Kaokaland…. It’s a place of grandeur where you re-discover your humanity and silence becomes music to your ears.
The landscape is dry and rugged. It looks lifeless with its sunbaked mountains and plains,  but there are people living there, the Himba,  despite the rarity of water, with their cattle,  goats and donkeys.

At Kamanjab on our way northward we stayed at Oppi-Koppi. In the morning we decided to have coffee in their lapa pub before leaving.
Just by chatting to a Belgian girl working there,  Solveig found out that overlanders travelling through Africa were  offered free accommodation to stay there.



We were very grateful for the refund. Communicating is so important on a trip like this.

Opuwo is the last town before the 180 km bone jarring road to Epupa Falls, where you can stock up at the OK and enjoy a coffee and a light meal at the restaurant next door while people watching.


Himba at OK

You’ve never done people watching until you’ve been to Opuwo.


Himbas all trying to sell to Solveig

Himba ladies trying to get one to buy their hand made jewellery and Hereros in their Victorian attire looking regal and out of place in this dusty outpost.



The road to Epupa had 129 (we counted on the return trip) river crossings or dry wash aways. We had to change down to 1st gear in some cases but never required low range.
We stopped for lunch and OMG the car would not start. We had luckily stopped on a hill and started the car by running it down the hill. This really worried us. Was it the starter motor or something else that had shaken loose on the bad road. We kept the motor running until we reached the camp.
But it was all worth it. Epupa Falls is in one of the most remote parts of Namibia and it is beautiful!!


Campsite at Epupa

We stayed at the community run campsite right on the banks of the Kunene river under palm trees with the falls to one side. The spray from the falls cooled us with the help of a light breeze.


Solveig and George at Epupa Falls campsite

We walked around the campsite checking the view of the river and falls. Afterwards we had a refreshing drink from the raised deck.


View from the deck pub

We met some young tourists from Colorado who had driven all the way from Cape Town in a Ford Focus! They were so envious of our trip.

We took a walk to a viewpoint of the falls. The Baobabs added something special to the falls. It is amazing how a river can change the landscape with the palms and the greenery.


Baobab at Epupa falls

The Makalani palm  is found all over in the north. The fruit of the palm is known as vegetable ivory. The locals carve a picture onto it. At filling stations you are often approached by a well dressed person who comes up to have a chat. He asks for your name in a friendly way and just before you leave he presents you with this carved out token with your name on it. It’s hard not to buy it the first time, but after many such episodes it becomes tedious!


Vegetable ivory

They ask only R 10 for it.  Shame! A new way of begging? By giving you something in return and is that not a better way???!!!!

The next morning I had to examine the starter problem. I checked for loose wires, removed and cleaned the contacts of all relevant fuses. The fuse box in the engine was filthy with mud and dust and I cleaned that.  A neighbouring camper from Germany suggested that I knock the starter solenoid with something heavy which I did. The car started without a problem.  I’m not sure what fixed it but it was now fine again.
I decided that we would get expert advice and visit a specialist in  Ondongwa or Otjiwarongo to get it checked.


Makalani Palms near Otjiwarongo

We went to Greensport in Otjiwarongo who.  I was advised not worry about the starter as it was working fine now. We can only trust their judgement.

Author: Ian & Solveig's Overland Adventures

Although we never achieved our original goal of reaching Norway overland through Africa, our experience was so unexpectedly rewarding that we've not been able to settled down again! So we added new destinations to our lust for adventure. We hope that you will join us in sharing new exciting places and encounters with the amazing people we meet along the way.

3 thoughts on “Kaokoland”

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