Working with traditional and modern tools - 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

Namibia2Go Car Rental

Experience Africa like never before. Explore Namibia your way with our well-maintained and fully inclusive rental vehicles. Easy. Hassle free. Unforgettable.

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

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)

Safari2Go - The easiest way to travel the country!

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

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

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.

Gondwana's Newsroom

Working with traditional and modern tools

Avatar of inke inke - 13. November 2018 - Culture

While Petrus Kahilu (in the background) works with modern tools, Peter Kasweka uses a traditional axe on a pounder. Thanks to years of practice he is able to do rough as well as detailed woodwork with this simple tool.

Dirk Heinrich

Peter Kasweka (40) and Petrus Kahilu (42) need about four days to carve a sini, a traditional maize and pearl millet mortar weighing several kilograms, from a chunk of African rosewood (Guibourtia coleospermma). The munhiwi, the pestle that comes with the mortar, is done in three days.

The two men’s workshop is under a tree in the Macivi settlement next to the B8 highway ten kilometres from Rundu. They have been carving mortars, pounders and cooking spoons from the wood of trees in their surroundings for 23 years. A permit from the forestry authority is required in order to transport and use African rosewood, and another permit must be obtained for selling the various utensils and souvenirs. 

21-year-old Johanna pounds maize and pearl millet into flour with the family’s old mortar and pestle. It is a job performed by women and girls.

Peter and Petrus sell the traditional maize and mahangu mortars and pounders right next to the road. Tourists and local buyers pay between 350 and 450 Namibia dollars for the hand-carved mortars. The pounders, or pestles, cost N$ 250. They charge N$ 70 for a rupandi, a wooden spoon.

After the logs and branches have been sawn to the required length with a handsaw, most of the preparatory work is done with a traditional axe – which is useful for chopping off large pieces as well as doing more detailed carving. The finished product is smoothed with an electric angle grinder. The two men also own an electric planer. With the money they make with their work they feed their large families. Each of them has seven children. They all live in modest huts built from wood and clay.   Julio, the wife of Petrus, takes care of the roadside sales. Her 21-year-old sister Johanna wants to become a nurse but still lives with her family. Like most women and girls in that part of Namibia she handles the large pestle and mortar with a flourish when she pounds maize or pearl millet into flour. The family uses a very old mortar and pestle.

Wooden mortars for pounding maize and pearl millet are the main business of Peter and Petrus.

Peter and Petrus also carve wooden mugs, elephants and other animals. They plan to make small mortars and pestles which will be easier for tourists to take home. Currently the two families also sell the orange fruits of the corky monkey-orange tree (Strychnos cocculoides), a type of poison nut tree. They collect the orange-sized fruits in the bush and ask for N$ 2 per piece, an extra income for the big households.

The B8 highway to Rundu is lined by numerous stalls which offer woodcarvings. Some of the carvers specialise on aeroplanes and helicopters, some on small cars, others on animals or utensils.

According to veterinary officials at the Mururani veterinary checkpoint, tourists may definitely take up to six carvings with them on their way south, as long as they can produce a receipt. A transport permit is required for more than six carvings.

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

Canyon Klipspringer Trail

Hiking in almost pristine nature, this slack packing trail only runs from April to September.

Read more

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