At the end of every month, we're publishing a summary of all the interesting facts shared on our social media platforms.
In April we covered the only permanent race track in Namibia and then travelled South via Spreetshoogte Pass. After stopping for a cold beer at Helmeringhausen, we turned at the most Western point outside Lüderitz bay, namely Diaz Point.
Posted on 6 April: Tony Rust Race Track
Even if you're not a so-called 'petrolhead', chances are good that you'll associate the following name with Namibian motorsport or, at least, think of the only permanent racing track in the land of the brave…
Tony Rust. As in Tony Rust Race Track (TRRT) - the home of Windhoek Motor Club.
So, anyone up for some quick facts about one of Africa's fastest race tracks? Let's speed through some interesting notes we found;
It's located about 10km west of Windhoek
According to numerous online sources construction of the track named after one of Namibia's best racers started back in the early 80's (between 1981 and 1984), making it around 40 years old!
In addition to all his racing accomplishments, Tony Rust was the president of the Namibian Motorsport Association as well as Windhoek Motor Club for several years
With a long circuit route, drag strip, spinning and drifting pad, oval ànd karting circuit, this versatile race track offers thrill and excitement every meter of the way!
The full track is 2.6km long. The kart track used to be about 440m long, but was recently upgraded to 800m
The long circuit can be raced both clock and counter clockwise, but we've heard many race drivers actually prefer driving around the track in a clockwise direction
The combination of long straights (including the popular quarter mile drag strip starting in front of the main spectator stands), with just 5 bends over a hilly terrain makes this track one of the fastest circuits in southern Africa
In 2017 Randy Lewis (a world famous track chaser) visited TRRT and posted a video of his experience on YouTube. At the time, TRRT was the 2,370th racetrack Randy visited and Namibia was the 75th country he travelled to in his quest to find and explore race tracks
On 9 August 2020, a live stream of Sim Race Africa's (SRA) online VW Polo Cup (round 7 and at TRRT was broadcasted on SRA's YouTube channel. It was the first time TRRT was featured on Assetto Corsa (an online racing simulator)
Boostedis200 Productions recently started filming races and other events at TRRT. Videos taken over the past 4 months can be seen on YouTube and their social media pages is worth a follow by anyone who loves cars.
Posted on 13 April: Spreetshoogte Pass
When talking about breathtaking views, Namibia has quite a few destinations that will definitely leave you speechless. One of these places offering stunning scenes, amazing photo opportunities and a literal feeling of being on top of the world, is Spreetshoogte Pass, 1,780m above sea level...
Spreetshoogte Pass is part of the D1275 road in central Namibia and, although there are hundreds of photos and videos that will give you an idea of it's incredible views, nothing compares to the experience of being there in person.
So, while you're looking for a suitable date for a road trip via Namibia's steepest pass, we have some interesting facts for you to share on the way;
The pass is named after Nicolaas Andries Rymert Spreeth, the man who planned and built the pass during World War II
Mr. Spreeth was a farmer who owned 'Ubib', a farm situated at the edge of the Namib Desert and at the foot of the Khomas Highland
Before building the pass with quarzite rocks, Mr Spreeth travelled up the mountain by following existing paths made by zebras
Initially, the journey up the steep slopes was a shortcut to collect provisions delivered at the top of the mountain; the only other route to reach the delivery place was via the Remhoogte Pass, some 30km southwards
Descending almost 1,000m over less than 4km, Spreetshoogte is one of Southern Africa's steepest passes
Considering the sharp turns, the danger of failing brakes when driving down, and the continues and steep climb against gradients up to 1:6, Spreetshoogte Pass can only be navigated by vehicles without trailers. Trucks and caravans are not permitted to use this route at all
As safety precaution, Namibia's Roads Authority maintenance vehicles (i.e. graders) only drive uphill when servicing the road. They return via the Remhoogte Pass because it's the least steep pass in the area
Posted on 20 April: Helmeringhausen
We recently found these three, patiently waiting for guests in a small place we officially declared the perfect set for a proudly Namibian movie...
Welcome to Helmeringhausen, somewhere in the south of Namibia (there's a link at the end if you want to see the map location)
Back to the hay family of three, here's some facts about their home town:
Actually, Helmeringhausen is far from a town - officially, it is classified as a settlement
This small settlement developed on Farm Helmeringhausen - an 11,000ha farm established by Mr. Hubert Hester (a member of the then German Schutztruppe)
Helmeringhausen does not have an official governing body as it is completely situated on private land - all infrastructure except the roads are part of Farm Helmeringhausen
It is located on the crossing of the C13 and C14 national roads - 500km south of Windhoek and 200km northeast of Lüderitz
Considering the long (and mostly isolated) distances between towns in the south, Helmeringhausen provides a much appreciated stop-over with a Hotel that offers the best of Namibian hospitality
Helmeringhausen Hotel is famous for its apple cake and they claim it's the best in Namibia - we'll definitely plan for a longer stop and try a slice next time we're in the area!
Seriously though, if there are any writers looking for some inspiration, we really think there's a story waiting to be told in the 'main street' of Helmeringhausen. For all the non-writers in the area, well, we definitely recommend you stop for an ice cold beer!
Posted on 27 April: Diaz Point, Lüderitz
In a world where you can get from one continent to another in a matter of hours, it's hard to imagine the first explorers travelled around the globe for months on end.
Such was the life of Bartolomeu Dias, an explorer and nobleman from the royal household in Portugal. Mr. Dias was the first European to sail around the southernmost tip of Africa and in July 1488, almost a year after he set sail from Lisbon, he sailed into the narrow inlet presently known as Lüderitz Bay.
On the 25th of July 1488, on the most western point of the bay, Bartolomeu raised a padrão made from Lisbon limestone and dedicated it to Sao Tiago (St James). For those of you who've never heard about padrões (neither did we!), a padrão was a large stone cross left by Portuguese maritime explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries. Padrões were about 3.5m high, weighed about a ton and, according to at least one source, they were inscribed with the coat of arms of Portugal and were erected to record significant landfalls and establish primacy and possession during the Portuguese Age of Discovery.
From 1488 to (at least) 1821, the original padrão placed by Bartolomeu Dias and his crew served many captains who were navigating the west coast of modern day Namibia. In a survey done in March 1824, however, crewmembers of the HMS Espiégle made no mention of the padrão and it was later documented to have been found uprooted and broken.
Today, 533 years after a padrão was first erected at Dias Point, a replica stands on the site that was declared a national monument in 1973. The replica was carved from Namibian dolerite in Karibib, lowered down and placed on the site by helicopter on 16 April 1988. Three months later, at the quincentenary (five-hundredth anniversary) of Bartlomeu's legendary voyage and arrival on our shores, the replica of Dias Cross was unveiled on 25 July 1988. It is said the replica is based on a detailed sketch drawn by Captain Thomas Bolden Thompson; it was and is the only known drawing of the cross while it was still standing in 1786...
Interestingly, the above mentioned replica was not the first to be made. Around the 1880's, Adolf Lüderitz erected a 5.5m wooden spar on Dias Point and in 1929 South African Railways replaced it with plain a marble cross.
Pieces of the original padrão was founded by Professor Eric Axelson in 1953 and, after making headlines worldwide, it was transported to and can be viewed in museums in Namibia, South Africa, Portugal and Germany.
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