Gobabeb hosts a number of tertiary courses each year for University of Namibia and Polytechnic of Namibia students, as well as for universities from all over the world. Students come to Gobabeb to experience hands-on research in the unique setting that surrounds Gobabeb. Gobabeb is able to offer a deep array of research knowledge on our three unique ecosystems: the gravel plains, the Namib Sand Sea, and the Kuiseb River, as well as a first-hand understanding of appropriate technologies, local heritage, and environmental education. The training staff works hard to provide an appropriate and exciting learning experience for each group. Besides the regularly offered courses below, the training staff can work with outside lecturers and professors to create a customized programme to fit the content required of any group.
GTRIP (Gobabeb Research and Training Internship Programme) is a five-month field course presented at Gobabeb to three young Namibian scientists who design and implement original, independent research projects focused on management and restoration of degraded ecosystems. Key educational aims of the Programme, which is presented under the auspices of Gobabeb’s Namib Ecological Restoration and Monitoring Unit (NERMU), are to foster a critical thinking attitude, to improve students’ ability to solve problems through a systematic, scientific approach and to improve their verbal and written communication skills. GTRIP is also a vital tool to achieve NERMU’s overarching goal to prevent a loss of the Namib’s biodiversity in response to Uranium mining and related developments through education, ecological restoration and sound management. It is thus closely linked to the aimes of the Strategic Environmental Management Plan for the Uranium Province, also known as the SEMP.
Kicking off with a week of adventure (hiking, camping and field investigations – called “Goba-Bootcamp”), the closely mentored and uniquely Namibian Programme emphasises both rigorous scientific investigations and practical relevance for the mining industry. GTRIP, comprising lectures, reading and writing assignments and research, has two overarching aims: 1) to increase knowledge on the restoration ecology and mitigation of impacts to hyper-arid and arid ecosystems, and 2) to train and educate young Namibian scientists in how to use a rigorous scientific approach to solve real-world problems. The 2013 version of GTRIP was called DeSeRT (Desert Science and Research Training Course).
Download a flyer for an application to participate in GTRIP, which is presented every year from February through June.
The Summer Development Programme (SDP) is a research methodology course offered by the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) and the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre. It supports the Namibian Ecological Research and Monitoring Unit NERMU) working on behalf of the Strategic Environmental Monitoring Programme (SEMP) for the Uranium Mining initiatives in the Namib-Naukluft Park. The objectives of the programme are to equip Namibian students and recent graduates with experience and training in integrated sustainable land management through applied research approaches, critical thinking and problem solving. The programme provides an opportunity for ten students from the University of Namibia and the Polytechnic of Namibia to collaborate on a research project under the mentorship of DRFN and Gobabeb associates. Over a two month period, students carry out their own research and data analysis and end with a presentation to the involved stakeholders. See the DRFN website for more information about SDP.
Every few years, Gobabeb hosts students from the Biodiversity Management and Research Masters Programme at the University of Namibia. Gobabeb facilitates their module on Functional Biodiversity of Arid and Semi-Arid Ecosystems. This two-week module is meant to introduce the functional aspects of the biodiversity of arid and semi-arid ecosystems with emphasis on arid and semi-arid systems in Southern Africa and particularly Namibia. Special attention is given to eco-physiology in conditions of limiting of factors such as water and food. The module also discusses natural resources found in deserts, their value, and how they should be managed as well as restoration in a desert environment. The module has a large practical field work component in which students conduct their own mini-research project which forms the basis for a report and oral presentation.
Many foreign university groups (and occasionally secondary groups) visit Gobabeb as part of their excursion to Namibia. Gobabeb designs and runs special courses for international groups, providing an intensive field-based ecological experience. We have had groups from all over the world including Europe, the UK, the United States, and Japan. Gobabeb is also happy to contribute to existing courses allowing groups to follow their own programme. Whatever the purpose for the visit, the Gobabeb staff offers support in training endeavors ranging from accommodation to designing courses, whether here for one night or several weeks.
Recent visits from international universities:
- Grinnell College
- Dartmouth College-USA
- University of Freiburg- Germany
- University of Basel- Switzerland
- Kyoto University- Japan
- University of Arizona- USA
- Texas A&M University, USA
- State Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Stuttgart- Germany
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)
What we offer:
- Homeb Silts: a massive, ancient silt deposit found just 20 km from Gobabeb. Discuss the importance of the deposit, how it got there, and have fun exploring.
- Mirabib: an inselberg located just 40 km from Gobabeb. Have fun exploring the unique fauna and flora found on this impressive rock structure. There is also an ancient hill shelter in the area waiting to tell its stories of past residents.
- Zebra Pan: located 60 km from Gobabeb and constantly kept filled with water, Zebra Pan is a great place to get a look at some of the wildlife found in the Namib.
- Hope Mine: located 25 km from Gobabeb, Hope Mine offers a look at some of the geology in the area while also getting the chance to see an exploration site. This site also affords the opportunity to look at the unique Welwitschia plant.
- Gorob Mine: located 40 km from Gobabeb, Gorob Mine affords the chance to look at what a mining site looked like at the beginning of the 20th century and the effects an abandoned mining site can have on the environment.
- Common Programme Activities
- Nature walks: explore the three difference ecosystems around Gobabeb, investigating the flora and fauna found in the area as well as some geological history.
- Research Talks: research talks can be arranged on a variety of different topics with researchers currently working at Gobabeb.
- Station Tour: a chance to explore the station, get a closer look at our appropriate technology, and learn more about what goes on at Gobabeb
- Research facilitation/facilities: Gobabeb is able to offer the design and/or facilitation of research projects as well as research facilities for groups who already have their own projects.
- Scorpion Walk/Star Talk: go on a hunt for the tree scorpions in the Kuiseb River at night looking for the unique green glow these organisms exhibit under a UV light. This is also the perfect opportunity to investigate Namibia’s beautiful night sky.