Monty's Year at Gobabeb Training and Research Centre, Namibia

Station Tour

Gobabeb was founded in 1962 by an Austrian entomologist interested the incredible beetles found here, most of which belong to the Tenebrionidae family.  As time went on, Gobabeb grew to accommodate biologists, geologists, and anthropologists.  When Namibia gained independence in 1990, the station expanded it’s role from that of strictly a research institution to one of teaching and learning as well.  Last year over a thousand students visited the station, and efforts continue to expand our environmental education impact across the country.

I live in building situated on “Luxury Hill.”  As the name suggests, my accommodations are nicer than the trailers where interns live.  The view from the front porch…

Garden under the porch, dunes to the south, gravel plain all around.

Kitchen facilities, a communal dining and living room, as well as a T.V. are found in “Old House.”  After work, myself and the other staff usually cook dinner to the sounds of the Namibian hit artists like Tate Buti or the horribly dubbed English of a Brazilian soap opera entitled “Shades of Sin.”

(Left to right) Old House, Intern Trailers, Luxury Hill (where I live).

The Main Station has offices, research labs, the library, storage facilities, a workshop, a petrol pump, and our all-important server tower.  Beyond Main Station are more staff accommodations, guest lodging, a swimming pool, and the river-bed camping spot that visiting school (and safari) groups use.

Looking west over Main Station, the swimming pool / basketball court, and guest accomodations

Water is pumped up from the Kuiseb River aquifer into the 20 meter tall water tower.  The depth of this aquifer varies greatly from year to year, depending on how strong the floods are.  The water tower can be seen from many miles away, and is the symbol of Gobabeb.

Power to the station is supplied via a hybrid solar-diesel system.  About 75% of the energy is generated using our 370 solar panels, but sometimes a back-up generator is needed for foggy mornings.  We are almost 50 miles from the nearest access point to the main power grid.

Battery room where solar energy is stored. It is air-conditioned (the only room at the station) to ensure they don't overheat.

A solar panel array near the villas (i.e. where the station director lives). The petrol pump can be seen in the foreground.

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