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Wilderness. On Dornhügel natural bush land alternates with rangelands for the cattle, horses and sheep.
The landscape on the farm is dominated by the striking Makalani palm trees, which are particularly typical for the region around Grootfontein. From their ivory-coloured kernels – the so called “plant ivory” – native people produce beautiful carvings. The Makalani palm tree during the sundowner is an unforgettable sight that you will take home with you. Besides that they are also the breeding ground for vultures – the police of the veldt.
Apart from the acacia trees, as well as the thorn bushes, that gave the farm its name the enormous termite mounds shape the landscape on Dornhügel. January and February are the wet season months (unfortunately this does not mean that it will rain a lot) and simultaneously the time of our termite hill mushroom – the Omajova. This is no ordinary mushroom which you can buy in any supermarket. The mushroom is a wild Namibian delicacy which only grows during the rainy season. It is very imposing, but the real attraction is the preparation by our cook Stephanus.
The drought takes its toll on the farm. All the more astonishing is the transformation taking place during the rainy season from January to April. Within a few hours the farm presents itself in lush green and where dams were built, little lakes will form. These lakes are populated by waterfowl, frogs and fish. The wild animals have found their place amongst the agriculture and profit from the developed water sources. During a farm tour or a walk you will often find antelopes drinking water at our water holes, shoulder to shoulder with the cattle.
On our 11 000 hectare farm we have giraffes, zebras, oryx-antelopes, kudus, and the stately elands, the world’s largest antelope. We also have various kinds of gazelles, brackets, warthogs, jackals and numerous bird species that can be discovered. The predators such as the leopard, the caracal, wild cats and cheetahs are rather timid and as a result not easy to spot.
Sometimes we also get some visitors such as elephants and lions, from the bushman country – this sometimes entail more work on the fences for Max and his team but we are still pleased to have such rare animals on our farm…
From Dornhügel you can reach several well-known attractions of Namibia. They are close enough so that you can visit them during day outings.
The east entrance of the Etosha park is just two hour’s drive from the farm, so that many guests come from there or are on their way there (mostly well equipped with a lot of tips, as well as lunch packs from Dornhügel).
Grootfontein is a typical Namibian regional town with a small museum located in the old fort. The town does not have a lot of attractions but provides you with deep insight into the lives of Namibians. In addition the town offers almost complete local care with doctors, pharmacies, supermarkets, a small shopping mall as well as various specialist shops.
Our community project, the Omulunga boarding school is also situated in Grootfontein. The children enjoy visits from the Dornhügel guests immensely, especially if they bring some sweets along …
Particularly worth seeing is a small village in the bushman country just a short drive from Dornhügel. This is a worthwhile day outing, on which we will accompany you on request.
The visitors can witness the traditions of the bushmen – the San – you can also participate actively by for example creating jewelry or learning to hunt with bow and arrow.
This project is organized by the community of Grashoek itself and the proceeds go to the village and the local people.
Not far away lies the largest known single meteorite found on earth. It is located on the farm “Hoba West” and is also easy to reach during a day trip. This celestial body struck earth approximately 80 000 years ago and weighs about 60 tons. As it consists of mainly iron and nickel, it can be described as an iron-meteorite.
The possibly most well-known tree in Namibia is the Baobab. According to legends this tree was planted by the Creator, with its roots towards the sky. They can live for up to 3,000 years and become up to 30 metres high. The one next to our fireplace has grown quite a bit since it was planted in 2000. However, another particularly impressive specimen can be admired after a short drive from Dornhügel.
The Otjikoto Lake is a sinkhole lake that was created by a collapsing karst cave. It is a national memorial in Namibia and is an about 1.5h drive from Dornhügel. The lake was a dumping ground for German Schutztruppe during World War 1; in June 1915 German troops dumped war materials in the lake before surrendering. Nowadays there is a small exhibition and a park which you can visit.
Ask us about current happenings in the area. Grootfontein has a small but active cultural scene and often there are interesting street festivals or the like.
Maybe you are lucky and we have some cattle on auction. You can come with and be part of this special event.
We are especially proud of our community project, the Omulunga boarding school. The boarding school was founded by us in 2006 and we run and finance it until this day. For many farm hands it is impossible to bring their children to school every day. On the other hand they cannot finance the accommodation in a hostel.
The boarding school offers them a solution. For a heavily subsidized monthly fee, which above all is supposed to ensure that the place in the hostel is taken seriously by everyone, we have about 16 children living there.
Our matron Esther cooks for the children (twice a week delicious Dornhügel meat), but not just this. She also helps the children with their homework, walks them to school and picks them up afterwards.
The small yard offers the students the opportunity to play various ball games and partake in other activities. Many make friends for life here.
The children enjoy every visit from our guests, so feel free to ask us for a trip to Omulunga.