DECEMBER 2019/JANUARY 2020 – So you can pretty much fry an egg on most parts of Namibia at the moment. Which means it’s not a place very conducive to hiking canyons or climbing mountains right now. So I googled ‘winemaking Namibia,’ and discovered Thonninggii Wine Cellars and Der Katholischer Wines in central northern Namibia near the Etosha National Park. I emailed them, in a nutshell said I’m a kiwi who has made a bit of wine in some off-the-beaten-track places like Zimbabwe and Arizona, and would they mind if I tried my hand at winemaking with them? The response; ‘Great, let us know your dates, see you soon.’ So here I am! It’s been a long couple of days getting here. From the Okavango Delta it took a boat ride, a short Cessna plane ride, a stop over in Maun, a taxi ride, a bus ride jam packed with people and various possessions, a hot and dusty walk, a stop over near the border town of Shakawe, a taxi ride, a border crossing, a lift to a nearby town with a Botswanan guy called Jay Jay (who finds it quicker to pass through Namibia to get from one end of Botswana to the other),  another three taxi rides, some sitting around and waiting. A lot of sitting around and waiting – Africa Time at its best – to eventually get my to my new ‘home town’ of Otavi. And then of course the final pick up by Gilmar, whose home, vineyards and winery is nestled in the mountains. A little bit fabulous… Note: the term ‘taxi’ is used loosely in Namibia, and much of Africa, when referring to the cars not the vans. It’s generally a group of guys hanging around their cars at a gas station, looking real casual. It’s a bit like they just had some spare time and thought they’d make an extra bob or two. (There’s even a selfie with one car load.) You ‘hike’ taxis in Namibia, which means you get dropped at a spot where taxis regularly frequent, to sort out a lift. Thank goodness, I had a few hundred kilometres to cover today, hiking would have been less than ideal. The lyrics cracking from the speakers of my first taxi ride were ‘If you wanna stay alive…. listen to your cultures…’ Yes, staying alive was the plan. Now it’s time to make some wine, Namibia styles. Yay. 🍇🍷❤️#winemaking #namibia #roadtripafrica  @ Namibia


‘Baboon watching’ everyday means you’re making wine in Namibia. Der Katholischer Winery (The Red Catholic) is a skip and a hop from Otavi, near Etosha National Park in central north Namibia, not too far from Angola. Nestled in the dolomite cave-riddled mountains, Gilmar Boshoff says “Making wine is about having the connection between the earth and the vines, and not being too lazy or useless to f*ck it up before you put it into bottle,” with a grin of a hard working, challenging and rewarding way of life. Next door is his parents’ property, Thonninggii Wine Cellar, (Thonninggii being the local fig tree). The clay brick cellar door boasts hearty farm lunches; home-produced meat, fresh dairy products, on-site produced marula schnapps, grappa, and port. This Namibian harvest is in full swing now;  picking the white and red varieties; crushing, pressing, generally having a lot of fun. Overcast days are very hot. Some drizzle, thunder and lightening, blue skies too. Seven dogs, (including Ana the ridgeback who really should be wearing pearls and have painted nails) at least two cats, and one pet sheep who always likes to be FULLY involved in all parts of harvest. Frogs croak, sable, springbok, sheep and cattle graze, chickens, cuckoos and weavers play, guinea fowls and pheasants trot. The Damara are the local people of this part of Namibia, whose dialect (Khoekhoe) involves many clicking sounds, so nice to hear every day. Namibia; a country of just 2.8 million people so plenty of space, where nothing less than 800 hectares is considered a farm, it’s a plasie (a small farm, a plot). Life slows down just a little bit here – the early morning coffee ritual, Norma Jean the bull terrier snoozing at our feet . Speed then picks up for a day of all things winemaking, and constantly reminding pet sheep Kolletjies (dots in Afrikaans) to stop eating the grapes or sneaking inside the house to eat the loo paper. Morning runs along the train tracks because ‘trains only use it about once a week..’ Sipping home made bubbles on Christmas Day after a morning grafting in the winery, eating a potjie pot of home produced oxtail – ‘well ain’t that just Christmas.’ 🍷🍇❤👌 #derkatholischerwinery #thonninggiiwinecellar


The Boshoff family do what they love, and love what they do. Gilmar Tamara Boshoff… With hard work, focus and determination, many things are possible. Like making wine in Nambia? Well at Der Katholischer Winery and Thonninggii Wine Cellar – yes most definitely. Thanks so much for having me along for some of your journey, it was one big treat. 🍇🍷❤️#winemakingnamibia #derkatholischerwinery #thonninggiiwinecellar  @ Namibia