4×4 trail along the Kunene

I slept like a baby! The omnipresent rush of the Kunene river must have lulled my mind. As I get up at 7:10, being the last of the party, I plan to spend some “quality time” at the river alone. Impossible! Getting ready for the day, taking a quick shower, putting down the roof tent, preparing breakfast for 8:30…there’s just about enough time for that.

Despite the lack of quit in the morning I’m looking forward to this day. Our guides planned a short real 4×4 tour along the Kunene towards Ruacana. The plan is to be back by 2pm to have enough time to swim in the river, take pictures – and to relax in the deck chair for once.

The trail along the river is true Land Rover country. It’s not accessible during the rainy season and although it’s less than 200km from Epupa to Ruacana it would be a tough and long day trip in this terrain. Our plan is to follow it for a while, have lunch at some scenic spot and then return.

Beautiful 4x4 trail along the Kunene
Beautiful 4x4 trail along the Kunene

At little further east from our camp we see crocodiles sunbathing on sand banks in the middle of the river. For once I’m happy that I can watch from the shore and keep a safe distance to the animals 🙂 It’ll turn out to be the highlight of the day.

We meet many Himbas – almost exclusively kids. They’re happy to get matches, vaseline, corn flour and apples from us when we stop. We also leave some of our empty 5l water bottles with them as they have to carry water from the river to their homes. Surprisingly, some of the kids speak a little English. We learn that there’s a Himba school not far from Epupa that they attend during the week. Today is Saturday, they’re off. When we ask them where their parents are we hear: “At the bar, they like to drink alcohol”. Puhh, what a sad situation. I feel sorry for them.

Himba kids mount our Land Rovers
Himba kids mount our Land Rovers

My Land Rover drives almost without me controlling it, it’s fantastic! To further familiarize myself with the car’s capabilities I loosen the grip on steering wheel during a rather steep 80m ascent. Climbing slowly the tires find their way between the rocks and gutters without my control on the wheel. It’s a good feeling. Off-road rocks! Akiko, too is thrilled. Although she has no interest in driving herself we’re a perfect team because the enthusiastically navigates us through the rough terrain. She leans out the window to spot the best tracks.

Decoration-ladden Himba
Decoration-ladden Himba

During this day trip I ultimately realize that I should have brought two SLR cameras instead of one. Constantly switching between super-zoom and wide-angle lenses is sooo troublesome.

Namibia 2009 photos

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