A tiny lie-in ensues this morning, followed by a short drive into town in search of breakfast. The blue, pink and green half hoops outside Main St Café catch our eye at once.
Trusting that these creative efforts will be matched inside, we seat ourselves within the minimalist white decor of this cute little eatery and are soon rewarded for our good taste. I decide on the Happy Doctor Breakfast which is healthy and hearty with fruit, cereal and yoghurt. Others choose the appropriately named Heart Breaker with its greasy excesses and Italian sausage patty. Admittedly, I did indulge in a fat slice of carrot cake with coffee afterwards, but that’s still a vegetable.
Inspired by art and history
The art on the walls of the Café inspire us to make our next stop the CmArte Gallery. The wildlife sketches are really something here and now I can say I know what an Angolan antique looks like. Resisting the urge to splurge, we press on to our next stop.
The Omaruru Museum is housed in the old Rhenish Mission House back on Main Street. Among the furnishings, implements and portraits that speak of another time, we find out that ‘Omaruru’ is the Herero word for bitter milk, so called because of a type of shrub found around here, which gives cow milk a slightly bitter taste.
We learn how the town was established in 1868 when German colonists set up the mission station here, how a military station followed during the Herero War, and how peace was eventually established. Although the Damara people were the original inhabitants of this land, it has been the traditional capital of the Herero’s Zeraua house since 1870.
Omaruru was and still is an important trading centre in this part of the world and is now a centre of a thriving artistic scene too.
Cattle, cheese and chocolate come before a good wine
Despite the bitter bush theory, Omaruru is surrounded by thriving cattle stations and runs a thriving trade in cheese and chocolate, as we discover at Unlimited Home Industries. After a good deal of deliberation accompanied by the familiar pangs of craving, and quite a few dollars later, my basket is bulging with handmade chocolate laced with honey, mint, dates and even kumquat. I tell myself it’s an investment in creative art!
The store also sells wine which reminds us that it’s time to head out to one of Namibia’s only wine farms to find out how vines manage to survive in one of the world’s driest countries. Thankfully, there’s still enough time to browse among the incredible root and wood carvings at Tikoloshe. I am fascinated trying to guess what shapes these roots must have been to inspire each animal creation.
Kristall Kellerei Winery is located out on the D2328 from Omaruru, past the famous Franke water tower. It is quite spectacularly, perched on the edge of the Omaruru River with gorgeous trees and wonderful birdlife to enjoy.
We settle down overlooking the Vine Garden for lunch and learn that the first vines in Namibia were planted by Catholic priests during the 1890’s but production came to an end in 1978, until the Kluge Family opened Kristall Kellerei in 1990. They produce a popular prickly pear schnapps, a white wine and the charmingly named, Paradise Flycatcher, a red blend. Their brandy was awarded a silver medal during the 2012 Destillata competition in Austria.
Being the driver, I abstain once again, but my companions make short work of the tasting and order a bottle for lunch. The meal is a Vesper plate with venison, cheese, pickles and a variety of home-made bread, which is simply delicious and the perfect match for our Mediterranean-style surroundings.
It’s time to set off to our next destination, the Waterberg National Park. We have decided to forego our trip to see the dinosaur footprints at Otjihaenanamapaero Farm. This is mainly because we have to ask for directions and no one can pronounce that word!
The three hour journey provides gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, making a pleasant change from Namibia’s usual dramatic sandscapes. We arrive at our campsite, which is overlooked by the towering Waterberg plateau, and settle down for a braai and a date with a Paradise Flycatcher as the sun sinks on a rather fulfilling day. Cheers!