Lithops - Living stones - Namibia Safari and Lodges - Gondwana Collection

COVID-19. Status quo in Namibia.

It is with regret that Gondwana Collection Namibia has learnt that the COVID-19 virus has reached Namibia. On 14 March 2020, President Hage Geingob confirmed the first two cases. On 17 March, the President declared a state of emergency.

On 24 March 2020, the additional measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak have been announced. They include a lockdown of the Khomas and Eronogo regions from 27 March until 16 April 2020. For regulations and guidelines please click here

Gondwana is fully aware of the current situation and continues to monitor the spread of the virus and the resulting changes to our industry. In view of the state of emergency and the additional measures ordered by the government, employees at Gondwana House in Windhoek will be working from home. Due to international and regional travel restrictions Gondwana has reduced its operations at the lodges as far as possible. Most employees have been sent home, at full pay. 

The Ministry of Health has made availability for a toll-free phone number within Namibia for queries with regards to COVID-19. The toll-free number is 800-100-100 or alternatively 911.

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.


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. NAMIBIA2GOEasy. Hassle free. Unforgettable.

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

Cardboard Box Travel Shop

Cardboard Box Travel Shop is a renowned tour operator in Windhoek that specialises in Namibian tours, either self-drive or with an experienced guide. The comprehensive (online) travel service covers among others car rental, accommodation, domestic and regional flights, safaris and route planning, including destinations in Botswana, Zambia (Livingstone) and Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls). more

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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

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

7-Day Northern Namibian Adventure Tour
Enjoy Namibia’s most popular destinations on this compact guided tour that incorporates visits the intriguing coastal town of Swakopmund, the Twyfelfontein rock engravings which received the UNESCO world heritage status in 2007, and the legendary Etosha National Park. more

Further information and booking enquiries: info(at) | Tel: +264 (0)84 000 9900

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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)

Namibia Road Map 2019/20

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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Lithops - Living stones

Avatar of inke inke - 17. March 2017 - Discover Namibia, Environment

Lithop: Flowering stone. Photo: Ron Swilling

In 1811, botanist, explorer and artist William John Burchell recorded finding a “curiously strange pebble”, which he discovered was a plant that “ ... in colour and appearance bore the closest resemblance to the stones between which it was growing”.

This “living stone” or lithops, derived from the Ancient Greek words lithos – stone and ops – face, has intrigued many people over the centuries, not least of all Desmond Cole. He was fascinated from the first time he laid eyes on this unusual plant in 1954, identifying the different species over the years together with his wife Naureen and eventually writing the definitive book on lithops Lithops: Flowering Stones, several decades later.

A real desert child, lithops favours arid or semi-arid areas that receive less than 100-150 millimetres of rainfall per year and in temperatures that often reach between 42-45 degrees Celsius, although it is also found in more vegetated grasslands with higher rainfall. In the coastal areas of the Namib Desert, it depends on the mist to obtain moisture. Only 38 species have been identified, most being found in Namibia and South Africa and one species in Botswana. It is usually located on well-drained stony slopes and ridges strewn with small stones and mostly occurs amongst the lighter-coloured quartzites, pegmatites, granites, gneisses, schists or calcretes. These provide a little shade, reflect the sun’s rays reducing its intensity and being the first to cool off at night attract condensation that drips down onto the plants.

Well camouflaged between stones and often speckled to break up its shape, the lithops plant is not easily seen. It withdraws into the soil in the dry winter months for a dormant or resting period. When it bursts into flower at the onset of the rains, responding to the moisture in the air, it can no longer pretend to be anything but extraordinary.

The bright and beautiful flower leaves a seed capsule of minute seeds that will germinate only in perfect conditions, even if that takes up to fifteen years. When a dry mature seed capsule is wet by rain, it will open up within a minute, exposing the seeds to the force of the raindrops for dispersal. When the rain stops and the capsule dries, it will close protecting the remaining seeds until conditions are once again suitable for germination. Extremely slow growing, the small, thick lobed leaves, fused at the bottom and divided by a fissure across the top, will only begin to replicate after two to three years. As with much desert-adapted flora and fauna, this genus of succulent plants in the Aizoaceae family has evolved to endure extreme conditions with a remarkable tenacity, yet still holds a fragile and delicate beauty.

Besides man and the odd nibble by animals like rodents, ostriches and francolins, the armoured cricket is the plant’s worst predator. Each lithops is precious, requiring protection and admirers are requested to look without touching and leave the sensitive species as is to preserve the few pockets that are scattered about the country. Plants rarely survive if collected and collecting depletes existing populations, placing the future existence of the genus at risk.

Hilde Mouton from the Alte Kalköfen Lodge in southern Namibia has realised that protection for these plants is of utmost importance. She holds the only permit to legally propagate and distribute lithops in Namibia and urges people to rather visit her for sought-after seed. She germinates the “flowering stones” in her lithops nursery or “lithoparium”, called the Cole Lithoparium in honour of the lithops experts, preventing hybridisation and maintaining conditions as similar as possible to those found in nature.

These fascinating plants are sometimes called “pebble plants” or “stone plants” and are also known by their Afrikaans name beeskloutjies – little cow hooves. Whatever the name, the “living stones” are a wild and wonderful plant genus, testament to the ability of nature to endure in all conditions and in the remotest of places.

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