Bartholomeu Dias - Watery grave at the Cape of Storm - 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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Treat yourself to desert elegance and an extra touch of grace! Graceful spaces and gracious hospitality imbue this modern lodge with its elegance of yesteryear, spirited character and refreshingly stylish interior. Sip on a pink gin while appreciating the expansive desert scenery from one of the 24 bungalows, each with its own plunge pool. Book now!

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Namibia 2 Go

Experience Africa like nowhere else. Discover what makes Namibia so special and as it should be, with Namibia2Go. Easy. Up close. Unforgettable. Explore Namibia your way with Gondwana Collection's new unbeatable self-drive safari package for two. Includes accommodation, 4x4 vehicle and a detailed on route map guide.

Go Big

Discover Namibia’s main attractions.

This package offers a four-wheel drive vehicle and a twelve 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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Enjoy an active Namibian adventure.

Have an active adventure in Namibia with this ten day trip. See a new side of Namibia that includes a wide variety of activities. All from the comfort of a four-wheel drive vehicle that is included in the package. Starting in Windhoek you head west towards the coastal town of Swakopmund.

 

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Go Wild

Track Namibia's awesome wildlife.

This 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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Go Epic

Experience Namibia's famed locations.

Take ten 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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Bartholomeu Dias - Watery grave at the Cape of Storm

Avatar of inke inke - 27. January 2017 - Discover Namibia

Bartolomeu Dias erected a stone cross at Lüderitzbucht in 1488. (Photo: Gondwana Collection)

Defying gale-force winds and the spray of the thundering surf, the stone cross stands firmly on a rocky promontory that juts some 50 metres into the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Lüderitz. It is a monument to Bartholomeu Dias, the Portuguese seafarer who was the first European to sail around the southern tip of Africa and thereby pioneered the way to opening up the sea route to India. 

With two caravels and a supply vessel 37-year-old Bartholomeu Dias set sail from Lisbon in August 1487 for a top-secret expedition. King John II of Portugal had instructed him to sail down the coast of West Africa and find out whether the continent ended somewhere in the south and whether it was possible to sail around it to the east, specifically to India. 

Portugal, the naval power at the time, had been searching for the sea route to the east for decades. This quest was not driven by mere curiosity or an urge for discovery but by economic motives. Spices from India were much sought after in Europe, but they were outrageously expensive. The spice trade was in the hands of Indian, Persian, Arab, Turkish and Venetian merchants, and the Osman Empire was imposing high customs duties. If it were possible to sail to India, the monopoly of the merchants along the overland spice route would be broken. 

Dias had taken part in an expedition to the coast of Guinea in 1481. Now his task was to continue where fellow countryman Diego Cão had left off in 1486. Cão had sailed as far south as present-day Namibia and erected a stone cross at Cape Cross north of Swakopmund. Dias with his three ships pushed on beyond that point to Walvis Bay where he anchord the supply ship and continued to the bay of Lüderitz. He named it Angra Pequeña (the little bay) and put up a padrão, a stone pillar bearing Portugal’s coat of arms.

On the next stage of the journey the two caravels were swept off far to the south by storms. The coastline disappeared from sight. Dias turned east. When day after day passed without land coming into view Dias changed to a northerly course and indeed returned to the African coast. He replenished his water supplies in present-day Mossel Bay and continued further east. On 12 March 1488 he erected another stone pillar at Cape Padrone, east of what was to become Port Elizabeth. At the mouth of the Great Fish River, where the coast clearly headed in a northeasterly direction, Dias was finally certain that he has sailed around the tip of Africa: this was the sea route to India! 

The crews of both ships had been suffering from scurvy for weeks and mutiny was in the air. Dias turnd back with a heavy heart. Thus it is not him but his successor Vasco da Gama who goes down in history as the explorer who discovered the sea route to India.

On the return journey Dias discovered the cape which King John renamed the Cape of Good Hope because of the high expectations he had for the sea route to India. Dias had called it cabo tormentoso, the Cape of Storms – in a strange premonition, perhaps, that it would ultimately be his undoing. On 1 May 1488 he erected his last padrão near Cape Point on the Indian Ocean side of the peninsula. He arrived back in Lisbon at the end of that year, more than 16 months after he had set sail for his expedition. 

After his successful return King John II appointed him the highest administrator of the royal trade and tax authority. It remains a mystery why John’s successor, King Manuel I, chose Vasco da Gama instead of Bartholomeu Dias to lead the first expedition to India in 1497. Dias commanded four ships of a fleet of 13 which sailed southwest across the Atlantic in 1500 and took possession of Brazil. Recrossing the Atlantic further south, four ships were lost in a storm. On 29 May 1500 Dias and his crew found their watery grave near his Cape of Storms.

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