Individual tribes of SAN, Damaras, and Hereros settled in Sesfontein
Fort established by German protection forces
Fort handed over to the colonial police
Abandonment of the fort and end of the German South West Africa colony, beginning of South African administration
1984 – 1989
South African administration declares the fort and cemetery a national monument
Reconstruction of the fort and opening of the lodge operation
The remote, largely inaccessible area between Damaraland and Kaokoveld had a special feature with good water sources, which made it interesting early on.
Ancient rock engravings already attest to the presence of the SAN about 2,000 years ago. About 500 years ago, migrations from the drought-stricken northeast of Africa brought the Himbas and their livestock to the area.
About 140 years ago, the abundance of wildlife in Kaokoveld, with its massive elephant and rhino populations, attracted poaching gangs from the Cape region, as well as the Thirstland trekkers on raids for this seemingly ownerless big game. Several thousand elephants and rhinos fell victim to poaching.
To curb this poaching, the indigenous people consisting of SAN, Damara, and Hereros approached the German colonial power, requesting weapons to combat the poaching.
The colonial power was receptive to the request for support but decided not to provide weapons. Instead, they sent half a company, 25 soldiers with horses. As accommodation, the fort was built in 1896 in Sesfontein, a place with six springs, providing ample water for humans, animals, and agriculture.
With regular patrols by soldiers accompanied by local guides, they managed to halt the poaching and drive out the foreign gangs. As a result, the first steps toward wildlife and nature conservation were taken in present-day Namibia, in collaboration between the local population and the protection force, which occupied Fort Sesfontein at that time. The first “Wildlife Conservation” regulations were introduced.
Hunters had to apply for hunting permission. Female elephants and ostriches were placed under protection. Kaokoveld, like Etosha, was declared a wildlife reserve, and colonial law also paved the way for modern environmental protection. The enforcement of these regulations was carried out from the fort, which was declared a police post in 1909.
No hostile actions ever occurred in and around Fort Sesfontein. The three individuals in the soldier’s cemetery died of natural causes. Fort Sesfontein served exclusively for nature and wildlife conservation.
Today, the principles of nature and wildlife conservation for which the fort once stood are continued by the Sesfontein Conservancy, and Fort Sesfontein Lodge & Safaris supports this by offering activities that celebrate this rich cultural heritage from history.
Fort Sesfontein was constructed in 1896 by German protection troops. The area around Sesfontein, known for its six springs, was chosen due to its abundant water supply for livestock and horses.
The fort served as a guard post against poaching, cattle diseases, arms smuggling, and as a supply station. In 1914, it was abandoned and left to the Namibian desert.
From November 1984 to October 1989, the fort and cemetery were declared a national monument.
In 1995, the fort was reconstructed based on historical photographs and transformed into a lodge with 44 beds, a restaurant, and a pool.
Today, the fort stands as a reconstructed masterpiece, honoring its history and providing guests with a unique stay amidst the breathtaking Namibian landscape.
Every element within its walls tells a story of its past, while the team strives to preserve its history and offer visitors an unforgettable experience.