It’s quite a surprise to wake up to the red sands of the Kalahari – and lovely too – as the sun lights up the burnished earth. It’s one more side of the brilliant multi-faceted Namibian diamond.
Waking up at Anib Lodge, just east of Mariental gave me a taste of this part of the country and I took a 7km stroll after breakfast to become a bit more acquainted with – and to breathe in – the land. Birds chirped, a gentle wind blew and springbok gazed at me as I tried to decipher the animal tracks etched in the sand. Mmmm hmmm, it was good to stretch those legs. I paused at the halfway point on my Zebra Route where a rustic swing hung in a camelthorn tree. It seemed like an obligatory stop to ponder Life, the Universe and Everything. On the return loop to the lodge, I spotted springbok and more springbok, a herd of blue wildebeest and an ostrich running like its tail was on fire. Then, it was time to continue with the day and drive the 30km towards Stampriet and the Kalahari Farmhouse.
This place specialises in charm. It’s a small Eden, which you enter through an arch lined with bright flowers. Inside, a semi-circle of palm trees and a forest of trees hold buzzing bees and a flock of glossy starlings. White-stone chalets are positioned amongst the palms and tables and chairs are placed, invitingly, on the lush green grass. The chalets have country-quilt covers, flower fabric cushions, fireplaces, lantern light-fittings and all the country character they can possibly muster. This alcove of charm invites relaxation. I felt a powerful urge to take off my shoes to feel the grass under my feet and to curl up with a good book.
Stampriet is one of those places that is fortunate to have artesian water and at the Kalahari Farmhouse they utilise this gift by basing their Self-Sufficiency Centre here. A walk through the SSC, guided by cheese-maker Willem, revealed tunnels of leafy vegetables, a butchery, a cheese-making unit and a dairy. I had seen the cows lying lazily under the palms as I drove in, as if they too were in Farmhouse paradise. An SSC truck travels to the Gondwana lodges in the north at the beginning of the week and to those in the south a few days later, supplying them with 70% of their fresh produce.
I woke warm and cosy after a good night’s sleep, to birdsong, the dappled light falling onto the grass outside and the cheerful country style of the room. Two ducks waddled past my chalet quacking, a child ran through the early morning sunlight and a rooster crowed in the distance. I luxuriated in the peace for a while before packing up, going to breakfast and climbing into my chariot for the drive north to the city.
Ron Swilling is a freelance writer, based in Cape Town, writing for Namibian and South African publications. She is a regular contributor to Gondwana’s History and Stamps&Stories columns and documented the intriguing information of the Wild Horses in Namibia for Mannfred Goldbeck and Telané Greyling. She invites you to ‘Follow my footsteps’ on her journey from the Orange River, exploring the Gondwana routes through the intriguing country of Namibia.