Fabian Adams started working on Naries in March this year as an intern. Part of his training was exposure to all the facets of tourism – from scullery and housekeeping to frontline dealing with guests.

After this exposure, he was placed as a guide-in-training. In South Africa, being s tourist guide without the necessary accreditation and registration is illegal and both the “guide” as well as his/her employer can face heavy penalties and fines if caught. However, the system does make provision for guides in training and we are confident that Fabian will receive his accreditation within this year.

Q & A WITH FABIAN.

1.       Who is Fabian?

I am Fabian Adams. I come from Kamieskroon which is 76km South of Springbok.

2.       Were you born in Kamieskroon?

Fabian: No, I was born in Garies, but grew up in Kamieskroon

3.       Tell me about your family

Fabian: I have my mother and a younger sister. My father passed away 10 years ago. My sister is also doing an internship at the Kamieskroon Primary School.

4.       Where does your interest in Tourism originate? Are any of your friends and family also in tourism?

My mother, Angeline, is involved with Ouma Hanna se Kookkas in Kamieskroon. They offer traditional Nama food and also make traditional Nama “kappies” (bonnets) (Ouma Hanna is very well-known and a bit of a Namaqualand celeb like Grietjie from  Garies was) There I saw the interest in Namaqualand and the potential in tourism. When I got the opportunity to become an intern on Naries, I did not hesitate. Here I am training to become a tourist guide.

5.       How have you experienced it so far?

 So far I find it very interesting and I am learning new things every day. My aim is to attract more tourists to our country and also to Naries.

6.       And now the difficult question. Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

I will have completed my training. I want to be one of the best tourist guides in Namaqualand. Once I have completed my basic accreditation, I really would like to study further and expand on my guide qualifications. I would also like to write a book on my experiences as a guide.

7.       Doesn’t it get lonely sometimes with your family so far away?

 I miss my family, but I get on well with everyone on Naries and the people here are all like family to me.

8.       How often do you see your family?

I work 21 days and 7 days off. When I have the week off, I go home to Kamieskroon.

9.       Well, Fabian, we wish you all success in your new career and we will be watching your progress with great interest.

Thank you very much and thank you Naries for the opportunity. 

 

 

 

Hits: 213
0

BACKGROUND

Flower season is upon us again and visitors from all over the world flock to Namaqualand to admire this annual event, returning home with thousands of photographs and good memories of their experiences. Photos can never replace the actual experience of being there and allowing your senses to absorb this miracle of life.

NAMAQUALAND PLANT SPECIES – WHY ARE THEY SPECIAL?

Many of the plants are really, really tiny – no larger than the tip of your little finger. Others are rather extravagant in their size and colour. However, they all share one thing in common. Over thousands of years, they have all magnificently adapted to the harsh Namaqualand climes. Such is their adaptation that many of our plant species are endemic (occurring only here and nowhere else in the country or the world). Because these plants are so well adapted to very specific habitats, many of them are also rare, endangered or even critically endangered. 

PLANT POACHING FEEDS HUMAN GREED

And now the story gets ugly. Human greed and Man’s obsession to own rare things has led to a surge in plant poaching. Where do plant poachers gravitate to when looking for rare specimens? Naturally Namaqualand, with its high endemism, is a paradise for these ruthless environmental thugs.  Posing as tourists coming to enjoy the flowers, these collectors rape and pillage without a thought beyond wanting this special plant in their personal collection.

WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?

Let’s be clear on what the law says:

It is illegal to destroy, disturb or remove indigenous plants or any parts thereof. Collecting seed-heads or cuttings or an entire plant is a criminal offence which can land one in jail and/or with a hefty fine and a criminal record.

I often hear the argument that the production of these plants in nurseries and gardens is a way of conserving them, but consider the following:

·         Most smuggled plants die in transit anyway

·         Smuggling plants leads to the spreading of plant pathogens and diseases - the repercussions of which we have no clue. South African plants are adapted to South African conditions and there is a balance in nature that keeps everything under control.  A smuggled plant might be harbouring mould spores or other pathogens which, let loose in an environment with no natural controls, can wreak havoc in its new environment

·         Nurserymen are fond of hybridizing and genetically manipulating for larger flowers, unusual foliage colour/shape or whatever their interest is. These hybrids are of no use to nature – in fact they are a threat to the original plant

·         Poachers do not EVER have the environment in mind. It’s a money game. Unadulterated greed.

 

WHY DOES THIS MATTER TO EACH OF US?

If you are in possession of protected plants, you need a permit and proof of purchase. Genetic testing will quickly show up the origin of the plant i.e. whether it comes from a nursery and/or was taken out of habitat. When purchasing a protected plant you need to make sure that the nursery has the necessary permits.

In South Africa, plants may not cross provincial borders without an export permit from the one province and an import permit from the other.

It may seem to you that “just this one little plant/cutting is not going to destroy Namaqualand”, but think again. If everyone thought this way, then it certainly would. By smuggling plants - whether for your own collection or for the black market - you are perpetuating a problem. Face it, we all tend to be hypocrites in some areas of our lives, “I’ll take a chance with this cutting, but I hate litterbugs”, “I’m dead against rhino poaching, but I want this plant for my rockery” – I’m sure that you can think of many more examples of Man’s selective morality.

Years of devastating drought have put our flora and fauna under enormous strain. Many hardy, drought-resistant species have clung to life but lost the battle, others have barely survived. Our floral kingdom now faces a horrifying surge in poaching. The primarily Asian demand for rare possessions is a serious threat to our fragile biodiversity and we need everyone’s support in this battle.

What to do if you suspect plant poaching:

·         Report suspicious activity to lodge management and the following immediately:

Ø  082-492-8291 or  082-560-8700 or  083-264-2223 (Phone, sms or Whatsapp)

·          You may remain anonymous. Dialling 10111 from anywhere in South Africa puts you through to the police station nearest to you.

·         Try to get vehicle registration number and description. Any additional information but only do this if you can do so discreetly.

·         Never try to intervene or confront these people. Confrontation may put your life at risk – remember you could be dealing with seasoned criminals.

·         Another reason to avoid confronting suspected poachers is that by doing so, you are alerting them to the fact that they have been seen. This gives them time to get away – only to be able to continue with their criminal activities elsewhere. Report suspected illegal activity immediately and allow the law enforcement officers deal with them so that we can be assured of their arrest and prosecution.

 

Help us to protect our environment. We in South Africa are all too aware of what is happening to our rhino population. Plants, however, do not cause such a stir and people tend to be far less vociferous and emotional about flora than fauna. We rely on our visitors to report these incidents and we are deeply grateful to those that do. Enjoy a spectacular flower season!

Hits: 236
0

The explosion of colour during the Spring time “flower season” in the Western parts of South Africa,  have for many decades been one of the most popular tourist options in the country.  Thousands of local and international visitors plan their trips to the Western and Northern Cape around the months of August-October, in the hope to experience this natural phenomenon.

 

Namaqualand is home to around 4000 plant species – each with its own habitat requirements.  The seed of many of these arid region plants can lie dormant for years, awaiting just the right conditions to germinate. 

 

With the good rains recently,  the Naries team hopes for a spectacular display this year! Naries Namakwa Retreat is situated near Springbok in the Northern Cape and is therefore right in the middle of the area where this annual kaleidoscope of colour occurs.   

 

·         Visit  www.naries.co.za and book a tour before you arrive with one of our approved operators to ensure you get the best out of your visit.  They are always aware of local conditions and where the best flowers are at the moment,  and can make your trip so much more rewarding.

·         The team are happy to prepare picnic baskets or lunch packs to take along with you when exploring the region.  Bookings:  info@naries.co.za

·         Whilst based at Naries,  you are welcome to enjoy our walking routes or use your mountain bikes to explore this arid landscape.

·         However guests always comment that they discovered so much more about the unique fauna and flora of Namaqualand if they did the walks with one of our trained local tour guides,  Fabian or Eon.  They have extensive knowledge of the region and love sharing their love of the land with visitors.

·         With accommodation ranging from family-orientated self-catering cottages to luxury Manor House suites and the three unique Mountain Lodges,  visitors to Naries often find themselves living right in the middle of the annual floral display when at the Retreat.

·         Naries is also known for its traditional warm Namakwa hospitality and the highly rated breakfasts and dinners in the dining room, which is included in the price of the Manor House and Mountain Lodge accommodation packages.

 

Plan your trip for this year’s floral display now as accommodation gets fully booked very quickly once winter ends.  Contact Susan at reservations@naries.co.za or +27 21 870-1080 to find out more about costs, availability and options.

 

 

Hits: 173
0

Download the Moodboard

Hits: 292
0
EON SHARES HIS LOVE OF NATURE WITH GUESTS

Eon Bok is perfectly placed to share his love of nature and Namaqualand with visitors to Naries Namakwa Retreat as he is born and bred in the Northern Cape.   

“I grew up in the area and we had total freedom as kids to roam and play in the veld.  I thought I had a pretty good knowledge of the local plants and wildlife,” he says.  “Only when I started studying through Open Africa to become a Nature Guide did I realise how much there is to learn still!”

Eon came to Naries initially to assist with the building process of the Gemsbok Lapa and now the selfsame Lapa is his “kingdom” where he shares his knowledge with visitors through an interactive  presentation about Naries and  its history a well as the rich plant life and  the geographic  aspects of the region.  

“In 2016 I had the opportunity to join a tourism intern programme run by Open Africa. The programme was designed to give participants multi-faceted exposure and experience in tourism, so I spent some time learning the ropes at reception, housekeeping, kitchen and general maintenance. Then came my opportunity to train as a guide under the helpful eye of my mentor Jeanene Jessnitz. My training is both theoretical and practical. The first 10 months I felt completely overwhelmed by all the things I had to learn. I am still in training but I am comfortable with my position which ranges from interaction with clients to continuous research, monitoring and maintenance of the environment,” Eon explains. 

His scariest moment was the first time he had to take 10 foreign guests on the Trail Walk up to the Viewpoint.  “I decided the best thing to do was to tell them that this was the first time I had to handle such a big group, and to invite them to give me feedback and comments on the experience. This worked out well as they gave wonderful input and loved being part of my journey,” he said.

Although Eon still  needs to complete the further official Field Guide Course, he is already a valuable  part of the team at Naries. As a father of a 9 year old boy and 5 year  old daughter and happily married to Georgina, he seems set for further growth.

TRAILS AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AT NARIES

·        -  There are 4 Walking Trails at Naries ranging from 5 km’s to a combined 15 km’s if visitors are fit enough to tackle all the trails in one go!

·       - If Eon is available, guests are welcome to pre-book a walk with him, which is obviously a lot more informative and interactive than doing  it on your own.

·        -  However, if not available, Eon recommends the self-guided walk, which is easy to do with the free map handed out at reception.

·       - Visitors are welcome to discover Naries on their mountain bikes, although they are asked not to veer off the existing roads so as not to damage the fragile eco-systems and plant life. 

 

 

Hits: 1127
0

  • Naries Namakwa Retreat has been voted a Best Value Springbok Establishment on AccommoDirect.com
  • Bookings.com
  • Visit Naries Namakwa Retreat on SA-Venues.com