Namibia – Part 3

[Adapted version hereof published in Leisure Wheels, November 2010.]

Namibia fourth leg

By PG Jonker

Etosha to Epupa Falls to




After attending at Kamanjab’s bakery, Colin and we head for the guest farm Rustig where we will camp.

However, a few kilometres short of Rustig I get my second flat tyre for the day, on the same tyre.  The tyre was repaired at Halali and put back.  This time I need to use my own jack to change tyres, only to find that my jack is not working properly.  By the time I’m done I have a bent jack.  My spare tyre, I notice, had been plugged before, and it is not the same size as the rest of the tyres.

The sun is setting in the West and it will appear that the trip to Epupa might not happen.  It is 18h00 on a Saturday evening.

It turns out that Jörgen Gotshe’s farm bakkie on Rustig is a Toyota Stallion that runs on the same size wheels and tyres as my Venture.  He suggests that I leave my flat tyre with him for repairs, and take two of his wheels on board.  We’re back in business!

I repack my Venture to fit in the extra spare wheel.  Do you have any idea how much space such a wheel takes up in your boot?

That night I cannot sleep.  I’m stressed out about my tyres and my jack that is not working properly.  Jörgen makes regular trips to Epupa with his Kombi, he told us.  It is not strange to get two flat tyres on that road, and on occasion he had three flat tyres on one trip.  It does not bother Jörgen, because like Frikkie, he just takes along all the appliances needed to do the repairs.   Do not have those appliances, and even if I take it along, I will not quite know what to do with it.  We are also alerted to be on the lookout for puff adders and crocodiles.  Mmmm …..

We leave Rustig early the next morning in piercing cold and windy conditions.  The gravel road heading north to Ruacana is very good.  It runs right next to the extreme Western border of the Etosha Park.

We reach what appears to be a veterinary gate.  We now travel from Damaraland into Kaokoland.   We take the turn off to Opuwa, where we will up before heading for Epupa.   From there it is a further 112km to Okongwati.  The road is still good, but a great number of drifts [causeways] require you to slow town to first and second gear to traverse it in safety.

From Okongwati to Epupa we drive the last 75km’s.  The road is not much worse than a bad farm road.  However, if you expect to be done with this stretch of road within an hour and it takes more than three hours it becomes very frustrating.

Shortly after Okongwati we reach a sandy riverbed.  I have my doubts whether I should proceed, fearing that I might get bogged down in the sand.  However, Colin is already halfway and I follow suit.

Some parts of the road show no similarities to what is known as a road in the classical sense of the word.  You choose between the rocky part left and the rocky part right.  We bounce onward.

Good humour has left the Venture.  My wife does a brilliant job keeping the kids happy, but she also does not quite enjoy having to contend with the stuff that had to make place for the extra spare wheel, most of which landed on her lap.

Lonely Planet’s book says the Epupa falls “defies description”.   However, I was very near to reaching the point where I felt “f** the falls!”

And then, at last, we look down on the main fall in a series of falls.  And indeed, it defies description.  The falls stretch over 1,5km of cascades, with the first thereof a 37m fall.


 We get a camp site right on the edge of the water, some 60m upstream of the main fall.  The noise sounds like white noise.  Rather loud white noise.  The kids swim in some of the naturally sculpted Jacuzzis where the water is shallow and clear – so that one can see there are no crocodiles.

Just outside the gate of the fenced camp site a few Himba ladies are seated under a tree.  They wait to be approached for pictures.  I’m not comfortable talking money business with scantily dressed ladies and I ask my wife to do the negotiations on my behalf.  For R5 I may take pictures of the lady and her baby.

Next to us is a group of overlanders who took the challenging route from Ruacana to Epupa.  Their Gelandewagen had to tow the Toyota RAV uphill at times because the RAV lacks low range.  They are very impressed finding my 2×4 Venture there.  However, when they eventually leave with the (sissy route) road to Okongwati they will realise it was no big deal to get there, really.

The return trip is much more relaxed now that we know what to expect.  We fill up again at Opuwa.  At Rustig I hand back Jörgen’s two spare wheels and take my (now repaired) wheel on board again.  We head for Khorixas.

Namibia fifth leg

[Source: Map data ©2014 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

After 11 hours on the road, having travelled 580km for the day, we reach Khorixas.  The facilities are good and we order take-aways from the restaurant in the camp.

West Coast

The road from Khorixas to Henties Bay passes a distance away from the Brandberg.  Eager to reach the coast we do not turn off at Brandberg.

Approaching the sea we realise we are sea people.  Not anglers, fishermen or swimmers.  We just like the smell, the sight and the ambience of the sea.    It is a wonderful sight with the Atlantic Ocean expanding to the West.

After having split up with Colin at Khorixas we drive on our own.  At Langstrand Caravan Park between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay we meet up with Colin & Frikkie again.

In the Swakopmund museum I get a very nice picture of Die Wit Vrou without having had any trouble to have gone in search for her at the Brandberg.

With hardboard obtained from a local hardware store we make for the dunes.  First the smooth side is scrubbed with candle wax and the waxed worked in to make it slippery.  Then we tackle the dunes.  This is great fun.  However, do consider obtaining your physicians advice beforehand if you have a suspect back.

Three on a board!

Part 4 to follow



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