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Gondwana Canyon Park: Re-wilding the land

17. June 2016, inke - Discover Namibia

Twenty years ago the swathe of land bordering the Fish River Canyon was overgrazed and barren. At the tail end of years of severe drought, farmers were putting their farms up for sale, seeking greener pastures. Once, the land had been in balance and the wildlife abundant. Herds of springbok took days to pass and rhino and giraffe roamed the savannah. The intense heat that builds up in the canyon walls chasing the clouds away, didn’t affect the animals. They were adapted to the arid-zone conditions and migrated, following the scattered rainfall. 

Gondwana Canyon Park: Re-wilding the land

Camel expedition conquers the highest dunes on Earth

10. June 2016, inke - Discover Namibia

These days the dune belt between Walvis Bay and Lüderitz is a popular 4x4 route. At the start of the 20th century, however, intrepid explorers ventured into it without any resources worth mentioning. Most of the expeditions which attempted to cross the Namib from east to west did not make it very far because they simply got stuck in the sand. In 1909 Georg M. Stillger became the first European who managed to reach the Atlantic coast by crossing the dunes with camels. The Lüderitzbuchter Zeitung reported about Stillger’s expedition which had set out from Sesriem.

Camel expedition conquers the highest dunes on Earth

Salt - the white gold of bygone times

03. June 2016, inke - Discover Namibia

Salt is vital: human beings should take in 3 to 6 g per day. We use it without thinking twice – and often far too liberally. But it was not always like that. Advanced civilisations of earlier times valued salt almost as highly as gold. More than 60 types of industries are based on salt and the chemicals which are made with it, and it is hard to imagine life without them. The supply of salt seems virtually inexhaustible. Apparently the salt domes of the world contain 100 trillion tons of the ‘white gold’- enough for the next 400,000 years. In addition there is the salt from the oceans, which is also harvested here in Namibia. 

Salt - the white gold of bygone times

Leopard was scared off with sticks

27. May 2016, inke - Discover Namibia

‘Mountain Zebra Drive - Permit Only’ – A couple from Hanover, Germany, came across this sign on their way to Canyon Lodge. They had arrived in Namibia just two days earlier and the husband was thrilled. “Let’s go now, we’ll pay afterwards”, he suggested. He left the regular road and off they went through the breathtaking landscape in the north-western parts of Gondwana Canyon Park. It is a challenging route and even though the couple were driving a four-wheel drive vehicle they managed to get stuck in a sandy dry riverbed. 

Leopard was scared off with sticks

The Taming of the Shrew

20. May 2016, inke - Discover Namibia

The pioneer mule trekking tour in the Fish River Canyon had a few hiccups – in the end the animals actually deserted us. It was a clear September morning when we set off to find out how the mules would manage in the canyon. Mannfred had invited me to join the pioneer tour: Four days trekking across country, drinking from waterholes, eating at the campfire, nights spent under the star-studded night sky. Awesome! But from day one it was clear that quite a bit of work was needed to prepare the mules for their new job.

The Taming of the Shrew

Making a difference – Namibia with heart & soul

13. May 2016, inke - Discover Namibia

What a celebration! Who could have imagined such a wonderful (and challenging) journey when Gondwana began humbly twenty years ago - inspired by the spirit of a new Namibia - with just a handful of people and a dream.  The vision to make a difference – to both people and nature – led a group of like-minded friends to purchase our first farm east of the Fish River Canyon, with the intention of creating a conservation area. Our first lodge, Canyon Lodge, opened its doors in 1996 to help fund the dream. 

Making a difference – Namibia with heart & soul

From Angra Pequena to Bethanien

06. May 2016, inke - Discover Namibia

Heinrich Vogelsang was instructed by Adolf Lüderitz, a merchant from Bremen in Germany, to acquire Angra Pequena and the surrounding land from Nama Kaptein Joseph Frederiks.The Nama Kaptein was prepared to sell Angra Pequena and the surrounding land, “five miles in all directions”, for the price of 100 pounds sterling in gold and 200 rifles plus accessories. Frederiks assumed that British miles, the customary scale of length at the time, applied while Adolf Lüderitz later insisted on the much longer German mile. The deliberate misguidance became known as the “deception with miles”.

From Angra Pequena to Bethanien

The White Lady - Some legends never die

29. April 2016, inke - Discover Namibia

Some 2000 years ago Phoenician seafarers sailed down the coast of Africa, ended up in Namibia, crossed the Namib and painted a picture of their princess on rock. You don’t have to be a scientist to figure out that this story belongs in the realm of fairy tales and legends. Nevertheless, experts seriously discussed this as a theory for years. Even the name of the main figure is a reminder of it: the White Lady, one of the most famous rock paintings in southern Africa. It draws hundreds of tourists into the Tsisab Valley of the Brandberg Mountain west of Uis every year.

The White Lady - Some legends never die

Rinderpest paralyses the Transport System

15. April 2016, inke - Discover Namibia

In 1896, rinderpest broke out in the Zambezi River region and spread through southern Africa like wildfire. According to estimates some 2.5 million head of cattle died in South Africa alone. Game died in similar numbers. The cattle plague spread to Namibia, then the German colony of South West Africa, in early April 1897. The cattle plagueeclipsed all livestock losses through animal diseases thus far. The transport network relied on ox wagons and was paralysed. Wagons with freight got stuck en route from Swakopmund to Windhoek because whole teams of oxen fell sick. 

Rinderpest paralyses the Transport System

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