Why you should visit the Kalahari Farmhouse

Working for Gondwana definitely has its perks, and sitting on my own little terrace in front of my room with a refreshing drink in hand… it is obvious that life cannot get much better than this. In the past week, my work took me to The Kalahari Farmhouse.

Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

"comfortably located in the small town of Stampriet"

“comfortably located in the small town of Stampriet”

A small lodge owned by the Gondwana Collection, comfortably located in the small town of Stampriet.

Image: Micheal Spencer

Image: Micheal Spencer

Image: Micheal Spencer

Image: Micheal Spencer

Currently the lodge is closed to the public as it is the home of the Gondwana Training Academy.

Courses have been offered over the past few weeks, ranging from maintenance and bartending, to cooking. And thanks to the role I play in the grand scheme of things, I got to break away from the hustle of the city.

Kalahari Farmhouse is by far my favourite Gondwana property. Simply because it does not try, it does not need to.

Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

The entire property, from the vineyards that run along the road as you approach, to the smiling managers as they meet you at the entrance, is effortless.

When you walk through the entry way toward reception, it is easy to forget that you are in the Kalahari. Instantly, you feel transported into another world, an enchanted forest.

KALAHARI_FARMHOUSE8 5

“When you walk through the entry way toward reception” – Kalahari Farmhouse

I always wait for the garden faeries to come dancing across the tree branches. The Farmhouse garden is stunning in a way that is difficult to explain.

Massive palm trees stretching into the blue sky, with their giant branches lacing through the branches of other ancient trees. You are immediately sheltered from the harsh desert heat.

Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

“Massive palm trees stretching into the blue sky” – Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

The sound of bubbling water is a constant companion as the artesian well pushes the water up to the surface and small channels lead the fresh waters to the farm gardens.

And when you walk into the main building, you cannot help but feel at home.

Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Lounge at Kalahari Farmhouse – Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Your great grandmother’s piano is placed in the foyer and as you walk into the bar lounge, large, leather couches invite you into their embrace.

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Bar area st Kalahari Farmhouse – Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Something I have always been adamant about, it that I don’t want a hotel or lodge to feel like home… I want to feel comfortable and welcome, but it should definitely not be a second home. But here, you are home.

It’s not that anything looks like a house or that it is boring or traditional.

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Rather that you cannot help but feel at ease and comfortably content when you are there. And this is exactly how I found myself on my little terrace, sitting in a rocking chair with the lodge cat snoozing on the seat beside mine, watching the summer rain drip down the edge of the terrace roof.

Kalahari Farmhouse is truly a special place and is always there to welcome you with open arms when the city life gets too much.

Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

The lodge will be open to the public again at the end of April, and I look forward to getting back to my little terrace as soon as possible.

If you have ever been to Farmhouse, please share your experience with us in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

Jescey Visagie

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101 sunsets with Gondwana  

In Namibia, clear skies and delicious warm evenings have inspired an important tradition – and celebration of life – sundowners!

As part of their 20th anniversary celebrations, the Gondwana Collection held a ‘101 Sunset Competition’, inviting the public to share their sensational sundowner moments. The competition kicked off at the Namibia Tourism Expo in May and continued until the end of August when it wrapped up with 875 entries. It took another month to carefully evaluate the photos, selecting the finest. In October, the winners were announced and the prize of 101 nights at Gondwana’s lodges was shared between the five winners of the various categories, who each won 20 nights, with the overall winner bagging the additional day to make up the total of 101.

Overall winner & Natural Sunsets Category - Winner: Alloyce Makhosi

Overall winner & Natural Sunsets Category – Winner: Alloyce Makhosi

Crazy Sundowner Moments - Winner: Michael Hackauf

Crazy Sundowner Moments Category – Winner: Michael Hackauf

Pro Sunsets - Winner: Carsten Von Carsten von Frankenberg-Lüttwitz

Pro Sunsets category – Winner: Carsten Von Carsten von Frankenberg-Lüttwitz

Images of clinking glasses, striking landscapes and land and water aflame with the deepest and richest colours on Earth came streaming in. They encapsulated the wonderful African tradition: sundowners i.e. spending the late afternoon somewhere out in nature with a drink in hand, appreciating the landscape bathed in gold at this enchanting time of the day. It’s the time to stop whatever you are doing and enjoy the transition between day and night, when softness and beauty merge the two in a spectacular display, one of the best shows on the planet.

Social Sundowners Category- Winners: Ralph Ellinger

Social Sundowners Category – Winners: Ralph Ellinger

Image: Mike Scott

Sundowner Competition – Image: Mike Scott

 The bustle of the day and the excitement of travel or wildlife viewing pauses for a while as drinks are sipped and snacks are nibbled. Then, as the sun begins to dip in the sky, there’s a hush as the ruby orb slowly and regally sinks into the horizon. A wash of pastel colours splash dramatically across the heavens in its wake,lit up from below,before the first stars begin to shimmer and the blanket of night is eventually drawn over the land.

Sunsets and Wildlife Category - Winner: Suzanne Pienaar Van Zyls

Sunsets and Wildlife Category – Winner: Suzanne Pienaar Van Zyls

Sundowner Competition - Image: Carlo Palomba

Sundowner Competition – Image: Carlo Palomba

The world stills as the diurnal birds turn in and the nocturnal life begins to stir, adding its voice to the indigo night. Occasionally, jackal calls ring out through the air. The power, magic and mystery of creation is palpable.

 As part of Gondwana’s 20th birthday bash – and the sunset theme, Gondwana (in partnership with Namibian kwaito singer EES and Namibian Breweries) released a ‘Sundowner’song celebrating just that, the time of day to close laptops and workplace doors, hang up tools, pack a coolbox and head out to a rooftop vantage point, a dam, or if fortunate enough, the great Namibian wilderness, the canyon or countryside.

The video clip showcases the vast and majestic scenery of the Fish River Canyon and the sweeping landscapes at this golden hour, accompanied by EES’s lively beat. Towards the end of the clip, while sitting at the edge of the dam as the sun sets into the African bush, EES turns to his friend and makes the apt observation: “The thing is,” he says, as the music quietens in the background,“I think people nowadays don’t realise how important a sundowner actually is; how to chill and relax and to just let the day quietly settle.”

Image: Silke Kuhr

Sundowner at Namib Desert Lodge – Image: Silke Kuhr

So, here’s a reminder. While in Namibia, remember to take time out for the best time of day. Take a walk or a drive, or simply sit on your veranda or balcony. Or, if you are at one of the Gondwana lodges, join the sunset celebrations to appreciate the Namib Desert, Fish River Canyon, Zambezi waterways or Kalahari dunes when Mother Nature puts on her best performance on Earth just for you.

Image: Piero Alberto Grassi

Sundowner at Kalahari Anib Lodge – Image: Piero Alberto Grassi

Sundowner Competition - Image: Myriam Werra

Sundowner Competition – Image: Myriam Werra

 Cheers!

 Gondwana’s top ten sunset spots:

  1. The crest of the 20-million-year-old fossilised dunes at Namib Desert Lodge with a superlative view of the desert landscape
  2. A sunset deck built on the hill overlooking the mopane savannah and Brandberg in the distance at Damara Mopane Lodge
  3. The edge of the Fish River Canyon that drops down to ancient chasms – Canyon Roadhouse, Village and Lodge
  4. The boat on the Kwando River after a game drive into the Bwabwata National Park at Namushasha River Lodge
  5. Watching the Namib wild horses at the Garub viewpoint while visiting Klein Aus Vista
  6. The Hakusembe River Queen on the Okavango River at Hakusembe River Lodge
  7. The end of the jetty as the waves crash around you (the Delight hotel,Swakopmund)
  8. The top of the granite koppie (hill) at Canyon Lodge overlooking the Gondwana Canyon Park
  9. The wooden deck at Etosha Safari Lodge, with a view of the mopane woodland
  10. The red sand dunes of the Kalahari (Kalahari Anib and the Farmhouse)

Ron Swilling is a freelance writer, based in Cape Town, writing for Namibian and South African publications. She is a regular contributor to Gondwana’s History and Stamps&Stories columns and documented the information on the Wild Horses in the Namib Desert for Mannfred Goldbeck and Telané Greyling. She invites you to ‘Follow her footsteps’ on her journey from the Orange River, exploring the Gondwana routes through the intriguing country of Namibia.

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Ron Swilling

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How to taste Namibia

Taste Namibia!

Food is a universal language that has a tendency to bring people together and in Namibia we take this ‘language’ very seriously. When traveling to another country, place, destination… the location’s cuisine becomes part of your local experience. The tastes become memories associated with your journey and can often help remind you of the moments enjoyed while abroad. In Namibia this is no different, here you will have access to a variety of unique and tasty delights that will make your mouth water at the mere thought of them.

Let’s start in the south… Along the Fish River Canyon, just a few kilometres away from the ridges, you will find the Canyon Roadhouse. Now besides the quirky décor and playful atmosphere, the real treasure at this location is the Amarula cheese cake. Light and delicious, this is something not to be missed. I cannot offer our scrumptious recipe, but I can offer the closest one available! Click here for the recipe to try your own Amarula cheese cake.

Image: mzansi style cuisine.co.za

Amarula cheese cake – Image: mzansi style cuisine.co.za

Next up and not to be missed, is the chicken schnitzel at Kalahari Farmhouse in the small town of Stampriet. Schnitzels are a relativity well-known food, being a boneless piece of meat that has been flattened out and coated in crumbs, but the Farmhouse does things slightly differently. I am not quite sure what the chef does, it must be some deliciously secret ingredient that makes this dish so tasty. All I can say is that this is definitely something to add to your travel list.

Chicken Schnitzel - Image: daringgourmet.com

Chicken Schnitzel – Image: daringgourmet.com

Make your way to the coast and enter The Delight Swakopmund. This is the place where breakfast gets interesting… start your day with champagne and fresh oysters! For those who haven’t had oysters before, they are simple to eat. Just add some lemon juice, a few drops of green Tabasco, and salt and pepper and there you go! A word of caution, you’re either going to love it or hate it, there is no in between.

Breakfast at The Delight Swakopmund

Breakfast at The Delight Swakopmund

Another delightful indulgence that can be found at The Delight is the banana delight. This is their own version of banana bread but here they top it off with fresh, hand-whipped cream. It is a sweet way to start the morning and if you’re lucky the bread may still be warm, which makes it taste ten times better! To try your own version of the Banana Delight, click here and start whipping the cream.

Banana bread - Image: flickr.com

Banana bread – Image: flickr.com

And of course no trip would be complete without tasting the chocolate mousse at Hakusembe River lodge. Light and airy and absolutely delectable, this is a dessert that will linger in your thoughts for a while. And the surprise found at the bottom of the glass…fresh raspberries grown in their own garden! This is a must-taste and even if you may not be able to make the trip right away, here is a simple recipe for you to try it for yourself.

Chocolate mousse - Image:cookingwithcurls.com

Chocolate mousse – Image:cookingwithcurls.com

And to end off on a savoury note…nothing comes close to the Oryx steaks and mushroom sauce that can be enjoyed at the Kalahari Anib Lodge. Namibia is known for its game meat and this lodge makes full use of it. The steak is juicy and tender, perfectly cooked and the sauce rounds off the whole culinary experience.

Needless to say there are vast amounts of other incredibly tasty foods that can be enjoyed in Namibia. Unique items like a good braai, kapana and malva pudding to name but a few. What is your favourite Namibian dish? Share it with us in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

Jescey Visagie

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