Namibia – Part 4

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

Namibia final

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

By PG Jonker

The long drive home

After a quick stop at Solitaire (no, we did not stay long enough to enjoy the renowned apple strudel) we headed for Sesriem.  At the turn off to Sesriem we meet a foreign tourist on a bicycle.  He is on a solitary tour through Southern Africa with his bicycle.

We fill up at Sesriem and learn that Sossuvlei has water.  This, I’m told, happens about once a decade and is a must see.  The effect of the dune riding on the backs of both my wife and I compels us to give this a miss.  We have difficulties just finding a body position that is relatively comfortable.  We therefore head for Maltehoë, while Colin and Frikkie and their families head for Sossusvlei.  Having seen their pictures afterwards, of course, made us wish we rather hung on and went to have a look for ourselves.

We stay over at Die Pappot at Maltehoë where Mannetjies and his wife go out of their way to make things comfortable for us.

Mannetjies has a room which we would like to use, but he apologises for the fact that the room is (for the moment) not fit for human occupation.  It turns out that a foreign tourist on a bicycle stayed there for a few days, and his culinary endeavours left a smell that it rather difficult to stomach.

I mention to Mannetjies the foreigner on the bicycle that I met near Sesriem, to which Mannetjies has some rather unfriendly suggestions as to the treatment of said foreign tourist in such a remote location.

By late evening Frikkie joins us, but Colin headed for Duwiseb and will be touring home on his own.

We depart early the next morning.  About 90km’s before the SA border we stop to assist a family whose left hand drive Ford Explorer refused to start again after losing a tyre.  The Explorer has a safety mechanism that deactivates the fuel pump if it detects a bang of some sorts.  A notice in the engine bay says the fuel pump just needs to be reset, for which purpose the manual should be consulted.  Something that Siegfried does not have.

Frikkie does not take kindly to encountering a mechanical problem that he cannot solve.  Eventually he tows the Explorer to Vioolsdrif after the drive shaft of the automatic Explorer has been removed.  At Vioolsdrif we have cell phone reception.  A call to the dealer quickly leads to Siegfried finding the reset button under the carpet of the passenger seat, and the Explorer is up and running again.

We leave Vioolsdrif after 17h00.  We bade Frikkie and his family goodbye at Vanrhynsdorp.  At 00h15 that morning we bade Siegfried and his family farewell at the turn-off to Durbanville.  By 00h45 we are home.  By 01h00 everyone is asleep.

Home sweet home.


Distance travelled:         6060 km

Litres used:                   611

Fuel consumption:         9,9 km / litre (Toyota Venture)

Nights out:                    14

Tents pitched:               9 times

Car trouble:                   PG:  2 flat tyres;  Colin: 1 flat tyre;

Frikkie:  one bust coil

Lessons learnt


Once you have entered the Etosha National Park you are bound to see Springbok and Zebra.  There is no need to be in a hurry to take a picture.  Trust me, there will be more.


One can easily misjudge travelling distances in Namibia.  It is a vast country, with roads mostly gravel.  It is easy to attempt to do too much in one day, forgetting the type of distances you have to contend with.

The other thing is, you may start planning a trip to Ai-Ais.  Then you look on the map and you see, well, you are so near to Duwiseb, you can just as well go visit Duwiseb castle.  But once you reach Duwiseb, you are, in Namibian terms, relatively near Sesriem and Sossusvlei.  Once there, Solitaire is just around the corner.  And surely, once you have reached Solitaire, you need to go see Swakopumd, it’s so close.  Now once you have reached Swakop you should go and have a look at Henties, especially if you do a bit of angling.  And from Henties it is not that far to the Brandberg.  You get the idea.  And before you know it, your visit to Ai-Ais ends in Etosha – while you are mos in the vicinity.

It is in this fashion that, having reached Etosha, some of us decided to head for Epupa falls.

The Ova-Himbas

Along the road we see traditional kraals that seem to have been opened up for tourists.  The downside, in my view, is that every Himba that walks along the road now seem to expect to be photographed and paid for.  It’s a pity, because they strike you as a proud and dignified people.

Dune riding

Chasing down dunes with a sand board is great fun.  I’m not sure whether there are any instructions to be followed as to how you should do it, but we did so sitting on the boards.  This seems to have been a mistake.  By the next day both my wife and I had such lower back pain that we did not even had the heart to drive in to Sossuvlei, that offered the rare sight of having water!

Tyre Maintenance

For reasons I cannot remember any more I had a tube inserted in my tubeless tyre.  This caused me two flat tyres on the same day.  It turns out that the tyre had previous repairs done to it, with plugs inserted.  These plugs caused friction between the tube and the tyre, causing the tube to burst.

Next time I will have as many plugs inserted in my tyre as it may take, but I will not have a tube be put in again, save for whatever emergency that may make any other option impossible.




Your email is never shared.
Required fields are marked *