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.
You’ve never done people watching until you’ve been to Opuwo.
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!!
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.
We walked around the campsite checking the view of the river and falls. Afterwards we had a refreshing drink from the raised deck.
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.
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!
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.
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.