The harsh & forbidden Sperrgebiet rediscovered, by Sakkie and Theresia Rothmann
Think of an adventure, a journey to distant Namibia. Imagine setting foot where no man has been before. The harsh & forbidden Sperrgebiet rediscovered, by Sakkie and Theresia Rothmann, will introduce this remote region en detail and with loads of colour photos.
As the world shrinks, far-off places are suddenly so much closer. Voyages of discovery are packaged as holidays with flights, transfers and itineraries included in the price. Yesterday's hidden places have become today's family-oriented theme parks. There are very few places on earth where true exploration is still possible. Namibia, on the south-west coast of Africa is one of the last places that can still be explored. Visit this arid patch of Africa and weathered locals will tell you of highways and byways, and strange, inaccessible places. They will spend hours spinning yarns about encounters with endangered animals or solitary souls in the midst of what must be one of the wildest places on the face of the earth. So rich is the inspiration Namibia provides, that a number of best-selling authors have used the country's settings as backdrops for their epic adventures. Wilbur Smith and Geoffrey Jenkins are but two of them. Yet amongst the glamorous tales, one part of part of Namibia is still spoken of in hushed tones - the Diamond Coast, commonly known as the Sperrgebiet. In April 1908, in what is now south-western Namibia, railway worker Zacharia Lewala's eyes lighted on an unusual pebble. He handed it to his German railway gang foreman. It turned out to be a diamond. The fate of the territory was sealed. Soon the entry points were sealed too. Since that time the Sperrgebiet, 'the prohibited territory', has been a no-man's land to all but a handful of weathered men. Those who have been fortunate enough to see it have told of an enchanting wasteland. They say it is a hauntingly beautiful place, but desolate, windswept and virtually waterless. Yet even though the territory is a no-go area, stories of the Sperrgebiet, and the images they evoke, don't need permits to travel. Inselbergs, small rocky outcroppings, rise out of almost endless plains. Strange plants, more suited to the set of a science fiction film, sprout miraculously from rocks and gravel plains. Wild animals and astonishing birds, unused to hunting and other human depredation, move intrepidly amongst vehicles and people. Ruined ghost towns and turn-of-the-century artefacts show us how people lived and struggled for wealth amongst the desert sands. The ribs and spars of ships, and small islands with bizarre, sometimes forbidding names, speak of maritime adventures that sometimes went badly wrong. Stone tools and petroglyphs tell a far older story. The remoteness of the area, and its perfect state of preservation, stem from strict security that governs entry and exit. The base for mining operations, Oranjemund, a small town at the mouth of the Orange River, can only be reached by producing a permit issued by Namdeb and the Diamond Branch of the Namibian Police. The areas around the small coastal fishing town of Luderitz, in the north of the Sperrgebiet, are also only accessible by permit. Needless to say documents are only issued with good reason, and never for the purpose of sightseeing. This will change. Since 1996 Namdeb, the present concession holder, has ceased mining in huge tracts of the Sperrgebiet, and now operates in approximately 10% of the 26000 km2 area. The abandoned areas are unclaimed state lands for which alternative uses will be found. The government of the Republic of Namibia and various role players are working on options to develop the area and open it to the public. This is easier said than done. [...]
This is an excerpt from The harsh & forbidden Sperrgebiet rediscovered, by Sakkie and Theresia Rothmann.
Title: The harsh & forbidden Sperrgebiet rediscovered
Author: Sakkie Rothmann; Theresia Rothmann
Publisher: ST Promotions
ISBN 9991650261 / ISBN 99916-50-26-1
Original softcover, 21 x 30 cm, 112 pages, countless photos, 2 maps
Rothmann, Sakkie und Rothmann, Theresia im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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