Grootfontein and Okavango River – October 2021

After our amazing week in Etosha, we headed east towards the Caprivi. Actually first south towards Grootfontein and then north again towards Rundu, where we would follow the Cubango River towards Divundu… the start of the Caprivi strip.

As said our first stop was just outside Grootfontein. We had read something about the Hoba  meteorite, the largest known one-piece meteorite, and wanted to see it.  

We paid our fees and took a walk. Of course we had to have a photo with this unique item.

We had late lunch in the parking lot and continued north. 

By late afternoon, we were still quite a distance away from Rundu and decided to park and sleep along the road – with another beautiful African sunset.

 

We continued towards Rundu, the following morning, and turned right towards the Caprivi strip.

This is a section that runs parallel with the Cubango (Okavango)  river and that’s where the settlements and villages are concentrated. We could see the same  kraal concept as we had seen in Kaokoland and along the Kunene river, but slightly different: we saw more more brick and steel constructions, some painted in the typical blue that we got see all over Namibia. It was quite interesting to see the creativity and variety of grass fence designs in contrast to the wooden stake fences in Kaokoland. As this is obviously the single tourist route into the Caprivi strip, there was quite some handcraft on offer along the road side. 

Although these communities live so to speak on the river, we saw very few farming on a big scale: a number of small private gardens, but very little big scale farming like we know it in South Africa.

Earlier on the trip Gavin and Lee had talked about wanting to head into Khaudum National Park, but we had been hesitant about it. We had heard that it was an area with lots and lots of deep sand.

But the closer we came to one of the turn offs towards Khadoum, we kinda tossed with the idea to give it a try. After all we had build up some more experience of driving in soft sand at Doros and Messum crater and thought… why not!

I think it might have been at Katere that we made the decision to turn south and see if we could conquer Khadoum!

We decided that Trokkie would go first so that Moglet could keep an eye… their 4×4 capabilities are better than ours and they are lighter.

The soft sand started from the first 20 meters when we turned off the main road, but we pushed on. We could feel Trokkie was working really hard and progress was slow. I heard the cash register in my head go “ke-tjing, ke-tjing” when I tried to imagine how this trip would put our diesel consumption through the roof. Moglet came after us, but less than 5 minutes in, we chatted on the 2-way radio and they concurred: this road was going to be seriously heavy on fuel! We decided to turn back.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was again an exercise all on its own. You guessed it. We got stuck… again! 

On the narrow, sandy track Stefaan tried to turn Trokkie around. We kinda anticipate by now that getting off the track made by other vehicles, might land us in hot water (or deep sand in this case). And it did!  We got stuck.

We got a small peanut gallery curiously looking on as this big truck was trying to get out of the soft sand with lots of noise and lots of dust! I wonder if they were taking bets if we would be able to get out! 

By then Moglet had joined us. We had to use our beloved winch again and with help and guidance of Gavin and Lee, we eventually got out.

We decided to leave the Khaudum for another day (and another vehicle?).

As we didn’t want Stefaan to stop again in the soft sand to let me climb in the truck again, I hitched a ride in Moglet.

When we hit the main road again, Stefaan crossed and continued on the other side towards the river, where we eventually found an idyllic spot on a sort of a beach.

From a distance we saw a couple of guys with a tractor and trailer scooping beach sand on their trailer. But when they wanted to leave they couldn’t get out of the soft sand. It was our turn to pay it forward. Stefaan got the ropes out and he pulled the tractor out of the soft sand.

We had heard a few horrible stories (urban myths or reality?) about Angola: if they catch you in the country illegally, they might throw you in a dungeon and forget about you.  This is the kind of challenge Stefaan likes, so… when we had set up camp (read…parked our homes), he decided to cross the river to the other side… just to be able to say: “I was in Angola”.

As dusk started to fall over the river, we realised that we stood on a major thoroughfare for the local cattle herds.

The mist had started to descend over the river and all of a sudden we saw this amazing herd of cattle coming from the Angolan side of the river and cross back to the Namibian side. Was the grass really greener on the other side? Must have been, because the next morning, the herd passed our tucks again on their way back to the other side.

We spent a peaceful evening with a nice braai on the fire at the rivers’ edge

The following morning we cleared up and headed to Divundu… the beginning of the Caprivi strip. We had heard so much about it and were very curious.

Caprivi here we come!

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2 thoughts on “Grootfontein and Okavango River – October 2021”

  1. I can still understand why Trokkie is called “Truck with a View” amazing views and sites once again….. you have an amazing journey so far. Glad to see Stefan decided to come back from Angola – I would also – considering all the landmines that are probably sill left there.

    1. Yeah. We realise how privileged we are to be able through these massive and amazing landscapes. Something different around every corner!

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