Solitaire: Apple pie in the desert

Solitaire is a small settlement in the Khomas Region of central Namibia near the Namib-Naukluft National Park. We came upon it while driving from the red dune area of Sossusvlei to Walvis Bay at the coast. The main settlement is very small – it has a petrol station, post office, a bakery and a general dealer and the Solitaire Country Lodge – but important in the area. It is the only place to refuel – both your vehicle and yourself – for long distances in any direction. We had a long day of travelling still ahead and finding somewhere which served coffee was amazing. There was another reason we had for stopping there. We had read in a guidebook that there was a bakery at Solitaire which served the best apple pie in Namibia! I was determined to put it to the test. First though we took a walk around to get some photos.

Solitaire is part of the 45,000 acre Solitaire Land Trust, which protects native habitat and restores former farmland degraded by drought and overgrazing. The on-going removal of legacy cattle fences will allow the area’s abundant wildlife to move freely from the base of the Great African Escarpment, through the grassland plain, camel thorn shaded river beds and the Namib, widely considered to be the oldest desert in the world. – Solitaire Namibia site

The Solitaire Namibia site has more information about the area, where to stay and what to do.

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Initial approach to Solitaire ©LB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

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We found several “Welcome to Solitaire” signs around. ©LB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

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I wonder how often they do a population census? ©LB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

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And then we came to the best bit – Moose McGregor’s Desert Bakery!

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Moose McGregor was here when we visited but died in early 2014. To find out more about him, you can read this article. ©LB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

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The bakery did more than just produce apple pie. There was quite a variety of sweet and savoury baked goods. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

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This is the famous apple pie! It was very good. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

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The story of the famous Solitaire apple pie. CLICK ON the photo to read the story. ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

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Although he agreed that we could take his photo, Moose McGregor was not keen to pose. Maybe he was having a bad day, or maybe he was just tired of tourists taking photos and asking silly questions?! ©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

This post is part of a series I will be publishing about our travels through Namibia. It is also part of my daily posts for October 2016 – otherwise known as The October Dash

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Categories: Lifestyle/Travel

Author:lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)

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5 Comments on “Solitaire: Apple pie in the desert”

  1. Eha
    October 29, 2016 at 1:31 am #

    Hmmm 🙂 ! Am not a baker nor a cake eater but I would have had a piece of this!! Mostly juicy apple with but little on the bottom and top! Have to laugh ’cause the small township outside of which my gated village is situated has about the same facilities as Solitaire!! No wonder I learned to order on line v quickly after arrival!!! [Mr Google and mail service behaving a tad better this morning: hope to make it to the ‘end’ with you 🙂 !]

    • October 29, 2016 at 9:27 am #

      Yes, there was a lot of apple in the pie – and those slices were huge. Was eating apple pie for many kilometers! Was good to get fruit – it’s difficult to get fresh fruit in very remote & arid places.

      I hate shopping, so order stuff online a lot – and I live in a bigger town with a mall. It also gives Rosie a thrill to answer the door to the courier!😉 Not sure the couriers feel the same way about her.

  2. October 29, 2016 at 8:23 am #

    What a wonderful story, Lisa. I’ve heard about Solitaire, but have never been there. It looks like THE place to stop when you want to see the dunes at Sossusvlei. Now, your blogpost has made my feet itch to visit – and have some of that apple pie!

    P.S. So cool that you got a picture of Moose McGregor!

    • October 29, 2016 at 9:20 am #

      It is an interesting place to visit. We were in a hurry to get on the road again so didn’t have time to explore the area. E.g. there is a cheetah sanctuary close by. Check out the link in the post – Solitaire has a nice modern website!

      Not sure that the apple pie is still the same. Bakery has new management since Moose McGregor’s death. Not sure if it was the best apple pie in Namibia. With so many German ladies there I’m sure that Solitaire’s apple pie had some stiff competition!

      • October 29, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

        Yes, I am sure! In fact, on the main road from Swakop to Windhoek, there is a farm stall/bakery near Wilhelmstal, which also supposedly serves ‘the best apple crumble in Namibia’. 🙂 We stopped there on at least two occasions, and can definitely attest to the fact that it was superlative… But I also think that how hungry and grateful you feel when you arrive at such an ‘oasis’ in the desert will influence your opinion too!

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