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The Quiver Tree - Symbol of the South

The branches of a quiver tree repeatedly divide in the shape of the letter Y.

As guests explore the Canyon Village they will come across clusters of curiously beautiful quiver trees along the way, thanks to a project launched by the Gondwana Collection that aims to preserve these extraordinary but rapidly declining trees. The quiver tree is one of Namibia’s national plants and is widely regarded as a symbol of the...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Sand fleas and wooden huts - the beginnings of Swakopmund

From 1905 anchorage in Swakopmund was shifted from the harbour a little to the south, where a wooden jetty had been built. In 1912 construction of an iron jetty started right next to the wooden one.

January 1905. The steamship Professor Woermann lies in the roads off Swakopmund. Leaning against the rail young Schutztruppe soldiers, bound for Lüderitzbucht, are staring at the aspiring harbour town. One of them is Albert Plietz: “The first glimpse of the mainland was a very desolate one. There was nothing to meet the eye but the yellow sand of...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Dune Lark - Namibia’s only truly endemic Bird

The Dune Lark: Occurs only in Namibia.  Photo: Eckart Demasius

The Dune Lark is one of the most desert-adapted birds in the world. It lives on sparsely vegetated sand dunes in the Namib. It does not drink water and it feeds on whatever seeds and insects it can find.It has a number of interesting behaviour patterns that help it survive in the intense heat and aridity of the Namib sand dunes. It searches for...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Vespa Veterans recall their never to be repeated Canyon adventure

The participants of the Vespa expedition in 1968 with their guide.

Taking a scooter through the Fish River Canyon? Impossible! This would be the reaction of any sensible person who has seen the second largest canyon on earth with their own eyes. Yet this didn’t stop six members of the Cape Town Vespa Club to nevertheless attempt the impossible in 1968 – getting themselves into an adventure without equal!The Cape...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Baobab - The King of Trees

A baoabab imposing on Namibia's arid landscape.

There is no doubt that the baobab is a special tree with its massive trunk, unique shape - that according to legend is the result of God planting it upside down - and its powerful presence. This king of trees seems to emanate aeons of life-experience, much like a wizened old elephant matriarch or a tall rugged mountain. It is one of nature’s...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


The Wild Horses of the Fish River Canyon

Wild horses cross the Fish River.

Wild horses are often encountered by hikers in the Fish River Canyon; exquisite apparitions seen as you turn a bend in the canyon, when the heat dazzles, the blue sky forms a canopy above and the green reeds and birdsong offer cool respite from long hiking days.Namibia is home to the Namib wild horses of the Namib Naukluft Park, yet there is...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


If you master this one you are fit to drive anywhere

“Sometimes I just didn’t want to see how the vehicle was climbing down a major slab of rock diagonally, with two wheels on the rock and the other two suspended in the air,” Andrea Böhm says about the adrenalin-intensive trip. Photo: www.fernweh-jochen-andrea.de

The view from the top of the mountain pass is overwhelming. The magnificent vast desert scenery spreads out far below, and the dry Marienfluss riverbed meanders through it. Now is the time to take a deep breath, compose yourself and gather your wits. Because the only way into the valley is down Van Zyl’s Pass, the most notorious pass in...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Gondwana Canyon Park: Re-wilding the land

Plateau mountains and sweeping plains with occasional granite and dolerite hilltops are the scenic appeal of Gondwana Canyon Park. (Photo: Gondwana Collection)

Twenty years ago the swathe of land bordering the Fish River Canyon was overgrazed and barren. At the tail end of years of severe drought, farmers were putting their farms up for sale, seeking greener pastures.Once, the land had been in balance and the wildlife abundant. Herds of springbok took days to pass and rhino and giraffe roamed the...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Camel expedition conquers the highest dunes on Earth

A camel patrol of the German Schutztruppe in Etosha. Source: National Archives of Namibia

These days the dune belt between Walvis Bay and Lüderitz is a popular 4x4 route. At the start of the 20th century, however, intrepid explorers ventured into it without any resources worth mentioning. Most of the expeditions which attempted to cross the Namib from east to west, south of 24 degrees latitude, did not make it very far because they...[more]

Category: Gondwana History


Salt - the white gold of bygone times

Salt production near Swakopmund in the 1960s. (Source: Namibia Scientific Society)

Salt is vital: human beings should take in 3 to 6 g per day. Body cells need salt to keep functioning at top level and salt is also necessary for the production of gastric acid. Salt has become a matter of course for us. We use it without thinking twice – and often far too liberally. But it was not always like that. Advanced civilisations of...[more]

Category: Gondwana History

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