Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Wild Horses of Aus...

Drive through the town of Aus in southern Namibia and you’ll see a sign for ‘wild horses’ a few kilometres along the road in the direction of Luderitz.   A few hundred metres down a rocky track you’ll find a waterhole and, if lucky groups of wild horses feeding and sheltering in the small viewing hide put there by the government.  There are around 400 of these beautiful creatures roaming the park - on our first visit we saw about 50 but on the second, only around 20, and these were mooching several hundred metres off.  How they got there is open to some guesswork but the most plausible theory is that they were left there sometime in 1914 or 1915 by the retreating  Schutztruppe (army)s when the South Africans overthrew the Germans in what was then South West Africa.  Whatever the reason, they make a welcome diversion on the sandy drive down to the coastal town of Luderitz.

Interestingly Aus was also the place where some 1,500 German soldiers were imprisoned after hostilities stopped in July 1915.  It was an inhospitable location, being very hot in summer and very cold in winter.  Influenza, climate and disease killed more than 120 men - from both sides.  The Germans built mud brick houses to protect themselves from the elements, the foundations of which are still vaguely visible.  The camp was finally dismantled in 1919.

One horse scrapes rocks out of the wallow before the other one had a  roll in the muddy water (below)

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