En route to wild horses and diamond towns
by Ron Swilling
Surrounded by granitic-gneiss koppies, the camel-thorn-studded horseshoe of land has an air of seclusion, accentuated by occasional wandering gemsbok and kudu bulls that enter the campsite at quieter moments to seek nutritious camel-thorn pods
Situated several kilometres to the west of the settlement of Aus en route to the coastal town of Lüderitz, the campsite at Klein-Aus Vista is a recommended stop along the road from the Fish River Canyon to Sossusvlei. Each of the ten demarcated sites has a wind shelter, braai facility, table with benches, water point and a gnarled camel-thorn tree (with your own sociable-weaver nest, if you’re lucky). In the late afternoon the rocks deepen in colour and appear to glow, a prelude to the star-studded night. Away from the world, the peace that comes with being out in nature is soon cherished. A few chairs, a campfire and barbecue complete your temporary home, exuding that feeling of comfort and well-being experienced with time spent outdoors.
For unparalleled views across the plains of the Pro-Namib to the purple-blue mountains in the distance, follow the sunset trail (also suitable for mountain bikes) from where it starts near the stone-walled ablution facility. It is a vista of beauty you will recall for many years to come and will be a highlight of your stay at Klein-Aus Vista.
Combined with diamond intrigue
Campers are welcome to visit the bar and restaurant area at Klein-Aus Vista, and to join a day, half-day or sunset drive into the Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park. For those wanting to feel the earth underfoot, five walks ranging from one to five hours are offered in the area. A mountain-bike route is currently being developed.
Klein-Aus Vista’s attractive setting, expansive panoramas, warm central area and friendly staff make it an appealing base to stay while passing through or exploring the area. Twenty kilometres away, the wild horses of the Namib can be viewed at the Garub viewpoint, and on the outskirts of Lüderitz, the century-old diamond mining town of Kolmanskop. (Tours are at 9:30 and 15:00 daily, and at 10:00 on Sundays and public holidays.)
The town of Lüderitz opens its rocky arms, inviting exploration of its coastline and a journey into the past. The south-western corner of the country is steeped in history and out-of-the-ordinary sights. Home to wild horses and the secretive brown hyaena, the Sperrgebiet, formerly a restricted diamond area, and a section of the bleak, barren and beautiful Namib Desert, combine with diamond intrigue to provide a full itinerary.
Returning to Klein-Aus Vista after exploring the area is a wonderful way to end the day, but be warned: you may just find that you want to linger longer.
The aptly-named and affordably-priced Sophia Dale Base Camp is an easy ten-minute drive away from Swakopmund and the many activities the coastal town has to offer, and offers a few of its own…
This article was made possible by Cymot Namibia
This article appeared in the April/ May 2011 edition of Travel News Namibia.