Duwisib Castle

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Duwisib Castle

Duwisib Castle, sometimes spelt Duwiseb or Duweseb, is a grand pseudo-medieval looking fortress in the hills of the semi-arid Southern Namib region of Namibia. It was built by 'Baron' Captain Hans Heinrich von Wolf (born in Dresden, 1873), who was posted to (then) German South-West Africa. After the German-Nama war Captain von Wolf went home to Dresden and married the stepdaughter of the US consul, Miss Jayta Humphreys, on 8 April 1907. They decided to settle in German South-West Africa and bought eight farms in the Maltahöhe area. Eminent architect Wilhelm Sander was commissioned to design a building and construction commenced in 1908. Most materials were imported from Germany and stonemasons were hired from Italy, Sweden and Ireland.

It was hoped that the castle would bear a resemblance to some of the existing German Forts in Namibia. Much of the raw materials for the construction of the fort were imported from Germany, landing at Lüderitz. The resulting edifice consisted of 22 rooms.[1]

While they were travelling to Europe in 1914, the First World War broke out and the ship carrying Von Wolf and his wife was diverted to Rio de Janeiro. Jayta Humphreys had retained her American citizenship and found passage to Europe on a Dutch ship; legend has it the Baron had to travel disguised as a woman. On arrival in Europe the Baron rejoined the German army, and was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, just two weeks after signing up. His wife could not bring herself to return to Namibia alone and never again laid claim to the majestic castle. She spent the rest of her life in the South of England. What are said to be descendants of their fine thoroughbred horses can be seen today roaming free and wild as Namib Desert Horses along the roadside and in the restricted diamond areas, although whether this is the origin of these herds is not accurately known.[2]

The property is currently under the management of Namibia Wildlife Resorts. Visitors can tour the castle and even stay overnight in a refurbished bedroom within the castle.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alan Murphy, Kate Armstrong, James Bainbridge, Matthew D. Firestone. Lonely Planet South Africa. Lonely Planet, 2010, p. 366-368.
  2. ^ Duwisib at NamibWeb.com
  3. ^ [1]

Coordinates: 25°15′11″S 16°32′02″E / 25.25306°S 16.53389°E / -25.25306; 16.53389