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The Wilderness Society

A sense of surreal in strange Solitaire

In the middle of nowhere in Namibia, somewhere between Sossusvlei and Walvis Bay, lies the one petrol-station town of Solitaire.


In fact calling Solitaire a town is a little bit extreme, but this surreal mirage is home to the only petrol station, bakery, general shop and post office for miles around. Originally a sheep farm, this rare diamond in the red desert was used by farmers from miles around to refuel and deliver the weekly post while a small chapel was also built there.

solitaire general-dealer

Now a popular oasis on a road to nowhere, Solitaire has vintage vehicles emerging from blooming cacti and legendary sweet apple pie from a bakery run by a fourth generation Scottsman. A humble outcrop on an otherwise barren landscape, a visit here leaves you pondering if strange Solitaire even really exists at all or if your time there was just hallucination caused by the scorching Namibian sun.

rusted-car ox-wagon old-car motorbike cactus-with-tractor car-desert car vintage-car

Janine Avery

I am the first to confess that I have been bitten by the travel bug… badly. I am a lover of all things travel from basic tenting with creepy crawlies to lazing in luxury lodges; I will give it all a go. I am passionate about wildlife and conservation and come from a long line of biologists, researchers and botanists. I am the general manager of Africa Geographic when I am not out exploring Africa.

  • Erik Van de Ven

    Solitaire is a true oasis at the edge of the Namib desert. It has grown and developed a lot since I first visited it in 2008 especially Mooses bakkery is a welcome adition with its awesome apple pie (for only 20 Rand you get a large piece of the best apple pie in Africa; they bake over 200 kg of applie pie each day). Every time I visit Solitaire I just have to read the book with the same name by Ton van der Lee who visited Solitaire in the 1990’s and helped start the evolution to make Solitaire what it is today.


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