A journey into humanity’s past - 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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Stand the chance to receive a full refund for your accommodation booking, as well as an exclusive weekend away at The Desert Grace! Holiday season is fast approaching and we at Gondwana want you to enjoy it as much as possible! Here’s how it works: Book your accommodation now via the Gondwana website for October 2018 through to 31 March 2019 and use your valid online order number to participate in the Gondwana Holiday Bonanza. Terms & Conditions apply. 

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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

A journey into humanity’s past

Avatar of inke inke - 04. August 2017 - Discover Namibia

Dr Wendt doing excavations at the Apollo 11 Cave in 1972. (Private Collection Antje Otto)

It is the year 1969. Man sets foot on the moon for the very first time. The whole world is mesmerized by the Apollo 11 mission. Archaeologist Dr Wolfgang Wendt from Cologne in Germany embarks on a similar mission, albeit in the opposite direction. Instead of reaching into space he digs into the ground and his journey is not into the future but the primeval past of mankind. He starts his excavations in a cave in the Huns Mountains northeast of Rosh Pinah in southern Namibia, which he names Apollo 11, and discovers a small fine-grained slab of sandstone with traces of an animal drawn on it. The result of age determination causes a sensation. At around 27,000 years old, this slab is so far the oldest work of art found in Africa. 

In 1968 Wolfgang Wendt, then 33 years old, was sent to South West Africa by the Prehistory Institute at the University of Cologne. I never expected that I would be unearthing results faster than I was able to dig, he says about those days in 2013, sitting in his room in the Schanzenoord Home for the Aged, overlooking Windhoek.

Wendt holds a PhD in archaeology and specialises in prehistory and early history. After his arrival in South West Africa he first looked into the rock art in the Erongo Mountains, at the Spitzkoppe and at Twyfelfontein. In early 1969 he traveled south for the first time, to the farm Aar among other places because in his opinion the most beautiful rock engravings were found there. But unfortunately there were hardly any excavation sites where I would have been able to tap into the sequence of prehistoric events.

In April 1969 he visited the Apollo 11 Cave for the first time. He knew about it from books and through hearsay. I still remember an old black-and-white photo from German colonial times, which showed an officer with a dog standing in front of the cave as part of an exploratory walk. When I got there I immediately recognised the characteristics of the landscape, even though the picture was more than half a century old.

Asked why of all possible sites he chose the Apollo 11 Cave for his excavations, Wendt says: I was simply lucky! After all, I had to start digging somewhere. This cave is quite accessible through the dry riverbed of the Nuob and there is also a seeping spring nearby, which is probably the reason why it was chosen by primeval people as a resting place in earlier times.

The Apollo 11 Cave on the upper reaches of the dry Nuob River (a tributary of the Gariep/Orange River) turned out to be a veritable treasure trove. During the winter months, from May to September, Wendt worked in the cave in two- to three-week intervals. In between he returned to Windhoek to analyse his material. He always travelled with his levelling instrument and his wooden measurement board which he still cherishes today. On scale paper he drew the outline of the cave, cross sections of excavations and profiles.

In 1972 he discovered his favourite find: the other half of the sandstone slab which had caused a sensation three years earlier and was declared Africa’s oldest work of art, though initially he actually did not recognise it as such. In his office in Windhoek he was unpacking his latest finds from the Apollo 11 Cave. The legendary first half of the 27,000-year-old fine-grained sandstone slab sat on his desk. A farmer’s wife walked in to say hello and immediately spotted the second half of the famous slab among the ragbag of “new” pieces. I surely would have noticed it, too, at some stage, Wendt says with a twinkle in his eye.

The slab is “art mobilier”, portable art that was carried along. The complete drawing shows a mystical being, half animal, half human. Similar themes are found among the rock paintings at the Brandberg Mountain, which are not “mobile”, however, and much younger at 4000 years old at the most. Wendt continued to dig and came to the conclusion that the cave was inhabited for at least 70,000 years, including lengthy breaks.

He conducted research for the Prehistory Institute at the University of Cologne until 1982. Following the excavation successes in the Apollo 11 Cave he turned his attention to the Schwarzrand Mountains between Maltahöhe and Helmeringhausen. He resigned from the university and stayed on in South West Africa as an independent expert.

Apart from writing numerous papers on his archaeological finds he is also the author of publications such as a book on narrow-gauge railways in South West Africa (Die Feldspurbahnen Südwestafrikas) and a feature on the old cemetery in Windhoek which appeared in the Afrikanischer Heimatkalender.

Dr Wolfgang Wendt passed on in August 2015 at the age of 81 years. His scientific heritage is safeguarded by the National Museum of Namibia. 

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