Africa trips

Trip Namibia 2008 21st March – 10th April 2008 By Jacques Rousseau

Overlanding Trips

Introduction

The dream of traveling the vast open spaces of Namibia came true, when we embarked on our journey on 21st March 2008. Through planning and the valuable information from previous Trip Reports, made the trip a huge success.

We were joined by my parents, Dennis & Lorraine Rousseau and it was a privilege to have them with us on the trip.

Outline of the Trip:

  • From Gauteng through Botswana to Windhoek
  • then down to the coastal towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund
  • through Damaraland up to Kaokoland via Ruacana
  • along the Cunene river to Swartbooisdrif and Epupa falls
  • down Van Zyl’s pass to the Marienfluss, Rooidrom, Orupembe and Puros
  • onwards via Sesfontein and the Khowareb Schlucht to the Etosha National Park
  • back home via the Caprivi and Kasane.

Vehicles:

  • 2004 Toyota Hilux 3.0 KZ-TE d/c 4×4 Raider (Jacques & Chantele) with self-built Aluminium Canopy, Engel 60l Combi, Garmin 276C (loaded with Tracks4Africa 7.10), Kenwood VHF, Rooftop tent, Roofrack and more…
  • 2005 Toyota Hilux 3.0 KZ-TE d/c 4×4 Legend35 (Dennis & Lorraine) with Fibreglass Canopy, Waeco 50l, Garmin 276C (loaded with Tracks4Africa 7.10), Kenwood VHF, Rooftop tent and more…

Hilux with rooftop tent

ready for the road

Our plan was to get away very early, but due to a late evening packing the previous evening, we only managed to
get away at 7:00. We decided to stick to the N4 through Rustenburg, Groot Marico and Zeerust to the Skilpadshek and Pioneer Gate border posts. The road was quiet and we reached Skilpadshek by 11:08. The border formalities went quick, even though it was the start of the Easter Weekend and the school holidays.

Our initial plan was to stay overnight at Kang Kalahari Rest Camp, but decided to push on to Zelda’s Guest Game
farm about 10km after the Namibian border. That would save us a lot of time the following day and we would be able to have a relaxed drive to Windhoek and get there much earlier.

The most boring part of the day was the stretch between Kang and the Mamuno Namibian border post. Despite the
remoteness, there was still a Traffic cop on duty with speed trapping about 100km after Kang. Not a worry for us, since we kept the Cruise Control on 115km/h (GPS speed).

The last 50km before Charles Hill and the border post became a bit dark and wasn’t an easy drive with donkeys,
goats and cattle next to the road which became difficult to see at night.

10km before Charles Hill we spotted a broken down Citi Golf with an open bonnet next to the road. I’m always
weary of stopping next to the road, but Chantéle saw 2 young children in the back and insisted that we just check on
them. A young lady and her 2 young boys got stuck with the broken down vehicle and weren’t safe in the dark without any supplies. I couldn’t assist much mechanically wise on the vehicle and offered to tow them to the Charles Hill filling station and she was extremely grateful. She was from Johannesburg, on her way to her parents in Windhoek and had help on the way from Gobabis.

The border crossing went quick and we were finally in Namibia. We reached Zelda’s at 20:45 and decided to stay
in a room after the long day’s drive, in stead of pulling apart the carefully packed vehicle for camping.

Zelda’s may have a beautiful campsite, but the room wasn’t the best and we felt afterwards that it was really poor value for money.

Distance Traveled for the day 1137km
Approximate Traveling Time for the day 13:45
N4 Toll Road Charges   R 72.00
Kwagga
R 2.50
 
Pelindaba
R 3.00
 
Marikana
R 11.50
 
Swartruggens
R 55.00
 
Botswana Vehicle Permit (Return trip) P 90.00
R 111.84
Namibia Vehicle Permit R 160.00
Zelda’s Game Farm Room N$ 390 pppn R 793.60
Total Day 1 R 1137.44

Namibia tour day 2

We left Zelda’s at 7:20 after a nice breakfast. The road takes you through Gobabis down to Windhoek and we reached
Windhoek around 10:45. On a previous visit I’ve bought some excellent meat at the Transkalahari Butchery in Windhoek, but it was unfortunately closed for the Easter Weekend.

We explored the town (sorry – city…) of Windhoek and got some last minute food supplies at the Checkers
Hyper in the busy-like-madness Maerua Mall.

We booked in at Arebbusch Travel Lodge, pleasantly surprised with the comfortable room and the quality of the accommodation. The initial plan was a long drive for the day and therefore a room was booked initially rather than a camping site.

…comfort of Arebbusch: even undercover parking for a vehicle with roofrack & rooftop tent

Dinner was at Joe’s Beer House and we enjoyed the atmosphere and culture that’s so unique to Joe’s.

…don’t miss a visit to Joe’s

DistanceTravelled for the dayApproximateTravelling Time for the dayArebbuschTravel Lodge Standard Room N$ 450 prpn

Distance Travelled for the day 358km
Approximate Travelling Time for the day 3:30
Arebbusch Travel Lodge Standard Room N$ 450 prpn R450.00
Total Day 2 R450.00

Namibia tour day 3

We left Arebbusch just after 8:00 and took the C26 towards Walvis Bay. A scenic drive took us through the Gamsberg pass and the Namib.

Namibia

namib

The Kuiseb river showed the first signs of the flood waters that must have flowed through a few weeks before.

Kuiseb river Namibia

We made a quick stop in Walvis Bay and continued on to Swakopmund. A jam packed Alte Brucke resort was the Easter Weekend destination for Windhoekers and we unpacked for a 2 night stay.

Distance Travelled for the day – 411km
ApproximateTravelling Time for the day – 6:30
Alte Brucke Campsite N$ 510 (2 nights)R 205.00
Total Day 3 – R 205.00

After a nice breakfast, we decided to get early to Dune 7 before
the sand gets hot. There is a police checkpoint on the outskirts
of Walvis Bay and they were checking vehicle permits and passports.
We left the vehicle permit in the file at the campsite and were
allowed to continue after talking nicely.

Dune 7 took a tiring 20 minutes to get up and a quick 1 minute
to get down…

…we made it!

…enjoy the view for a while

We drove past the Salt Works to Paaltjies and back with the road on the other side of the Dunes to Swakopmund in order to miss the police checkpoint (still with the vehicle permit at the campsite).

A quad bike dune tour was booked for the afternoon and it was the best way to experience the Dunes.

Quad bike tour namibia

The evening got extremely cold with a freezing cold wind from
the sea.

Distance Traveled for the day – 163km
Dessert Explorers Quad Bike Tour – N$ 270 pp – R 540.00
Total Day 4 = R 540.00

Day 5

We had to say goodbye to the beautiful town of Swakopmund and head up north for Kaokoland. A quick stop at the Namakwa Butchery across the road from the Spar shopping centre was a fantastic idea for some excellent Game Biltong and much more.

A quick drive through Henties Bay and we were on our way through Damaraland.

…koebaai see

A variety of landscapes were in store for the days drive.

…views of the Brandberg

We arrived at the Otjitongwe Cheetah Farm where we were greeted by a young Giraffe and 3 Cheetah “Pets”
around the farmhouse. We had opportunity to see the rest of the Cheetahs when they got fed and enjoyed a bush style campsite.

…how about a cat like this one as a house pet in Gauteng?

Otjitotongwe Cheetah Farm offers a fabulous experience to see Cheetahs up close. It’s a beautiful farm about 7000ha big and the farmhouse is 8km’s from the tar road. We enjoyed the basic facilities and rustic atmosphere – till it got
late. A lot of noise till early morning hours came from the bar area and we couldn’t get a decent rest at all. I also battle to realise why a bakkie must idle forever and why you must shout-argue to your buddy at what hour of the night. The disturbance was not fellow campers, but the brothers of the farm. A little bit of consideration for your guests will go a long way. If you like a “groot kuier” it’s a good stop, otherwise take notice of the disturbance factor.

Distance Traveled for the day -445km
Approximate Traveling Time for the day -6:30
Otjitotongwe Cheetah Farm Campsite & Cheetah Tour N$ 130 pppn = R260.00
Total Day 5 = R260.00

Day 6 took us from the Kamanjab area, along the Etosha Western fence up to Ruacana. The C35 is not tarred all
the way to C46 junction as indicated by Tracks4Africa (ver 7.10). Tar Construction was in progress some distance after the Etosha fences turned away from the road. The C41 to Opuwo is tarred again and I think that the C35 Tar construction will be up to the C41 junction. Some parts of the C35 were fairly muddy, especially the last stretch before the C46 junction.

We filled up in Ruacana town with the preparation that it would be the last fuel for our Kaokoland Circle route.

We turned off to the viewpoints of the Ruacana
falls (S17.39703 E14.22142 and S17.39243 E14.21991), just to see
what it looks like. We were blown away by the amazing sights of
the falls – spectacular!! The Cunene was in flood!!

After we enjoyed the beautiful falls, we decided to continue to Kunene River Lodge. Time was around 15:30 and we
were confident to reach Kunene River Lodge before dark. After about 10km’s on the D3700 the road became quite flooded. Several bypass routes were available, but they became difficult to follow. It was getting late and we still had another 22km’s to KRL and with no idea how long and difficult the road ahead was. We decided to turn back and stay at Hippo Pools campsite for the night. The next day we could then take a detour route to KRL. A few days later we heard that another group also left Hippo pools at 15:30, but only reached KRL after midnight.

We arrived back at the Hippo Pools Community campsite at 18:30. It was a long day.

The Hippo Pools Community campsite offers majestic views of the Cunene. The facilities are fairly new but neglected. Pit toilets were the only ones we’ve encountered on the trip and the showers provided steaming hot water from the Solar heated panels, but not a drop of cold water.

Distance Traveled for the day – 410km
Approximate Traveling Time for the day – 10:30
Hippo Pools Community Campsite N$ 50 pppn – R 100.00
Total Day 6 = R100.00

We left Hippo Pools at 8:30 and were looking for a road indicated on my Infomap that could take us from Ruacana
directly to Opuwo. The road was not to be found and not on T4A. An inquiry at the Ruacana filling station confirmed that the road was not in use anymore. We decided to track back with the C35, then on to Opuwo and finally back to the Cunene.

We refueled at Ruacana and Opuwo, but now it was really the last fuel for our Kaokoland circle route. Opuwo was a busy town and vendors harassing tourists with their products on offer were a nuisance at the filling station.We continued onwards to Kunene River Lodge with a big gravel
road (by Kaokoland standards).

At S17.50249 E13.69994
we had to make a river crossing that looked much more difficult than what it turned out to be. After walking though we decided on a best suitable line, since some patches were quite soft.

…approaching Swartbooisdrif

We arrived at Kunene River Lodge at 15:00 and found a lovely
camping spot next to the river.

Distance Traveled for the day 7 – 307km
Approximate Traveling Time for the day – 6:30
Kunene River Lodge Campsite N$ 80 pppn – R 160.00
Total Day 7 = R 160.00

We enjoyed the day lazing around camp and also had
some domestic duties to catch up with.

A late afternoon Sunset cruise on the Cunene turned out to be
one of the trip highlights.

Kunene River Namibia

Distance Traveled for the day 8 – 0km
Approximate Traveling Time 0:00
Kunene River Lodge Campsite N$ 80 pppn – R160.00
Kunene River Lodge Sunset Cruise N$ 225 ppR 450.00
Total Day 8 = R 610.00

The initial plan was to travel alongside the Cunene
on the offroad track between Swartbooisdrif and Epupa falls. The
huge amounts of rain and the flooded Cunene were making this impossible.
After inquiring with KRL staff we established that the last Overlanders
on this route was around December 2007 (some 4 months ago). We
had to use to bigger gravel road via Okangwati to Epupa Falls.

We left KRL at 9:30 and arrived at Epupa falls around 14:45.

…Epupa Falls Community Campsite

We met Anton Matthee and his group and it was great to meet with a fellow forum member out here in the wilderness.

With the Cunene in flood the Epupa falls were spectacular. We took a walk to have a lookout on the falls and took some time to enjoy the amazing sight.

Distance Traveled for the day – 167km
Approximate Traveling Time – 5:15
Epupa Falls Community Campsite N$ 60 pppn R 120.00
Total Day 9 = R120.00

 

Van zyl's pas

We departed from Epupa Falls around 9:00 and made our way back to Okongwati. From there we would turn away on the
D3703 towards Van Zyl’s pass. We were unsure about our route for the next couple of days, since we picked up some reports that Van Zyl’s pass was closed at some stage due to rockfalls.

Anton had information that there were already 2 groups down Van Zyl’s again. We decided to go ahead with our plans and see if we can get down the pass. We’ve came such a long way and it would be a huge disappointment to miss
out on Van Zyl’s. On the map and Tracks4Africa we could see that an alternative to Van Zyl’s was available if one
continues from Otjitanda in a Southern direction, should Van Zyl’s be impossible.

Anton and his group were about half-an-hour in front of us and updated us regularly on the condition of the route on
the VHF radio. A difficult decision prior to the trip between 29MHz and VHF radios was now confirmed to be the best choice!

From Okongwati the road becomes a small off road track and progress slows down significantly.

We came across another group from the Eastern Cape
with a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover Discovery 3 and Nissan
Patrol all with trailers. The Nissan Patrol was friendly and let
us pass, but the Discovery was stubborn and wouldn’t let
us pass. We were stuck behind them for about 2 hours until they
turned off at the Ovivero dam to set up camp. Finally we could
continue without being held up.

…the Ovivero dam.

The road after the Ovivero dam was becoming more difficult and was true to other trip reports that I have researched. From the turnoff at Otjitanda the road improved again and we could make better progress to Van Zyl’s pass.

I’ve also read that there is a Himba community around the Start of Van Zyl’s pass and that one should continue another 400m where there is a nice spot for bush camping. The first part of Van Zyl’s was badly washed away, but fortunately a bypass route was available.

It was another long day’s drive and we were happy to set up our bushcamp at S17.63921 E12.74002 for the night. It was also time to pour 2 Jerry Cans of Diesel into each of the vehicles.


Distance Traveled for the day – 150km
Approximate Traveling Time for the day – 8:45
Bushcamp Top Van Zyl’s R 0.00
Total Day 10 = R0.00

We departed at 8:00 from our Bushcamp site and were delighted that we were able to drive Van Zyl’s pass. Anton and his group drove the entire pass the previous day and bushcamped at the bottom of Van Zyl’s. The pass turned out to be quite doable with bad spots here and there.

…Van Zyl’s in green and yellow

We arrived at the Marienfluss lookout point at 10:30 and decided that it was an ideal spot for a brunch.

At 11:30 we continued and reached the most difficult part of the pass at S17.65848 E12.69751.

Van zyl's pas

Van zyls pass

…We did it!!!

We reached the end of Van Zyl’s pass at 12:45 and it was extremely hot. We were looking for the road marked on T4A between S17.66273 E12.66734 and S17.72208 E12.57134, but couldn’t find it since the grass was extremely long and the road was probably not used any more.

…the famous Rooidrom

The plan was to reach Orupembe for a bushcamp, but when we reached the Marble Mine Community Campsite at 17:00 we decided to call it a day and stay there. The campsite wasn’t indicated on T4A (ver 7.10) and we first stopped at the quarters of Chinese contractors working at the mine. They couldn’t understand a word of English and couldn’t indicate to us where the campsite was (only 700m away). Finally we found it at S17.98563
E12.58570.

The campsite was donated by the mine to the community and looks like what used to be an entertainment area for the mine.

…Marble Mine Community Campsite

Distance Travelled for the day – 90Km
Approximate Travelling Time for the day – 9:00
Marble Mine Community Campsite N$ 40 pppn – R 80.00
Total Day 11 = R80.00

We departed from the Marble Mine Community Campsite around 8:00 towards Orupembe and the Khumib riverbed. We reached Orupembe that’s not a really a town, but only a Police station and General Dealer shop with really basic supplies. We continued along the Khumib riverbed that had moist patches here and there. Look out carefully for the crossover road between the rivers.

It provided beautiful scenery and took us to a fast flowing Hoarusib river.


…the Orupembe shop


…driving the Khumib riverbed


…crossing over between the Khumib and Hoarusib


…river crossing a fast flowing Hoarusib


…the desert Elephants of the Hoarusib

We spoke to Anton again on the radio and they saw the Elephants. We reached a lookout koppie where I took the binoculars and looked through the river area carefully. I saw them in the distance and we took off to get closer to them. It was an amazing sight!!

We reached a jam packed Puros Community Campsite and met up with Anton and his group again. We poured the last 2 Jerry Cans of Diesel into each of the vehicles.

Distance Travelled for the day – 118km
Approximate Travelling Time for the day – 9:00
Puros Community Campsite N$ 60 pppn – R 120.00

Total Day 12 – R120.00

We departed from Puros around 8:15 and headed towards Sesfontein.
The next 2 days’ drive would depend on whether we get fuel
at Sesfontein. With no fuel at Sesfontein we would miss Khowareb
Schlucht and have to stay on the big gravel road to Kamanajab.

The drive took us mostly along the Gomatum river and we reached
Sesfontein around 13:00. We were happy to find diesel at the Sesfontein
Engen filling station and we were now sure to see the Khowareb
Schlucht for the next 2 days.

A quick drive up to the Ongongo Hot Springs was a fantastic opportunity to swim in a natural pool with a bathtub hot waterfall flowing
into it.

We continued on to the entrance to the Khowareb Schlucht. A number of  Community Campsites are available within the first couple of kilometres. A quick comparison revealed that the Khuwarib Community Campsite (S19.26551 E13.88377) provided the best value and we decided to stay for the night. The no. 1 campsite offered an amazing view, beautiful facilities and even a private little lapa and kitchen area.

…a relaxing view of the Khowareb Schlucht

Distance Travelled for the day – 166km
Approximate Travelling Time for the day – 8:00
Khuwarib Community Campsite N$ 50 pppn – R 100.00
Total Day 13 = R100.00

We departed from the Khuwarib Community campsite around 9:00 and continued through the Schlucht. Amazing sights of rock formations was another highlight of our trip.


…amazing Khowareb Schlucht

The rest of the route takes you along the riverbed of the Ombonde river and we experienced lots of soft sand. Also the worst fuel consumption of the entire trip. At S19.39441 E14.28650 you leave the riverbed and join an off-road track. We went through the Kamdescha Veterinary Checkpoint with all our meat supplies
used, but were not searched by the official.

At 14:30 we reached the C35 tar road and pulled over to inflate tyres. We decided to sleep over closer to the Etosha entrance gate in order to get into the park earlier the next day.

An accommodation search on T4A led us to Mamselle Guest Farm near Outjo (S20.01906 E16.06611) and we enjoyed a wonderful peaceful stay.


…Mamselle Guest Farm Campsite

Distance Traveled for the day 299km
Approximate Traveling Time for the day – 8:00
Mamselle Guest Farm Campsite N$ 50 pppn – R 100.00
Total Day 14 = R100.00The next 3 days would take us through Etosha National Park. We had high expectations of the park and it turned out to be a huge disappointment.We departed from Mamselle Guest Farm at 8:30, decided to have a quick look at the town of Outjo and what a surprise. A small beautiful town with a neat garage and several curio shops. An excellent opportunity to replenish supplies, especially
if you are en route to Etosha. We established a bit later on that food supplies were of poor quality and extremely expensive in the Etosha park shops.A fantastic cup of coffee at the Bakery Coffee shop in Outjo was the best, since it felt like we’ve been in the wilderness for a long time.
A quick dash through the Spar and local butchery and we were determined to get to the park.We entered the park at the Anderson gate and proceeded to Okaukuejo rest camp. On our way there, while enjoying a view of beautiful Gemsbok, an official truck carrying staff came racing past and we got early indications of little consideration for guests and wildlife.We reached the rest camp and first had to settle the daily entrance fee. The lady official asked how many nights we are staying (note for our surprise later) and a hefty N$60 per person per day was charged plus N$10 per vehicle entrance (N$500 for our group of 4 adults for 2 days, 2 vehicles). We were booked for 1 night camping each in Okaukuejo and Halali, and would then leave the park to
camp at Onguma campsite just outside Namutoni gate. My new Weg magazine showed an advert of a card for SADC residents that offers discount on the fees (similar to SANParks Wildcard). The camp officials proved to be clueless on this.Getting to our assigned campsite, we established that we were positioned next to 3 different groups in Overland trucks. The only positive thing to report was that workers were busy raking leaves and removing thorns around the campsites. Construction workers occupied an area of the campsite with their tents as well.
The newly renovated ablution facilities were not particularly clean or looked after at all.On a late afternoon drive we saw thousands of Zebra and Springbok.
The gravel roads were in fair condition with some corrugations.


…Okaukuejo Waterhole

The waterhole lookout is probably the best feature of the camp and we believe that it attracts all the wildlife in the dry months. Dozens of new luxury chalets are newly build around the waterhole area and it goes beyond me to understand why one would disturb the quietness around the waterhole lookout with chalets. The occupation of these luxury chalets proved to be a joke and the only occupied unit made a lot of noise with screaming kids. Forget about a peaceful waterhole experience around here!

Distance Traveled for the day – 234km
Approximate Traveling Time for the day – 5:00
Etosha Adult Park fees (2 days) N$ 60 pppd – R240.00
Etosha Vehicle Entrance fee N$ 10 pvR10.00O
Kaukuejo Campsite (N$200 basic fee per campsite pn plus N$100 pppn)N$ 100 pppn – R300.00
Total Day 15 = R550.00

We enjoyed a fairly peaceful night, apart from the Jackal that made his rounds around camp to collect his snacks for the evening. We packed, refueled the vehicles and proceeded towards Halali.

Our game sightings were disappointing, but we knew that we were visiting in the wrong season.

We reached Halali and lazed around camp. Nothing like a decent afternoon rest!

Halali was much more neglected than Okaukuejo, especially with long grass, leaves and dodgy power fittings at campsites. Also newly renovated ablutions and not properly cleaned or looked after either. Demarcated campsites are small and it was a tight fit to get our 2 vehicles to fit.

Saw the most amazing thing in camp here. Two South African couples each camping with an Offroad caravan. The “aunties” busy ironing and the “ooms” washing and polishing their Merc ML and Toyota Prado vehicles. Now from Halali it is 70kms gravel road to either side before you get tar – why would you wash and polish the vehicle?

The waterhole at Halali is a little distance away from the camp and the lookout is on the slope of a koppie. It was much more peaceful than the Okaukuejo waterhole area. Rhino came for a drink at dusk. Mozzies are a nuisance so make sure you have lots of repellent.

Distance Travelled for the day – 73km
Approximate Travelling Time for the day – 4:00
EtoshaAdult Park fees – Paid for the previous day.
Halali Campsite (N$200 basic fee per campsite pn plus N$100 pppn)N$ 100 pppn – R300.00
Total Day 16 = R300.00

We left Halali and continued towards Namutoni. Game sightings
were no better. The only positive thing about the entire Etosha
experience was to see the pan full of water. It was a sight.


…Etosha Pan

We reached Namutoni rest camp. The fort accommodates a restaurant, shop, bar and more. We were hoping to have a breakfast or lunch at the restaurant or cafeteria. The restaurant turned us away since we were an hour early for their opening time and the kiosk next to the pool could only offer a toasted cheese and
tomato sandwich.

Since we would stay the evening right outside the park we decided to take a last game drive around Namutoni and then leave the park for Onguma.

When we reached Namutoni gate to exit, the gate official wouldn’t let us through. We have paid for 2 days park fees and all of a sudden we had to learn about a “24 hour rule”. We now had to pay for another days park fees since we entered at
11:00 and exit was now 15:00. We were furious. The official at Okaukuejo asked how many nights we were staying and we paid accordingly.
The Namutoni gate official pointed out a notice stuck on the wall at the gate house that specified the 24 hour rule and it was not indicated in the vehicle permit document that were issued. We had to turn back to Namutoni camp and pay another N$240.

This was the cherry on the top of an overall negative Etosha experience. First time and last time for us.

We arrived at Onguma campsite and were impressed by the top notch facilities and value for money factor. A shocking comparison to the Etosha campsites in all aspects!!

Distance Travelled for the day – 158km
ApproximateTravelling Time for the day – 5:00
Etosha Adult Park fees N$ 60 pppd – R120.00O
Nguma Campsite N$ 80 pppn – R160.00
Total Day 17 = R280.00
After a fantastic evening at Onguma we had to start our homeward trip via Victoria falls. We departed from Onguma at 7:00. The plan was to fit in a day trip to the Victoria Falls.Back on the tar at Namutoni gate and we could make good progress towards the Caprivi. I did some research on T4A and could see some campsites around the Popa Falls vicinity. A recent discussion on the Overland forum was about Ngepi camp and we decided to have a look at it.Fairly impressed by it’s views on the Okavango river and we decided to stay overnight. Overall a not-too-bad experience, but the service and attitude from the staff around the bar and reception area could’ve been better.Our camping neighbour was a guy from Sweden on tour for 3 months around Southern Africa by himself. What an experience!


…Ngepi Campsite on the banks of the Okavango


…Okavango river at sunrise

Distance Travelled for the day 651km
Approximate Travelling Time for the day – 8:00
Ngepi Campsite N$ 75 pppn – R150.00
Total Day 18 = R150.00

We made an early start from Ngepi camp and continued further down the Caprivi strip through Katima Mulilo to the Ngoma border post into Botswana.

Just after the Ngoma bridge we got to a Veterinary checkpoint and we made sure that we had used all of our meat at this stage. Border formalities went quick and we could continue on the tar road through the Chobe park.

We booked in at Chobe Safari Lodge on the Western side of the town of Kasane. We identified a camping spot, but picked up an argument with the security person later. Most of the campsites are “reserved” for big Overland groups (if they arrive) and it took some convincing to make ourselves at home on a site earmarked. Other sites were in any case too small for 2 vehicles.

We booked for an afternoon cruise on the Chobe river and it was another highlight of the trip with the normal sightings of Elephants swimming, Hippos, Kudu and birdlife.


…Elephant swimming in Chobe river


…Chobe river sunset

Distance Traveled for the day – 459km
Approximate Traveling Time for the day – 6:00
Chobe Safari Lodge Campsite (2 nights) P 65 pppn – R 323.09
Chobe Safari Lodge Boat Cruise P 200 pp (incl. P70 pp Park fee)R497.07
Total Day 19 = R820.16

Today we would visit the majestic Victoria falls.
We decided to make use of a Tour Operator to take us into Zimbabwe
and the Falls, because of the high cross border costs of taking
a vehicle into Zim.

We had a booking made with Nsundano Travel in Kasane and our guide helped us to make swift passes through both Botswana and Zimbabwe border posts and back. The Toyota Condor shuttle vehicle was clean and proved to be in good nick.

The falls were an awesome sight and we got extremely wet with the spray that rains down like thunder showers. From a previous experience we made sure to take dry clothes along and that made the trip back to Kasane much more comfortable.

Victoria Falls
…the majestic Victoria falls

The evening at Chobe Safari Lodge we had a fantastic buffet dinner at the restaurant area. Our fantastic journey was coming to an end.

Nsundano Victoria Falls Day Trip P 350 pp – R869.87
Victoria Falls Park Entrance fee R 120 pp – R240.00
Total Day 20 = R1109.87

Today we were driving back home from Kasane. We knew it would be
a long drive, but decided to push through and get back to the home comforts.

The A33 main road between Kasane and Nata is very bad with loads of potholes (between S18.84453 E25.60380 and S19.80395 E26.11474). The road authority was busy removing vegetation on the road shoulder, but seems not fussed with the dangerous road surface.

We left Kasane at 7:00 and made a stop in Francistown for lunch. We reached Martins Drift border post with sunset around 17:00 and could proceed on safer South African roads at night. We arrived at home at 22:30 after a very long day on the road.

Distance Traveled for the day – 1216km
Approximate Traveling Time for the day 15:30
N1 Toll Road Charges R 67.90
Total Day 21 = R67.90

Fuel bill for one vehicle – Diesel Fuel

Date

Fuel Station

Amount

Litres

Cost / ltr

Trip

Consumption

Cost

 

litre/100km

km/litre

 

21 March 2008

Total
Kanye

P 288.00

49.915

P 5.77

419.9

11.89

8.41

R 357.89

21 March 2008

Kang

P 268.10

45.750

P 5.86

325.2

14.07

7.11

R 339.19

21 March 2008

Engen
Charles Hill

P 335.20

56.336

P 5.95

388.2

14.51

6.89

R 422.52

22 March 2008

BP
Windhoek

N$ 416.86

50.590

N$ 8.24

384.4

13.16

7.60

R 416.86

24 March 2008

Total
Walvisbaai

N$ 503.42

62.615

N$ 8.04

531.6

11.78

8.49

R 503.42

25 March 2008

Shell
Kamanjab

N$ 585.02

69.070

N$ 8.47

484.1

14.27

7.01

R 585.02

26 March 2008

BP
Ruacana

N$ 391.04

47.050

N$ 8.31

370.4

12.70

7.87

R 391.04

27 March 2008

BP
Ruacana

N$ 144.00

17.320

N$ 8.31

102.4

16.91

5.91

R 144.00

27 March 2008

BP
Opuwo

N$ 147.01

17.840

N$ 8.24

153.2

11.64

8.59

R 147.01

Jerry
Cans

Total
Swakopmund

N$ 709.70

87.410

N$ 8.12

 

 

 

R 709.70

02 April 2008

Engen
Sesfontein

N$ 335.10

40.670

N$ 8.24

779.1

16.44

6.08

R 335.10

03 April 2008

Shell
Kamanjab

N$ 327.87

38.710

N$ 8.47

200.0

19.36

5.17

R 327.87

05 April 2008

Total
Okaukuejo

N$ 414.00

48.995

N$ 8.45

392.7

12.48

8.02

R 414.00

07 April 2008

Total
Grootfontein

N$ 371.55

44.712

N$ 8.31

407.2

10.98

9.11

R 371.55

07 April 2008

Engen
Rundu

N$ 270.08

32.500

N$ 8.31

262.3

12.39

8.07

R 270.08

08 April 2008

Engen
Katima Mulilo

N$ 560.01

67.300

N$ 8.31

552.8

12.17

8.21

R 560.01

10 April 2008

Shell
Kasane

P 100.00

16.980

P 5.89

135.5

12.53

7.98

R 124.27

10 April 2008

Engen
Francistown

P 360.02

62.180

P 5.79

505.5

12.30

8.13

R 447.38

10 April 2008

Caltex
Martinsdrift

P 185.65

31.840

P 5.83

278.8

11.42

8.76

R 230.70

11 April 2008

Sasol
Rynfield

R 588.71

58.930

R 9.99

454.9

12.95

7.72

R 588.71

Totals

946.713

 

7128.2

13.28

7.53

R 7,686.32

Cost Summery

SA Toll Gates

 

 

R 139.90

0.9%

N4
Toll Road
 Charges

R 72.00

 

 

N1
Toll Road
 Charges

R 67.90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vehicle Permits

 

 

R 271.84

1.8%

Botswana Vehicle Permit (Return trip)

P  90.00

R 111.84

 

 

Namibia
Vehicle Permit

R 160.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accommodation

 

 

R 3,881.69

26.0%

Zelda’s Game Farm Room

N$ 390 pppn

R 793.60

 

 

Arebbusch Travel Lodge Standard Room

N$ 450 prpn

R 450.00

 

 

Alte Brucke Campsite

N$ 510 (2
nights)

R 205.00

 

 

Otjitotongwe Cheetah Farm Campsite & Cheetah Tour

N$ 130 pppn

R 260.00

 

 

Hippo Pools Community Campsite

N$ 50 pppn

R 100.00

 

 

Kunene River Lodge Campsite (2 nights)

N$ 80 pppn

R 320.00

 

 

Epupa
Falls

Community Campsite

N$ 60 pppn

R 120.00

 

 

Marble Mine Community Campsite

N$ 40 pppn

R 80.00

 

 

Puros Community Campsite

N$ 60 pppn

R 120.00

 

 

Khuwarib Community Campsite

N$ 50 pppn

R 100.00

 

 

Mamselle Guest Farm Campsite

N$ 50 pppn

R 100.00

 

 

Okaukuejo Campsite (N$200 basic fee per campsite pn
plus N$100 pppn)

N$ 150 pppn

 

R 300.00

 

 

Halali Campsite (N$200 basic fee per campsite pn plus
N$100 pppn)

N$ 150 pppn

R 300.00

 

 

Onguma Campsite

N$ 80 pppn

R 160.00

 

 

Ngepi Campsite

N$ 75 pppn

R 150.00

 

 

Chobe Safari Lodge Campsite (2 nights)

P 65 pppn

R 323.09

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activities

 

 

R 2,356.94

15.8%

Dessert Explorers Quad Bike Tour

N$ 270 pp

R 540.00

 

 

Kunene
River

Lodge Sunset Cruise

N$ 225 pp

R 450.00

 

 

Chobe Safari Lodge Boat Cruise

P 200 pp (incl.
P70 pp Park fee)

R 497.07

 

 

Nsundano Victoria Falls
Day Trip

P 350 pp

R 869.87

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Park Fees

 

 

R 610.00

4.1%

Etosha
Adult Park

fees (2 days)

N$ 60 pppd

R 240.00

 

 

Etosha Vehicle Entrance fee

N$ 10 pv

R 10.00

 

 

More Etosha
Adult Park
fees

N$ 60 pppd

R 120.00

 

 

Victoria Falls Park Entrance fee

R 120 pp

R 240.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuel

as
above

 

R 7,686.32

51.4%

 

 

 

 

 

GRAND TOTAL

 

 

R 14,946.69

100.0%

Summery

Positives

  • Set a date and go to Kaokoland. It’s an amazing experience
  • We had a blessed trip with no punctures or breakdowns between
    the 2 vehicles
  • Spend time and take in as much as possible. Don’t rush through this trip. We had 3 weeks and it felt like a long weekend rush.
  • Get in touch with contactable Lodges or Campsites to enquire about road / track conditions, especially in the wet season along rivers. We lost a day when we couldn’t make good progress between Ruacana and Kunene River Lodge.
  • Get a feeling for tolerance levels in your group. Long hours of driving are tiresome and rather pull over earlier and stay for the night.
  • Make sure to have radio communications in your convoy. If in doubt, go for VHF.
  • Take enough fuel for a 1000km range on the Kaokoland circular route.
  • The routable T4A mapset is fantastic. The travelling time estimates are fairly accurate as well.
  • Meat supplies are of excellent quality in Namibia. Look out for a local butchery in towns.
  • Campsites just outside of Etosha Park are excellent and provide much better value for money.

Negatives

  • Avoid Etosha. Go and see it if you want to (like us), but I won’t go there again.
  • Don’t bargain on quality or variety of food supplies in Etosha camps.
    Poor quality and extremely expensive.
  • We had to learn about the 24 hour approach to the expensive Etosha Park daily fees the hard way.
  • Not recommended to travel as a single vehicle in Kaokoland.
  • I won’t recommend Kaokoland without a GPS with T4A. The roads around Orupembe and Puros were difficult to follow and we tried to make the least possible river crossings around Puros.
  • Don’t play with water crossings. Walk them through and check for soft
    sand patches. A group with Land Rovers got stuck in the river at Puros Community campsite and battled till late to recover vehicle(s).
  • Avoid driving at night.

We can’t wait for our next trip to Namibia!!

Cheers,
Jacques & Chantéle Rousseau

This trip report was compiled by:
Jacques & Chantéle Rousseau