|We woke this morning at the more civilized hour of 7:00 am and were on the road by 8:00. Today, we were heading to Aus.
Before arriving in Aus, we made a couple stops. First, a little before noon, we stopped in a quaint small town just off the road with a grocery. Unfortunately, it being a Sunday, the grocery store was closed, but there was a small German-run Bed & Breakfast nearby with a restaurant serving lunch. The menu was limited – we had to choose between cheese & ham sandwiches or bratwurst – but it was a nice garden and a nice change from our usual lunch of, um, cheese and ham sandwiches.
We arrived in Aus at around in the mid-afternoon. After the Germans surrendered to the South African army in 1915, Aus was turned into an internment camp for up to 1600 German military personnel. After the Treaty of Versailles, the camp was dismantled and by May 1919 it was closed. Today, only a plaque commemorating the camp remains.
Upon arriving in Aus, we immediately tried to find a grocery store as we did not have food for dinner or breakfast tomorrow morning. The only grocery store in town was closed, but luckily the storeowner was nearby and agreed to open the store for us. We purchased some supplies and set off for the campsite.
The campsite was a few kilometers outside of town and was surrounded by hiking trails. The sky was threatening to rain so we quickly set up camp and set off with Gabby, Lee and Kate on the hour-long sunset trail. The hike was more of a walk through the nearby hills. We walked through the semi-desert landscape commenting on the rocks, the strange looking trees and the occasional lizard that scurried across the path.
While the walk was interesting, and it was nice to stretch our legs after the full days drive, we couldn’t help by wonder why this was a stop on the itinerary. We figured it must just be a convenient stop on the way to our next destination, Ludertiz.
Paul had been due for a haircut for a while. Lee had clippers with him and I borrowed them while I tried to trim Paul’s hair in Sesriem.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a guard and it ended up a little uneven. The only choice was too clean it up without the guard. Lee, taking control of the clippers, shaved Paul right down to the scalp. His white, untanned head glowed and contrasted sharply with the rest of his face. The consensus opinion was that he looked like a convict. I guess we will have to wait for it to grow, and in the meantime I will have to wear sunglasses for the glare and hope the dome tans without burning.
We were treated to another beautiful sunset before another early bedtime.
Our first stop the next morning stop was to see the wild desert horses. There are around 150 to 160 feral horses that run wild through this area of Namibia. It is possible to see them at a watering hole viewing area to drink. When we arrived there were 4 or 5 horses and a small group of oryx.
The origin of these horses is not known but there are three main theories: that they’ve descended from German cavalry horse abandoned during the South African Invasion in 1915; that they were brought in by Nama raiders moving north from the Orange river; or that they descended from the stud stock of Baron Captain Hans-Heinrich von Wolf, the owner of Duwisib Castle, who set off for Germany in search or more horses but was killed in battle in France and never returned to Namibia. Whatever the reason, it was strange to see these horses playing together around the watering hole and amazing to think that they’ve run free, existing in the desert as wild animals, for the last hundred years.