From the affluent industrial city to the abandoned ghost town
In the south of Namibia, only 15 km east of the port city of Lüderitz, the ruins of Kolmannskuppe, which was founded in 1908 by the employee of the Deutsche Reichsbahn August Stauch, are partly hidden under sand dunes. It is easy to reach via the B4, which leads through an almost deserted, unreal landscape with a fascinating play of colors. On a tour through the so-called Märchental, which owes its name to the legendary diamond deposits on what is probably the oldest part of the earth’s crust, you should definitely interrupt your trip for this attraction.
Perfect logistics in the desert
From midday onwards, the constant wind ensures a supply of fine Namib sand. It encloses the remaining buildings and in some rooms stands meters high. Nevertheless, you can see from the architecture of the houses, which were renovated as open-space museums, that this place was not lacking in luxury in its heyday. There was a school, the colonial-style mine manager’s house with a glazed veranda, as well as a casino, gym and swimming pool. The hospital with two doctors for the four hundred inhabitants had the first X-ray machine in Africa. In addition to medical diagnostics, its use was also used to track down diamonds that had been swallowed by miners. Electricity was supplied by Lüderitz, water for daily needs, the ice cream and lemonade factory came from Cape Town, about 1000 km away. The 800 local workers were housed much more simply in primitive barracks on the outskirts of the town. When the word got around about diamonds simply lying in the sand, an uninhibited run on this region began. It only took a few years before no further mining rights were granted to private individuals. The last resident left Kolmannskuppe around 1952.
Tourists are welcome
Today Kolmannskuppe belongs to the restricted area national park. Guided tours as part of study trips are booked in Lüderitz. For individual excursions, special permits are required, with which one can enter the restricted area even at sunrise. Souvenirs, including diamonds, of course, are available in the souvenir shop.
Namib Skeleton Coast National Park
Namibia offers several national parks for travel and study trips.
The Namib Skeleton Coast National Park is the largest protected area within Namibia and, with an area of 107 540 km², is the eighth largest national park on earth. Due to its enormous size, this national park is divided into five administrative units: Skeleton Coast, Dorob National Park, Namib-Naukluft, Meob-Chamais and restricted area.
The park stretches from the Oranje in the south to the Kunene in the north, 1570 kilometers on the coast, and extends at its narrowest point on the Skeleton Coast for 25 kilometers and at its widest in the Naukluft Mountains to 180 kilometers.
The individual units of the national park:
The Merob-Chamais area has had its first marine and island protection area since 2009, the Naukluft area has a lot of rainfall and is well developed with hiking trails, while the restricted area is a part where diamonds were mined and which can therefore only be visited to a limited extent. Despite the sometimes very severe destruction of the impressive desert landscape, some biotopes have been preserved.
The Skeleton Coast bears its name because violent seas, dense fog fields and strong storms overturned many ships and the stranded people had little hope of survival, as a 300-kilometer-wide desert lay ahead of them that could not be crossed.
Fauna and Flora
Due to the extreme climatic conditions, its own fauna and flora have developed. There are the South African sea lions, seal colonies, black-backed jackals and black-backed hyenas, as well as a few desert lions. The sandshield lizard is typical. Of course, all of the animals that Africa is famous for are on display, such as zebras, giraffes, rhinos, and elephants. There are also snakes, geckos, unusual insects, seabirds, African penguins, cormorants, ostriches, antelopes and springboks.
The flora consists largely of lichens, pencil bushes and living stones, these are plants that look like stones.
A trip to such an area as this national park is certainly a trip for education and Namibia impresses with its unique natural scenery.
Waterberg Plateau Park
The 200 m high Waterberg Plateau is a landmark in the Namibian landscape. The imposing Table Mountain is 50 km long and 20 km wide. The porous sandstone caused seepage over thousands of years, which favored a fascinating and species-rich world of flora and fauna at the foot of the plateau. In order to protect this area sustainably, the 400 km² Waterberg Plateau Park was founded as early as 1972, which today is one of the most important national parks in Namibia.
The national park is halfway between Windhoek and Etosha National Park in the north, a little east of Otjiwarongo. Accommodation is offered in the region in private lodges and in the state-run Waterberg Camp. The former Bernabe-de-la-la-Bet-Camp is very well equipped (pool area, playground, restaurant and various accommodations) and offers various guided tours to the Waterberg Plateau and through the park for travelers.
Explore the Waterberg Plateau Park
From the camp there are daily guided hikes or tours with the off-road vehicle to the Waterberg. Many endangered animal species live in the national park, including rhinos, wildebeests, antelopes and the rare Cape vultures, which can be observed on these tours or as part of study trips. The Waterberg Wilderness Trail is a special experience for outdoor enthusiasts. On this 50 km long multi-day tour with a park ranger, travelers can explore the region on foot and spend the night in nature
A glittering sight in the steppe
Epupa Falls is located on the Kunene River on the border between Angola and Namibia in an area commonly known as Kaokoland. They are created by a series of cascades that drop a total of 60 meters over a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometers. The Epupa Falls, also known as the Monte Negro Falls, are not too difficult to get to from the city of Opuwo. Further west there are the Rucana Falls. If you are not out and about in the rainy season, a four-wheel drive vehicle is not required – although such a vehicle is usually recommended.
There are four lodges in the immediate vicinity of these waterfalls in South Africa, which offer holidaymakers a relaxing time with bars, restaurants and beautiful views. Other overnight and lodge options that can be used to visit the falls are in the town of Opuwo. The continuously flowing waters of the Kunene River offer plenty to see and do. Rainbow shimmer in the water droplets and the barren landscape flickers on the horizon. There are a number of activities that tourists can engage in for many days. Some can be done on your own, others have to be booked by various lodges and campsites.
Around 240 Namibian and rare bird species have been recorded in the Kunene region. Bird watching can be done on foot or on an organized boat tour. Vacationers should keep an eye out for the rare ruffle-tailed palm thrush, bee-eater, the African osprey, the African paradise flycatcher, the malachite kingfisher and the goliath heron. A walk to Epupa Falls, guided or alone, is also great for photography and bird watching. Downstream there are a number of spectacular viewpoints.