Have you ever seen a Sociable Weaver nest in Namibia?

One would ask why the name “Sociable Weaver” for a bird. It’s because they have a character that is compassionate and social.

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They are self-made engineers, building the biggest bird nests that house various birds for years.These nests are a form of legacy, as they become a home for many generations.

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They rarely breed before the age of two, hence the young birds are able to take care of their siblings as well as other chicks within their apartment block. Simultaneously, they maintain the interior and exterior of the nests. This allows for more eyes on predators that prey on chicks and eggs, while older birds leave at sunrise in search for food, and only return at sunset.

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Surely we can learn how to be great people and neighbours from these birds. They teach one the essence of living in community, despite differences.

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Sociable Weavers or Philetairus socius, live in the savannah, arid dry woodland and mopane woodland. They are dull brown in colour, pale under parts and cheeks, faces with black masks, blue/grey bill, legs and feet. Weighing 26-30 grams and 14 centimetres in size. Constantly in motion, chirping and skittering along the ground for food such as insects, seeds and extract water from their food. Breeding takes place anytime of the year and lay two to six eggs that are incubated for 14 days.

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Large sticks (placed at an angle and pointing downwards) and grass (placed into the structure until firm), are used to build the nests. The sharp grass is used in such a way to protect from predators. Underneath the tree, grass is removed to improve safety from predators and fires. They can be built on electrical posts, telephone poles, quiver trees and acacia trees that are strong enough to hold them. It can have close to a 100 entrances and is used throughout the year.

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Electrical and telephone companies have struggled with the nests’ weight, because they become heavier when soaked during the rainy seasons and weigh the poles down.

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Some trees die as nests can cover it entirely. Smooth barks, posts and poles are used to avoid predators from making their way into the nests. Predators vary from rats, cape cobras, genets, black mambas and other predatory birds. Thus, it is important to be attentive when standing close to one.

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It has a similar look to a haystack and can weigh up to a ton and provides housing for at least 500 birds. The inside is lined with soft material such as feathers, fluff, wool and hair.

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Other birds such as pygmy falcons, barbets, finches, chats, tits and lovebirds, roost within the nests.The larger birds such as owls, vultures and eagles use the nest as a stand and build their own nests on top.

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Imagine an apartment block in the City Centre of Windhoek where neighbours know and lookout for one another. This is how the birds live in the Sociable Weaver apartment block.

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On the way to and within Gondwana Canyon Park, you will notice the nests, adding a quirky character to the natural surroundings in Namibia.

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Have you seen a Sociable Weaver nest? Let us know by sharing your story in the comment section below.

Author –  I’m Nela, from Windhoek Namibia but born in a small village called Omatunda in northern Namibia. I am passionate about writing, research and photography, as it helps me gain knowledge about people and my country.

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Have you ever danced the Nama Stap in Namibia?

The majority of Nama people live in the Karasburg / !Karas and Hardap regions of Namibia, referring to it as the ‘suide’ (south).

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You will find the regions on your way to the Canyon Roadhouse, Canyon Village and Canyon Lodge.

Canyon Village – Rights to Tanya Meyer

Their ancestors lived as nomads, hunter-gatherers and pastoral herders breeding cattle, goats and sheep. Some of the different Nama clans include; Red nation, Bondelswarts, Southern Topnaars, Northern Topnaars, Fransman Nama, Veldschoendragers, Groot Doden, Swartbooi Nama and Keetmanshoop Nama.

Canyon Village – Rights Tanya Meyer

The linguistic roots are closely related to the San people, speaking with distinctive click sounds. In addition, they are naturally talented in dance and music.

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The Nama Stap (Nama Step) is known as Nama and Riel dancing. This dance is an important symbol to the Nama identity and is performed during social gatherings. I remember the times my neighbours were dancing the Nama Stap as part of a wedding celebration.

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Occasionally there was a live band, which definitely added to the celebration atmosphere. My brothers, friends and I eagerly joined in, trying to mimic the unique movements precisely. As we all agreed it was better to be part of the fun then standing on the side-line.

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The dance involves forward and backward movements through space, whilst feet maintain a close proximity.

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The feet then move away from a central axis, rather than lifting from the floor, and sliding movement should be maintained to the floor. The legs should never be stretched beyond neutral to ensure only small steps are taken when dancing with someone and the distance moved about.

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One’s chest should be upright and maintained by a light springy movement in the pelvis. The chest would then respond to the movements of other body parts. In a counter balance motion the chest then turns on and off its central axis.

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The arms follow in a passive manner and develop a swing in response to the chest. People would slide step past each other and step in one place as they dance.

Namibian Nama Dancers – Rights to Northern Cape Tourism

It is a very inclusive and fun dance.

If you have danced or like this dance, we invite you to share your information in the comment section below.

Author –  I’m Nela, from Windhoek Namibia but born in a small village called Omatunda in northern Namibia. I am passionate about writing, research and photography, as it helps me gain knowledge about people and my country.

 

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Is the Brukkaros Crater in Namibia a dormant volcano?

A daunting 650 metres above the surrounding landscape, between Mariental and Keetmanshoop, travellers will find the Brukkaros Mountains.

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Brukkaros located on the Namibian map – Rights for freakytracks

What makes this site particularly unique is that the shape is distinctly circular and rimmed. Visible from the B1, the question has often been raised… is this strange looking mountain an extinct volcano?

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Rights to Pinterest

Before we get to the juicy details, a bit of interesting information… Where does the name ‘Brukkaros’ come from? Following true Namlish culture, the name combines the Afrikaans word for trousers (broek) with the Nama word karos (leather apron). This links to a traditional article of clothing worn by Nama women.

According to scientific theory, Brukkaros formed about 80 million years ago. A magma pipe, molten rock and a mixture of mineral and organic matter, came into contact with ground water.

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Rights to Wikimedia Commons

This whole process took place about a thousand metres below the earth’s surface. This contact led the water to heat to the point where it turned into vapor and expanded. Which in turn caused the surface to swell about ten kilometres across and five hundred metres high.

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Rights to wikimedia commons

Magma continued to invade the space and caused a reaction that led to various explosions.

This whole endeavour was followed by a series of materials being deposited along the rim of the crater and then being eroded over millions of years to leave the 350 metres deep hole.

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Rights to Cardboard Box Travel Shop

Visitors can follow a three-and-a-half-kilometre trail, accessible by 4×4, to enter the crater form the south. They can expect to see crystal formations in the rock. Once inside, visitors can explore the quiver trees and crystal fields along the crater floor.

Brukkaros Bird's eye view - Rights to fr.alltravels.com

Brukkaros Bird’s eye view – Rights to fr.alltravels.com

Alternatively, they can follow a route sharply left, and visit a research station along the rim of the crater. When visiting this site, be sure to take enough water to keep hydrated during your adventure.

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Rights to slm safaris

And here comes the game changer. Was the Brukkaros Crater an actual volcano once? Most scientific theories say no. While magma did have a hand in the creation of this natural site, a volcanic eruption did not.

As mentioned above, it was the magma coming into contact with the ground water that created the explosion and development of this crater. So, while it may not be an extinct volcano, it is still a very interesting site.

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Rights to Southern Africa

And a great place to stop and explore while traveling between the Gondwana Canyon Collection and Windhoek.

If you have any interesting stories about the Brukkaros Crater, we invite you to share them in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

Jescey Visagie

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