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Offline The Crusty Demon

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SWA / Namibia - Grootfonteins old military base
« on: March 06, 2014, 03:41:29 pm »
Hey Guys
We are planning a trip up to northern SWA through Grootfontein and hopefully will have the opportunity to visit the old SADF base there ( the main base with the airport ) 25 years after serving there.
Have any of you been there before or know of anyone who has, perhaps you have friends up there who would be able to advise. Its a long way to go not knowing if we will be allowed access or not.

Any feedback would be appreciated.
Tx
TCD
 

Offline Desert Boy

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Re: SWA / Namibia - Grootfonteins old military base
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 06:14:32 pm »
I've done construction work at the base on and off over the past few years. My opinion is that the base will not welcome sight seers, especially not from the old SWA military days. I think if your travelling all the way just to see that it may be a waste of time.
 

Offline Fearless

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Re: SWA / Namibia - Grootfonteins old military base
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 08:16:01 pm »
Don't arrive unannounced. Will be arrested. Get a local contact or contact me. My boet stays in Tsumeb. 082 789 six six four three.
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Offline OomD

Re: SWA / Namibia - Grootfonteins old military base
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 08:24:34 pm »
Served there myself, signal corps. '88 / '89. Good memories.
 

Offline The Crusty Demon

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Re: SWA / Namibia - Grootfonteins old military base
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2014, 12:53:48 pm »
Thanks Desert Boy. I wasnt even sure if the Namibian Army were using that base or if it had gone commercial, based on the airport link to the outside world or even just left derelict.

What was your last experience there like and what do you think our chances of gaining entry are?
Tsumed is not far from there so perhaps a good place to stop over and have a cold one with a fellow dog. Thanks for the contact details.

I welcome any more advice and information

TCD
 

Offline The Crusty Demon

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Re: SWA / Namibia - Grootfonteins old military base
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2014, 01:00:12 pm »
Served there myself, signal corps. '88 / '89. Good memories.

Aug 87 to June 89 was my tour. 101 W/S was based there. Joined a boy and left a man as so many other did. Had some good times there.
 

Offline I&horse

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Re: SWA / Namibia - Grootfonteins old military base
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2014, 01:16:42 pm »
I tried to go in there but they wouldn't let me. Part of it is used as a civilian airport so if you can let them believe you are picking someone up or something you might get in, but that's probably looking for trouble
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Offline Dirty Boy

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Re: SWA / Namibia - Grootfonteins old military base
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2014, 01:18:10 pm »
Be aware, I found a letter in a Caravan magazine of a guy who thought he would do exactly what you have planned.
He got to Grootfontein  NLC base, got the permission of the main gate guards to drive in and have a look around. 10min later the MPs stopped him and arrested him. He spent 2 days in prison I think whilst diplomats sorted it out.
Remember, it's not the same as when we were there. Those establishments, run down or operational are security  points in a foreign country.  Even taking photos thereof from outside could get you in hot water.

Another thing, if you do get to see you old base, prepare for the worse. They bring back memories that you might not want and also, the state of disrepair and neglect is tragic.

I am a Tiffie and spent my second year based at Grooties (83-84), but I wasnt at 101Wshop. I was the Assistant TSO based in the HQ Offices (NLC) Great job as I got to travel all over Nam.
 

Offline The Crusty Demon

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Re: SWA / Namibia - Grootfonteins old military base
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2014, 01:45:19 pm »
Be aware, I found a letter in a Caravan magazine of a guy who thought he would do exactly what you have planned.
He got to Grootfontein  NLC base, got the permission of the main gate guards to drive in and have a look around. 10min later the MPs stopped him and arrested him. He spent 2 days in prison I think whilst diplomats sorted it out.
Remember, it's not the same as when we were there. Those establishments, run down or operational are security  points in a foreign country.  Even taking photos thereof from outside could get you in hot water.

Another thing, if you do get to see you old base, prepare for the worse. They bring back memories that you might not want and also, the state of disrepair and neglect is tragic.

I am a Tiffie and spent my second year based at Grooties (83-84), but I wasnt at 101Wshop. I was the Assistant TSO based in the HQ Offices (NLC) Great job as I got to travel all over Nam.

Hahaha, funny enough, I know those jail cells too! After spending a night in there when MP's caught a mate taking a leak on a bush , unbeknown to him a PF's wife also saw him and called the fuzz, hence the arrest.

I wouldnt expect the base to be in the shape it was when we were there but I have always wanted to go back to see what happened , whether it be in ruins or a comercial airport , its a part of me and my history.

I can understand the security risk by letting strangers roam around an airfield and military base but if we can get permission ( which is probably half impossible) to take a drive through , it would be the highlight of this trip.

Thanks for your messages

TCD
 

Offline Vis Arend

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Re: SWA / Namibia - Grootfonteins old military base
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2014, 02:02:34 pm »
Be aware, I found a letter in a Caravan magazine of a guy who thought he would do exactly what you have planned.
He got to Grootfontein  NLC base, got the permission of the main gate guards to drive in and have a look around. 10min later the MPs stopped him and arrested him. He spent 2 days in prison I think whilst diplomats sorted it out.

Remember, it's not the same as when we were there. Those establishments, run down or operational are security  points in a foreign country.  Even taking photos thereof from outside could get you in hot water.

Another thing, if you do get to see you old base, prepare for the worse. They bring back memories that you might not want and also, the state of disrepair and neglect is tragic.

I am a Tiffie and spent my second year based at Grooties (83-84), but I wasnt at 101Wshop. I was the Assistant TSO based in the HQ Offices (NLC) Great job as I got to travel all over Nam.

Also saw that letter.  It would be wise to get permission in writing beforehand. 
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Offline Desert Boy

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Re: SWA / Namibia - Grootfonteins old military base
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2014, 12:50:01 pm »
Thanks Desert Boy. I wasnt even sure if the Namibian Army were using that base or if it had gone commercial, based on the airport link to the outside world or even just left derelict.

What was your last experience there like and what do you think our chances of gaining entry are?
Tsumed is not far from there so perhaps a good place to stop over and have a cold one with a fellow dog. Thanks for the contact details.

I welcome any more advice and information

TCD
The Namibian Defence Force is definitely using the place. Very little of it is used commercially. The air force has a big presence there, Chinese jets, etc. The base is in surprisingly good shape and is in constant use. It's not easy to get past the main gate as security is pretty tight. You would have to have a legitimate reason to go there that would be checked out by the MPs. As I said before, the guys are rather sensitive about ex SADF visitors - you were the "enemy" after all.

I also work in Tsumeb, which is about 65 km from Grootfontein. The whole area is particularly beautiful right now after heavy rains and is definitely worth a visit.