Tag Archives: Namibia

Lüderitz … a harbour town with a bit of a homecoming feeling

 

Lüderitz as seen from the sea.

 

We really like Lüderitz! Lüderitz, bought in 1883 by the German merchant of the same name and from 1884 on under the protection of the German emperor, is completely different compared to the rather "overdone" German and somehow "artificial" seeming Swakopmund.

The days of the fishing with smaller boats seems to be gone here as well ...

Here in Lüderitz, the atmosphere simply "fits". Guidebooks state that this town could easily be situated somewhere in Germany; we rather feel reminded on different harbour towns in Scotland, Hanstholm in Denmark or other somewhere else in Scandinavia.

Another "Woehrmann house"

Definitely an old German train!

The old turntable for train engines

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

"Krabbenhöft & Lampe" ... good accommodation and great seafood in the "Dias Cafe and Oyster Bar"

 

We enjoy long walks through the town, tasty and fresh seafood (oysters galore, calamari, fresh fish ... and all that at really reasonable prices compared to European prices), and relax in the reasonable but very clean "Lüderitz Backpackers".

Halifax Island with its penguin colonies

With captain Heiko, a real "original", old school German-Namibian through and through, ex-diamond diver, ex-circumnavigator "en famille" and simply an interesting person, we go on a short cruise to "Halifax Island" just a few miles out at sea where there are several penguin colonies.

 

Here they are ... in their favorite element!

 
 

Ruined whalers' buildings

 
 

My three girls just love the sea!

 

Guano production!

The lonely grave of the lighthouse keeper ... stalwart even in death!

Apart from penguins, we also see pelicans, seals and even dolphins who play in front of the catamaran's bow. Really Great!

 

Diaz Point with the old German lighthouse in the background

 

Shark Island ... long time ago a place of sorrow for the Herero, now a wild and romantic campsite ... strange connection!

Old lifeboat shack

Back ashore, we go on an excursion to Diaz Point. The Portuguese navigator went ashore here and set up a stone cross around Christmas 1487 to symbolize that this coast was in the Portuguese king's sphere of influence.

The old wooden stairs to Diaz Point ...

The Diaz Cross

 

Dreaming into the oceans

 

This natural bight near what today is called Lüderitz was first called "Angra das Voltas", reading "bay of the difficult manneuvres", later it was re-named "Angra Pequena" ("Small Cove"). The original Diaz' Cross is now in a museum but a replica version of the cross including a commemorative plaque was set up in reminiscense of the Portuguese explorer.

 
 

We stay in Lüderitz longer that actually planned, also because this town really inspires us.

 
 

Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei

On our way from Swakopmund to Sossusvlei, we could stop every five minutes because the landscape simply is impressively beautiful: from sea to sand dunes to moon landscapes, painted mountains to desert dunes again ... It seems as if Namibia is one continent in one country.

 

Big sanddunes near Walvis Bai

 
 

... on the moon?

 
 

Like in a painting ... but then that would be "unreal"!

 
 
 

Solitaire "Lodge" ... rather an Australian-style roadhouse ... but not bad!

... outdoor kitchen!

 

Beautiful - but the dust is everywhere! EVERYWHERE!

 
 
 

Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei

The Namib, which follows the complete coastline of Namibia, is the oldest desert on this planet, between three and four million years old. Anouk really loves the red sand and clearly states that the Namib is her favourite desert - far more beautiful than the Sahara which she didn't like that much!

 

"Fairy Circles" - no magic behind them, though: it's the termites who simply love the grass and eat it up completely in a circle ... other vegetation doesn't exist! Anouk still thinks the circles are magic!

 
 

Nature can be sooo beautiful!

 
 

The ever moving sand!

 

In the Dead Vlei Anouk wants to spend her honeymoon (still a long way to go, though!).

The "Dead Vlei" ... one of the most "magic" places we have ever been to ... just "made by nature"!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Everything ...

... is a matter of perspective!

 
 
 

It is so very wonderful that we are allowed to experience all this as a family! Nobody can ever take this away from us!

 

Sossusvlei

This dune is called "Big Mama"

 
 

From Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei we move on further down south to Lüderitz, again driving through an ever changing landscape full of natural wonders.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mischa on the lookout ...

 

... for the beautiful "Namib Feral Horses".

 

It is not a 100% sure where these horses originate from, but the most logic explanation is that the soldiers of the German "Schutztruppe" set them free just before surrendering in 1915. Beautiful horses!

 

“Friesian Freshness” in Namibia … Swakopmund

 

Swakopmund as seen from the pier

 
 

Lighthouse, beach ... palms ... PALMS?? A bit "un-German" right!?

 

What we wrote about Namibia in our last posts shows how diverse this country is, so one should maybe not be too surprised to find a "real" German town here. Still, Swakopmund surprised us a bit.

It was founded in 1892 because the new German colony needed a harbor for trade with the "motherland". There were only two other options to construct a harbour along the coast of what is now Namibia, Walvis Bai (then British) and Angra Pequena, which today is Lüderitz. But Angra Pequena was separated from the habitable lands by a stretch of dry desert of more than 120km.

 

The "Woermann Haus" ... the company still is in family hands.

 

Today, 124 years later, in Swakopmund there is the strange feeling that suddenly, you are back in Germany, even though the German "Schutztruppe" in "Deutsch Südwestafrika" surrendered 101 years ago.

 

The "Altes Amtsgericht", the old court.

 

Looks a bit like Esens, a small town not far away from where we live.

Without the palm tree, this could easily be somewhere in Germany!

Just a small detail from the wall outside a shop reading "Imperial Customs Post Swakopmund"

 
 
 
 
 

Memorial for the "Herero Uprisal" ... No further explanation! What do modern day Herero think when they see this!?

 
 

This really is strange: this memorial is to remember the dead German soldiers from World War I AND World War II (when the ruling power in Namibia, South Africa, fought AGAINST the Germans) ...

 

Most shops have German shop signs, there are German memorials, German houses and a lot of German products in the shops (which especially our two daughters just love - homesickness cure!).

The "girls" back home at the North Sea??

Happy kids

For us parents this town is a bit like one of the towns on the mainland near our island ...

 

Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands?? No! Namibia!

 

... or it could be one of the small towns on the German Baltic Sea coast, or in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands.

"Peter's Antiques" in Swakopmund really is a very interesting shop full of mysterious objects, masks, books, coins ... great!

This is "THE" shop for Mischa and Anouk ... they could spend ages here ... and an awful lot of money!

Still, it feels a bit too unreal here on the west coast of southern Africa. In a way, this town simply "doesn't fit". Also, it seems a bit too much "made" to fit the expectations of the tourists - most of which are, of course, German.

 

Wide and empty streets.

 

Really strange are the extremely wide (and empty!) streets.

 

The old pier ... and at the end there is "Pier 1905", one of our favorite restaurants ... great seafood at exceptionally reasonable prices!

 
 

The seawater aquarium ... not comparable to the one we have at our school, the "Nationalparkhaus Wittbülten"!

 
 

What a beautiful Land Rover!

 

...

A boat trip from Walvis Bai

Walvis Bai has an interesting history, being "discovered" by the Portuguese Bartholomeo Diaz, used by whalers since the 17hundreds and from 1795 being part of the British Empire. From 1884 on Walvis Bai was part of the Cape Colony ... so it remained in South African ownership until 1994 when it was handed over to Namibia.

 
 

We think this place is rather monotonous and without any "real flair" and just go here to go on a boat trip.

Seal colony

 

This guy has a rather "posh" look on his face!

 
 

This oil rig normally drills off the coast of Angola but the current low oil price simply makes drilling for more oil ineffective!

 
 

Mmh ... in Namibia we had the best fresh oysters ever! EVER!

 

Home, home on the range … A weekend on a cattle farm in Namibia

 
 

Our hosts in Windhoek, Debbie and Adriaan, invited us to come with them to their farm for a weekend ...

 
 

Their farm "Eisgaubib" is roundabout 110km away from Windhoek, but it feels like being in the middle of nowhere ... well, actually it really is. The farm is situated in a beautiful mountain area, the next neigbors live tens of kilometres away and it actually has a size five times the size of the island we live on, about 100 square kilometres. And this farm is not even one of the biggest ones in Namibia.

 

The small "farm shop" ... even people from other farms come here to buy things they need ranging from Coke to nails.

 

Originally, this farm was sold to it's first owner by the "state", when Namibia was still "Deutsch Südwestafrika", German South West Africa. Over the years, it had many owners and Debbie and Adriaan bought it to finance the university studies of their four children.

Wherever you go you meet old friends ...

... and this one ...

... and this one ...

... mmh! ...

 

... and this very special Land Rover Series 3/2 Zebra Conversion.

 
 

The "good ol' times" were really hard - for man and animals!

 

...

Farm life is not easy, but it is nice after a week's job in the office in Windhoek, to go into the open country and do some "real" work - and see the result of a hard working day at the end of it. Over the week the farm workers follow their daily routines and at the weekend Debbie and Adriaan come to stay, work and plan the following week(s).

 

A farm visitor not so welcome!

 

As at the moment, southern and central Namibia is suffering under a draught (after three years with less rain than usual), the farmers have a pretty hard life as their livestock don't find enough food in the open.

Fully loaded with fodder!

Distributing the fodder.

New farm worker!

Bone dry farm!

You can see that owning a farm is one of Anouk's dreams for her future!

Fear of dogs?? Gone!

So, every farmer has a special recipe to mix good fodder out of hay, molasses, shredded shrubs ... and whatever secret ingrediences else. This has to be distributed to the many fodder places on the farm. Sometimes, if a draught continues, farmers have to send their cattle to the butcher and reduce the size of the herd.

 

Back from work!

 

Out bush ...

A really big one ... could we "braai" it?

Unlike Germany, in Namibia, most livestock have large areas of land to grase and live ... Also, there is no stable where they are during nighttimes. To be able to defend themselves - and more probable their calves - the farmers don't cut the horns. Still, every once in a while the leopards take a calf or even a weak bull or cow. This wild life certainly is one of the "secret recipies" behind Namibias impressively good meat quality! You can have Beef, Mutton, Oryx, Kudu, Ostrich, Zebra and certainly a lot more different varieties of meat and everything is really tasty!

...

... rest!

 

... and solitude and silence!

 

But the evenings on a farm are absolutely gorgeous: after a day of hard work you see the sun going down, the surrounding mountains change colour every five minutes ... and it is stunningly beautiful.

 

Storytelling, braaiing, listening to the birds, braaiing, drinking, braaiing ...

 

The only noises you hear are the birds and the wind in the trees. What more do you need than that, and maybe a glass of good red wine or a whisky in your hand!? Someone has just started the fire for a later "Braai" and the fumes of the fire tickle your nose ... It doesn't take much time until it is getting darker and darker ... and then the stars come out ... We have never felt lonely or sad under the roof of the "Million Star Hotel", but being really part of "it". Nature can be so very wonderful!

... But, as the next morning - apart from Sundays - work is already waiting, nobody stays up too long.

 

Independence day cup-cakes!

 

... But, we have to leave this wonderful place (for a while!) and move on ...

Whaaaat?! Back home again!?

Impressive!

We were doing 70kmh ... AND THEY OVERTOOK US! ... EVEN THE YOUNG ONE!

 

Full of power and pride! Really Impressive ... and tasty!

 

Beautiful rock formations!

Wow, that is Namibia!?

Eine deutschsprachige Version dieses Eintrages gibt es hier

We had been looking forward to visiting Namibia for a very long time ... But, is Namibia really on the same continent as all the other countries we have visited during the last few months? As early as Zambia we had recognized that the appearance of the streets was much more cleaner and that life seemed to be following a more "organized" pattern than in many parts of East Africa (surely, this "order" is a two-edged thing!) ... But this impression definitely is topped in Namibia - right on the first few kilometres in the road: nearly "typically German", "fastidiously accurate" many roads and towns seem to be at first glance. Especially so Windhoek and Swakopmund (we will describe these two towns in detail soon). No, no matter how you look at it, Namibia cannot deny that between 1889 and 1915 it was a German colony. In contrast to Bagamoyo in Tanzania, the houses from that time are being maintained and smartened, roads bear German names, but also African ones; alongside South African and "traditionally" African dishes in many places you can get real German food. Even though to us non-colonialist Germans this seems really strange, still our daughters are especially happy about this ... finally, they can enjoy "Spätzle", "Apfelmus", German "Bratwurst" and so on.

 

Boerewors ... even better than German "Bratwurst"!

 

But even Mischa is very enthusiastic, because in Namibia - apart from German "Weizenbier" - you can probably get the best meat worldwide ... at incredibly reasonable prices. The barbecue-season, Sorry!, "Braai"-season is there finally! And when we are on the road we nibble delicious "Padkos" such as "Biltong", the famous dried meat, and "Droewors", a really delicious dry sausage made from game and beef. Lekker!

...

But how were our first kilometres on Namibian roads? From the Victoria-Falls near Livingstone in Zambia we enter Namibia in the so-called "Caprivi-Strip", named after the German chancellor Graf Leo von Caprivi. This stretch of land was planned to become part of a landbridge from German South West Africa (now Namibia) to German East Africa (now Tanzania), and when the European powers sat over the map to divide the "African cake", this stretch was one of the "cream puffs" the German chancellor could snitch. Today, this part of Namibia is officialy called "Zambesi-Region". We stop at the N'Kwazi Lodge situated a few km out of Rundu, directly on the banks of the Okawango River.

 

Dinner directly at the Okavango River ... really romantic!

 

As since shortly after we had crossed the Tanzanian-Zambian border our front prop shaft had made strange twittering noises (by the way, this is an after market part and not a Land Rover one!), we are very happy to have reached this place ... By chance, the owner of this lodge is also a Land Rover owner and advises us to take out the prop shaft and have it sent to the experts in Windhoek ("Propshaft Engineering") instead of driving there with a prop shaft we know is not working properly ...

Taking out the prop shaft ...

... thanks to the "4-w-n mechanics team" Anouk and Mischa!

 

No, the prop shaft is not moving smoothly any more!

 
 

We have our prop shaft back ... after only 47 hours! Get that, Deutsche Post!

 

We follow his advice and do exactly this. After only 47 hours after taking out the prop shaft, we have it repaired and back in our hands. Anouk and Mischa take care of removing it and fitting it back in. Pieter, the owner of the lodge is an immense help in organising all this! Thank you, Pieter!

 

A beautiful kingfisher!

 

Cormorants waiting for the fish ...

... still waiting!

 

... gorgeous!

 
 

Ah, yes, I forgot ... we briefly went to Angola, country # 16 on our list!

 

The "waiting period" we kill by going on a boat trip on the Okavango which is marking the border between Angola and Namibia, but we also have a great and delicious "Braai"-evening (while it is raining cats and dogs) together with the Danish globetrotter and journalist Hugo Gaarden.

Braaiing cats and dogs with Hugo ...

... another sad "Farewell"!

This again is one of these chance encounters which might be the beginning of great friendships. But on the following morning, we have to part with Hugo again - after having planned a meeting in either Germany or Denmark for this autumn.

After nearly a week at the N'Kwazi Lodge, another place we can only recommend to all overland travelers, we set course for "South-West" ... driving a "Nyati" which is running smooth and silent again.

 

A small African wild cat in the garden of N'Kwazi.

 
 

"Six en Piste" ... more new friends ... again from France!

 

We have a date with the French overlande-family Gueduet, aka "Six en Piste" and plan to meet at "Meteorite Campsite" near the Hoba-meteorite near Grootfontein.

What a beautiful light ...

... here comes the rain again!

"The French" have spent their last five years working in Cape Town and now travel trough southern Africa and South America for the nearly two years ... a family of six with a Toyota and an impressive offroad trailer made by the company Metalian from Cape Town.

 

Can we steal the French trailer overnight without them noticing???

 

We are impressed and this trailer will be our plan for our next trips when our Land Rover will not provide enough room for us two adults with two elder daughters. We definitely want exactly this trailer!

Roadschooling

We spend two wonderful days together, burn the midnight candle talking the night away and the kids play with each other boisterously so that in spite of differently planned routes we decide to find another camp for a couple of days together.

 

Our camp at "Zum Potjie"

 
 

Even Sóley has her tasks!

 

At "Zum Potjie" near Otavi we enjoy a lot of sunshine and impressively tender Oryx-Steaks from the Braai, relax in the pool ... and seem to have left the rain that had been following us for ages behind us finally. But sadly, this is where we part company because the "Six en Piste" plan to go up north to "Caprivi" and we want to go south and to the coast.

At an impressively great supermarket in Otjiwarongo we stock up on provisions to be able to wild camp several nights. But after only a few kilometres we find out that our alternator is not loading our battery any more. As around us there is only bush and small villages, we have to shift the helm and go to Windhoek full speed ahead because there we will definitely find somebody who can help us with our new car-problem. Our solar panel now is our rescue (in cooperation with the sun and the double battery system) and enables us to easily make the roundabout 270km (!) to Windhoek even without the alternator. But the backpackers that was recommended to us by other overlanders is completely booked out; something that so far on this trip has never occurred! But we have a contact in Windhoek we can call to find out which garage can help us fixing the Land Rover and maybe also find a good accomodation nearby. Stefanus van der Merwe, a Land Rover overlander from Windhoek, whom we had met at the Jungle Junction in Nairobi, had invited us to his parents home in Windhoek. We call ... and - as so very often on this trip - are recieved with great pleasure and warmth and are invited to stay at their home.

 

Debbie's "Children's Paradise"

 

Debbie, Stefanus' mother is nursery school teacher and has her own small play group in the courtyard of their house. Thus, our new "home" turns out to be a real "children's paradise". Because father Adriaan, also a real "Land Rover-Fan", is on a business trip, Debbie persuades us to stay longer until Adriaan is back to then look for a solution for our problem with the alternator ... and spend the next following weekend together with them on the family farm about 110km south west of Windhoek.

The old German church in Windhoek ...

... and the statue of Namibia's "founding father", Sam Nujoma.

Until then, we can use one of their "Bakkies" to discover Windhoek so that our Land Rover full of equippment is safe in the courtyard. This impressive warmness makes the decision making process easy and as a return, we try to give our best in doing culinary conjury tricks in return and prepare favourite dishes every evening. Ah, by the way: since we are in Windhoek our alternator miraculously is working without any problem ... we finally are not able to find the problem but still buy a spare alternator just to be on the safe side.

Very relaxed we can discover Windhoek, shop at "Cymot", a real paradise for overlander, anglers and other "bushies", and we also have our "manes" tamed. The German-Namibian (or is it the other way round?) hairdresser Sonja knows exactly what is happening in Germany, the home country of her great-grandparents, knows what weather is to be expected and what is on in politics.

This diversity of the people in Namibia and the origin of their families really fits the unmistakeably charm of this beautiful and diverse country, Namibia!