Brief History of the Aussenkehr Valley

Brief History of the Aussenkehr Valley

The Aussenkehr Valley has had a colourful history. In the 1800’s it was an uninhabited area with little interest for the colonial powers of the day. Nama tribes traveled through the area but never settled in the valley due to their nomadic existence. However, during the late 1800’s, with the discovery of diamonds along the Orange River, the colonial powers of Germany and Britain began to exert their influence over southern Namibia.

At nearby Uhabis, the German colony of South West Africa set up a border post manned by German sentries, for those traveling across the Orange River into German territory. This border post was the scene of several skirmishes during the Nama Uprising at the beginning of the 1900’s. Today the graves of young German soldiers at Uhabis remind us of this conflict.

During this period of German colonial rule several German families settled in the Aussenkehr valley. These families farmed oranges and figs which they would send to Keetmanshoop as well as to Cape Town. However, because of Aussenkehr’s isolation, lack of infrastructure and a devastating flood of the Orange River, this farming proved unprofitable and ceased in 1905.

In the 1940’s there was a new South African attempt to develop the Noordoewer / Vioolsdrif / Aussenkehr region. This resulted in infrastructural development of Noordoewer and Vioolsdrif but not Aussenkehr.

Since 1951 there have been several owners of Aussenkehr’s farms. Each had his own idea as to what would prove economically viable or sustainable for the valley. These activities have included diamond prospecting and various attempts at agriculture, in particular, livestock (karakul and boerbok), game farming, lucerne and vegetable production, particularly tomatoes.

In 1988 the first vineyards were planted in the valley. Today Aussenkehr is home to the largest early grape production farms in the Southern hemisphere and boast over 1200 hectares of vineyards. The latest table grape production technology has been introduced and we boast one of the largest and most advanced pack-house facilities in the world.

The farm is now a leading exporter of early table grapes to major world markets such as Russia, Europe, the UK and the Far East.

In the midst of a booming table grape industry, the need arise to accommodate seasonal service providers. Accommodation units were erected and this soon became a popular retreat for travelers. What started out from humble beginnings now turned into one of Southern Namibia’s most exclusive holiday destinations.

It is the beautiful vineyards, the thrill of river rafting, the hiking and the 4×4 trails and the charm of the staff and the locals that have created a remarkable oasis of tranquility allowing guests to experience true Namibian grandeur that is Norotshama River Resort.