TRAVEL SOUTHERN AFRICA A LETTER FROM AFRICA NAMIBIA part 2

The first diamond in Namibia was discovered in 1908 in a town called Lüderitz; near the southern tip of the Namib Desert, the largest desert in the world beside the Sahara.  On our way there, Elzette proceeded to tell me; that she did not want to mention anything to me before, but that the wind normally blows here at a hell of a pace.  And that we were so lucky weather wise, for if we had wind, the dunes on either side of the road could have removed the paint of my car and even sandblasted my windows to such a degree that I would have had to replace them.  Remember that song:  “what a fine time to leave (tell) me Lucille” well it kept playing in my head, seeing that we were in my little Jetta.   We were booked into a B&B with typical German name “Zur Waterkant” (next to the water), Our view...

Lüderitz Image: Noleen Kutash ©
Lüderitz Image Noleen Kutash ©
My main reason for wanting to come to Lüderitz in the first place was to visit Kolmanskop (Ghost Town).  We stayed in Lüderitz for 2 nights, and paid a visit to Ghost Town the next day, unfortunately for me, the gates opened too late and the sun was already far too high for me to take the kind of pictures I would have preferred at first light.  Kolmanskop just celebrated its 100th birthday and was once called “the riches place in the world.”  Eventually all of the inhabitants left in search of bigger rocks and in their absence, the desert moved in. Here’s the former “riches place in the world”



Kolmanskop Image: Noleen Kutash ©


Kolmanskop Image: Noleen Kutash ©
Kolmanskop Image: Noleen Kutash ©
Kolmanskop Image: Noleen Kutash ©
Kolmanskop Image: Noleen Kutash ©

I tried in vein to find anyone that would drive me into the “The Sperrgebiet” German word meaning "Prohibited Area" also known as Diamond area 1 in the Namib Desert. The Sperrgebiet extends to around 100 km (60 miles) inland, and its total area of 10,400 square miles, makes up three percent of Namibia's land mass. However, mining only takes place in five percent of the Sperrgebiet, with most of the area acting as a buffer zone. Members of the public are banned from entering most of the area. I have heard there were people who had special permits to enter this part.  And that once inside the desert driving past human skeletons were not uncommon.  So I was on the phone all day trying to find that one “Cowboy in Lüderitz” willing to risk it, however, nobody returned my calls.  So I had a bit of a “pout” hated missing out on such an adventure, and could just not understand why this town had such a lack of spirited inhabitants, especially during such amazing weather conditions. So we went to visit the famous Lutheran church in town on top Diamond Mountain from where we had a lovely view of the town.

Lutheran Church  Lüderitz Image: Noleen Kutash ©
Lüderitz Image: Noleen Kutash ©
We enjoyed a stunning sunset and by the next sunrise we were ready to head back to Aus to see the Wild Horses of the Namib Desert one last time before Elzette and I head off in different directions.

 Sunset Lüderitz Image: Noleen Kutash ©

 Sunrise Lüderitz Image: Noleen Kutash ©
Wild Horses Aus Namibia Image: Noleen Kutash ©

Elzette and I opted to leave the next morning at daybreak, and I’m glad we did, because the horses of Aus made up for the disappointment over the Sperrgebiet.  We reached Keetmanshoop at 11:00 am.  Elzette had organized a lift back to Gocharus and I had to make it to Okahandja about one hour outside of the Capitol city of Windhoek, another 500 mile drive.   

So, without further a due - I pushed the Jetta and hit the open road, grateful for the asphalt beneath my wheels, for I knew that it was short lived.  Funny thing how little we appreciate tar until you travel for 800 miles non-stop on dirt roads with razor sharp stones.  I liked my Country Lodge in Okahandja sat and had dinner at the bar with 2 chaps that just got back from cycling the Konini River up-north.  Anyway, I enjoyed their tales, bid them goodnight and tried in vein to access the Internet at reception. 

Spitzkoppe Image: Noleen Kutash ©
It was a bitter cold night and I was heading for the Spitzkoppe (pointy mountains) the next day.  I had to make it before the sun was too high, and the image I was after washed out in the bright light…. And so it was, that I got lost, and by the time I took the pictures it was not what I had envisioned.  Being lost can be a very scary thing, especially in a country where there are so few people and it could take days, week’s even months before you are found.   I kept thinking about those bones in the desert, and envisioned people finding my Jetta with a skeleton behind the steering wheel, wearing a beanie on its head and a camera around its neck.   Oh… did I tell you I had no cell reception, just nothing, I drove up and down and around trying to find the dirt road that would eventually lead me there and the thought of turning around going back the way I came without the pictures was just not an option even if they were not that great because by now the sun was way up....

Spitzkoppe Image: Noleen Kutash ©
Spitzkoppe Image: Noleen Kutash ©
Next episode will be of Swakopmund and my reunion with Isabel, the last one to visit of my 3 best girlfriends from school.  Isabel was the prettiest one, and also got hitched more than any of us.    Isabel and I have not seen or heard from each other in 20 years.  So stay tuned for our adventure to Cape Cross one of he largest Seal Colonies in the world, the Brandberge (Burning Mountain) and the Himba people.