Namibia road map 2

Fortunately it was not necessary to drive back to Grunau before turning north to Keetmanshoop. We took the dirt road close to the Canyon Roadhouse which went north to Seeheim. The road once again was in excellent condition but very quiet.

Namibia road map 2

A more detailed map of Namibia to give you an idea of the huge distances one travels

Seeheim is to the West (left) of Keetmanshoop and Mariental to the North near to where the Fish River originates

Although we did not feel any apprehension. I would not recommend that an older couple travel this road alone as there was very little traffic. Namibia is a vast country of 825 615km2 (318 772m2) with a population of just over 2 million people so one can drive for hours without seeing any sign of human life. Most of the roads are not tarred but they are well maintained. We were approx. 30kms from Seeheim when we reached a detour and had to turn into another road going east. Having no idea where this would take us we just had to follow the detour as the main road was closed off.

 Typical Namibian road

A view of the road from the canyon to Seeheim

What a surprise we were to receive and it added an unknown and unexpected dimension to our trip. Suddenly the scenery changed dramatically. It was lush and green after dust, stones and scrub. This opened further into fields of Palms growing dates for export! Yes, in the middle of the Namib Desert! Clearly there was water here. Enjoying this beautiful change we climbed a hill and were confronted with a huge dam which we learnt was the Naute Dam. We were able to get out and walk all around it and, as it was a Sunday, there were no workers or anyone else around. It is not a pleasure dam so all visitors were passers-by like ourselves.

16. Entrance to Naute Dam

Entrance to Naute Dam

13 Quiver treeA Quiver Tree.

As we continued on our journey we saw a number of Quiver Trees, the National Tree of Namibia. The milk from these was used as the poison in arrows of the Nama people to hunt animals for food. We also passed some of the highest anthills we had ever seen. Not long after leaving the dam the road did a sharp turn and suddenly we were facing west and joined the original road just before meeting the tar road, which links Lüderitz to Keetmanshoop, at Seeheim. On a later visit to Namibia this road was to play an important and interesting part of a trip to Lüderitz, but that is another story. It felt quite strange driving on tarmac again and we were able to do a considerably higher speed. Noticing immediately that Keetmanshoop is just like any other large town we didn’t stop but continued on our northward travel to the next small town of Mariental where we had an overnight booking at a B&B. We arrived safely and after checking-in were directed to another gate further down the road where we had been allocated a beautiful suite.

It was here that we learnt that, in Namibia shops, with the exception of a very few such as big supermarkets, close from 1pm on Saturday to Monday morning. We had become so accustomed to everything being open all day every day in South Africa. As we were booked into a B&B we had to find a place for dinner and this proved to be quite a test. It was Sunday evening so there was not a restaurant open in all of Mariental with the exception of the Wimpy at the local service station. Not really the most exciting dinner but at least we did not go to bed hungry.

From here we continued on the final leg of our journey via Windhoek to Gobabis.