A lthough generally described as a desert, the typical landscape in eastern Namibia is surprisingly well vegetated. After summer rains, the plains of the vast sandveld of the Kalahari turn into a flowering wilderness of tall green grass and leafy trees and shrubs.
A caracal at N/a’anku se. Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk
Departure from Windhoek after breakfast. Stop over at the N/a’anku se Foundation, 24km along the B6 towards Windhoek International Airport, before heading into the bundus for a further half-hour’s drive on a dirt road. N/a’anku se runs a wildlife sanctuary, a carnivore conservation research project, and a school and clinic that provide free education and healthcare to the San community. Having lunch at the lodge (remember to pre-book) before travelling to Gobabis is a good option.
Drive another 100km north-east of the town to Harnas Wildlife Foundation. The Foundation focuses on the rehabilitation of neglected, abused and abandoned wild animals, and offers the opportunity to volunteers to contribute towards a good cause. There are numerous guest farms in the area that host San communities, where you can get up close and personal with our earliest known inhabitants.
Spend the day getting to know the local people, learning more about our conservation efforts, and taking in the wonders of the Namibian savannah.
The San people of Namibia. Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk
Kalahari grassland. Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk
Take the untarred C20 to Leonardville, where you’ll find the Kalahari Silk Plant, and will be informed on how cocoons of the Gonometa postica silkworm are processed into silk fabric. Have lunch in this small town before heading westwards on the C23; don’t continue all the way to Dordabis, but branch off on the M25 to reach the Arnhem Caves – the longest cave system in Namibia. Famous for its bat species, this is also a great place to overnight.
Take the D1482 to Dordabis, a town used as a trade centre in the 1920s. Four kilometres from here is Ibenstein Teppiche, the producers of Karakul carpets. Also in the area is farm Peperkorrel, where Dorte Berner hosts a sculpture studio and showroom, and offers workshops for artists and people interested in the arts (especially sculpture and stone carving).
Namibia’s top flower farm, Namib Roses, is also situated in the area and makes for an intriguing educational visit. Overnight in the surroundings, or head back to Windhoek, about an hour’s drive from here.
Road to the East. Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk