Day 13 – 15: Kunene Mouth to Purros

3 877 km from Malelane

Although we have been looking forward to this section of the trip, we did not know what to expect and it was the first time for us to cross dunes in the Namib.

The route across the dunes were 58 km until we reached the plains, and it took us the whole day.

In our risk assessment and planning for this section, we decided not to take our trusted Cruizer, due to the high center of gravity and lack of power.

There was a light rain shower the night before at Bosluisbaai and this helped to settle the sand and helped to pacify the anxiety.

For this section you need a guide with experience, who knows how to read the dunes. Ockie (our guide) did a wonderful job.

He has to find a way through the dunes without a road. The dunes move and any wind obliterates any previous tracks.

En route to the Kunene mouth we practiced once how to ascend a dune and how to descend the slipface on the other side.

We took this on with full confidence in our Hilux, but our own fears had to be overcome.

The dunes during the early morning were relative easy to cross. Ockie (the guide) instructed us via radio across every dune and slipface and warned us when there was any turn or obstacle. It gave us confidence and we realised that we had a guide that knew what he was doing.

Kunene river view towards Angola
Sand in Namibia, rocks in Angola
Ockie making a track for us…
Water and food nowhere to be seen, but a gemsbok runs in the dune belt

These dunes are steeper than they look. To get to the top, one has to go in low range second or third gear. Down the slipface one drives in low range first gear – one does not free it down.

Eric realised why the rev counter has a red section – he had to keep it in the red to get to the top of the dunes. We had to reverse and try again twice before he adhered to this rule.

The route we followed was across the dune belt, then southwards along the border of the Skeleton Coast Park to Green Drum – west of the Hartmanns Valley. And then south to Purros.

Namibia is green everywhere – even in Kaokoland!
View towards the Hartmanns Valley
Camping between huge rocks – shelter against a fierce wind
Aerial view of the camp
Fairy circles…
Between Orupembe and Purros
Huarusib river near Purros
Purros Community campsite where we spend the last night with the group
Our route with the group

We said our goodbyes to the group the next morning at Purros and headed to Damaraland.

The ‘lone men’ of Kaokoland:

These are rock sculptures made by an unknown artist. They are spread throughout the landscape north of Sesfontein, but the locations are unknown. It is by sheer luck that one comes across these sculptures. We saw a few during last year’s trip into Kaokoveld. On this trip we have seen six of them in one day from near the Kunene to Purros.

Crossing the dunes was one of the best one-day experiences we have had so far. As an experience it compares well to our previous one-day experiences such as the white water river rafting at Vic Falls or going down the Ngorogoro crater, or driving amongst the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti.

The problem with this experience is that the moment that you are totally confident with your vehicle and the dunes, it ends.

What a wonderul trip!!!!


  1. If you liked the dunes so much do a six day trip from Luderitz to Walvis. I am doing it for the third time in November. I love it and the desert.


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