Saturday, 24 May 2014

Mountain biking on the edge at Klein-Aus Vista

Participants gave it all they’d got at the 4th Klein-Aus Vista MTB Challenge which was held in the

The terrain of the mountain bike track through the Aus Mountains is so demanding that bikers barely had time to marvel at the glorious landscape. With the mercury rising to 32 degrees centigrade the four water and control posts were well-frequented.

“A total of 124 mountain bikers entered the two-day challenge through the Aus Mountains in Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park. 34 out of 60 bikers finished the 70 km marathon while 47 out of 66 participants completed the half marathon”, said Piet Swiegers, the manager of the Klein-Aus Vista Lodge (a member of the Gondwana Collection Namibia), who hosted the mountain bike challenge with his wife Christine. 

Swiegers thanked all the sponsors – the main ones being Standard Bank Namibia, Kia Motors Namibia, Maerua SuperSpar and the Gondwana Collection - and also extended an invitation to join the next Klein-Aus Vista MTB Challenge which will be held on May 2nd and 3rd in 2015.

Naturally the scenic beauty of Klein-Aus Vista can be explored by mountain bike at any time other than the weekend of the race as well. There is a choice of three routes: two long ones (30 to 40 km) and a short one (about 5 km). The longer trails are a real challenge, as they mostly consist of narrow single track paths through the scenery of bush and rocks. Guests need to bring their own mountain bikes.

For those who prefer to explore the fauna and flora of the Succulent Karoo on foot there are six different trails to choose from. They are well marked and take hikers through the wildly romantic scenery of the Aus Mountains.

Klein-Aus Vista also offers guided drives through Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park for guests to familiarise themselves with the fascinating plant and animal world of the Succulent Karoo.

Results of the Klein-Aus Vista Mountainbike Challenge:

Elite Men 70 km:
1.    Tristan De Lange  (6:30:37)
2.    Martin Freyer  (6:34:07)
3.    Herbert Peters  (7:31:14) Elite Ladies 70 km:
1.    Irene Steyn  (8:53:32)
2.    Michelle Voster  (9:19:43)
3.    Maike Bochert  (11:33:23)

Master Men 70 km:
1.    Piet Swiegers  (7:29:17)
2.    Fanie Steenkamp  (8:03:37)
3.    Hans Du Toit  (8:04:25)

Master Women 70 km:
1.    Le-Anne Palmert  (9:49:59)
2.    Caroline Janik  (12:07:38)
3.    Anneke Steenkamp  (12:11:33)

Elite Men 35 km:
1.    Johann Wasserfall  (4:24:29)
2.    Immanual Mwatwoshive  (4:29:09)
3.    Eckhard Straemke  (4:40:19)

Elite Ladies 35 km:
1.    Anke Janik  (5:46:25)
2.    Maryne Blignaut  (7:08:22)

Master Men 35 km:
1.    Frank Snyman  (4:08:42)
2.    Walter Hailwax     (4:31:16)
3.    Andre Delport  (4:49:47)

Master Women 35 km:
1.    Aletti Lowe  (5:05:18)
2.    Andra Van Staden  (5:11:13)
3.    Carin Schrader    (5:12:26)

Junior Men 35 km:   
1.    Francois Smith  (4:40:57)

Marathon Overall:
1.    Tristan De Lange  (6:30:37)
2.    Martin Freyer  (6:34:07)
3.    Piet Swiegers  (7:29:17)

Half Marathon Overall:
1.    Frank Snyman  (4:08:42)
2.    Johann Wasserfall  (4:24:29)
3.    Immanual Mwatwoshive  (4:29:09)
Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park during the weekend of May 2nd and 3rd. In the men’s top category (Elite) 16-year-old Tristan de Lange successfully defended the marathon title which he won the previous year. Martin Freyer came second. Irene Steyn was the unrivalled winner of the women’s 70-km-event.

Experience Namibia – with Gondwana History V

Did you know that back in 1910 a shipping route was opened from Lüderitzbucht to New York? That the small piles of rock found next to roads in southern Namibia honour Haiseb, a Nama deity? And that superstition is part of everyday life in Namibia?

Become acquainted with Namibia and its people. Read the fifth edition of “Gondwana History – Memorable Moments from Namibia’s Past” fresh from the printers.

The almost forgotten Ohambo tradition in the north, the characteristics of Boeremusiek, and with Marthin Ashikoto, King of the Ndonga, whose fate was doomed by the discrepancies between traditional and European jurisdiction.

Namibia and southern Africa are full of intriguing stories, ranging from that of a crocodile sinking its teeth into the backside of a navy diver or the history of the world-famous song “The lion sleeps tonight”. The stories in Gondwana History V will have you feeling the heartbeat of Africa.

Narrating stories – how does this fit the profile of a group of companies engaged in the tourism sector? At Gondwana we are passionate about conserving Namibia’s natural and cultural heritage. We are also passionate about sharing the manifold beauty of Namibia with our guests; a true Namibian experience should forever leave an imprint on one’s soul. It becomes a story that is part of them.

Many of our stories have been published as books in recent years. And there are more to come: “The First World War in Namibia at a Glance” by Gordon McGregor and Mannfred Goldbeck as well as “Auf verlorenem Posten” (Fighting a lost cause) by Walter Nuhn will be published on 4 August this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World war. And as if that weren’t enough, another two books will be published shortly: “Traditional crafts of the people of Namibia’s eastern Zambezi Region (Eastern Caprivi). A historical perspective” by Antje Otto and Mannfred Goldbeck, as well as a children’s book: “The Adventures of Hippowana”.

Gondwana History V is available from Wednesday, 4 June 2013 – in the Gondwana Hall at the Namibia Tourism Expo (former Karakul Hall), at the Gondwana offices in Klein Windhoek (42 Nelson Mandela Ave, access from Gevers St) as well as at the lodges and in the bookshops.

Gondwana Collection (Publ.): Gondwana History V, Windhoek 2014, ISBN 978-99916-896-1-6, 978-99916-896-2-3 (Afrikaans), 978-99916-896-0-9 (German).

Namibia Wild Horses Expo Competition 2014

The battle for a life in freedom
Fascination with the wild horses in Namibia’s south-western Namib Desert is compelling. Their origin was shrouded in mystery for decades. Their habitat, the inhospitable plains around Garub, is anything but a paradise. Nevertheless the horses have managed to adapt to the harsh conditions. Their descendants, once in the service of man, regained their freedom. They chose a life in the vastness of the desert, far away from human civilisation, following the laws of their herd.

In more recent times they have become a tourist attraction. Every year thousands of visitors watch in awe as the horses arrive with thundering hooves and flying manes to quench their thirst at the trough at Garub. They are all the more touched when in years of drought they see emaciated tired creatures... Why? Does nobody come to the rescue?

Answers are provided by the Namibia Wild Horses Foundation which was established in 2012 to raise and strengthen awareness of the horses. The driving forces behind this initiative are biologist Dr Telané Greyling and the Gondwana Collection with managing director Mannfred Goldbeck and its partners at Klein-Aus Vista. As an advisor to the Ministry of the Environment the foundation is ready - if need be - to take gentle anticipatory action for the preservation of the wild horses.

The wild horses have survived in their area on the fringe of the Namib for close to 100 years. They have adapted their behaviour to the meagre conditions and have developed social structures of their own. Man only provides water for them but does not interfere otherwise. There have always been periods of droughts and weaker animals did not survive. It is the principle of natural selection which helps to maintain a strong gene pool.

Human intervention should be limited to situations when the entire population is at risk. If, for example, the number of animals is dropping to such an extent that the gene pool becomes too small – or if, after years of good rains, their numbers rise to a level which exceeds the capacity of their grazing area and would result in widespread deaths at the onset of drought. The foundation’s first priority is to limit human intervention to the absolutely necessary and to preserve the horses’ life in freedom in the long term.

Dr Telané Greyling determined sustainable minimum and maximum numbers (80-250 animals) in her thesis as a basis on which gentle corrections can be made in good time. Currently some 200 horses live in the vicinity of Aus. They are still in a good condition but grazing is sparse.

More on the history, background and behaviour of the wild horses can be learnt from the book Wild Horses of the Namib Desert by Telané Greyling, Mannfred Goldbeck and Ron Swilling. It will be available (in English and German at the Namibia Tourism Expo from 4 to 7 June in the Gondwana Hall (former Karakul Hall). Part of the proceeds as well as 50 percent of the earnings from Gondwana’s “Wild horse of the year” expo competition will be donated to the foundation. Participants stand a chance to win their share of 100 night plus breakfast at any Gondwana lodge.

The Namibia Wild Horses Foundation welcomes any horse lover who wants to support the wild horses.

Friday, 23 May 2014

NWR will participate in Namibia Tourism Expo

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) says it will participate in the annual Namibia Tourism Expo scheduled for June 4 to 7 at the Windhoek Show Grounds.

"One of the objectives in NDP4 is to have tourism create the necessary economic development in the country. As the entity representing government in this sector, we see the expo as an opportunity to showcase what we have to offer the local market. In not secluding our children, NWR has also committed itself to providing opportunities to primary school groups from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to experience the protected areas of Namibia, whilst also learning about the natural fauna and flora, environmental and conservation issues, as well as the importance of safeguarding our environment," said Zelna Hengari, the acting managing director of NWR, in a statement issued yesterday. Over the years NWR has used the expo to showcase its new products and accommodation establishments to the public.

"Products such as NamLeisure have given our locals an opportunity to see our beautiful establishments at discounted rates. It is through this platform that the public and international visitors alike... would get an opportunity to further enquire about the facilities and establishments and what NWR has to offer at different camps."

During the expo NWR will give its visitors an opportunity to partake in a daily competition with the draw to take place on the last day. The public also will get an opportunity to win various prizes. The first prize is a weekend away for two at Popa Falls, while the second prize is a NamLeisure card valid for 12 months and the third prize is an NWR goodies bag.

Unsolved mystery of Namibia's fairy cicles

The unusual circles found in the Namibian grasslands remain a tantalizing mystery. These rings of barren earth can reach up to 30 meters in diameter, while vegetation only grows around the outer circle. Because of their resemblance to the circular rings of trees that made up fairy forts or covens in Ancient Celtic mythology, the phenomenon has been popularly referred to as a “fairy circle.” Some might be reminded of extraterrestrial visitors when they see the shapes, but the most plausible theory accepted by ecologists has been that these structures are the work of termites.

A new study, conducted by biologist Stephan Getzin of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, Germany, now proposes that the termites are no longer a likely suspect, due to the precision of the structures, whereas termites feed in a much more irregular fashion, typically leaving clusters and therefore could not create orderly shapes on such a large scale as this theory would require them to do.

The circles were studied from an aerial view, and some are 75 years old. Getzin published his work in Ecography. Although the number of theories continues to vary for the existence of the circles, such as fungi, carnivorous ants, or the buildup of hydrocarbons in the ground, according to Getzin, this might just be a pattern through which the plants regulate their own growth.

Wild horses of Namibia

Namibia’s southern region is home to one of the few feral populations of wild horses in the world. Near the small town of Aus these majestic animals roam freely along with ostriches, gemsbok and whatever other migrating herds of animals traverse through the region.

It is widely believed that the current horse herds are a result of animals having escaped from the German military during World War I. These horses then interbred with other abandoned horses from nearby stud farms that used to operate in the area.

The great thing about these animals is they offer wonderful photo opportunities for photographers as you have a chance to take some quite surreal snaps of these usually domesticated animals living in the wild.

There is an observation point from which you can watch the horses. It is a shelter that has been constructed so that visitors can sit on benches and under shade while they watch the horses and various other game interact at the nearby watering hole.

Where to stay

The best place to stay if you want to spend an afternoon with the feral horses is in the village of Aus which has several accommodation options that can account for everybody’s needs.

Klein Aus Vista is a collection of different accommodations that range in price and size including comfortable camping site.

The Banhof Hotel is also a good bet if you want to stay in the charming little village.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Namibia is leading giraffe conservation

The number of giraffes in Africa have decreased considerably to just over 40% over the last 15 years from approximately 140 000 across the continent in the late 1990s, down to approximately 80 000 today.
Giraffes have also become extinct in seven African countries.
Besides Niger, Namibia has the only growing giraffe population in Africa, indicating that the country is excelling in giraffe conservation, a phenomenon conservationists are now probing to tap into.
Stephanie Fennessy of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) sayid, “Obviously we (Namibia) are doing something right here - we at GCF are trying to figure out what exactly this is.”
Against this background the GCF will celebrate the first ever World Giraffe Day for the tallest animal in the world on 21 June.
Zoos and other organisations around the world are participating in the initiative in order to raise awareness for giraffe conservation in the wild and to help raise much needed funds to undertake conservation projects on the ground.
All money raised here in Namibia will be used to print and distribute giraffe educational materials for Namibian schools, community conservancies and related organisations.
To celebrate World Giraffe Day (WGD) in Namibia, GCF’s Dr Julian Fennessy will give a talk on giraffe conservation in Africa, with a specific focus on Namibia at a joint event of NEWS and NWG on 19 June 2014.
GCF is also organising a casual Friday on 20 June (the day before WGD) under the motto Jeans4Giraffe. GCF will ask organisations, companies and schools to participate, while individuals will be requested to wear jeans or other casual clothes with giraffe patterns.

Black rhinos killed in Kunene

Tthe carcasses of two black rhinos were found in the Palmwag concession early this week.
This is the second poaching incident in the area in barely a month and it brings the number of rhinos killed by poachers this year to six.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), condemned the poaching yesterday afternoon.

In a press statement released shortly after the news broke out, permanent secretary Simeon Negumbo warned the poachers that Namibia’s “security apparatus is ready to confront whoever takes part in these barbaric activities and they will face the full wrath of the law”.

Negumbo said the latest poaching incident had prompted the tightening of security measures in place, although he did not elaborate on this.

Several members of the MET and special police forces from the Protected Resources Unit (PRU) were reportedly at the scene.

The two carcasses were found stripped of their horns and MET has confirmed the rhinos were a mother and her grown calf, although their exact ages have not been confirmed.

Negumbo further condemned the “ill intentioned activities and illegal plundering of wildlife” and called on those involved “to stop these selfish activities immediately”.

The two carcasses were found on Saturday, 17 May, close to the area in which another black rhino was gunned down in late April.

No arrests have been made in both cases, neither have any horns been recovered. Investigations are ongoing.

This latest poaching brings the total number of rhinos poached in Namibia so far this year to six, compared to four last year, according to a report by Colgar Sikopo, the head of the MET Directorate of Regional Services and Parks Management, at a wildlife workshop early this month.

It also brings the total number of poaching incidents since 2011 to 13, according to the MET statistics.

The news of the poaching came on the day of an anti-poaching protest held in Windhoek and the continuation of the bail hearing of three Chinese nationals accused of the illegal possession of 14 rhino horns and a leopard skin. DNA tests have shown all the rhino horns stem from Namibia.

The MET has urged the public to be on alert for any suspicious activity in their areas, and to use the Rhino toll-free SMS line to send information that might be helpful to the investigation. As the rhino horns are still in possession of the poachers, any information that will help investigators retrieve the horns and arrest the poachers will be valuable.

Queen of Skeleton Coast dies

Queen, one of Namibia’s famed desert lions, and dubbed the founding lioness of a new era of Skeleton Coast lions by Flip Stander, died last weekend. She was 16.
Queen’s life was closely followed by Stander of Desert Lion Conservation, making her one of his most valuable subjects, having contributed greatly to the cause of desert lion conservation in Namibia.

Stander placed a collar/tag on Queen, identifying her as Xpl-10.

Fierce, protective and strong, Queen was filmed twice by Stander taking down a fully-grown giraffe in an attempt to provide food for her pride.

She never shied away from taking on more dangerous adversaries, namely male lions, a threat to young cubs in her pride, and it was this, which in the end might have been her downfall. Puncture wounds to her body from another lion caused damage and infection and led to her death.

In the days leading to her death, “a raging sandstorm” blew through the Skeleton Coast and lasted more than two days, according to the lion trust research team. While the most of the Floodplain pride were forced to escape the storm, and move westwards, Queen’s daughter, Xpl-69 “stayed behind and remained close to Xpl-10 until she died”.

The researchers transported her back to the fold of her pride, after finding her close to Purros, too weak to re-join her pride.

Followers of the well-known website, were shocked and sad at photographs depicting her emaciated body, and debates on social media sites erupted over whether human interference would be justified in this case, to ease her pain and suffering, or to even medically intervene and help save her life.

Stander emphasised that apart from interfering by darting her to translocate her out of harm’s way, their policy is “not to interfere in the ‘natural’ developments surrounding the lion population. It is only with human-related events that exceptions are made”.

The lion researchers, among them her old friend Stander, were able to keep watch over her last days, and so, on Saturday last weekend, the world was informed that ‘The Queen is dead’.

On his website, Stander wrote that the preliminary findings from an autopsy performed in the field revealed that Xpl-10’s death was most likely due to an infection from a puncture wound, probably caused by the canine tooth of another lion. That wound most probably also caused damage to her spinal column.

In addition, Stander found that her kidneys were enlarged and may not have functioned properly. His examination found that her right kidney was solid and much larger than the left one.

He wrote that Xpl-10’s carcass will be processed and her skeleton reconstructed and placed in the Hoanib Camp Research Centre or in the Möwe Bay Museum, her legacy living on even after her passing.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

NWR take over Zambezi Waterfront

Zambezi waterfront and tourism park project has been reassigned to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to be run by Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR).

The project which was started by government in 2005 initially resorted under the Ministry of Finance. It has so far cost government over N$150 million two develop the first two phases of the project, which would require a further injection of over N$70 million to be completed. Speaking at the handover ceremony in Katima Mulilo on Monday, Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa Amadhila noted that government made a deliberate attempt aimed at empowering locals by involving them in the development of the project, a step that has resulted in the delays experienced so far. “We decided to follow an unconventional approach to the development of the project and that is to optimise the participation of residents in the project. We did not want to take a big experienced company to implement the project, which could have completed the project in a period of two years. Instead we decided to directly contract SME’s with skills so that they can benefit,” Amadhila said.

According to her the completion of the two phases will ease matters for NWR, since most of the core infrastructure is already in place. “With those two phases completed and given the fact that our colleagues from the tourism sector are on board, we are more than ready to get started with business at this facility. I am hoping that with this infrastructure, the people of this region will embrace the opportunities to better their livelihoods,” said Amadhila. She also revealed that government has made a financial commitment for the next two years for the successful completion of the project. “There are some remaining components still to be implemented. This financial year there is about N$30 million provided by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and for the next financial year there is N$40 million. The funds will go towards the development of conference facilities, storage facilities as well as laundry facilities.”

Amadhila also announced that the Zambezi waterfront and tourism park has been restructured into a corporate entity in order to stimulate the participation of the private sector. “Zambezi waterfront is a normal corporate entity, a Pty Ltd because we want to incentivise the private sector to participate. There can be no way, the private sector can participate if the company is for no gain and cannot distribute dividends. So we had to restructure,” said the finance minister.

Speaking at the same occasion, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, appealed to NWR to take prudent measures before incorporating the project in its business plan. He also cautioned that the project should not follow in the habit of many state-owned enterprises that continue to drain government coffers. “We hope that this project will become an important tourism attraction. It would be pleasing if NWR takes the necessary steps to assess the current situation of the project and put in place a strategic business plan. This project should be self-sustaining and should not become one of those projects that financially burden the government.” The Zambezi waterfront tourism park which sits on an elevated stretch of land measuring about 22 hectares on the banks of the Zambezi River is largely a hospitality entity, but would also comprise community tourism activities such wood carving, weaving and basketry. It is strategically located in the town of Katima Mulilo, which borders Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana – which together make up the Kavango Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA). Among some of the completed infrastructure is the information centre and bungalows that already accommodate guests and camping facilities among others.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Elephant poaching in Namibia | Браконьерство в Намибии


Namibia recorded 123 cases of elephant poaching in national parks between 2005 to date, with 222 tusks weighing close to 1910.20 kg confiscated. In total, the poached elephants resulted in monetary losses exceeding N$1.3 million.

The Deputy Director for Wildlife Management in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Colgar Sikopo, made the worrying revelations during the law enforcement and wildlife protection stakeholders' meeting on Thursday in Windhoek. The meeting highlighted the levels of illegal killing of wildlife in the country.

Sikopo said 105 people in possession of elephant tusks were arrested between 2005 and 2013. While from 2005 to date, 11 cases of rhino poaching were recorded. Of the poached rhinos, 18 horns weighing 14.3 kg valued at N$599 532 were confiscated and nine suspects were arrested.

The economic loss from poaching of elephants in 2012 in national parks amounted to N$3.8 million. The losses accrued from Bwabwata, Madumu and Nkasa Rupara national parks where in total 28 elephants were poached. About N$2.2 million was lost through 142 elephants poached in conservancies in 2012.

Pohamba Shifeta, the Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism said the Namibian elephant population has virtually quadrupled over the last 20 years to over 20 000 .

"We have more than 1 000 black rhinoceros. Recently we noted with great concern the increasing activities of poaching of rhinos and the illegal possession of 14 rhino horns in the country. Given that poaching for ivory and rhino horn is presently occurring in [the broader] Southern Africa, there is a high probability that attention will shift to Namibia. Poaching for ivory is already occurring in the north-eastern regions of the country, although it has now been contained," Shifeta noted.

He added that tourism in general has grown to be one of the most important industries in Namibia in terms of its strong contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment creation and the well-being and social upliftment of rural people.

In this regard to date, Sikopo said, Namibia generated about N$11.5 million from trophy hunting in national parks such as Bwabwata (Kwando, Buffalo, MUA and Mahango), the Waterberg Plateau, Mangetti, Namib Naukluft, Dan Viljoen and Von Bach.

About N$12 million was generated from trophy hunting for Zambezi Region conservancies in 2013. These conservancies are Balyerwa, Bamunu, Dzoti, Kabulabula, Kasika, Kwandu, Mayuni, Salambala, Sikunga, Sobbe, Wuparo, Mashi and Impalila.

Shifeta said there was a clear requirement for a strategy to upgrade law enforcement and wildlife crime prevention capacity in the country as well as for immediate action that should be part of, and feed into, the overall strategy.

"The immediate requirement is to control emerging commercial ivory poaching in the north-eastern part of the country and to prevent the westward spread of rhino and elephant poaching into the Etosha National Park and beyond," he noted.

He emphasised that the focus should be on preventing animals being killed illegally and not just on doing follow-ups after they have been killed.
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Sunday, 4 May 2014

В ЮАР полиция задержала каннибала из Лесото

В ЮАР полиция после двух лет розыска арестовала 27-летнего беглеца из тюрьмы в Лесото, который сознался в нескольких убийствах и каннибализме, сообщает Times Live.

Махеле Скотт признался в том, что убил и съел двух человек в Лесото в 2012 году, но до суда сбежал из центральной тюрьмы Масеру.

Ранее сотрудники правоохранительных органов Лесото, ЮАР и Интерпола обнаружили Скотта неподалеку от Дурбана, где тот жил в местной церкви и играл в группе при ней.

«Полиция приехала к церкви по наводке. Там сотрудники обнаружили пикап, в котором лежали две человеческих руки, нога, пенис и тестикулы», — говорится в пресс-релизе полиции.

Во время допроса Скотт признался в убийстве 13-летнего школьника и 22-летнего мужчины. Он также рассказал, что приготовил и съел некоторые части тела убитых.

Rhino poached

Another case of rhino poaching is currently being investigated by the Namibian police force and the owners of the Palmwag Lodge in Damaraland.
 Lodge owner Fritz Schenk told Informante that he is not prepared to go into detail because both his staff and the police are currently still investigating the incident.
It has been reported that the sub-adult male died after at least five bullets struck his body.  Due to the location of the bullets, on both sides of its body, it is suspected that more than one person might have been involved in the shooting. Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi confirmed this week that the rhino was dead for between three and four weeks before the carcass was found early last week. According to Marcia Fargnoli, chief executive officer of the Save the Rhino Trust, the de-horned body of the rhino was found in the area but, as the investigation continues, Fargnoli said her information is also very limited. This latest incident follows a Ministry of Environment and Tourism statement expressing concern about the safety of Namibia’s rhino population. According to acting permanent secretary Teofilus Nghitila, his ministry is alarmed by recent activities of poaching of rhinos and the illegal possession of fourteen rhino horns reported about in local media last month.
Palmwag Lodge is one of Namibia's oldest lodges and is situated inside the Palmwag Conservancy in Damaraland. Nghitila highlighted the consequences of poaching on community-based conservancies saying that it could have severe economic implications adversely impacting both tourism and trophy hunting. “The current illegal wildlife- related activities clearly need to be brought under control,” he said.
The ministry intends to strengthen its crime prevention efforts by coordinating planning, monitoring and adaptive management, increasing its presence on the ground, creating dedicated investigation units focusing on criminal syndicates and organised crime, retraining staff and collaborating widely with stakeholders such as the police, local farmers and conservation communities, he said.

Expensive shipwreck at the Namibian coast

Namibia is spending millions on a shipwreck that they don’t own, citing efforts to avert a possible environmental calamity, after failing to trace the owner of the vessel.
The intervention to recover 139 tonnes of oil from the abandoned ship, Frotamerica, which stranded near Luderitz on 15 February 2013, costs state coffers almost N$10 million. Apart from the oil, it was found that the wreck has large amounts of debris on board consisting of old furniture and redundant equipment, as well as large volumes of asbestos-containing items used in the vessel’s original construction, which was stored in various cabins.
The removal of this rubble could wipe another N$4 to N$6 million out of the state coffers, unless new owners are found to remove the wreck at their own costs. To make matters worse, it would be impossible to track down the original owners and hold them accountable for the costs incurred by the government.
Fears existed that if the ship sank and break apart from the assault of the rough ocean it might expose the pristine area, which is one of Namibia’s most important bird areas to oil pollution, as well as the wreckage which poses a danger to sea life there. It can cost the government between N$10 million and N$250 million to remove the Frotamerica, depending on the condition of the wreck, for example if it can be re-floated or not.
The area which the ship is posing a pollution risk to is called !Anichab and is very close to Staple Rock and Ichaboe Island, situated within the only Marine Protected Area in Namibia.
The hulking 193 metre, 35 000 tonne vessel was ripped from its moorings after a strong south-westerly wind broke it loose from a tugboat, which reportedly was on its way from Brazil to India to sell the ship for wreckage material.
Attempts to retrieve the large vessel and tow it back to the Luderitz harbour were aborted due to the difficult weather conditions. The National Risk Management Committee classified the removal of the pollutants from the wreck as a national emergency and accordingly directed the Ministry of Works and Transport to act forthwith to ensure that the pollutants are removed without delay.
The oil-recovery operations started on 15 July 2013 in the engine room and by 23 August 2013 an amount of 139 tonnes of oil were recovered from the wreck and transferred to Luderitz for onwards transmission to Walvis Bay for final disposal.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Future energy supply needs urgent action

The government together with stakeholders in the energy sector should draft a law on renewable energy and energy efficiency as a matter of urgency. Net metering for domestic solar photovoltaic installations must also be made available across all electricity distribution and supply entities in the country, except if these do already offer a reasonable feed-in tariff for such systems, and appropriate legislation and regulations should be finalised expeditiously. Renewable energy feed-in tariffs (Refit) must as well be finalised and operationalised as a priority.

These were some of the suggestions made during the two-day conference on renewable energy that ended yesterday in Windhoek, organised by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics, Natural Resources and Public Administration. Concluding the deliberations the conference recommended that financial mechanisms should be introduced to allow all domestic residences to be fitted with a solar water heater, and that the viability and requirements of initiating local solar water heater assembly or manufacturing plants be assessed and included under the Ministry of Trade and Industry's promotion of local value addition priorities.

Delegates agreed that national energy efficiency standards should be developed and that government take the lead in implementing them in all government institutions and public buildings.

The conference recommended that explicit national renewable energy targets as well as energy efficiency targets be put forward, focusing on the country's transport sector, which is the single largest user of liquid fuels, and technologies requiring electricity for their operation.

The conference recommended that relevant criteria for the definition and measurement of the productive use of energy in general, and electricity in particular, be laid down, and that relevant activities and measures be formulated to reduce Namibia's energy intensity and promote the uptake and focus on the productive use of sustainable energy and energy efficient technologies for the sustainable development of the country; and that education for sustainable development be included in school curricula to emphasise the importance of sustainable energy for future generations.

The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics, Natural Resources and Public Administration, Ben Amathila, said unless deliberate decisions are taken, Namibia's economy would be negatively affected by electricity shortages which will have major negative effects on investment, especially in the mining sector.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Amathila said: "As a country, we are currently faced by a huge challenge in our national electricity sector, ranging from increasing energy prices, the inability of the current installed generation capacity to meet the rising demand for electricity in the country and to top it all, our neighbouring countries on whom we rely for electricity supply will most likely not be able to supply us at all times."

According to him, Namibia is said to be facing about an 100MW electricity deficit by 2015. The deficit will further rise to 300MW should there be no any investment in any energy generation infrastructure.

Amathila said Namibia depends mainly on the Ruacana hydro power plant for most of the country's energy and the rest is imported from South Africa (Eskom), Zambia (Zesco) and Zimbabwe (Zesa), which is also faced with a crisis of meeting energy demand.

He added that Namibia spent about N$1 billion on importing electricity from South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Over 250 people including international and local experts on renewable energy sources attended the conference.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Cargo taxi Windhoek way

Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMA) tomorrow

Both the industry awards and the main show, scheduled for Friday and Saturday respectively, will take place at the same venue, the Swakopmund Indoor Sports Centre, with the Friday event starting at 20h00 and the Saturday event starting live at 21h00.

The main show will be preceded by a one hour long live broadcast of the blue carpet where the 'who's who' and attendees will show off their glamourous looks.

Pom Pom Camp - for safari enthusiasts

7 tents, 1 honeymoon suite, 1 double-tented family unit
Games drives off road and at night, mokoro, nature walks, motorboat cruises, fishing

Renowned for its idyllic Okavango setting, amiable nostalgic safari atmosphere and old-style safari hospitality, Pom Pom Camp is also known for its leopards, birdlife and ability to offer all activities all year round.

The camp was refurbished a year ago with 9 new extra large vintage style luxury canvas tents complete with ceiling fans, separate lounge, expansive veranda and covered outside shower. The new tents were also resited providing an even more secluded setting.

A scenic 20 minute charter from Maun (or 1h20 from Kasane), the camp is located on Pom Pom Island in its private concession area, situated in the heart of the Okavango Delta and on the head waters of the Xudum river system. The area lies on the western boundary of the Moremi Game Reserve and offers superb Okavango scenery, wilderness and wildlife experience. Pom Pom was built and designed in the style of safari camps of old. Thoughtfully designed, the tents overlook a scenic lagoon and are extremely privately set within a dense and shady tree line. For further information and Under One Botswana Sky's superb low season offers contact:

Namibia: Palmwag Concession Area

The Palmwag Concession Area is situated in north western Namibia in the Kunene Region.
The Palmwag Concession Area is approximately 582,622 hectares large and is enclosed by three different Conservancies, namely Torra Conservancy, Anabeb Conservancy and Sesfontein Conservancy.

The boundaries of the Concession Area are; in the north the northern bank of the Hoanib River, and in the west the eastern boundary of the Skeleton Coast Park. 
The southern boundary is demarcated by the veterinary cordon fence from the Springbokwasser Gate to the Wêreldsend veterinary gate, while the eastern boundary of the Concession Area leads from the Wêreldsend Gate to the Palmwag veterinary gate, then north along the C43 road to a point known as Gomakukous, and from thereon along the south western boundaries of the Anabeb and Sesfontein Conservancies to Elephant Song in the Hoanib River.
The Concession Area has currently two official entrance gates, Twee Palms Gate and Aub Gate.  Both gates are managed and controlled by Palmwag Lodge and are situated north of Palmwag Lodge on the C43.

A new gate, Elephant Song Gate, will be constructed at Elephant Song in the Hoanib River in the near future.  This gate will be managed by the Sesfontein Conservancy.  A fourth gate is in the progress of being constructed at Amspoort in the Hoanib River and will be managed and controlled by Wilderness Safaris.

Currently tourists and tour operators can get their concession permits at the Palmwag Lodge reception or at the Twee Palms and or Aub Gate when entering from the south or east.

Tourists and tour operators are currently encouraged to pay their concession and camping fees at these two gates when entering the Concession Area from the north through the Hoanib River and leave the concession via the Twee Palms or Aub Gates until the Elephant Song and Amspoort Gates are operational.  Concession and camping fees for the Concession Area can then in future be paid at Elephant Song or Amspoort Gates should tourists and operators enter the Concession Area through the Hoanib River.

Detailed maps of the Concession Area are available at Palmwag Lodge reception and at Twee Palms and Aub Gates.

Rules and regulations of the Palmwag Concession Area are stipulated on the concession map and should strictly be adhered to. More information & reservations of accommodation: