Wlotzkasbaken, Namibia

Harris Steinman


Wlotzkasbaken, Namibia (text attributed to Wikipedia)

Wlotzkasbaken or Wlotzka's Baken is a holiday settlement on Namibia's Atlantic coast, situated approximately halfway between Swakopmund and Hentiesbay. Founded as a holiday angling spot in the 1930s, Wlotzkasbaken developed into a settlement of unusual design and administration. Without any fences or boundary walls, privacy is achieved only by the distance between the houses. There are no walls or fences anywhere; boundaries are demarcated with rocks. Titles in the village are held by the Regional Council and only leased to the residents. A legal battle ensued about how to expand the resort without disadvantaging lessees who built houses on land they do not own. As the expansion of Wlotzkasbaken stopped in the 1970s when recreational developments were exclusively for Whites, it currently still has no residents of previously disadvantaged population groups.

There are only six people more or less who permanently reside in Wlotzkasbaken. During the holiday months of December and January several hundred people stay here. Wlotzkasbaken is not electrified and not connected to the public water system. Water is delivered by road and stored in private water towers that characterise the settlement's skyline. It consists of 106 houses which are all designed and built by their owners. Every house is self-sustaining with regards to water and electricity.

History and structure of the settlement—most prominently the situation that its last expansion occurred before Namibian independence and the abolishment of apartheid—have led to accusations that the community of Wlotzkasbaken intentionally keeps Blacks out of their holiday village. On the other hand, Government has been accused to plan the distribution of 28 seafront properties to high-ranking Government officials, and to deliberately destroy the unique character of the settlement.


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