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SOLITAIRE NAMIBIA. Popular watering hole and stay-over place, at the junction of the C14 and C19 gravel roads...

 

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Solitaire Namibia and the C14 Gravel Road

Popular watering hole and stay-over place, at the junction of the C14 and C19 roads

 

 

Solitaire is a small settlement at the T-junction of the C14 and C19 gravel roads. Nevertheless, a welcome place for a stop over when journeying across the desert. There's puncture and mechanical repair facilities and a limited stock of tyres. The fuel station is manned daylight hours and the provisions shop opens until quite late. It's here that you might catch a glimpse of Big-Moose who bakes the "Moose Bread' and the renowned apple crumble that is only served without cream. Don't ask for any, because you'll get the stock answer that it's their cow's day of rest. Don't expect any hyper-activity here, it's not a place where you would want to allow your blood pressure to rise too.. high. Just relax and wait your turn. These guys are so laid-back that it can become infectious, and it's rumored that some of them never leave the shop, the cafe,

or the restaurant at the end of the ...C19. There's good accommodation here at Solitaire and plenty of good camp areas, but not all are shaded, so you'd best book-in early. Solitaire is only 83km north of the Sesriem-Gate. I found the ablution facilities here are clean and well maintained (what a pleasure!)

Khomas Region
2353'S - 1600'E
Population 100
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A Bit Of History: Christoffel van Coller built a small cottage near to the gravel road junction in 1948. Being so remote his good wife, Elsie, named the place Solitaire. In later years, a small shop and fuel facilities were added and the settlement grew. Solitaire gained an amount of interest following the publication of the book "Solitaire" by Dutch author Ton van der Lee. He seems to have conveyed the remoteness quite effectively as I have personally met tourists who have read the book and thus been 'inspired' to make the pilgrimage to this remote outpost.

Tropic of Capricorn and my mate

My mate on the line

Solitaire settlement

This is... Solitaire

Solitaire General Store

General Store

Solitaire Good Camp sites

Good camp sites

 

About 40km north of Solitaire on the C14 stands the Tropic Of Capricorn sign. My small mate asked what this was.

"OK. lets stop and climb out of the truck and have a look, and also take your photograph to show your mom and dad that you've been here."

"Thanks Keith. They'd like that." he said, and then continued to ask as to what the sign meant. Phew! Have you ever tried to explain something like this to a five year old? You know how it goes. "The earth tilts backwards and forwards..." followed by, "Why?" "Well..."  "Why?" etc.  ......

 

Local Area Attractions

 
Sesriem Canyon Sesriem is where the entrance gate, offices and camp are located. The park gates are open between sunrise and sunset with a lunch break 13h00 to 14h00. About 4.5km from the complex is the Sesriem Canyon. 2 million years ago a great ice-age spread across the northern hemisphere and caused the world's ocean levels to drop. The increased flow rate of the Tsauchab River carved through the sedimentary layers and formed the canyon. Time budget 1hr+ ►►
   
The Dead-Vlei at Sossusvlei Sossusvlei is a 65km drive west from Sesriem. It is a spectacular dune area. It is advisable to make your tour of the dunes early, as the mid-day temperatures can be above 40c. Always carry enough water with you and appropriate clothing with a hat or cap for your head. It is a 1km hike to the dead vlei, so a good pair of hiking boots will be needed. Sand temperatures can get to 70c 5hr

Time budget 4hr+  ►► 

   
The C14 Gravel Road  
Entrance to Walvis bay The C14 looking east

The C14 looking east into the desert

Kuiseb Pass

Kuiseb Pass

Ghaub Pass

Ghaub Pass

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C14 Road - Cautionary Notes:

The nearest fuel point and shop is at Solitaire which is a 261km drive from Walvis Bay, or 165km from MaltahoheMaltahohe. Make sure that you have enough fuel and drinks. Take care when driving on the gravel road for on-coming vehicles, and sharp stones on the road surface. There are sections of the road where the desert winds cause the surface to become corrugated. Take extreme care if driving on this type of surface and approaching a bend. You can, literally, bounce your self off the road. During the rainy season it is wise to consult the traffic authority before commencing the journey. Following heavy rains the roads can suffer from wash away in the mountain areas and also where the desert surface is flat. The water from the desert can flash flood low areas of the road. This is particularly dangerous as the moving gravel offers little grip for vehicle tires and if the water flow is strong enough it can carry your vehicle along with it, sometimes with fatal results. Following heavy rains there are many areas of road that become covered in a slippery mud which also can cause spin-out even at relatively low speeds. A 4 x 4 won't help you on this surface.

 

After crossing the desert plains you drive onto the escarpment and then through the Kuiseb Pass. The drive across the highlands is rugged and picturesque. You then negotiate the Gaub Pass. Take care, there are no crash rails on the side of the road and the drop into the pass is a long way. At the bottom of the pass there is a scenic picnic area with a trash bin that's always overflowing, or been overturned by the baboons. You then drive up onto the highlands, and it is along this road that you may want to take a photograph of yourself standing by the Tropic Of Capricorn Sign. It's about 40 km north of Solitaire.

 

 

The C14 Solitaire to Maltahhe

 
Traver time Waterfall

Travertine Waterfall

Bullsport

Bullsport

Section of the Naukluft Mountains

Section of the Naukluft Mountains

 
 

About 40km south of Solitaire, as you approach the picturesque mountainous region of Bullsport, keep a look-out for the (dry) Travertine Waterfall. It's on your right-hand side. About 2 million years ago and through the Tertiary time Namibia experienced a much wetter climate and in areas of the Naukluft Mountains the ground water would run through the fissures in the rocks. These waters partly dissolved the carbonate rocks and when the water reached its outlet, such as below the dissolved minerals were deposited on the rock face. The resulting in a 'tuffa formation' as can seen on the Travertine Waterfall above left. The Naukluft Mountains have acted as an important water source for man since ancient times.

 

Further down the road you will pass the northern section of the Naukluft Mountains. From there on, to Maltahohe the road is not very interesting.

 

Local Area Attractions & Articles of Associated Interest:

 

Accommodation

Sesriem Canyon Sossusvlei Duwisib Castle   Entry Fees Payable  Map Directions

Getting Here

Scheduled Air No

Scheduled Bus  No

Scheduled Rail  No

 

 

Road Distances from Solitaire

Maltahohe

Sesreim Sussusvlei Swakopmund Walvis Bay Windhoek C26

 

165 / 103 85 / 53 150 / 93 295 / 183 261 162 233 / 145

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Omaruru

Otavi

Otjiwarongo

Outjo

Rundu

Solitaire

Swakopmund

Tsumeb

Uis

Usakos

Walvis-Bay

Windhoek

 
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