Nestled into the Aus Mountains above the plains of the Namib Desert, the little town of Aus was the perfect midway point between our drive from Keetmanshoop to our next destinations: the Atlantic Ocean, Luderitz, and Kolmanskop, one of the world’s top five ghost towns. Aus is located in the least densely populated region of Namibia, already the least densely populated country in Africa (with only eight people per square mile). That makes it easy to pass by, but a wise tip from our travel agent at &Beyond prevented that mistake from occurring.
On our way into town, we drove by the seemingly defunct rail lines and the crisp Roman Catholic Church of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus before pulling up to the Bahnhof Hotel. Built in 1906 and renovated and extended in 2005, the hotel appears to be the heart of the town. We entered the cool interior and followed the polished hallway to the restaurant. Another perfect Namibian winter day beckoned us to the sundeck, where we grabbed a table under an umbrella at the railing and looked out over the rock and cactus garden. Service here is relaxed, allowing you plenty of time to absorb some sun and watch the occasional passerby, and contemplate the town’s role as a World War I prisoner of war camp for 1,550 Germans who surrendered to South Africa. When your meal does arrive, you’ll truly understand why finding unusual food in unusual places is one of the top five things to do in Namibia.
Try This: For starters, you can take the local road with Namibian oysters, or step back a century to some German heritage with a goulash soup. For your entrée, combine both cultures with the crumbled oryx schnitzel filled with camembert, cranberries, and bacon, served with mashed potatoes, julienne carrots, and broccoli. Select a Namibian beer or a local wine, or try the rooibos tea or a Sparletta, a sweet soda that’s pretty popular here; the raspberry is particularly refreshing. For dessert, stroll over to the display case and select one of the home-baked cakes, such as the outrageously delicious kiwi cheesecake.