Die Deutsche Woermann-Linie (Colonial History)

The advertisement featured in the catalogue of the Deutsche Kolonial-Ausstellung (German Colonial Exhibition) from 1896 ( German Wikipedia Link) refers to one of the central players in African maritime travel. As the Hamburg trading companies stepped up their business activities along the western African coast in the 1860s, German influence also rose exponentially and ultimately culminated in the proclamation of German “protective rule” of Cameroon as a German colony. The subsequent increase in trade prompted Adolph Woermann (1847-1911) to first establish the Hamburg shipping company Dampfschiffs-Aktiengesellschaft (Woermann-Linie) under the roof of the C. Woermann trading company and, in a second step, the Deutsche Ost-Afrika Linie (German East Africa Line) in 1890 (featured Image shows a Woermann-Linie Promotional Poster – from Wikipedia). Complete Archive available at the Link mentioned at the bottom of this Blog Post.

Woermann-Linie Shipping Route Map (by Wikipedia)

Soon thereafter, freight service was complimented with the transport of passengers, by adding interim stops in European waters. initially, only a few passengers would use the service of the WoermannLinie with most of the Africa travellers being missionaries or merchants, and passengers under the age of 30 being the exception. Nevertheless, the transport of passengers would still remain more of a domain of the East Africa Line. Since a concerted effort was made to offer the travellers every conceivable amenity, however, high officials of the British colony service soon started joining the ranks of passengers. Around 1900, the German Empire signed a contract with the WoermannLinie to provide regular subsidized steamWorlds of Travel ship service with a maximum travel time of 30 days between Hamburg and the colony Deutsch-Südwestafrika (German South West Africa). In return, the shipping line was obliged to offer reduced rates for all government freight and passengers.

Calypso, Woermann-Linie (from Wikipedia)

A similar deal was also struck with the German East Africa Line. As a direct result of the agreement, the Woermann shipping line came to organize German troop reinforcements during the colonial wars against the Hereros and Nama between 1904 and 1908. When World War 1 broke out, more than 50 steamships carrying over 190,000 gross register tons flew the flags of these shipping lines, which serviced 140 African ports and maintained 13 outbound lines from Hamburg. Every 36 hours a German Africa steam liner of the Woermann shipping line would leave European waters. After the war, only one small coastal steamer with 800 gross register tons remained in service and it would take until 1921 for Woerman to resume the regular service to Africa with his own ships. Among the multitude of companies and institutions that have contributed to the corporate archive over the course of more than a century, shipping companies make up a small but interesting portion.

One of the Woermann-Linie Ships travelling to Namibia in 1936 (from Wikipedia)

Its press folders include articles from international newspapers and magazines on approximately 35,000 German and international firms. In addition, it maintains business reports as well as news reports on 14,000 private, state and supranational bodies, business associations, state institutions, scientific institutions and international organizations. Tue press folders are archived on the basis of geographic criteria, the decisive factor being the location of a company’s headquarters (for more Information click the included Link listed below on this Blog). The company’s first initials followed by a count allowed for further classification. Business reports and statutes make up about two-thirds of the material, the remainder being news articles, essays in professional journals, advertising, commemorative publications and other information.

     + Complete Archive Documents from 1885-1941

• Free Archive Library Platform (various Text, Newspaper Clippings and Images)

     + See some of our past Blog Post’s:

A Haunted, Abandoned German Village In The Namib Desert

Photo Collection of Namibia pre-21’st century

Namibian Atlantic Deep Sea Trawling

The clean, cold waters off the coast of the Namib Desert are home to some of the richest fishing grounds in the world, with the potential for sustainable yields of 1.5 million metric tons per year (Namibian Government 2010). Commercial fishing and fish processing are a significant and growing sector of the Namibian economy, contributing 5.7 per cent to GDP and accounting for 18 per cent of Namibia’s foreign exchange earnings (MFMR 2007). The main species found off the coast of Namibia are hake, sardines, anchovy, and horse mackerel. When Namibia gained independence in 1990, several fish stocks were on the verge of collapse. (photo from Namibia Focus – shows an Image from the early trawling days in Walvisbaai)

Prior to independence, “management” of Namibia’s fisheries consisted of constant jockeying for control. The fishery was, in effect, an open-access fishery, over which neither South Africa, as the de facto authority over Namibia, nor the United Nations, as the de jure authority, were able to exercise jurisdiction. With no rule of law that could be enforced, the fishing grounds became an international free-for-all. In the years prior to independence, more than Fencing Fisheries in Namibia and beyond 3,300 mid-water and bottom-trawl vessels were reportedly operating off the Namibian coast (Beaudry, Folsom, and Rovinsky 1993). According to an account by the African Economic Digest (1993), the USSR had a 32 per cent market share in the sale of the country’s fish, followed by Spain with 26 per cent. Unrestricted access to Namibia’s fishing grounds had devastating effects on the fishery. There were simply too many fishers catching too many fish.

The photo above: A production line from the Grupo Josmar Enterprise.

In the northern Benguela, Namibian fishing vessels target two species of hake, Merluccius capensis and Merluccius paradoxus. Diverse fishery’s like the USSR commenced in the 1950s but remained insignificant until the arrival in 1964 of distant-water fleets that exploited the hake resources beyond the sustainable limit. Today Namibia’s fisheries are recovering. Rights-based fisheries management has been introduced in the Namibian fisheries to improve the economic performance of the fisheries. The aim is to address the common property problem of fisheries by the creation of private property rights and increase the flow of net economic gains from the resource. The trend toward collapse has reversed since independence to the point that Namibian fisheries management is now considered a model. And the few fishing ports, which were once stark desert coast ghost towns, are thriving hubs where Namibians flock for jobs with the processing plants and fishing fleets. The demersal hake fishery is, by far, the most commercially important fishery in Namibia, contributing more than one-half of the final value of all fish products. However, the 154,600 tons landed in 2002 are no more than 25% of the total catch from all fisheries. The newly appointed Namibian scientists initially reduced catch limits to 60,000 tonnes but this was contested by some scientists, including South Africans, who “were stunned by the conservativism of the initial total allowable catch recommendation by the new government” (Ocean and Land Resource Assessment Consultants 2013).

     + The hake fishery management regime

So how exactly is this management system laid out by the Ministry? From what we know, the management of the hake fishery, like all commercial fisheries in Namibia, consists of a combination of harvesting rights, total allowable catches (TACs – link from the NewEra Namibian Newspaper), individual quotas (IQs), a system of fees and a monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) system. The surveillance and enforcement system administer fines, but recourse to courts is also sought. Renewable harvesting rights form the core of the Namibian fisheries management system. Fishing rights are issued to successful bidders for a period of seven, ten, fifteen or twenty years on account of various factors such as the level of Namibian ownership, investment in vessels and onshore facilities, fishing experience and social investment. Prior to 1 August 2001, harvesting rights were issued for 4, 7 and 10 years. The granting of harvesting rights limits access to the fishery. The setting of the TAC corresponds to the best biological information available and is intended to allow for optimal utilisation of the resources. Individual Quotas are issued to right holders and can be caught by the use of any vessel licensed to fish in Namibian waters. In Namibian fisheries, quotas are not permanently transferable, but they can be Rent Capture in the Namibian fisheries: The Case of hake 7 leased within a fishing season: “Fishing rights, or rights of harvest, are the central element of the fisheries management regime. The Marine Resources Act states “No person shall … harvest any marine resource for commercial purposes, except under a right…” The main purpose of fishing rights is to limit entry to the fisheries sector in order to protect the fisheries resources and maintain sustainable operations. Fishing rights are granted for a period of 7, 10, 15 or 20 years depending on various factors, in particular, the level of investment and the level of Namibian ownership and employment. Fishing rights are not freely transferable in Namibia, so as not to undermine the Government’s goals of Namibianisation and empowerment within the sector. The total number of existing rights in 2003 was 159.” – Namibia’s National Plan of Action – Management of Fishing Capacity

In the event of a lease, the original right holder is responsible for use of the quota and the payment of fees set by the MFMR in the year 2000. But that’s as much as we can tell you, unfortunately. We have been informed that there are a couple more hurdles which need to be attended. Further information for those wanting to engage deeper inside the complete details of this practice should get in contact with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

     + (Known) trawling locations 

Fishing for hake takes place all along the Namibian coast, at depths between 200 and 1000 m, with no trawling or longlining allowed approx. 200 m depth. The fishing area can be divided into three sections. The central area stretches from Henties Bay (22°S) to halfway between Walvis Bay and Luderitz (25°S). The northern area stretches north from the central area (22°S) to the Angolan border (17°S). The southern area stretches from the central area south (22°S) to the South African border (30°S). Starting in 1991, longliners initially operated out of Luderitz, a smaller harbour on the southern part of the Namibian coast. Since then, more companies have moved their longline vessels to centrally located Walvis Bay and by 2009 the majority of the fleet was operating from there. Longliners target shallow-water hake (Merluccius capensis) at depths of 200 to 500 m (based on logbook data from trawling records in 2010,  – compared from 3557 records, average depth ranges at approx. 320 m); they concentrate in the south, in the area between Luderitz and Oranjemund, in the central area just north and south of Walvis Bay, and in the north in the area off Moewe Bay (19°S).

• Merluccius capensis; Merluccius paradoxus

Hake (or the Merluccius species) has a mild flavour with a medium but firm textured meat and is best poached with lemon juice. The Hake family comprise 13 species but only one, the European hake, is found in waters close to home. Although closely related, it is separated from cod by its long slender body. 

 

 

 

 

Image above: Merluccius capensis (image from Vreiheid Herald)

Hake is a slow growing fish with a lifespan of about 14 years. Merluccius capensis, mainly taken in inshore waters, is above sustainable levels and catches below Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). The deepwater paradoxus stock is below precautionary levels and a rebuilding plan is in place. Measures to reduce bycatch of seabirds and other fish species have been adopted through a comprehensive management plan and observer programme. The Cape hake fishery has been certified as a responsible fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) since 2004.

The sustainability range on this fish is listed under “No.2”. To explain this rating the Marine conservation society states the following:  “Many of the fish listed are caught in different ways and from different areas of the sea. Some species are caught in a variety of ways and this range shows that, within a species, some may be fished sustainably whilst others unsustainably. ‘Best choices’ are rated 1 and 2, Fish to Avoid are rated 5. Ratings 3 and 4 mean don’t eat too often.” So quite simply, the higher the number towards No.5, the higher the species ranks on the endangered list and should be avoided to help with the survival of the species for generations to come.

This system has been developed by the Marine Conservation Society to help consumers choose the most environmentally sustainable fish.

     + Publications: 

The South African based I&J Fisheries Company annually releases a publication which provides very detailed insight on many seafood purchasing and distributing Company’s, fishing practices, caught species and other topics with relevant information according to their knowledge and all-over practices. Although not a cheap purchase for a Handbook, the Information provided shows and provides a massive amount of very clear literature, statistics and beautifully laid out marine research and their undertaking practices. Much recommended!  

“The Yearbook, covering the fishing industry for over 40 years, is our Fishing Industry Handbook (also available on CD). It contains almost 500 pages of valuable basic information about the fishing industry including fish catches by species, fish imports and exports, all details of fishing vessels, what they are licensed to catch and lots of other valuable information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fishing Industry Handbook and the CD contain information on:

• Fishing rights allocations

• Fish catch data

• Imports and exports of fish trade and commodities

• Organisations and associations involved in the fishing industry

• Contact details of fishing companies, factories, processors and traders

• Scientific articles

• Suppliers to the industry

• A classified buyer’s guide

The Fishing Industry Handbook and the CD also list over 3,000 registered boat-owners with vessel specifications. A classified buyers guide and contact details of suppliers and their services to the Southern African fishing industry.

The Fishing Industry Handbook and the CD are bought by fishing company executives, fishing boat owners, fish factory managers, traders in fishery commodities, importers and exporters, fish wholesalers and retailers, fishery research institutions, universities, financial institutions, government departments, foreign consulates and embassies.”

Info taken from the George Warman Publications Website – click here should there be any Interest for a purchase of any yearly available publications. 

     + Other similar links and past Newspaper Articles:

• Namibia’s Success Leaves South African Fishing Industry Shrugging Its shoulders (external Blog with Newspaper articles)

• Excellent Blog Post from Namibia Focus about Walvisbaai and its past history incl. fisheries (German Text)

• Multiple excellent Newspaper Articles with complete layout and Graphics from a release in 2018 by the Namibian Times (e-Version) 

     + Past Blog Posts with similar Information:

• Namibia Fresh-Water angling and diverse species

• 14 outstanding Namibian Products

• Conservation practices and enterprises within Namibia 

The Greater Flamingos in Namibia

The coastal city of Walvis Bay (Walvisbaai), Namibia lies some 30 kilometres south of Swakopmund, accessed (if you happen to approach from the north) on a stunning ocean road seamed by the mighty Namib Desert dunes. The harbour city is situated at a wide lagoon with innumerable seabirds, pelicans and flamingos. Regarding Namibian flamingos which also are generally known as “Greater Flamingos” are widely distributed from southern Europe to southern Asia and throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with African core populations in Mauritania and Senegal, East Africa and southern Africa. The lagoon in Walvis Bay is the scenic feature of Walvis Bay as such. So with making it one of the most important wetlands of southern Africa and is the hibernation area for thousands of migratory birds, like the greater flamingos. A large proportion of the southern African greater flamingo population of this sporadically nomadic species may congregate in Namibia. Rumour has it that in March 1999, a whopping 51,000 birds were recorded in Namibia out of an estimated total southern African population of 59,300. The greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most widespread and largest flamingo species currently known of (first photo by Pixar).

+ Some general Infos on the Greater Flamingo:

Population estimate: Ranging between 41,000 and 51,000 adults

Southern Africa range: Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe

Habitat: Flooded salt pans, farm dams and coastal lagoons

Communication: These migrating birds communicate vocally with a type of honking that is very similar to the sounds which geese produce. Therefore, Flamingos are not big fans of noisy environments and tend to avoid them!

The surface area of occupancy: approx. 61,300 square kilometres

Food: The Greater Flamingo feeds by wading in shallow water with the bill upside down, filtering small crustaceans and other invertebrates from the water column and mud. It mainly takes saline lake crustaceans such as fairy shrimps, brine flies and marine benthic organisms such as molluscs and diatoms.

The colour(?): The pink/magenta colouring spread throughout their bodies hence comes from the crustaceans that they consume. Younger Flamingos only show signs of pigmentation after three years of age.

Threats: Low breeding frequency and success, collisions with power lines, water abstraction, reduced rainfall, hydrogen-sulphide eruptions, pesticides, encroachment of habitat, disturbance by smaller aircraft’s

Conservation status: Vulnerable (Namibia), Near Threatened (South Africa)

Lifespan: According to Zoo Basel, the general lifespan reaches over 60 years. According to Wikipedia “The oldest known greater flamingo was a bird at the Adelaide Zoo in Australia that died aged at least 83 years. The bird’s exact age is not known; he was already a mature adult when he arrived in Adelaide in 1933. He was euthanized in January 2014 due to complications of old age.”

The male Great Flamingos can be up to 154 centimetres tall which is more than some humans. They only weigh about 3,7 kilograms which for this tall bird is extremely light. Their feathers range in colour from pink – magenta to bright red. They also have areas of white blending throughout them. While in flight you will be able to see areas of black patches underneath the wings as well.

Image above shows Walvis Bay Flamingos in flight – photo by Launchphotography

The Greater Flamingo prefers less saline habitat than the Lesser Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor), including recently flooded salt pans, sewage works, river mouths, inland dams and coastal bay. Generally, their breeding activity occurs on raised islands on the flooded salt pan at Etosha in large colonies which can be found far out on the Etosha salt pan. Worth noting is that breeding colonies may comprise several thousands of nests, often in mixed colonies with the Lesser Flamingo species. At Namibia’s Etosha Pan, laying of eggs via the Greater Flamingo typically starts when annual rains exceed 400 mm, generally in February and March, but as early as November and as late as May. However, in contrast, the Lesser Flamingo lays mainly in May and into June. The recorded breeding frequency and success at Etosha Pan are indeed very low. Between 1956 and 1995, Greater and Lesser Flamingos attempted to breed there on 17 occasions and recorded are only five successful outcomes. The Greater Flamingo is classified as Vulnerable in Namibia and as “Near Threatened” status within South Africa. However, the Greater Flamingo is not considered globally threatened according to the IUCN.

Image above shows the Greater Flamingo migrating route – photo by ResearchGate

The ongoing monitoring of breeding events and their success inside Namibia’s Etosha Pan currently is being continued by Etosha Ecological Institute staff. It is unclear if the cohorts of young birds are being marked with engraved rings when breeding is successful. It is vital to study and allow an assessment of the survival and movement of these birds.

+ Best season for birdwatching in Walvis Bay:

Migration starts at October/November and ends in April. Also, see the Map below for the lagoon directions in Walvis Bay.

• Click here for our past Blog Post regarding the diversity of Namibia’s Wildlife Conservation.

Desert Survival Know-How

If you’re thinking of going on an outrageous adventure then try travelling in the arid stretches of the Namib Desert? This is not everyone’s fancy or an idea of a holiday safari and only for the true hard-knock adventurist’s out there. So to help you plan ahead, you may want to study up on some desert survival skills before you take any decisions. Even the most experienced traveller can end up in a dire and severe situation for such an undertaking. Professionals have the tendency to usually arrive prepared for emergencies, so they survive these harsh undertakings. In general, these individuals have learned from past errors. With serious gained knowledge and a lot of common sense, tragedies will be avoided. That’s where the saying comes in “there is no such thing as being too prepared” holds true value when you are in a dangerous and underestimated environment like the Namib Desert. Please be aware, this small guide is intended for the pure “deep Desert” environment and not the Desert outskirts where bushes and trees are present. By sticking to certain guidelines, survival within the Namib desert is nothing more than a background with well understood plain old common sense with a few added hints, tips and good recommendations.

     + Here are Hippo’s basic and so with best Tip’s:

The biggest common mistake:

In this digital modern age, people rely too much on their cell phones or digital devices. But imagine the unfortunate event of a crash landing in the middle of the Namib Desert where no roaming is available. So we can agree that these devices don’t always work in such remote areas. If you are in doubt, don’t even bother to check with your service provider or any link to confirm coverage areas. Best idea would be, as long as you have battery life is to contact any service providing rescue (download .pdf link with coastal emergency numbers here). Professionals don’t even take such an option into account. It is wise to be sceptical of promises made about battery life and coverage area in regards to Cellphones/Mobiles.

Calling America’s Hotline “911” is impossible, and maps will not download to your phone. Especially in certain areas of the Namib Desert, you can completely forget about it. A GPS gadget will work as long as the battery life will hold, but one will have to settle with is a blue dot on a blank screen. Without directions, many of us will end up walking in a large circle, apparently hence to one leg being stronger than the other, or not the exact same length – debateable (?). A good way to test this theory is to stroll within a large open area by walking with your eyes focused on the ground approximately 2 metres in front of you. Observe what happens.

So how to guarantee that your walking in a straight line? The most simple rule to be followed which is true for the Namib Desert would be the following: In the morning walk away from the sun, rest in the afternoon when the Sun is above you and then continue walking towards the Sun once setting. Hence in Namibia the Sundowner occurs by setting “in the Atlantic Ocean“, you will surely reach a highway connected with various Namibian Towns/Cities. So without Compass or Cellphone (basically nothing), this is one of the best rules to follow to ensure your survival. In other words – try to follow and travel towards the West! If you climb from one dune to another and feeling a slight breeze you should be on the right way. Follow the breezy. A very BIG however is that this fact is vice versa in Namibian during Winter times (!). Air from the inland rushes towards the coast, passing over the Namib Desert making it the most famous yearly Desert Storm which can be expected during the time period. Below a small Clip taken on the highway connecting Swakopmund and Walvisbaai – those poor folks on the bikes must have been exhausted once upon arrival.

These Winter Desert Storms are not to be underestimated. The power from these Storm creates problems for coastal cities, year after year, sandblasting Vehicles right down to pure sheet metal.

As an all-around insider Joke from many hardcore adventurers/hikers: “Desert’s and circles is a match made in hell” – no pun intended.

So, how about Water?

In such an extreme survival situation, try to stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and hike only during the cooler hours of the evening or morning heading West. Most lost hikers (or other) have lasted up to two days without water in the extreme conditions of the Namib Desert. While many individuals, trying to find water in the middle of the day, have perished within three hours or less. One thing is for certain, you will never find an Oasis within the Namib Desert (except Namib Desert outskirts), so don’t bother looking for it. You will cough dust before you find an Oasis. This is not like Americas Deserts or the Sahara. In case you should have to abandon your Vehicle try to gather all the liquids in your Vehicle (eg. Water for the Window wipers or Radiator should it not contain any chemicals like eg. Anti-Freeze). You will need the supply, guaranteed! Also true for the Namib Desert, don’t bother looking for trees feeding on ground-water reserves. But if you do encounter some, expect them to be bone dry. Digging for water inside the Namib Desert is also a big waste of time and energy. You won’t find any guaranteed! This landscape is rough, dry, harsh and unforgiving! One needs have a serious survival plan for sure.

Knowing when to consume water is a good survival insight if you want to survive the endure. Don’t just consume all your liquid at the first sign of thirst. A better tactic is to ration it for yourself, taking smaller sips throughout the day if possible. Try to assess your dehydration by the colour of your urine – if it’s light-coloured, you’re mostly doing okay, however, if your passing is darkish, you should consider rehydration.

Also, a good insider is to carry a small piece of plastic or any form of a polymer. At night the Namib Desert is generally clouded with fog. Placing a sheet of plastic (or any non-absorbing water material) within an open Desert space throughout the night will condense fog into some drinking water on the material. Try to place the sheet/other on a higher ground but not on the top of a Dune. You don’t want the daily wind to disperse every droplet gathered. Although it might not be much, it will definitely come in handy. Rocks will also help out if you can find some(?). This is a severe measure, but nevertheless! A good teacher to explain what we are talking about here is to observe the Namib Desert Gecko (see Clip below).

Bite Size: Gecko Uses Eyes to Drink

Thirsty, little fella?

Gepostet von Animal Planet am Donnerstag, 19. Juli 2018

 

Is it safe to drink urine when things get tough? This is a very debated topic but take a look at this article for more insight on urine hydration!

Keep cool!

On this matter, we have only one simple insider trick. As we all know, most heat from the body is being radiated and consumed via the human head or skin. Taken from practices adopted by Nomads in the Sahara this one works like a bomb! Take a piece of cloth which fits your entire head and drench, or at least dampen the cloth in water, should you have some water to spare (!).

You will notice that once you start walking that the always constant Namibian Desert wind cools it down drastically. Even with the slightest breeze! The harsh Namibian Sun is on a full check-mate and will add many miles or kilometres towards your gained distance. Also, it will keep Sand and Dust out of your mouth in case of heavy winds or storms. If you never tried this one then do yourself the favour and test it. This very simple method turns your entire cranium space into an Ice-Box, literally! You can always thank us later for this one. 🙂

Also, keep warm and more!

Many unfortunate events with people forced into a desert survival situation have the tendency to only be aware of the Desert heat. The Namib Desert (depending on the month) reaches seriously cold nights once the sun sets. Do not leave your warm gear behind, you will need them. Take them off during the day but have them along for the night. The Namib Desert offers you extreme contrast’s regarding temperature, there rarely is an “in-between measure”. If you ignore this one, be assured to freeze your socks off, …as they say (or freeze to death). Also Note, travelling at night is a bad idea. After sundowner, the Desert Reptiles start wandering and so with the Namib Desert comes alive. Accidentally stepping on something venomous is very likely! Another thing is Sunscreen. There isn’t much to write about this matter because in general, this one is self-explanatory. Without sunscreen, depending on your skin type, you will burn up sooner or later. Trekking for survival with skin-blisters is definitely a nightmare. Secondly, try to climb each Dune sideways and not on a direct angle. You will consume less energy hence the sand displacement with each step is much lower. On a direct climbing approach of a Dune with heavy sand displacement properties, one can put a general rough estimate of about one step equaling three steps as a whole. Conserve your energy, you will need it later!

Watch your step

Contrary to the belief, the Namib Desert is filled with venomous reptiles.

One worth mentioning is the hairy thick-tailed scorpion (Parabuthus villosus) which are active at night but also moves during the day. These scorpions can reach lengths of 18cm and can survive without food for 12 months. Highly venomous! Another one would be the Namib sand snake (Psammophis namibensis) a very slender and fast moving snake. In the Namib Desert, we have another exception to the rule, the sidewinder or Peringuey’s adder (Bitis peringueyi). This snake’s eyes are situated on top of its head, which means it can bury totally into the sand but still be able to see you, this is a sneaky little being. So be aware, to the untrained individual this snake is hard to detect hence it loves hiding below the Namib Desert sand. If thirst won’t kill you, these reptiles definitely will if taken lightly. (Image by Africa Geographic)

An interesting video about the Sidewinder (Bitis peringueyi) :

A nice documentary of the Namib Desert by Richard Klug (German):

Just for Fun, a small online quiz. Will you make it out alive?: 

Check out this small desert survival quiz. More based on other Deserts not relevant to the Namib Desert, so just for fun!

Also read this past Blog Post:

• 4 Desert Race Namibia

A Haunted, Abandoned German Village In The Namib Desert

It’s one thing to “happen upon” an abandoned colonial town, but it’s another thing entirely when it’s an abandoned German-style mining village — in the Namib Desert.

Urban adventurers and explorers who are making their way to Kolmanskop, an old diamond mining town that was deserted in 1954 and is now filled with dune sand and, supposedly, haunted spirits. Kolmanskop’s uniquely Jugendstil German architecture makes its hospital, casino and theatre stand out and an extremely rare global destination.

Ghost Town in Desert

Kolmanskop’s History:

Situated only 15 km east of the harbour town of Lüderitz, Kolmanskop used to be a tiny colonial railway station in 1908, when the railway between Keetmanshoop and Lüderitz was built. As far as legend has it the station derived its name from a Nama man named Coleman, who got stuck at the site with his ox waggon and consequently died of thirst and dehydration. Back then, travelling from Windhoek to Lüderitz via Oxcart was a massive undertaking – taking approximately 14 to 29 days.

Pictures of a desolate ghost town at Kolmanskop Namibia. (Photo by Hoberman/UIG via Getty Images)

In 1908 the railway worker Zacharias Lewala found a shiny stone and took it to the chief railway foreman August Stauch. Herr Stauch had been stationed at the station “Grasplatz” with the instruction to keep the railway line clear of the all surrounding masses of Namib dune sand. He was a self-taught mineralogist and had advised his workers to collect any unique stones they might come across and show them to him for further analysis. Herr Stauch instantly assumed that the Rock Sample of Lewala to be a diamond, which was later confirmed, after the stone had been examined and thoroughly analysed by his friend and future partner Söhnke Nissen, an educated mining engineer. Stauch and Nissen did not shout their find from the rooftops, but instead quit their jobs and secured claims of 75 km² at Kolmanskop. They successfully continued their search for diamonds further down the line.

Africa, Namibia, Kolmanskop, entrance board of the ghost town

Nevertheless, the occurrence of Namibia diamonds did not stay hidden for long and soon a real diamond fever developed after the News spread across Europe. Big crowds, hordes and mining enthusiasts of diamond seekers and adventurers moved to Namibia and settled throughout Kolmanskop. As a result, within two years at a rapid speed, an unparalleled town developed. Following, a few years which started as a small Rail station, back then the new colonial town Kolmanskop became the richest town in Africa and one of the richest towns known to man. The thereby developed infrastructure was unmatched at the time; as from 1911 the town had electric power, luxurious stone houses, a casino, a hospital, a school, an ice factory to produce ice for fridges, a sport-hall and bowling alley, a theater, a ballroom, a salt-water swimming pool and much more although less than 400 people lived here. Apparently, the very first bathtubs were first introduced in Namibia, all exported from Hamburg via the Woermann Linie.

Pictures of a desolate ghost town at Kolmanskop Namibia. (Photo by Hoberman/UIG via Getty Images)

Noteworthy is that the hospital had the first x-ray medical apparatus in southern Africa installed. Rumour has it that this equipment also probably served to control workers, who might have swallowed diamonds (?)*.

In 1908 no more claims were granted and the southern coastal strip was declared highly Restricted Diamond area. Diamond mining at Kolmanskop was industrialized and the diamond-yielding gravel was treated, washed and inspected in large factories. Predictions from 10 tons of sand only one to two carats of diamonds have been mined.

Pictures of a desolate ghost town at Kolmanskop Namibia. (Photo by Hoberman/UIG via Getty Images)

With this method, 1 ton of diamonds was mined until the first World War. With the outbreak of the war in 1914 the production was nearly zero and with the loss of the German colony the German Era of diamond mining came to an end and was taken over by South Africa where Walvisbaai became the first Mandatsgebiet

Kolmanskop – Open Doors

In 1928 profitable prospecting sites were discovered south of Lüderitz all the way up to Oranjemund and as the deposits around Kolmanskop were nearing depletion the mining activities were discontinued resulting that until 1938 all machinery was taken south. The town was left to its own reckoning and the Namib desert claimed its lost territory back. The last inhabitant left Kolmanskop between 1956 and 1960.

Pictures of a desolate ghost town at Kolmanskop Namibia. (Photo by Hoberman/UIG via Getty Images)
Kolmanskop open door
Room of requirement

Links:

 

Video Kolmanskop, Haunted, Abandoned German Village Namibia (Narrated in German):

Video Kolmanskop, Haunted, Abandoned German Village Namibia (no Narration – Notice: Editor added a silly scare-prank!):

More Information on Kolmanskop (click here)

 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Namibia honeymoon

Since Prince Harry of Wales and American actress Rachel Meghan Markle proclaimed their engagement in late 2017, speculation concerning their honeymoon destination has been rampant. However, currently, it looks that their selection is evident – the comparatively little-visited and hugely lovely Southern African nation of the formerly known “German South West Afrika” currently named Namibia. Beautiful Namibia is being put in to focus once again regarding the list of a royal celebrity visitation.

Africa has perpetually been a powerful challenger given royal Prince Harry’s long relationship with the continent, like his Sentebale charity in Botswana (formerly known as Basutoland), his role as patron of the rhinoceros Conservation within Botswana and his multiple visits to varied countries over the years. After having a closer look at Namibia, it’s easy to see why the couple eventually chose to go there for the exclusive-romantic honeymoon imaginable. In fact, if you’re planning your own honeymoon, or simply want to go somewhere unforgettable with your partner, you should seriously consider Namibia, as this southwestern African nation is filled with once-in-a-lifetime adventures and experiences to offer.

Known for its mountainous dunes (eg. Dune 7 – biggest global Dune), desolate Skeleton Coast and unimaginable desert-adapted wildlife, the country also will give the couple with one thing seldom doable elsewhere within the world – absolute peace and privacy. It’s a similar reason why Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie travelled there typically, and why they selected it because of the place for the birth of their adopted girl, Nouvel Jolie Pitt.

With an estimate of simply 3 folks per sq. kilometre, Namibia is the least densely inhabited country in Africa. And within the northwest region of the Kaokoveld, wherever royal Prince Harry and Meghan couple are roaming or thought to be heading, things are even additionally secluded. it’s an unreal landscape of slender, winding valleys hemmed in by rocky cliffs, wherever wild elephants, giraffes, rhinos and lions will graze. The desert mountains give for attractive vistas and hammer home the sense of splendid isolation. The Namib Desert will put the value of “silence of Nature” towards a hard perspective of personal understanding and value of respect of essence. Tented hunting expedition camps are rare, remote and infrequently gorgeous in their elegant simplicity, like the new Hoanib Nature Camp – the rumoured secret selection of Harry and Meghan(!).

After the royal wedding on the 19th May, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will fly off for their honeymoon — and in keeping with Travel + Leisure, the destination of selection is the formerly known “German South West Africa“, known today as Namibia.

Neighbouring Botswana, that the couple last visited for Meghan Markle’s thirty-sixth birthday celebration, Namibia offers unimaginable views and supreme privacy.

  1. To find out what a honeymoon itinerary in Namibia may look like, Business Insider talked to Marisa Lassman, a travel expert and founder of Another Africa, a luxury travel agency that specializes in unique and tailored trips across the continent.”We go to great lengths to profile our clients and understand their interests, travel preferences, and requirements,” Lassman told Business Insider. “No two itineraries are ever the same.” Lassman also noted the best time of year to visit Namibia is in May. With the royal couple and their tastes in mind, she drafted an eight-day itinerary for their honeymoon. (Click here for original statement)
  2. From Hot-Air-Ballooning, explicit culinary experiences, horseback riding or stunning wildlife rumour has it that this personal tour will be joined via a documentary film producer (unknown). Be excited about footage regarding shots including the very limited access. This undertaking is one of our top 5 Events to follow within the Hippo’s Blog.

.

We at Hippo Adventure Tours do wish the royal couple an experience-filled adventure and stunning honeymoon in advance. Many blessings from our side and we are deeply excited towards their arrival within our splendid country.

P.S. We have to admit that we are a bit jealous for not been chosen to perform the honeymoon guiding services. Nevertheless, we remain very excited… 🙂

Photo: Frank Augstein/AP