Experience an uncomplicated lifestyle
by Marita van Rooyen
Gelbingen Lodge and Safaris – named after the hometown in Germany of the first owner – provides friendly farm accommodation in north-western Namibia. The lodge is situated in a mountainous valley in a mopane tree savannah, about 30 kilometres from Kamanjab, an area populated mainly by Damara and Himba people.
Owner-managers Andrea and Volker Hoth played a major role in the interior design of the lodge. It has eight twin rooms, four decorated with paintings by a family friend, and four with names and photographs of Himba women and children who live on the farm. There is also a single room for guides, decorated with painted trees.
A new luxury unit with modern furniture is the latest edition to the accommodation at Gelbingen. As Andrea describes it, “I drew a picture on a piece of paper and this is the design I came up with.” The unit, which is for self-caterers, has a dining room, sitting room, bedroom, bathroom.
A simple way of life
A clan of Himba, which settled on the farm some years back, lives next to the lodge. Visitors can learn much about the uncomplicated way of life of these self-sufficient goat herders who co-exist peacefully with their European neighbours. Immanuel Kaatapehi, who will be your Himba guide, is a teacher for the children in the village. Immanuel’s way of getting his message across is by singing, inviting you to dream with the Himba about a simple way of life, with the sound of goats’ bells ringing in the darkness of the night, taking you to a time long forgotten.
The lodge has a bar and restaurant, lapa, swimming pool and children’s playground. Tours through Namibia and Botswana can be undertaken from Gelbingen. To reach the lodge, take the C35 from Kamanjab towards Ruacana/Opuwo. After eight kilometres turn right onto the D2763 and continue for 24 kilometres until you reach the big yellow Gelbingen Garni Safaris sign on your left. Here you turn left, and the lodge is 3 km further down the road.
This article appeared in the April/May ‘10 edition of Travel News Namibia.