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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Self Drive Safari Packages - Expecially4You

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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Go Active

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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Gondwana's Newsroom

A pledge made between rugged rocks

Avatar of inke inke - 12. May 2017 - Discover Namibia

Soldiers of the Baster Company which fought alongside the Schutztruppe against Namas and Hereros. Source: National Archives

Charge, fire, charge, fire, charge, fire. Armed Basters put up fierce resistance against the attacking German soldiers. The battle started before sunrise and has been raging the whole day, now the sun is already low on the horizon. It is just as well, because the Basters have reached the end of their tether, they are running out of ammunition. With certain death staring them in the eye, they turn to God and ask for help. And a miracle happens: the Germans start retreating. – Every year on 8 May the Rehoboth Basters commemorate this historic event at the battlefield of 1915. 

August 1914. The First World War casts its shadows upon the world and German South West Africa too. As a result of a secret agreement with Great Britain, South African troops land in Lüderitz and Walvis Bay to occupy the German colony. The Schutztruppe, inferior by far in numbers and equipment, attempts to delay the advance, but gradually has to withdraw ever further north.

The Rehoboth Basters do not want to get involved in this war. In 1868 they left the Cape Province to escape the increasing pressure of European settlement. They trekked further and further north, crossed the Gariep/Orange River and continued north until they reached Rehoboth. Hoping to find the freedom and independence they are longing for, they proclaim the Free Republic of Rehoboth in 1872. In order to preserve their autonomy they come to an agreement with the Germans who proclaim “South West Africa” a German protectorate in 1884. In the ‘Treaty on Protection and Friendship’, signed on 15 September 1885, the Basters are by and large guaranteed autonomy in return for their allegiance and assistance to the colonial administration in cases of conflict with other population groups in German South West Africa. 

The treaty remains intact for almost 30 years, even in times of crisis. In 1904, at the start of the Herero uprising, the Basters pass on letters to the German authority in which Herero leader Samuel Maharero calls on the Basters and Namas to join the revolt. The signing of a ‘Treaty concerning National Service of the Rehoboth Basters’ on 26 July 1895 was followed by the formation of a Baster Company which fought side by side with the Schutztruppe against the Mbanderu Herero in 1896, against the Swartbooi-Nama (1897), the Bondelswart-Nama (1903) and the OvaHerero (1904).

The Basters are anything but pleased when South African troops enter the country soon after the outbreak of the First World War I. They know that soon they will be under the same yoke which they managed to shake off by moving north less than 50 years ago. However, if they now supported the Germans in their hopeless battle against the superior South African forces, it would certainly cost them their relatively recently gained and painstakingly protected autonomy. Their only chance is to remain neutral and hope that the South Africans will respect their position.

When the Schutztruppe attempts to recruit a mounted Baster unit, the Basters Council objects. Fighting against Whites is out of the question, they say. In March 1915 Baster Kaptein Cornelius van Wyk (the successor of Hermanus, his father, who died in 1905) secretly travels to Walvis Bay. There he meets South African general Louis Botha on 1 April and assures him that the Basters will not fight against his troops. He adds that the Baster will only agree to deployment behind the lines if forced to do so.

The good relationship with the Germans soon comes to a sudden end anyway. The Schutztruppe needs every man on the front and requests Basters soldiers as guards for South African prisoners of war. This, however, compromises the neutrality of the Basters. On 18 April 45 Baster soldiers desert from their posts after some POWs have supposedly threatened them with reprisals after the war. The Germans hastily start to disarm the Basters and one of them is shot dead in the process. The news spreads like wildfire. As from 19 April, Baster commandos kill several German policemen and farmers. Later the Basters claim that German troops were murdering their women and children, burning ox wagons and killing cattle. 

Following these events, German governor Theodor Seitz declares the treaties with the Rehoboth Basters null and void. Several Schutztruppe units pursue the Baster troops. Their main force of 700 to 800 men entrenches itself in the basin-shaped valley at Sam Khubis, about 80 km southeast of Rehoboth and prepares for battle with the Germans. It is a well-chosen place: rocky slopes, which offer excellent cover, form a semi-circle around a plain which the Germans have to cross in order to attack the Basters. The Sam Khubis waterhole is located behind the defence line.  

The first shots ring out on the morning of 8 May. A German war report says: "This time the adversary not only put up fierce resistance to defend his skilfully constructed entrenchments, but after being driven out of them, still took position elsewhere in the rocky terrain so that the Germans had to charge repeatedly. The resistance of the rebels was only broken towards evening. They left many dead behind. But the German losses were not small either. The 4th Reserve Company, who was mainly responsible for the breakthrough, had five dead and nine wounded, which is about 15 percent of its men" (Deutsches Kolonialblatt 1917, p. 81). The Basters put the number of their losses at nine dead and 24 wounded, whereas German sources mention 17 dead in one entrenchment alone. 

Presaged with defeat, the Basters pray for help from God and pledge to commemorate the day forever. And indeed the German contingent retreats the next morning because they have learnt that South African troops are advancing from Walvis Bay towards Windhoek. All Schutztruppe units south of the capital are in danger of being cut off from the core of the troops. Thus the contingent at Sam Khubis marches off at the double to make it to the northbound train in Rehoboth. Two months later, on 9 July 1915, the Schutztruppe surrenders at Khorab north of Otavi.

South Africa plans to annexe the occupied territory of South West Africa as a fifth province, but in 1919 the League of Nations gives South Africa the mandate over South West Africa which becomes valid in January 1920. Although South Africa agrees to govern the territory to the best advantage of all its inhabitants, it quickly becomes clear that South Africa is seeing mainly to its own interests. Already in 1918/19 thousands of Germans are repatriated, i.e. expelled and deported. At the same time South African officials and farmers flock to the country in large numbers. 

When the war comes to an end in South West Africa the Basters are among the losers. South Africa dismisses their application to have Rehoboth and the surrounding area declared a British protectorate, similar to Basutoland, today’s Lesotho. A petition to the League of Nations is equally fruitless. Under South African rule the special rights granted to the Basters’ by the German colonial administration are revoked. The people of Rehoboth are now on a par with the other ‘indigenous’ population groups. In April 1925 the Basters gather in Rehoboth to start a rebellion. However, South Africa’s show of force in the form of fighter planes dropping bombs quickly quells the attempted uprising without bloodshed. The traditional leader of the Baster, the Baster Kaptein, is replaced by a white magistrate. Only in the late 70s the South African government is prepared to grant privileges to the Basters again - in order to gain their support in the fight against SWAPO, the liberation movement. But once more the Basters opt for a neutral position and accept that in turn their 'Baster Gebied' is given the status of a homeland only.

The special status is lost yet again when Namibia becomes independent in 1990. The Namibian government, pursuing a policy of Nation Building, does not recognize the Baster Kaptein and Baster Council as legal authorities. A lawsuit is dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Each year on 8 May the Baster community observes the battle and vow at Sam-Khubis (on the C 24, some 80 km southwest of Rehoboth). A cemetery and a memorial stone with the vow made by the ancestors mark the site of the battle. Many participants arrive before the actual commemoration day and camp out there for the night. On 8 May, before sunrise, the start of the battle is commemorated with speeches and a memorial service. Festive activities end at midday.

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