Our Book
Videos Routes Eat Sleep Daily blog
A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving - Lao Tzu

9 April 2019, Tses to Asab, 51,6km
Asab General Dealer N$100


When trying to break down the long distances between Keetmanshoop and Mariental, we had seen on Google Maps a place called Asab (the village, train station and river are all named Asab). Sharon at the Keetmanshoop information centre told us that while there was a shop and four or so houses at Asab, the hotel and petrol station there were long-closed, but that perhaps we could camp behind the store. She also told us that if the shop was shut, we should knock on the door of the corner house across the road.
The Asab General Dealer was open, but the owner had not brought supplies from Windhoek so the fast food section was disappointingly closed. We bought a cold Coke - always our first order of business at the end of our cycle day - and then asked the young women behind the counter whether there was accommodation to be had. One of them offered us a room in the same building as the store, but with its own entrance onto the shared verandah. To reach the seatless toilet in its long room with broken cement floor, we had to walk through two or three rooms used for storage; no basin, no shower, but a tap emptying cold water onto the loo floor. While we were standing still on the verandah, a woman walked through “our” room to the loo, which sported a sign: N$2 please” - obviously made available to passing trade.
We initially thought the room was used by one of the women as her jacket was lying on the bed and nail varnish on the windowsill; we thought she had chosen to both accommodate us and earn scarce dollars. But later we found there were no other clothes stored in the room. Charl wondered if it was let by the hour… We never solved the mystery of the room; perhaps it was simply a genuine accommodation option, and cheap for good reasons; whatever the case, we were happy to take occupation of it.
We spread our own sheets over the used comforter, blew up our pillows, and slept well, both briefly in the afternoon after I had had a “bucket” bath using our fold-away bowl, and later…
Before our nap we fell into conversation with Ablonia Gertze who had walked 4km into Asab with her sister’s grandchild, James, to buy snuff. Ablonia used to work at the Asab hotel, the rooms now shells with roofs and windows taken from the abandoned building. Ablonia explained that “Toe die boere weg is, sluit die hotel” (When the farmers left, the hotel closed). She later worked as a domestic in Windhoek for 18 years. She has two sons, both with jobs, but said that “Ons mansmense hardloop weg as die kinders kom” (Our men run away when the children come). A later boyfriend had once hit her in the face shortly after she had spent several months paying off a pair of prescription eyeglasses… Ablonia now lives retired at Groendoring (Gründöring), where a German benefactor built a church and 14 houses “vir die ou mense” (for the old people). She and others there farm with goats. She says it is the pension money received by the elderly that keeps the unemployed youngsters alive.
While we napped in the early afternoon, the two shopkeepers and their small flow of shoppers or friends sat on the verandah and spoke to each other in click-filled Nama, a pleasure to listen to. Some came just to chat, others to buy something from the scarce supplies on offer (maizemeal, long-life milk, jam, bully beef…), others to meet someone off a taxi or send someone on their way.
For lunch we ate a tin of mussels, sharing the remaining oil with a small ginger cat we had evicted from our bed, and creamed corn heated on our Trangia stove. And for dinner we made pasta with a sauce, and opened a can of guavas.
Just 13 people live in Asab, most in the few houses across the road from the general dealer, squeezed between the B1 and the railway line, that both run north to Windhoek. There are donkey carts in use, and just three yellow streetlights warning motorists of a village.
I don’t know exactly why, but awaking from my afternoon nap on someone else’s bedding, hearing the clicks of the women speaking outside, and reading my Kindle book during a long slow afternoon in that small place, made me happy.

For today's route see below photos
For overview route, click on ROUTE tab above…

Tses to Asab
Tses to Asab
Tses to Asab
Tses to Asab
Tses to Asab
Tses to Asab
Tses to Asab
Tses to Asab
Tses to Asab
Tses to Asab
Asab General Dealer
Asab General Dealer
Asab General Dealer - our room
Asab General Dealer - our room
Asab General Dealer - our room
Asab General Dealer - our room
Asab General Dealer
Asab General Dealer
Asab General Dealer - cooking lunch
Asab General Dealer - cooking lunch
Asab
Asab
Asab General Dealer
Asab General Dealer
Previous Page
First Page
Next Page