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.
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.
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).
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.
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.’
The 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.
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.
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Wolwedans Private Camp is located in a quiet and idyllic valley. This splendid suite caters for four guests exclusively. It is the perfect getaway for families, honeymooners or individuals seeking uncompromising privacy and solitude.
Private Camp is a safe, private retreat in the desert and makes for a perfect family getaway. Menus and special requirements for the children can be discussed with the designated staff, including a private guide and private chef. The villa has its very own waterhole, allowing for exclusive game watching all day long…
Guided activities such as scenic drives, scenic flights, hot-air ballooning and nature walks can be arranged either exclusively for you (at an extra charge) or to be shared with other lodge or camp guests.
Private Camp is your special home at Wolwedans. It demands nothing much of you, but to relax and enjoy the ever-changing colours of the desert.
Private Camp offers two spacious en-suite bedrooms, a ‘Sala’ where one can laze away siestas, various decks and the central lounge, combining a study, living room, a dining area and a fully equipped kitchen. Its open-plan design allows uninterrupted views of the surrounding nature.
Family Hux: ‘My family of four (two boy ages 2 and 4) stayed at Private Camp which was perfect. We didn’t have to worry about disturbing other guests and our daily activities were planned around our needs. We had a chef (who cooked child-appropriate food on request), maid and guide. The guide, Felix, was the best we have experienced to date: extremely knowledgable, very friendly and fantastically patient with the children. The camp was situated in front of a waterhole set in stunning wilderness. I felt it was a safe environment for the children and we didn’t come across any big bugs in the camp. Sand-dune walks with the kids highly recommended. They also came on drives for 3 hours and were fine. If you are at all worried that the ‘children are too young’ – don’t be. We all had a trip-of-a-lifetime which will be remembered one-way-or-another buy all of us.’
It’s official. Bated breath turned to utter relief in the early morning hours of Friday, 21 June, when it was announced that the Namib Sand Sea has been declared as a natural World Heritage Site. This is the second UNESCO World Heritage site for Namibia.
Namibia’s delegation to the 37th Session of the World Heritage Committee meeting held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, cheered at the announcement and eagerly began spreading the happy news this morning. This is a wonderful feat for conservation in Namibia.
The Namib Sand Sea (as the Southern Namib Erg) was identified as a potential World Heritage site in 2002. Preparation for the nomination of the Namib Sand Sea started in 2009. The dossier listing the criteria needed for World Heritage inscription was compiled during 2011 under the leadership of Dr Mary Seely of the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre. The dossier was presented to the World Heritage committee in 2012.
The 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage makes provision for sites to be inscribed as cultural, natural or mixed (having both natural and cultural values).
Namibia’s first world heritage site, Twyfelfontein, was inscribed in 2007 as a cultural site. The Namib Sand Sea is Namibia’s first natural World Heritage site. NamibRand Nature Reserve and Wolwedans are proud to be bordering on this brand new World Heritage Site!
A GOLDEN MOMENT for Wolwedans Guides
compiled by senior field guide Lucas Mbangu
On 14th June 2013 Wolwedans Guide Jonathan Nangombe chanced upon the near impossible. While on a sundowner drive one hour before sunset he spotted a little animal… when he got closer for inspection, it was the Namib endemic golden mole!!! This is a rare sighting, as this precious little animal is very hard hard to spot!
Jonathan did not hesitate to bring the mole back to a group of Wolwedans guides, of which 99% asserted that this was the first time they saw one in their guiding experience. Jan Friede, an experienced pilot guide who has been guiding for over 20 years also admitted that was his first time to have a golden mole in his hand!
This small mammal fits in the palm of your hand and does not have eyes to see. The golden mole is not a relative to mouse as many people assume, it belongs to a super order Afrotheria, which includes elephants, sea cows, elephant shrews, hyrax and aardvark.
Golden moles have got a very impressive trail, in most cases the trail is seen from grass to grass, this is their way to harvest termites which are found to the roots of the grass. It has broad hollowed-out clans to dig in the sand.
Golden Moles do not construct burrows, they do however take refuge about 50 cm below the surface of the sand,where it is a cool 25 degrees during the dry day.t swims underground to get around and protect itself against nocturnal predators, such as owl and jackals. Breeding is believed to occur between October and November, with a gestation period of 4 to 6 weeks. In return 1 to 2 live young are born. Interestingly, not popular in some of the mammal books, hence little is known about this fascinating little desert dweller.
Special thanks !!!!!
for this extraordinary sighting to Jonathan Nangombe (Wolwedans field guide) and another special thanks to Jan Friede pilot guide and photographer of African profile safaris who was at Wolwedans Collection of Camps at the time
The Wolwedans Collection of Camps is a very special cluster of safari camps – all snuggled into the dunes sporadically placed against a Namib Desert background. The ethos embedded within the conscience of the people involved in Wolwedans is simple and effective. Wolwedans stands proudly for sustainability, conservation and responsible tourism within the precious and stunning NamibRand Nature Reserve.
Right from its beginnings in 1998 this approach has been adopted by Wolwedans and the proof is in its earliest mission statement which reads, “We are committed to sustainable growth by carefully balancing quality leadership, economic progress, social responsibility and care for our environment”.
Jana Brückner, communication officer for the camps and the reserve, excitedly relayed news of Wolwedans’s recent progress in the field of sustainability. Wolwedans has been nominated for the prestigious 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards which is one of the highest accolades in the global travel and tourism industry. It has been nominated under the category of “conservation” which is very fitting as it recognises the mammoth efforts put in by staff, conservationists and founders to ensure the region, communities and wildlife in the Namib are protected and conserved.
Wolwedans has also recently launched its solar hybrid system/ power station as part of its new sustainability strategy. They seem to be setting an impeccable example in the tourism industry and hopefully many other Namibian camps and lodges will follow in their footsteps towards responsible tourism practices as a result.
The solar-hybrid installation will reduce the camps’ carbon footprints as fossil fuel consumption will decrease by 65%. Hats off to Wolwedans and their conservation and sustainability efforts.