Facing Reality in Helmeringhausen

Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 October

Probably the hardest name to pronounce and to type. iOS and Android have a multitude of options for this German hamlet somewhere in the middle of nowhere, at the confluence of the C13 and C14 roads.

There was a hotel – an excuse for a family homestead that has been converted to rooms and a restaurant with a swimming pool added. There was a tarred road, about 600m long. There was a fuel station and a general store, and 3km out of town was an airstrip.

But there is nothing else to do in Helmeringhausen. We asked at reception and were given 3 options. Drive to the coast, to Lüderitz because it is quaint, a 400km round trip. Go and see the wild horses left by German occupation, hmmm 300km and we aren’t horsey people. The third option was a 250km loop drive on the D707. A good road with ‘the best scenery in Namibia’.

We chose option three. It took us back on the road we came up yesterday for 40km. We passed amazing piles of rocks. Some had black rocks creating amazing patterns. I wondered if some ancient tribe was playing games with future generations and artwork.

Then we turned right. We had 120km of gravel road ahead of us on the D707.

We hit a long straight stretch with amazing rocky mounds appearing out of dried savannahs. Colours varied from greys to reds to greens, both in the flat earth and the rocky mounds that rose above them. And then there were the red sand dunes. And the contrast of the blue skies. This is a world of stark colours and shapes.

After covering a mostly straight stretch of road we turned right at the T intersection on the C27 to return to Helmeringhausen. Before long the road started to twist and turn. Bruce was driving. He said he was never sure what was over the crest or around the corner. I just felt safe with him in control.

The scenery became even more dramatic as clouds rolled in against the rocky mounds.

We spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on photos and blogs. Internet is not available here and 3G pops up occasionally, so we are out of communication even with our Namibian SIM card.

Although it was a cloudy day we climbed the small hill behind us for sundowners. We are of course spoilt for sunsets at home, but any opportunity to watch another day end is enjoyable. We shared the sunset with a German couple who live in the Black Forest. They seemed overwhelmed by the lack of water here and therefore the lack of green.

The clouds were black and virga was falling. It was dry. The country is currently in a drought with no rains for the last three years. They are hoping the rains will start in a month or so.

For the dryness it is still a beautiful country – flat with rocky hills rising abruptly. Evidence of a turbulent earth approximately 800 million years ago.

We are finding that rooms are not done unless you ask. We did ask for our room to be done and the African who made up our room first asked me what I needed doing and then asked me to check it. I am finding it very difficult to come to terms with the relationship between the white Germanic descendants and the native Africans.

The whites complain of the blacks laziness and lack of ambition. If they were motivated, the Europeans would not have been able to invade this country to pillage its riches of land, animals and minerals.