The Campsite in Klein-Aus, Klein-Aus Vista, was absolutely beautiful. Situated in a mountain crescent with great hiking treks and wild horses roaming at night time. Our Camp Site was right under a huge weaver birds nest which the kids did not get tired to watch. One should be careful with weaver birds nests though we were told later, as snakes can often be found there. We did not see any…
We decided to stay two nights and rather make a day trip to Lüderitz ( it seems like that is our new travelling mode: 150km driving, 2 days rest. VERY chilled)
The desert plains around Klein-Aus are famous for its wild horses. There are lots of different theories about the origin of these horses. One is, that they descend from the German „Schutztruppe“ ( German Imperial Army) horses, which were abandoned during the South African invasion in 1915, some think that they descend from the stud stock of Baron von Wolf (owner of Duwisib Castle, see later post). Two more theories propose they were brought in by Nama raiders moving north from the Orange river or that they descend from a load of shipwrecked horses from the near coast. Whichever theory is right, the horses remain quite interesting for science to understand how animals are able to cope with changing climate conditions. The wild horses live in a very harsh surrounding, with hardly any water and food. Due to that they are able to go without eating and drinking for up to 5 days at a time.
The drive to Lüderitz is about 100 km from Klein –Aus, tarred road for a change. The scenery is breathtaking, nearly surreal. White sand dunes as far as one can see. Coming closer to Lüderiz the climate changes and a cool wind blows from the ocean and the air gets foggy. As if the scenery of the Namib desert touching the Atlantic ocean is not enough, the city of Lüderitz itself feels unreal. Parts of it still feel very german, with pretty 1900 century houses. Most streets have german names and we got a tiny bit homesick. As the church was closed ( only open on Sundays..) we went to the „Goerke Haus“ , claimed Lüderitz most beautiful house. From a german point of view the house itself was not that impressive, but the fact it was build in the Namib desert 100 years ago with all materials imported from Germany makes it quite special.
There is lots more to see in Lüderitz, especially if you are interested in the german colonial history of the area. Our kids were not, so we decided to take them to Kolmanskop Ghost Town on the way back to Klein-Aus. Unfortunately the Ghost Town is only open from 9 -1pm every day and as it is situated within the diamond restricted area, which is absolutely off-limits to enter, we did not dare to sneak in. We had been there on previous visits and it is an absolutely must-see in our opinion, even if just for the photos. For 50 years, after the first diamonds were found in that area, it was a booming german little town with every luxury one could imagine. Drinking water was being shipped from Cape Town, they had a casino, hospital, theatre and school. By the late 1950 the town was left deserted and now huge sand dunes wander right through the remains of the once opulent city. A truly bizarre sight!
Fortunately we found a „ghost house“ shortly before Klein-Aus, which the kids could explore, so the disappointment was not too bad.