Life on a Table recipe #92 – Ostrich Goulash SoupJune 20, 2016
Get involved using the Carnivore Tracker AppJune 22, 2016
Text and Photographs by Cornel van der Westhuizen
I still remember it like it was yesterday. My family decided over a braai that we were going on a spontaneous crayfish-adventure to Lüderitz for Easter vacation. We had two weeks to plan our trip. Luckily we were able to find accommodation on such short notice at Obelix Village Guest House. Most places in Lüderitz are fully booked at that time of the year with Lüderitz Crayfish Festival and Easter holiday falling on the same weekend.
With our wet suits packed and the last few pieces of equipment for crayfish diving we bought at CYMOT, a long road trip down to Lüderitz awaited us. As morning broke we were on the gravel road. The start of the Fish River just after Kalkrand on the C21 was our first stop for a picnic breakfast together. Then we passed Maltahöhe with donkey carts causing traffic, a beautiful Dutch Reformed Church and the Woestyn-kombuis Restaurant/take-away at Total Spandiens petrol station. Here we came across interesting antiquities teaching us a bit about the history around this little town. Next we had ice cream and bought a pair of vellies from the Helmering Winkel & Bottle store at Helmeringhausen, where we enjoyed some more antique equipment. We drove on the most beautiful, scenic route to Aus, where a cold beer and some delicious cake welcomed us at Bahnhof Hotel Aus. Finally, after spotting some wild horses and desert Oryx and appreciating the wind-swept dunes along the road, we made it to Lüderitz.
With nothing planned for the first night we all went to find something to eat without knowing that on holidays, like Easter, most of the places are closed in this small coastal town. Penguin Restaurant at Lüderitz Nest Hotel was the only place open and it was very busy that night. It was worth waiting for a table, as the food was excellent! After a good night’s sleep we headed off the next day in search of a good place for crayfish diving. My husband, dad, brother, brother in-law and I suited-up, ready for the cold water experience, with mom and the rest watching us from the shore. It wasn’t long until I got my first “big” west-coast crayfish. It is an unforgettable feeling finding it underwater with your hands. It became a challenge among our group to find the biggest one for the day. After a long time my brother was the only one still in the water, still in search of his own big find. After almost giving up he decided to try one last time and finally got that big crayfish. He was so proud, he waved it victoriously as we cheered him on from the beach. My dad won the challenge with the largest one of 500 g. For dinner we all celebrated our hard work with delicious steamed crayfish at Obelix Village Guest House. They generously let us use their kitchen and braai area for self-catering and by the end of the night we were enjoying the evening together with all of the other guests at the guest house.
Lüderitz has many other hidden adventures to experience; we visited and explored every little bay, beach and turn off there was – from Grosse Bucht to the Old Whaling Station. We climbed up to Diaz Point and admired the lighthouse, watched the penguins, seals, bottle-nosed dolphins and other ocean life playing in the waves of a roaring ocean. We bought fresh oysters at the oyster farm and took a walk at the harbour’s waterfront after eating at Ritzi’s Seafood Restaurant. Visiting ‘Felsenkirche’ (the Church on the Rock) was really amazing, the architecture and views of the church are beautiful, as are the stained glass windows that all carry a history of their own. Even the history of the roof, with the letter they found inside made me feel like I was traveling back in time. To top that very feeling, we also took a walk through Kolmanskop, an adventure on its own. Don’t forget the swimming pool on top of the hill with its beautiful view of the desert sea.
We embarked on the long drive back home with peaceful hearts and thoughtful minds. Lüderitz is one destination that my family now visits yearly since that trip. We’ve been there 3 times so far and every time we go on a new adventure and different experience. There are always more stories to write about, even on those windy Lüderitz days.