S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Pohle, Mr H (exploration)

Born: Date not known, Place not known.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

H. Pohle was a mine manager from Freiburg, Germany, who led the second expedition commissioned by the German merchant Adolf Lüderitz to search for minerals in Great Namaqualand (now southern Namibia). Lüderitz had acquired a lease of Angra Pequena (now Lüderitz Bay) and its hinterland from Nama chiefs in 1883, and had secured the protection of his possessions by the German Government. Two other members of the expedition were the geologist Dr Adolf Schenck* and the botanist Dr Hans Schinz*. They arrived in Cape Town in October 1884 and travelled to Angra Pequena in the ship Formica. While Schinz went off to explore the northern part of the territory, Pohle and Schenck left the bay on 10 February 1885 and reached Aus on 23 February. They continued their journay on 10 March, travelling first south-east and then south along the edge of the Namib desert to reach Obib (west of present Rosch Pinah) on 21 March and the Orange River near Sendelings Drift two days later. After returning half-way to Obib they turned slightly west of south, reached the Orange River again at Arris Drift (near present Beesbank), and, travelling parallel to the river, reached its mouth on 23 April. They returned along more or less the same route and, without finding any significant mineral deposits, Pohle left Angra Pequena for Germany on 25 July 1885.

Pohle wrote a good narrative account of the journey, "Bericht über die von Herrn Lüderitz ausgerüstete Expedition nach Südwestafrika, 1884-1885", which was published in Petermann's Mitteilungen aus J. Penthes' geographischer Anstalt in 1886. He was not favourably impressed by the lower Orange River. Grazing along the river was scarce, the river mouth appeared to be closed up with sand in the dry season, and the prospects for agricultural settlements seemed poor.

List of sources:
Gunn, M. & Codd, L.E. Botanical exploration of southern Africa. Cape Town: Balkema, 1981.

Hugo, P.J., Schalk, K.E.L. & Barnes, S.J. Bibliography of South West African/Namibian earth science (Introduction and reference 2417). Windhoek: Geological Survey, 1983.

Kienetz, A. Nineteenth-century South West Africa as a German settlement colony (pp. 474, 507-513). PhD thesis in social geography, University of Minnesota, 1976. Facsimile by University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1977.

Compiled by: C. Plug