Travel Books: On the road with Konny

"On the road with Konny" author Konny von Schmettau is always on the go in the footsteps of exciting stories and historical events in the land of contrasts and endless space. From the diamond-restricted area in the south through the coast, Swakopmund, Damaraland and the Etosha National Park up to the far northeast, the former Caprivi Strip, which is part of the Zambezi Region today. Personal stories and mysterious legends of different people and folks can be found in her travel books as well as historical events and instructions on where to go places, rounded off with fascinating photos.

"On the road with Konny" has become a trademark for "literary travel books", entertaining to be read on Safari.
All titles can be ordered directly with the author.
Some titles are also available as ebooks. Please find link below.

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 NAMIBIA: Entdeckungen, Expeditionen & Geschichten fürs Lagerfeuer
 (“Discoveries, Expeditions & Camp fire stories”)
 From the series „Auf Pad mit Konny“ (On the Road with Konny"
  Konny von Schmettau
 Hippos Verlag 2019
 116 Seiten mit zahlreichen Fotos, gebunden
 Language: German
 ISBN: 978-99916-821-6-7



The big country with the least population is a travel destination for many who come to visit on regularly base, to discover something new every day.

As you travel south, huge plains without any infrastructure open up, only and old farm here and there with camel-thorn trees, surrounded by desert sands. - And nothing more to see than bizarre ridges, endemic plants, Ostriches and Oryx antelopes in an archaic world.
Which attractions should not be missed when traveling? How did Maltahöhe get it's name, which stories are told by the elders in the night by the fire under the stars?
The wonders of the Namib desert and moon landscape, the prehistoric Welwitschia mirabilis, wild horses of the Namib and historic places are introduced, affectionately told by the local people, with their hearts and dreams.
We start our journey in the capital Windhoek and travel with time to Swakopmund at the Coast while we discover places like Karibib and Otjimbingwe which are usually overseen by tourists, unknowingly about their importance in olden times.
Coming to know Swakopmund and its historical buildings at first, we start journeying through the southern Namib via Maltahöhe, Keetmanshoop, Fish River Canyon, Oranjemund, Lüderitz and many more.
Returning to Swakopmund via Sossusvlei, we travel along the coast towards North, visit the skeleton coast, Cape Cross, Messum Crater, Brandberg and the bushman paintings at Twyfelfontein. We visit the Himba in Kaokoland and end our journey in the magical Etosha National Park and the mining town of Tsumeb.
The last but not least part of the book is to relax with the guitar under the shiny stars of the African night while jackals howl in the bush, guinea falls gaggle their warning and a lion roars far away in the plains. This is the prefect time to tell each other stories. Welcome to the country of dreams and adventures! 
Famous characters and authors have added their own amazing stories in the book: Ute von Ludwiger (Tour guide stories and great photographs of night active animals in Etosha), Francois Lottering (A fascinating background story of the Himba at Kunene) and Pastor Walter Moritz (Author of the historical series „Aus alten Tagen in Südwest“ about the Topnaar and the !Nara).


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  On the road with Konny 4
  Sangwali – David Livingstone at Linyanti
  Special Edition Namibia Scientific Society
  Konny von Schmettau, Hippos Verlag 2016
  68 pages with photographs
  ISBN 978-99916-821-1-2



In this volume author Konny von Schmettau takes her readers “on the road” into the Zambezi Region of Namibia, the former Caprivi Strip.
In the footsteps of the famous Africa explorer, the powerful Makololo and unfortunate missionaries she detects untold stories that brought effects on missionary work in southern Africa.
Past events, exciting legends of the Mayeyi and adventurous trips by European pioneers through wild scrubland, marshes and deserts provide insights into a mysterious world.

On the banks of the Linyanti

It is 1851.
As the sun sets and darkness creeps in, peace sets across the expanse of the moor. Water lilies are reflected in the last light on the small winding rivers and channels and then disappear from sight in the distance between high, swaying rushes in the soft breeze. The smouldering Mopane wood fire flares up in the wind, putting a warm glow on the faces of the two men sitting close together as they each tell the story of their lives. Reflecting on the past, the aged Sebitwane recounts his lifes experience to his young foreign friend David Livingstone.
It is here where he also talks of the long journey for his tribe, who were expelled from their home many years ago by the great Zulu tribe.
In search of their little paradise, the Makololo migrated with their cattle, wives, children and meagre belongings through the impenetrable jungle and swamps,over high mountains, steep cliffs, waterfalls and desolate arid savannas to the place they could rebuild their home in safety.
En route they encountered tribes defending their own territory and warriors with suspicious eyes. The Makololo conquered many, taking their captives further north; along with their beautiful women and wealth. They finally arrived in the land of their dreams. This paradise however, was also favoured by the warlike Matabele, who once had ousted the Makololo.
A tall, tough white man full of sparkling energy and an insatiable intellectual curiosity, sat with the chief next to the softly flickering fire and listened to the fascinating story of his friend Sebitwane. Only this one time did Sebitwane open his heart to a stranger. His story has survived to this day in the records of the man who will be remembered as a unique example of humanity and enlightenment, a historian and adventurer, who left his mark on a continent which appeared at that time as only a white spot on the map: Dr. David Livingstone.

He was born on 19 March 1813 from in the village of Blantyre. Being the son of a Scottish working class family he had to share a tiny room with parents and siblings. As a child labourer in a mill, he secretly learned Latin. His affection towards people already became evident when he, at the age of nine, rescued two children from drowning. Throughout his youth, he had the vision of going to Africa as a missionary and explore the dark continent.
When eventually the opportunity arose to attend school and later University, he had to work twice as hard to catch up to his classmates who had prior sound education. But David did not give up and pursued his target unswervingly, until he finally became a missionary to Africa and his destiny: David Livingstone, Doctor of Medicine, explorer and researcher forever. “I will go anywhere, provide it be forward!” was his promise.

Never on straight paths, always questioning the impossible, restless and very inquisitive – that is how his peers described him. As the first European, he travelled on foot, by horse or oxcart through the unexplored continent – drew maps, discovered the wild waters of the mighty Zambezi, Lake Malawi (previously Lake Nyassa) and countless other sites which previously had only been mentioned in legends and stories.
David Livingstone fought relentlessly against slavery. By presenting evidence of the brutal maltreatment of the abducted family members of various tribes, transported in chains like animals via remote islands to Europe and America he played a crucial role in the final abolishment of slavery in Europe.
He befriended the indigenous people and learned of their different beliefs and cultures, dined with great chiefs, and was even attacked by a lion, losing the use of his left arm – yet he was never satisfied with his discoveries. He moved further and further into the depths of an unknown, mysterious territory.
Shortly after his arrival in Southern Africa at the beginning of 1841, he heard of the mighty King of Makololo, Chief Sebitwane who was living in the north with his huge army of indomitable warriors – an area no white man had ever entered. It was already then that he planned to meet this tribe and chief.
During the next few years David assisted with building and other activities at various missions always maintaining, that a wife would probably hinder him in his work. At the mission station in Kuruman it was Mary Moffat, daughter of one of the most experienced missionaries, that stole his heart Mary was his staunch supporter and accompanied him on many trips with their children in tow. Despite many obstacles they trekked through scenic landscapes filled with beauty and inherent dangers; through rough terrains, flooded rivers and waterless lands. Many oxen, which pulled the wagons, died from the Tsetse fly disease, while the fever that’s today known as Malaria, often brought the convoy to a stand-still.
After the arduous journey, they reached the Linyanti River surrounded by an immense swamp near a village today known as Sangwali; the tribal land of Chief Sebitwane and a place of fascinating beauty. This was Livingstone’s “paradise on earth”; this was home and a paradise of peace to the Mayeyi tribe. And it was shelter and refuge for the Makololo tribe from the might of the Matabele and the Lhozi. And here it was that Sebitwane saved Livingstone’s life. Had it not been for the medicine of the Makololo, David Livingstone would surely have succomed to Malaria.
David Livingstone remained true to the Makololo that lived in the spirit of Chief Sebitwane. When the great explorer died, at the age of 60, in Chitambo (today known as Zambia), on 1 May 1873 two Makololo men carried his remains over 1000 miles to the coast, so that he could be brought to his final resting place in his native England.
His body was sent to England but his heart was buried under a tree by the Makololo, as they knew: “You can have his body, but his heart belongs to Africa!” (…)


Oranjemund - A journey through history and modern times


  On the road with Konny 3
  Oranjemund – A journey through history and modern Times
  Konny von Schmettau, Hippos Verlag 2014
  96 pages with photographs
  Language: English
  ISBN 978-99916-886-1-9




The history of Oranjemund is based on one of the world's richest diamond areas, where the Oranje River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. In ancient times, huge herds of wild animals roamed the area. Due to the mining activities within the years, lots of prehistoric fossils have been discovered and documented. Diamond fields around Kolmanskuppe, Pomona, Bogenfels and others burgeoned and sunk at the beginning of the 20th Century. Men dreaming of getting rich and powerful due to the stones, which were often compared to the stars in the skies, gave their best years to dig for them in the hot desert, in sandstorms and icy cold nights. People lied, killed and stole for their dreams, but only a few of them could keep their riches, before the ever-present sand covered again what had been built in years. They just left ghost towns behind.

Soap, Shoes, Tobacco

In 1928, the foundation of Oranjemund, as a modest camp for workers and staff to live in, was laid. The first basic, plain huts were built. There were no luxuries to be had, only the most basic of living conditions were possible. Life was hard for the men working here in the desert. There was no shade and no tree to protect them from the sandstorms and the wind, which mostly started blowing in the afternoons and was icy cold during winter. There was a small shop which sold the necessities such as soap, shoes or tobacco if it could be brought in over the difficult route of transportation at all. Men rather worked overtime hours as there were no recreation facilities available, and they were grateful for the extra pay.
Their contracts of employment stated: „54 hours are to worked per week“, so that they worked from sunrise to sundown as a rule. A couple of employees managed to work many weeks and months without once taking a day off, and one of them said at the time: „We have so much work that we don’t even have time to get sick!“
Days off were not automatically incalculated into their contracts, these had to be worked in. If one had been employed for a whole year without an off day, then he was granted five free days, and after five years of employment one was eligible for nine free days.
The only highlight of the week was on Friday evenings, when the post came down from Elisabeth Bay or Kolmanskop, and which was then hand delivered to each of the waiting men. This was the only contact they had with friends or family, and even if the news was mostly already a week old, it was still better than receiving no news at all.
In later years there was a small radio station to the north of the camp – one still could not call it a settlement – and this radio was used to communicate news, especially about the mine, and men were even informed on whether they had been hired or fired over the airwaves, everything was made public.
It was only in 1944 that the first internal telephone line was installed and in 1948 the first telephone was connected in the General Manager’s house. Today the first house of the Manager, „Jasper House“ still exists and is now the local museum.
The first proper houses were built only in the middle of the 1930’s where after the wives were then allowed to move to Oranjemund.
At the beginning of the 1930s, the settlement was called „Orange River Mouth“, but that caused great confusion because goods and the post would oftentimes land up on the South African Orange River Station in the northern Cape. In 1940 the name was thus shortened to „Orange Mouth” and eventually, in 1951, the official name of „Oranjemund“ was proclaimed.
After the Second World War redundant Sherman tanks were utilized as transport vehicles and to remove overburden, because of their maneuverability which allowed them to drive on even the most difficult terrain.
Precisely how useful such a worn out tank could be was proven by an employee. His colleagues plumb forgot to pick him up after a shift on the mining area. He refused to even consider spending the cold night in the desert, without supper or a warm blanket. So he simply repurposed a mining earthmoving tank into a transport vehicle, and quite simply drove into town with it, parked the tank in front of his house and went to sleep. The next morning no-one really felt as if they had slept well because the deafening roar of the tank had kept them all out of their sleep. But even so, this unusual excursion made sure that nobody was ever forgotten on the mine again. (…)


Swakopmund 120 years - The Official Yearbook 

  Swakopmund 120 Years – The Official Yearbook
  Konny von Schmettau and Peter Brüggemann
  Hippos Verlag 2012
  112 pages with photographs
  Language: English
  ISBN 978-99945-73-39-4



Swakopmund's official Yearbook 2012 not only gives an insight to important events during the past 120 years, it also introduces the people of today, who give our town its unmistakable character. It also gives them a forum. Starting from the beginnings of the town through to today’s modern development, this is the introduction to the complex co-existence of a multifaceted town, „A book from Swakopmunders for Swakopmunders".
In the south-west of Africa there was once upon a time a coast that was so depressing that not even the courageous seamen ever tried to throw an anchor. That is where the waves of the cold Benguela current break on the hot sandy beach in the age-old struggle between the sea and the desert. The coast was wrapped in dense fog. Anyone who got stranded with his boat was inevitable doomed. In good rainy years, when the river flows, nomads passed the Swakop River, but a permanent settlement did not seem possible.
The history of Swakopmund starts with the German Schutztruppen officer, Curt von Francois, who was send by the German government to look for a possible landing stage in this area. On the 4th August 1892, the "SMS Hyäne" anchored near the Swakop River mouth and set two beacons by which the coast could be approached from the sea. In September 1892 they started to raise the first buildings at the coast near one of the beacons. The first flagpole was raised and then three small buildings, two for the soldiers and the workers and one as a store. Some wells were also dug for men and livestock and the first plots were staked, so laying the foundation for what once would be Swakopmund.



Auf Pad mit Konny von Schmettau -Reportagen und Geschichten aus dem Land der unendlichen Weite und Freiheit


  On the road with Konny - Auf Pad mit Konny 1
  Reportagen und Geschichten aus dem Land der unendlichen Weite und Freiheit
  (Reports and Stories)

  Konny von Schmettau
  Hippos Verlag 2011
  98 pages with photographs
  Language: German
  ISBN 978-99945-72-80-9



Endless plains and peaceful valleys, deep canyons and steep mountain passes, the world's highest dunes and free living wildlife in a natural setting. - Namibia has a lot to offer visitors from around the world and of course for Namibians.
Kelly scrubland at sunset, seemingly endless sandy mountains and hidden riverbeds tempted to dive in mysterious worlds that change their face depending on the season and fascinate us ever anew.
"On the road” or “Auf Pad" means to be on the go. Travel with journalist Konny von Schmettau through the land of superlatives and let us take you to the most beautiful parts of Namibia, with a side trip to Malawi and campfire stories from Africa


Auf Pad mit Konny 2 Konny von Schmettau On the raod with Konny 

  On the road with Konny - Auf Pad mit Konny 2
  Durch den Süden Namibias (Through the south of Namibia)
  Konny von Schmettau
  Hippos Verlag 2012
  88 pages with photographs
  Language: German
  ISBN 978-99916-886-0-2



Author Konny von Schmettau, living in Namibia, travels alone through the country and gathers well interesting stories. In her series "On the road with Konny" she reports of notable people to meet and places to go. In this second volume, she journeys via Solitaire, Duwisib Castle, Bethany, to the old Kalköfen, Keetmanshoop, Fish River Canyon and other places of interest, such as Lüderitz, all the way to Oranjemund, in southern Namibia.
The diamond city and the life there she devoted an entire chapter. Humorous anecdotes and insight into the everyday life of people living in southern Namibia, accompanied with entertaining and beautifully written regional studies and historical excursions.
Konny von Schmettau who writes in Namibia for the Allgemeine Zeitung and Travel News Namibia, undertakes stimulating excursions and describes the magic of the southern region of their adopted home in another literary travel companion.

Link to the ebooks: