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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Thanks for all the positive and contributing comments so far Gents, much appreciated.
    We now head off into Kaokoland. I will post a map of our basic route, then with pics explain each section traveled and how we experienced it.

    Northern Kaokoland Routes Traveled.

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  3. #42
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    We left Ruacana after visiting the Epupa Falls in the morning and Headed for Van Zyl's Pass via Okangwati.

    The road to Okangwati was fairly straight forward, a bit of sand and a few rocky sections.
    At Okangwati we were really glad to find they had diesel. We filled up and now again had 200l of diesel for our trip, so could do another 1000 km or so into Kaokoland from Okangwati.

    We met a group five young bikers from Kakamas at the Okangwati fuel stop, they were on their way to Serra Cafema. They kindly asked if we would mind taking some petrol for them in the Marienfluss and drop it off at a placed called Ben's Shop. We readily agreed, but not wanting to carry 15l of petrol in 3 x 5l PET water bottles loose inside the Cruiser while doing Van Zyl's Pass, I rather volunteered a spare 15l robust can we had for their fuel. So after exchanging SAT phone numbers and getting the GPS Co-ordinates for Bens Shop, off we went full up with diesel and with 15l of petrol for the bikers.

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    From Okangwati onwards the road steadily got rougher and it was slow going.

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    Great Van Zyl's Pass only 15 km ahead.

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    We passed this Himba Women and her child, I really found this picture fascinating. Here is a Women travelling alone, with her child and a donkey, most probably with all her worldly possessions. Incredible !!

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    By now it was late afternoon and we decided to camp at the community campsite and the beginning of Van Zyl's Pass and then do the pass in the morning. Unfortunately the campsite had no running water, not a problem, as we had plenty.

    A really beautiful campsite.

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    While settling in for the evening this starving dog approached us. Never in my life have I seen an animal so humble and downbeat. He approached us crawling along slowly, flat on the ground, with one paw virtually covering his face.
    Once he realised we were not a threat and were welcoming he perked up a bit and was hugely friendly.
    We feed him and he ate like a King that evening, from left over braai food, to almost a pack of braai wors, gulping down nearly two liters of water in between meals. After that he was our best friend and slept the whole night next to the Cruiser, under the RTT ladder. The next morning we gave him a solid meal again, a can of Bully beef, meat and snacks.

    He was now looking much better and we could see his improvement from the day before.
    We named him Koko for obvious reasons, so when passing through and you ever see Koko, be sure to give him our best regards. BTW Bully beef is his favorite snack.

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    Now for Van Zyl's Pass.
    Last edited by Searcher; 2021/06/19 at 04:09 PM.

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  5. #43
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    The first bit of Van Zyl's Pass is a pretty straight forward 4x4 track. With a few climbs and descents.

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    We packed a few rocks to make this step climb a little easier.

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    The first real obstacle we encountered was a steep downhill decent over a rocky section. We chose our line then packed the track nicely and firmly, then proceeded down, all went well and according to plan.

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    And so the trail continued, with a few tricky parts here and there, but without any seriously challenging sections.

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    This trailer never made it and has found it's final resting place.

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    Some more beautiful scenery.

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    A few more interesting sections and on we go.

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    Some more views of the route.

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    Approaching the last stretch of Van Zyl's Pass, you know the worst section is still ahead. I mean how bad can it really be ? We have done most of the pass now and our confidence is high, but there is still an uneasy feeling of what lies ahead.

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    As you arrive at the most challenging section and look down left into the valley below, you are greeted by some unfortunate travelers vehicle wrecks. Oh Boy, not exactly a confidence builder for the challenge that awaits you.

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    We parked at the top and went to inspect the road ahead and decided on the best way forward.
    We chose our line and then packed the track well. We took our time and made sure we agreed on our chosen plan of action. No place for misunderstandings here !!

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    With my wife as director, it was time to go.

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    Phew, done and dusted !!

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    Afterwards we stopped and went to inspect the less fortunate vehicles that did not make it. They certainly took a hammering when they rolled over.

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    Driving on, a fairly steep ascent still lies ahead.

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    Stunning mountain views.

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    Our first glimpse of the Marienfluss Valley.

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    A view of Van Zyl's Pass behind us.

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    Finally at the very bottom. What an awesome experience !!

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    Our approach to doing Van Zyl’s Pass.


    1. Take your time, there’s no rush.
    2. For the difficult parts, choose your line and pack your route really well.
    3. Discuss each tricky section with your director, agree on the best line to take and then follow their instructions.
    4. After packing catch your breath, relax and then proceed.
    5. Don’t panic.


    I let my tyres down a bit for the rocky conditions. I have an auto gearbox so selected low range, locked in 1st gear and then put my center and rear lockers on for the steep descents. I did not engage the front locker. This combination I felt gave me the best decent control. The rear was held more firmly back with the rear lockers on, the front was less restricted with the front lockers off and could follow the track better and the center locker helped all 4 wheels grip about equally and also ensured, that should I break or shear a propshaft or half shaft, then the vehicle would not become a runaway. I would recommend at minimum center diff lock should be engaged. This was my way of doing it, I am sure there are many opinions on this, but let’s please try and avoid a huge debate on this particular topic here.


    Next up, into the Marienfluss and on to Camp Syncro.
    Last edited by Searcher; 2021/06/19 at 08:45 PM.

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  7. #44
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Just for interest sake.

    Once we completed the last challenging downward section and drove on a bit. We were looking ahead and saw this very steep climb that lay ahead. At first take it looks ridiculously steep from where we were on the route, near impossible to do. I remember pointing it out to my wife and saying "No ways are we going to make it up that".
    It has to be some sort of illusion, because once you near it, it is not nearly as bad. What I found interesting is that a few days later we bumped into a couple at Rooidrom, the chaps name was Martin and we were discussing Van Zyl’s Pass. He also mentioned that after the steep descent he saw this crazy steep climb and was more worried about that climb than the rough section he had just done. Rest assured its just a weird illusion and not half as bad as it looks initially.

    Could it be the spirits of Van Zyl's Pass playing a last trick on you before you leave ?

    Photo taken from earlier on the trail, to show you what I mean. How weird is that ?

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    The actual climb photographed from further along the trail.

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    So all good, it's was really just some form of weird illusion.
    Last edited by Searcher; 2021/06/19 at 11:13 PM.

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  9. #45
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Searcher , baie dankie weereens vir mooi fotos en info. So jy dit solo gedoen oor vanzyl,s pass so dit kan gedoen word net veilig ry.

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  11. #46
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Leon Venter View Post
    Searcher , baie dankie weereens vir mooi fotos en info. So jy dit solo gedoen oor vanzyl,s pass so dit kan gedoen word net veilig ry.
    Yes Leon, dit kan beslus solo gedoen word, maak net seker jou voertuig is reg vir die uitdaaging en vat dit net rustig.

    I had zero vehicle damage from Van Zyl's Pass, but a few more "bumps and bruises" from driving the rough washed out river beds.

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  13. #47
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Searcher View Post
    Yes Leon, dit kan beslus solo gedoen word, maak net seker jou voertuig is reg vir die uitdaaging en vat dit net rustig.

    I had zero vehicle damage from Van Zyl's Pass, but a few more "bumps and bruises" from driving the rough washed out river beds.
    Searcher , thanks for the info appriciate it.

    En wag vir die volgende info en fotos.

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  15. #48
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Thnx for this excellent trip report.

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  17. #49
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Very nice description, yes take your time, check your lines with due consideration and pack lots and lots of stones. Good advice on doing van Zyl's without drama. Next time I want to sleep overnight at the top of the pass at one of those wider and viewpoint sections. With the tight nerves, before you know it the pass has been done and it can feel a little anti-climatic.
    Stanley Weakley.
    Toyota Landcruiser 76SW 4,2L diesel.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum...-6-SLOW-DONKEY
    OR
    http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

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  19. #50
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    I thought I might add a bit of a sequence of pictures of us coming down the last rough section of Van Zyl's Pass. The previous pictures were really only of the beginning, middle and end. The pictures below are screenshots from a video taken on my wife's Samsung J5 Prime, so please excuse the quality. She managed to take the video as I was coming down.

    It gives a slightly better idea of the descent.

    Towards the end I had to make a small left turn to follow the line we chose and to avoid a vertical rock section on my right. Here the vehicle briefly tilts quite a bit again, but I much prefer having it tilt towards the mountain than tilting towards the drop off.

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    Stop, reassess and carry on.

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    Last edited by Searcher; 2021/07/09 at 04:58 PM.

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  21. #51
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Fuel Bladders - They look extremely useful.
    I was wondering how leak proof they are and whether
    you store them upright?

    “Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

  22. #52
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    The fuel bladders are super strong. Before buying them I did a bit of research first and I read that they passed a 30m drop test and another test with a picture of a 4x4 vehicle parked on top of a full bladder.
    When transporting them, I lay them down flat and strap them down hard on top of my ammo boxes. The lid is also a robust tight seal.
    As additional protection, I made some anti-chafe covers for them from vinyl.
    I was averaging 5km/l offroad so 4x10l bladders get used up in the first 200 km. That's a day or two or maybe three's driving for us. So by day two or three they are folded away and out of your way.

    The Desert Fox 20l bladder (Lower RHS) we used for extra water.

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    I think I had better pre-empt the next question sure to be asked by somebody:

    "Where the heck is your fridge ?"

    When on these trips I remove the back passenger seats and have made a bracket for my 60l Engel fridge/freezer to stand on.
    The bracket takes the Engel fridge and another two ammo boxes. Easy access and works well for us.

    A 55l water tank slides into the passenger footwell area, for a snug fit and a nice low center of gravity.
    Last edited by Searcher; 2021/06/20 at 03:08 PM.

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  24. #53
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Very handy!
    Thanks for the pics!

    “Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

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  26. #54
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Searcher View Post
    In May 2021 we did a three week trip through Damaraland and Kaokoland...
    We plan to travel from Ugab Rhino Camp area via Doros Crater and Burnt Mountain to Twyfelfontein in August this year in our 2006 Land Cruiser GX 1Hz. Any advice on the condition and advisability of this route?

  27. #55
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Thank you for all the useful info and maps. Did you need a special permit to do the 2 eastern tracks of the Hartmann's valley?

  28. #56
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Marshall View Post
    We plan to travel from Ugab Rhino Camp area via Doros Crater and Burnt Mountain to Twyfelfontein in August this year in our 2006 Land Cruiser GX 1Hz. Any advice on the condition and advisability of this route?
    Hi Chris.

    There are so many options for your planned route, depending how you want to approach it. You can do it following the more established roads or if you are feeling more adventurous you can follow the roads less travelled. Either way it is quite doable, just bear in mind some of it is still very remote and you should be well prepared.

    On previous trips we have done Doros Crater from Rhino Camp via the Desolation Valley 4x4 trail, then headed East to Doros Crater and we have done it from the Brandberg White Lady Lodge side. We have not done it via Divorce Pass so cannot comment on that route.

    One of my favourite routes is from Cape Cross you head off to the Messum Crater, then to Brandberg White Lady Lodge Campsite, then North to Doros Crater, Burnt Mountain and Twyfelfontein or from the Messum Crater, you can also choose to go to Rhino Camp, following the 4x4 routes or more established roads, then onto Doros Crater and then Northwards.

    Here is a screenshot of some of the routes we have travelled before, these cover the area you also want to travel. The routes indicated on the map below that we have travelled are roads and 4x4 tracks that for the most part are doable. Unfortunately if I zoom in more then I can't fit it all in.

    Twyfelfontein is at the top center.

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    I don't want to digress to much here as this falls outside of the scope of the routes we travelled in this trip report.
    Last edited by Searcher; 2021/06/21 at 04:12 PM.

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  30. #57
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by misterfab View Post
    Thank you for all the useful info and maps. Did you need a special permit to do the 2 eastern tracks of the Hartmann's valley?
    No permits needed that I know of. We just went there and drove on the designated tracks only.

    We basically turned around at Hartman's Junction which is just North of the Airfield, as I believe from thereon Northwards it is some sort of private concession. Along the route we saw no signs prohibiting or warning us against entry.
    Last edited by Searcher; 2021/06/21 at 03:58 PM.

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  32. #58
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Incredible trip report - so Excited to go there as well. And thank you for giving back to the community on this!

    it was so enjoyable to read - and see the effort.

    on a side note, we’re the bikers a bunch of ktm’s (one husqvarna) and one gs? I think 3 guys and 2 girls.

    lastly - I would love to have a detailed route if your trip in order to plan my own as I’m uber keen for some wild camping
    As we were standing at a mates house, with a few GS's and my Africa Twin, discussing motorbikes as one does, his wife asked: "What is an African Twin?"

    My dearest girlfriend replied, "It's like a GS... Just better"

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  34. #59
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Craighall Park
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Searcher View Post
    Yes, I have tracks for everything, but first need to tidy it up and sort out the all the data captured to make it reasonably presentable.
    Should get to it fairly soon.
    Great report, thanks. I really enjoyed reading it and photo's are great too.
    I would also like to have a copy of your tracks.
    Please PM me once you are done tidying it up.
    Regards
    Gerhard

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  36. #60
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Stellenbosch
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    Default Re: Kaokoland, Damaraland and their Riverbeds - Mini Trip Report

    Searcher plse post tracks info here for all to see.
    Thx very much.
    If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right. SJ

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