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Castle History

 

A castle is the last thing you would expect to see when you drive through the vast farm lands and deserts of Namibia.

 

Duwisib Castle sometimes spelled 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 in 1873), who was posted to the then German South-west Africa.

 

Later von Wolf went home to Dresden and merried the step daughter of the US consul, Miss Jayta Humphrey, on the 8th of April 1907. They decided to settle in the South-West Africa and bought 55 000 ha of farm land in total. Eminent architect Wilhelm Sander was commissioned to design a building and construction commenced in 1908.

 

The stand stones used for construction were carried approximately 2 km from the castle. Furniture was imported from Germany and stone masons were hired from Italy, Sweden and Ireland.

 

 

 

 

While they were travelling to Europe in 1914 to acquire more horse for their stud, the first world war broke out and the ship carrying von Wolf and his wife was diverted to Rio de Jeneiro.

 

Jayta Humphrey had retained her American citizenship and found passage to Europe on a Dutch ship; legend has it that the baron was hiding in his wife’s cabin. To the amazement of the cabin crew the lady appeared to have a healthy apatite as she was secretly ordering for both of them.

 

On arrival in Europe the baron rejoined the German army, and was killed at the battle of Somme in 1916 and thus their African dream was short lived and Jayta never returned to Africa.

 

This national monument consist of 900 m2 with a large courtyard and is today open to the public as a museum.

 
 
 
 

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