What does Gondwana mean?

The Gondwana Collection is celebrating its 21st birthday this year. To the public we are known as a lodge group that strives for service excellence and to conduct business in a way that is environmentally conscious. One of our major aims as a company is to preserve the natural heritage of Namibia.

The basic history, summed up quite bluntly, is that four like-minded people came together in 1996 to create a place where wildlife could roam freely and safely along the Fish River Canyon. They intended to have this project funded by a temporary tented camp on the property. This humble idea grew rapidly and the Gondwana Collection grew into fourteen properties across the country.

Gondwana Collection Namibia

Some may recall that we once had a different name, the Gondwana Travel Centre, which was changed to the Gondwana Collection. I’m sure you’ve noticed though that the one idea that remains at its centre, is ‘Gondwana’.

The word itself has prehistoric origins. Scientists believe that there was once a super continent, in which all continents of earth were connected as one. This massive continent was named Pangaea. Its name is derived from the Ancient Greek words pan (meaning “whole / entire”) and Gaia (meaning “Mother Earth” and also the name of the ancient Greek goddess of earth).

Rights to John Pangaea

Rights to John Pangaea

This super continent was divided into a northern and southern hemisphere. The northern half was named Laurentia or Laurasia and the southern half was named Gondwana.

Rights to ZME Science

Rights to ZME Science

The name of this southern super continent has unique origins. The continent was named by Austrian scientist, Eduard Suess, after a region in central northern India. This region is named the ‘forest of the Gonds’, after a tribe that lives in the area.

The Gonds are a people who live in central India. The reason the continent was named after this group, is because India had been part of the Gondwana super continent.

Rights to Indianbijou

Rights to Indianbijou

It is because of this rich background that the four founders of our company decided to use this name. However the meaning of Gondwana was brought in once again, when the lodge group received its new logo. To explain the logo, one needs to understand the origins of the company’s name. The new logo consists of the hand. A very simple but also loaded image.

The hand can symbolise history and heritage through the lines embedded in the skin. It can also be a welcoming idea, an introduction through a handshake. And of course it symbolises unity and the ‘coming together’ of people and communities. These are some of the reasons why we chose the hand as our identity. And if you look closely, there is so much more.

"You can see Africa & South America"

“You can see Africa & South America”

When you consider the logo above, you can see Africa. You can also see South America, as it was once connected to the African continent. And if you look carefully you will see Namibia, forming part of all the continents afore mentioned.

"Look carefully you will see Namibia"

“Look carefully you will see Namibia”

We here at the Gondwana Collection see the world as interconnected. One thing cannot exist without the support of another. This ideology is also grounded in our philosophy. We believe that we can only be successful if we bring the tourism sector, environmentally conscious methods and the local communities together. And so far this has not let us down.

If you have any information regarding Gondwana or experiences with the Gondwana Collection, we invite you to 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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Why you should be gardening in Namibia

Technically it is still spring, despite the extreme heat we have already experienced. And with the rain that arrived earlier this week and the promise of more rain coming our way, we thought this would be the ideal time to discuss …wait for it, gardening!

Image: The French Inspired Room

Image: The French Inspired Room

So we are well aware that not everyone likes the whole gardening, dirt under the fingernails, green thumb thing. Personally, it does not matter how hard I try, I tend to kill plants rather than keep them alive. However I still love the idea of gardening and keep trying. And it turns out that gardening is actually good for you! So without further ado, we are going to make our point by offering five reasons why you should start a garden in Namibia, right now!

Gardening at The Delight Swakopmund Hotel: Image - Judy & Scott Hurd

Gardening at The Delight Swakopmund Hotel: Image – Judy & Scott Hurd

1. Gardening relieves stress! In the world we live in everything is fast paced and intense, which leads to elevated levels of stress. When you work in the garden, your stress levels actually decrease and your cortisol levels – a hormone that is linked to your mood, immune system and heart function – are kept in check.

2.  A healthy heart is often linked to physical activities, like gardening. This activity offers the ideal source of moderate-intensity exercise and a quick ten minutes in the sun (without sunscreen) will give you enough vitamin D to reduce your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and various cancers.

Image: cocobean.me

Image: cocobean.me

3. It turns out that having dirt under your finger nails is actually a good thing! Who would have guessed? Studies have shown that the ‘friendly’ soil bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae, actually aids in fighting the symptoms of psoriasis, allergies and asthma: all of which may stem from a weak immune system.

4.  And for those a may not be thrilled with the idea of a gym, it may be interesting to know that just an hour of light gardening and yard work can burn up to 330 calories! And you get the added bonus of fresh air while you work.

5. Finally, studies have found that just by being surrounded by flowers, you are actually improving your health. The results of the study showed that flowers are a natural mood moderator and have an immediate effect on happiness, and enable us to make more intimate connections with other people.

Vertical succulents - Image: Shelterness

Vertical succulents – Image: Shelterness

Besides these health benefits, gardening is also a great support for the environment. Now that we have convinced you to get your hands dirty, here is the ideal way to do so in our Namibian climate…

First off, Namibia has a very harsh, dry climate. So when you are picking plants for your garden, look for tough little buggers that do not need massive amounts of water. The plant type we always turn to is the succulents group.

Now just because these plants are strong does not mean they can thrive on their own. They often still need to be supported to survive, as in the case of the Quiver trees in the south. The Gondwana Collection has actually created a small nursery that focuses on supporting the quiver trees to reach maturity.

Image: Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

Back to succulents, they come in all shapes and sizes and can grow in various climates, both indoors and outside. On top of that, they are living art! Whether you plant one into a vintage tea cup or decide to go the vertical direction (as we have done at The Delight Hotel), these little plants are super versatile. And they only need to be watered once a week. If you are interested in starting a succulent garden, there is a fantastic article on how to get started.

Gardening at The Delight Swakopmund Hotel

Gardening at The Delight Swakopmund Hotel

If you have any gardening tips you would like to share, we invite you to leave your suggestions 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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Why the Dragon’s Breath Cave in Namibia is so special

Namibia is generally known as an arid country, with soft desert sand and harsh waterless landscapes stretching from Atlantic Ocean to every border. However, the country holds so much more. One of the treasures Namibia holds that is often forgotten is the Dragon’s Breath Cave.

Dragons breath - Image: africanglobe.net

Dragons breath – Image: africanglobe.net

For those few who may not know about it, Dragon’s Breath was discovered in 1986, about 46km north of Grootfontein, by the South African Speleological Association. Along the Kalahari Desert there is a cavern, which slants slightly down for almost 5 metres, ending at a small choke.

Dragons breath - Image: namibiatourism.com.na

Dragons breath – Image: namibiatourism.com.na

From here there is a vertical drop of almost 7 metres, which comes to a sudden halt onto a ledge, leading to another drop of 12 metres and a further descend of 36.5 metres, ending with a massive underground lake. In fact it is so massively large, that is has been named the largest underground non sub-glacial lake in the world.On top of that the lake is so deep that divers have yet to reach its floor, only managing to go down as far as 131 metres.

Image - africanglobe.net

Image – africanglobe.net

So the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘Why call it Dragon’s Breath?’ It’s easy enough to explain. Apparently when the cave was discovered, the humid air that rose from the cave’s opening, reminded the explorers of the warm breath of a dragon. And the magical mystery inspired by the name can be pulled through to the creatures that can be found within.

Thanks to a unique combination of zero-sunlight conditions, little wave-action to kick up sediment and the stable temperatures of the cavern, it has allowed for the world’s rarest and most isolated species to find a home… the Golden Cave Catfish, or Clariascavernicola. This unique species is endangered and may have a population of as little as 200 catfish.

Dragons Breath - Image: africanglobe.net

Dragons Breath – Image: africanglobe.net

Access to the interior of the cave is limited, and requires climbing ropes, narrow tunnels and ledges, and of course the sudden drop to the water surface. The surface area of the lake spans 2 hectares. Because of the difficulty associated with accessing the cave, much of its secrets are still hidden from the modern world.

 Image: Verticaltrip-Namgrows-2010

Image: Verticaltrip-Namgrows-2010

If you have visited Dragon’s Breath or have any other information about the cave, we invite you to share your thoughts and experiences 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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