Aus Tourist Attractions Namibia
Aus is a village in southern Namibia 230 km west of Keetmanshoop and about 125 km east of Luderitz. The name means 'out' in German, but is actually derived from a khoi-khoi word which means 'place of snakes'.
Trains from Keetmanshoop now terminate at the village but formerly continued on to Lüderitz. The village is small but has a number of amenities including a hotel, police station, shop and garage.
It is located in the Aus Mountains above the plains of the Namib Desert. The climate is usually hot and arid but snow has been recorded in winter.
The village was formerly the site of a prisoner-of-war camp established by the South African army in 1915 to house German inmates captured during the First World War. The inmates initially lived in tents but later built brick houses. The houses weren't opulent - roofs were tiled with unrolled food tins - but they did provide protection from the elements. The prisoners also built several wood stoves, and eventually sank boreholes to provide water for the camp and built barracks for the guards. The number of prisoners reached 1500 but by May 1919 the last inmates left and the camp closed. A plaque marks the site today and some of the houses have been reconstructed.
The area west of Aus is noted for its herd of feral horses living in the desert. Their origin is uncertain but today there is a population of between 150 and 200 individuals which have adapted to the harsh environment. They urinate less than domestic horses and can go five days without water. They drink at an artificial water hole at Garub Pan where a blind has been erected to enable tourists to watch the animals without disturbing them.