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Travelling, getting to know the country and its people and making a difference
During our tour of Namibia we got to know this beautiful lodge in the north and also learned a lot about the local people.
The n’Kwazi Lodge & Camping Site opened its doors in 1995 and is located about 20 km east of Rundu, tucked away among the lush riverine vegetation on the banks of the Okavango River. This family-run lodge is not only a comfortable and an affordable stopover when travelling in the Zambezi region, formerly known as the Caprivi Strip, or to Botswana, but the owners Valerie, Pieter and Wynand Peypers also like to promote responsible travelling. They are involved in many development and educational projects that support the local community. We were totally impressed with their great work!
You can stay in one of eighteen environment friendly bungalows or you can overnight in the camping area. Facilities include a restaurant, a bar, a comfortable lounge and a pool.
There also live a few horses at the lodge that guests formerly could ride.
Since the Okavango floods from time to time, the bottom part of the lodge has been raised and the restaurant and bar are now sunk slightly into the ground. Work is already in progress to fulfil a dream of the owners, namely to build the restaurant right on the river on a platform.
The lodge is known for its excellent cuisine! During the evening a delicious buffet is served in the semi-open air restaurant in an intimate and relaxed atmosphere. Local family style food is served in many pots and pans around the open fire. The same applies to the delicious breakfast.
Environment friendly bungalows
The lodge has eighteen trendy bungalows each with its own bathroom, veranda and mosquito net. Thirteen of the bungalows have a clear view of the Okavango River with Angola on the other side. The other five bungalows have beautiful garden views. Electricity is only provided for four hours a day, from 6pm – 10pm. During the remaining hours of the day there are solar lamps available. Wi-Fi, also on solar power, is only available at the bar.
The nights here are quite cool. Since there are no window panes, but only gauze in the large windows, we recommend warm clothes for the nights.
There are boat, hiking and bird tours on offer as well as tours to the local villages. Traditional dances are performed for 10 or more overnight guests.
Mayana Mpora Foundation
With the Community Trails project of the Mayana Mpora Foundation, which was launched in 2002, the local communities are supported. They should also benefit from tourism in the region. At the same time you as a traveller, can get to know the locals a little better. With a guide from the lodge one can for example do Village Walks for N$ 50. The proceeds go entirely to the local villages.
Some of the other projects include community dance performances for the guests of the lodge (the proceeds go entirely to the participants), sponsor programs for secondary students, a sewing group, a garden project, the building and maintenance of an orphanage, a nursery school as well as a sports and community centre.
Marcus is a very dedicated staff member, whose whole heart is in the community projects. With the Village Walks, he tries to give visitors glimpses into the lives of the local people.
The locals do not have it easy as poverty and unemployment are huge problems.
Five people will for example live in a small house, sleeping three together in a bed and two in front of the bed on the ground.
Their daily diet is simple and sometimes consists of only one meal. Normally they do not have breakfast. The earth in the Mayana region consists mainly of barren sand, but millet and pumpkin can for example be planted.
The children fish, with worms that they breed themselves, small fish in the river, which are then dried.
Water needs to be fetched on a daily basis from a river that is up to ten kilometres away. It remains the work of the women and younger children and a water container can weigh up to 20 kilos. Therefore Wynand’s current project and labour of love, is to build wells in the local villages.
A nice gift to take a long when visiting one of the local villages is for example, T-shirts, children’s toys, pencils and school supplies.
Education is important. Currently there are about fifty three children between the ages of five and six in n’Kwazi Pre-Primary School. They are not only taught knowledge, but also hygiene. Thus, every morning at school, each child can first shower and brush their teeth. This privately run school is entirely funded by voluntary contributions. Info-Flyer
You can help!
In order to continue to carry through with all these projects, the Peypers need support. You can help by participating in any of the various activities in the Mayana area, by volunteering, by visiting n’Kwazi Lodge and of course, by making a donation. For example, 6-18 EUR will pay for a full academic year for a child in one of the fourteen schools. Each and every donation entirely goes directly to one of these projects. Not only financial contributions count. Even children’s toys, Christmas decorations, clothing or sports equipment donations are more than welcome. Info-Flyer
We were able to see for ourselves, what has already been achieved here with donations and a lot of work. Even a little, can help a lot here!
For more information, please visit: nkwazi-communitytrails.com
You can also read more on Ingrid Poike’s blog. She is a dedicated pensioner from Chemnitz and has taken care of the Mayana project for many years with all her heart and soul. You can also direct your donations to her. She flies to Namibia twice a year and to help to n’Kwazi. She buys school uniforms, textbooks, dictionaries, school supplies, food and also hosts children’s parties for the kids, all locally. Furthermore, she pays tuition fees for students from the 8th to 12th grade, boarding school fees and examination fees for the 10th and 12th grade students, all from the voluntary financial contributions.
Currently, 5 solar cookers, sponsored by the Rotary Club Stollberg / Erzgebirge, have already been built-in in the Pre-Primary School, in the Mayana Primary School and in the Kayengona Combined School. Thereby cooking is done much faster and no more wood has to be burned.
Mayana Mpora Foundation
Branch Rundu, Branch Code 483173, P.O. BOX 1623
Account Nr.: 8000537219
Swift Code: BWLINANXXXX
Verwendungszweck: Pre-School, Students, Orphans or common Mayana Mpora
You can contact Ingrid directly via e-mail for the German account details.
We really enjoyed it here and could have stayed longer! We especially enjoyed the quietness, the exquisite landscape, the nice people, the beautifully laid out lodge and of course, the commitment of the owners and the numerous aid projects, made a deep impression on us. It was great to get to know more about the local people and to be able to contribute something to the improvement of their lives. We also prefer making a donation, when we know where it goes and that it also gets there!
Air temperature: 0 – 35 degrees Celsius
When to go: May to September. Rainy season is from January to March. The end of April/May is perfect weather wise.
Price: From 35 EUR per person / night (double room) including Dinner, Bed & Breakfast 7 EUR at the campsite
Board: Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
Overall rating: ******
Special features: beautiful scenery, very friendly owners & staff, beautiful bungalows, delicious food, wonderful atmosphere to relax in, great aid projects
Tip: The lodge is located in a high-risk malaria area and we highly recommend malarial prophylaxis and the use of mosquito repellent.
n’Kwazi Lodge & Camping Site
PO Box 1623
International +264 81 242 4897 / +264 81 239 0633 / +264 81 718 5371
Inside Namibia 081 242 4897 / 081 239 0633 / 081 718 5371
We would be so pleased if you now also feel like visiting the lodge or even supporting the work of the Peypers family and Ingrid Poike.
Note: During our stay we were partially supported by the n’Kwazi Lodge. The opinions expressed in the article are as always our own – 100 percent!