Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Namibia Chamber of Environment update

Good Morning,
For those that are not yet aware this is an important update.

Many of you will be aware, that last year saw the establishment of the Namibia Chamber of Environment, and the appointment of Dr Chris Brown as Head of this organisation.
Since taking office,  Chris has been very active raising concern on issues affecting our environment,  - a prominent move being his open letter to the Chinese Embassy, - in which the NCE addressed the worrying increase of Chinese nationals involved in poaching and other criminal acts against the environment. This attracted much media attention, as well as reaction and engagement from the Chinese Ambassador and MET.
Today,  the NCE took issue with the alarming rate at which Namibia's fish population,  (both fresh and salt-water fish) is being depleted.
I draw your attention to three important Government Notices, No. 296, 297 and 298 contained in the attached Government Gazette of 15 December, all concerning inland fisheries. In No. 296 the Ministry of Fisheries bans (outlaws) the use of monofilament nets in Namibia for regular fishing. This is a really important move as monofilament nets, entering north-eastern Namibia via Zambia from China, have had a devastating impact on the status of fishes in the Zambezi and Okavango Rivers and adjacent wetlands. I understand that Zambia is also moving towards outlawing monofilament nets for regular fishing.
 In No. 297 the Ministry of Fisheries declares a closed season on all fishing in the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers every year, from 1st December to 28th February. This is to give fish stocks a chance to recover, move into the floodplains with rising water levels, and breed.
 And in No. 298 the Ministry of Fisheries declares the Kasaya Channel in the Implalila Conservancy a fisheries reserve. This gives the conservancy similar rights over the fishes and fishing in the Kasaya Channel as it has over wildlife under the conservancy legislation in MET. There is a fisheries management agreement for the reserve, no netting allowed, and angling is catch and release. This means that the Kasaya Channel will have a healthy stock of fish (a) for restocking surrounding waters, and (b) to attract anglers, who pay a daily fishing fee, thereby creating an additional income for the conservancy, based on its sound fisheries management. This is an extremely important step for fisheries in north-east Namibia. Noteworthy is the provision for cooperation between partners and different agencies for patrolling for management the Kasaya Channel Fisheries Reserve by Conservancy Tour Guides, Conservancy Game Guards, Conservancy Fish Monitors, in cooperation with Ministry of Fisheries staff, the Namibian Police and MET. I believe that this initiative will be replicated in many other rivers and wetland areas of north-east Namibia, and serve as a model for community management of fisheries and wetland systems in tropical rivers and lakes across Africa.
The Namibia Nature Foundation, together with the Ministry of Fisheries, has been spearheading the fisheries work that has led to these three ground-breaking Government Notices. So congratulations to the NNF. I look forward to seeing Fisheries Reserves being establish widely across NE Namibia. I have written to the Minister of Fisheries on behalf of the environmental NGO sector congratulating him on this notable progress.

The NCE will review all Government Gazettes as they are published and, where there is relevant environmental content, share this with you.
Kind regards,

Dr Chris Brown
18 Nachtigal Street, Ausspannplatz, Windhoek
PO Box 40723, Ausspannplatz,  Windhoek, Namibia

e-mail: ceo@n-c-e.org

NCE democratizes access to environmental information at www.the-eis.com - Namibia's one-stop-shop for retrieving and submitting environmental information


Thursday, 12 January 2017

Namibia: travel video - fish cleaning with pelicans | Чистка рыбы с пеликанами в Намибии

#Namibia #Pelicans #WalvisBay #BirdingNamibia #TheRaftWalvisBay #PelicanBayHotel

Namibia: travel video - fish cleaning with pelicans in Walvis Bay | Чистка рыбы с пеликанами в Намибии

Facebook: Travel to Namibia & Exploring Namibia
YouTube channel: Exploring Namibia
Aerial photo/video service & other inquiries contact: info@traveltonamibia.com

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Victoria Falls: news from Bushtrack - Zambezi River levels

#VictoriaFalls #ZambeziRiver #Bushtracks #LivingstoneIsland #DevilsPool

Heavy rains in the region surrounding the Victoria Falls have resulted in a sudden rise in the levels of the Zambezi River. Due to the high water levels the Devils Pool  has closed with immediate effect as of  9th Jan 2017.

Livingstone Island does however offer an alternative swimming pool called the Rock pool, “Angels pool“, where visitors can still enjoy swimming at these water levels. With this in mind operations will continue to run the same.

Livingstone Island is one of those experiences that should definitely be top of the list for all those visiting the majestic Victoria Falls.

Namibia: basic driving rules - after 100 days | Правила ездунов Намибии

#DrivingNamibia #FunnyAlienHabits #Namibia #ПравилаездуновНамибии

Namibia - after 100 days


A colleague lately formulated the basic rules for driving in Namibia. As open minded human beings we are all eager to adapt to local customs, so please keep in mind when driving in Namibia:

1. Never indicate - it gives away your next move. A real Namibian driver never uses indicators.

2. Under no circumstance should you leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, this space will be filled by at least 2 taxis and a BMW, putting you in an even more dangerous situation.

3. The faster you drive through a red light, the less chance you have of getting hit.

4. Never, ever come to a complete stop at a stop sign. No one expects it and it will only result in you being rear-ended.

5. Braking should be as hard and late as possible to ensure that your ABS kicks in, giving you a nice, relaxing foot massage as the brake pedal pulsates. For those of you without ABS, it's a chance to stretch your legs.

6. Never pass on the right when you can pass on the left. It's a good way to check if the people entering the highway are awake.

7. Speed limits are arbitrary, given only as a guideline. They are especially NOT applicable in Namibia during rush hour. That's why it's called 'rush hour....'

8. Just because you're in the right lane and have no room to speed up or move over doesn't mean that the Namibian driver flashing his high beams behind you doesn't think he can go faster in your spot.

9. Always slow down and rubberneck when you see an accident or even someone changing a tyre. Never stop to help - you will be mugged.

10. Learn to swerve abruptly. Namibia is the home of the high-speed slalom driver thanks to the government, placing holes in key locations to test drivers' reflexes and keep them on their toes.

11. It is traditional to hoot at cars that don't move the instant the light turns green. This prevents storks from building nests on top of the traffic light and birds from making deposits on your car.

12. Remember that the goal of every Namibian driver is to get there first, by whatever means necessary.

13. On average, at least three cars can still go through an intersection after the light has turned red. It's people not adhering to this basic principle that cause the big traffic jams during rush hour!

Friday, 6 January 2017

Namibia: day excursion to Rossing Uranium Mine | Россинг Намибия

#RossingNamibia #Africa #UraniumMine #RossingUraniumMine #ToursNamibia

A day excursion to Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia, 60 km from Swakopmud, near town Arandis. Rossing is the largest open-cast uranium mine in Africa.

See video portfolio here

Uranium was discovered in the Namib Desert in 1928 in Swakopmund area, but it was not until intensive exploration in the late 1950s that much interest was shown in the area. After discovering numerous uranium occurrences, Rio Tinto secured the rights to the low grade Rossing deposit in 1966. Ten years later, in 1976, Rossing Uranium, Namibia's first commercial uranium mine, began operating.

YouTube channel: Exploring Namibia
Aerial photo/video service & other inquiries contact: info@traveltonamibia.com

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Namibia: Open letter to the Chinese ambassador to Namibia - Wildlife Crimes

#ChineseAmbassador #NamibianChamberOfEnvironment #ПисьмоПослуКитаяВНамибии
Dear friends and colleagues,

At about 14h30 on 21st December 2016, the attached Open Letter to the Chinese ambassador to Namibia was delivered to the Chinese embassy in Windhoek by the Namibian Chamber of Environment, on behalf of 40 Namibian environmental organisations.

Namibia’s citizens and environmental organisations are outraged by the ongoing commercial wildlife and ecological crimes being committed by Chinese nationals in Namibia. We are equally frustrated by the apparent lack of action being taken by the Chinese embassy in Namibia and the Chinese state to put a stop to the unlawful actions of their nationals. Quiet behind-the-scenes diplomacy has failed to have any discernible impact.

While we deplore xenophobic attitudes and the profiling of people, too many Chinese nationals have abused Namibia’s environmental laws and values, and this is causing growing resentment and anger amongst Namibians. Before the arrival of Chinese nationals in Namibia, commercial wildlife crime was extremely uncommon. By their criminal actions, some Chinese nationals have drawn attention to themselves and their nationality through their blatant disregard of Namibia’s legal and environmental values.

Namibia’s environmental non-governmental community therefore decided to send this Open Letter to the Chinese ambassador to Namibia explaining the extent of the problem and expressing our concern and outrage. We also want the Namibian nation to be aware of this action, and for our friends and colleagues around the world to understand the situation that we are facing. We believe that this is not simply individual Chinese nationals working independently, but syndicates linked to international organised crime. We also find it hard not to believe that some of these actions are not taking place with tacit state approval, or taking place with knowing state indifference. For these reasons we have shared this letter widely with local and international media houses, with diplomatic missions to Namibia, with international environmental organisations around the world, with ministers and Permanent Secretaries in key Namibian Ministries and via social media. Please help by forwarding the attached letter to your networks and via social media.

There is already coverage of our Open Letter on the front page of the Allgemeine Zeitung and across social media, and it should appear in the other papers tomorrow. Our Open Letter has come at the perfect time – when the Chinese are objecting to our senior officials – Minister of Environment and Tourism and Inspector General of the Namibian Police – clamping down on Chinese involvement in poaching – see today’s Confidente newspaper. It is unbelievable that the Chinese embassy takes sides against the people who are trying to stop the poaching, rather than against the poachers and those creating local economic incentives for commercial poaching. I think that this pretty much says it all in terms of China’s position on environmental issues.

I wish you all a very happy and relaxing Christmas, and all good things for 2017.

Kind regards,

Dr Chris Brown
Chief Executive Officer, and on behalf of Namibia’s environment sector


21st December, 2016
Dear Ambassador Xin Shunkang,
During the past few weeks, several Chinese nationals have been apprehended and charged with wildlife crimes, including illegal possession of rhino horn, ivory and pangolin skins and scales.
Your embassy is on record stating that “it will not allow a few of its nationals who have been arrested in connection with poaching to tarnish its country’s image”. While we recognize that not all Chinese nationals are involved in wildlife crimes, Namibia’s environmental community believes that the situation regarding Chinese nationals committing wildlife crimes in Namibia is far more serious and broad-based than you have acknowledged. The fact is, unless effective action is taken now to halt wildlife crime, your country will get an increasingly bad name. And you and your country are best placed to address the problem.

Until the arrival of Chinese nationals in significant numbers in Namibia, commercial wildlife crime was extremely low. As Chinese nationals moved into all regions of Namibia, setting up businesses, networks, acquiring mineral prospecting licenses and offering payment for wildlife products, the incidence of poaching, illegal wildlife capture, collection, killing and export has increased exponentially.

Chinese nationals have been involved in, and/or are the commercial drivers behind:
# the escalating poaching of rhinos and elephants in Namibia and the illegal export of rhino horn and ivory,
# the capture, trade and export of pangolins,
# the import of Chinese monofilament nets in industrial quantities via Zambia to the northeast
of Namibia, which are destroying the fisheries of the Zambezi, Chobe, Kwando and
Okavango Rivers,
# the unsustainable commercialization of fisheries in these north-eastern rivers and
wetland systems for export to cities and towns in neighbouring countries,
# the capture and killing of Carmine Bee-eaters at their breeding colonies by means of nets,
# the rise in bush-meat poaching wherever Chinese nationals are working on road
construction and other infrastructure, including tortoises, monitor lizards, pythons and
any other form of wild meat, including from protected and endangered species,
# the illegal collection of shellfish on the Namibian coast,
# the illegal transit through Namibia and attempted export of poached abalone from Cape
waters through Namibian ports.

We are also aware of long-standing interests by some Chinese nationals to start a shark fin
industry in Namibia, a practice that has caused widespread damage to shark populations in many parts of the world, including in South Africa.
And more recently, Chinese nationals have proposed to capture marine mammals and seabirds for the Asian aquarium market. The Namibian scientific and environmental communities have strongly rejected this proposal on sound conservation and ethical grounds, as has the Namibian public.

We are concerned by an apparent total disregard by some Chinese nationals for Namibia’s
wildlife, conservation, and animal welfare laws and values. Namibians are proud of their
environmental heritage, their rich wildlife resources and the institutional mechanisms that are in place to sustainably manage them. Namibia as a nation has worked hard to protect and nurture these natural assets. Namibia’s wildlife management provides an international example for good conservation and sustainable use. We have not made these investments so that some Chinese nationals, or anyone else, can pillage them.
The illegal commercial interests of some Chinese nationals towards Namibia’s protected wildlife has exploited the vulnerability of poor Namibians and divided societies. It undermines local ownership of natural resources and the empowerment of communities to managing their wildlife wisely, for long-term communal benefits. It undermines Namibia’s globally acclaimed Community-based Conservancy programme, and it does considerable damage to Namibia’s international conservation and sustainable development reputation.

The recent announcement by the Chinese business community that it is contributing N$30,000 to counter rhino poaching, while acknowledging that Namibians are deeply concerned about the situation caused by some Chinese nationals, totally fails to understand the economic scale of the problem. Indeed, it is an insult to the environmental sector in Namibia and to Namibia’s environment. An initial very conservative estimate of the extent of the losses to Namibia’s wildlife and ecosystems caused by Chinese nationals is about N$811 million. And this does not include the significant additional resources that Namibia’s government, donors, communities,
private sector, and NGOs have had to commit to combat escalating wildlife crimes. These funds should rather have been spent on more productive activities such as continuing to develop the wildlife and tourism sectors to improve the lives and livelihoods of rural communities.

We do not claim to fully understand the relationship between Chinese nationals and the Chinese state. It appears that Chinese nationals are not at liberty to obtain passports and travel independently around the world, bringing their personal capital and starting businesses in their own names in whatever country would have them, independent of the Chinese state. As such, Chinese nationals in Namibia appear to be part of a state supported system. So, as the highest ranking Chinese official in Namibia, we would expect all Chinese nationals in Namibia to fall under your authority.
As such, we now call on you to put an immediate stop to the illegal wildlife crimes perpetrated, encouraged, funded, incentivized or otherwise committed and supported, by some Chinese nationals in Namibia. Further, we call on the Chinese government to make good, by investing in Namibia’s environment sector in a transparent and internationally recognized manner, and in proportion to the damage caused, to help rebuild Namibia’s wildlife populations, ecosystems, management systems and reputation.

This letter does not represent only the views of the 40 environmental organisations listed below, but also represents the views of countless members of the Namibian public and our international friends. The sentiments expressed in social media over the past months, from across a broad spectrum of Namibian society, and their outrage at the leading role that Chinese nationals play in wildlife crime have surely been noted by you and members of your embassy. You will also be aware of the sentiments expressed by our President, by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, and by the Namibian Police Inspector General as reported in the local media.

The time for inaction is over. China has a policy of non-intervention and yet these actions by some Chinese nationals, and the apparent inaction of your embassy to address the problem, are direct and indirect interventions that have disastrous impacts on our policy and legal framework, on our environmental culture and ethics, on our natural heritage and on our national conservation and development programmes. They also have huge negative impacts on our people and their livelihoods, and on our international reputation.
In late 2014 the out-going US President Barack Obama, in an interview with the New York Times, accused China of being a “free rider” for the last 30 years in not taking on more of its international obligations. In the last couple of years, particularly under the leadership of your President Xi Jinping, China has taken a decidedly more active leadership role in global issues. It is time to extend that leadership to natural resources and in particular, to wildlife conservation.

Indeed, the Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi, almost 2,000 years ago, may have been amongst the first to advocate for ecological sustainability within a philosophy of coexistence between man and nature. If China is to live up to its stated aims of having positive interactions between peoples and countries then this, for us in Namibia, is a critical issue.
We support our government’s policy of attracting foreign investment to stimulate growth,
employment and development. And we counter all forms of xenophobia and profiling. However, we expect foreign investors and their nationals to abide by Namibia’s laws, and to embrace Namibia’s cultures, ethics, and values. Too many Chinese nationals have abused Namibia’s environmental laws, and this is causing growing resentment and anger amongst Namibians. By their criminal actions, some Chinese nationals have drawn attention to themselves and their nationality through their blatant disregard of Namibia’s legal and environmental values. We are also concerned at how little action the Chinese embassy in Namibia appears to be taking to address the problem.

We as concerned Namibian Environmental NGOs and businesses, who it should be stated, are pro-sustainable use, stand ready to work with a China that willingly takes on greater
responsibility and leadership in addressing the illegal trade in wildlife and, in particular, commits to putting an immediate stop to all wildlife crimes in Namibia by its Chinese nationals.
Yours sincerely,
Dr Chris Brown
CEO: Namibian Chamber of Environment, and other environmental organisations

African Penguin Conservation Project
Africat Foundation
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)
Desert Elephant Conservation
Earthlife Namibia
Eco Awards Namibia
Edu Ventures
Environmental Compliance Consulting
Frank Bockmuhl
Giraffe Conservation Foundation
Jaro Consultancy
Naankuse Foundation
Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust
Namibia Animal Rehabilitation, Research & Education Centre (NARREC)
Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF)
Namibia Scientific Society
Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organizations (NACSO)
Namibian Hydrogeological Association
NamibRand Nature Reserve
Ongava Game Reserve
Otjikoto Environmental and Education Trust
Progress Namibia TAS
Research and Information Services of Namibia (RAISON)
Southern Africa Institute for Environmental Assessment (SAIEA)
Save The Rhino Trust (SRT)
Scientific Society Swakopmund
Sustainable Solutions Trust (SST)
The Namibian Environmental and Wildlife Society (NEWS)
Tosco Trust
Venture Publications
Botanical Society of Namibia
Brown Hyena Research Project
Gondwana Collection Namibia
Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) – Namibian Chapter
Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC)
Kavango Open Africa Route (KOAR)
Legal Assistance Centre (LAC)
Namibia Bird Club
Wilderness Safaris - Namibia

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Finland: Helsinki aerial view | Дрон Намибия в Хельсинки


Aerial views from drone - central Helsinki, Finland


YouTube channel: Exploring Namibia
Aerial photo/video service & other inquiries contact: info@traveltonamibia.com

Finland: Helsinki aerial view | Дрон Намибия в Хельсинки


Aerial view and drone footage of Helsinki bay area, old city skyline, boats and yachts in Helsinki, the capital of Finalnd

Aerial views from drone - central Helsinki, Finland


YouTube channel: Exploring Namibia
Aerial photo/video service & other inquiries contact: info@traveltonamibia.com

Friday, 23 December 2016

Telecom Namibia's service sucks in a big way!

#TelecomNamibiaSucks #AvoidTelecomNamibia #NoServiceTelecomNamibia

No Internet connection in areas of Eros/Eros Park and Klein Windhoek for several days now - thanks to Telecom Namibia lack of service. No one at Telecom bothers about this as money are collected from customers on regular basis. But happy sleepy days of Telecom's monopoly are gone with the wind. Now there are other Internet providers. With recent Telecom's moaning about loss of revenue we really hope to see the day when Telecom gets bankrupt! So long, suckers!

Monday, 19 December 2016

Namibia: Gross Barmen Resort video tour | Гросс Бармен в Намибии

#ГроссБарменВНамибии #Намибия #Окаханья #Хереро #GrossBarmenNamibia #NWR

NWR's Gross Barmen Resort is located a mere 100 km from the capital city of Windhoek, nestled on the banks of a tributary of the Swakop River. Gross Barmen is set between rows of palm trees, green lawns and many pleasant walks, the resort is ideal for all ages. Gross Barmen offers facilities for spa and wellness, fitness, recreation, and leisure. The main attraction of the resort is the health and hydro/medical spa center, featuring thermal springs and providing a full range of treatments, massages, and health activities for relaxation.

See video portfolio here
Originally the site was a Rhenish mission station established in 1844. Ruins of mission can still be seen. The missionaries gave the station it's name Gross Barmen, having previously been called Otjikango Otjinene (Herero for "large fountain").

The accommodation options at Gross Barmen include family, bush chalets and camping sites. Amenities and facilities include indoor and outdoor thermal pools, conference facilities, restaurant, bar and shop. The nearby dam attracts more than 150 different species of birds making it a hotspot for birdwatching. The resort operates from 06h00 until 22h00.
The nearby Von Bach Dam 25 km outside of Okahandja just off main B1 highway, is also a favourite spot for water sport lovers and anglers, with attractive picnic spots and fishing sites along the banks of the dam.

YouTube channel: Exploring Namibia
Aerial photo/video service & other inquiries contact: info@traveltonamibia.com