Having experienced quite a few of Namibia’s nooks and crannies already we feel we are ready to take the buffalo by the horns and attempt a 3-day trip to the Koakoveld. This remote area borders on the Kunene River and Angola, Etosha National Park and the Skeleton Coast.
Wild camping and extreme adventurers are the rule of thumb around these parts, so we all feel a little apprehension along with the usual excitement of road tripping. There’s also a chance to see the famed desert adapted animals of Namibia (lion, elephant and black rhino) so all the extra preparations are worth the effort
On the Road to Nowhere
We set off from our Windhoek accommodation along the B1 in our trusty 4×4 well before sunrise.
It’s a long and hot drive of almost 700km until we reach our overnight accommodation at Fig Tree campsite. Although we’ve prepared for living rough, and the last part of our journey really lived up to our expectations, the campsites are rather pleasant with shade provided by indigenous fig trees. We even have our own ablutions and there’s a freezer available for our supplies.
There’s nothing like falling asleep in the total silence of the wilderness after relaxing around the campfire after a tedious day.
In Search of Desert Denizens
It’s an early start the next morning so that we can make our guided visit to the Himba Village at Purros Community Camp site overlooking the dry Hoarusib River.
The last few kilometres make a dune board seem like a better option than a vehicle with steep sandy slopes to negotiate. We still make surprisingly quick work of the 107km journey, hastily set up camp and go in search of our guide.
The village is a short drive away and offers an amazing insight into the ways in which these people have preserved their culture all this time. The men and women of the village are strikingly attractive with their burnished skin and elaborate hair-dos fashioned with mud. We learn that it can take up 3 hours for a Himba woman to achieve this look every day.
We have time to admire the intricate basketwork that they fashion here and find out more about how they go about surviving in this harsh environment.
The craft shop allows us the chance to take some of this magical experience home with us in the form of jewellery crafted from grass, ostrich eggshell beads, cloth and copper as well as some gorgeous baskets.
Land of Giants
Upon arrival back at camp, our hosts confirm that animals are often seen around the banks of the river. Giraffe, kudu, zebra and ostrich are common visitors, and the elusive desert elephant are known to make an appearance too.
It’s with great anticipation that we settle down for the afternoon with panoramic views over the river bed. It’s simply idyllic sitting here with the stillness of nature all around us and we are rewarded with a few ungulates ambling by.
Only much later, once the sun has begun its rapid decline into the earth do we get our prize. A lone bull elephant comes shuffling soundlessly into sight, pauses and is just as soon gone again.
It’s the perfect conclusion to an exciting, interesting and restful day which ends with the smell of meat over the flames, sounds of ice tinkling in well-stocked glasses and dreamless, undisturbed sleep.
Did you catch the last episode in our “Cape Town to Namibia” series, Road Tripping Around Namibia – Erindi Private Game Reserve? If not, hit the link and join us as we explore this premier Namibian destination. Desert Rhino Tracking at Rhino Camp – Palmwag Concession is next up on the itinerary – click the link to join our road trippers as they take to the track on foot.
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