This area of Karas region is synonymous with water – the mighty Orange/Okiep River cutting its path through this Karoo desert region on its path to the Atlantic; and Namibia’s longest river, the Fish River, which empties into it.
The small settlement of Noordoewer (North Bank) is Namibia’s southernmost entry point, with the South African border crossing at Vioolsdrif, 4 km away. It is an almost habitual “halfway house” and re-provisioning oasis on the long national road between Cape Town and Namibia’s capital, Windhoek.
It is also the natural gateway to the famed Fish River Canyon, just 80 km northwest and to fertile river-irrigated farming areas like Aussenkehr, some 50 km away.
Spread along the Orange are various well-established and relaxing riverside resorts in unique settings, each with breathtaking cross-river views of the Richtersveld Mountains of South Africa.
Among Noordoewer’s popular tourism havens are Camel Lodge on the national road and Orange River Lodge, a few km away. Both offer excellent value-for-money (malaria- free) riverside accommodation and camping, with comforts including picturesque air-conditioned rooms and a-la carte dining. Camel Lodge also has a mini-market, bottle store and 24-hour filling station.
50 km downstream, nearer Fish River Canyon on the farm Aussenkehr, is the idyllic Norotshama River Resort, which boasts luxury thatched chalets (and riverside houseboats) as well as a campsite and a-la carte restaurant. Steeped in local history, the farm is also home to a thriving local community, many of whose people serve the flourishing export table grape growing industry for which this area is now known. A visit to the farm’s innovatively conceived cultural village is a must.
The area has abundant wildlife attracted to the life-giving river, including the impressive fish eagle, a favourite among birdwatchers. Tourism activities along the Orange River in this area include hiking, fishing, horseback riding, canoe and rafting excursions to the mouth of the Fish River, and organised 4×4 trips to Fish River Canyon or further afield.