Namibia Educational Tour – Franklin University: Part 1

About the tour

Two to three times a year, a professor and a group of his students from Franklin University Switzerland visit Africa for around a week or two. During these tours they learn about Africa’s culture, wildlife, living conditions, politics, history and more. Above all, the university requires each student to present his or her findings as part of their curriculum. Their recent group tour in Namibia is an example of their teaching methodology.

About Franklin University

Franklin University is a private liberal arts college situated in Lugano, Switzerland. The university was founded in 1969 and offers Bachelors of Art degrees and Masters of Science degrees. You will find many different cultures and populations at this university as students from 50 plus countries are enrolled. They apply a learning methodology that combines real travel and academic study into the core of the curriculum.

That is why they say at Franklin “curiosity is required”. Their mission is to go beyond boundaries and include an Academic Travel course every semester where students will visit places they have studied. This way the students get real life experience and get to see these places with their own eyes. One of these places is Namibia

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Welcome to the students of Franklin University

Day 1

After a very long flight from Switzerland, the group was welcomed by the crew which is lead by Bianca Potgieter, in Windhoek.

As can be imagined, everyone was very tired but excitement was everywhere. The students had some time to freshen up and relax before leaving for dinner at the infamous Joe’s Beerhouse. Joe’s Beerhouse is a truly magnificent restaurant which is inspired by the fascinating character of Namibia and its people, Joe’s is where a love for adventure, stories and living to the fullest, comes to vibrant life. Through their unique combination of delicious and authentic food, heartfelt hospitality, and their one-of-its-kind atmosphere, they feed the mouth and soul, celebrate old memories; and build new ones with you!

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Friendly smiles at Joe’s Beerhouse

After dinner, it was off to bed for everyone.

Day 2:

Excited students woke up early for a delicious breakfast and ready to start their trip. After breakfast, they headed on to Omandumba. Here the local bushman took them on a bushwalk at a living museum. A living museum is a live, visual representation of how the local bushman live their lives. Very interesting! After the bushwalk, the students had lunch and headed on to Spitzkoppe, where they spend the night.

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The beautiful place called Spitzkoppe

The Spitzkoppe is a group of bald granite peaks or inselbergs located between Usakos and Swakopmund in the Namib desert of Namibia. The granite is more than 120 million years old and the highest outcrop rises about 1,728 metres above sea level. The peaks stand out dramatically from the flat surrounding plains. The highest peak is about 670 m above the floor of the desert below. A minor peak – the Little Spitzkoppe – lies nearby at an elevation of 1,584 m.

Day 3:

After breakfast, the students went on an early bushwalk with one of the local guides whom showed them traditional bushman paintings and ancient rock formations.

From there, they headed on to Swakopmund. In Swakopmund they had an informative talk with Izak Smit. Izak Smit is the owner of DelRHA (Dessert Lion Human Relations Aid Namibia. They assist communal and commercial farmers with preventing conflict with wildlife. They have managed in just two years to save the lives of numerous endangered desert lions.

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Izak and his team, doing their bit

Their mission:

The primary function of DeLHRA is to mitigate conflict between humans and wildlife in the Kunene region of Namibia. DeLHRA supplies farmers with the tools and know-how to protect their livestock and ultimately, their livelihoods.

In addition, DeLHRA seeks to allow farmers to benefit directly from the growing tourism industry, incentivising local communities to have a vested interest in the preservation of wildlife.

After the interesting talk, they headed to Napolitana where they had a delicious dinner. Afterwards, they headed to Amanpuri, where they spent the night.

Day 4:

After breakfast the students had another informative talk. This time Christin Winter spoke to them about the Elephant Human Relations Aid. Elephant Human Relations Aid reduces conflict between elephants and humans by working on the ground, providing practical and realistic solutions.

After the talk the students had some free time to spend however they want.

After relaxing for a while, the group made their way to Boesman’s Camp. Here, Boesman, the owner spoke to them about the fauna and flora in Nambia. They also spent the night at Boesman’s Camp

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Boesman’s Camp

Day 5:

After breakfast, Boesman took the students on a walk to show them all the fauna and flora which he spoke about the previous night.

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The town of Solitaire

After, the walk the group headed on to Solitaire where they visited the famous bakery and het the famous Apple Crumble Pie with a recipe from the late Mose.

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The town of Solitaire

After the delicious sweet treat, they made there way to Sesriem, where they spent the night.

Day 6:

The students had to wake up very early today – about an hour before sunrise. BUT, with good reason! They made their way to the famous Dune 45 where they climbed all the way to the top and watched the beautiful sunrise over the Namib desert. Extraordinary!! They then, had a scrumptious breakfast at the foot of Dune 45.

After breakfast, they were transferred in a 4 x 4 vehicle to Dead Vlei. Dead Vlei is a beautiful and ancient petrified forest. Here, they also had a delicious lunch.

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Dead Vlei

After lunch, they made their way to Sesriem Canyon. Sesriem Canyon is located approximately 4.5km from the entrance gate of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The Tsauchab River has shaped the Canyon over millions of years and it is one of the few places in the area that holds water all year round.

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4 x 4 vehicle transferring the students to Dead Vlei

The early Afrikaans explorers in the region named the canyon after the fact that they had to use six (“ses”) leather straps (“riem”) tied together to create a rope long enough to lower buckets into the canyon below, in order to fetch water. After a very busy day, filled with so many activities, the students had a relaxing night under the Namib sky.

Stay tuned for part two of this beautiful trip through Namibia!