There will be no date sequence in respect of our travels through this vast and beautiful land.
It is the year 2018. August I think. We got our off-road caravan a year before and embarked on our first real safari with the BushLapa! Did a few shorter camping trips in the meantime.
Off to one of our favored South African national parks – the Kgalaghadi Transfrontier Park.
In the old days one could enter Namibia via Mata Mata rest camp, but this borderpost was closed for a number of years. It has however been opened again, hence our decision to start our southern Namibia tour through the Kgalaghadi. First sleep-over at Twee Rivieren and then first time premier camping at Nossob.
And what’s the chance you do not see a lion here?
Lovely new facility at Nossob, but the mission this time is the South of Namibia. We left the Kgalaghadi via Mata Mata heading off to Dunesong near Koes, Namibia. Here Pieter and Mariaan Nel welcomed us with traditional Südwest hospitality! But – then the unexpected challenge! We were the only campers and the campsite was right up the highest dune! Pieter led the way in his traditional Nam buggy, an Uri :
Lessons are hard learned by stubborn old men! Never thought it necessary to deflate the tyres. What a challenge for Fortuner and caravan!
There is a story about this campsite on top of a Nam/ Kgalaghadi dune: getting to the top was actually easy, only to realize the caravan should preferably face the other side to have the kitchen facing the tented lapa. No sweat, Roos – I will simply run down the other side of the dune, turn around and challenge the dune from that side! Three attempts. No luck. Went around again and came up as we did the first time, ending in the original position again! Some consolation the next day when Pieter told me an approach from the other side is near impossible.
Lovely campsite in absolute solitude.
And then the amazing surprise! We were invited by the hosts to a once-in-a-life-time sundowner on another dune during a full moon eclipse! What an experience in the company of incredibly warm people!
Solitude is often balm for the soul.
Time to move on. Pity we both left our favorite caps at Dunesong, hanging in the shower.
Hitting the road to Kuboes and aiming for Keetmanshoop via the Mesosaurous fossil forest and Giant’s playground. Absolutely worth visiting.
Klein Aus-Vista Desert horse campsite on the road to Lüderitz was yet another fresh experience and our base for exploring the South of Namibia, and in particular Lüderitz and Kolmanskop.
Our German neighbours were curious about me prepping dough with only a fire around! I explained that we can ‘bake a kind of bread’ on the grid! Took them roosterkoek and they loved it! They came over bringing their camp chairs along and of course their glasses and a box of wine. We had a seriously good evening. PS. We politely refrained from telling them that wine in a box goes against our Boland wine culture grain!
A day trip to Lüderitz – what an experience. The main attraction here is no doubt the ghost town of Kolmanskop.
In 1908, in what was then German South-West Africa, a worker, one Zacharias Lewala, found a diamond and showed it to his supervisor, the German railway inspector, August Stauch. This led to German miners settling there. Soon thereafter the German Empire declared a large area as a “Sperrgebiet” and exploitation of the diamond field started.
A village in the architectural style of a German town came to being, with fully fletched amenities including a hospital, ballroom, school, sport-hall, theater, casino and ice factory. Also the first x-ray-station in the southern hemisphere. There was also a railway line to Lüderitz.
The town however started to decline during World War II. Following the discovery of far richer diamond- bearing deposits near the Orange River some 270 km south, the town went into severe decline. The town became abandoned around 1956. Today it remains a huge tourist attraction.
It was indeed an eerie experience, but at the same time testimony of courage and innovation. Lüderitz is a beautiful coastal town with still a strong imprint of German influence.
The next day we were off to the border crossing at Sendelingsdrift where we had another first: crossing the border across the Orange river via the pontoon. What an experience!
The rather short tour of part of Southern Namibia was over, but definitely beckoning for return.
Now the concluding magic taste of the Richtersveld, a first for Rosemarie. The few days spent at the De Hoop campsite was an indescribable, almost surreal period of inner peace – with nature and oneself.
This park is deserving of its own story. Another time.
As for Namibia – back and back we shall go to this vast and beautiful land that captures your soul for life – the Namibia Syndrome.