From Angra Pequena to Bethanien - Namibia Safari and Lodges - Gondwana Collection

Namibia with Heart and Soul: Take our hand and let us introduce you to this awe-inspiring country. Come and stay with us, experience Namibia.

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Where the Namib Desert stretches languidly from the Atlantic Ocean and wild land extends into infinity, dreams become real. At this place where fantasy meets reality, you'll find the Gondwana Collection safely positioned.

Take our outstretched hand and let us introduce you to our extraordinary country, Namibia. From the massive chasms of the Fish River Canyon, the fossilised dunes of the Namib Desert and the red sands of the Kalahari Desert to the waterways of the Kavango and Zambezi, there are countless marvels to behold. Explore this awe-inspiring wilderness from the warmth of our lodges, created with conservation cognizance and ample character. And return to relax after an exciting day of discovery.

This is the Gondwana feeling: Namibia with heart and soul.

Come and stay with us, experience Namibia.

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Namibia2Go Car Rental

Experience Africa like never before. Explore Namibia your way with our well-maintained and fully inclusive rental vehicles. Easy. Hassle free. Unforgettable.

We offer a comprehensive travel service including car rental, accommodation, safaris and self-drive itineraries and day trips. Interested?

Boxed2Go Self-Drive Safaris

Let us spoil you with Gondwana Collection’s exceptional self-drive safari packages including accommodation, vehicle and a detailed route map guide. Make use of our comprehensive travel services to book an unforgettable safari. Discover the spectacular secrets Namibia holds. more

GO EPIC - Experience Namibia’s famed locations (11 days)
GO BIG - Discover Namibia's main attractions (13 days)
GO WILD - Track Namibia's awesome wildlife (12 days)

Safari2Go - The easiest way to travel the country!

10-Day Namibian Highlights Tour
Enjoy Namibia’s most popular destinations on this compact guided tour that incorporates visits to the Kalahari and Namib deserts – including the famed Sossusvlei dunes, the intriguing coastal town of Swakopmund, the Twyfelfontein rock engravings and Etosha National Park. more

3 Day / 2 Night – Sossusvlei Safari Shuttle
Exciting adventures await those who partake in this exhilarating safari to Sossusvlei, one of the most spectacular sites in the world. The magnificent star dunes are a photographer’s dream and the spectacular landscape will leave memories to last a lifetime. more

Namibia Road Map 2018/19

Anyone touring Namibia should definitely take our road map along. It is available from Gondwana free of charge, or as pdf download. This map features fascinating experiences plus recommended accommodation. At the same time it is an ordinary road map with all the essential information of the official Namibia road map by Prof. Uwe Jäschke and the Roads Authority of Namibia.

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From Angra Pequena to Bethanien

Avatar of inke inke - 06. May 2016 - Discover Namibia

Young merchant from Bremen: Heinrich Vogelsang. (Source: Wilhelm Schüßler: Adolf Lüderitz, Carl Schünemann Verlag, Bremen 1936)

“Jauntily we rode along on sand and over rocks, silence around us. Little by little the rocks became larger, steeper, then darkness fell. The stars shimmered and at 9 o’clock the good old moon came to assist us with its light, but nevertheless it was very difficult to see the way. Practically we often didn’t know whether next we would be going up or down. We had no accident only because we blindly followed our leader. The horses had to slide down a steep slippery rock face - the riders hesitated, as did the horses. Below, everything was black. Was it sand? Was it rock? It did not matter because we had to get down there. To this day we still don’t know how we did it.” 

This is how Carl von Pestalozzi described the first part of the way from Angra Pequena to Bethanien in the last days of April 1883. He and Jakob de Jongh accompanied 21-year-old Heinrich Vogelsang who was instructed by Adolf Lüderitz, a merchant from Bremen in Germany, to acquire Angra Pequena and the surrounding land from Nama Kaptein Joseph Frederiks. On April 23rd, only eleven days after arriving in Angra Pequena, Vogelsang and two other companions set off towards Bethanien on foot. Lack of water soon forced them to turn back. As they retraced their steps Frederiks’s messenger Daniel caught up with them. He brought six horses and led by him Vogelsang left for Bethanien once again on 26 April.

The horsemen continued bright and early the next morning. After sunrise they galloped across seemingly endless sandy plains. Five hours later they arrived at Maigoma, a place with a brackish spring, where they watered the horses. Coincidentally missionary Tobias Fenchel from Keetmanshoop stopped his oxwagon at the spring. “We talked to him for a while and admired his magnificent oxen,” von Pestalozzi noted in his diary. “Back in the saddle at 10 o’clock and now we ambled merrily up a long mountain. Below and to the right and left was nothing but sand and every now and then rock debris, no vegetation at all. Around one o’clock we wanted to rest a little because the sun was fiercely burning down on us, but in vain – our leader urged us to hurry. ‘My horses will die of thirst if we don’t continue swiftly,’ he called out. And so we moved on, climbing one sandy mountain after the other. Occasionally we passed a rocky outcrop, stuck deeply in the sand. Riders and horses looked limp and weary, just once the thrill of the chase flashed through our minds when the leader pointed to fresh zebra spoors. In the distance we saw tall reddish mountains where according to Daniel lions dwell and eland and ostriches can be hunted.”

On this day the men rode for 17 hours. Horses and riders were completely exhausted when Daniel finally chose a grassy spot where they dismounted. The unsaddled horses immediately disappeared into the darkness. The night was bitterly cold and the three Europeans dropped down next to the campfire weary to the bone. Fast asleep, Pestalozzi almost scorched his clothes, but one of the Namas pulled him away in time.

The horsemen were on their way again before sunrise the next morning and just two hours later arrived at Aus, the first fresh-water station en route from the coast into the interior. Grass grew everywhere. “The spring is situated in a grand, picturesque gorge,” Pestalozzi raved. “3 kraals, inhabited by Hottentots, guard this place and received us with friendliness. Delicious milk refreshed us; a goat was bought, slaughtered and part of it eaten on the spot, because our hunger was pyramidal. [...] When we slaughtered the goat we were amazed to see the children drinking the warm blood and fighting over small pieces of fat and meat with the dogs (which looked very much like jackals).” 

The group then pushed on until after dark. Attracted by the glow of a fire they came across two oxwagons and missionary Bam. After a coffee break with him they continued their journey under the glorious starry sky. They lit their campfire when it was almost midnight. “We had supper à la carte - roasted goat and water.”

On Sunday morning at six o’clock they were back in the saddle. At sunrise they noticed a grazing herd of springbok. “Daniel’s face was like thunder and lightning and he wildly brandished his gun, but he didn’t want to shoot – because it was Sunday,” von Pestalozzi noted. “Around 9 o’clock we came to a large grazing site for horses and a water station. From Aus onward the way becomes very firm, and on both sides we noticed fresh young grass aplenty [...]. The horse herders received us with friendliness and refreshed us with delicious sheep’s milk. We roasted more goat meat. It was splendid to watch 400 horses with foals grazing and galloping about. The herders gave us fresh horses and on these spirited, prancing animals we rode towards Goibes [...] at 12 o’clock.” Then, however, Daniel took a shortcut and led his group away from the oxwagon track. Riding over loose, sharp rock debris they head toward the Black Mountain. “That we didn’t fall in the darkness and didn’t lose the way and each other will always remain a wonder.”

The men spent the fourth night of their journey at the Black Mountain and from there it was not far to Bethanien. “The small church and the mission house surrounded by some 50 kraal, gardens and graveyard with trees and grass beckoned us from a distance. At half past seven in the morning we came to the door of the hospitable mission house at a thundering gallop. Welcomed by the friendly Mrs Bam we soon wolfed down coffee and sandwiches and then rested our tired limbs on soft pillows and bedding and slept until we were pleasantly disturbed by an excellent lunch. In the afternoon we paid our first visit to the headman, who is also called captain or king around here. He is the ruler over an enormous piece of land and quite a lot of subjects. In his small house built from mud and wood he was surrounded by judges, courtiers and freeloaders, all of them dressed in the most curious garments – animal hides, old dress coats, linen trousers, leather tunics [...]. The king seems to be over 60 years old, he is portly and his face is benevolent and rather impressive.” They arranged a meeting for the following day and Vogelsang presented a hunting rifle to Frederiks. According to von Pestalozzi Bethanien had 900 inhabitants at the time. 

Vogelsang, von Pestalozzi and de Jongh entered “the parliament” (a small building made of mud, stone and bamboo) on 1 May 1883. There were chairs for the “king and his judges” as well as the guests, everybody else sat on the ground in a circle. Some 40 Namas had gathered. The pipe and an old teakettle filled with water were passed around. On behalf of Heinrich Vogelsang Dutchman Jakob de Jongh stated the intention to buy land. A Nama acted as interpreter. After a break for reflection Frederiks gives his answer in the afternoon. He was prepared to sell Angra Pequena and the surrounding land, “five miles in all directions”, to Adolf Lüderitz for the price of 100 pounds sterling in gold and 200 rifles plus accessories.

Vogelsang did not specify whether he meant German or British miles. A few weeks later he also acquired the entire coastal strip down to the Orange River mouth for 500 pounds and 60 rifles. Frederiks assumed that British miles, the customary scale of length at the time, applied while Adolf Lüderitz later insisted on the much longer German mile. The deliberate misguidance became known as the “deception with miles”.

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