Desert Research Foundation of Namibia


The Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) is dedicated to furthering understanding and competence to appropriately manage arid environments for sustainable development.

The Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) not only focuses on deserts, but works throughout the arid and semi-arid areas of Namibia. Research is just one of many activities and occupies far less than half of all our attention.

We carry out our mission by engaging communities in a participatory learning process to develop sustainable management practices; by engaging policy-makers in a dialogue to improve the policy and regulatory environment for sustainable development; and building a body of knowledge and scientific capacity to further our basic understanding of arid lands.

The DRFN is a centre for arid land studies and development that conducts training and facilitates appropriate, participatory and applied short- and long term research on the environment. It is an independent, non-governmental organisation dedicated to sustainable use of Namibia's environment.

The purpose of the DRFN is developing knowledge and understanding of the environment, developing tools to interpret the environment and raise awareness and training people to take advantage of the understanding and awareness and apply it to Namibia's development.

Although the DRFN is a Namibian NGO and mainly active here, its focus has broadened to encompass the SADC Region. As a Donor-funded NGO, the DRFN is involved with various projects, short- and medium- term, all contributing to our mission. All projects have an element of training, research and awareness creation and contribute to realigning and sharpening our focus on application of environmental understanding to development in Namibia.

Research and education have been the main areas of focus for the DRFN. All DRFN activities aim to increase the capacity of decision-makers, scientists, students and Namibians of all backgrounds, to contribute to environmental sustainability and awareness.

To summarise, the key issues on which the DRFN concentrates, is promoting the management of 

All training and research activities focus on climate control, biodiversity and desertification.

The History of the DRFN

In October 1963 a small scientific research station was opened and managed by Dr. Charles Koch, in the heart of the Namib desert. It was built on the site of a deserted village that was given the name Gobabeb, derived from !Nomabeb, meaning "the water hole at fig tree". In 1948 Dr. Koch joined a expedition to the Namib. He studied the desert beetles in the Namib and found that there was a huge gap in scientific literature on the very diverse desert flora and fauna. After fifteen years of travelling throughout the Namib and intensive research he confirmed that the Namib provides an extraordinary niche for life. His research raised considerable interest by scientist, which led to the establishment of the Gobabeb research station. In 1970 a young scientist, Dr. Mary Seely took over from Dr. Koch and  is today the Executive Director of the DRFN.

At the time of independence, the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia has been established as a non-governmental organisation to, amongst other activities, secure funding for the activities at the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre. The Foundation is supported in its fund-raising endeavours by the Friends of Gobabeb.

Members of the Friends of Gobabeb is open to any person wishing to help the station to continue its research programme. To become a friend, please write to the Friends of Gobabeb (FoG), P.O Box 6063. Windhoek, Namibia. Donations to FoG in Germany and USA are tax-deductible. 

The DRFN library at Gobabeb is Africa's most intensive library on arid lands.

Regarding funding, the DRFN is dependent upon study and research grants as well as project funding to support its activities.

Activities and Achievements we are proud of

The DRFN received an international award for its Fog Collection Program.

SADC-ELMS appointed the DRFN at Gobabeb, its research site in the Namib, as a centre of Excellence for training, research, appropriate technology and networking.

Gobabeb has been identified as an official site for Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) (now known as Environmental Observations Network of Namibia, EONN) and is linked to the international LTER. The DRFN is the chair of the SADC LTER.

Gobabeb is frequently used by International Researchers and earned its reputation as one of the most important and dynamic institutes of its kind.

Our Summer Desertification Programme (SDP), providing young Namibians with an overview and experience of environmental research - from problem identification to presentation of the final results - is highly rated and well received by Training Institutions, Government and the Business sector.

The DRFN has been appointed as secretariat for Namibia's preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

Critical issues

Funding continues to be a mayor concern. Donor funding is available to support various projects. Core funding to meet the ongoing expenses, however, remains elusive.

Creative ideas

The establishment of Financial and Marketing departments is working on innovative ways of fund raising and the creation of a trust fund.

Consulting services through the Environmental Evaluation Associates of Namibia (EEAN) and publishing through its Communications Unit contribute to DRFN's sustainability.

Who or what is most important to our mission

Research and education is the most important areas of focus for the DRFN and our aim is to continue to enrich the Namibian scientific community and to contribute to the knowledge of arid land management.

All DRFN projects contribute to sustainable development through:

Our Vision

Enhanced understanding of arid environments by Namibians and improved capacity of decision-makers at all levels to manage arid environments appropriately.






Contact & information:

Related Maps Accommodation in the area Activities in the area
Hotels Pensions B&Bs Lodges Camping & others
Maltahohe General map Atelier du Desert - - Solitaire Country Lodge Oahera Center Nature drives
Mariental Regions Maltahohe Hotel - - Hammerstein Lodge & Camp Farm Wildpark Wild cat tours
Photo galleries - Le Mirage - - Tsondab Valley Desert Farm Little Sossus Lodge Night & game drives
Duwisib Castle - - - - Tolou's Lodge Haruchas Guest Farm Car rental
Gibeon meteorite shower - - - - Namseb Game Lodge Farm Duwisib Rest Camp Balloon trips
Desert Express - - - - Weltevrede Betta Camp Site Tok Tokkie Trails
Resorts in National parks - - - - Kulala Wilderness Camp Burgsdorf Guest Farm Sossus on Foot
Namib Naukluft National Park - - - - Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge Nubib Nature Camp Namib dunes
Namib Desert Lodge camping - - - - - Ababis Guest Farm Gobabeb

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