Air Namibia recently suspended direct flights between Gaborone and Windhoek. One thing that made me reminisce about a trip I took to Namibia a couple of months ago. While on a fifteen days cross-country tour of Namibia’s exotic destinations, I came across place called Waterberg Plateau north east of Otjiwarongo and north west of Waterberg Mountain. But what made me love this place was my stay at Frans Indongo Lodge. Air Namibia recently suspended direct flights between Gaborone and Windhoek. One thing that made me reminisce about a trip I took to Namibia a couple of months ago. While on a fifteen days cross-country tour of Namibia’s exotic destinations, I came across place called Waterberg Plateau north east of Otjiwarongo and north west of Waterberg Mountain. But what made me love this place was my stay at Frans Indongo Lodge.
Surrounded by massive grasslands, savanna and acacia, this is truly a place for relaxation. A sort well graded gravel road takes you to this pristine wilderness lodge. The lodge has a rather interesting history apart from the luxury it offers, which cannot be ignored. Upon arrival at the lodge, the lodge manager Alf Walter who shows me around welcomes me. As we sit while looking at the expansive open grasslands, I ask a question about how the place was founded. Looking far into the grassland horizon, he narrates the history of this spectacular place with his German accent.
Frans Indongo Lodge is named after Dr Frans Indongo born in 1936 and happens to be a self made businessman and former politician. Dr Indongo started off his early life as a herdsman, working hard through the farmland and saving money to purchase sewing equipment. Once he had acquired the sewing equipment, he went on with his business that blossomed. In 1961, he invested in a small supermarket which eventually growing into a chain stores business across Namibia. Around the 1970’s, Dr Indingo joined politics and on pole position of the National Democratic Party which later merged with Democratic Turnhalle Alliance and became a Minister of Economic Affairs from 1975 and resigned from politics in the late 1980’s.
Dr Indongo has invested in Property especially in high-end locations. Well, with the lodge I stayed at, I was not surprised at all. The catch is comfortability and luxury modeled around the homesteads of the Ovambo. Double rooms, chalets and family units are available with modern amenities that also bring you closer to town with a child friendly environment. You can also go up a tower located by the poolside and get the panoramic view of Waterberg Plateau. Morning exercises can be done in style. A bush walk in the grasslands covered in morning dew, which sparkle from the golden rays at first light. This also gives you an opportunity to bond with nature while gazing at Springbok, Kudu, Eland, Roan Antelope, Black Wildebeest, Gemsbok and Zebra. You might be on a lucky walk and spot the White and the Black Rhino within the 17000 ha farm. If you feel need to be chauffeured around then a game drive is for you.
Dinning by the open restaurant is an experience on its own. Different dishes can be enjoyed among them game meat and different wines too. Day drives outside the farm where the lodge is other excursions include a visit to the rare and The Endangered Species Trust (TRUST), which protects mainly the Cape vultures. This is the place to learn about vultures and also interact with them as well as owls. There are also day visits to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (FCC). Cheetahs have become highly endangered together with other big cats due to conflicts with farmers. This is a good place to learn about taking care of your livestock as well as keeping cheetahs away without having to gun them down. Why not immense your selves in wide open grasslands and bond with nature while and forget about the city!
Cape Town wow factor
iKapa as they say in Xhosa, is located in the Western Cape province of South Africa on the shores of Table Mountain. From beautiful beaches, huge shopping malls, wine lands, art galleries, national monuments and a night life to live for. Take an epic tour of Cape Town through lens of Pako Lesejane
A mini holiday to South Africa’s Cape Town came at a point when I was just about to celebrate my 30th birthday, which is said to be the new 20. I could not travel on the exact date of my birthday so I really looked forward to being in Cape Town. I have been to Cape Town before but always looking forward to going back since the popular destination has so much to offer.
Friday 22nd, just four days after turning 30 years old saw me jet off to Cape Town with a stop over at Oliver Tambo International Airport. I am ac- companied by radio presenter and rapper, Thato Matlha- baphiri affectionately known as Scar, Tsholo Dikobe of the GaTash Fros and Taazima Kala from Hotwire PR Agency. It is a smooth flight full of excite- ment. Upon reaching Cape Town we are met by our guide together with other guests from Mozambique. Cape Town saw us hitting the ground running. After short introductions, our itinerary is changed due to the perfect weather for paragliding. Our guide Joe feared that the weather might not be perfect the next day so it was best we did it. We rule out going for lunch as the excitement has already filled up our bellies.
It is a scenic drive from the airport to Lion’s Head Mountain, which lies between one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Table Mountain and Signal Hill. The launching of the Paragliders is done at about 1000 feet, which is almost half way from the summit at 2195 feet. As one hikes up the hill, you are met by South African Na- tional Parks authorities and hikers going up to enjoy the panoramic view of cape Town.
Once you reach the launch pad, there is a small briefing with your tandem master and he quickly straps you upin harnesses. The launch does not take much time. The tandem master just waits a bit to get the right wind direction. As soon as he gets the reading that is needed to get you airborne, you are quickly on a smooth glide as you slowly climb to higher altitude.
By the time we reach 8000 feet, it gets very cold and windy but thatdid nothing to our paraglide. My tandem master Kai assures me he has 20 years of flights on a paraglider. I sit back and enjoy the scenic and beautiful Table Mountain, Camps Bay and looking at Greenpoint stadium.
While relaxed and enjoying the view, Kai watches me and take aerial shots as I had taken my canon EOS 7D camera. Looking at the coast, where the ocean meets land is so much relaxing even though it was cold. He asks me if I would like aerobatics and I immediately get excited and I tell him to do his best to thrill me. He just giggles and says to me, “ok here comes some really crazy stuff.” All of a sudden the paraglider starts spinning in circles as if we have lost control of it. The thrill gets me shouting and cheering while I try counting the number of spins. At this point, we are paragliding over the ocean. One cannot help but wonder what would happen should something go wrong but again I feel better because of the ocean below than the other side with hard ground. We make yet another aerobatic stunts this, time faster and descending very quickly till we are about 1000 feet from the landing pad. I am just shouting as I am feeling all hyped up with adrenaline giving mearushtothehead.Welanded smoothly and extremely slowly as compared to my last skydiv- ing experience. For someone coming from Botswana where extreme sports are not heard of, Cape Town gets a special place in my heart.