One of Namibia’s many striking curiosities is its desert wineries: one is situated outside Omaruru in the Erongo Region, whereas the more visited Neuras Winery lies only a few kilometres off the D850 – an easy detour and perfect lunch stop if you’re travelling between the Naukluft Mountains and Sossusvlei. Since this means it can also be popular with tour groups, it’s advisable to phone ahead and time your visit accordingly. While the landscape at first glance would seem too harsh for successful viticulture, a guided tour soon puts you right, explaining the unique microclimate of the spring-fed estate, where the alkaline soil is perfect for planting and the mountainous backdrop protects the vines from the worst ravages of the desert winds. The first wine from Merlot and Shiraz grapes was produced in 2001, resulting in about 3000 bottles. Since then, the estate has expanded, various experimental grapes have been planted, and production is up to 15,000 bottles of red wine and brandy a year. Full tours of the vineyards and cellars take around an hour, culminating in a wine tasting of two reds, accompanied by a platter of cheese (N$285). If you want to skip the tour, you can still sample the wine (at N$20 each), which is surprisingly good, or linger over a light lunch – wraps, salads, pasta, a plate of antipasti and the like (N$45–105) – in their pleasant shady, patio restaurant, and savour a full glass or bottle.

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