It was my first visit to the area - I had heard that it was underdeveloped but was not prepared for the poverty I found there.
Our first stop was Warmbad, a depressed settlement on the Homs River.
Warmbad was known to the Nama people for centuries as |Aixa-aibes and was first named in 1760 by scout Jacobus Coetzee, the first documented European to cross the Oranje River into the South-West African territory that today forms the state of Namibia.
'Warmbad' means 'hot bath' in Afrikaans and German and refers to the hot spring around which the settlement is located.
One of the first intact buildings I saw was this shebeen - Para-dise, which started the Dylan song, 'The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest' playing in my head:
“Eternity ?” said Frankie Lee
With a voice as cold as ice
“That’s right”, said Judas Priest, “Eternity
Though you might call it Paradise”
The community-owned camp-site is sub-standard and unattractive so we chose to rather stay in the bungalows which were decent and not too expensive.
Pictured above are two of the single bungalows.
Stairway to Paradise?
Some of the oldest buildings and ruins in Namibia are to be found in Warmbad - built by Missionaries in the early 1800's.
At the Hot Spring close to the Camp Site a bath has been built, housed in a fancy building but, the place is closed.
Some kids had gained entrance through an open window and were frolicking in the water.
It's my understanding that various Governments and aid organisations have donated millions to the Warmbad community so that they can improve facilities and attract tourists to this historically important area but, for reasons unknown to me, they just don't seem to be able to get their act together.
Around sunset, I took a walk around the area to see what I could capture in the magic light.
A goat kid jumps off a wall. There are many goats here - they seem to be the only animals that thrive and are an important source of food and revenue for the community.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the largest concentration of Aloe garipensis I've seen, in the rocks adjoining the camp-site - there are hundreds and they were glowing bright red in the setting sun.
Ruins - the camp-site and bungalows are to the left of the palm trees - in the distance, the desolate, flat landscape.
I was fascinated by this old rock building - not only because it had no windows and only one locked entrance, but also for the way the builders had constructed the roof with rocks too ... I wonder what purpose the building served?
The Doctor's house adjoining the old hospital - a relic of the German Colonial era - I took many pics here.
Unfortunately, being hung-up on taking pics of the ruins I'd forgotten to change my ASA settings and the image turned out fuzzy.
Dr. Klaus Dierks