Namibia: Seven Rivers Tour
As we drove further away from civilization and deeper into the Kaokoland the restlessness in ourselves were replaced by serenity and inner peace. We were far away from any work stress, school exams or new world wars and ready to recharge our batteries in this western corner of Namibia.
The population density in this area is one person for every 2 km². Big cities and hug shopping malls are nowhere to be seen. The major town is Opuwo and the rest are just dots on a map: Palmwag, Sesfontein, Purros, Rooidrom, Epupa and Orupembe.
An adventure that needed some careful planning was ahead of us. The Kaokoland is an amazing place, but can be very hostile if you don’t prepare carefully. Mobile connections are not part of the inclusions for such a trip, but our guide had a satphone for emergencies. Ensure that you have enough fuel to last from one fuel stop to the next as well as extra should the pumps be dry at your planned stop. Finding drinking water in these harsh conditions is difficult. Be like a camel and carry more than the daily requirement.
Our tour started at the Kunene River Lodge where we met our guide. The camp is under a canopy of trees with beautiful views of Angola across the river. From there we followed the course of the river in a westerly direction. Along the river bank you will find hundreds of Makalani Palms with glimpses of the Zebra Mountains in the distance. Our destination, Epupa. Here the waters of the Kunene plunge 60 meters down into the main stream with the river splitting up in hundreds of small waterfalls. It is a water spectacle that you will never forget.
With butterflies in our stomach we started the day as Van Zyl’s Pass was on the agenda and we did not really know what to expect. We have heard and read so many stories about this notorious pass. The pass is located between two mountain ranges in the Marienfluss. The Marienfluss is a valley with soft sand and grasslands as far as the eye can see. Yippieee! We have conquered Van Zyl’s Pass … slowly and very carefully and not without one or maybe two nerve wrecking moments, but the calm voice of our guide over the radio guided us and kept our nerves under control.
Another icon of the Kaokoland is Rooidom … a 45-gallon Caltex drum used for petrol storage. The purpose of the drum changed and it became a navigational point … lending the area its name.
If you are lucky you will find a cold beer at the Orupembe shop. We then started with our zig-zag route that will gradually take us south by following the Khumib River. Later we found ourselves in the Hoariseb River and eventually reached Purros Community Camp. This area is traditionally the domain of the desert elephants. If you do find them take care, they can be aggressive.
We headed for Sesfontein, refuelled before proceeding to the Khowarib Schlucht. Then we made our way to Palmwag, which is basically just a lodge … one of the oldest in Namibia. It is located in a beautiful area with palms whispering in the wind. In this area we saw some giraffe, oryx, springbok and kudu.
South of Palmwag we entered Damarland and visited some of the historical sites in the area. The Twyfelfontein engravings is Namibia’s only World Heritage Site. Also, nearby is the Organ Pipes, Petrified Forest and Burnt Mountain.
Our trip ended at the Brandberg White Lady Lodge. It does not matter if you are a city dweller, seasoned camper, well-travelled jetsetter or just someone looking for a place to escape too … join the Seven Rivers Tour for a recharging adventure.