Erongo climbing area

Felshöhle im Erongo, photographer Detlev Reimann

Location of the climbing area

The Erongo or the Erongo Mountain Range is situated between the towns of Omaruru, Karibib and Usakos, about in the middle of Namibia. It is an ancient, extinct volcanic crater, whose formation began about 130 million years ago on the continent Gondwana. The highest mountain with 2319 m is the Hohenfels on the southwest corner of the mountain chain. So far there are two climbing areas, Ameib / Nieuwoudt on the south side, traveling distance 30 km from Usakos on the D1935 to Ameib Ranch, and Anibib / Omandumba on the north side, access via the D1935 from Usakos, then right onto the D2315 (approx. 70 km) or the D2315 from Omaruru to the farm Omandumba (50 km). Almost all of the Erongo area is on private farmland, so that the climbing areas are considered to be very safe.

1) Area Anibib / Omandumba

Overnight, Camping, General

There are two adjacent farms Omandumba, East and West. The climbing rocks are on Omandumba West, and partly on the neighboring farm Anibib on which is the Ai-Aiba Lodge is settled. The farm house of Omandumba West is located directly along the street D2315, at the junction to Ai-Aiba (2 km). On Omandumba there are two campsites in a solitary, romantic location hid away in wilderness. Please report on arrival to the farmer couple, which shall show you the campsite and give you information of the scattered climbing rocks. Water is available from the Farmer, for the rest you are on your own.

Omandumba, camp site, photographer Hasso Gantze
Romantic tents in the nature between the rocks on Omandumba

Omandumba has been for several generations in the hands of the Rust family. Deike and Harald Rust still lead a real farm operation in the Erongo Mountains. Life is hard here, if the rain stays away, which often happens, a hard time starts for the farmer. Please be very careful when cooking in the dry season. A field fire can be a disaster. If it rains sufficiently, the Erongo turns into a pearl. For weeks, small rivers run, nature wakes up and spoils the visitor with rarely seen blossoms and flowers. The area is rich in rock paintings and also engravings. The Rust family gladly shows you the most beautiful ones. Please book theses leaded tours early.

Tel.: +264 (0) 64 571086
Fax: +264 (0) 64

On Anibib, immediately next door and also in a romantic location, has recently opend up the Ai-Aiba Lodge. 20 luxurious bungalows, with a view of the Brandberg, offer a strong contrast to Omandumba. A swimming pool is at your disposial, also the guests of Omandumba are welcome. You can enjoy a sundowner on the terrace and stay for dinner. It is best to drive by car (approx. 15 min), from Omandumba, to walk back in the dark is not recommended. Anibib has a landing strip for light aircrafts.

Anibib, Ai-Aiba Loadge, photographer Hasso Gantze Leopards, source Ai-Aiba Lodge
Ai-Aiba Lodge, Leopards on the Ai-Aiaba Lodge

Tel: +264 (0) 64 570330
Fax: +264 (0) 64 570 557

Mountaineering development, Hiking possibilities

In the climbing area Omandumba / Anibib climbing takes place since 1998. More than 100 routes, and many rock towers were developed and explored. Beautiful and difficult sport climbing routes are found primarily in the "Greek wall" and "Shadow wall". Otherwise, the area has been developed mainly in the free-climbing style. An adequate range of backup resources is essential. Among the most impressive peaks are the "Bismarck tower" and the "Sepp" with the "Franke Tower". The rock is hard granite, in the sunny side sometimes a little weathered, but otherwise of good quality. A variety of routes are secured with bolts, but particularly for the chink tours,(Rißtouren) a well-assorted range and wedge Rißklemmen (friends) of all sizes are appropriate. Most rocks have direction marks, "Abseileinrichtungen". One of the longest routes is the "Long Wall" at the "Klipspringerwand" by 7 lengths (330m). There are at Anibib / Omandumba an unbelievable amount of potential first ascents. Routes of difficulty 27 (UIAA IX) document the current level of performance. Also here nobody wants smeared walls, therefore away with the "Magnesiabeutel"!

Omandumba, Climbing in the Greek wall, photographer Hasso Gantze Omandumba, First climbing of the Bismarck tower (eastern edge), Archive Hasso Gantze
Climbing in the Greek wall and hard struggle on the rock: First climbing of the Bismarck tower (eastern edge) and full inset in setting up the route

Omandumba, Hiking in the Wasserklippenrivier, photographer Hasso Gantze Anibib, View from the lookout mountain to the north, photographer Hasso Gantze
Omandumba: Hiking in the Wasserklippenrivier; Anibib: View from the lookout mountain to the north. Left in the middle of the giant block with two great cracks.

The area is also ideal for hiking. One should, as anywhere in the country, take plenty of water. There are no marked trails on Omandumba. On Anibib, directly behind the lodge, a marked trail about a half hour leads through rocks to petroglyphs. This is especially recommended in the late afternoon.
On both farms hunting takes place, you should notify the owner of your daily plans. The snake threat in Namibia is generally exaggerated, as the highest accident risk for tourists is on the roads of Namibia. But a possible snakebite, more than 50 km away from the nearest doctor, has serious consequences. Although most snakes flee from humans, one should particularly adhere to some advice - never climb over a fallen tree. Since one does not know what lies behind it, one better walks around it.

Omandumba, Mamba accross the camp site, photographer Hasso Gantze
A Mamba flashes across the camping ground

2) Area Ameib / Nieuwoudt - currently all DENY!!!

Overnight, camping, safety

On the Ameib Ranch there is a beautiful camping area, two swimming pools and several rooms in the house and bungalows. The ranch, since the early eighties belongs to Waldtraut Kögl and was fortunately not turned into a modern lodge. It has a size of about 12 000 ha and is fenced in. An external security service is guarding the property. Almost everything else is still done the old "Südwester" way. Since Ameib still has neither electricity nor Internet connection (the network address (URL and e-mail) goes through an agency in Windhoek, registration by phone / fax is appropriate. Every campsite has its own fireplace, but Mrs. Kögl also provides an excellent three-course dinner in the evening, worth trying out. Every day, game is on the menu and the faithful spirits in the Lapa can assist with refreshments, a cool beer or other beverages.

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General development and history

!Am-eib comes from the Nama language and means something like "the green place." The story of Ameib is comprehensive described in the book "Lebensspuren im Sand und Fels - Die Geschichte von Ameib" by Hannah Schreckenbach (1st edition 2009, ISBN: 978-3-936858-97-6).
1867 the German missionary Johannes Friedrich Albrecht Boehm from the Rheinischen Mission built a station here. If it rains well, Ameib is a paradise, is there no rain, it becomes hell. That the missioner must have also recognized. Permanent military conflicts of the native tribes, and years of drought in 1881 forced Böhm to abandon the property, it decayed. 1907, Karl Hentschel, the first Farmer to take over Ameib. 1913 the lawyer Dr. Otto Sievert from Swakopmund acquires the farm (his grave is near the farm house). Already in 1909/10, in the northwest part of the farm tin mining started on small scale, but only after the occupation of the country by the Union of South Africa in the First World War, Sievert, intensified the mining. To meet the high water supplies to the mine, a dam of almost 200 000 cubic meters was built. Towards the end of the Second World War, the tin ore was exhausted; the silted dam and ruins of the wash plant still exist. Some graves bear witness of the hard work here at the edge of the desert.

The old mine dam Ameib, photographer Hasso Gantze a prehistoric hunting scene, photographer Detlev Reimann
The old mine dam Ameib after heavy rains and rock drawing of a prehistoric hunting scene

Access to Ameib after the rain , photographer Hasso Gantze
Access to Ameib after the rain

The entire Erongo is very rich in prehistoric rock paintings. The first were discovered very early (at the old mine dam) (Büttner 1877; FRITSCH 1879) and described.
1910 some drawings were copied from a small department of the German colonial forces under Kaiserl.-Ltn Jochmann and published. From 1950 the rock art, under Abbé Breul and Dr. Scherz were investigated and documented.

Since 1980 Ameib is in the possession of Waldtraut Kögl and since 1984 registered as a guest farm. Commercial hunting does not occur, so the abundance of game is tremendously. More than 35 giraffes also visit from time to time the campsite. Several dams attract the animals in the area. In addition to the giraffes one can see Oryx, Kudu, Springbok, Klipspringer, Hartmann's mountain zebra, leopard, wild dogs, lizards and others, as well as the ubiquitous rock hyrax. Bird lovers will also get more than they paid for. Since 2000 Ameib is part of the "Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy," in which farm owners have joined forces in and around the Erongo region. Meanwhile, the first black rhinos have been reintroduced, which until 1970 were at home here. Game drives (safaris, rock carvings) can be booked and hiking from dawn to sunset, without leaving the farm, are the attractions of this great rock territory. Please always sign out for tours from the reception and after the tour back in again!

Development in mountain climbing

Since 2 000, mountain climbing has taken place in Ameib. More than 80 routes and rock towers up to 200 m long are available for disposal. Sport climber-, as well as free climbing routes, which are variegated by wall-, friction-, crack and chimney climbing in this magnificent landscape will invite every climber to stay longer. In the deepness of the gorge the, "Kloof" will be for every climber something he is looking for. Depending on the time of the day, one can climb on the shady side, because in summer it gets very hot on Ameib.

Abseil point at Ameib view from the
"Abseil" point at "Bergfink" in the valley of the giant blocks and view from the "Nibelungen" tower to the fairytale towers

On Ameib, so far is the most difficult rock tower of Namibia found, the "Owl", which its more than 100m high on the valley side. The rock tower with the difficulty of 25/IXb was conquered only once so far.

Ameib Owl: Providence Memor 25, photographer Hasso Gantze Ameib Sisyphus, photographer Detlev Reimann
Owl: "Providence Memor" 25; Ameib: The travails of the Sisyphus

Climbers to explore new climbing routes are welcome, but should adhere to the designated areas for climbing and to the magnesia prohibition! Primarily Ameib is a Nature and wildlife reserve. We are only guests!

The rock is granite, in the sun it is sometimes a little weathered, but otherwise of good quality. A variety of routes are secured with bolts. Especially for the crack routs, however, a well-stocked collection of chocks and wedges (friends) of all sizes are appropriate.

Southeast of the Ameib ranch borders is the farm Nieuwoudt. Here are more fantastic crack climbing spots. The area can only be visited from Ameib. Please only use the path (red markings) and the route over the fence at the indicated area.

Flowers of worm bark tree, photographer Hasso Gantze on the Salome, 1 ascent on a silver platter 19, photographer Hasso Gantze
Ameib: Flowers of worm bark tree at the campsite, Nieuwoudt: on the "Salome", 1 ascent "on a silver platter" 19

The first climbing and hiking guide "Ameib" from the year 2002 is currently out of print. Information about routes and rock climbs are obtainable from Mrs. Kögl.

For hikers there are vast and well-marked trails and two climbing routes. One climbing path is located at the Wagner scene / elephant's head and the second climbing path on the south slope of the "house mountain". On the farm area there are three prehistoric caves with magnificent wall paintings, "Philip Cave" is the best known and has been declared a national monument (45 minutes from the parking lot). The giant stone balls at "Bulls Party" hold the comparison with those in Australia.
The sunsets on Ameib offer unforgettable hours. During and after extensive rains, hundreds of waterfalls plunge down the granite surfaces. With the simultaneous flow of the Ameib and Khan rivers the farm now and then gets cut off for a few days from the outside world.

Ameib Easter, photographer Hasso Gantze Ameib waterfall wall, photographer Hasso Gantze
waterways in the rainy season

Rock Leguaan in Ameib, photographer Hasso Gantze
Rock Leguaan in Ameib

There are no mountain rescue teams in Namibia!

In case of accidents contact: "Medrescue Namibia" at the following numbers:
By mobil phone: 112
From the local network at the reception:
Medrescue Windhoek: 061 230505
Medrescue Walvis Bay: 200200 (local call, no prefix)
Ameib has got a landing strip for small aircraft.

Ralf Reißig with the first ascent of Dragon (24) on the Lovers, photographer Hasso Gantze Giraffe, photographer Hasso Gantze
Ralf Reissig with the first ascent of "Dragon" (24) on the "Lovers"