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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Duwisib

   

In a remote valley, on the edge of the Namib Dune Desert, set amidst huge camel-thorn trees, lies one of Namibia's most famous and extraordinary buildings - the historic Duwisib Castle.

Built in 1909, by Baron Captain Heinrich Von Wolf, the castle stands on the high ground looking southwards onto a valley. It is situated in semi-arid lands, 70km south-west of Maltahohe.

After the German-Nama war, the 'Baron' and his wife commissioned an architect to build a castle that would 'reflect Von Wolf's commitment to the German Military cause.' The interior was designed for comfort and clever placing of its windows allowed for maximum sunlight to shine into the vast rooms. Metre thick stone walls and high ceilings made for coolness in the hot summers and two huge fireplaces were built to ward off the bitter cold winter nights. Beneath the hall, there was a large cellar, full of imported wines and French cognacs.

Much of the raw materials used in the construction of the fort were imported from Germany. After landing at Luderitz, the materials were transported by ox-wagon for over 600kms through the Namib Desert. Eventually, a castle consisting of 22 rooms, was completed.

While travelling to Europe in 1914, the First World War broke out, and on their arrival the Baron rejoined the German army, but was killed at the battle of the Somme in 1916. His wife never returned to Duwisib Castle, settled in Switzerland, and after the war sold the castle to a Swedish family.

One of the legends around the castle is that the Baron's horses escaped into the Namib Desert and were responsible for the Namib Desert Feral Horses which are found in the region.

Duwisib castle was transferred to the state in the late 1970's, and was opened to the public in 1991. The castle now houses a collection of 18th and 19th century antiques, armour and paintings.

There is a well-shaded campsite, with some picnic sites, an ablution block and there is a kiosk in the Castle. It offers a good overnight stop between southern Namibia and Sesriem and the Naukluft Mountains. There is no power supply to the campsite.

   
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