Cape Town to Windhoek – Onward to Lüderitz
The day dawns full of promise once again, as we rise to witness panoramic views of the sun shedding light over the vast reaches of the Kalahari. After a quick breakfast, we are en route along the B4 toward Keetmanshoop in the hopes of exploring the road to Lüderitz in some detail.
We fast-track the first three hours of our journey which are past Friday’s familiar landscapes, stopping off for coffee and delectable apfelstrudel, this time at the elegant and architecturally quaint Schutzenhaus in Keetmanshoop. An esteemed guest house which doubles as the oldest German Club in South Africa, the Schutzenhaus was the ideal spot to take a well-earned break to plot the way forward.
Stone plants and stunning scenes
From here on, the stark landscapes of Southern Namibia are starting to take on their springtime hues, with hints of green emerging in between the many quiver trees dotted along the 100-odd kilometres between Keetmanshoop and Alte Kalköfen Lodge.
We drop in at the Lodge for a hearty game pie and a salad on the veranda overlooking an ancient camelthorn forest. The proprietors, Hilde and Frikkie Mouton, are a delight and take obvious pleasure in showing us their lithoparium which is full of stone plants, which they propagate from seed.
At last we are on the way to see the wild horses, but not before a pit-stop at the Kuibis Restaurant to stock up on biltong koeksisters and ginger beer. A quick look in at the Commonwealth war graves tells a melancholic tale of friend and foe buried side by side, a consequence of the flu epidemic of 1918, and then it’s on to Garub viewpoint, 20 km beyond the village of Klein-Aus.
The Wildlife of Klein Aus
A short walk along a stony path reveals a hide, perfect for enjoying our soft drinks while overlooking the local waterhole, mountain vistas, and the Dikke Willem inselberg. We are in luck when a small herd of wild horses makes its way tentatively down to drink alongside a lone gemsbok. These horses are the source of many legends revolving around their origins, from war tales to dramatic shipwrecks, but there is no record of where they actually came from.
Like all species, the wild horses of Aus suffer terrible hardship during times of ongoing drought such as we are currently experiencing, and have narrowly escaped extinction on several occasions. If you would like to help in supporting these unique Namibian creatures during these months of need please contact the Namibian Wild Horses Foundation or donate online.
Back on the road, the seaside diamond town of Lüderitz ultimately appears among the craggy hills of the coast and before long we are checking in to the Hotel Luderitz Zum Sperrgebiet, which comes highly recommended and holds pride of place overlooking the harbour. Soaking in the cool depths of the onsite swimming pool we debate on a dinner destination for the evening and eventually settle on Ritzi’s Seafood, which later turns out to be just 10 minutes’ walk away.
Seafood at Sunset
Hoping to catch the sun setting over the sea a mad rush ensues to tidy up before dinner, and we are rewarded with an outside table at this popular eatery. We are treated to lovely views of boats floating against a backdrop of the sun sinking into the Atlantic, while we sip on pre-dinner cocktails.
Dinner is a seafood extravaganza with a wide choice, and the portions are generous. For dessert, we toast our decision to include Lüderitz in our agenda with a vanilla milkshake and discuss our plans for tomorrow’s adventures among the ghost towns of the Sperrgebiet.