Plan your trip
The entire route is on goodquality tar. From Springbok, it’s 50km on the N7 to Steinkopf, where you turn left onto the R382 to Port Nolloth via the Anenous Pass. At Port Nolloth, the R382 leads to the border post at Alexander Bay (remember your passport and vehicle papers). Cross the Ernest Oppenheimer Bridge, turn left onto the C13 and it’s 7km to Oranjemund.
STAY & EAT HERE
Shepherd’s Lodge offers basic converted scout cabins in a faux oasis outside town. Each has a stoep and there are braai spots. It’s rustic, and the restaurant-bar serves a mean steak and rack of sticky ribs. From R300 pp sharing; selfcatering unit R1 500 (sleeps six). +264-81-283-1481
Tom’s Cabin in town has three self-catering units and three rooms in the main house, plus braai facilities. From R477 pp sharing B&B. +264-63-234-207
Op My Stoep Lodge is run by an Argentinian Afrikaner, so expect interesting food combos in the restaurant. Locals hang out at the bar at night. From R423 pp sharing B&B. +264-63-234-223, opmystoep.com
Hansa Haus in Lüderitz, if you venture that far, is highly recommended for German colonial charm. From R340 pp sharing. +264-63-203-699
Get up close to a gemsbok. Thirsty from their desert wanderings, oryx have made a pact with Oranjemund’s humans. They wander through town, munching the grass on the verges, school sports fields and golf course. Drive slowly by and they’ll barely notice. Learn the local history. Oranjemund Museum (aka the Jasper House Museum) has a wealth of memorabilia, from mining relics to the stories of the expat families who had to adapt to this strange, sandy town at the edge of the world. The Kitchen cafe here serves decent coffee, and you can sit in the garden.
Go for sundowners at the Pink Pan. Visit the seaside. Port Nolloth is 82km south on the R382 (back in SA) and great for a boardwalk beach stroll. Grab a meal at one of several rustic seafood shacks along Beach Road or the smart Scotia Inn hotel restaurant. Also spend an hour in the eclectic Port Nolloth Museum, curated by diamond diver George ‘Sea-Dog’ Moyses. Open 10am–3pm. Entry R20.
Take a lonesome drive.
The new tarred road from Oranjemund to Rosh Pinah follows the Orange River inland for some 40km, through strikingly stark terrain. If you have the time, push further – another 170km on the C13 – to Aus (home of the wild desert horses), then head for Lüderitz on the B4 via Kolmanskop. Watch flamingos. Linger near the Orange River mouth (a Ramsar wetland site) at sunset, and if you get lucky you’ll see a mass of lesser flamingos on the water. If they take off, you’ll witness one of the sights of your life.
Choose a partly overcast evening and bask in a spectacular sunset. Once the playground of expats who sailed yachts and motorboats on the still waters, there are plans to build chalets and turn the yacht club into a lodge.