Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss





Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Age
    46
    Posts
    22
    Thanked: 2

    Default Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Hi Guys,

    Apologies for writing another post about this - I have read every post I can find on this topic but just need a few specific questions answered please!

    I am a keen landscape photographer and video maker so tend to travel far slower than most people and I like to hang around a spot to explore in the golden hours and night (astrophotography). For this reason I am concerned I will not cover the distances that some others cover in a day. I also have no problem travelling back the same way as long as it's scenic or has good wildlife!

    So, I'd be grateful for some firsthand advice! I plan to travel at the end of October 2019 and I was hoping not to book anywhere as It keeps things very flexible if I find a good location I can just stay longer..

    My Vehicle is a 2011 110 Defender Puma, 175Ltr Tanks, 80 Ltr water, 2 spares, compressor, hi-lift, sand bladder & tracks & straps for basic recovery - no winch. (I am not a fan of hectic 4wd but I do like lonely places).

    I am a light camper - gas burner with a tin of beans and a rooftop tent.

    Travelling with my wife.




    • Day 1. Kamanjab -> Otjitheka 4WD trail - Wild camp [Question - are there any permits required, where can I get them and can I camp on this trail?]
    • Day 2. Otjitheka 4WD trail -> Khowarib Schlucht (stay at one of the campsites at the end)
    • Day 3. Khowarib campsite -> Sesfontein (fill up here or sprint to Pamwag and back) -> Ganamub River -> Hoanib River -> Amspoort Route -> Geinas Wild camp [Question - Permits t4A has a toll gate here? Camp Fees? is this OK to do? Should I push hard on to Puros? Should I overnight in the Hoanib instead? Specific Campsites required?]
    • Day 4 Geinas -> Hoarusib River Route -> Puros campsite (possibly stay another night to explore the area more)
    • Day 5 Puros -> Khumib River Route eastern bank ->Orupembe -> Marble Camp [Question - OK to Wild camp along here if I go too slow to make Marble?] [Question - should I skip Jouberts pass and Marble and go the western route to Red Drum as we are travelling alone?]
    • Day 6 From end point above -> Syncro or Community camp
    • Day 7 Rest day on Kunene (dawn and dusk shots Marienfluss) [Question - can I drive out 15-20 min from camp for night astro shots at night in Marienfluss?]
    • Day 8 Syncro to Hartmann wild camp site somewhere scenic for landscapes?
    • Day 9 Hartmann -> Green Drum Route -> Khumib/Hoarasib Wild Camp or Camp in Puros if not too slow.
    • Day 10 -> Fuel dependant -> back down the rivers to sesfontein [Question - back via D3707 route?]



    Many thanks for any advice and input, it's all gratefully received!
    Last edited by w507; 2019/09/12 at 03:29 PM. Reason: Notification change

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Paarl
    Age
    60
    Posts
    116
    Thanked: 40

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Otjitheka trail is not a easy drive with a loaded vehicle. Very rocky. Easy to get tire damage. We did it in July and will not do it again!

    Rather do the Khowarib Schlucht trail from East to West.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to ChrisA For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Cambridge, UK
    Age
    63
    Posts
    198
    Thanked: 130

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    IMHO
    Day 3 , when you meet the gate into the Hoanib just short of ElephantSong you’ll pay concession fees to the Palmwag conservancy, 280 $nam per day + 70 per person.
    You should not camp in the Hoanib .
    If you’re looking to camp near the Hoanib there’s an excellent site about 5kms up the Obias on the east side behind rocks.
    There are few sheltered spots to camp going up the Tsuxub river until you crest the rise , about half way to Puros. If you camp up there then be careful to stay away from the game trails as there’s a concealed waterhole and you shouldn’t interfere with the game looking for water.
    Day 5 , good wildcamping north of Puros on the western track along the 3707 near the Khumib. Few places after Orupembe as there are more people about up to Marble.
    Day 7 , no problem going out at night into the Marienfluss.
    Day 9 , camp as for day 5
    Day 10 , if you have the fuel then take a back track to the Hoanib again , maybe fearless pass etc. The 3707 across Giribes is no longer interesting, too many cattle, no game.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Age
    46
    Posts
    22
    Thanked: 2

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA View Post
    Otjitheka trail is not a easy drive with a loaded vehicle. Very rocky. Easy to get tire damage. We did it in July and will not do it again!

    Rather do the Khowarib Schlucht trail from East to West.
    Great thanks for the tip!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Gaborone
    Age
    69
    Posts
    6,753
    Thanked: 959

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    I think you can get the permit at the vet gates when entering the area.

    Have you considered to "step out" of the Khowarib river bed and visit Klein Serengeti, that would be the type of territory made for your needs.
    A plateau surrounded by mountains with some fabulous wild camping spots and it is easy to drive, had to do it myself with a broken power steering.
    Depending on the seasonal rainfall there is lots of wildlife around.
    Kalahari Safari
    ORRA Call: WB58 | ICASA ZRF430
    Nissan Patrol GU TB45
    | Nissan Safari GU TD42 | B'rakah 4x4 Trailer
    E34 - 535i for a bit of nostalgia
    E39 - 540i for the open roads

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to Kalahari Safari For This Useful Post:


  8. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Age
    46
    Posts
    22
    Thanked: 2

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Quote Originally Posted by africancats View Post
    IMHO
    Day 3 , when you meet the gate into the Hoanib just short of ElephantSong you’ll pay concession fees to the Palmwag conservancy, 280 $nam per day + 70 per person.
    You should not camp in the Hoanib .
    If you’re looking to camp near the Hoanib there’s an excellent site about 5kms up the Obias on the east side behind rocks.
    There are few sheltered spots to camp going up the Tsuxub river until you crest the rise , about half way to Puros. If you camp up there then be careful to stay away from the game trails as there’s a concealed waterhole and you shouldn’t interfere with the game looking for water.
    Day 5 , good wildcamping north of Puros on the western track along the 3707 near the Khumib. Few places after Orupembe as there are more people about up to Marble.
    Day 7 , no problem going out at night into the Marienfluss.
    Day 9 , camp as for day 5
    Day 10 , if you have the fuel then take a back track to the Hoanib again , maybe fearless pass etc. The 3707 across Giribes is no longer interesting, too many cattle, no game.
    Great thanks for this, it's very helpful indeed. Fearless sounds a little intimidating!!
    Last edited by w507; 2019/09/12 at 04:57 PM.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Yzerfontein
    Age
    67
    Posts
    160
    Thanked: 130

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA View Post
    Otjitheka trail is not a easy drive with a loaded vehicle. Very rocky. Easy to get tire damage. We did it in July and will not do it again!

    Rather do the Khowarib Schlucht trail from East to West.
    Khowarib Schlucht was one of the most difficult terrains I encountered in Namibia...especially when following another vehicle.....how I didn't end up in one of the deep ruts I will never know!
    Last edited by Landy90fan; 2019/09/12 at 10:20 PM.
    2006 Defender 90 CSW Td 5
    Nissan Patrol 3 lt V-6 d/c - sold

    Nothing is ever what it seems.....:

    The ''Bitterness of Poor Quality remains long after the Sweetness of Low Price.....''

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to Landy90fan For This Useful Post:


  11. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Age
    46
    Posts
    22
    Thanked: 2

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahari Safari View Post
    I think you can get the permit at the vet gates when entering the area.

    Have you considered to "step out" of the Khowarib river bed and visit Klein Serengeti, that would be the type of territory made for your needs.
    A plateau surrounded by mountains with some fabulous wild camping spots and it is easy to drive, had to do it myself with a broken power steering.
    Depending on the seasonal rainfall there is lots of wildlife around.
    Yes I am hoping to go right through Klein Serengeti - maybe I have described the route wrongly. I was hoping to see the Khowarib river gorge too - from the little I've seen it looks beautiful.

    My understanding was to go up the Otjitheka trail from Erwee and take a right at Okememuno(?) and then a left to Khowarib.

    Although perhaps the Ojitheka trail is best avoided and the route should be the track starting at the C35 (Khowarib-schlucht) with a detour south into the Klein Serengeti then back out northwest to Khowarib - is this what you mean?

  12. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Age
    46
    Posts
    22
    Thanked: 2

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Quote Originally Posted by Landy90fan View Post
    Khowarib Schlucht was one of the most difficult terrains I have ever encountered in Namibia...especially when following another vehicle.....how I didn't end up in one of deep ruts I will never know!
    Hmm okay sounds a bit hectic

  13. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Argentina
    Posts
    146
    Thanked: 172

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Hi w507
    I would prefer Otjiteka trail, but not with start in Kamanjab but from Hoada, the vet gate is located almost opposite of Hoada and this is where your trail starts early morning. The palm oasis is a very scenic spot right at the very beginning. Here are also the only rocky sections, but nothing compared to what will await you far north…. Klein Serengeti is a must to spend more time if you are keen on landscapes and lions are also frequent visitors.

    I prefer the Khowarib community camp sites and another worthwhile place to overnight are the small waterfalls towards the end of the Schlucht

    Your day 3 is on my count already day 5. Between Khowarib and Purros there is plenty to see and possible camp sites are near the Mudorib junction inside the Palmwag concession, where fees apply as others pointed out which you pay at toll gate. The Obias valley is a tremendously rich valley (photography), fairy circles, signal hill, rock arch, etc. You can wild camp on top of signal hill with barking gecko concert.

    The drive on the Ganias plains to Purros is nice. Spend 2 nights in Purros and perhaps do a detour to the castle formations. You can fill up pretty clean water from community camp site in Purros.

    day 5 By this time I have reached day 8 on my count and you will need to make provisions of Diesel in Purros to travel further north. There are several chaps who sell clean Diesel.

    Personally, I find the most westerly route up north the most scenic for rock formations and some locations you perhaps want to exit your vehicle to climb on the rocks and see all the way into the dunes of the Skeleton Coast. But if your aim is to find desert elephants you better stick to the riverbeds. Marble Camp site is ok, no view, but plenty of good shade.

    Red Drum Pass is not as scenic as the Blue drum route up west. You could find plenty of spots to sleep in the Ondusengo or Nadas riverbeds, depending on the time you wish to spend taking pictures and on your wild camp predisposition.

    You are not allowed to leave Camp Syncro at night with a vehicle, the gate is locked at night, in this case better go to the community camp at the Kunene. But Syncro on the other hand have their own viewpoint accessible from inside the camp site and overlooking the Kunene and Angola.

    If you only have the time available mentioned in your OP and are willing to camp wild, then I would skip Syncro altogether and take the westerly green route to Hartmann as far north as possible, the scenery is just awesome and no cattle or villages, then drive back the same way or cross over the Hartmann berge already for north a few km south of monster dune into Marienfluss. But mind you you must know how to drive in deep sand there! And you will not want to take the short cut from Marienfluss into Hartmann near the holy mountain because this is not for single vehicle, too rocky.

    My answer is a bit unorganised but I hope you can extract what you need
    "make a plan to break a plan"

  14. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Age
    46
    Posts
    22
    Thanked: 2

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Quote Originally Posted by La Leona View Post
    Hi w507
    I would prefer Otjiteka trail, but not with start in Kamanjab but from Hoada, the vet gate is located almost opposite of Hoada and this is where your trail starts early morning. The palm oasis is a very scenic spot right at the very beginning. Here are also the only rocky sections, but nothing compared to what will await you far northÂ…. Klein Serengeti is a must to spend more time if you are keen on landscapes and lions are also frequent visitors.

    I prefer the Khowarib community camp sites and another worthwhile place to overnight are the small waterfalls towards the end of the Schlucht

    Your day 3 is on my count already day 5. Between Khowarib and Purros there is plenty to see and possible camp sites are near the Mudorib junction inside the Palmwag concession, where fees apply as others pointed out which you pay at toll gate. The Obias valley is a tremendously rich valley (photography), fairy circles, signal hill, rock arch, etc. You can wild camp on top of signal hill with barking gecko concert.

    The drive on the Ganias plains to Purros is nice. Spend 2 nights in Purros and perhaps do a detour to the castle formations. You can fill up pretty clean water from community camp site in Purros.

    day 5 By this time I have reached day 8 on my count and you will need to make provisions of Diesel in Purros to travel further north. There are several chaps who sell clean Diesel.

    Personally, I find the most westerly route up north the most scenic for rock formations and some locations you perhaps want to exit your vehicle to climb on the rocks and see all the way into the dunes of the Skeleton Coast. But if your aim is to find desert elephants you better stick to the riverbeds. Marble Camp site is ok, no view, but plenty of good shade.

    Red Drum Pass is not as scenic as the Blue drum route up west. You could find plenty of spots to sleep in the Ondusengo or Nadas riverbeds, depending on the time you wish to spend taking pictures and on your wild camp predisposition.

    You are not allowed to leave Camp Syncro at night with a vehicle, the gate is locked at night, in this case better go to the community camp at the Kunene. But Syncro on the other hand have their own viewpoint accessible from inside the camp site and overlooking the Kunene and Angola.

    If you only have the time available mentioned in your OP and are willing to camp wild, then I would skip Syncro altogether and take the westerly green route to Hartmann as far north as possible, the scenery is just awesome and no cattle or villages, then drive back the same way or cross over the Hartmann berge already for north a few km south of monster dune into Marienfluss. But mind you you must know how to drive in deep sand there! And you will not want to take the short cut from Marienfluss into Hartmann near the holy mountain because this is not for single vehicle, too rocky.

    My answer is a bit unorganised but I hope you can extract what you need

    Haha!! I was worried I was being way too optimistic with times! Thank you for this it is very helpful. Especially the padlocked gate info!!!

    I am not specifically looking for desert elephants (I've seen them once before in Damaraland) so I'm mainly looking for the lonely and scenic landscapes along the roadside, bird life and any interesting things. I have been to Sera Cafema on the Kunene several years ago by aircraft. It is stunning up there, hence my wish to go back again! But I thought the roads into the far north of Hartmanns valley were prohibited due to the camp concession?

    Thank you for the insights in the Obias valley and the Blue drum route Nadas/Ondusengo - very interesting. You are right, I definitely want to get out and check out the landscapes and just take my time.

  15. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Gaborone
    Age
    69
    Posts
    6,753
    Thanked: 959

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Quote Originally Posted by w507 View Post
    Yes I am hoping to go right through Klein Serengeti - maybe I have described the route wrongly. I was hoping to see the Khowarib river gorge too - from the little I've seen it looks beautiful.

    My understanding was to go up the Otjitheka trail from Erwee and take a right at Okememuno(?) and then a left to Khowarib.

    Although perhaps the Ojitheka trail is best avoided and the route should be the track starting at the C35 (Khowarib-schlucht) with a detour south into the Klein Serengeti then back out northwest to Khowarib - is this what you mean?
    The Klein Serengeti is turning off from inside the Khowarib Schlucht trail about halfways into the direction Sesfontein Camps at the river.
    It is a steep ascent out of the river in direction S - SW river running W.
    You can see it easily on Google Earth.

    I returned the same way after doing the round trip of the plateau along the mountain range and camping right in the center then continued the downriver trail until I reached the river crossing.

    So in essence, from Khamanjab on the main road (C35) you turn off towards the Khowarib and enter a vet gate (roughly 10 kms from T-off) after a nice drive through loose vegetation mainly mopane trees on silver grass fields.
    After the vet gate (permit and registration - they used to have a map as well) you enter the Khowarib river at one of the crossings and follow the easily identifiable track downriver.
    It leaves the riverbed a few times just to return later into it again. then about half stretch the turn off into Klein Serengeti climbs out of the riverbed and ascends to a plateau.
    You are there!

    Note:
    The attached image is from memory, I would need to dig out the GPS logs if more details are needed.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Kalahari Safari
    ORRA Call: WB58 | ICASA ZRF430
    Nissan Patrol GU TB45
    | Nissan Safari GU TD42 | B'rakah 4x4 Trailer
    E34 - 535i for a bit of nostalgia
    E39 - 540i for the open roads

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to Kalahari Safari For This Useful Post:


  17. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Argentina
    Posts
    146
    Thanked: 172

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Quote Originally Posted by w507 View Post
    My understanding was to go up the Otjitheka trail from Erwee and take a right at Okememuno(?) and then a left to Khowarib.
    sorry overlocked this, yes exactly, you enter thru the new huge vet gate at Erwee and drive first thru a palm oasis and up a rocky trail in a northerly direction until you reach the plain, once your reach the northern end you won't miss the dry riverbed to turn left to the Khowarib Schlucht. You will pass a mobile anti poacher camp from Save the Rhino Trust fairly at the beginning of the plain, this is if they are still there at present.
    "make a plan to break a plan"

  18. The Following User Says Thank You to La Leona For This Useful Post:


  19. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Age
    46
    Posts
    22
    Thanked: 2

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahari Safari View Post
    The Klein Serengeti is turning off from inside the Khowarib Schlucht trail about halfways into the direction Sesfontein Camps at the river.
    It is a steep ascent out of the river in direction S - SW river running W.
    You can see it easily on Google Earth.

    I returned the same way after doing the round trip of the plateau along the mountain range and camping right in the center then continued the downriver trail until I reached the river crossing.

    So in essence, from Khamanjab on the main road (C35) you turn off towards the Khowarib and enter a vet gate (roughly 10 kms from T-off) after a nice drive through loose vegetation mainly mopane trees on silver grass fields.
    After the vet gate (permit and registration - they used to have a map as well) you enter the Khowarib river at one of the crossings and follow the easily identifiable track downriver.
    It leaves the riverbed a few times just to return later into it again. then about half stretch the turn off into Klein Serengeti climbs out of the riverbed and ascends to a plateau.
    You are there!

    Note:
    The attached image is from memory, I would need to dig out the GPS logs if more details are needed.
    Thanks very much!!

  20. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Age
    46
    Posts
    22
    Thanked: 2

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Hey guys, thanks for all the help on this. I really appreciate it.

    I'm setting off in two weeks time and I want to change the route in my original post.

    I want to travel from North to South which allows me a much greater margin for fuel and water as I won't be retracing my steps and returning down the same route.

    So my plan is now (after the Khowarib Schlucht) to head to Opuwo (via D3704 - road ok?) -> Orupembe ->Purros -> Sesfontein

    To this end, of the two routes from Opuwo to Orupembe which is the safest to travel and easiest please?

    • Opuwo - D3703 -> Etanga -> Otjihaa ->Orupembe
    • Opuwo -> D3707 -> Kaoko Otavi -> Otjiu -> Orupembe


    Many thanks!

  21. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    234
    Thanked: 184

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Quote Originally Posted by w507 View Post
    Hey guys, thanks for all the help on this. I really appreciate it.

    I'm setting off in two weeks time and I want to change the route in my original post.

    I want to travel from North to South which allows me a much greater margin for fuel and water as I won't be retracing my steps and returning down the same route.

    So my plan is now (after the Khowarib Schlucht) to head to Opuwo (via D3704 - road ok?) -> Orupembe ->Purros -> Sesfontein

    To this end, of the two routes from Opuwo to Orupembe which is the safest to travel and easiest please?

    • Opuwo - D3703 -> Etanga -> Otjihaa ->Orupembe
    • Opuwo -> D3707 -> Kaoko Otavi -> Otjiu -> Orupembe


    Many thanks!
    We did the reverse of your first option, more or less, in March. D3703 from Opuwo to Etanga is easy going. Etanga to somewhere around Otijha is slow going. Not technical, just rocky, and we found T4A to be WAY optomistic for timing. Otijha, or maybe a bit west of there, to Orupembe is easy going. When we did that run eastbound from the Orupembe Junction to Etanga was maybe 5hrs driving? That is off the top of my head, I can check my tracks later if that is important.

    Your second route looks like it could be interesting, but I have not done it. Note that the Hoarusib riverbed is no joke, but it looks like you would avoid that.

  22. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Age
    46
    Posts
    22
    Thanked: 2

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Quote Originally Posted by CalDriver View Post
    We did the reverse of your first option, more or less, in March. D3703 from Opuwo to Etanga is easy going. Etanga to somewhere around Otijha is slow going. Not technical, just rocky, and we found T4A to be WAY optomistic for timing. Otijha, or maybe a bit west of there, to Orupembe is easy going. When we did that run eastbound from the Orupembe Junction to Etanga was maybe 5hrs driving? That is off the top of my head, I can check my tracks later if that is important.

    Your second route looks like it could be interesting, but I have not done it. Note that the Hoarusib riverbed is no joke, but it looks like you would avoid that.

    Thanks so much for the info! I am a very slow driver, so I'll stick another 2hrs or so on your 5hrs estimate between Orupembe and Etanga

    Will wait to see if someone has done the other route - I saw mention somewhere that NGO's and conservation guys are using it in preference.

    Thank you.

  23. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Argentina
    Posts
    146
    Thanked: 172

    Default Re: Kaokoveld - Sesfontein to Marienfluss

    Hi,
    we have done both and personally I find the second one more scenic. Between Kaoko Otavi and Otjiu the "road" is very washed out, probably because it is not a road in the sense, but a spontaneous track that widened and there is no surface material left in parts and you will drive mostly on rock, below you will find the link to the specific post where I describe the section from Opuwo to Marble camp site via Kaoko Otavi. It is from my trip report I wrote for the swiss namibia forum, in german, but uncle google is always very helpful withl translations...

    Total distance 198km, we left Opuwo at 09.30 and reached Marble Camp site just before 17.00h. Exactly 50% more driving time than given by T4A, that is the norm for us.

    https://namibia-forum.ch/forum/10-re...tart=24#525080

    The northern route via Etanga is more challenging because you need to negogiate steeper sections than on the southern track, in parts also very rocky.

    With the current draught you will have no problems driving the riverbeds. You cross the Hoarusib about four times on your way to Orupembe when doing the southern route. Enjoy your trip!
    "make a plan to break a plan"

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •