochre they smear on their skin is said to be one of the secrets to their beauty

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I got to experience it first hand

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There were plenty of Himba children playing in the village - and with our Go Biggers...

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#GoBigNamibia, Go Big Namibia, adventure tourism, africa adventure, adventure in africa, himba, himba namibia

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Fascinated by the Himba? Read more about them here:

In search of the Himba in Namibia

Fast Facts: The Himba of Namibia

Desert Perfume - Beauty Secrets of the Himba

 

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Go Big Namibia Day 4: Big Game

  
  
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Emeritta Lillo is on the road with the #GoBigNamibia tour. Each day she'll be sharing their adventures, so stay tuned for some handy travel tips and inspiration. Follow the team on Twitter @NamibiaHorizons #GoBigNamibia and Facebook for a chance to win

Today was wildlife day! We woke up early to see the sunrise at Namutoni, a hotel inside Etosha national park built around an old German fortress (fun fact: Ees' great-great-great Grandfather was stationed at the fort at the turn of the century). After breakfast we boarded an open game drive vehicle and set off early with Gerson from Namibia Guiding services.

During the day we spotted lions, rhino, masses of elephants and giraffe, eland, kudu, oryx, and even a cheetah!

Liz missed her calling to be a wildlife guide - she was spotting game camouflaged in the bush before the guide...

We made a stop at the expansive salt pans, and took some mandatory jumping pictures. Around 4 we pulled into Okakeujo on the Western side of the park.

Here we met up with Sunday Nelenge, the passionate area manager for Namibia Wildlife Resorts. He explained to us the work that is being done in Etosha to ensure the park remains what it is today for generations to come.

Insider tip: Sunday says 4 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Etosha. Check out our top 5 things to do in Etosha here.

We’re heading to the spectacular Okakeujo waterhole now for a nightcap…

 

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The Go Big Namibia team get ready for a serious safari - Emeritta, Laurel, Rachel, Ees and Liz

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Game watching tip: lookout for wildlife hiding from the midday sun in the shade of the trees

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A giraffe and an oryx (or gemsbok as we call them here) running from a waterhole

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Rachel leaning in for a good shot

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If you look closely between the bushes you might be lucky enough to see these tiny antelope, the dik diks

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Elephants strolling to a waterhole

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Getting right up close to the action

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Sunday from Namibia Wildlife Resorts 

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Spotting lions in the dark

 

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Spending Time with Namibia's Big Cats

  
  

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend some time with three of Namibia’s most impressive carnivores. Lions, leopards and cheetahs are all truly powerful and inspiring creatures, and yet, as with most things in nature they are in fact part of a very fragile system that can be broken very easily. As such there are many different organisations from all around the world that have made it their goal to ensure the survival of these majestic creatures in their natural habitats. 

Human/animal conflicts are one of the major sources of problems for these big cats. Farmers often kill these predators because they fear a loss of livestock and want to ensure their farms are safe from threats. Often this means that adult female cats are killed while on the hunt for food for their cubs.

Conservation, namibia tourism, namibia, lion, cheetah, large carnivores, namibia travel, adventure travel, adventure africa

A Lioness roars inside her enclosure at N/a’an ku sê.

When a mother is killed her cubs are left alone and helpless in the harsh wilderness of Namibia. Sometimes the predator is caught, (usually cheetahs are captured as lions and leopards are simply too big for most people to handle with any success) and people have been known to try and tame them for recreational or security purposes.

It is almost impossible for a non-professional conservationist to look after one of these big cats and as a result many abandoned cubs, and a few mature cats, die each year due to malnutrition or sickness.

Conservation, namibia tourism, namibia, lion, cheetah, large carnivores, namibia travel, adventure travel, adventure africa

Hungry hungry leopard- Big cats are incredibly difficult to keep fed and as such should
never be adopted by untrained people.

Conservation and rehabilitation

This is where an organisation like the N/a'an ku sê Foundation comes in to play. One of the many conservation goals of this organisation is to try and mediate the conflicts between humans and large predators.

From intensive work with farmers in the surroundings areas, to large carnivore tracking and monitoring, the conservationists at N/a’an ku sê are attempting to educate and help local people and farming communities on how best to live with Namibia’s big cats.

N/a’an ku sê is primarily concerned with two types of big cat conservation. First and foremost they are involved with tracking and monitoring of wild predators in the surrounding areas.

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Left to right: An old RF tracking collar, a motion detecting camera, a GPS transponder

The tracking collars, GPS transponders and motion activated cameras are all used to map out the movements of big cats in order to give us more information on the habbits of these elusive creatures.

The more information organisations like this have the more likely it is that we as a species will better understand these animals and thus be able to live more harmoniously with them.

Speaking to Stuart at N/a’an ku sê it is easy to see the passion that the people who work there have for the animals they are protecting. The excitement and pride that the whole team feels when speaking of the wild Cheetah and her new litter of cubs was truly heart warming.

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Stuart showing us exactly where a wild cheetah is nesting with her litter of cubs.

Why organisations like this are needed

Sometimes, unfortunately, when humans and big cats encroach on one another’s space things go wrong. This leads to situations were these big cats can be held in captivity by untrained well-meaning people or selfish exploitative people.

Either way, if a wild animal, particularly a predator, is held in captivity it often becomes impossible to rehabilitate it for re-release into the wild. These animals cannot be rehabilitated and used to be sent off to zoos or put down if no organization was willing to take them in.

By taking in unrehabilitatable leopards, lions and cheetahs N/a’an ku sê gives these animals a chance at a peaceful life in environments that are very similar to the habitats found in the wild.

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A cheetah surveys its surrounds at N/a’an ku sê

All the money that is made from these animals in captivity is put straight back into conservation efforts of these self-same animals. Thus, not only do these once doomed captured animals have the opportunity to live out their lives but in doing so they are helping their entire species to survive through the money that is spent by tourists visiting N/a’an ku sê.

Hanging out with cheetahs

When I was at N/a’an ku sê I was lucky enough to be given an intimate tour of the premises. It started with a visit to the cheetah enclosure which three mature cheetahs now call home. Cheetahs are listed as endangered by CITES and thus the chance to spend some time, up close with them was truly special. I just had no idea how up-close it would be!

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Aisha the cheetah with two young lads.

These three cats, named Aiko, Kiki and Aisha cannot be released into the wild as they had had too much contact with humans before being brought to N/a’an ku sê. This familiarity with humans would be problematic if they were released in the wild as they may try to interact with humans with disastrous results.

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Aiko and Kiki about to be fed.

The remarkable tale of Lucky the cheetah

Not all the cheetahs at N/a’an ku sê are completely tame though and on the other side of the farm there is a tale unfolding that wouldn’t be out of place in an uplifting Disney film.

Lucky the cheetah was tied up by a farmer trying to tame her. Sadly, her leg became infected where the shackles were attached. When conservationists caught wind of her dire situation they managed to save her from a slow and certain death.

Unfortunately Lucky had to have one of her hind legs amputated as a result of infection. The happy ending here though is that Lucky now acts as a surrogate mother for 5 cubs at N/a’an ku sê.

Conservation, namibia tourism, namibia, lion, cheetah, large carnivores, namibia travel, adventure travel, adventure africaLucky the three-legged surrogate mother.
(Image courtesy of Wikipedia
)

Lucky now teaches these young cheetahs how to hunt and how to be independent. As a result N/a’an ku sê can now receive cheetah cubs and prepare them for a life in the wild. This kind of holistic rehabilitation is just not possible if a cheetah is raised solely by humans.

Get involved!

N/a’an ku sê has so far been a success story and you can take part in that story if you want to. They offer volunteer programs or you can donate to the foundation. The work they do is not limited to cheetahs and there are several programs that aim to help foster a mutually beneficial relationship between animals and humans in Namibia.

N/a’an ku sê is situated only 26km outside Windhoek just off the B6.

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A happy cheetah...

Conservation, namibia tourism, namibia, cheetah, large carnivores, namibia travel, adventure travel, adventure africa

...is a happy cheetah!

Other conservation organisations

For those interested in supporting other conservation projects around Namibia, visit the Cheetah Conservation FundAfricat or Desert Lion Conservation and see if you can help out these noble creatures!

Go Big Namibia Day 3: Big History

  
  
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Emeritta Lillo is on the road with the #GoBigNamibia tour. Each day she'll be sharing their adventures, so stay tuned for some handy travel tips and inspiration. Follow the team on Twitter @NamibiaHorizons #GoBigNamibia and Facebook for a chance to win

Today the Go Big team woke up early. After a breakfast of ostrich eggs we piled in the van and headed northwards towards Tsintsabis to meet the San people. The San are one of the 13 different ethnic groups in Namibia and believed to be the world’s first people.   

We arrived at Treesleeper Camp and met our guide Elvis. He took us on a winding bushwalk where he explained the healing properties of the Aloe Plant, the Thamboti tree and how a droplet of sap from the Tiger Lilly plant was used to poison arrow tips for hunting.

The team got a lesson in survival from Elvis and he taught us to start a fire the San way. Two wooden sticks and some grass rubbed just right can mean the difference between a cooked meal and a safe camp!

Ees and Liz picked up the technique right away making them the people we’d “most like to be stuck on a desert island with.”

 

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The San use string made from onions

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Ever wondered how to catch a guinea fowl for dinner? Elvis shows us how

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To light a fire, all you need is two sticks and some dry grass...

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...but it's not as easy as it looks!

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Ees meets some fans en route to Etosha


Read what the other Go Big adventurers had to say about theire encounter with the San:

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Laurel Robins on Monkeys & Mountains

How to Catch a Guinea Fowl: Namibian Bushman Style

Rachel  

Rachel Lang on Africa Geographic

Secrets of the San

 

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Go Big Namibia Day 2: Big Cats at the Cheetah Conservation Fund

  
  
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Emeritta Lillo is on the road with the #GoBigNamibia tour. Each day she'll be sharing their adventures, so stay tuned for some handy travel tips and inspiration. Follow the team on Twitter @NamibiaHorizons #GoBigNamibia and Facebook for a chance to win

Today our Go Big van rolled out of Windhoek and headed straight for the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) 44km from Otjiwarongo. CCF has been working in Namibia for over 25 years to protect cheetahs in Namibia, as a result of their work (and others) Namibia has the largest population of free-roaming cheetahs in the world.

Sunday lunch for the cheetahs is at 12, so soon after we arrived we helped the CCF staff prepare for the feeding by taking the food into their pens - a scrumptuous lunch of donkey ribs and supplements (the white powder). After that we visited the Kraal to see the CCF goats and then feasted on their delicious cheese for lunch.

We also saw some of the Anatolian Shepherd dogs from the CCF Livestock Guarding Dog program. The dogs protect farmer's livestock from cheetahs, which reduces the human wildlife conflict and ultimately saves more cheetahs - what a brilliant idea.

We said goodbye to the cheetahs, dogs and goats, and headed back towards Otjiwarongo where we met Ees who has just landed from Munich. The Go Big Van now has some real NamFlava on board!

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Slicing and dicing - Laurel and I get our hands dirty

Go big Namibia 2013 08 25 at 12 17 00

Donkey ribs, anyone?

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Hanging out with the goats

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David (our tour guide) with our new Go Big companion Ees

 

Read what the rest of our Go Big team had to say about the Big Cats:

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Laurel Robins on Monkeys & Mountains

Namibia: The Cheetah Capital of the World

 

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Go Big Namibia Day 1: A taste of the BIG CITY

  
  
Go Big Namibia  

Emeritta Lillo is on the road with the #GoBigNamibia tour. Each day she'll be sharing their adventures, so stay tuned for some handy travel tips and inspiration. Follow the team on Twitter @NamibiaHorizons #GoBigNamibia and Facebook for a chance to win

 

Our adventure begins in Windhoek with a mix of history, local food and local culture. We headed down to Katutura to enjoy the hustle and bustle of Windhoek’s popular Soweto market. Here you can get anything from the local Mopane worms, to sorghum to the tasty speciality of “kapana” (strips of barbecued meat with plenty of spice). A visit to the Penduka project in Katutura was a heart-warming reminder that Namibians support women’s empowerment and sustainable business. Check out their unique crafts, beautiful batik and pottery through www.penduka.com.

We rounded off the day with lunch at Xwama, where we had a chance to taste practically all the traditional foods of my childhood. Well done to the team for doing it like the locals and eating the marathon chicken, eehanda (traditional spinach) and oshifima using only their hands- a mini adventure in itself!

 

Go Big Namibia, Windhoek restaurants, Windhoek tourism, city of windhoek, windhoek, windhoek namibia,

Soaking up the sunshine in the Parliament Gardens

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Emeritta buys some old local favourites at the Single Quarters Market in Katutura

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Delicious Kapana fresh off the barbecue

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The kids love posing for the camera - Rachel gives them a sneak preview of their photo

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Just some of the unique crafts hand made at Penduka

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Laurel prepares to get stuck into a traditional meal - not a knife or fork in sight!

 

Read what the rest of our Go Big team had to say about the Big City:

Rachel  

Rachel Lang on Africa Geographic

Cruising through colourful Katutura

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Laurel Robins on Monkeys & Mountains

Adventures in Windhoek

 

Follow Emeritta and her fellow adventurers on their #GoBigNamibia tour

     


Follow the Go Big Namibia Explorers on their Adventure Roadtrip

  
  

This month we're kicking off our #GoBigNamibia campaign. This campaign is all about showcasing the excitement and wonder Namibia holds for travelers who are willing to go the extra mile when exploring a country. Five adventure seekers have been selected from around the world to experience Namibia's sweeping landscapes, cultural diversity and high adrenaline adventure activities.

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The Go Big Namibia campaign

The 20th of August 2013 marks the beginning of Namibia Tourism Board’s Adventure campaign. The campaign aims to highlight the various and unique activities found all over Namibia. In order to achieve this four bloggers and a Namibian music celebrity EES have been invited to take part in the ultimate Namibian adventure holiday experience: The Go Big NAmibia roadtrip.

For eleven days these lucky travelers will journey through game parks, desert dunes, deserted coastlines and wildlife sanctuaries. Traversing the countryside in our specially designed Go Big Van these travel writers will be taken on the trip of a lifetime.

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Traveling on Namibia's road network is one of the best ways to experience
the grandeur Namibia has to offer

Meet The Go Big Namibia Team

So who exactly is the Go Big Namibia roadtrip team? As we mentioned above there will be four bloggers and one musician travelling around Namibia together; let’s get to know them a little better:

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Emeritta Lillo - The Local

Hailing from Namibia Emeritta has spent many years living abroad. Even though she has travelled through several continents Emeritta is most excited about being able to see parts of her home country that she has not yet had a chance to visit.

Essential Item: Vaseline for dry lips

Follow Emeritta: @NamibiaHorizons

 

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Rachel Lang – The South African

Living in Namibia’s neighbour South Africa has given Rachel a deep appreciation for wildlife and the natural world. Inspired by discovering new things Rachel wants you to follow her on twitter and be inspired by the beauty she is sure to find in Namibia.

Essential Item: Her new iPhone

Follow Rachel: @africageo

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Liz Eswein – The New Yorker

Liz comes from the furthest afar, hailing from the hustle and bustle of New York City. She does not like vegemite and is most excited about the animals she will encounter on the trip.

Essential Item: Her camera

Follow Liz: @newyorkcityliz

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Laurel Robbins – The Canadian-German 

Laurel has lived in and traveled through more countries than most. She is looking forward to a friendly encounter with one of Namibia’s cheetahs and having dived with sharks, sans cage multiple times, we’re sure that Laurel can handle most situations on this adventure holiday.

Essential Item: Her camera and its enormous lens.

Follow Laurel: @Laurel_Robbins 

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EES – The Kwaito Star

EES is most excited about coming home to his native Namibia so that he can show the rest of the world just how amazing his country is. He hopes to be able to communicate the energy of Namibia to the rest of the world through his new television show, EES TV.

Essential Item: His video camera.

Follow EES: @eesyees

How you can get involved (and win!)

The Go Big Roadtrip begins on the 23rd of August and concludes on the 2nd of September and in the true spirit of adventure holidaying everyone can get involved. Through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and their own personal blogs the Go Big travelers will be able to keep you updated on all their experiences as they move through Namibia. This is not to just make you jealously see it from behind your computer screen, oh no. Every day for the duration of Go Big Namibia roadtrip we will be posting a quiz on our Facebook page and anyone who answers the question correctly will be added to a lucky-draw and the winner of that will be sent a prize courtesy of Namibia Tourism Board.

If you find yourself in Namibia between the 23rd of August and the 2nd of September then you can also take part in another competition. Our Go Big Namibia van is going to be driving through Namibia and if you see it and can get a photograph of you standing next to the van then Namibia Tourism Board will send you a prize. In order to win this prize you will have to upload the picture of you and the van on to our Facebook page.

Follow all the action

     

What is adventure tourism?

Namibia has long been considered an adventure travel hotspot but what is adventure travel? Adventure tourism is really any travel that combines physically demanding activities, cultural exchanges and authentic engagement with the natural environment. Adventure tourism is not only getting off the beaten path but is rather about meaningful interactions with locals, wildlife and nature.

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Members of the Himba tribe performing a traditional dance

The average tourist will be content to simply fly into Namibia, take some photos with their expensive camera and fly back out again having experienced almost none of the richness that Namibia offers. This in itself is not a terrible thing but it does lead to largely meaningless interactions between tourists and locals. Adventure tourism attempts to bridge the gap between the locals and the tourists and get them involved in each other’s lives.

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Tourists learning about the local flora of Namibia.
Pictured above is a quiver tree.

(image courtesy of MCC)

Adventure tourism means stopping in the small towns that most drive through; hiking up the trails most are too tired to, and helping with human interest and conservation projects around the country. Adventure tourism is then the manifestation of many visitors’ desires to be more than just a tourist scratching at the surface of a country’s culture. Adventure tourism uplifts and builds local communities in meaningful and lasting ways. Through volunteer programs or conservation projects adventure tourists are helping to uplift and improve the countries they visit.

 

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Volunteer projects and conservation efforts are part of what makes
adventure tourism a meaningful experience for locals, tourists and wildlife

This is in stark contrast to traditional tourism models. As we all know most tourists seem intent on going into a country in massive crowds of tour groups and collecting knick-knacks and photographs so that these can be horded on mantelpieces and in display cabinets.

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Get off the beaten path and find your own adventure in Namibia


Celebrating the Heroes of Namibia

  
  

On August the 26th 1966 the first shots were fired in Namibia’s war for independence at the battle of Omugulugwombashe in Namibia's central Northern region. It would take 23 years for Namibia to achieve independence but it is these first acts of armed resistance that are being commemorated on Monday 26th August. Heroes’ Day is celebrated every year in Namibia in an effort to never forget the sacrifices and efforts of all the proud Namibians who fought for freedom and self-determination.

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 The Unknown Soldier at Heroes' Acre

These days the holiday is used to foster national pride and to stress the importance of togetherness in Namibia. Namibia has several diverse cultures living within its borders and presidents often use the 26th of August to remind everyone in Namibia, and the world at large, just how remarkable and peacefully all the different cultures in Namibia co-exist.

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Three Himba children laughing
(image courtesy of Nigel Pavitt)

Namibia’s Heroes’ Day is a time for all Namibians to reflect on how far the country has come since attaining its independence from South Africa in 1990. Rather than focussing on the lives lost needlessly in a justified struggle for independence from a white minority government, Namibia focuses on the positive aspects of its post-independence reality. In recent years the spotlight has been put on to current citizens’ Namibian hero. This typifies the Namibian spirit of endeavour and a national psyche of reconciliation with a view to the future instead of dwelling on the past.

Heroes' Acre

The Heroes’ Acre just outside Windhoek is a monument to the fallen soldiers and citizens of Namibia. The monument aims to honour the lives of those Namibians who may have otherwise been forgotten through the passage of time. There is a statue of the unknown soldier and seating for about 50 000 people for when events are held in its amphitheatre.

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A flame burns in memorium for those who have been lost

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A tourist makes his way to the Unknown Soldier

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Heroes' Acre seen from its paved square

Heroes' Day 2013

This year the annual celebrations will be held in the Omusati region where the war for independence began in 1966. The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has predicted that over 50 000 people will attend the ceremonies being held. This year the highlight of the ceremony will include the unveiling of a new statue of Dr Sam Nujoma to celebrate the ex-president’s integral role in fighting for Namibia’s independence.

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Founding President Sam Nujoma (left) greeting the late Colonel John Otto
Nankudhu during the 2009 Heroes’ Day commemoration

(image courtesy of the Namibian Sun)

The planned ceremony will also celebrate the role of everyday Namibian heroes and heroines who all contribute to making Namibia the wonderful, peaceful and harmonious country it is. Men and women such as Cgunta Khao//Khao who at great personal risk helped to save a tourist form a bushfire in 2012.

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Cgunta: A true Namibian hero recovering from his burns in hospital
(image courtesy of the N/a'an ku sê Foundation)

Namibians across the political, social and economic spectrum are expected to honour the day. There are even groups in the United Kingdom that will be holding events for Namibian ex-pats looking to honour the spirit of their country. So if you are a homesick ex-pat reading this blog then take a moment this Monday to remember just exactly what make Namibia and its people so unique and wonderful.

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The Heroes' Acre monument stands proud against a bright blue Namibian sky


A Day Hike into Namibia's Fish River Canyon

  
  

Hiking in the Fish River Canyon

Words and pictures by Roderick MacLeod

intro


It begins

I woke up after spending a night in the Fish River Lodge knowing that my day would be a busy one. I had signed up for a full day hike into the second largest canyon in the world: the Fish River canyon. The hike would be a ten-hour affair; five hours into the canyon and five hours to get out of the canyon before dark settled on the land.

As you can expect the day started early. Breakfast was served at 5:30am and despite the hour everyone was in high spirits.

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Dube, one of the guides at the lodge.


The night before the hike I had had a chance to chat to some of the Fish River Lodge’s staff about the hike and what I should expect. The response was always along the same lines: It is a tough hike and should not be attempted by the frail or lazy. A good pair of shoes is an absolute must and a healthy pair of lungs will, of course, help. The Fish River Lodge, as part of the full-day hike package you can purchase, provided me with water and food for the duration of the hike.

 

Into the Canyon

Once our guides for the day (Ben and Desmond) had introduced themselves to us we set out for the point at which we would begin our descent down into the canyon.

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Our vehicle was left perched on the canyon's rim.
We would see it as a dot, many hours later, looking up from the canyon floor.


An hour after beginning our descent I noticed how spectacular the formations in this canyon are. The dried up river beds, the gullies, the outcrops of strangely sculpted cliffs are all a treat for anyone with an interest in natural beauty. It is incredibly interesting to witness the changes to your surroundings as you descend into the canyon for the first time.

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Rain-sculpted and sand-blasted, a face emerges from the cliff...

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A long dried-up river bed

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A gully in the morning sun.


On account of the many different landscapes in and around the Fish River canyon there is a varied collection of wildlife. The chances of sighting a few of these creatures increases when you are on foot. The park is home to many mountain zebra, various antelope, eagles and even a few rhino. Unfortunately I did not see any of the rhinos. I did however find traces of their activities on the path we were using.

describe the image

Rhino dung on the hiking trail.


Naturally created hiking trails

Many visitors at the lodge spoke of their encounters with the mountain zebras of the region. The reason why people have encountered so many of these animals is because the trails that I and everyone else hikes on are in fact the selfsame paths created and used by the animals. There is a distinct effort on the part of the park officials and lodge owners to keep the hike as natural as possible.

trail 2

When hiking the Fish River Canyon you will literally walk on the paths the local animals use...

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There has been no clearing of boulders or cutting of trails. This means that when scaling up or down the mountain you have to figure what the best route will be. Since the rocks in the canyon are frequently breaking off the cliff faces and rolling down the slopes no two hikes into the canyon are identical.

 

The Half-day hike viewpoint

After three or so hours of hiking we came to a type of plateau which was about half the way down into the canyon.

We had reached the halfway point of the half-day hike, which meant we were one quarter through the full-day hike. We could see the river and the canyon floor below us. We were then told by Ben (our guide) that we would be heading further down the canyon and further along the river toward our destination: A natural rock pool in which we could have a refreshing dip before turning around and heading back out of the canyon.

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View from the half-day hike turnaround point.
Below to the left is the Fish River.


Between the half-day hike turnaround point and the rock pool was the part of the hike I found to be the most treacherous. The landscape suddenly flattened out and i found myself walking on cracked rock and around small thorny shrubs. Constant attention was needed to avoid spraining an ankle or twisting a knee.

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 Ben surveys the harsh beauty of the canyon surrounds.


Your prize for making it through these trials is an hour of relaxation at the rock pool. After 4-5 hours of non-stop hiking this rock pool becomes more than just a pool, it becomes an oasis. Water cooled rocks and shade from the surrounding cliffs will give you all the comfort you need after having spent hours in the arid heat.

rock pool

The seemingly bottomless rock pool at the floor of the canyon.


Onward and Upward

After we had relaxed sufficiently at the rock pool we picked up our bags once more and headed back along the path we came down on.

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My hiking companion preparing to leave the rock pool behind.


The hike was nothing short of glorious. I was constantly struck by the massive beauty of the canyon. From the moment I stood atop the canyon to when I was seated on its floor, to when I once again stood atop its cliffs I was filled with a sense of wanderlust and excitement. The hikes and hiking options offered by the Fish River Lodge make it easy to say this is the perfect spot for just about anyone who  wants to go hiking in the Fish River canyon.

Ben Taking a Breather

 Even our guide, Ben, had to take a few breathers on the way up.

 

+++++++


How to get there - Where to stay

The Fish River canyon is one of the largest canyons in the world and it can be found in Namibia’s Southern Karas region near the South African/Namibia border.

As with most places in the South of Namibia the best way to get there is via the small town of Luderitz. The drive from Luderitz to Fish River canyon is a lengthy, but relatively straight-forward drive. A car capable of dealing with rocky dirt roads is strongly advised.

Almost the entirety of the canyon is now a protected nature reserve and there are several lodges one can stay at around the canyon. It should be mentioned that the Fish River Lodge is  the only lodge that is perched directly on the rim of the canyon, the other lodges are a little bit removed from the canyon.

If you wish to hike in the canyon you will need a guide as private hikes are no longer allowed since numerous tragedies have befallen ill-prepared private non-sanctioned groups of hikers.

Most of the lodges offer guests a variety of activities to choose from. So if there are people unwilling or unable to hike, do not fear. Activities in the Fish River canyon range from scenic drives to horse back safaris so check each lodge out and decide what is best for you and your traveling companions.

Here is a list of some of the places you can stay at near the Fish River Canyon:

The Fish River Lodge FishRiverLodge_footer_01 
Exterior  The Fish River Canyon Lodge
 Vogelstrausskluft Lodge  Vogelstrausskluft Lodge
 Canyon Roadhouse  Canyon Roadhouse
 Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort  Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort
 Exterior  The Canyon Village

Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Jandre Germishuizen

  
  

Namibian pro photographer, Jandre Germishuizen, shares a few local secrets on what it takes to capture the best of his homeland...


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

 

I was in the southern part of Namibia and there was a big storm brewing. I was already packing up as the storm drew ever closer. At the last minute the clouds opened and lit up and old Camel thorn tree. The big sky country yet again delivered and the moment was timeless.

 

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Big Sky country. A storm approaches, but for this Camel thorn tree its a few years too late. Southern Namibia, Sossusvlei area © Jandre Germishuizen


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

I think Namibia has so much to offer; there are so many different landscapes and the possibilities are endless, like no other country I've visited. Namibia makes you work for the shots you want, be it wind storms, freezing cold, 45 degree heat or having to drive hundreds of kilometers to the next destination. But all that is dearly rewarded in the end.

 

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Road to nowhere. One of the many desert landscapes that shows the simplicity and beauty of the Namib. NamibRand Nature Reserve  © Jandre Germishuizen

 

Which photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of?  

Oh that’s very difficult. Each photo shoot and every trip has its favorites. There is always a good story behind the photos and some photos carry more meaning for the photographer even though they are not that breathtaking. My favorite photos are the ones that I daydream about, the ones you see happening in your head, planning it months on end and countless hours of waiting and then hoping nature will play along and generously reward you.

 

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Standing Tall. The rain is falling but its not reaching the ground. Southern Namibia 35km south of Sesriem  © Jandre Germishuizen

 

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A giraffe gives out a mouthful of water while drinking as its startled by something in the bushes. Etosha National Park Dune Crossing  © Jandre Germishuizen

 

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A late afternoon in Sossusvlei , Ostriches cross one of the sand dunes as their shadows grow ever taller. Sossusvlei  © Jandre Germishuizen

 

What is your equipment of choice for your Namibian expeditions?

I never leave home without my Canon gear. I take everything with, rather than pack light and regret not having the right lens or tool when a certain photo possibility presents itself. All of which I safely pack away in my Pelican cases that have saved my gear countless times from water and the odd bump. I never leave home without a good cd for the long roads ahead and my GoPro's.

 

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A family of elephants take over the Etosha roads. Etosha National Park  © Jandre Germishuizen

 

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

#1: Take a tour with a knowledgeable guide. Just going in blindly into areas that you not know the secrets of can be time wasted.

#2: Plan what you want to see and photograph, be it animals, dramatic clouds or the green Namib plains. Each of which happens in a different time slot through the year and needs specific preparation.

#3: If coming to capture the beauty that Namibia holds, go on a photography tour. There are a lot of permits and permissions that such a tour will take care of (not to mention letting you in on the secrets). You can join me on photo safaris and specialized tours, visit jandrephoto.com for more info. About Jandre Germishuizen

 

 

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About Jandre Germishuizen

Jandre is a Namibian photographer favoring landscape and wildlife photography . Living among the beautiful and timeless dunes of Sossusvlei. Jandre takes photography safaris into the desert and shares some of the secret spots hidden in the breathtaking desert. To organize a tour around Namibia with Jandre info@jandrephoto.com

Follow Jandre’s daily whereabouts and see some more of his Namibian photography on Twitter @PhotographyJG and Facebook Jandre Germishuizen Photography 


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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 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

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Celebrate World Lion Day by Helping the Lions of Namibia

  
  

Saturday the 10th of August 2013 is the first time that World Lion Day will be celebrated. To coincide with this landmark day the TOSCO trust has decided to offer a two night all inclusive safari adventure at Wilderness Safaris’ Damaraland Camp for one lucky couple. All you have to do to enter this competition is read the post below and then follow the links and the instructions and you could be chosen to experience two nights with a partner in the unforgettable Huab River Valley.

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Looking out over the pool at the Damaraland Camp
(image courtesy of Scott Dunn)

Why we need a World Lion Day

In the past 50 years lion numbers have plummeted by 80-90% leaving only about 25 000 lions today. Many argue that this rapid decline in lion population is more severe than that being suffered by the rhinos of Africa. The scattered and isolated prides of lions that now live all over Africa are massively at risk. Some alarming reports suggest that wild lions could become extinct in as little as 10 years. This would mean that the only lions left in the world would be those raised in captivity.

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Lioness stalking the Hoanib Floodplain
(image courtesy of the Desert Lion Project)

What is happenning to the lions of Africa?

The reasons for this mass slaughtering of lions is varied. The main problem faced by lions arise due to a conflict over resources with human beings. Lions are efficient predators and given the chance they will eat livestock. This makes them a target of local farmers who will then kill lions on-sight in an effort to prevent further livestock losses. Lions are also losing their habitats due to human encroachment, be it in the form of settlements or ever-growing farmlands. Add then to these two factors the fact that lion bones are used medicinally in parts of Asia and you have a massive problem that requires a lot of work to fix.

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Lion cubs in Botswana
(image courtesy of Reuben Goldberg via Timeslive.co.za)

The first step on the long road to saving the African lion is to address each problem facing these noble creatures. We all need to publicize that there is a massive problem facing lions right now. This is what TOSCO and others hope to achieve through initiatives like World Lion Day 2013.

World Lion Day and other lion conservation projects

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Image courtesy of Greg du Toit via Volunteer Africa

Awareness is only the tip of the iceberg. One of the major factors leading to the decline of lion populations in Africa is the conflict between the people of Africa and its lions. People need to be able to share in the profits of having lions on the continent if they are to be convinced to stop killing them. Profit sharing like this would enable local people to not just feel like lions are a threat to their ways of life but are able to rather be a valuable part of their lives.

One such project encouraging the co-existence of lions and humans is the Lion Guardians Project. This project has been extremely successful in encouraging a healthy respect and reverence for lions in Kenya. The basic aims of the project are to establish individuals in communities as lion guardians. These lion guardians are then tasked with keeping the lions away from the villages and farms. This protects the lions from the humans and the humans from the lions. The project has allowed communities to live more peacefully with their lion neighbors and it allows communities to enjoy the benefits of increased and sustainable tourism directly associated with wild lions.

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A Lion Guardian holds a lion’s paw
(image courtesy of Philip J. Briggs via Flickr)

TOSCO Trust, IRDNC and the Desert Lion Project are attempting to launch this program in Namibia. By supporting TOSCO you can directly contribute to the employment of lion guardians to protect these magnificent animals.

This is not the only project in Namibia geared toward conserving wild lions. Since there are currently around 500 – 800 wild lions in Namibia several conservation projects run at the same time. As a result many niche conservation projects are setup across Namibia one such project focusses on a very specific and uniquely adapted lion: The desert adapted lions of the Kunene region.

These desert lions are particularly at risk since they live such a precarious life and are much more likely to be harmed by human activity. Thus TOSCO has decided to partner with local communities, the IRDNC, and the Desert Lion Project to build special lion proof bomas for the local people's livestock. The idea for this project comes from yet another successful Kenyan initiative illustrated in this video by Richard Turere.

Video via TED.com

How you can help... and Win!

Without programs like the ones mentioned above the lion in Africa is doomed. You can help by raising awareness or by giving donations.

In order to encourage awareness about the plight of the lion in Africa TOSCO is giving away a 2-night stay at a luxury resort in Namibia. To enter this competition, simply follow these steps: 

  • Forward this competition to at least 5 friends

After this all you have to do is name 2 organisations that support lion conservation in Namibia.
The answer can be found on the World Lion Day website or on TOSCO Trust’s website. Send your answer by e-mail to info@tosco.org with the subject line “World Lion Day Competition”.

Entries must include your full name, e-mail address and a contact number. The competition closes on Saturday 10 August 2013. The prize will be awarded to one of the senders with the correct answer after the closing date. 

female dunes

A pair of lionesses patrolling the dunes
(image courtesy of Desert Lion Conservation)

Luderitz, Namibia: The Fastest Place on Water

  
  

Once a year kiteboarders converge on a specially modified canal in the quiet coastal town of Luderitz, Namibia. These men and women come to Namibia annually to smash and set insanely fast World Speed Sailing Records at the Luderitz Speed Challenge. The contest is open to almost anyone who can get themselves to Luderitz from 7 October to 17 November 2013 and has their own kiteboarding equipment. 

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Sophie Routaboul setting a new personal best.
(Photo via Kiteboard.com)


Leveling the Playing Field

One of the things that sets the Luderitz Speed Challenge apart from other events of this nature is the type of competitor that takes part in the challenge. Usually at these types of speed challenges big budget teams dominate the field. These multi-million dollar teams typically use all manner of highly engineered and purpose-specific craft for their record attempts. The Luderitz Speed Challenge breaks through these traditional barriers and, thanks to its unique canal and prevailing winds, affords all competitors, regardless of budget, the chance to challenge (and sometimes break) the overall World Speed Sailing Record on a yearly basis.

The most recent example of this was at the 2012 Luderitz Speed Challenge. Windsurfer Anders Bringdal of Sweden achieved a speed of 51.45 Knots over 500 metres on a stock-standard sailboard. It is much the same for kiteboarders. In 2010 Rob Douglas became the outright World Speed Sailing Record holder at 55.65 Knots. In setting this time he, along with four other kiteboarders at the event, smashed a record that had been set by the multi-million dollar hydrofoil craft the Hydroptere. The kiteboarders achieved this on boards that cost a fraction of the Hydroptere.  

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Kiteboarders reach awesome speeds at the Luderitz Speed Challenge
(photo via KitesportsKitesurfaris)

Why are so many records broken?  

The Luderitz Speed Challenge is arguably the best competition for World Speed Sailing Record attempts not just because of the prevailing winds in the region. It is because the strong and predictable local gusts of wind work in combination with a precisely engineered canal. These factors allow kiteboarders (and other sailors) to power themselves to faster and faster speeds. 

National records, international records, personal bests and overall speed limits are all pushed beyond previously imagined levels on a yearly basis at the Luderitz Speed Challenge. The first time a sailor broke the once seemingly unattainable speed of 50 knots was at the Luderitz Speed Challenge in 2008. It was the French kiteboarder Sebastien Cattelan who achieved a speed of 50.26 over 500 metres in the Luderitz canal. That’s over 91 kilometers per hour (or 60 miles per hour) with nothing but a board beneath his feet atop the surface of the water.    

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Serious speeds are reached on the purpose-built canal 
(photo via Surfertoday.com)

Since Cattelan’s groundbreaking run kiteboarders have ruled the roost on the overall World Speed Sailing standings. Kiteboarders have held the number one spot from 2008 - 2012.  Now, in 2013, kiteboarders from all over the world are looking to take back the number one spot currently held by Paul Larsen and his big-budget team: Vestas Sailrocket 2, a craft built for only one purpose: To achieve massive straight-line speeds.    

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The Vestas Sailrocket 2.
(Photo via QLDYachting.com)

It will be a case of David vs. Goliath and in order to take back the record the kiteboarders will have to reach an astonishing speed of 65.45 knots. That means the kiteboarders, if successful will be travelling at over 120kph (90mph); this is faster than most hurricane winds.   

Breaking Bones, Breaking Records 

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Rob Douglas’s wrist.
(Photo via TMZ.com)  

The Luderitz Speed Challenge is not for the feint of heart. Rob Douglas, once the fastest man on water, had a rough time of it at the Luderitz Speed Challenge in 2010. In attempting to break Sebastien Catalan’s newly set record of 55.49 Knots Rob came off his board and broke his wrist.  

For those of you requiring proof of this check out this video of Rob Douglas’s accident.  

Kite Surfer Breaks Record ... and then His Wrist
(via TMZ Celebrity Videos)

It was not all doom and gloom. Rob broke his wrist that day, but he also broke the World Speed Sailing Record by 0.16 Knots. He held this record until 2012 when the Vestas Rocket 2 smashed the World Speed Sailing Record.

Luderitz offers a great location for adventure holidaymakers in Namibia. If you want to experience the thrill of the Luderitz Speed Challenge get yourself down to this hidden gem on the South West coast of Namibia from the 7 of October to the 17 November 2013 and get ready for some water, wind, speed and sun. 

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Kiteboarding is not for sissies.
(Photo via Surfertoday.com)

So where is Luderitz?

Luderitz is located 350 km west of Keetmanshoop along a tarred road, the B4.

You can reach Luderitz by car from Windhoek, but its a pretty long drive, so you should definitely make a road trip out of it.

Alternatively, you can catch a flight with Air Namibia from Windhoek to Luderitz and be there in an hour!

Where can I stay when I get there?

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The Luderitz Nest Hotel
(Photo via TripAdvisor.co.uk)

Once in Luderitz the avid Kiteboarder or tourist has many options when it comes to accommodation. Book your room at the Nest Hotel for shorefront accommodation. Or for those of you wishing to rub shoulders with fellow kiteboarders check out (and then check-in) at the incredibly friendly Element Riders Place.

Below is a list of other accommodation options in Luderitz.

Bayview Hotel: 
Tel: +264-63-202-288
, bayview@namibnet.com

Kapps Hotel
: Tel: +264-63-202-345
, pmk@mweb.com.na

Kratzplatz B&B
: Tel: +264-63-202-458

Haus Sandrose
: Tel: +264-63-202-630

Hansa Haus Self Catering
: Tel: +264-63-203-581

Obelix Village B&B
: Tel: +264-63-203-456

Island Cottage Self Catering
: Tel: +264-81-292-298

Shark Island Camping & Bungalows
: Tel: +264-63-202-752

Backpackers Lodge
: Tel: +264-63-202-000

For more accomodation options visit this page on our Website.

Pomona: Namibia's Forgotten Ghost Town

  
  

Namibia has several deserted and abandoned regions. This entry is about one of them.

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Journey to the Sperrgebiet

Our day started at the Nest Hotel in Luderitz where we met our tour guide for the day. He would be taking us on a two person tour of the Sperrgebiet.

The road was rough, very rough. A 4x4 is an absolute necessity when visiting this part of Namibia. If it were not for our excellent little 4x4 mini-van then we would have gotten stuck numerous times. Eventually we got to the entrance of the Sperrgebiet, beyond lay Pomona and the Bogenfels

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The Sperrgebiet checkpoint

The Sperrgebiet

The Sperrgebiet is an area of land on the west coast of Namibia that was specially set aside for diamond mining. Even though only 5% of the Sperrgebiet’s 26 000km2 is used for mining today access to the whole area is strictly controlled. Checkpoints like the one our tour guide took us through are the only manner in which people can enter and leave the area without incurring massive penalties ranging from fines to jail time.

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A signboard warning trespassers of various penalties 

Once we were through the checkpoint we were treated to the vastness of the Sperrgebiet. There is almost no human life in this area as the diamond mining operations in this part of the Sperrgebiet have been winding down for years now. 

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 Pictured above: Vastness

Pomona's satellite settlement

After an hour of driving from the checkpoint we noticed some buildings on the horizon. Our guide informed us that the buildings had been constructed to provide basic services to people of Pomona. This outpost was responsible for providing the mining town with fresh water and other such necessities.

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An abandoned storage shed

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A waterpump was housed within this building

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An old building looking out over the road toward Pomona

The train station

Further down the dirt road we came upon a train station which had once been used to receive and dispatch goods to and from Pomona. Since the first motorcar only arrived in Pomona in 1917 the people of the isolated mining town had relied on trains to deliver basic goods in the early years of the town's settlement. Now, however, the train tracks lie in ruin and the loading station is being slowly swallowed by the desert.

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Our van on the buckling tracks

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One of the old station buildings

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On the second floor of the loading area of the station

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Arriving in Pomona

Eventually we got to the site where Pomona once stood. Looking at this place it was hard to believe that Pomona was once a town where people were able to live. All that is left are crumbling buildings, broken ceilings and abandoned bits of machinery.

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Crumbling buildings...

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Broken ceilings...

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...and abandoned machinery

The town was the center of an extremely productive region of the Sperrgebiet. Over 4 million carats worth of diamonds were discovered and processed by the German Diamond Company in Pomona and over 800 people at a time called this remote outpost home. By the 1940’s the diamonds had become much harder to find and it the town was later completely abandoned. All that is left now are quiet buildings and a peaceful graveyard overlooking the Atlantic ocean.

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One of the graves in Pomona's cemetery

A failed settlement

To get to our next destination we were taken passed another site of abandoned buildings. Our tour guide told us that this site was in fact the first (failed) attempt to settle in this part of the Sperrgebiet.

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Two chimneys that used to be part of a large canteen for the miners

Brutal winds made this site totally uninhabitable and the people who first settled here simply up and left, leaving even their beds behind. 

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The desert winds and sand are slowly eroding these traces of human settlement
from the Sperrgebiet

The Bogenfels

We ended off our day tour of the Sperrgebiet with a visit to the mighty Bogenfels. Bogenfels literally means “rock arch” and it is truly an impressive sight. Standing over 55 meters tall this massive rock formation is a perfect example of the impressive things you can find in Namibia if you are prepared to go out of your way. 

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The Bogenfels.
On the right of the giant arch a ship is sailing out to sea.

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Looking along the cliff-face from the top of the Bogenfels

How to get there

First, you will have to get to Luderitz. Luderitz is a charming seaside town located near Kolmanskop. You can fly into Luderitz's airport on Air Namibia or drive to Luderitz from Windhoek on the national road network. 

Currently only one company does a tour in this region of the Sperrgebiet. They are called Coastaways and they are located in Luderitz. Our driver/guide was friendly and knowledgeable and he made sure we had a great experience. Coastaways offers several different tours of the surrounding areas. Visit their website for more details.

Why you should go there

A tour to the Sperrgebiet is something everyone visiting the South of Namibia should try and do. A key feature of the Sperrgebiet's appeal is how quiet and peaceful it is. There are no massive crowds and thus it is very easy to become absorbed in the uncanniness of the sights on this tour. It was amazing to see the contrasts of the Sperrgebiet. Its sights range from flimsy man-made structures of diamond to naturally sculpted geological wonders.

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The view from the top of the Bogenfels...
and my travel buddy taking a photo 

Namibia Tourism Board North America Press Kit

  
  

 

 

Click on the links below to download the information in PDF format:

About Namibia

 About Namibia

Namibia Fast Facts

 Namibia Fast Facts 

Accolades for Namibia

 Accolades for Namibia 

Conservation Fact Sheet

 Conservation Fact Sheet

Celebrities of Conservation

 Celebrities of Conservation

Namibia for Adventurers

 Namibia for Adventurers

Namibias Dramatic Natural Landscapes

 Namibia's Landscapes

A Taste of Namibia

 A Taste of Namibia

Namibias People

 Namibia's People

Travelling to Namibia

 Traveling to Namibia

Travel Packages

 Namibia Travel Packages for 2013/2014

Whats new in Namibia

 What's New in Namibia Q4 2013

News for the travel trade 

 Namibia News for the Travel Trade

NA visiting journalist program

 North American Visiting Journalist Program

WWF

 World Wildlife Fund Fact Sheet:

 Namibia Adventure Travel World Summit

   
    
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