We were heading out of Sesriem and it was time to start the journey back to South Africa, slowly but surely. We still had a few days to explore Namibia and our next stopover point was at Klein Aus Vista near Aus. The sights that we were excited to see in this area were Kolmanskop, Luderitz and the feral horses, off course…
|Happy Campers Namibia 2017 – Travel log Day 9 & 10|
|Place||Klein Aus Vista, Aus, Namibia|
|Type of lodging||Camping (unfenced)|
|Water at site||Yes|
|Kilometers travelled||717 km|
|Diesel top-up||52.91lt – R600-00|
We left Sesriem very early on Day 9 as we knew we had another long day of road tripping ahead of us. We traveled down the C27 which took us to the C13 and then a final bit of tar road along the B4 towards Aus. The general condition of the gravel roads weren’t that bad but they pretty corrugated in some areas. We also noticed the scrapers next to the road in quite a few areas so I’m sure that they have cleared up the bad spots by now. The C27 was easily one of the most scenic routes we’ve driven during this holiday, as it snaked through the NamibRand Nature Reserve for a large part of the route.
The NamibRand Nature Reserve is one of the biggest privately owned nature reserves in Southern Africa and it was established in 1984. You don’t pay any fees to get into the reserve but there are several signboards informing you that you have the reserve and that you should adjust your driving speeds accordingly. We saw our very first zebras of the holiday in the reserve and several Oryx and springbuck were right next to the road. The Nubib Mountains is absolutely breathtaking and it forms the eastern border of the nature reserve. We found out later that there are several overnight places inside the reserve so it’s worth your while to investigate some of these as a future stop whilst traveling in Namibia. Unfortunately this beautiful place was also the scene of our first roadside troubles during our holiday.
The Hilux in the group suffered a tyre blowout. It cost us quite a bit of time off our planned travel time as they fell behind and we had to go back and find them when we realized that they were out of radio range and that we couldn’t see them behind us (you can usually see the dust trail from at least a kilometer away). When we reached them, we saw that the tyre was a proper write-off. Luckily they had two spare wheels on the rental vehicle, but the one spare still had the puncture from Keetmanshoop (clever, I know…) We also had some fun moments as the Englishman and my daughter went off on a rescue mission when they thought we weren’t coming back for them. Needless to say, every little movement or sound translated into a man-eating beast in their minds and by the time we found them in the veld, they were nervous wrecks. Remind me never to pick either of them for my zombie apocalypse team please. WORST. SURVIVORS. EVER…
We were on the road after an hour or so, as we also used the stop as a quick coffee break and planning session. The road got pretty boring soon thereafter, as we exited the park not too far from where the tyre burst. I’m sure the nature tricksters heard us saying that the road was boring because a couple of hours later, another tyre blow-out on the Hilux brought us to a standstill. We couldn’t just change the tyre as the last spare had a puncture so the men had to first plug the puncture and then inflate the tyre before they could swop out the damaged wheel. Again we females used the time to grab a quick bite to eat from the back and to make coffee for the men. We were stumped with why the wheels burst. Both vehicles were deflated to between 1.6 and 1.8 bar, neither were very heavily loaded. When we got the new ones in Lüderitz the one dealer told us it was over inflated and the other one said it’s because they were too flat, so we don’t know for sure why it happened. The one thing we do know now, is to make sure that you have two spare wheels when traveling on the Namibian gravel roads.
We got to Klein Aus Vista that afternoon by 15:00 and after we checked in, it was off to the campsite to set-up camp for our two night stay. We also used the lodge facilities to hand in some laundry that we had accumulated over the last couple of days. The campsite at Klein Aus Vista is called the Desert Horse Campsite and it’s situated inside a game reserve where they have quite a large variety of animals including hyenas. The camp site is unfenced but sadly we didn’t have any wildlife visiting us during our stay. We had dinner at the lodge restaurant on our first night there and even though it was a bit on the expensive side, it was delicious and definitely worth the splurge. We had beers on the deck afterwards before heading out to the camp site, which were quiet and tranquil after the bustle at the main lodge.
The next day it was off to do some sightseeing in the area and we had three things we wanted to see: Kolmanskop, Lüderitz and the feral horses. Sadly the horses were nowhere to be seen and by the time we got back on the road later that day, we simply didn’t have enough daylight left to wait for them. We started off at Kolmanskop and we were in time to join one of their guided tours. Don’t even consider visiting this place without doing the tour as their guides are super knowledgeable and funny and they tell you so much things about the town and its history that you wouldn’t know if you just walked around by yourself. The town closes for visitors by 13:00 in the afternoon so join the first tour of the morning and thereafter you can spend some time to walk around and to take pictures. There’s a ton of info on the internet for Kolmanskop so I’m not going to relay all the history here but something that stood out for me was that by the time the town was fully established in 1908, every single household had electricity and a telephone installed in their house. The mining company looked after this town good and proper and no expense was spared to make life comfortable for the mining community that stayed here. We were pressed for time though as we still had to go find a tyre dealer to fit two new tyres to the Hilux’ spares so we left by 12:00 and drove along the B4 to Lüderitz.
Lüderitz isn’t the most exciting town ever to visit, let’s be honest but there are quite a few sightseeing spots that you can add to your itinerary. We had lunch at the famous Ritzi’s Restaurant where the food was amazing but the service was a bit lacking. After lunch we drove out to Agate Beach which looked a bit rundown and scruffy to be honest, so we didn’t stay long. We also had a quick stop at the harbor and the waterfront area, and we also wanted to go have a look at Shark Island camp site. It’s a beautiful location as it sits on a peninsula but I think the wind will blow your tent, caravan and vehicle into the ocean. It’s totally unsheltered so if you’re planning on staying there you have to make sure that you’ve got PROPER storm ropes. We didn’t see a lot of things to do inside the resort neither did we see a camp site shop.
We headed back to Klein Aus Vista soon after leaving Shark Island and we were mesmerized by the vastness of the desert and the beauty of the dunes. The contract between the ocean and the desert is truly very stark and as soon as you start heading inland you forget that you were just driving next to the beach. We didn’t have dinner as we were still rather full after our big lunch in Lüderitz so we enjoyed some milk tart (baked and liquid variety) before calling it a night. We left the lodge by 08:30 the following morning, with a promise of visiting this beautiful resort again sometime in the future.