We visited the Fish River Canyon yesterday, second largest canyon in the world, and a very impressive sight. It is possible to do an 80 km, 5-day walk along the river bed and we overheard an older man reminiscing about his experience doing it when he was younger. One of his companions broke his leg or something equally horrible. The descent to the river bed would be treacherous, especially with a full rucksack. We were happy to just stay at the top and look over the edge. We drove a few kms away from the main viewpoint and had lunch overlooking the canyon.
Then headed further west, through the Gondwana-Canon Park, stopping for afternoon tea at the Canon Roadhouse, which is sort of an African version of a 1950s US Route 66 roadhouse. Full of old cars, trucks, garagenalia (including old calendars with topless young ladies) and souvenirs. They serve Amarula Cheesecake, which sounded great, but was a bit disappointing in that it was really just a vanilla cheesecake with some watered-down Amarula poured over. I’m positive that our expert cheesecake-maker Sally could do much better.
We camped just out of Aus last night, at Klein-Aus Vista, a 10,000 hectare ranch which offers a variety of accommodation, including a 12-place campground with hot showers. It was almost full, mostly people driving 4WDs with rooftop tents which hold absolutely no appeal to us at all … even moreso after the extremely windy night we had last night. It was bad enough being in a tent on the ground, but in one several metres off the ground would have been horrible! Greg got up during the night and put more guy ropes up to hold the tent down, which worked well, but one side of the tent fly still kept getting blown off the tent pegs.
We drove to Luderitz, on the west coast, this morning. A few kms from the campground, we saw the wild horses that live on the plains around Klein-Aus Vista – some of the world’s only desert-dwelling horses. We saw a couple of dozen and they looked in good condition. There seems to be almost nothing for them to eat, but there is an artificial waterhole nearby, and they must eat the low-growing bushes around. Interesting how a species can adapt to their surroundings. There are a few theories about how they got there in the first place – German cavalry horses abandoned during the South African invasion in 1915, shipwrecked en route from Europe to Australia, or descendents of stud stock from Duwisib Castle, which was built by a German baron in the early 1900s.
Luderitz is an interesting little town, full of colonial and art nouveau buildings, and there’s a ghost town a few kms away which has become a tourist destination. Lots of tourist accommodation, and tourist activities including boat tours and safaris. Diaz Point is 22kms away – the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Diaz erected a cross there in 1488 on his way back from the Cape of Good Hope. There is a light house there and a seal colony nearby.