The C26 from Windhoek to the coast
The C26 is much longer than the C28, but just as scenic. Just after its start, it drops steeply through the Khomas Hochland Mountains (the Kupferberg Pass), then later passes through the remarkable folded mountains of the Gamsberg Pass, which itself involves 20km of twists and turns, and 40 minutes' driving if you go gently (admiring the fine views). Further on still, the Kuiseb Pass sees the road wind down into the river's valley, cross on a small bridge, and then gradually climb back on to the desert plain.
Note that some of the side-roads off these three main roads are used very little. The D1412, for example, is a narrow, slow road whose crossing of the Kuiseb is wide and sandy. It would probably be impassable during the rainy season.
Guest farms and lodges along the C26
(6 rooms) PO Box 9959, Windhoek; tel: 061 239564; fax: 061 235641; email: email@example.com
Twenty-three km southwest of Windhoek on the C26, just over the Kupferberg Pass, Amani Lodge stands at an altitude of 2150m. It's perhaps best known as the highest lodge in Namibia. Amani's run by Alain Houalet, who is originally from France. The accommodation has been built to a high standard – with touches of French style: three thatched chalets and another three fairly luxurious twin rooms. The main house includes a breakfast area, and there's also a communal bar and lounge/dining area.
Activities include 4WD nature drives, horseriding (N$70 per hour), bow shooting, hiking in the mountains and spending time with the habituated leopard and cheetah which are kept here. (I'm told that these cats at Amani are 'registered' with the Africat Foundation.)Rates: N$465 per person sharing, N$565 single, including dinner and breakfast.
Corona Guest Farm
(10 rooms) PO Box 11958, Windhoek; tel/fax: 062 572127; fax: 062 572147; email; firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.natron.net
Corona is about half-way between Windhoek and Walvis Bay, twenty minutes south of the C26. To reach it, take the D1438 turn-off (which is about 31km east of the C14/C26 junction north of Solitaire) south for 18km.
Corona was burnt down in 1995, but has since risen from its ashes and now boasts 4 family-sized suites and 6 double rooms – each with its own bathroom. There are also several verandas, small lounges, a bar (with satellite TV), a reading corner, and an outdoor swimming pool with sundeck under some lovely jacarandas.
Activities include various farm activities plus horseriding, nature drives, and hiking. There are various shelters containing rock art on the farm, and from here it's possible for hikers to climb the Gamsberg Mountain, making use of Corona's 'mountain hut' at their base for a night if they wish. At the other extreme, adventurous guests are encouraged to join the hosts for a night camping at the bottom of the Gaub Canyon. Rates: N$670–890 single, N$550–650 per person sharing, full board.
Weissenfels Guest Farm
(11 rooms and campsites) PO Box 2907, Windhoek; tel: 062 572112; fax 062 572102; email: email@example.com; web: www.orusovo.com/weissenfels
Weissenfels is 120km west of Windhoek on the C26 – just west of the D1265, and east of the Gamsberg Pass. It covers 40km2 acres of rolling highlands and has been a guest farm since 1992. Now its run by Winston Retief and Rosi Rohr, who have retained a fairly traditional feel to it.
Accommodation is in one of five 'budget' double rooms, which share bathrooms, or six en-suite double rooms. There's also one larger family room, and one small room for tour guides. (Because of its location, Weissenfels does cater for occasional small tour groups.)
Weissenfels makes a good stop-over for a snack or lunch if you're travelling on the C26, but if you decide to stay for longer then there are some pleasant hiking trails (which you can follow with a guide, or on your own), and there's a fair amount of game around. Alternatively, 4WD game drives and horseriding are possible, as are picnics at the farm's various rock pools, and a trip to the top of the Gamsberg in a specially-converted 4WD.Rates: N$480 per person sharing (half board in en-suite rooms), N$375 per person sharing in the budget rooms, N$80 per person camping.