Our classroom is the desert environment, and outdoor activities combined with participatory teaching methods will make a visit to Gobabeb an informative and memorable experience. Primary and Secondary school programmes can vary from simple day trips to five day long research immersion programmes. The Gobabeb training staff specifically tailors programmes to the needs and interests of visiting groups.
Our primary focus is ecological research and we draw on more than 50 years of work done at the Gobabeb Centre. We offer a variety of curriculum-appropriate educational activities that include:
- Scientific inquiry: What is the process of scientific inquiry? Learners and students learn about ongoing research projects at Gobabeb and the scientific method. They can carry out their own mini-research projects and present their findings to their classmates.
- Arid ecology: How do the plants and animals of the Namib Desert survive in this extreme environment? What climatic and other factors make this area a desert? Students learn about the formation of the Namib Desert, the local diversity of animals and plants, and much more.
- Environmental sustainability and appropriate technology: With its solar-diesel hybrid energy system, solar hot water, water recycling system, and rammed earth/clay brick buildings, Gobabeb is a role model for the use of appropriate technology in Namibia. Learners find out more about these desert-appropriate technologies. They are also challenged to consider how development and people's actions affect the environment.
Activities within these topics can be combined to create an appropriate programme for each group, based on the students' field of study and duration of stay at Gobabeb. Programmes can be very flexible based on the interests of each group.
Some of the educational activities at Gobabeb:
- Nature Walk: Students are guided through the dunes, Kuiseb riverbed, and gravel plains ecosystems. They observe the animals and plants occurring around the station, learn the basic geology and hydrology of the area, as well as the climatic characteristics that combine to form the Namib Desert.
- Scorpion/Night Walk: Students have the opportunity to observe tree scorpions up close that glow under ultraviolet light, and look for other nocturnal animals.
- Station Tour: A tour through the research station, highlighting Gobabeb's current research projects and sustainable infrastructure.
- Various lectures by Gobabeb staff: A sample of possible lecture topics include: Adaptations of flora and fauna, A History of Gobabeb, Water Cosnervation, and others (visiting scientists are occasionally available to give lectures on their research at Gobabeb)
- Dune Video: This BBC film outlines how the Namib sand dunes are formed and some of the interesting animal adaptations to the desert.
- Namib Desert Environmental Picture Game: This activity challenges students to think holistically about environmental challenges in the Namib Desert and their interrelationships with biodiversity, industry, and local people.
- Field research: Project topic and scope depend on the duration of the visit, but could include pitfall traps to collect invertibrates, soil surveys, track and dung identification, use of the library, and more.
View a 3-day Primary/Secondary Programme Schedule.
View a 5-day Primary Programme Schedule.
View a 5-day Secondary School Programme Schedule.
View a Day Visit Programme Schedule for Primary/Secondary School.