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Gondwana heads into Namibia’s wild northwest

Gondwana heads into Namibia’s wild northwest

Omarunga Lodge is situated 200 metres upstream from the Epupa Falls.

Environmental Reporter
TOURISTS visiting the more secluded parts of the Kunene Region will now have the added benefit of experiencing the vast expanses of natural vistas and abundance of wildlife in the unique style and luxury offered by the Gondwana Collection.
The product range offered by the Gondwana Collection Namibia will be expanded with the addition of two very unique tourist lodges on 1 May 2019 when the world renowned Palmwag and Omarunga lodges will be added to the company’s tourist accommodation portfolio.
The well-known Palmwag Lodge with its large concession area has been a popular holiday destination in Damaraland for many years. It is the gateway to sparsely populated Kaokoland where adventure beckons. The second property, Omarunga Lodge, is located close to the Epupa Falls on the banks of the Kunene River in the far north of the Kunene Region. “Our decision to part with Palmwag and Omarunga is based on personal reasons,” said long-time owners Birgit and Fritz Schenk. “We poured our lifeblood into the two lodges and invested a lot into the local communities and nature conservation as part of our sustainability concept. It pleases us to pass both lodges on to Gondwana, which has a similar corporate philosophy.”
While the Schenk couple will remain active in tourism with their tour company Camelthorn Tours & Safaris, new opportunities are opening up for Gondwana in a previously rather untouched and untapped part of Namibia.
“This is another investment by Gondwana into community based tourism in Namibia. These to us are two iconic destinations“, says Gondwana’s Managing Director, Gys Joubert. “We are looking forward to play our role in conservation and in bringing tourism benefits closer to the people on the ground by working closely with Torra, Anabeb and Sesfontein Conservancies at Palmwag and the Epupa Conservancy up at Epupa. At Gondwana we believe that in the long term tourism is not sustainable unless it is inclusive.”

Palmwag Lodge is a popular holiday destination in Damaraland.

Palmwag Lodge on the banks of the ephemeral Uniab River in north-western Damaraland is one of Namibia’s oldest and most popular tourist destinations. Nestled among huge old Makalani palms and Mopane trees, the lodge’s comfortable rooms and tented chalets as well as spacious campsites invite you to linger longer. The large restaurant and a bar with a shaded deck offer grand vistas of the river course and the mountains. Two swimming pools and a pool bar provide refreshment on hot summer days. Enjoy and discover nature on daily excursions and guided hikes along well-established trails.
Palmwag Lodge manages the surrounding concession area, a vast nature reserve that covers 5,500 km². The Palmwag Concession consists of the Torra, Anabeb and Sesfontein conservancies and borders on Skeleton Coast Park. With over 100 lions, cheetahs, leopards and brown and spotted hyenas Palmwag’s predator population is the largest outside Etosha National Park. Birdlife is prolific and diverse, and most of Namibia’s endemics are found there. The Palmwag Concession is home to a healthy population of the legendary desert-adapted elephant and black rhino.
Palmwag Lodge is situated 500 metres north of the veterinary control gate on the C 43 to Sesfontein and is an ideal stopover en route to Kaokoland, Etosha or the coast.

Omarunga Lodge in the far north of the Kunene Region enchants with its unique location just 200 metres upstream from the spectacle of Epupa Falls. The chalets and campsites are shaded by swaying Makalani palm trees, and meals can be enjoyed on the restaurant terrace with a magnificent view of the Kunene River.
The Epupa area has much to offer: stunning sunsets, imposing mountain ranges, an interesting birdlife and a glorious riverine landscape. The Kunene is one of the iconic perennial rivers in Namibia. The area around Epupa Falls boasts richly coloured rock walls, a variety of trees including wild figs, baobabs and Makalani palms. Kaokoland is home to the Himba tribes who still lead a traditional way of life.
Various activities provide variety and fun. Go hiking on well-maintained trails along the Kunene River, participate in a guided visit to a Himba village or join nature drives and seasonal rafting tours.

The Gondwana Collection Namibia will honour all obligations and bookings accepted by Palmwag and Omarunga. Terms and conditions valid before the sale will continue to apply until 31 October 2019. The terms and conditions of the Gondwana Collection Namibia will come into effect on 1 November 2019.

The Memorandum of Agreement for Palmwag Lodge and the surrounding concession area was signed on 28 March 2019, among others by Mr Ovehi Kasaona (Anabeb, 4th from left) standing next to the former owner of Palmwag Lodge, Mr Fritz Schenk, followed by Mr Gys Joubert (Gondwana‘s CEO) shaking hands with Tomi Adams (Torra) as well as Mr Vitalis Mushongo (MET, back row 2nd from right) and Mr Usiel Nuab (Sesfontein, back row far right).

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