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I Dream Africa provides a comprehensive directory of activities, hot spots, top locations etc. in Namibia. Combined with the directory, I Dream Africa also provides tour packages allowing clients to experience Namibia at its best.
Luderitz to Walvis Bay
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4x4 Guided Self Drive - Luderitz to Walvis Bay

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4X4 GUIDED SELF DRIVE : LUDERITZ TO WALVIS BAY

Extreme 4X4 - 7 Days
(Fully equipped rental vehicles also available)

idream Africa Tours and Safaris offers an unforgettable adventure in the oldest coastal desert, the Namib Desert. This dune adventure takes place between Lüderitz and Walvis Bay, formerly known as “Diamond Area no 1 & 2” and contains some of the highest dunes Africa can offer.

You will visit places like Silvia Hill, Spencer Bay, Meob Bay, Charlottenfelder, Sandwich Harbour. You will also encounter the rusting remains of ships, ox-wagons and trucks; you will lose track of time amongst derelict dwellings and disintegrating mining paraphernalia that resonate with the dreams and aspirations of the diamond diggers and fortune hunters of the past. You will be transfixed by the romance and mystique of this tantalizingly beautiful desert wonderland.

HISTORY:

The discovery of diamonds in 1908 around Kolmanskop led to an uncontrolled diamond rush in Namibia. Under proclamation, the German colonial Government declared the area between the 26-degree (Gibraltar) and the Orange River, a “Sperrgebiet” (Forbidden Area), stretching 100-km inland. This area was only accessible by the Dernburg Company, thus forcing prospectors northwards beyond its borders.

This led to the discovery of diamonds at Oyster cliffs, Saddle Hill, Spencer Bay and the area between Meob Bay and the Conception Bay area (Diamond area no 2), resulting in yet another diamond rush. By 1909, a total of 500 diamond claims had been registered and mining towns such as Charlottenfelder, Holsatia and Grillenberger were established. Hopeful prospectors also tried their luck towards the South, but with the small diamond yields from these claims only a few prospectors proved to be successful in the long run.

Miners lived, prospected and died amidst the most challenging living conditions and circumstances of this hostile desert environment.

During the peak of production there were between 600 and 700 people, whose every need, ranging from the basic provision of water, supplies and equipment had to be fulfilled.

Goods for these remote areas were transported, mainly by ship, from Swakopmund via Sandwich Harbour, Conception Bay and Meob Bay. Various shipping casualties occurred, such as the Eduard Bohlen, which was consequently lost while trying to off-load mining equipment it had onboard (1910).

Remains of an ox-wagon fitted with special wide iron bands to make transportation easier in sandy areas and the surfboats at Meob Bay are all examples of pre-World War I historical relicts found in the area.

In 1909, a Customs and Police station was opened at Conception Bay and during 1912/1913 an agreement was reached to invest in a light railway from Conception Bay to Conception Water; and in an 80-km pipeline linking the settlements from Meob Bay. A number of pre-fabricated buildings were constructed including a large shed for the storage of perishable supplies, one for fodder and oats for the horses, mules and camels, sleeping quarters for employees, a smithy and a store room for spares and equipment. It is not known how many of these pre-fabricated buildings were erected at the various settlements and only the foundations of a few are visible today.

In November 1914, all persons in the area were instructed to stop all operations and to proceed northwards to Swakopmund. This order came as a result of an expected invasion of allied troops. Only four companies still mined the area when De Beers started to purchase up the concession areas in 1929. From existing mining records it is clear that the average diamond found in this area was much smaller than those found South of Luderitzbucht.

In 1932, the price of diamonds dropped considerable and almost all known diamondiferous ground had been worked over at least once. The mining of these small diamonds left behind in the tailings became uneconomical.

After World War II, Industrial Diamonds of South Africa Ltd. (1945) conducted an extensive prospecting survey in the Meob area but to no avail and CDM also abandoned this area in the early 60’s. Thus leaving the area abandoned with only some remnants of the activities still visible and deteriorating at an alarming rate.

Saddle Hill became well known in Namibian diamond operations through the efforts of the remarkable Mose Kahan. The unsinkable Mose was born in Konigsberg, Prussia and after emigrating to South Africa, he became involved in prospecting and mining. His application for a concession in Diamond area no 2 was successful and he named his claims Saddle Hill, Ophir and Atlantis.

To reach his claims with food and mining supplies, Kahan had to make his way through hazardous shifting dunes. After World War II, Kahan bought some Ford “stompneus” lorries from surplus war supplies, which he fitted with Dakota DC3 aircraft tyres. With these low-pressure aircraft tyres, the lorries were able to travel on the sand and this enabled him to bring the supplies and equipment to Saddle Hill. One of these lorries, nicknamed Suzie, unfortunately had to be abandoned in the dunes, and is today still waiting for the repair crew. There is also a Bulldozer, pulling some trailers close to the Uri Haugab Mountains.

With the proclamation of the area between Lüderitz and Walvis Bay as Diamond Area No. 2, the legislated control over this area has been lifted and is, for the first time in the history of Namibia, open to the public.

THE TREASURE TRAIL:

Our adventure starts in Aus at The Bahnhof Hotel (Discounted rate of N$340.00 pp sharing for dinner, bed & breakfast) where the group will assemble at 18h00 the evening before. There will be a short briefing before venturing into the desert the next day.

While enjoying the clean fresh air of Southern Namibia, the final preparations will take place. Enough fuel is available at the local garage, but stocking up on anything else must be done prior to your arrival in Aus.

Day 1:
After backtracking about 35km on the Lüderitz-Aus main road, it is time to say goodbye to tar roads and start the adventure of a lifetime. You will learn dune-driving on a few smaller dunes, passing Gibraltar and Saddle-Hill South en-route to our first overnight spot. For the next couple of days you will experience ‘camping under the desert sky’ in true expedition style.

Day 2:
The trail now leads North past Saddle Hill North, Clara Hill towards Spencer Bay where The Otavi’s sea life came to a halt. We pass the Arcona to our campsite on the beach.

Day 3:
Devils Workshop is on the menu where technical driving skills will come to the foreground on our way to the ‘stompneus’ Ford lorry Suzy and the Bulldozer. We will then cross the dune belt again en-route to our sea front overnight camp.

Day 4:
The dunes will get progressively higher and more difficult where driver experience and skills will be tested and honed to perfection. Driving along the Lange Wand, we will be visiting Silvia Hill and St Francis Bay. With plenty of high dune driving behind us, we will come to rest near Black Rock.

Day 5:
At Reutersbrunn / Fishersbrunn area, fresh water can be found at shallow depth. At Meob Bay the dune belt opens up and it is in this stretch up to Conception Bay where active diamond mining was the order of the day during the early 1900’s. The settlements Grillenberger, Charlottenfelder and Holsatia will be visited, where we will also be camping for the night.

Day 6:
We visit the shipwrecks of the Eduard Bohlen & Shawnee as well as Conception Water. Passing ‘Langewand’ where a massive dune ends in the sea, circumnavigating the Salt Pan ‘extensions’, the trail once again leads into the even higher dunes towards Sandwich Harbour. The night will be spent in the vicinity of the Harbour.

Day 7:
From Sandwich, the trail enters the ‘Roller Coaster’, a series of massive ‘roaring’ slip faces, not only giving you a new thrilling experience but also offering breathtaking views of Sandwich Harbour and a panorama of Sandscapes exiting onto the beach South of Walvis Bay. The trail ends at Walvis Bay after a final 50km stretch of beach driving.

ESSENTIALS:

The following items are mandatory for all the participating vehicles (Please check carefully):

  • Vehicle must have 4x4 capabilities and a good ground clearance.
  • Sufficient fuel to cover the distance (see distances table above). Heavy sand driving conditions (± 3km/liter and ± 4.5km/liter consumption for larger petrol and diesel engines respectively) will be experienced.
  • Vehicle to be fitted with strong recovery points to attach tow ropes in the front and at the rear. NB!!
  • Spares such as engine-, gearbox-, transfer case oil, brake fluid, v-belts, fuses, water pipes etc.
  • The trail passes through heavy dune area, which requires high flotation tyres ("fat takkies").
  • Vehicle must be loaded in such a way to ensure that it is not “top heavy” – e.g. only light items like clothes, etc on roof carriers (No rooftop tents, water or fuel).
  • All equipment and luggage must be securely strapped and fastened.
  • Empty/available lighter plug socket for a communication radio.
  • Space for one Ammo box with food for the kitchen which you will receive the day of departure.
  • 20 liter of water for the kitchen and 20-30 liter of water per person for showering and washing (Minimum of 60 liter total).
  • Two large bags (20kg+) of firewood and one bag of charcoal for the kitchen.
  • Shovel.
  • Tyre pressure gauge and an electrical pump for the tyres.
  • Toilet paper & matches.
  • Plastic bags to carry your own waste (e.g. empty cool drink tins, etc).
  • Torch with extra batteries.

YOU WOULD NEED:

  • Tent, folding chair, sleeping bag/bed roll and pillow.
  • Eating utensils (cutlery, plate, bowl, glass & mug).
  • Own snacks & refreshments (alcoholic beverages, cool drinks, in-betweens, etc.).
  • Hat, sunglasses & sun tan lotion.
  • Clothing for very hot and very cold times, toiletries & towels.
  • Prescribed medicine – NB!!!!
  • Small bowl or collapsible wash basin.
  • Camera and/or video camera with extra films & batteries – synchronize with GPS time!!!!!!
  • Cloth and windscreen cleaner.
  • Small broom.

OPTIONAL:

  • Extra spare wheel (no 6).

WE SUPPLY:

  • Tour guides and assistants.
  • Recovery gear and onsite recovery only.
  • Communication radios for all participating vehicles.
  • All three meals (Only tea/coffee and fruit juices will be supplied with meals).
  • “Communal” camping equipment (e.g. braai grid, cooking facilities & equipment, tables, wash-up facilities, showers, toilets etc.)

ITINERARY:

Day 0: Participants assemble in Aus/Lüderitz at 18:00 the day before.(Meals & Accommodation at own account)
Day 1: Depart to Saddle Hill South.
Day 2: Go past the Otavi, Spencer Bay to the Arcona.
Day 3: Past bulldozer, viewpoint to Silvia Hill where we will sleep.
Day 4: Nice dune driving and sleep in Black Rock vicinity.
Day 5: Visit “ghost” mining settlements on the way to Holsatia.
Day 6: The rout leads via the Eduard Bohlen, Conception and Langewand towards Sandwich Harbour.
Day7: Last stretch of dunes (“Roller Coaster”) towards Walvis Bay.
(Meals & Accommodation at own account)

NB: The 6 day trip does not include Saddle Hill

We can arrange the rental of 4x4 vehicles and camping equipment on your behalf.
 

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