Benevolence in the Omaheke - Namibia Safari and Lodges - Gondwana Collection

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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.

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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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Go Big

Discover Namibia’s main attractions.

This package offers a four-wheel drive vehicle and a thirteen day trip through the beautiful Namibian landscapes. Starting from Windhoek you will head south, into the Kalahari where your first night will be spent enjoying the sunset at the Kalahari Anib Lodge.

 

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Go Epic

Experience Namibia's famed locations.

Take eleven days to discover Namibia in an Epic way. This self drive safari - which includes a four-wheel drive vehicle - will take you to the famous Namibian locations that will make you long for the vast open spaces long after you return home. Starting in Windhoek you will head south to the Kalahari Desert.

 

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Go Wild

Track Namibia's awesome wildlife.

This 12 day self drive safari includes a four-wheel drive vehicle and stopovers at all major wildlife-viewing sites. Starting from Windhoek you will head towards the famous Etosha National Park, where 3 nights will be enjoyed at the unique Etosha Safari Camp.

 

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Car Rental

Enjoy an active Namibian adventure.

We offer a comprehensive travel service including car rental, accommodation, safaris and self-drive itineraries and day trips. Interested? For detailed information and vehicle specifications of our Renault Dusters SUV 4WD and Toyota Hilux Double Cabs 4x4, please click below.

 

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Gondwana's Newsroom

Benevolence in the Omaheke

Avatar of inke inke - 18. November 2016 - Discover Namibia

Albert Lemcke and his family in front of their house. (Photo: collection Mrs Erika Köhler)

War halts lives, draws people to new continents and changes destinies. All would be true for Albert Lemcke from Mecklenburg, Germany. But, from once being a protagonist in a war he believed in, the tables turned when he later became a victim of the mechanisms of war, losing everything he had worked for his whole life. The heart-wrenching story took an interesting twist, however, when kindness was repaid in the arid wilderness of the Omaheke, bordering the Kalahari Desert.

It all began in 1899 when Albert Lemcke heard that the Anglo-Boer War had broken out on the southern tip of Africa. Like many of the 3000-odd European volunteers from Russia, Germany, Holland, Ireland and Scandinavia, Albert travelled south to bolster the ranks of the Afrikaans-speaking Boers of Dutch descent against the British, for dominance over the territory and its resources. He boarded a ship in South America and docked in Lourenço Marques (Maputo) where he joined fellow countrymen on their way to offer their services. During the voyage, he met his future wife, Carolina, niece of Paul Kruger, the renowned leader of the Boers and president of the Transvaal republic. Originally hailing from Germany themselves, the Krugers were happy to welcome a young man of German blood into their family.

Albert’s service was cut short when he was captured by the British and sent with other prisoners of war to be interned on the island of Ceylon. When he was released at the end of the war in 1902, he opted to stay in southern Africa. Unlike many struck by poverty, affected by Lord Kitchener’s “Scorched Earth” policy during the war that destroyed Boer farms, he was able to use his inheritance to purchase an oxwagon and travelled northwards to German South West Africa in search of greener pastures. He trekked through Bechuanaland (present-day Botswana) and settled on the German South West African side of the border, at a place today known as Buitepos. He slotted in easily with the community of hunters, traders and farmers in Bechuanaland. His language skills eased the way for him to start a small trading post, supplying goods from the colony and buying in cattle from the farmers. 

After a few years, he decided to farm and applied to the German colonial government for a piece of land, which he called Carolinenhof, in honour of his beloved wife. The couple built a house, dug a 15 metre-deep well and lived peacefully on the farm. In 1911 Albert received a loan of 6000 German Marks from the government to buy the land. He paid 600 of the amount upfront, the rest to be paid over a five-year period. Unforeseen circumstances would soon dramatically change the lives of the Lemckes, however, and he would not succeed in making all the later payments.

World War I broke out, and Albert was enlisted to fight with the Schutztruppe, the German colonial troops. By that time the couple had eight children, four girls and four boys, and Carolina was expecting the ninth. Leaving his eldest son to take charge of the farm, Albert joined the Germans against the Union of South Africa troops. When the Germans surrendered and the peace treaty was signed at Khorab in 1915, the farmers who had been called up as reserve forces were released and allowed to return home, Albert amongst them. 

It was a different and shocking world that greeted him on his return. His farm had been looted by stock thieves, his animals stolen or slaughtered and his well and orchards destroyed. His children had disappeared and a grave marked the spot where his wife had been buried. It would take him almost two years to locate his children.

He eventually filled in the gaps of what had transpired after his departure. At first his family had remained on the farm as unrest escalated in the area with farms routinely being raided. When his wife died in childbirth and his eldest son didn’t return to the farm, presumably held in Gobabis by the German authorities, the family’s Bushmen workers understood the severity of the situation and stepped in to take responsibility. They realised that it would be safer to divide the family in two and take the children to their homes in the surrounding Omaheke sandveld area. The newborn baby was taken in and fed by a young Bushman mother. 

Eventually, Albert managed to track down his children and was reunited with his family. After losing all his stock and possessions, and battling to survive in the Depression after the war, he was unable to keep his farm. Although he applied for war compensation in 1920, none was forthcoming. He moved to the town of Gobabis where he grew vegetables for a living. He lived the rest of his days in Gobabis where he died in 1949.

The children moved on. Except for the youngest, who went to live in South Africa, the girls married into German-Namibian families and the sons became wealthy Botswana farmers owning huge tracts of land. The third Lemcke generation continues their farming tradition.

Today when Albert’s grandchildren recount their parents’ and grandparents’ intriguing story, they remember that their mothers couldn’t speak English but spoke German and Afrikaans and were fluent in the Bushman dialect of the area. One of the sisters was so proficient in the language that she was able to become a court translator. They also recalled them keeping some of their Bushman bush lore alive, using plant remedies to treat different ailments, as the legacy of the time they were left alone and helpless and were taken in and cared for by people of the Omaheke.

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