Barby Guestfarm, Helmeringshausen, Namibia

The actual plan was to drive all the way to Duwisib Castle, but shopping for ice cream in Helmeringshausen  we were recomendend Barby Guestfarm. We quickly changed our plan, never regretted and stayed two nights, again.

The name “Barby” originates from a little eastern German town and this is where the first owner came from. Now it is run in the 4th generation by Peggys and Davids family. Barby is a sheep and cattle farm, about 10000 hectares ( 10km x 10km) big- it took Timm and Carl more than two hours to drive around the farm when going hunting.

When we arrived at Barby we saw a freshly born lamb with its mum, the kids were absolutely overwhelmed by its cuteness and more than shocked to find out,  that at Barby some lambs get slaughterd on their first day of live. For their Skin, („Zakara“ was the name we think). At first we were disgusted and shocked, but the more we learned about it the more  we made peace with it. Peggy and David were absolutely perfect and generous hosts! They gave us a tour of their whole farm on the back of their bakkie, explained how they breed, by which criteria they chose the lambs to be slaughtered immediately and the ones to keep for breeding and live stock.

Farming in the semiarid desert is very tough and seing with how much knowledge and passion Peggy and David did it , made us soon like them very much. A live sheep will bring around N$ 700 (70 Euros) while a  lambskin will bring N$ 2000. „We raise them to produce meat-so we must kill them, no matter if on the first day of their live or after 3 months.. It is our job.“ It is cruel, but also it was a good lesson for the kids to understand sausages do not grow on trees.

Even more cruel than us humans are the baboons, we were told. They do not eat meat, but they love the milk in the lambs stomach. So they grab a lamb, rip it open,  eat the stomach and leave the rest. Cheetah and jackal are also big threats. When a cheetah mother teaches its cub how to hunt, she kills, but does not eat the meat. That way Peggy and David once lost more than 40 sheep in one night. Hearing stories of farmers killing cheetah ( not Penny and David!) upset us all, but seing the other side oft he story can at least cause some understanding. What do we know about the farmers struggle?

Time and space somehow seem to have another dimension in Namibian farm life. While we in Cape Town sometimes hardly know our next door neighbors name, Peggy and David said, they have a quite busy social live-and this with the next neighbor about 70km away. When it is someones birthday everyone would show up without even having to invite them. If someone has a problem, the neighbors will be there to help and 70km is not even is distance worth mentioning. The next proper shopping possibility, Windhoek,is 500 km away. There is no electricity on the farm, all their power comes from Solar and Generators. They do not have Internet and their mobile phones only work with several transmitters.

Apart from showing us the farm, taking Timm and Carl hunting ( Timm shot a Kudu), Peggy showed us for which birds we must look out in the morning and what butterflies (45 species) and flowers grow in the area. At this time oft he year it was quite dry, but we can imagine how beautiful it must be in Spring.  When we left after two nights we not only received a huge hug each, but also a homemade drinking cup and a homesewn „Topflappen“ as a souvenir.  Should you be vegetarian by heart and soul we would not recommend a stay, but if you are interested in farming, Barby is a „Must“. The campsite is very simple, but beautifully hidden in thick bush savannah with lots of love to detail.

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