Photographer and Professor Jeremiah Gilbert is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the project ‘Finding Solitude in Solitaire, Namibia’. To see Jeremiah ’s body of work, click on any image.
Solitaire is a small, quiet settlement in the Khomas Region of central Namibia near the Namib-Naukluft National Park just south of the Tropic of Capricorn. With no other town for miles around, and being the only place to get fuel between the dunes at Sossusvlei and the coast at Walvis Bay—a distance of 210 miles (340 km)—Solitaire is a welcome respite to many.
The first thing to catch the visitor’s attention when arriving at Solitaire is the abundance of car wrecks that have been scenically draped along the road. This is reminiscent of many small towns of the American West. Aside from a gas station, the town includes a tire repair shop, a post office, a bakery, and a general store. The bakery is well known for its apple cake, considered by many to be the best in the whole of Namibia.
The area was purchased by homesteader Willem Christoffel van Coller in 1848 for the purpose of farming Karakul sheep. Being so remote, his wife named it “Solitaire,” or so one story goes. Mr. van Coller built a small 2-room cottage near to the gravel road junction along with a ranch. In later years, a small shop and a hand-operated petrol pump were added. The shop also acted as the regional post office where weekly deliveries were made.
All images & text © Jeremiah Gilbert
By Jeremiah Gilbert
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