Marvel at celestial bodies - meteorites in Namibia - 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.

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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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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 

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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)safari2go.org | 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)
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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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Marvel at celestial bodies - meteorites in Namibia

Avatar of inke inke - 14. February 2020 - Tourism

The cluster known as the Gibeon Meteorite Shower can be viewed in the pedestrian zone in Windhoek. Photo by: 2Travelbugs

Brigitte Weidlich

The clear night sky over Namibia is always fascinating for tourists and locals. One can also see some shooting stars.

Falling stars are celestial bodies from space that burn up when they often enter the earth's atmosphere and become visible. This brings us to the subject - shooting stars are meteorites. 

The larger and more compact meteorites are, the greater the chance that they will not burn up and hit the earth's surface like the Hoba meteorite near Grootfontein almost 80,000 years ago. A piece from heaven you can touch - between 190 and 400 million years old, discovered in 1920 and declared a national monument on 15 March 1955. The meteorite has become an international celebrity on Earth, since it is the largest known celestial body of this kind on our planet.

A shower of falling stars (pardon - meteorites) 'rained' down on the area around Gibeon in the south of Namibia around 30,000 years ago, experts estimate. Some of the gems can be seen in the middle of Windhoek's pedestrian zone.

Colossus made of nickel - the Hoba meteorite

The owner of the farm Hoba near Grootfontein was said to have discovered the large boulder in 1920 when ploughing, but according to his report in the Grootfontein museum, it was a little different, “On a winter day I hunted on the Hoba farm, I noticed a strange rock. I sat on it, only the surface was visible. I scratched the surface with my knife, it shone underneath,” he wrote.

Jacobus Hermanus Brits was able to cut a tiny piece with a chisel and brought it to the director of a company in Grootfontein, who rightly suspected that it could be a meteorite.

An article soon appeared in a newspaper in South Africa about the rock 2.70 m by 2.70 m dimension and weighing almost 60 tons. At that time, Namibia was still called South West Africa, and was a mandate area administered by Pretoria. The article aroused interest and experts from South Africa came to inspect the meteorite. It is just a few kilometers west of Grootfontein on the turnoff to district road D2860.

The scientists W.J. Luyten and L.J. Spencer successively published their studies of the Hoba meteorite in scientific journals in 1929 and 1932. The iron meteorite is said to have struck Earth some 80,000 years ago and is still in its original position. But there is no impact crater. Its age is estimated to be between 190 to 410 million years - unimaginable for us humans.

The metal colossus consists of around 82.4 percent iron, around 16.4 percent nickel and contains 0.76 percent cobalt. The rest consists of various trace elements such as chromium, gallium, germanium and iridium as well as tiny traces of carbon, copper, sulfur and even zinc. Meteorites with a nickel content of over 15 percent are called ataxides.

The Hoba meteorite near Grootfontein. Photo by: Camp Namibia

The site is touched up

Over the decades, the Hoba meteorite was measured again and again, people tried to dig it up, unfortunately vandals sawed off a piece, although it was declared a monument in 1955.

It was discussed how the location could be made more attractive and the vandalism contained. According to the Namibian historian Andreas Vogt, who also published his doctoral thesis on national monuments as a book, in 1987 the farm owner donated the monument council the area around the meteorite. The latter redesigned the site, financially supported by a mining company.

The soil around the meteorite was dug out and benches in the shape of a mini amphitheater. Toilets were built, an extended path to the meteorite laid out, a small kiosk and barbecue area were created. For a small fee, you can visit the Hoba meteorite.

It should be mentioned that the Hoba lost its status as a monument on 4 May 1979, but a few days before, on 30 April 1979, the entire area of 25 x 25 metres was declared a national monument with the meteorite as the focal point.

Meteorite ‘showers’ in southern Namibia

Compared to the impact of the Hoba meteorite almost 80,000 years ago, the "iron rain" in the area around Gibeon was not that long ago - 13,000 to 30,000 years ago. The fragments are spread over a large area, so it is suspected that the original meteorite body probably shattered or exploded, writes Andreas Vogt.

The British officer Captain James Edward Alexander discovered individual pieces as early as 1838. Alexander took some pieces to London to the famous astronomer Sir John Herschel, who confirmed their origin from space.

Various studies over the past 150 years have shown that these fragments are octahedrites. Their chemical composition consists of 91.8% iron, 7.7% nickel, 0.5% cobalt, 0.04% phosphorus and traces of gallium, germanium and iridium. Octahedrites are the most commonly found group of nickel-iron meteorites. The surface of the finds is smooth, but with many bulges.

The Nama-speaking population resident in the Gibeon area knew these hard metal pieces very well and made arrow heads, tools and even bullets from them, as the German-Namibia-based geologist, Paul Range wrote in a scientific article in 1940. Range had around 37 larger finds brought to Windhoek from the area between 1911 and 1913. Some of them were donated to scientific institutes worldwide. Even then, the export of meteorites was strictly forbidden with a fine of up to 600 marks. The 33 pieces found at Gibeon were exhibited in the Windhoek Zoo-Park after the First World War. On 15 February 1950, they received monument status. From 1975, the metal chunks were kept in the old fortress Alte Feste. Unfortunately, two of the pieces weighing up to 200 kilos were stolen there.

In the meantime, the rest of the ensemble of heavenly bodies have been resituated in the pedestrian zone of Windhoek to be marveled at - with metal rods on square silver-shimmering metal posts.

Two pillars are bare; these meteorites have also been stolen. In 2002, a mineral trader in Windhoek was arrested for sending a box of four pieces of meteorite to Johannesburg. He spent three weeks in custody before being released on bail. The proceedings dragged on until 2004 when the lawsuit was withdrawn for technical reasons, which led to the proceedings fizzling.

Caution - meteorites and finds are protected

Smaller finds of meteorites can be viewed in the museum of the Geological State Survey a few metres from the capital's Eros Airport. Removing meteorite fragments in Namibia from site, for example at Gibeon, is strictly prohibited and illegal. Exports are also prohibited. Internationally, collectors pay good prices for representatives from space. It is unfortunate that finds of meteorites from Namibia are available for sale on the Internet, also in Germany, even on EBay.

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