Distance travelled from home: 5 600 km
From Palmwag we took the route to Amspoort via Sesfontein, where we filled up with fuel. Sesfontein is a very small community with a school, a lady selling diesel and a few scattered houses.
After the turnoff towards Purros (D3707), we proceeded in the Hoanib river valley towards Amspoort. At approx 24 km from Sesfontein there is a gate to the Purros Conservation Area where we had to pay the entrance fee and received a permit to camp in the area. (N$100 pppn + N$100 per vehicle).
The road runs in the dry riverbed from that point, and it was magnificent! Winding 4×4 tracks along the riverbed for a distance of 50 km to the Amspoort Gorge.
The riverbed scenery changed halfway and the trees became huge. Lots of giraffe were under the trees and gemsbok were everywhere. And a herd of springbuck and some baboons.
And then we could tick our bucket list item: desert elephant!!! We saw six of them.
We camped outside the riverbed next to a huge rock formation, with a family of baboons nestling high up in some holes of the rock – their overnight space.
On Tuesday the route to Purros was along a 4×4 trail across the Ganias Plains. The landscape was breathtaking.
The trail forked towards either the Hoarusib riverbed trail or the plains trail towards the D3707 from Sesfontein. We know that the Huarusib was in flood a few weeks ago, but decided that we were going to see how far we could get in the riverbed.
The river still had a shallow water flow. After about 4 km we got stuck in the mud and decided to turn back, as it is still 20 km to Purros along the riverbed trail from that point.
We camped at Purros Community Camp for the night – huge shade trees, potable water, and nice rustic ablutions.
From Purros we took the Huarusib river 4×4 trail towards Orupembe – 25 km in and out of the riverbed. The river still had water and there were also herds of giraffe in the riverbed. Lots of elephant dung, but no sight of elephants.
Then a 17 km stretch across plains towards the Khumib river Trail – a total change to rocky landscape with unexpected green – the smallest grass already in seed.
The Khumib river trail was another 40 km of in and out of the riverbed. A dry riverbed with Himba settlements along the road. One cannot think that they live in this desolate area.
Orupembe is a village with a police station, a small shop, some five or six houses and nothing else.
The road towards Marble Camp went through red Kalahari sand, and then changed to rocky mountains. Just beyond Marble Camp we got to Rooidrom Pass where we had to seriously do low range hopping from one rock to another. Then the landscape changed to dry mopanie veld.
At Rooidrom the plains started again towards Marienfluss. Amazingly beautiful. Marienfluss is bone dry, with very small indications of green grass sprouting.
We wildcamped at the southern point of Marienfluss in the Hartmann’s valley between rocks. A priceless setting to spend the night.
On Thursday morning we drove through the Marienfluss to the Kunene river on the border to Angola. The river level is very low and we could just see the rapids as small trickles. The flood of last year left heaps of debris. We saw the first tourist vehicle since Palmwag just before the Kunene river.
Next: Kunene to Kunene…