Did you know the first Afrikaans text was written in Arabic?

If you live in a southern African country, it is likely that you can speak or have at least heard the Afrikaans language spoken.

To unfamiliar ears, the language may sound odd and perhaps even harsh, due to the tone and sound of the various words. And just as the language sounds, the history of the language is also rather odd.

What most of us know, is that the Afrikaans language developed during colonial times. It is formally recognized as a Western Germanic language and stems from a Dutch vernacular that came to Africa with the Dutch settlers in the Cape of Good Hope.

With further development, the language came to be considered a creole language. A creole language is a complete language that has developed through the use of various other languages, and is then adopted by locals as a native tongue. Another example of a creole is Manglish, a language spoken in Malaysia.

Rights to Wikipedia

Southern Africa – Rights to Wikipedia

Alright, so while the Afrikaans language does stem largely from Dutch and to an extent from German, there are various other languages that also played a role in developing the language!

These include Portuguese, the Bantu Languages, the language of the San People and Malay, to name but a few.

The San people in Namibia - Rights to sunsafaris.com

The San people in Namibia – Rights to sunsafaris.com

And as many Afrikaans speakers can tell you, once you know the language, it becomes easier to understand and learn Dutch and German. Interestingly Afrikaans even shares common words with Flemish, French and English.

The term ‘Afrikaaner’ also reflects its place of origin, i.e. ‘Africans’. In 1815, the Afrikaans language replaced Malay as the teaching language in Muslim Schools in South Africa. In fact, the first Afrikaans texts were printed in the Arabic Alphabet.

Later, however, the language began to use the Roman alphabet and started to appear in newspapers and other public works.

Rights to Aryan Kaganof

Rights to Aryan Kaganof

By 1875 a group of Afrikaans-speakers established the ‘Genootskap vir Regte Afrikaaners’ (the Society for Real Afrikaaners).

The began to publish various works Afrikaans and aimed to establish Afrikaans as a language in its own right, instead of a slang version of Dutch. Eventually, in 1925, the language was recognized as a real language in South Africa.

And since then it has steadily grown. The language now has more than 7 million speakers from various cultural groups. The Afrikaans language also offers some very unique words, such as ‘moljol’ (blind date) or ‘kletterpet’ (helmet).

Needless to say, the development of the language allowed for a colourful heritage to be created. And who would expect anything less from the mighty, colourful African continent.

Landscapes of Namibia - Rights to http://travelrew.com

Landscapes of Namibia – Rights to http://travelrew.com

When you visit Namibia, you will surely hear and come into contact with Afrikaans. This will also happen while booking accommodation or staying with the Gondwana Collection, as we strive to create a culturally diverse community.

If you have any information about the Afrikaans language, 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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How the Fish River Canyon should be experienced

The mighty Fish River Canyon…second largest canyon in the world. Not at all daunting when you think about this massive slice through the country’s soil. What moves this natural marvel from daunting to majestic are the secrets and raw natural beauty that hide within this massive landscape.

The Fish River Canyon - Image: www.host-namiba.com

The Fish River Canyon – Image: www.host-namiba.com

As some may know, the Gondwana Collection used to offer the Canyon Mule Trails. Well this year, we have decided to retire our mules. And since last we spoke, they are thoroughly enjoying retirement life.

Image: www.news24.com

Image: www.news24.com

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Rest assured though, that your opportunity to experience the Fish River Canyon is not lost. In fact, we here at the Gondwana Collection have created a brand-new canyon experience. Drum roll please… the Canyon Klipspringer Trail!

 

Fish-River-Canyon-02

“The Canyon Klipspringer Trail”

Image: tracks4africa.co.za

Image: tracks4africa.co.za

What makes this hike so unique? Simply put, you do not need to lug around all your own baggage. Using an ingenious design concept, the Gondwana Collection offers the use of lockable trunks to store all your goods in.

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Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

So when you head out into the canyon for your hike, you only need to pack the necessities (water, snacks, etc.). And all the other goodies, pots, pans and clothes, are ferried to the next evening’s campsite.

CANYON_TREKKING3

What I am actually getting at, is you pretty much get to enjoy a hike through the northern areas of the Fish River Canyon without any heavy loads. And then when you arrive at the camp in the evening, your cabin and all possessions await.

CANYON_TREKKING2

And the process repeats itself throughout the entire hike. Every morning someone comes to collect your trunk and you do not need to worry about the heavy weight holding you back.

So for all the adventurous souls looking to break away from the hustle and bustle of city life…here is your answer.

Image: www.getaway.co.za

Image: www.getaway.co.za

Go explore the natural magnificence of the Fish River Canyon in slack packing ease.

CANYON_TREKKING4

Check out what you need to pack for this hike by clicking here.

And if you have any of your own canyon stories to tell, we invite you to share them 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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Packing for Namibia: Helpful Travel tips

It often isn’t easy to pack the right things for your next trip. A look at Namibia’s weather data shows that it constantly changes – between summer and winter, day and night, the country’s interior and the coast …are all very different. While it is hot in the desert every day of the year, it often cools down at night.

During the European summer months, it can freeze at night in Namibia. Namibians love the always fresh and cool climate of the coast, the region around Swakopmund is an especially popular resort. Thick clouds often cover the sky and the sun cannot warm the air as quickly as anywhere else.

Image: Lea Hajner

Image: Lea Hajner

What should be in your suitcase for your Namibian holiday and what can you leave at home?

Clothing

More layers are better than not enough. I had a thick Merino sweater for the flight in January and I wore it in Swakopmund quite often. In other places have a thin vest to wear in the evening. A thin, long trouser is the right attire for hikes.

Firm shoes & long trousers - Image: Lea Hajner

Firm shoes & long trousers – Image: Lea Hajner

Safari-Look or Africa chic?

If you are travelling along one of the self-drive safaris and have planned day trips, you might need to capture the entire safari look.

Safari drive

Safari drive

Thin shirts are practical (also against the sun), a hat, sun glasses (that stretch along the sides to protect your eyes from sand and dust) and shoes with a firm sole (thorn bushes are everywhere, without exception).

In the evenings, you can dress up if you’d like – but it isn’t necessary.

Sossusvlei

The best is to be at the gate by sunrise (when the park opens) and the cooler hours of morning will be in your favour.

 Image: Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

Shoes with socks are recommended, but you can manage the climb up Big Daddy, barefoot or with flipflops. However this depends on the heat of the sand, as soon as the sun is up it does not take long before the sand becomes hot enough to burn your feet.

Hiking in Sossusvlei - Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Hiking in Sossusvlei – Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Otherwise, things to keep in your backpack: at least 1 litre of water, snacks, a camera, hat and sun block.

The Cool Coast and Rainy Season

A rain jacket never hurts, in the rainy season anyway (even if the rain barely lasts a few minutes). At the coast it also protects against the wind.

A rain jacket - Image: static1.squarespace.com

A rain jacket – Image: static1.squarespace.com

Shoes

I coped well with light ankle-high walking shoes, sandals and a pair of ballerina pumps.

First-aid travel kit

This topic caused a lot of headaches. We finally solved it so that we didn’t take any prophylaxis and were fully committed to a variety of resources from home and from Namibia. By the way, the areas south of Windhoek have a minimal risk for malaria.

For mosquito protection in the supermarket in Namibia - Image: Lea Hajner

For mosquito protection in the supermarket in Namibia – Image: Lea Hajner

If you are sensitive, you will quickly get nose bleeds in the dry climate, nasal ointment helps. For sensitive eyes and contact lenses, eye drops work as well.

Traveling by car

The great distances between sights can be entertaining, fill the time with music and perhaps some or other audio book (get all this together before your trip).

Image: chroniclesofnamibia.com

Image: chroniclesofnamibia.com

We also always had a few soft drinks and snacks with us (Typical for Namibia: Biltong – dried meat of all kinds – dried fruit, nuts and crackers). Chocolate and Gummy bears will be cheaper if you bring them with you from home.

Adapter Worries
Namibia is one of those countries that does not offer a European plug and therefore you will need your own adapter. The best would be to bring one from home.

European adaptor - Image: www.ebay.com.au

European adaptor – Image: www.ebay.com.au

All the Gondwana properties offer European adapters in the rooms, but sometimes they only offer one and it is not beside the bed (i.e. pack enough cables and multiple plugs to suit all your devices).

WIFI and Cell phone Reception

WIFI is mostly available in the reception and main buildings of the Gondwana properties, but not always in the room. Cell phone reception is cool, a SIM card from MTC can be purchased directly in the arrival hall at the airport and the appropriate airtime and data packages as well.

Image: www.puresignals.com

Image: www.puresignals.com

All in all it costs not even 6€ for fourteen days. The phone reception is remarkably good and available almost everywhere.

Camera Equipment

Ambitious photographers – I would advise you bring along a 300mm zoom lens, I (with a 200mm and full-frame camera on the road) would have loved to have one.

Practical: a pair of binoculars! Also an adapter for your mobile phone, you can take amazingly good photos of animals. For night photographs and patient wildlife photographers: Tripod.

Recorded with iPhone and Swarovski binoculars + adapter - Image: Lea Hajner

Recorded with iPhone and Swarovski binoculars + adapter – Image: Lea Hajner

Also useful, is a small camera cleaning kit to clear away sand and dust in the evenings.

Money
A mix would be ideal: Euros, in small bills when needed, and a credit and debit card. ATM’s are available in many of the larger places, the charges vary 2-3€ depending on the bank. For petrol stations and permits to National Parks, you always need cash!

For refueling you always need cash - Image: Lea Hajner

For refueling you always need cash – Image: Lea Hajner

Lea Hajner is a Travel Blogger. On her Blog, Blog Escape Town she writes about outdoor adventures and lifestyle.  The thing she found most beautiful in Namibia, was to watch the sunset with biltong and a cold beer in hand.

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