Bogenfels and Pomona tour
Safari into the Restricted Diamond Area - Day tour from Lüderitz
The Sperrgebiet (also known as the Restricted Diamond Area) is and will always be a mystic place that is hard – and without a permit not at all – accessible. Coastways Tours from Lüderitz own a concession and the relevant vehicles allowing them to offer an interesting and unique day tour into the Sperrgebiet. The highlights of this tour are visits to the diamond ghost town Pomona and the prominent rock arch called Bogenfels.
- Guided 4x4 desert tour
- Diamond ghost towns
- Bogenfels rock arch
We are picked up at 08h30 by Erik, one of the four guides of Coastways Tours, at our accommodation in Lüderitz. The well-equipped 4x4 takes us into the desert. Our first stop is Kolmanskop, the famous diamond ghost town east of Lüderitz. Here the day permits are received. Here we also meet another vehicle of Coastways Tours with guide Ramon. We continue through the Rotkop Gat 20 km east Lüderitz into the Sperrgebiet. It is still prohibited to enter the area without special permits and we are advised that it is strictly forbidden to pick up anything and put it into one’s pocket.
The Restricted Diamond Area
The Restricted Diamond Area ranges from the southern border of the Namib Naukluft Park all the way south to the Orange River, the border between Namibia and South Africa. Thanks to the discovery of diamonds by August Stauch in 1908 in the then called German Southwest Africa a diamond rush erupted in this area. Flourishing towns emerged in the middle of the desert, which were abandoned again once the diamond deposits ran dry. Today only Oranjemund remains as a major mining town. Additionally on a smaller scale and with modern machines diamond mining has resumed in the old diamond town of Elisabeth Bay.
We are travelling south on a well-maintained gravel road, before turning into the sand and rock Namib towards the Atlantic Ocean after a few kilometres. The road takes us past huge marble fields that remain unmined due to their position within the national park and – probably more importantly – the low quality of the marble. First stop is at Grillenthal, the ruins of an old pump station built in 1911. From here the diamond towns were supplied over a 600 km long track system with water.
After a beautiful drive through surreal landscapes we arrive at the so-called moon landscape. A barren, impressive landscape stretches out in front of us. Erik and Ramon the two guides have excellent and detailed knowledge of the flora and fauna, geology and history of the Sperrgebiet and are happy to share it with us.
Ghost town Pomona
We continue into the spooky landscape. To our left and right we pass little hills with rock markers on top. This is how the diamond claims were marked. According to our guides the claims were sized at 1200 m x 1200 m per person.
Eventually we arrive at the diamond mine of Pomona. The village is situated above mine and was established in 1912. At that time approximately 500 people lived here and constructed not only the mining buildings for the systematic mining of diamonds, but also villas, bowling alleys, a doctor’s house, a school and a cemetery. During the peak mining times, the guides explained to us during lunch in the old school ruins, 100kg of diamonds were found annually at Pomona. By 1931, after diamond findings receded more and more, the town was abandoned.
After lunch we continue through the legendary „Märchental“ or Fairytale Valley. Legend has it that August Stauch, who discovered the first diamonds, found himself in this Valley during a full moon night and saw the diamonds glistering in the moonlight and he picked up diamonds of up to 50 carats with his bare hands. Today diamonds of that size are worth about 9 million US$. August Stauch named the valley “Idatal” in honour of his wife Ida Stauch, but the name “Fairytale Valley” has persisted until today. We are impressed.
After driving for another while through the dusty, dry Namib Desert with hardly any vegetation, apart from melkbos, Lithops or Bushman Candle, a cool ocean breeze blows through the car. A moment later we reach the majestic Bogenfels, a 55-metre-high lime rock formed like a bridge with one leg in the ocean and the other in the desert. While the guides are preparing an afternoon snack we decide to climb onto the arch to be able to enjoy the wonderful view over the Atlantic Ocean. It is strictly prohibited to take a walk on the beach south of the Bogenfels, as there could still be rough diamonds lying around, the possession of which is strictly prohibited by the Namibian law.
On our way back to Lüderitz we get to see ostriches, oryx antelopes, springbok and a shaggy jackal. Our guide tells us the every now and then brown hyenas and steenbok can be seen. After having left the forbidden Sperrgebiet area through the high security gate at Rotkop we reminisce on this impressige excursion – a superb, unique experience with exceptionally good guides and a fantastic program.
Rates & Reservations
|01.01.19 - 31.12.19||01.01.20 - 31.12.20|
|Per Person (2 Adults)||N$ 4000||N$ 4000|
|Per Person (3 Adults)||N$ 2670||N$ 2670|
|Per Person (4 - 20 Adults)||N$ 2000||N$ 2000|
|Children under 12 years||N$ 1415||N$ 1415|
|The rates are per person|