Wolwedans Attracts International Fashion House

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We’ve always known that Wolwedans is one of the most visually striking locations on the planet for fashion shoots, but once again, the world has shown that it agrees with our view!

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With the latest issue of “The Look” magazine, readers can admire the distinct beauty of the NamibRand Nature Reserve. The pages are a collage of vivid colours, crafty layout, gorgeous models and an outstanding portrayal of the location. The magazine published images secured by Paul Kehl Zurich, the PKZ fashion house.

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The fashion house visited Wolwedans in 2014 to take some exquisite shots of their fashion line. Identified by their production team as a scenic location of note, Wolwedans did not disappoint. With vast open spaces, piercing blue skies and mesmerizing multi-coloured dunes, the photographers had the perfect backdrop for an array of photographic exploits.  The combination of skilled artists behind the camera, attractive personalities beyond the camera and magnificent landscapes surrounding the camera, resulted in an exceptional photo shoot  with a uniquely Namibian flavour. watch the behind the scenes video

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To view the eye-catching ensembles for yourself simply visit the PKZ webpage:

http://www.pkz.ch/de/magazine/men_2_2014.html

http://www.pkz.ch/de/magazine/women_2_2014.html

Let “The Look” inspire you this spring.

New Suite at Wolwedans Private Camp

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Wolwedans is pleased to announce the inauguration of the newly enhanced Private Camp. The improved facilities now offer guests an opportunity to bask in the exquisite surroundings whilst relaxing on an enlarged deck; or take a refreshing dip into the newly installed plunge pool on site. By far the most noteworthy addition to the Camp is the construction of an additional suite. The sprawling new chamber will serve as the master bedroom; spacious, tastefully decorated and conveniently located near both the pool and the deck.

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Not only is the new suite visually appealing, but the structure complies with the Wolwedans blue print for building designs that have a low impact on the environment. In line with the Wolwedans way, the additions to Private Camp were constructed using poles, elevated wooden decks and roll-up canvas walls. The facility is entirely powered by solar energy. This combination of characteristics enable Private Camp to be fully functional, whilst causing little or no harm to the delicate Namib desert.

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With the new chalet in place, Private Camp can now comfortably accommodate up to six individuals. Couples or groups wishing to secure the location exclusively will be requested to cover the minimal occupation fee. Guests are encouraged to contact our reservations desk for more information.

If you are interested in finding out more about Wolwedans Private Camp please click here

 

Lucas & the Cheetah

On the 22nd of April 2014, I went out with three other field guides to inspect the road to the dump site, about 1.5 km away from Wolwedans village, NamibRand Nature Reserve. This was around 17H15 in the evening, the colours were spectacular and the Barking Geckos were barking very loud, trying their best to attract females. To our surprise, we suddenly came across a very special sighting: one of the most rare and also endangered species of Namibia – the Cheetah!!!!

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I turned off the engine and took out my small Nikon camera, none of us could talk, we were silenced by this gift of nature. The cat stood up, looked at us and strolled towards the slope of the hill next to the road where we parked our vehicle – it  was at a distance of about 40 m away from our game viewer.

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This is my first time ever to get this close to one of the most beautiful creatures in Africa. I took many pictures and every time I took a shot it felt like the very first shot, that is how excited I got! This elegant cat, with pretty spots, wonderful colours and amazing background, really gave us the opportunity to spend more then an hour observing him. He was stretching, yawning and strolling, but my favourite is this photo with the stunning vistas of NamibRand Nature Reserve in the background. This is one of the best sightings in my guiding field.

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Photographed and compiled by  Lucas Mbangu

Senior field guide @ Wolwedans.

4C’s: Culture – Wolwedans Launches Namibian Music Video

Last Thursday 3rd April saw the launch of the brand new Tonetic music video ‘Undefended’ at Nice Restaurant and Bar. The beautiful courtyard at Windhoek’s most contemporary social hub was packed to the brim with members of Windhoek’s Art Scene and Film Industry. The event started off with a few acoustic songs performed by Tonetic & Shishani, a captivating duo that is known for their harmonic voices.

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Don Stevenson, Poet, prolific graphic designer and lecturer, then officially opened the event pointing out the importance of art offering different perspectives on reality. He took an excursion into the meaning of love highlighting the similarities of both love and art being of a transcendent quality and thus in an ever changing state of flux.Image 4

The song “Undefended”, which is essentially about love and loss, is a real humdinger and has already been getting a lot of local airplay. Jana Eleanor Brückner, Director and Producer for “Undefended” further delivered a short introduction to the video, in which she relayed the most important ingredient behind making it happen: “I have decided from the beginning that this video is a ‘no money production’- not to be mistaken with a ‘low budget production’, she said with a smile.

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The magic captured in the video comes from the love that has been put into this – from all sides. It was all about the resources and expertise everyone could bring to the party. Talking about money would have taken something away from this….” Nonetheless ‘Undefended’ would not have been possible without the generous contribution by the NamibRand Nature Reserve and the Wolwedans Foundation, whose ‘in kind’ support of the logistics and access to one of the most visually spectacular places on this planet have made the project possible. The Wolwedans Foundation has previously been instrumental in the promotional of local musicians in the past years by co-sponsoring a number of Namibian Music Festivals.

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As the  background to the ‘Undefended’ Music Video Tonetic has published this statement on his Fan page: “A few years back I started an acoustic affair with Shishani, we’ve made quite a number of hemi-semi-demi-quavered babies since… (and) I’m super happy that she features as my musical mistress in the upcoming video for ‘Undefended’.

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Of the Cinematography and editing of the ‘Undefended’ video he says: “The technical side was down to two ridiculously passionate and intelligent people, Liberty & Laurent from Endemic Productions. What I think of them is a bit beyond my vocabulary… it would be sinful of me not to work with them again… and again!” ’Undefended’ was recorded by Christian Poloni and Antonio Vilas at NBC Studios in Windhoek.

The video has already made ripples across the internet…enjoying over 3000 views on Vimeo in the first two days and close to 1500 views on Youtube….!

WATCH ‘UNDEFENDED’ HERE

Wolwedans scoops up multiple 2014 Safari Awards

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Thanks to the huge leaps made by Wolwedans Collection of Camps in implementing sustainability goal posts, Namibia once again gains international acclaim as a forerunner in sustainability in Southern Africa.

 

Winner:  Best Ecologically Responsible Safari Property in Africa - Dunes Lodge

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Wolwedans Dunes Lodge  has been awarded the prize of Best Ecologically Responsible Property in Africa by the Safari Awards. The award catapults Namibia to the forefront of eco-tourist ventures in Africa.Wolwedans has already contributed majorly to putting Namibia on the ‘sustainability map’  in when it has been nominated as one of three finalists under the conservation banner for the 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow awards. Every year the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) recognizes the very best in sustainable tourism. This Award is one of the highest accolades in the global Travel & Tourism industry. This achievement speaks volumes about the sustainability efforts the Wolwedans operation has been pursuing since its inception.

Winner: Best value property - Wolwedans Dunes Lodge

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The accolades are particularly noteworthy given the fact that more than 4000 vetted tour operators, travel agents and travel journalist were involved in the voting process.

In addition, nominees were selected from more than 1000 luxury travel professionals. The readers of notable publications such as that of Conde Nast Traveller, Tatler, Brides and Travel Africa Magazine all contributed towards the final result.

Runner up: Most romantic honeymoon room – Wolwedans Private Camp

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The awards recognize an establishment’s efforts to operate an environmentally friendly business, without compromising on excellent service delivery to clients. Wolwedans, which is situated in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, has been proven to adopt practices which benefit both nature and society, Through its use of solar energy, sustainable waste management and the promotion of conservation, Wolwedans was able to place first in the eco-tourism category.  For 2014, no other Namibian establishment was accorded a placement with the Safari Awards.

Vision Retreat open for registration now!

What?   Desert Coaching Retreat for Women

When?  Friday, 20th June – Saturday, 28th June 2014

Where? Wolwedans, NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia

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Why?

Do you sometimes feel empty and disconnected from yourself?

Do you feel a burning desire to change your life, but you can’t see your visions clearly?

Or do you have amazing ideas, but you feel mentally blocked?

Who?

Heike 2VISION COACH Heike Kolles of Visionsmanufaktur invites adventurous women who long for a meaningful and fulfilled life to an extraordinary VisionRetreat experience in one of the most marvelous and breathtaking places in the world: the Wolwedans Collection in the private NamibRand Nature Reserve, being part of the oldest desert in the world. In a reign of silence and beauty she leads you on an unforgettable transformational journey to the depths of your soul connecting you with your deepest visions and dreams and helping you to turn them into reality. In the heart of the Namibian desert you will explore your heart’s desire, your soul’s purpose and discover ways to realize your dreams. 

How?

if you are interested see more info here…

or contact magdalena@wolwedans.com

 

Magical Destination Weddings at Wolwedans Collection of Camps

Imagine standing on top of a dune next to your loved one, your toes caressed by the warm and soft dune sand and your eyes set on endless plains covered in a shimmer of silver grass. For this special moment this kingdom is yours. At Wolwedans you can realize what many couples dream of: A small and intimate wedding, set in one of the most visually spectacular places on earth.

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I just wanted to say a massive thank you for all that you did for Paul and I in the run up to the wedding. Our stay with you at Wolwedans Dune Camp could not have been more perfect. Everything was absolutely magical from the second we entered the gates to the second we left. We both really appreciate everything you did and all the many questions you answered over the months. Again, such a big thank you. Our expectations were high but Wolwedans exceeded them :)  

Marianne & Paul Craik

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You can celebrate your special moment along with your family and friends. At Wolwedans we can accommodate wedding parties from two to forty in numbers. Guests can be booked into the sophisticated Dunes Lodge or the slightly more rustic but equally charming Dune Camp.

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The Wolwedans team will glady go the extra mile to make your wedding extra special by adding those personal touches. Be it the three tiered wedding cake, your choice of flowers, personalized decorations or any other wish that would make your wedding even more memorable!

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We have a number of qualified marriage officers that we can call upon who will marry you according to your wishes. This could be by means of a spiritual ceremony, a religious service or by civil ceremony. The ceremony could be in the early morning (recommended during summer) or in the late afternoon. We can arrange everything from air charters to the bridal bouquet and a lovely four-course wedding dinner or champagne breakfast in the dunes.

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For a designer ceremony contact Dr. Willem Moore – a Namibian registered Officiant of Rites of Passage Ceremonies who provides clients with the opportunity of completely individualised and tailor made religious, inter-religious, non-religious or gay/same-sex marriage/civil union ceremonies. He has been conducting weddings in the almost spiritual environs and breathtaking landscapes of Namibrand since 1995 and is the initiator of a unique approach to relationships and love that also provides couples that once married, or entered into civil unions at Wolwedans, with the opportunity of successive rites of passage ceremonies such as initiations (baptisms) and confirmations.

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The NamibRand Nature Reserve in the Namib Desert is one of the most unique venues in the world for a wedding, and certainly the most remote. After almost a decade of facilitating such dreams for a privileged number of fortunate couples from all over the world, we would be delighted if the next wedding at Wolwedans was yours.

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“Wolwedans is an amazing wedding venue. The breathtaking location and beautiful camp was complemented by a friendly, welcoming and caring team, not to mention the charming priest. It was the perfect start for our life together.” 

Paul & Helen Jackman

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Destination weddings at Wolwedans have become a regular feature at our lodges and camps and the Wolwedans team has grown well accustomed to treat wedding couples to an extra warm welcome.

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To speak the words ‘I do’ out into the colours of the wild, to truly experience a magical union with both your loved one and nature itself, is a unique and utterly romantic idea.

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As the bride and groom however, we suggest that you spend your wedding night at the idyllic and remote Wolwedans Private Camp, romantically set in an enchanting valley and probably one of the most private places you will ever discover.

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Alternatively, your special night could be in the elegant and stylish Mountain View Suite, a private chalet adjoining the Wolwedans Dunes Lodge with magnificent views over the Chateaux Plains.

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Wolwedans Boulders Camp is the latest addition to the Wolwedans portfolio of camps and lends itself to intimate wedding parties of up to eight people.

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Selma’s Story: From strength to strength after leaving Desert Academy

wolwedans foundation logo - text - SmallMy Name is Selma Simaneka Benjamin and I was born 13 December 1986 in the Northern part of Namibia at a small village called Onawa in Owamboland. I later grew up with my grandmother at Omaalala where I spend a great deal of my childhood.

I never dreamed of working in the tourism industry. Busy with my job of presenting the breakfast show on base fm one morning  when an advert in the local daily newspaper caught my attention: ’we are looking for young people with the fire in the belly’. I took it upon myself to apply to the Desert Academy, the vocational training program run by the Wolwedans Foundation - teaching young Namibians all aspects of the hospitality industry before helping to launch them into the industry. I had already forgotten I applied, when the phone call came. The interview process was out of this world, little did I know then that taking part in the pilot project would change my life forever – I got bitten by the tourism bug!

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Being enrolled at the Desert Academy for six months was amazing, my head was buzzing with a whole lot of information – not only from the theory. The books hardly did justice to the practical experience I received.

The Wolwedans team was extremely dedicated to passing on the practical skills to us – whilst still having to focus on doing their job really well as not to compromise on the quality of service offered to guests.

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The whole experience was amazing; from theory to practical all was well organized and I believe if I had studied somewhere else the result would not have been precisely the same.  The uniqueness of the Desert Academy from all other institutes is that you are exposed 1st hand, as you step out of the theory classes you step right into the practical lessons, making it so much easier to understand and grasp all information learned.

I will forever be grateful for the opportunity given to me back than in 2007 with the DA as it has paved the way to the industry for me and made me into the bulldog I’m becoming today.  Although things are always slightly different, when you are working for other companies (each has their own policies on how they operate at the end of the day), quality in service delivery towards guests is something all establishments have in common. I have worked for a number of top lodges in Namibia and I must give credit to all my colleagues and my managers for the mentorship as they have contributed towards my growth and skills in the industry.

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I must also admit to get where I’m today it has not been a walk in the park. You have to work hard and sacrifice a lot – from your beauty sleep, to family and friends and your social life sometimes goes out the window, but all this can be gained back once you find your rhythm and balance and execute your time wisely.

With tourism I learn that you have to be passionate about working with people. It can be quite a challenge, but also lots of fun as you meet a lot of great people from all walks of life. My advice to other newcomers to the industry: ‘never take information for granted, never stop learning, stay humble, be friendly, be honest towards yourself and others, work hard, always go the extra mile for yourself and guests, challenge yourself, be yourself, never be afraid to grow as a person as opportunities are always there, maintain a good reputation and allow your work to speak in volumes and pave ways for your growth within the industry.’

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Now with my 1st management position at Ongula Village Homestead & Lodge, it’s a huge challenge as the smooth operation of the lodge is all dependant on me making the right decisions. Thanks to a supportive team and management, I’m also happy to be promoting cultural tourism in my region and help educating the community to understand the importance of tourism making them benefit from it all in terms of job creation and bringing better infrastructure.  The best part of all this Owamboland is always buzzing with energy and this is definitely the heartbeat of Namibia.

Exploring Wolwedans from Horseback

You love the wide open spaces, dunes and vistas of NamibRand – and Wolwedans in particular? This month a long awaited dream has become reality: Wolwedans launches its Horseback Safaris – in association with Namibia Horse Safari Company.

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Now imagine the sensation of freedom when experiencing this magnificent landscape and it’s wild inhabitants from horseback. Other than walking, there can hardly be a better way to get up close and personal with nature. A brand new activity launched at Wolwedans Collection of Camps from September 2013, the Wolwedans Village is now complete with horse stables and a resident  professional horse guide. 

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The horseback safaris offered at Wolwedans can be tailored to suit each guests riding ability. Different options (always on a first come first serve basis) include a two hour mid-morning ride around the village, three to four hour morning or sunset rides with breakfast, or respectively, sundowners in the dunes, as well as day-rides (5 – 6 hours on horse back) with a picnic lunch served in the field (normally at Jagkop mountain).

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The horses range from gentle souls to more lively rides, once again dependant on each guests level of experience. For more information, please have a look at the different options for rides and feel free to enquire with your guide or our camp management.

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Introducing Megan – your resident Wolwedans Horse Guide

‘I did all my guiding training with Andrew Gilles as well as doing a lot of self study – I believe there is always more to know when you are a guide and I learn new things every day.

I have been working in the Namib for two years now, managing the horses as well as guiding all the safaris, including Sossusvlei and the Naukluft mountains.  I was also involved on camping trips, where I guided as well as cooked dinners and breakfasts on the fire.

I enjoy guiding as it gives me the opportunity to work with people from all over the world.  I get to learn about their cultures and I get to share my knowledge of the area I work in with them.  There are few things that make me happier than having a satisfied customer at the end of their safari with me.  I feel that the combination of horse and nature gives guests a different perspective and feel of our country and I thoroughly enjoy seeing them experience it first hand and at the same time falling in love with the horses.’

Wolwedans Guiding Diaries Part 2

 

lucas mbanguThe True Desert Master

compiled by senior field guide Lucas Mbangu

 

On a walking safari in the morning of 10 May 2013, I spotted one of the true desert masters. Living in such a inhospitable environment, the Namaqua chameleon’s body and behavior have evolved to keep it from overheating. It digs holes in the sand to reach the cooler sand beneath or may hide in burrows built by other animals. All chameleon species are capable of colour change, which is not only for camouflage as generally assumed. Chameleons may also change colour in response to other chameleons, when fighting or mating, temperature fluctuations and their surroundings.

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Mating can take place up to times a year producing 6 – 20 eggs in each clutch. The eggs incubate for three to four months in the sand. Chameleons start reproducing between five and seven months old.  Their nasal glands are adapted to excrete salt, allowing the Namaqua chameleon to reabsorb water as much as possible.

The chameleon’s life span is relatively short, with the female’s life span shorter than the male’s. Female chameleon live between three to five years, while males live between five and eight years.