The scenery towards the south coast of Namibia is breath-taking. The B4 winds through this stunning environment. Sometimes you will find a road that goes all the way into the land, into nothingness. I am totally blown away and I am enjoying every bit of this road. The whole ground is covered with golden grass as far as the eye can see, while mountains, 50 stores high, are dominating the area. Wind is gushing over the plains with great speed and we have difficulty keeping our bearings while we are taking pictures.
We were on our way to Lüderitz, a small village along the coast. It was not per se Lüderitz we were after but the sightings around it, with the wild horses, Koolmanskop and Diaz Point as our highlights.
It is said that the wild horses were left behind by South African officers during world war I while they were chasing away the Germans. They didn’t have any place to stay so they roamed the plains until they found a spot, save from predators, near Aus which is 100km before Lüderitz. A more probable theory would be that the horses originated from the horse farm of the major of Lüderitz. He bred mine and race horses. Due to the war, the horses become ownerless and moved away, in search of better grass land which they found at Aus. The population grew steadily, but due to draught and being hunted by hyena’s the population decreases to around 200 to 300 horses which are alive today.
There is a good viewing point of seeing the horses up close. Namibians have made a waterhole and they leave food behind to maintain the population. Of course, this has its downside as the horses are getting more and more used to human contact.
When we arrive at this viewing point, the horses weren’t showing themselves, so we made camp on the parking lot and hoped to see the horses the next morning. We found a good spot next to a building, out of the wind and out of sight as it is not legal to camp here. We stayed up until 22:00, ready to hit the road if somebody was coming, but with just 2.000.000 people and a land 20x bigger than Holland you will be very unlucky when this happens. So, the night passed by silently.
When we woke up the next day we were surrounded by 20 wild horses. Inge jumped out of the car with her camera while I was taking our drone for a spin. Hours were passing by while we enjoyed the company of the horses by ourselves. Around 11:00 o’clock other cars were joining the company, which for us was a sign to move on.
Towards Luderitz you will find many abended houses, which date back to 1908 when the first diamonds where found in this area. The town Koolmanskop was the centre of it all and in its prime the wealth of this town was outrages. Koolmanskop was the centre of the diamond industry where diamonds were lying around like “plums under a plum tree”, nowadays it’s noting more than a deserted Ghost Town, which is slowly succumbed to the relentless wind and the upcoming desert sands.
Besides Koolmapskop you can also find Elizabeth Bay where you will find the mine itself. For both areas you will need a permit as they are still mining the area. We chose to go to Koolmanskop and upon arriving paid for the permit to enter. The permit is more expensive in the afternoon than before 13:00 o’clock when most of the tourist are there. Now we had the whole area to ourselves.
Koolmanskop is great for amateur photography. Most of the buildings are still standing whereas others are completely demolished. You can still find a hospital, butcher, bakery and casino which gives us a great insight of the village back when it was still occupied. You can even find a house with all the furniture still intact. We on the other hand were looking for the more dramatic sceneries and were looking for the buildings covered with sand.
Inge was going all out with this and took all camera equipment with her which meant I was carrying all the bags. We were slowly moving from one building to the other while making dozens of pictures from multiple angles.
After two hours we had seen every nook of every building in the village. With some great pictures we were satisfied so we made way to the exit and headed to Lüderitz.
Diaz Poin/Cross is 20 km under Lüderitz and is only accessible by gravel road which is cutting its way through the rocky dunes. It is named after Bartolomeu Dias the second European sailor who set land on Namibia, right at this spot. Why here? Many believe that he was mesmerized by this location, looking from the sea inland, as he saw this huge rocky mountain standing tall with its back against the desert.
Besided the Diaz Cross you can also find a lighthouse, campsite and viewing point where you can see the waves clashing on the rocks giving you a great cold shower. The viewing point isn’t easy accessible as the bridge has been destroyed by a storm last year. You need to jump from one rock to the other while maintaining your balance. One slip or wrong move means at least a wet suit.
The lighting house is still in use, the campsite on the other hand isn’t. Nice located at the beach, with boats covering the camping spots, it must have been a thriving campsite. Today nobody is running it and that would be an opportunity for us as we were in search of a spot to camp for the night.
Upon entering one of the houses on the camp ground, I saw small footsteps in the sand before the fireplace. An earie feeling enveloped me as I was thinking back on all those horror movies where someone is exploring a creepy place all by him/herself. You, in front of the tv, know that something bad is going to happen and are shouting to him/her not be so stupid and stay together. Curiosity on the other hand took control and I kept moving forward. BAM, BAM, BAM…..was the sound I was hearing a few second later. My heart was in my throat and I stopped moving. What the hell was that? BAM, BAM, BAM again and even though I was scared shitless, I moved on, towards the sound. My inner voice was screaming not to go on, “haven’t you learn anything from those horror movies?”.
The sound was coming from above and it was more clearly now. Slowly I walked up the stairs, my whole body in overdrive, ready to run away if shit hits the fan. It would be easier if I had a gun like the guys in Ghostbusters, but unfortunately that is only fiction. There were four rooms to explore, but the sound was coming from the room which was right from the staircase. The door was open halfway so with my back against the wall and my feet still on the staircase, I slowly pushed the door open. I moved my head towards the opening to take a peak. The room was completely empty, so what was making that sound? When entering the room, I heard BAM, BAM, BAM again and now I finally saw what was making that sound. One of the windows was open and the wind was making it slam against the building. Relieve was coming over me and I quickly made way downstairs, out of the house, to find Inge.
Inge and I made the decision to not camp here for the night and continued through the dunes and off the beaten track to find another spot. Half an hour later we found just what we were looking for. We found a track that was not often used, and it led us closer to the shore. Just before we reached the sea we found a small gap between the mountains that would give us shelter against the hard wind. We made camp here and after diner and a movie we fell fast asleep, ready to hit the road again the next day.
* Chris & Inge