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Duwisib Castle

Duwisib Castle

Duwisib Castle, one of Namibia's most famous and romantic buildings, lies amid huge camelthorn trees in a remote valley on the edge of the Namib Desert.

Built in 1909 by Baron Captain Heinrich Von Wolf for his American bride, Jayta, the castle overlooks a valley. Seventy kilometers southwest of Maltahohe, Duwisib castle was transferred to the state in the late 1970s and was opened to the public in 1991. The castle now houses a collection of 18th and 19th century antiques, armour, and paintings.

Duwisib Castle has ten well-shaded campsites and an ablution block. Inside the castle there is a small kiosk. The campsites have no power supply, but many intrepid travellers make use of the campsite as an overnight stop between southern Namibia and the Naukluft Mountains.

After the German-Nama war, the Baron and his wife commissioned an architect to build a castle that would “reflect Von Wolf's commitment to the German military cause.” The interior was designed for comfort, and the clever placement of its windows allows for maximum sunlight. Meter-thick stone walls and high ceilings make for coolness in the hot summers, and two huge fireplaces ward off the bitter cold of the winter nights. In the early days, a large cellar beneath the main hall was full of imported wines and French cognacs.

Much of the raw materials used in the construction of the castle were imported from Germany. After landing at Luderitz, the materials were transported by ox-wagon over 600 kilometers through the Namib Desert. Eventually, a castle consisting of 22 rooms was completed.

While the Baron was traveling to Europe in 1914, the First World War broke out. The Baron rejoined the German army and was killed at the battle of the Somme in 1916. His wife never returned to Duwisib Castle, but settled in Switzerland and after the war sold the castle to a Swedish family.

One of the many castle legends is that the Baron's horses escaped into the Namib Desert and were the progenitors of the popular Namib Desert Feral Horses found in the region today.

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