Monday, April 18, 2011

Local news from the Gondwana Collection

Enjoy the Wonders of Nature at Leisure

Guests of Namib Desert Lodge who want to participate in an organized excursion to Sossusvlei have to rise early. Because the colours of the desert are at their most beautiful and resplendent in the first light of the morning. And the ascent to the top of the highest dunes on earth is not quite as taxing in the freshness of the new day. It will definitely rev up the circulation of any morning grouch and the reward is a magnificent view across the dune landscape and Sossusvlei, currently filled with water - which is a very rare sight. Namib Desert Lodge acquired a second all-wheel drive with eight passenger seats this month. This means that the two vehicles can now take a total of 16 guests on a leisurely excursion to Sossusvlei every day. Professional guides provide details on the specific features of the landscape, the fauna and flora.

Gondwana Cañon Park a Garden of Eden

All internal fences have now disappeared in Gondwana Cañon Park. The last section of 15 km of fencing along the public road near Holoog was taken down in January. In total, 500 km of fences have been removed. They were a relic from earlier farming activities. Foraging game needs to be able to move around as freely as possible in order to survive. The park is situated in the Nama Karoo Desert where rainfall usually is scarce and scattered. Since its inception in 1995 only game species which once were indigenous to the region were reintroduced to the 1,260 km² nature conservation area, among them hartebeest, wildebeest and plains zebra. This year, however, game animals find more than enough food almost everywhere. In January 25.1 mm of rain (monthly average 19.9 mm) were recorded and in February 61.5 mm (31.2 mm). All of the park’s seasonal (mostly dry) rivers were in flood at some stage. Everything is sprouting and blooming now, the game is well-fed. In January the park rangers watched a herd of 140 springbok grazing in the grassy plains. The camera traps at Jagpos and Jakkalsdam took pictures of two leopards.

Menu enriched by traditional Speciality

There is a new delicacy on the menu of Damara Mopane Lodge: roasted Mopane worms. They are harvested on site, just like the vegetables, herbs and fruit. The worms, or more correctly caterpillars, are picked from Mopane trees around the lodge. Our guests react differently to this new speciality - which in fact is a traditional, regional one. Some leave it at a curious glance into the bowl, others valiantly reach into it. Mopane worms occur only in southern Africa and are usually unknown to guests from other continents. In its distribution area in Africa the caterpillars are an important source of protein for millions of people. For many it is also a desperately needed source of income.

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