What this says ….
A weather stone:
If it’s wet = it’s raining
If it’s white = it’s snowing
if it’s swinging = it’s windy
if it’s lying on the ground = it’s rope is broken
if it’s gone = there has been a tornado (or someone has stolen it)
While the famous Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias was recorded as the first European to Luderitz in 1487, it is German occupation and colonisation that has made the town what it is to-day. Between 1842 and 1845, it was annexed to the Cape Colony for its rich guano pickings but in 1883, the Germans took over completely, naming the town after Adolf Luderitz who wanted to establish a trading post and a foothold for the German Empire.
The town’s foundations are on guano, fishing and of course, diamonds. Consequently, it has always been a ‘boom or bust’ town and this is reflected in the architecture, abandoned and beautiful buildings ad the remnants many failed developments.
The wind never stops blowing! The sand dunes cover everything with sand, and the fortunes have fluctuated with every gust of wind. In 1928, diamond were discovered at the Orange River mouth further south and the focus moved to Orannjemund. However, in 1989 mining started again with NAMDEB in Elizabeth Bay and the town is reviving. Not only that, but the Namibian government is rebuilding the railway line from Keetmanshoop to the sea in Luderitz, re-opening a trade channel.
It had been another dusty ride and the look of the Protea Hotel and other establishments in Luderitz did not appeal, but we were there to view Kolmanskop (much more later!), and we peeped over a hill to see Nirvana – the Luderitz Nest Hotel . Spoil time!
40 luxurious rooms, all overlooking the sea, a good (if not gastronomic) restaurant and the usual smiling, friendly Namibian staff. Bliss! And, wi-fi!
Side by side with the Quiver Forest is a camped off area that the Noltes have called The Giants’ Playground. The reason being that there is a formidable collection of stones and rocks which have settled in many different formations . The event must have happened many aeons ago.
There is a little walking track running through the Playground. A fun morning!
The Quiver Tree or ‘kokerboom’ is one of the most interesting and characteristic plants of the very hot and dry parts of Namibia. Actually, it is not a tree but an aloe plant. The botanical name is Aloe Dichotoma. The latter word referring to the forked branches of the plant.
The plant is called a ‘kokerboom’ because some Bushmen and Hottentot tribes used the tough pliable bark and branches to make quivers for their arrows. Koker is the Afrikaans name for quivers.
The Quiver tree is stout and can grow up to 9 metres high with a smooth trunk which can be up to 1 meter in diameter at ground level. They usually grow separately and alone but sometimes, they grow together and form the illusion of a forest – this is the Quiver Tree Forest at the Nolte’s farm near Keetmanshoop, Namibia.
The tree propogates only by seeds and they have their first flowers when they are about 20 to 30 years old, with a birght yellow colour and only flower in the winter during June and July.
The big trees you see in the pictures here are about 200 to 300 years old.
We had turned the corner on our 4×4 Safari and were heading south towards Cape Town. A planned stop in Otjiwarongo has been thwarted by the twin perils of a UN conference booking out the entire town and a major dust storm. We took one look at the Acacia Caravan Park in Outjiwarongo and fled!
We dropped Sue in Windhoek to fly home and then headed down south to Keetmanshoop and the Quiver Tree Resort and Cheetah Sanctuary.
The Nolte family farm cattle on a large farm but have an passionate interest in wild life and run a small cheetah sanctuary. We watched a feeding session and decided to bunk down in the small comfortable chalets instead of pitching the tents. Fatigue was setting in!
A tough 68km drive from the Ruacana border post area in far north-west Namibia takes you through Himba Tribe territory to an oasis – the Kunene River Lodge. Owned and managed by Peter and Hillary Morgan it is exceptional. Grassed camp sites are side by side with luxury lodges. The reception, restaurant and deck are communal and all excursions and river cruises etc are open to all guests.
Peter is acknowledged as a birding expert and his knowledge is encyclopedic. In fact, the KRL logo has ‘Home of the Cinderella Waxbill’ on it. Hillary marshalls her staff with a firm but happy hand and it shows. The gardens are immaculate, the wifi Hot Spot puts a huge smile on the ladies in our party, the ice cubes are plentiful, the ablution blocks are spotless and even the monkeys amused us. The cap it all a great swimming pool and lounging chairs.
For all of us, but particularly the ladies, the boxes were all ticked!