Did you know the Black-footed Cat in Namibia is threatened by extinction?

If you haven’t heard about this wild cat before, the Black-footed Cat is the smallest wildcat species in Africa. And while most conservation programmes focus on big cats, this little guy is under just as much threat.

Rights to SA Venues

It may look like an adorable house cat, but rest assured this little beast can take care of itself. The Felisnigripes only stands about 20cm tall and weighs around 1-2.5kg. They have soft dark-goldish fur with a spotted pattern across their bodies. Usually they have two dark streaks across their cheeks and dark striping across their legs.

These little creatures have adapted to the desert lifestyle. Their broad skull and large ears allow them enhanced hearing to find prey in a scarce region. And they have hair on the soles of their paws to protect them from the heat of the sand.

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Found mostly in Namibia, South Africa and Botswana, the Black-footed cat prefers grass plains, sand plains, and scrub desert, including the Kalahari and Karoo Deserts. Legends have claimed that these little cats can bring down a giraffe. Obviously it is not true, but it does reflect the great determination of these felines.

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While the cats are usually solitary animals, females and dependent kittens do stay together for a while. Kittens stick with their mothers for up to four months and stick to their mom’s vicinity for quite some time thereafter.

Image result for black footed cat kitten

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The major threat to these little cats includes overgrazing livestock. This reduces their availability of prey. Poison in carcasses, as these creatures scavenge like jackals. The public is also encouraged not to keep these cats as pets. They are wild animals after all.

Image result for black footed cat hunting

Rights to International Society for Endangered Cats

When visiting the Kalahari Anib Lodge, keep an eye out for these awesome creatures.

If you have any information or stories on the Black-footed Cat, we invite you to share them 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.

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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.

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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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