Aus is a tiny desert town, located in the south of Namibia. The name is thought to have stemmed from the Khoikhoi word meaning ‘a place of snakes’. During World War I, the Germans surrendered to the South Africans and more than 1,500 soldiers were held prisoner in Aus. The prisoner of war camp still exists, and many visitors come here to learn more about what happened during these years.
During the 1950s, the region was extremely wealthy due to a boom in the Karakul sheep industry. However, in the 1980s, things took a turn for the worse and the industry collapsed. Alongside this, the diamond industry also moved further south, and Aus went into severe decline. Locals moved away, along with businesses. Today, a slow but steady increase in tourism is starting to boost the economy once again.
The prisoner of war camp is one of the most interesting attractions in the area. Whilst there’s not too much to see here now, many visitors are just intrigued to pay a visit and gain insight into Aus’ historical past. The commemorative plaque has since been torn down, but the Kaiser’s monument remains. The eerie feeling of the plot is bound to send shivers through your spine – and many then go on to pay their respects at the prisoner of war cemetery where the soldiers were laid to rest.
If you’re travelling from the north of Namibia, a stop to see the wild horses of the Namib Desert makes for a good break. Horses aren’t native to this part of the world, and it’s speculated that they were first brought here in the 17th century; but where exactly they came from and who brought them here remains a mystery. You’ll find these horses roaming free at a place called Garup, and whilst driving through, you’ll notice signposts pointing you in the right direction. Once you pull over, you can make your way to a specialised viewing point which is well shaded.
Although Aus is located in the desert, it is still very much geared up for tourists. A tourist office is located just as you enter Aus from Namibia and knowledgeable staff members will provide you with useful information on local sights and attractions. The building also offers Internet access and refreshments.
Plan your trip to Aus today.