South of Keetmanshoop the relentless B1 skirts the forbidding Great ||Karas Mountains to the east for about 100km, while the sibling Little ||Karas Mountains keep their distance, west of the flat, sandy valley that separates the two ranges. A couple of hours’ drive south, the road divides at GRÜNAU, a small, predominantly Nama and Afrikaner settlement of a few hundred. Of interest to the weary traveller is the roadside petrol station, just north of the junction, which can also provide an injection of caffeine. Despite its seeming insignificance on the ground, Grünau marks an important crossroads: north, the B1 heads towards Windhoek and beyond; west, a gravel road leads to the Fish River Canyon, while south, the B1 continues another 140km to the 24-hour border post with South Africa at Noordoewer, then onwards to Cape Town. Turning west, just before the border, takes you on a very scenic drive along the Orange River – where you can stop off for some gentle kayaking – which meanders a further 250km until it slides into the Atlantic Ocean at Oranjemund.

Eastwards from Grünau, the B3 follows the railway for 177km, through Karasburg, to the other main border post with South Africa (also 24hr), just beyond Ariamsvlei. This busy crossing serves traffic travelling between Namibia and the Johannesburg area. Karasburg, beyond being a useful refuelling pit stop, is the gateway to the important historical settlement of Warmbad, a forty-minute drive south.

On account of Grünau’s strategic location, several hospitable guestfarms lie in the vicinity, providing a convenient stopover for long-distance travellers keen to break their journey, but also worthy of longer stays. Some visitors do a day-trip to the Fish River Canyon (only 100km) from here.

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