Your Portuguese family welcomes you
by Marita van Rooyen
“Bringing Portugal to Namibia is our main mission,” says manager of Villa Moringa, Rosalina Ribeiro. “We love Namibia and want to share it with our fellow Portuguese. And they are becoming increasingly interested in travelling to Namibia, which makes us very proud.”
Like its owners – Rosalina and her husband, Pedro, who are both as Portuguese and Angolan as you can get – Villa Moringa resonates a warm and inviting feel. The smell of freshly baked cake welcomes you as you walk into your home away from home, and the Ribeiros’ energetic and vibrant personalities make you want to kick off your shoes and share a cup of espresso.
Villa Moringa was recently expanded and upgraded. It now has 10 rooms where guests can disappear underneath soft covers for a quiet night’s rest. With an option between three luxury rooms, two family rooms and five standard rooms, there is something to fit every pocket and family. One of the luxury rooms can be converted into an executive family suite, complete with sitting room. The rooms have built-in cupboards with enough space for long-term visitors to unpack properly and store their newly purchased Namibian curios. All of the rooms are air-conditioned, and have a coffee station and television with DStv (including channels in Portuguese and French). As an unexpected bonus, each room has a free-of-charge minibar, stocked with a bottle of red wine, a bottle of spark-ling wine, cool drinks and biscuits. Being a child-friendly facility, babysitters can be organised. Children under the age of six are accommodated free of charge.
In-house chef, Rauna Shapwa, bakes a fresh cake every day and loves to tempt guests with her scrumptious breakfast buffet. “I enjoy giving people food and I like the plates to look nice,” she says. Her favourite thing to make is – not surprisingly – cake! She started her career as trainee chef at Hotel Heinitzburg in 2002, training under Jürgen Raith and learning to cook meat, vegetables, fish, salad and ‘everything else’, and to prepare gourmet meals and learn how to plan for an à-la-carte menu.
Located in the upmarket area of Ludwigsdorf, Villa Moringa is within easy reach of the central business district, but also offers the quietness of a residential area. Transfers to the centre of town are included in the price when travelling during business hours.
Dunas Safari, which is run by Pedro Ribeiro, is like Villa Moringa’s twin sister. Rosalina explains, “We love Namibia. It’s heaven – quiet, peaceful, safe and clean. It’s Africa that you can explore with the kids.” As a result, Dunas (meaning dunes in Portuguese) Safari was established because Pedro loved to do tours around the country, initially as a treat for family and friends. This evolved in 2003 to the company it is today.
The Ribeiros’ niche, upmarket clients come to Namibia from Angola, Portugal and other European countries on holiday and usually include a safari in their stay. The combination of Portuguese home hospitality and a tour through their favourite African country is what draws guests to the facility. Dunas Safari specialises in tailor-made self-drive and guided safaris in Namibia, Botswana, Vic Falls, South Africa, Mauritius and Mozambique. For self-drivers, the Ribeiros arrange everything from booking flights and game viewing, to boat trips and hot-air balloon trips.
Rosalina and Pedro have trained a professional Namibian team of approximately 20 staff members. Both Dunas Safaris and Villa Moringa have large fleets of luxury private cars for hire by clients and guests.
This article appeared in the April/May ‘10 edition of Travel News Namibia.