Kaokoveld – the Northwest of Namibia

12/09/2018

Kaokoveld – a trip to the wild northwest of Namibia

The landscapes and the (still existing) loneliness in the northwest of Namibia attracted us very much. From Khowarib we drove to Sesfontein, a small town with a gas station that sometimes has diesel and sometimes not and a store where sometimes there is more and sometimes there is less.

Our tank volume plus the two Jerrycans allows us a range of about 1.000 km – depending on the surface and speed. In parts of Kaokoveld this is not enough, and so we hoped to fill the tank again in Sesfontein.

Straight to Marble Camp

We were lucky: the gas station offered us diesel, and so we set off to Purros filled to the brim with diesel. For the 90 km drive we needed 2.5 hours. The road was in a miserable condition. There was nothing we could do about it, we had to take this passage.

When we arrived in Purros at noon, the campsite we had chosen in advance was deserted and abandoned. There was also a fierce wind blowing, and we were still feeling good. We decided to continue to Orupembe to Marble Camp.

The road was a blessing and in no way comparable to the condition of the road to Purros. At this point we had no explanation for it. We enjoyed the ride and progressed at twice the speed. We reached Marble Camp in the early afternoon and relaxed the rest of the day.

The picture shows our Land Cruiser 76 on a gravel road in Kaokoveld.
The picture shows one of the 'Lone Men' in Kaokoland.

‘Zottel’ – the dog who won our hearts

We received a visit from Zottel. Zottel is a small crossbreed dog that Guido baptized because there was something wrong with his fur and he was shaggy. We made his friendship when we were washing up and the water was running.

He was suddenly there, sat down under the pipe construction and waited for water to come out of the overflow valve. He was thirsty and wanted to drink. We converted our foldable wash bowl into a drinking bowl. Zottel had enough after an estimated three liters of water! He sat down next to us and then, with a big sigh, simply fell over sideways and stretched all his legs. The poor guy was completely dehydrated. He drank another two liters during the day and since we also fed him, he never left us alone.

As we learned, this was the neighbor’s dog, and it was obvious to us that Zottel’s life falls more into the ‘hard’ category. This is the kind of dog you take with you, and take him to the vet to have his parasites remove. Afterwards you devote time, patience and love to him and at the end of the day you have a friend for a lifetime. Not feasible for us, so we decided to say goodbye – after offering him water again, which he gladly accepted this time.

The picture shows a portrait of 'Zottel' the dog.

Marienfluss valley

Freshly rested we made our way to the red drum. There are several colored tons at the roadside for orientation in Kaokoveld. The red drum is at the entrance of the Marienfluss valley. Since we were alone – without other escort vehicles on the way – and did not know whether we could get somewhere on the way diesel, we limited ourselves with this trip to the Marienfluss valley. Our goal was to reach Camp Syncro, which is located at the end of the valley at the Kunene river.

The picture shows the 'red drum' in Kaokoveld with our Land Cruiser 76 in the background.

The Kunene is the border river between Namibia and Angola and from the camp Angola is appx. 30 meters away. From Marble Camp, a dirt road leads to the red drum, which is quite challenging sometimes. That road gives you a good taste of what to expect if you want to drive longer in Kaokoveld and explore the various passes and valleys.

It took us appx. 2 hours to drive the 27 km between the camp and the buoy, with the speed dropping below walking speed in some places.

Namibia is simply magnificent in terms of scenery, and we enjoyed the scenery whenever we could. Countless Himba villages are situated in the Marienfluss valley and until arriving at Camp Syncro we did not meet a single car since leaving Sesfontein.

Das Bild zeigt einen vertrockneten Baum in einer öden Landschaft.
The picture shows a gravel road in the middle of the Kaokoland wasteland.
The picture shows a gravel road in the middle of the Kaokoland wasteland.
The picture shows a gravel road in the middle of the Kaokoland wasteland.
The picture shows the harsh landscape of northwestern Namibia.
The picture shows a gravel road in the middle of the Kaokoland wasteland.
The picture shows the harsh landscape of northwestern Namibia.
The picture shows the rusted and shattered wreckage of a passenger car.
The picture shows the harsh landscape of northwestern Namibia.
The picture shows a herd of cattle lying in a circle in the shade of a tree.
The picture shows the harsh landscape of northwestern Namibia.
The picture shows the harsh landscape of northwestern Namibia.
We arrived at legendary Camp Syncro

Syncro was legendary. Travelers who had made it this far enjoyed the hospitality of the Swiss Sara and Ryan. However, the two left Namibia a while ago and returned to Switzerland. The campsite is temporarily run by a friend or co-worker of the two.

Unfortunately, we have to say that we were disappointed. The camp is slowly but surely decaying and the care is visibly not enough. The spirit of the operators no longer exists and Camp Syncro is now a campsite like many others. This is a pity because the location of the camp is beautiful.

We stayed for two days to ‘recharge our batteries’ and started our way back in the morning of the third day.

The picture shows our Land Cruiser 76 at Camp Syncro.
The picture shows the riverbed of the Kunene.
The picture shows two cattle in a barren landscape
The picture shows another 'Lone Men', of which an artist has placed 27 throughout Kaokoveld.
The picture shows the famous 'Shop 1' in Orupembe.
The picture shows the harsh landscape of northwestern Namibia.
The picture shows a gravel road in the middle of the Kaokoland wasteland.
Omenje Camp in Purros

We drove to Purros and stayed overnight at the Omenje Campsite. This community campsite is located directly at the riverbed of the Hoarusib and is absolutely recommendable.

At night, we heard a deep humming in the immediate vicinity. We were sure we heard elephants. We remained silent and listened into the night. The sound was present several times, but we saw nothing. It was too dark – we had a new moon.

The next morning Guido set out and searched the area for tracks. In the riverbed he found fresh tracks – the elephants moved here, and we attributed the sound correctly. Although we didn’t see anything, we were happy and left the campsite, not without an input in the Comment-Book.

Hopefully, enough people will book here so that this wonderful campsite will exist for a long time and many travelers will feel as comfortable as we did.

The picture shows our Land Cruiser 76 at the Omenje Campsite in Purros
The picture shows the surrounding of  the Omenje Campsite in Purros
The picture shows a bird sitting on a branch

We cancelled our plan to drive north again to Kunene River Lodge because we still had to receive Guido’s new credit card. The farm of our friends is located in Kamanjab, below the Etosha Park, and we agreed to pick up the documents there. Since we still had two days, we decided to drive to Marius Steiner’s “Camp Aussicht” and from there to Kamanjab.

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