Gondwana Canyon Village

When I was a child and our family visited Namibia, we just packed our camper van and camping gear, left Cape Town one morning and headed north for the border. That seemed fine in those days and we mostly found a place to stay for the night. Although I do remember us all having to sleep in the car near the Fish River Canyon because we arrived too late to find somewhere to stay. I remember it well, because it was very cold out in the desert that night! Since then tourism in Namibia has increased significantly and with the demand for accommodation near major tourist areas, and one really can’t leave things to chance.

We started booking our accommodation about three months before our trip, making use of The Cardboard Box Travel Shop. This greatly simplified booking and paying for accommodation. Paying for accommodation, the year we were there, meant doing direct bank transfers – resulting in additional foreign exchange fees. So the fewer transactions one had to do, the better. Besides doing most of our accommodation bookings for us, they provided useful travel information and told of about the Gondwana Card system.

The Gondwana Card allows Namibians and residents of other Southern African countries discounts on travel, meals and accommodation in Namibia. As explained on their site “Average income in Namibia and the SADC countries is significantly lower than in Europe or North America. With the Gondwana Card we want to enable more people from Namibia and the region at large to travel the country – in order to increase awareness within society of the value of nature and its gentle utilisation for tourism.“.

Travelling around in South Africa, Willie and I were used to going the self-catering cottage/chalet route. Meaning we had to take all our food with us. We could also eat when and what we liked – including having a braai or barbecue (a national pastime in South Africa!). The Namibian model of tourist accommodation includes breakfasts and dinner in the package. At first we found this odd, but soon came to appreciate the concept. Travelling distances in Namibia are huge and there was often not time or opportunity to go food shopping. With there being no other restaurants in remote areas, it was convenient to eat at the lodge or camp we were staying at.

Gondwana Canyon Village

Gondwana Canyon Village (situated near the Fish River Canyon) was the first place we stayed at in Namibia. The camp is set at the foot of a rocky hill and in amongst huge granite boulders. It has beautiful views of the surrounding plains. Although not as luxurious as our Naries mountain suite, it is neat and comfortable. Each cottage has its own bathroom, and meals are served in restaurant in the main camp building. There is also a little shop in the main building which sells local arts and crafts.

It was a really peaceful place to begin our Namibian journey.

©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

One of the chalets – the rocks in the back look like a pair of giant feet!  ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

The camp cat ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

Lucky cat – our cat would love having this whole area as a backyard! ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

You can see more photos of the Canyon Village here.

This post is part of a series I will be publishing about our travels through Namibia. It is also part of my daily posts for October 2016 – otherwise known as The October Dash

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Categories: Lifestyle/Travel

Author:lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)

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10 Comments on “Gondwana Canyon Village”

  1. October 26, 2016 at 10:00 pm #

    This looks like such a tranquil and lovely place to stay, Lisa. Love the resident camp cat! The Gondwana Card is a great idea, hey? We also investigated the various Gondwana options around the Fish River canyon – the Roadhouse, the Lodge, and the Village, but our route ended up taking us along the Orange River to Aus and from there to Luederitz, bypassing the canyon entirely. Next time, I hope! 🙂

    • October 27, 2016 at 6:02 am #

      The Gondwana Card is absolutely genius! 🙂 We liked the little cottages they had at the Canyon Village for the privacy.

      There is just so much to see in Namibia that it’s difficult to see everything in a single trip. Had to make some really difficult decisions!

      • October 27, 2016 at 6:44 am #

        I am curious: The Gondwana Card used to be only for Namibians, and you had to go in person to their head office to get the card. Do they now send it per mail to addresses in SA, or were you able to order and obtain it from a local tourist office? It’s valid for a year only, right?

      • October 27, 2016 at 7:14 am #

        Anybody who is a citizen of a SADC country can apply for a Gondwana card. Our discounts are just less than what the Namibian citizens get. We had to apply for the Gondwana card before booking any accommodation. They take about 7 days to process the application. Because we were working through the Cardboard Box Travel Shop, Gondwana sent the information/cards directly to them. I cannot remember how we eventually got the physical cards. Will ask Willie when he gets home from his trip.

      • October 27, 2016 at 7:33 am #

        Okay, thanks for clarifying, Lisa. 🙂

  2. Eha
    October 27, 2016 at 2:17 am #

    The chalets ate quite sympathetically built into the countryside . . . perhaps simple but one could not fail to appreciate the symbiosis twixt buildings and nature . . . and since Mr Google has virtually ceased to speak to me, don’t ask how I found your post 🙂 !]

    • October 27, 2016 at 6:05 am #

      Yes, I also love the low-key aspect of the chalets. In general, we found that Namibian lodges were built to blend in and not create a visual disturbance.

      Still struggling with your computer/Internet? How do you read the WordPress blogs – are you using their built in reader to subscribe to blogs?

    • October 27, 2016 at 6:05 am #

      Yes, I also love the low-key aspect of the chalets. In general, we found that Namibian lodges were built to blend in and not create a visual disturbance.

      Still struggling with your computer/Internet? How do you read the WordPress blogs – are you using their built in reader to subscribe to blogs?

      • Eha
        October 27, 2016 at 7:33 am #

        Ooah!! It has only been two days ‘impossible’ or just THIS bad!! No: Mr Google!!! Living rurally, have had to take out a ‘HUGE’ financial pre-paid’ programme I could not foresee and could not avoid! To a possible fix tomorrow! Am stomping the ground!!!

      • October 27, 2016 at 8:02 am #

        Data usage is expensive here too! I was on mobile pre-paid and had to limit my time online. Now we thankfully have ADSL which is much cheaper.

        Would it help to subscribe via email to the blogs you follow, so you get a notification when they publish a post? Or are you already doing that?

        I reduce the size of the photos I post online, to keep users from having to download such big amounts of data.

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