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!

 

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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“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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What lies along the Diamond Coast?

So, we all attended at least a handful of history lessons based on Exploders. The mighty names that led Europe to the world and brought back foreign trade. When this topic comes up it is usually partnered with names like Bartholomeus Diaz or Vasco de Gama. But very few know that there were many names lost at sea before the path to the Indian Spice Trade was set.

Image: National Geographic Magazine

Image: National Geographic Magazine

Having said that, we also know – as I mentioned in a previous post – that the Portuguese traders and explorers referred to the Namibian coastline as the ‘Gates of Hell’.

"Trade ships found their tragic demise along our stretch of coast." Image: buzzhourly.com

“Trade ships found their tragic demise along our stretch of coast.” Image: buzzhourly.com

No subtlety about their feelings there. Now put two and two together and you know that many of the trade ships found their tragic demise along our stretch of coast.

One of these cases, however, turned out to be far more unique than the others.It has been dubbed the ‘Diamond Shipwreck’ and was found in the Sperrgebiet near the mouth of the Orange River.

"Shipwreck site" - Image: Amy Toensing

Shipwreck site – Image: Amy Toensing

In 2008 a company geologist, from the De Beers mining group, came across a strange looking rock.

"Copper ingots" - Image: Amy Toensing

“Copper ingots” – Image: Amy Toensing

This turned out to be a copper ingot with the hallmark of Anton Fugger, one of Renaissance Europe’s wealthiest financiers, on it! And when they took a deeper look, archaeologists found about 22 tons of the ingots buried in the desert sand.

Image: Amy Toensing

Image: Amy Toensing

But other than copper, they also found weapons, armour, canons and a variety of wealth, including ivory and gold!

Image: www.foxnews.com

Image: www.foxnews.com

More than 2 000 gold coins were recovered and they could be traced back to Spain, Venice, France and a few other European powers. And how was such a large treasure found intact? Simply because the wreckage was located on the property of one of the most heavily guarded diamond mines in the country.

Image: keyword-suggestions.com

Image: keyword-suggestions.com

A closer look at the ship wreckage showed that the ship was in fact an East Indiaman from Portugal. And could be dated back to the 1530’s. These ships were often used as trade ships during the Age of Discovery. For the History buffs, the ‘Diamond Shipwreck’ is only the second of the East Indiamans that have been found. So very little is known of these ships.

Coins from the diamond shipwreck - Image Amy Toensing

Coins from the diamond shipwreck – Image Amy Toensing

By piecing together the little information they had access to, archaeologists speculate that this wreckage may have once been the ship named Bom Jesus (Good Jesus).

Image: www.ilgiornaledellanumismatica.it

Image: www.ilgiornaledellanumismatica.it

If their theory is correct, the ship was captained by Dom Francisco de Noronha and housed 300 sailors, soldiers, merchants, priests, nobles and slaves. Looking at the ship, they began to speculate about the fate of the men aboard.

Image: dailymail.co.uk

Image: dailymail.co.uk

The wreckage only held a few toe bones – remains inside a show that was clamped down by a mass of timber. On top of that there weren’t very many personal belongings found among the wreckage. Because of this, it is thought that most of the ship’s occupants had managed to make it to dry land in one piece.

"Some rosary beads and a silver Portuguese coin" - dailymail.co.uk

“Some rosary beads and a silver Portuguese coin” – dailymail.co.uk

Still, they were walking straight into the harsh, arid environment of the desert. That alone could kill the entire crew. Looking for a silver lining, maybe they found their way to the Orange River 25 kilometres south…or they made contact with locals and struck a deal.

The point remains, we will never truly know what happened to the crew and occupants of the Bom Jesus. I like to think they joined a local tribe and found happiness in our special Namibia.

If you have any information about the ‘Diamond Shipwreck’ or the Bom Jesus, 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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