A Spanish Lady leaves a lasting Impression - Namibia Safari and Lodges - Gondwana Collection

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.

About us

Special online offers in February

If you want to get out of the daily grind and experience something different, our February bargain is just right for you! 50% off all Gondwana accommodation and 29% discount on a Namibia2Go rental car with camping equipment. Book online now for February 2020! more 

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

Safari2Go - The easiest way to travel the country!

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)safari2go.org | Tel: +264 (0)84 000 9900

Boxed2Go Self-Drive Safaris

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.

Gondwana's Newsroom

A Spanish Lady leaves a lasting Impression

Avatar of inke inke - 24. November 2017 - Discover Namibia

The cantaloupe melon or 'spanspek'.

Lady Juana Maria Smith loved and was loved wherever she went. Those who met her on her adventuresome path of life at the side of her beloved husband were enchanted. In South Africa her memory even lives on in the name of a fruit: the cantaloupe or rock melon is called spanspek in South Africa. 

Lady Juana’s husband, Sir Henry Smith (who preferred to be called Harry), served the British crown at the Cape from 1828 until 1845. Eventually he became the first governor of the short-lived Queen Adelaide province in the Eastern Cape, where he and his wife enjoyed great popularity with the Xhosa as well as the Boers. Smith was then transferred to India for two years to join the First Anglo-Sikh War. In recognition of his services he was knighted after the British victory in the battle of Aliwal. In 1847 he was appointed governor of the Cape Province and returned to South Africa.  

According to legend from the couple’s South African years Sir Harry loved bacon and eggs for breakfast. Lady Juana, on the other hand, didn’t like bacon and preferred cantaloupe melons. In the Smith household these melons were soon known as the ‘Spanish bacon’, or ‘die Spaans se spek’ in Afrikaans. Apparently this is how this particular type of melon got the name ‘spanspek’ in South Africa.

Cosy breakfast times aside, the Smiths actually lived in rather turbulent times. Their love story began during the Peninsular War in 1812 when British troops stormed the Spanish town of Badajoz and then went on the rampage. Among the inhabitants who fled the looting and sacking were two sisters of noble birth, descendants of Juan Pons de Leon, famous for discovering Florida. The sisters sought the protection of British officers and 23-year-old Captain Smith was so smitten with the younger sister, 14-year-old Juana Maria de Los Dolores de Leon, that they were married within two weeks. Juana became a true army wife who followed her husband to every battle during the next three years of campaigning, which culminated in the Battle of Waterloo. 

The Smiths came to South Africa in 1828. The names of several towns and places still testify to their popularity and the couple’s love for each other: Ladismith in the Western Cape Province and Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal are named in honour of Juana, as well as Juanasberg, an elevation in the Amatola Mountains near Hogsback in the Eastern Cape. Places named after or by Sir Harry are Harrismith in KwaZulu-Natal, Smithfield and Fauriesmith in the Free State, and Aliwal North in the Eastern Cape. Mosselbay was previously Aliwal South. 

Sir Harry and his wife were ordered back to Britain in 1852. Lady Juana wept when she boarded the ship. In the years to come she declared on numerous occasions that the time in South Africa had been the happiest of her life. 

The great love story ended when Sir Harry died in 1860. Lady Juana was laid to rest at his side, in Whittlesea in England, 12 years later. There is a Whittlesea in South Africa as well, named so by the Cape Governor of yore and his Spanish Lady.

Comments are disabled for this post.


Explore the Gondwana Blog

Subscribe to our blog and receive email notifications of all our latest articles & stories.

View the Blog

Romantik Hotels & Restaurants

200 hospitality establishments in the most beautiful locations in Europe - enjoy, relax and experience.

Read more

Stay up-to-date with our monthly 'Gondwana Tracks' Newsletter Sign up Today