Inside Namibia's forbidden zone

Oranjemund Travel Blog

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Luderitz Airport

In the SouthWest corner of Namibia, along the Atlantic Ocean between Luderitz and Oranjemund is a vast forbidden zone where only the miners are allowed to enter: the Sperregebiet diamond region which covers 26,000 sq.km. Similar but smaller zones exist to the South, in South Africa.


This is about to change to become one of the world's last and largest wilderness areas: the Namib Transfrontier Park that will extend along more than 2000 km from South Africa to Angola. An agreement to initiate this park has been signed in 2003.


The nucleus already exists and includes the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa and Fish River Canyon Park in Namibia. The project will extend and include vasts areas under the control of DeBeers.
Further to the North it will include the Namib-Naukluft Park, the Skeleton Coast and possibly Damaraland and Kaokoland.

Since I've had the opportunity to go a few times inside this forbidden zone I thought I'd share some photos of the area. I was there for work so most photos are showing the diamond mining activity. This is a bit different from the usual blogs I guess, but it shows what it is like now. There are also a few photos showing the desert surroundings.

It is necessary to present a Police Clearance Certificate and apply for permits to stay in Oranjemund and enter the mining areas. When entering the main area, my camera was sealed so that no diamond could be hidden inside it. At the exit everybody was X-rayed...

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Luderitz Airport
Luderitz Airport
Oranjemund Airport
Oranjemund Airport
Flying over some strange formations
Flying over some strange formations
The Orange River mouth
The Orange River mouth
Oranjemund
Oranjemund
One of the guest houses
One of the guest houses
Oryx inside the town
Oryx inside the town
The Orange river
The Orange river
The sea has been pushed back to al…
The sea has been pushed back to a…
Cleaning the bedrock
Cleaning the bedrock
Preparing for a blast
Preparing for a blast
Bedrock cleaning
Bedrock cleaning
Dredge mining
Dredge mining
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Oranjemund
photo by: WorldXplorer