Pg 18 – Weaver’s Rock Campsite, via S Von Bach Dam Nature Reserve to Casa Piccolo, Klein Windhoek – Day 21

Day 21 – 20 August 2013 – Weaver’s Rock Campsite, via S Von Bach Dam to Casa Piccolo, a Hotel Pension B&B in Klein Windhoek – GPS Coordinates for Casa Piccolo:  S22 56375 E17.10172

Trip Report:

We packed up camp at Weaver’s Rock Campsite and headed down to the tarred C22, which we drove for only a few kilometres then turned left onto the B1, which notified us that we were 143km from Okahandja with the last town of Otjiwarongo behind us.

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We saw a giraffe along the side of the road, behind the game fence.  It was inside the Okonjima Nature Reserve which is located 50km outside Otjiwarongo on the B1.  You can either take the B1 and then close to Otjiwarongo, turn off onto the D2515 and travel the gravel road for an hours drive for 50km.  The other option, a slightly longer but probably quicker option, is taking the B1 till you get to these signboards, therefore travelling on tar for around 50km’s and turning off to go the last 15kms on gravel.

The Okonjima Nature Reserve is a fenced off area of 22 000ha which has 20 000ha of protected area which is the rehabilitation reserve for their Captive Carnivores. The other 2000ha is a safe zone for their various camps to accommodate tourists and the PAWS Environmental Education Centre.

The Nature Reserve provides a place for orphaned cheetahs to rehabilitate and to be able to perfect their hunting skills so that one day they can be released back into the wild.  A fitted radio collar monitors them before being released into the park.  The Okonjima/Tusk Trust Cheetah Rehabilitation Nature Reserve, completed in 1999 and in June 2000, it began being stocked with cheetahs, wild dogs, brown hyenas, giraffes and their resident leopards.

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The straight and long road sometimes feels like it goes on forever.

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We stopped at the Biltong Padstal, shop below.  They had some tasty varieties of biltong and can vacuum seal if needed.

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The decorations around their signage are creatively displayed to entice the customers through their doors.

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We took a detour from the B1 to view the Von Bach Dam Nature Reserve.  The turn off is roughly 10 km outside of Okahandja and 60km from Windhoek.

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I went into the reception office which was light and bright where a friendly lady tried to help.  She was new there, and they were going through some transitions internally and had just finished renovating their offices and bungalows.  They had no pamphlets or any information regarding their rates or history about the dam/Nature Reserve. They were reevaluating their fee structure, and their computers were down.  They allowed us to take a drive around the dam to see the camping area for ourselves.

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The Dam, which was built on the Swakop River in 1968 and commissioned in 1970, provides the town of Windhoek with most of its water.  Fishing, boating and canoeing are allowed on the dam.  They have 22 bungalows, situated close to the dam, around the corner from the reception.  The campsites are at the opposite end of the dam from reception.  The gravel road to the dam had some bad patches here and there, and we wondered if one would take a caravan there as it is a long and bumpy road.  It could be different now as they were undergoing some renovations within their resort.

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The park covers an area of 4300ha of thorn bushland between Okahandja and Windhoek.  Located on the outskirts of the Auras mountains.

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I wonder if this sluice gate in the picture above ever gets used.  The dam is apparently around 35m in height.

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Reed fencing partitions the individual campsites.  Each site has an ablution, braai area and a little thatched roofed structure.

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The slipway below.  We watched some people learning how to dive under their watchful dive instructors eye.  The dam is massive as it continues far down towards the right and around the corner in the distance, almost encircling us.  I may be mistaken, but apparently the “other” half of the dam is only for the residents who own property in the area to be able to use.

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Back on the B1,  heading towards Windhoek.

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The road had just recently been tarred just outside Windhoek.  Our car had tar hitting it from all the cars driving past.

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Finally, we reached Windhoek and made our way down Independence Avenue, around the circle and taking the first left road, into Robert Mugabe Avenue and not too far down, left into Nelson Mandela Avenue, the B6.  To reach our guest house for the night, we turned left off Nelson Mandela Avenue/B6 into Barella Street then slightly up the hill and around the corner just a little.

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We had booked in at Casa Piccolo, which is in the lovely Klein Windhoek area.

We have stayed here a few times when travelling in and out of Namibia.  It is an excellent guest house with 16 rooms.  You do need to book in advance if you wish to stay here.  Casa Piccolo is a good distance away from the main road and yet its incredibly central.  The owners and staff are very friendly and extremely efficient.  Their rooms are hygienic, and they can accommodate any requests one would have;  an early breakfast hamper or a fitted thick sheet that makes two single beds feel more like one double bed.  Each room has its own bathroom en-suite, kettle, telephone, television, air-conditioner and a bar fridge with a mini bar.  They have wifi accessible for those who need to connect to the internet.  We have always had an enjoyable stay there.  It was good to be back and yet sad to be saying goodbye to Namibia, for now.

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We took the afternoon to browse around the Namibian Craft Shop in the heart of town where a few hundred crafters are selling their handmade arts and crafts in the historical Old Brewery building (No 40 Tal Street, Windhoek).  It is the perfect place to see the talent within the local and surrounding villages and the perfect place to shop for Namibian handmade gifts.  The building is a fantastic backdrop to all the leather, weaved baskets, beads, textiles, wire, wood, seeds, crystals, aromatherapy oils, paintings, artworks, books, toys and jewellery galore that are on display in every nook and all the way upstairs.  We found a few great gifts for the home.  The Craft Cafe is situated upstairs, on an overhanging balcony overlooking the Old Breweries entrance.  The menu looked very appetising with everything they have to offer and their cakes on display tantalise your taste buds just by looking at them.  They are known to serve the best coffee in town, and I can concur, it was fantastic.

We packed our bags for the flight ahead of us. We were leaving Namibia in the morning, flying out to different destinations and leaving our vehicle, Gem inside the fenced off and secure parking area at Windhoek’s Hosea Kutako International Aiport, for a month.  The parking area is very safe with 24hours security personal and a boom gate at its entrance.  All the parking spaces are covered with a shade cloth roof to protect your car from the harsh hotness of the sun.   Hosea Kutako International Airport is 46km East of Windhoek.  It is Namibia’s primary airport.

Hosea Kutako International Airport, named after the Chief Hosea Komombumbi Kutako, who was born in 1870 and died in 1970.  He was one of the founder members and the leader of SWANU – South West African National Union.  His mission was the freedom and independence of Namibia from the South African rule.  He is a Namibian National Hero, who always wanted to preserve the memory and the glorious times of his people, the Herero.

Useful information – 

Von Bach Dam and Nature Reserve information and rates can be found on http://www.tungeni.com or Tel +264 (0)62 500 162 or email info@tungeni.com

Casa Piccolo – Hotel Pension – Small, but Smart – that’s Casa Piccolo.   A shuttle service to the International Airport is available and secure parking on their premises for your car.  Their address is  6 Barella Street, Klein Windhoek.  Contact Claudia or Thomas Horn at Tel:  +264 (0)61 221155.  Email:  casapiccolo@iafrica.com.na or http://www.natron.net/tour/casapiccolo GPS co-ordinates:  S 22.56375 E 17.10172

The Namibia Craft Centre open times are from 9 – 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 9 – 3.30pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Their contact number is +264 (0)61 242 2222.  Their physical address is Old Brewery Building, 40 Tal Street, Windhoek.

If you need any assistance with you flight booking, contact Sarah at Globe traveller for the best, reliable service and incredible prices, email, sarah@globetraveller.co.za

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