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Luderitz, Namibia's Extreme Holiday Mecca

  
  

Namibia is famed for its many different adventure sports and activities available to tourists and locals like. One of the most popular varieties of adventure sport is kiteboarding. Southern Namibia has a lot of wind, and a lot wide open spaces and beaches, this post will tell you a bit about a little town where you can learn how to take advantage of the wind, sun and water.

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Luderitz- a town of many surprises.

Luderitz: Adventure Sport Hotspot

There is one place in the world where the fastest kiteboarders converge every year, and that place is Luderitz. International kiteboarders flock to the Luderitz Speed Challenge every year to try and break the World Sailing Speed Record because of this small town's excellent prevailing winds, and perfectly suited lagoons and shorelines.

namibia, luderitz, souther namibia, luderitz namibia, kiteboarding namibia, kitesurfing namibia, rock climbing namibiaFree as a bird-
a kiteboarder is pulled skywayrd by winds off the coast of Luderitz
.
(photo courtesy of Geesche Neuberg) 

Naturally where there are great wind speeds and all-round amazing kiteboarding conditions in a picturesque place, kiteboarding fanatics will follow, and those fanatics need a place to stay while visiting the small town.

Element Riders

In Luderitz there is a place called Element Riders where thrill seekers can not only hire equipment for various adventure sports, but also receive instruction in how to do those sports.

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Friendly owners and clean rooms, that's Element Riders in nutshell!

Activities on offer include kiteboarding, rock climbing, landboarding, surfing, power kiting, paragliding, and even skydiving for the real adrenaline junkies! Element Riders also doubles up as a backpackers-style accommodation for those who want to stay close to the action.

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Climbers just outside Luderitz.
(photo courtesy of Geesche Neuberg)

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The wind stays constant for much of the day around Luderitz
which means more kiting!

(photo courtesy of Geesche Neuberg)

Learning to Fly

Geesche Neuberg runs Element Riders and when in Luderitz there is no one better to showcase the town's various activities that are available to the adventure seeking traveller. She walked us through her procedure when she takes someone kiteboarding for the first time.

If you are a novice kiter then you can start your day with Geesche explaining the basics of kiteboarding, which then will be followed by an hour long lesson in which the fundamentals of kiteboarding you have just learned can be put into practice.

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Start from the very beginning and learn how to inflate your kite.

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Fun with pumps!

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 Element riders has various kites on offer, from small beginner kites...

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...to the big guys like this kite pictured above.

Depending on your ability and experience with the kites you may require more or less instruction before you are ready to hit the beach and the waves. But even total novices are welcome and Geesche assured us that kiting is not as difficult as it looks.

And once you have the basics down then all that is left to do is catch some of the famous Luderitz wind. If you consult Wind Guru you will see just how constant the wind is in thie part of the world.

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There is always something blowing in Luderitz.

Plan Ahead- Avoid Disappointment

The fact that kiteboarding is weather dependent should be factored into your plans, and while the prevailing winds and conditions in Luderitz are usually perfect for kiteboarding, make sure you factor in three or four days if you want to ensure that you get some good kiting in.

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Perfect weather for kiting, but we had to move on to the next town.
(photo courtesy of Geesche Neuberg)

Other Activities

When in Luderitz, as we mentioned above, you are not just limited to kiteboarding. Geesche  also told us about some of the other extreme/adventure activities that one can do in the southern town.

We were surprised to hear that Geesche’s business alone runs mountain climbing excursions, stand-up canoe trips, skydiving, paragliding and landboarding. And there are several other adventure-activity operators that run out of Luderitz as well.

namibia, luderitz, souther namibia, luderitz namibia, kiteboarding namibia, kitesurfing namibia, rock climbing namibiaRock climbing in Namibia is beginning to become very popular.
(photo courtesy of Geesche Neuberg)

Friendly instruction is offered in each of these activities for travellers of all skill levels and experience. Adventurers of all skills and sizes are encouraged to take part and learn how to ride the water, ride the wind, climb the rocks, and even fall through the sky.

Photo chances

The great thing about almost all these adventure activities is that they offer amazing photo opportunities for budding photographers.

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Extreme sports mean extreme photography.
(photo courtesy of Geesche Neuberg)

From attaching GoPro’s to kites, to capturing amazing photos of cliffs and crags, to taking pictures of a companion as they cut through the ocean waves on a board; adventure sports are an action photographer’s dream.

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A kiter makes his way out to see as the wind whips up the sand.
(photo courtesy of Geesche Neuberg)

Accomodation in Luderitz

If Element Riders is full then fret not, there are several different places where you can stay in the small town.

Here’s a list of them:

Element Riders: Official Website

Nest Hotel: Official Website

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 The Namibia Tourism Website.


Luderitz- Exploring Namibia's Historic Diamond Town

  
  

The small town of Luderitz is located in the South of Namibia and if you are lucky enough to have some free time on your holiday, then you should definitely go on a tour of it and its surrounds. From quaint old German-style architecture, to beautiful wide-open skies and crystal clear seas with white beaches, Luderitz is a small town with a lot to see.

sign
Welcome to Luderitz!

Arriving

The first great thing about Luderitz is that it has its own airport. Flights go to Luderitz from Windhoek once a day, and getting a ticket is usually not a problem.

One can also drive from Windhoek to Luderitz. It's a straight shot along the B4 and will take you about 6-7 hours to do.

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The flight into the isolated town, over the desert sands, was amazing.

The Nest Hotel

Once in Luderitz I made my way to where I would be laying my head down for the duration of my trip. I was staying at the Nest Hotel, which is the perfect spot to stay if you feel like having all the creature comforts of modern living.

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This was the view from my room- it was spectacular all day long!

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The Nest Hotel in the twilight.

Take your time

Luderitz exists as a town largely thanks to the diamond industry in Namibia, and to this day diamonds continue to be an important part of the town's economy. And with the railway being refurbished and new buildings going up all the time, the future is looking bright for this sometimes forgotten town.

Most travellers go to Luderitz just to use it as a stepping stone to other locations in Namibia's South, but doing this would be a waste of an opportunity to do some exploring. The coastal town has enough going on to keep a busy adventurer happy for a good few days.

Colourful streets, colourful buildings

But today we will concern ourselves with the past and of particular interest is the unique architecture of Luderitz. Colourful buildings built during the time of German occupation line the streets, and businesses more than a hundred years old can be found on some of the streets.

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Rows of brightly coloured houses can be found all over the seaside town.

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A shot of some of the local businesses.

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Barrels- the towns friendly watering hole.

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House Groenewald.

Historical sites

The town also has several historical sites, which are worth visiting. There is a wealth of information on the town’s history and you can find this information at any tourist centre or hotel in Luderitz.

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 A memorial for those who died fighting for their land.

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Plaque honouring Heinrich Vogelslang, Luderitz's first pioneer.

A short drive outside of town and one can find Dias Cross, which is a must see if you are in Luderitz. The site marks the location of where Bartholomew Dias landed in Namibia. Tourists can now visit this spot and enjoy the delicious cake and coffee on sale at the small café run nearby the site.

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The foot bridge leading up to the historic site.

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 Dias Cross, erected where the explorer landed in 1488.

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A modern lighthouse overlooks Dias Cross and Grossebucht.

Beaches near Luderitz

The beaches near Luderitz are also quite spectacular. White sands and shallow waters make these beaches perfect for picnicking and sunbathing. The fact that there are so few people in this part of the world only helps you appreciate the isolated beauty of the locations around Luderitz.

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An abandoned ship at Grossebucht.

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On our way to Agate Beach we had to obey the sign and not enter
the area still designated for diamond mining.

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Agate Beach-
Hundreds of agates lie on the shore and can be taken home and cherished.

Discover Luderitz

Luderitz is the gateway to the South of Namibia, and when staying in Luderitz it is very easy to visit such attractions as Kolmanskop, Pomona, Fish River Canyon, Klein Aus and many, many other places that are of interest to anyone looking for a bit of adventure.

So when you go to Luderitz, do not forget to stick around a bit in the town and take in its sites. It is a quaint, friendly place, unique and unlike any place you have stayed in.

The pictures above are by no means an exhaustative list of things to do in Luderitz. If you like exploring hidden gems, and finding out more about the rich history of one of the oldest towns in Namibia, then get yourself down to this small town, and get exploring!

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A view of the old harbour.

Five Top Spots for Adventure Camping in Namibia

  
  

There is nothing quite like camping in the wild. From being able to hear the snuffles and shuffles of local game as they make there way around the wilderness, to waking up in the pristine morning in time for a blazing sunrise, nothing can compare to the open, free feeling of camping in a beautiful country like Namibia.

Namibia, camping in namibia, namibia camping, namibia campsites, campsites namibia, namibia accommodation camping, sossusvlei campingThe serenity of camping.
(photo source African Exlporations)

There are loads of campsites dotted around Namibia, and a lot of these sites can be found near some major, amazing attractions. In order to give you an idea of some of the amazing places you can visit and camp at, we have selected five of our favourite camping spots in Namibia.

Have a look at our list if you want to find a few remarkable camping sites, and maybe the next time you come to Namibia you can bring your tents and sleeping bags along for the adventure of a life time!

Fish River Hiking and Camping

When we stayed at the Fish River Lodge we had the pleasure of doing their amazing full day hike. Walking along the trail on the floor of the canyon, we were taken passed a campsite.

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Hikers enjoying a hike in the canyon.
(photo source Fish River Lodge)

Our guide informed us that there were a few of these dotted along the floor of the canyon. These campsites are strategically located so that people doing the incredibly beautiful five-day mammoth canyon hike could stay overnight in the canyon.

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A campsite on the canyon floor.
(photo source Fish River Lodge)

The campsites, and indeed the whole canyon, are not accessible to the general public. You will need to book the use of these facilities through a registered park official or tour operator.

Spitzkoppe

The Spitzkoppe in the Namib Desert are a very popular destination for adventure tourists, as there are many awesome activities you can do their such as rock climbing, hiking and rock art viewing.


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The Spitzkoppe are a geological wonder.
(photo source Wikipedia)

For years intrepid explorers were bush camping with little but their tents and their wits separating themselves from the wilderness around them. Recently, however, the locals have set up camping sites (as well as some bungalows for those who can’t do without walls).

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A happy family enjoying the shade at the foot of the Spitzkoppe.
(photo source Terence Howard)

Camping near the Spitzkoppe is the ideal way to take in this beautiful mountain region. The campsites have the usual facilities you would expect, except, you are encouraged to bring your own water as there is not enough water in the natural environment to support everyone using the site’s water all the time.

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Motorcyclists are welcome!
(photo source Horizons Unlimited)

Sesriem Campsite near Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei is one of the most popular places to visit in Namibia and it is not hard to understand why. Enormous dunes and unique vegetation abounds in the region’s clay pans.

One cannot camp in the fragile ecosystem that is the Sossusvlei, but, you can camp just a way away at the Sesriem Campsite. The camp is very close to the vlei and you can get a good early start on your tour of the Sossusvlei if you stay at Sesriem.

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Some campers at Sesriem.
(photo source Namibia Tours Safaris)

Each campsite has running water and fireplace. There is also a petrol station and a basic grocery store that sells essentials such as bread, eggs and beer.

Demand is high, especially between June-September so please book ahead in order to avoid disappointment.

Halali, Etosha

Halali camp in Etosha National Park is really an incredible place. One of the most amazing features of this camp is that it has its own watering hole that is frequented by numerous types of game.

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 Two rhinos enjoying a sip of water at the Halali watering hole.

The NWR run camp is a lovely place to stay, but there is another option. If you want, you can bring a tent and whatever else you need and you can actually camp within Halali’s perimeter fence.

You will be so close to the watering hole in your tent that you may well hear lions roar and twigs snap as the various large mammals make their way around just outside the camp’s fences.

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All of the big five frequent Halali's watering hole, all you need is patience.

The site is well maintained and there is plenty of shade and all the basic amenities that you will need to make your camping experience as smooth as possible.

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Camping at Halali is popular and easy.
(photo source Tracks4Africa)

Brukkaros

Brukkaros is a dead volcano that sits in the southern Karas region of Namibia and it is absolutely stunning. It is an unspoilt paradise and can be reached with relative ease.

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View of the ancient volcano from a camp site.
(photo source Tracks4Africa)

The crater inside the extinct volcano is host to unique flora and fauna which cannot be found anywhere else, near the crater. It is well worth a visit.

There is a campsite on the slopes of the mountain and camping is reasonably priced. The camps have fireplaces and shade but there is no running water on the mountain, so you will need to bring your own water.

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Typical fireplace at a campsite.
(photo source Panoramio)

 

When adventuring through Namibia a traveler is spoiled for accommodation options. From five star luxury lodges to quiet B & B’s and rest camps. There is something for all tastes and budgets through out the country. But if you want to do something completely different, why not try camping in one of the many amazing campsites around Namibia.

Rest Camps in Namibia

  
  

Namibia is a very, very big country and driving from each location to amazing location can take hours. As a result of this, many intrepid locals have set up small rest camps along the national roads where travellers can break their long drives and rejuvinate. These lodge-style establishments can be found all over Namibia, and in this post we’re going to tell you what you can expect from a rest camp and where you can find a few of them.

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Rest camps are character filled and unique and each one has something different to offer explorers. Above is a picture of Roy's Rest Camp where we spent a night

Our rest camp experience

After travelling up to Etosha for some game viewing, we were next going to visit Rundu. We decided we would rather break our long drive with a stay at a rest camp. After looking at the map and the available rest camps along the B8 we eventually settled on a place called Roy’s Rest Camp.


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The entrance to Roy's Rest Camp

The accommodation at your typical rest camp is simple and clean and Roy’s is no exception, but each rest camp in Namibia also has its own character and vibe. Roy’s Rest Camp, for example, has been painstakingly decorated by its owners.

Derelict classic cars and all manner of Namibian inspired homemade décor can be found hanging in the trees, at the restaurant and in the rooms.

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We found this old car just by the camp's reception.

Our stay at Roy's was very typical of a rest camp in Namibia. The staff are friendly and interested in your stories and always have time to sit around and chat about what's going on around the camp and the country as a whole. Places like this afford you an opportunity to swap notes with other travellers and get some ideas on what to do while you are in Namibia.

What you can expect from a rest camp

These small camps are unpretentious and unassuming and the people who run them are almost always friendly, welcoming people. Rest camps can also be excellent place to meet up with fellow travellers and maybe make a few new friends by sitting round the fire or poolside.

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Rooms are typically simple, clean and comfortable

Some of the rest camps have other unique features such as farm tours and bird walks, or even game viewing, and so it is always a good idea to ask at the camp's reception if there are any recommended activites for visitors to experience while staying at a particular rest camp.

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Another beautifully rusted out car at Roy's Rest Camp

Some of the camps are self-catering and others have a more typical travel lodge setup. The whole point of a rest camp is to allow a weary traveller to lay down their head for a good night’s rest so that in the morning they can carry on with their journey refreshed and impressed.


Many of the rest camps you will find in Namibia will give you the option of either staying in built chalets, or camping in your own tent. Roy's Rest camp is one such place that offers both, but it is not the only one. So, if you and your travel buddies are up for some outdoor camping then a rest camp may make even more sense for you as you travel through the vast countryside of Namibia.

A short list of rest camps in Namibia

Below is a list of several rest camps situated around the country. As already mentioned, rest camps can be found all over Namibia, so when you are planning your trip consider breaking up some of the long distances and travel days.

 

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Roy's Rest Camp

 

Roy’s Camp is perfectly situated on the B8 main road from Grootfontein to Rundu, 55 km north of Grootfontein.  At ideal stop over to Northern Namibia, Zambezi (formerly known as Caprivi) and Bushman land.


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 Brandberg Rest Camp

 

Located in Damaraland, the Brandberg rest camp has a restaurant, bar, pool and internet facilities.

The camp also offers guests some climbing, exploring and hiking activities.

 

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  Ombo Rest Camp

 

70km North of Windhoek on the Hochfeld road, Ombo Rest Camp has a restaurant but has self-catering chalets as well.

This camp is unique in that it has a wateringhole on its property for game and sunset viewing.

 

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  Kamanjab Rest Camp

 

3km from the village of Kamanjab this quirky camp has a restaurant, bar and can be reached via a nearby landing strip for private planes.

This camp has unique game watching oppurtunities and is home to several friendly giraffes.

 

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 Quiver Tree Forest Camp

 

13km Northeast of Keetmanshoop the Quiver Tree Forest Camp has a swimming pool, a choice between either self-catering or you can use the a la carte restaurant.

Near the camp are incredible geological formations, birdlife and a veritable forest of quiver trees.

 

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Khorixas Rest Camp

 

Situated nearby the Damaraland capital of Khorixas this camp has everything you need to relax when you are halfway thorugh a long journey.

The surrounds in this part of Damaraland are famed for unusual geological formations and ancient rock engravings.

 

As mentioned above this is not a complete list of rest camps in Namibia and no matter where you are travelling in this wide open country you should be able to find a rest camp where you can split up your journey and have an extra mini-adventure.

Each little place that you find in Namibia has something unique and interesting about it and these small establishments give you a chance to experience some of that first hand.

Namibia Heritage Week 2013

  
  

Namibia has a varied collection of different cultures that live within its borders, and this is a large part of the reason why Namibia is such an incredibly interesting place to visit. From urban centers to national parks the people of Namibia are as varied as its landscapes.

Herero

Herero Woman

So to celebrate the cultural heritage of all Namibians the National Heritage Council Namibia holds an annual Heritage Week across Namibia to showcase the different cultures that can be found in Namibia. Heritage Week is from the 16th to the 22nd of September 2013 and we're going to explain what that means to you, whether you are a local or just visiting this exciting country.

San Namibia

The San people, one of the oldest communities on earth

The theme for this year’s Heritage Week is ‘Heritage: Namibia’s Knowledge Bank’. The theme is in reference to the continuingly positive influence remembering one’s heritage has on a community or an individual. In Namibia, heritage is how we came to be who we are and is therefore one of the most important things for us to remember.

Himba Namibia 3

Himba woman

In order to share the different strands of culture that make up the tapestry of Namibia, the National Heritage Council of Namibia has set aside next week (16-22 of September) to promote museums, art galleries and heritage institutions across the country.

Owambo village

Owambo village

We have collected all the information you will need to take part in the celebrations happening around the country. So whether you are a local looking to reconnect with your roots, or a visitor looking for a meaningful cultural experience, have a look below and see if you can get yourself to any of the following events.

Heritage Week Program of Events

City of Windhoek
The City of Windhoek will be organizing a `Walk for Culture’ on Saturday, 21 September to mark the start of the /Ae//Gams Festival.  If you would like to take part please gather at 08:30am (the walk will start at 09.00) next to the new City of Windhoek Museum on Robert Mugabe Avenue.  The walkers will visit a number of important heritage sites and encounter cultural performances along the route which will end in Zoo Park.

For more information please contact: Mariah Hamata, Tel: +26461–290-2588, E-mail: mnh@windhoekcc.org.na

Namibia Wildlife Resorts
A range of Namibian Heritage Week specials are on offer across NWR’s camps and lodges.  Bookings must be made in advance and will include free entry to the Park. Take this special opportunity to enjoy Namibia’s outstanding beauty.

For more information contact: the NWR on +26461-285-7200.

Franco-Namibian Centre
At the Franco-Namibian Centre there will be an exhibition titled ‘What We See’. The exhibition will be open to the public throughout the week (09.00 – 18.00).  The exhibition focuses on the racial documentation project that collected the sound recordings and body casts made of people in the 1930s.

For more information contact: Ruth on +26461-387-330.

Gobabeb Desert Research Foundation
The Foundation will be holding a special Open Day will take place on Sunday, 22nd September to celebrate the declaration of the Namib Sand Sea as Namibia’s Second World Heritage Site.  UNESCO recognizes the outstanding importance of this site so come and help us celebrate and appreciate the Namib Sand Sea.
For more information contact: Esther Uushona on +264-694-199.

Grootfontein Museum
Guided Tours and animal quiz for all local grade 7 groups  - by appointment
For more information contact: The Grootfontein Museum  @ Tel +264-67-242-456

Helvi Mpingane Kondombolo Cultural Village and Tsumeb Museum
The Cultural Village will provide free entry to Namibians throughout the week.  Guided tours for school groups will take place on Wednesday and Friday at the Tsumeb Museum.  The main celebration involving performances by cultural groups will take place on Friday, 20th September. On Saturday 21st September there will be a craft market where visitors will be able to purchase unique Namibian crafts and dine on traditional foods.
For more information contact: Lemmy Geingob, at +264-6722-1056 or +264-81-146-0011,

Keetmanshoop Museum
The museum will host a three-day programme of activities with demonstrations of local crafts and cultural performances involving local schools. 
For more information please contact: Ms Valerie Kleintjies on +264-63-221-256.

Munyondo gwaKapande Cultural Village
A programme of activities will be taking place throughout the week at the village. Including a competition for schools on local culture, traditions, and drum-making and playing. 
For more information please contact: Mr. Mukuwe +264-81-218-0213, Mr. Pessa +264-81-248-5508/ +264-81-601-6012

Nakambale Museum
A group of skilled local craft-workers will be based at the museum throughout the week.  Visitors will be able to learn and observe traditional skills such as basket weaving, pottery making and how to make oil from marula fruit. 
For more information please contact: Ms Magdalena Kanaante on +264-65-240-472 or +264-81-249-3108.

National Archives of Namibia and National Library of Namibia
An exhibition that provides archival materials and literature pieces showing the importance of the traditional knowledge of Namibians. 
For more information please contact: Mr Werner Hillebrecht on +264-61-293-5211.

National Art Gallery of Namibia
On Saturday 21 September the Gallery will host a panel discussion about  ‘Namibian Art’ from 11am to 13.30 with light refreshments included.  This is your chance to meet local artists and learn more about the richness and diversity of Namibia artworks. 
For more information please contact: Ms Selma Kaulinge @ +264-61-231-160.

National Earth Science Museum
There will be a varied programme of events at the museum throughout the week including screenings of a film on Copper Smelting by the Kwanyama. There will be daily tours from 10:00 in the morning, with a daily treasure hunt for kids from 09:00 to 09:40.
For more information please contact: Ms Helke Mocke at +264-284-8391 or email hmocke@mme.gov.na

National Heritage Council
Namibians can enjoy free entry to the Council’s major sites, such as Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site, Heroes Acre and Lake Otjikoto
For more information please contact: Ms Beverley van Wyk on +264-61-244-375.

National Museum of Namibia
The specialized curators at the museum will be providing unique `backstage’ tours of their collections and are inviting school groups to participate in these tours throughout the week. 
For more information please contact: Benson on +264-61-276-817

Ombalantu Baobab Tree Heritage Centre
A programme of activities throughout the week at the centre will include performances by local cultural groups and storytellers throughout the week for visiting groups from local schools. 
For more information please contact: Mr Gebhard Shiimbi on +264-81-438-4705

Swakopmund Museum
Guided tours of the museum for local school groups throughout the week.  
For more information contact: Engela at the Museum on +264-64-402-046

Uukwaluudhi Royal Homestead, Tsandi
At this homestead, local schools will be participating in a programme of activities and competitions to learn about local culture and heritage. 
For more information please contact: Joel Nekwaya on +264-81-285-3249 or Ms Hilda Lita on +264-65-258-025.

University of Namibia:  History Society
The society will mount an exhibition in the foyer of the library and will have a programme of consciousness-raising events for students at the campus on 18th and 19th September. The society is also going to be holding a `Walk for Culture’.  Activities will include a cultural performance, a  heritage tour, and a quiz on Namibian Heritage for students (with prizes). The event will be held at UNAM Olupale Square on the 18th September 2013 from 10h00 to 14h00.
For more information please contact: Bethel +264-81-871-2057, E-mail sylviaumana@gmail.com.

Walvis Bay Museum
Activities will take place during the week aimed primarily at local schools.  Members of the Topnaar community will be on hand to introduce learners to their cultural traditions. There will also be a demonstration of the ways in which the !Nara melon plays an important role in the communities of this part of Namibia. 
For more information please contact: Ms Antoinette Mostert on +264-64-201-3273 or email the museum on museum@walvisbaycc.org.na

Visit The Young Artists & Musicians Of Tsumeb Namibia

  
  

Next time you're wandering through the north of Namibia or making your way to Etosha National Park, stray off the beaten track and spend some time in the old mining town of Tsumeb. Tsumeb is the largest town in the Oshikoto region of Namibia and has some real gems for the traveller willing to do a bit of exploring. One such gem is the Tsumeb Arts Performance Center - an inspiration to anyone promoting culture in Namibia and a haven for young muscians and artists.

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A young child at the Tsumeb Arts and Performance Centre.

Promoting arts and culture in the region

The Tsumeb Arts Performance Centre is run by a non-profit organisation called the Namibian Art Performance Centres Association (NAPCA). The association currently runs three centres in the northern region of Namibia. Arts Performance Centres can be found in Tsumeb, Omagalanga, and Oshikuku. Each centre provides a space for local communities to learn how to develop their talents and express themselves through a variety of artistic mediums.

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The Tsumeb Arts Performance Centre.

The mediums promoted by these centres range from painting and pattern design, to learning how to act or play an instrument. If it is artistic then the NAPCA will try and promote it.

The association's aim is to particularly promote arts in underdeveloped and disadvantaged communities in Namibia, and through its three centres it is really starting to make a difference in local communities. 

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 Children are able to learn a variety of instruments and skills 
at the Arts Performance Centres.

When visiting Tsumeb we were able to spend some time with one of the NAPCA’s founders, Lis Hidber, who works at the Tsumeb centre. Lis gave us a tour of the facilities and described the kind of work that they do.

As soon as we started walking around the grounds we were struck at how much time and hard work must have gone into the development of property on which the centre stands.

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A statue at the entrance of the centre.

Cheerily coloured murals and beautifully maintained gardens give students a refreshing and relaxing space in which to pursue their artistic ambitions.

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One of the many murals that have been painted on the centre's classrooms. 

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 A harp waiting to be played in the courtyard.

How the centre functions

The most important aspect of the centre are obviously the teachers, as without them there could be no regular lessons for the students. Instead of relying on importing teachers from other regions or countries, the Tsumeb centre employs mostly local community members to run the classes and the results have been fantastic. The dedication of the team of teachers was obvious and the centre is a hive of activity all day long.

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Three boys receiving instruction.

Each rondavel on the property is dedicated to a group of instruments, and we were fortunate enough to be allowed to peek our heads into a few of these classrooms to see what the children were up to.

The children were all very keen on their instruments and projects, and like children everywhere, most were extremely eager to display their talents to anyone who showed an interest.

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These two young boys were part of a very talented band of marimba players.

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The students are committed to their instruments and this is thanks 
to the tireless work of the school's teachers.

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 These girls took a break from playing their harps to pose for a photo.

It was extremely moving to see children using the centre's program to learn how to play and master instruments that they normally would never have been able to.

The centre, however, does not only hone children's artistic abilities. The Tsumeb Art Performance Centre also teaches locals how to build, repair and maintain musical instruments.

At the heart of the centre in Tsumeb is its workshop that can restring, restore, and create instruments that are then used by the students at the centre. So talented is the team at the workshop that music shops in Windhoek send their instruments to Tsumeb for repairs.

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A cello waiting to repaired outside the workshop.

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All the instruments used at the APC are maintained by employess that
receive training at the centre.

How does the centre keep going?

The centre relies almost entirely on private donations and Lis’s home country Austria is a massive source of funds for NAPCA and its centres. But any support, from anywhere, is always greatly appreciated and thoughtfully used.

If you wish to make any donations, financial or otherwise, then send NAPCA an email to their address which you can find here.

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Inside one of the centre's classrooms...
Many of the instruments have been donated by private citizens.

How to get there

Getting to Tsumeb will take about six hours by car if you are driving from Windhoek. The route follows the B1 which is in good condition and relatively easy going. If you need to hire a car once you get to Namibia then follow this link for some rental agencies.

If you cannot drive, or do not want to drive yourself, then do not panic! Intercape is a bus company that operates in certain regions of Namibia and there is a bus that travels between Tsumeb and Windhoek.

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The Tsumeb Art Performance Centre's operating hours and contact details.
Feel free to call and ask how you can get involved with their projects. 

The entire experience at the Tsumeb Arts Performance Centre was fantastic and a visit to the centre should be considered by any traveller exploring the north of Namibia. 

While travelling through Namibia you will come across towns like Tsumeb. Do not make the mistake of always driving through them on your way to your predetermined destination. Allow a little bit of leeway in your holiday schedule, take a few detours, because you never know what you may discover.

Go Big Namibia Day 9 & 10: Sossusvlei & BIG DADDY

  
  
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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

 

Last stop for the Go Big Namibia adventure was Sossusvlei, surrounded by the magnificent dunes of the Namib-Naukluft National park. We arrived just in time to catch an amazing sunset at the Sesriem canyon, where we enjoyed sundowners, snacks and reminiscing over the good memories made over the last 10 days.

After dinner, David treated us to a star gazing session, teaching us how to spot constellations like the Southern Cross, Scorpio and Capricorn. We’d never seen so many stars and so clearly - no wonder Sossusvlei is renowned for having some of the world’s darkest skies.

The following morning we were up at 5am to see the sunrise against some of the highest dunes in the world. We climbed to the top of Big Daddy (the highest of the dunes) to watch as the rising sun forced the dune’s shadow to slowly reveal the fossilized trees of the Deadvlei pan down below. The early morning wake up was a small price to pay for what was an unforgettable moment on this trip.

To round off the perfect morning we were treated to an outdoor breakfast at the foot of the dunes. What a way to end our Namibian adventure!

 

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Quiver trees and endless horizons on the drive from Swakopmund to Sossusvlei

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Due south: crossing the Tropic of Capricorn

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The mandatory stop at Solitaire for the town's famous apple pie

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Ees entertaining himself in the middle of the desert

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Spectaular views and top accommodation at the Sossus Dune Lodge

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Stargazing in some of the world's darkest skies

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The first rays of sun strike the dunes

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Oryx tracks are a reminder of the incredible animals and plants that survive in these extreme desert conditions

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The Go Big Namibia team takes on the highest dune in the world: Big Daddy

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And get to run all the way down...

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900 year old skeletons of camel thorn trees lie frozen in time at the bottom of Big Daddy

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The dry clay that covers the pan not only helps to preserve these old trees but is proof of the river that once ran through the barren desert

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Staff from Sossus Dune Lodge treat us to a feast at the foot of the dunes


Find out more about the #GoBigNamibia tour and start your own adventure

   

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