“Middle Abode” in Africa

08 February 2021 | Tourism

Hidden in the foothills of the Otjihavera Mountains along the D2102, lies Midgard Country Estate.

The estate is situated on a 11 000 hectare farm that was originally part of a much larger farming operation run by one of the founders of Ohlthaver and List, Carl List and later his son Werner List. It was the latter that started turning Midgard into the sought-after holiday destination it has become over time. It has been part of O&L Leisure - one the larger hospitality businesses in Namibia - for some time now.

The establishment has a mysterious charm of its own and not dissimilar to Kolmanskop in the Namib Desert, here too the original foundations are still relatively intact with the farmstead partly revealing a chapter in time far removed from life today.

“Home of Man”
In Old Norse Midgard is spelt Midgardr and can be translated as “Middle Abode” also understood as being the “Home of Man” in Norse mythology. Werner List and his dad were obviously visionaries, who created a centre with everything one would need in order to be self-sufficient, yet enjoy an opulent lifestyle in the African bush. There is no denying the fact that Midgard Country Estate has over time become as shadow of its former glory - weathered by time and the harsh Namibian elements.

Surrounded by rolling green lawns and crystal blue pools, canopied by ancient oak trees and lush vegetation, the original 1937 clay-brick farmhouse stands complete between the relics of a small hospital, a dairy, a butchery, a pig farm, a biltong smoker, an amphitheatre, a vegetable garden, horse stables, a fully-functional retro skittle-alley and a collection of vintage cars and carriages (all in impeccable condition).

Watch this Space!
Curiosities aside, learning more about “Vision 2025” is what brought me to the Midgard Country Estate in the first place. Currently under reconstruction, the estate will be transformed to glory, with some excitingly unique ideas in the pipeline.

With eyes increasingly focused on the future, the global tourism market and the requirement for constant innovation in a competitive environment, O&L Leisure are focused on remodeling the Midgard Country Estate towards a visionary future. Not only will the historically rich farmstead be restored and revived, but facilities will be modernized and upgraded in order to meet the demands of the modern traveler. Renovated rooms and an impressive conferencing facility are already in place and new rooms will be added.

One of the challenges of being situated relatively far from suppliers, is the fact that fresh produce and similar products have to endure the bumpy gravel-road journey to the Lodge. To combat this and to ensure top quality food at the soon-to-be five-star restaurant, O&L Leisure plans to till the fertile and water-abundant farmland, aiming to operate the kitchen on a 60/40 subsistence basis. An expansive, organic vegetable garden is the process of being planted.

“The better the produce the better the chef”, exclaimed Markus Ferreira, who excitedly took me on a tour of the building site. He is a classically trained chef with an obvious passion for excellent cuisine and fine wines. Hearing the excitement in his voice while he was reciting menu ideas for “wholesome farm-style food with a modern spin”, he made me hungry for the experience of tasting it.

Home Away from Home
There is no doubt that a huge challenge lies ahead, particularly now during COVID-19, when crisis-management seems to be the order of the day, but driven by a unique vision and grounded in the O&L motto “Creating a future & enhancing Life”, it is only a matter of time before the grounds of this once thriving farmstead-oasis will be restored to- and beyond its former glory. The choice of picnics on the rolling lawns, horse-riding through the farmlands, strawberry picking and dining at their 5-star restaurant are only an entrée to the future plans.