Day Five - Aus, feel the infinity
At dawn we say goodbye to the Fish River Canyon that surprises us for the last time when a group of female kudus cross our way looking for what is left of the leaves yellowing due to the severe drought.
We are headed to Aus ( 220 km ), a small village close to the Sperrgebiet, the prohibited diamond mining area of the Namib Desert. We drive for more than 100 kilometers on gravel roads in the middle of nowhere where we feel completely free, no one in our sight but oryxes and a landscape that is getting, if possible, drier and drier.
Aus, as a city, has nothing to offer except from few colorful houses, so we go directly to our lodge: the Klein-Aus-Vista ( Link ). The lodge is made of three different structures: a campsite, a classic inn and an area, 7 kilometers from the reception, where there are mini-apartments with kitchen and bbq facilities... since we were on our honeymoon we chose the latter! An unforgettable experience!
The lodge is located on an area 10 hectares wide ... we're not joking, 10 hectares. Here at the beginning of XX century, during the World War I, German soldiers lost against South Africans leaving trenches and other war stuff. Relying on its huge farm, the lodge offers hiking trails that differ in length and difficulty ( Link ). We chose the Vista Trail and we can say we won! After a 15/20 minutes easy climb we arrive at the view point, a rock over infinity! We remain there more than a hour relaxing in front of an unbelievable landscape waiting for the sunset. Silence, nature at its best and us, so small compared to Mother Nature splendor!
Day Six - Luderitz & the Wild Horses
The following morning we wake up with our heart full of the emotions that the Vista Trail gave us and with the company of a nice and shy couple small antelopes ( Damara Dik Dik ). We decide to move westwards, towards the Ocean, towards Luderitz and the ghost-town of Kolmanskop, a hundred kilometers far from Klein-Aus-Vista.
The B4 goes into a desert that is getting sandy and here live, or rather survive, few wild desert horses. These animals are the descendants of the horses used by German settlers and soldiers that more than a century ago gained their freedom fighting for survival in an inhospitable environment. The Garub Waterhole was created 20 kilometers far from Klein-Aus-Vista in order to help these poor wild horses, so here you it's easier to see them drinking, even if it is not unusual to see them crossing the B4.
Kolmanskop is the ultimate ghost town! Born at the beginning of XX century thanks to diamonds, in few decades the city went from the wealth brought by the precious gems to the abandon and the desert started to regain what one was its.
The entrance in the park costs 170 NAD ( € 10 ) and at 9.30 am or 11 am there are one hour guided tours. You can visit the city, as we did, by yourself walking among the decadent buildings, just check the opening hours.
Strolling around the city is something strange ... there's everything a city needs, a bowling alley, a school, some shops, some villas... but instead of inhabitants you have only the desert! You can walk into each building. Is it safe? Yes, even if the buildings seem to be very unstable. This place is surely perfect for photos, because it totally unique in the world!
After an hour we leave Kolmanskop headed towards Luderitz, a small colonial town on the Atlantic Ocean. Getting closer to the city, the fog starts to cover the desert... low clouds, 16°, something unbelievable! This weather conditions spoil our trip to Diaz Point where the cross of Bartolomeo Diaz lays among the clouds, the wind and the swollen ocean.
We visit Luderitz quickly and it doesn't impress us despite some colonial buildings and a small but nice waterfront. Then we return to Klein-Aus-Vista where we spend the rest of the day relaxing in our apartment with an amazing view over Namibian plains, knowing that we've already driven for more than 1400 kilometers.