Distance: 199km (Cumulative: 5 043km)
Moving time: 5:45
Average speed: 35km/h
Road surface: 100km gravel, the rest jeep tracks over sand, rocks, dry and wet river crossings
Opuwo Country Lodge - R180 p.p
Would recommend if you must stay in Opuwo. Infinity pool and WiFi at reception.
Caro got up just after 06:00 and started sorting things out. The rest got up and 07:00 and the big ‘after rain’ sorting and packing out and in started. We managed to get most things relatively dry and packed in, but then we still needed to make breakfast. We also emptied to Jerry cans of Diesel into the tank and noticed that the one jerry can holder was barely hanging on with just one screw still tight.
Finally some time after 09:00 everything was packed in and fastened and our bellies was full. The 70+km 4×4 track took us through soft riverbeds, over sharp stones and up steep rocks. Luckily we only had to fill up a deep trench once. Along the way we saw hundreds of Springbokke, goats, cows, donkeys and even some Zebras.
After Etanga the ‘proper’ gravel road started, but it took almost longer than the 4×4 section as we had to cross countless riverbeds. Most of them luckily just hardened by the rain, some a bit muddy and 4 with the river actually flowing. The last one of which was the deepest and widest only 30km from Opuwo. The original road across or through the river has been inaccessible for many years, already when Hugo passed it in 2013. We however missed the detour and had to go back a few hundred meters to look for tracks leaving the road. We found some and followed it through some muddy sections to where we saw bakkies parked on either side of the river and people carrying stuff across with water almost to their knees. We thought this is it, we must no either camp here and wait or turn back. The locals, however, just pointed to the river and said we must just cross where the other tracks are, exactly over a bush halfway in the river.
We made it to the other side again without struggling. On the opposite bank someone started pointing to the front of the MonkeyMobile and the river and tried to explain something. We didn’t understand anything and was afraid something big broke or that we did something wrong. Caro got out and check the front of the car and realised the guy was trying to tell us that we lost our front number plate in the river. It was too late and the number plate was long gone.
We only got to Opuwo at 16:00, so our plans for driving on to Epupa was knee-haltered. In Opuwo Hugo stopped at the Puma garage too fill up while Caro and the Brudis went to Spar for some much needed grocery shopping. While they shopped Hugo searched for accommodation. After the shopping expedition Hugo drove through the not so good looking part of town and Caro was afraid that we are going to camp somewhere in town and that she won’t be able to sleep at all. The road however continued up the hill behind Opuwo and over the top.
Just 1km from the town lies the Opuwo Country Lodge with magnificent views over the uninhabited valley. The camping was the most expensive yet at R180p.p. Just as we wanted to set up camp (1km from reception), it started raining cats and dogs again. We thus went back to reception to wait it out. The reception is a massive thatched roof building (the largest single span thatched building in Namibia) with a large veranda and an infinity pool overlooking the valley. The Brudis enjoyed two beers and chatted two a german couple, while the Monkeys made use of the free WiFi to catch up on some work.
Just before 19:00 the sky cleared and we could set up camp. As we had a late lunch (fried chicken from Spar at 16:30), Sam just made scrambled eggs for us so that we can at least drink our Malaria pills. We showered and climbed into our tent and 22:00. Until 23:00 we sorted out some photos, downloaded our tracks from the GPS and wrote this entry.