Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Hills of Namibia Revisited

In 2009 I posted this pic of a derelict building. I had snapped it from a moving car on the desert road between Aus and Lüderitz.

It was one of hundreds of photos I had taken that day and I didn't know exactly where it was located on the road.

On my recent trip to the coast I was looking out for it because my Friend and fellow blogger, Aurora, had incorporated the building into one of her paintings:

Monica named her work 'Hills of Namibia'.

I love the image - the house in the distance through the window - and, I was intrigued by the Crow and Red Onion on the window sill.

Because I'm not a 'food' person and I don't cook, I couldn't recall ever having seen a Red Onion - well, I've now discovered that they do exist and I've even seen and eaten some.

Anyway, I was determined to find this building again ... and I did:

To my great surprise it was at Garub - the place of the Wild Desert Horses featured in a recent post.

The derelict building stands next to the railway line running between Aus and Lüderitz.

It's a short distance from the bore hole which now provides drinking water for the Desert Horses.

In the past, Garub was a watering point for Locomotives.

No trains pass here now - the track near Lüderitz was covered by the shifting sand dunes and fell into disrepair.

Recently, work was started on the rehabilitation of the line but has come to a standstill - funding for the project has dried-up.

In the early 1900s the building had obviously been Home to the person who maintained the water pump and replenished the Locos.

He surely was an unusual character who voluntarily exiled himself to this desolation - there is no other habitation in sight.

I was wondering about the people who had lived here so many years ago when, walking around the building, I found a strange Sign on one wall ...

... 'They' had been here before me ... :)

There is only one other similar derelict building on the 125km stretch of line, Grasplatz, a few kilos from Lüderitz.

It was here that, in 1908, a railway worker found the first Diamond in Namibia. This triggered a diamond-rush and led to the establishment of Kolmanskop which is today, a famous Ghost Town.

Well, in my usual clumsy fashion I managed to mess-up the original 'Hills Of Namibia' post.

Thanks again to Monica for the painting. She is a talented artist - you can view more of her work at InnerLandscapes.



  1. Thanks for your comment Slowvelder - it got lost when I tried to 'fix the post up' - yes, despite the desolation there is much to see and photograph here.

  2. I love these sort of areas and I think I could be a complete loner with very little trouble. Aurora's painting incorporating the little house is stunning. Diane

  3. Thanks Diane - yes I think the painting is stunning too ...

    ... I love desolate places too but I don't know that I could be a 'complete' loner ... :)

  4. Hi Graham, I will most certainly pass your message onto my dad today. I was looking at your blog today while listening to music and found your photographs and stories around Namibia beautiful and interesting. Your photos are so calming. I have to visit Namibia one day. You are very fortunate. I live in the concrete jungle in Johannesburg.

  5. very cool to have revisited ..thanks of the few paintings to hang on my wall, and how did the red onion taste?

  6. Another great post and great images. It does look rather desolate and desolation has it's beauty but I'm not sure I could live there for too long. So many wonderful places/subjects to photograph around where you live.

  7. Thanks Lilly - I spent my childhood in Joburg ... I returned a few years ago for a visit and I was terrified ...

    I do hope that your Dad gets well soon.

  8. Hehe Monica - great to hear that you have a piece of Namibia hanging on your wall.

    The Red Onions? - If I remember correctly they tasted like normal onions, perhaps a little 'sweeter' - if that's the right word to use?

  9. Thank You Penny - yes, I must admit that after a spell in the desert it is always great to soak up the Green in the north of Namibia ...

  10. I think today is Namibia's day as I learned this a.m. friends are going there on holiday and now your lovely post. The red onion (which we call a purple onion in the States) is a bit sweeter and doesn't produce tears like the yellow onion. I think there's a tie-in with mythology when paired with the crow, one of those death-rebirth parables. I really enjoyed Aurora's painting. Am going to check out the link. I googled Luderitz and, wow, what a lovely place. Also where Anyr Klink rowed 108 days to Brazil several years ago.

  11. I loved that house Graham. I am wondering how beautiful it was in its best times. And the photograph of the house and the train passing would have been priceless, isn´t it? Thanks for the pics!

  12. Hi Kitty - I'm sure your friends will have a great time in Namibia ... let me know how their trip went when they return ...

    ... thanks for reminding me about Anyr Klink - I had forgotten about his adventure ...

  13. Thanks Oswaldo - yes a pic of a train on the line in the desert would be great ... especially if it was a steam locomotive with smoke billowing ...

  14. We have quite a lot of derelict old stone cottages dotting the countryside , many now have just the gable walls standing.I always wonder what happened to the occupants, why did they leave and what became of them over the years.
    The painting is very athmospheric and captures the isolation.

  15. I of course remember this post and remember telling you about loving the onion. I think.

    This is another one of your beautiful ghost stories. I always like to wonder about a house. Whenever I go to a restaurant that was converted from an old house, I would wonder, who was living, who was born, in that house.

    The two houses you showed here were really amazing, they were cute and their roof and the tone of their paints matched their surroundings perfectly.

    And the railway, was Namibia more thriving then now at the early turn of the last century. All the buildings and stories, somehow point to a better time at some point. But it is a beautiful country. Do tourists go there like they go to South Africa, I mean, do they extend their trips to include Nam?

  16. I would love to visit Ireland and explore the old buildings you mention Peggy - they are likely many hundreds of years older than those in Namibia ... I can just imagine the vibe ...

  17. Thanks Fazlisa - ages ago I did a post on the colonial architecture of Luderitz which show more of these amazing buildings.

    The railway line was constructed during German colonial times ... apart from Walvis Bay which was under British control at the time, Luderitz is the only other port on the Namibian coastline ...

    Some tourists do come to Namibia via South Africa and vice versa ... Namibia is also a popular destination for South Africans because of the Fishing on the coast.