Trip report - Namibia Dec 09-Jan 10





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    Default Trip report - Namibia Dec 09-Jan 10

    We are back from Namibia and another fantastic trip up there, I have written a trip report and have posted it here

    It's a 5.5MB pdf....


    Here is the text from the report, the pdf has images embedded in it. I'm not sure it will make much sense without the images

    Namibia 2009 – 2010 trip report


    General Information


    People: Mike (wanchop) and Braam (jackal)
    Vehicle: Land Rover Discovery 1 V8
    Route: Jhb – Namaqua 4wd trail – Fish river canyon – Windhoek – Etosha – Cunene 4wd trail – Kaokoveld – Hoarusib riverbed 4wd trail – Swakopmund – Luderitz – Alexander Bay – Jhb
    Distance Travelled: 8064km
    Fuel used: 1794 litres
    Duration: 20 days

    Just to give you some background before I kick off ... as a group of friends we have travelled Southern Africa quite extensively over the past 5 years visiting Namibia on a couple of occasions as well as Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Lesotho.

    On this particular trip we would only be 1 vehicle with 2 occupants ... Jackal and myself (wanchop) were planning to rough it like never before.

    The goal when initially planning for this trip was to see the Kaokoveld as that was the only part of the country we had not yet visited, the other main reason for wanting to go there was for the off road driving we had read so much about... more about that later though.

    So... instead of simply heading straight up to the Kaokoveld I decided to look for some of the lesser known 4WD routes / trails along the way so that the trip was a little more interesting. What we finally settled on was to do part (254km) of the Namaqua 4wd route, the entire Cunene 4wd route to Epupa falls and as much of the Kaokoveld as possible, along with the Hoarusib riverbed 4wd trail in the time we had. Below is our track log...


    Day 1, Gauteng – Namaqua 4wd trail (1100km):


    We left Gauteng at around 4am on the 16th December and would be driving the entire day to get as close to the Namaqua 4wd trial as possible which starts about 20km outside of Pofadder on the Springbok side. It was a pretty long day of boring tarred roads but I guess we needed to travel those to get there didn’t we. We arrived at the start of the trail at about 4pm and proceeded on, in search of the Orange River where we would spend our first night once we found a decent camping spot.


    After a long day on the road we decided to set up camp on the river banks, we went for a swim to cool down and had a couple of cold ones which we’d been waiting patiently for the entire day! Ice cold beer ... SUCCESS!

    Day 2, Namaqua 4wd trail – Noordover (189km):


    I think I forgot to mention that we were going to attempt to do the entire trip without using a tent and simply sleeping on the ground in our sleeping bags... well on the first morning we awoke to find a scorpion under Braam’s mattress, this was to be the first of many things wanting to share our “beds” with us J

    The route followed the river for some time and then headed off into the vineyards and plantations of date palms, the drive was an extremely scenic one which I would most definitely do again. It wasn’t a challenging drive at all ... just scenic ... thus we felt the need to make our own fun.



    Along the route we came across this old church / chapel which we couldn’t find any information on but it was interesting none the less.

    As I mentioned the scenery was magnificent and I can only imagine what it must look like when the flowers are in bloom.
    We stopped a number of times throughout the day for a swim to cool off as it was disgustingly hot and our bodies had not yet acclimatised to the conditions.
    We came across a number of derelict old houses along the way as well as some magnificent new wine and date farms. It’s the strangest this to be driving through what feels like the driest hottest place on earth and the next minute you see what looks like an oasis of vineyards and date palms.


    We were now heading towards the “Road to Hell” which as I understood was extremely rocky and only a one way route ... if you went down you needed to turn around and come back up it again J


    The photos above are just some of the scenic’s heading towards the official start of the road to hell... by this stage we were also beginning to run a little low on petrol. I didn’t think we needed to fill any jerry’s before the start of the route but it seemed that “Patty” had decided she was in need of a lot more fuel for some or other reason!

    When we reached the top of the road to hell we were greeted but this sign with warnings painted all over it ... never one to chicken out of anything we thought we’d give it a shot after walking a couple of hundred meters down to see what we had in store for us... our only concern was that we were only 1 vehicle, at the start of our trip. We went ahead anyway J


    We inched down a couple of meters at a time for about 30 min and as you can see it’s extremely rocky and the gradient is quite steep, I then began to worry about our fuel situation as I was guessing that the nearest filling station was 50 odd km away and didn’t want to take too many risks considering we still had to get back up the road again and then get to the filling station...


    I think we travelled about 60% of the way down when we decided to turn around and head back up again ... in hind sight it would have been easier to drive to the bottom and drive back up again than to do a 3 000 000 point turn under difficult conditions! LOL

    Anyway, we managed to get patty turned around and headed back up the road and towards a filling station which I was extremely happy to see! J

    All in all the Namaqua 4wd echo route is a pleasant drive which I will definitely do again, the road to hell is isn’t as bad as everyone says it is and is doable if you’re a relatively experienced driver.

    We were now headed for the border at Noordover ... and then on to find somewhere to sleep and get cold beer. It had been a long hot day in the vehicle.


    Day 3, Fish River Canyon – Keetmanshoop (395km):


    After a good night’s rest we were up early and ready to go, we were headed for the Fish River Canyon today.


    From the Fish River Canyon we headed to Keetmanshoop and stayed at the Quiver Tree Forest Camp site which we arrived at late in the day and sat down to a couple of cold beers!

    Day 4, Keetmanshoop – Windhoek (507km):


    From Keetmanshoop we had a rather long stretch again as we were headed for Windhoek for the night, this was a very uneventful drive which took us most of the day. Once we arrived in Windhoek we checked into a guest house and went in search of Joe’s Beer garden where had had an awesome Eisbein and another handful of ice cold beers and a few Gin and Tonics.

    Day 5, Windhoek – Etosha (520km):


    It was our first time in Windhoek and as expected it’s just like any other city... I was quite chuffed to be on our way further north and back to Etosha which we visited a few years back and had an awesome time!


    We arrived at Etosha mid afternoon ish, we hadn’t pre booked anything and took a chance that there would be place available for us to camp. Halali was the only camp site that had any camp spots available so we booked for 2 nights.


    On the drive from Okaukuejo to Halali we saw a fair amount of antelope which was to be expected and as we remembered it. These included Tssesebe, Black faced impala, Gemsbok, to name but a few...

    We got to the Halali camp site, setup our camp, had a couple of GnT’s and then headed off to the floodlit watering hole on foot. Just as we arrived there was a black rhino that had come to drink, he didn’t hang around for too long ... once he had departed we sat there for some time but nothing else emerged so we headed back to camp to get stuck into dinner!

    Day 6, Etosha (229km):


    We headed out for a drive relatively early and had planned to try get to a few of the watering holes; again we saw a fair amount of game on the roads closest to the pan itself. As soon as we ventured away from the pan the game simply disappeared...


    We then decided to head back towards the pan again to see if our sightings improved... on the way back we saw this very unfortunate souls Cruiser that had burnt out totally ... fridges, sand ladders, jerry cans the whole lot had gone up in smoke!

    If you look carefully at the top left of the photo below you can see the fire extinguisher that was used ... it clearly didn’t work! Now there is a brilliant reason to carry at least a 5kg fire extinguisher!


    Shortly after seeing the burnt out Cruiser we decided to start heading back to camp as it looked like there was a pretty serious storm on its way and we had left out sleeping gear out in the open...

    Just as we were heading down one of the loop roads we came across an awesome sighting of a leopard which couldn’t have been more than a couple of meters from the car.

    While we were sitting watching this majestic cat the heavens opened, we stayed put for a while to see what it would do but eventually we got bored and headed back to the camp to find that all our belongings that we’d left behind we soaked!

    Day 7, Etosha – Hippo Pools (457km):

    Today we were headed for Hippo Pools which is on the Cunene River and on route out we had a good sighting of our 2nd elephant, the first sighting was just too far away but this one was much better...

    Etosha truly is an unbelievable park to visit a definitely worthwhile, there was a fair amount of water in the pan when we were there bit it seemed to be from the storms while we were there and not from the flooding a few months prior.

    Once we left the park we were now on possibly the worst stretch of road I have travelled on in Namibia! It actually reminded me of northern Mozambique, there we just people, goats, chickens, cows and any other domestic animal you accustomed to seeing in Africa ... what made this even worse was the military check points at every town which was every 5km or so.

    Our trip to Hippo Pools which we’d estimated should take us a few hours was going to take us a lot longer!!!

    We arrived at hippo pools which is a community camp site at about 6pm, we’d travelled for close on 10 hours and only covered about 400km. If this were off road driving I would understand it but it was a good tar road. T.I.F.A.

    This is a view of Angola from the road just before we arrived at Hippo Pools, there was a fairly large storm brewing out there!

    Day 8, Cunene 4wd Echo trail – Epupa Falls (160km):

    Everything I had read about the route we were to travel today was that it was pretty tough and even more so if it had been raining so we set off fairly early to give ourselves enough time to cover the 160 odd km to Epupa Falls.

    The driving conditions varied from km to km, we crossed several dry river beds and a few that had small amounts of flowing water but nothing that made us think twice. I only really walked 1 water crossing but it wasn’t any deeper than 300mm at its deepest. There were some rather steep and rocky climbs but nothing that we couldn’t negotiate.

    Some way through the drive we saw something that would become all too common in the coming days ... I had read about it but was shocked to see the amount of rubbish and bottles lying around!

    It seemed that every little village along the way had its own “dump”

    Along the way we also got to one of the Dorsland Trekker memorials, this one was marking where the originally crossed over the Cunene River into Angola.

    Another one of the interesting sights along this route was the Zebra Mountains.

    This was also our first sighting of many Himba people, we thought we would have to search for them but they were a dime a dozen right through the Epupa region and Kaokoveld.

    This is another route I would definitely travel again!

    Once we arrived at Epupa Falls we checked in at the camp site and booked for dinner. We then decided to go for a swim in the pools at the top of the falls to cool off. It was seriously hot up there!

    After we’d cooled of we headed back to the bar area to have a couple of quiet sun downers on the deck overlooking the Cunene River and Angola. The dinner that night was superb and we gorged ourselves till we felt ill!

    We headed off to bed shortly after dinner as we wanted to get going early so that we had time to get down Van Zyls Pass and back up to the Cunene before nightfall.

    Day 9, Epupa – Marienfluss (218km):

    After a relatively good night’s rest we started off in the direction of Van Zyls pass, not far down the road we saw a sign that mentioned petrol and diesel so we thought we’d give it a bash ... just to make sure we had enough fuel to do a little exploring if need be. Sure it came out of a drum using a piece of hose to siphon it into my Jerry cans but that didn’t concern me too much.

    After topping the tanks up we once again headed off into the wilderness in search of the infamous Van Zyls Pass. The drive to get there was a scenic one albeit extremely slow!

    We saw all sorts of interesting plants like this “Luislang Plant” as it was labelled on the GPS

    We also came across these extremely brightly coloured lizards and for the life of me cant remember what their actual name is ... the owner at the Epupa camp site did tell us but it’s now slipped my mind... the male is in the first 2 pics and the female below him.

    Further along the trail we came across many of these Himba grave sites, some of them we labelled on the GPS as a Himba chief’s grave site and others just as a Himba Grave. The most interesting things about these are that most of them are in the fork of trees.

    While along this track we noticed that we had been gaining on a vehicle slowly but surely, its wasn’t too long before we came around the corner to find a Cruiser with a German family that had stopped to repack their firewood on the roof as it had fallen off. We had a brief chat and then we were both on our way again, we were pretty shocked at how quickly this family was going through the terrain and we soon lost them only to meet up again at one of the lookout points midway down the pass.

    We arrived at the campsite at about 14h00.

    After snapping some photos of the surrounding area and a couple of Himba huts we decided to head off down the pass.

    The pass itself isn’t as technical as I expected at all, there had been a number of stretches of road along the way that had been far more technical to travel. The ‘Road to Hell’ in the Namaqualand in my opinion is worse than Van Zyls Pass. We stopped at the view points of the Marienfluss and took a few photos and this is where we met up with the German family once again.

    We soon headed off to the last section of the pass and found ourselves at the bottom of the pass at about 15h30, we had no need to pack rocks, get out and check lines and all the things we were warned / informed we would have to do. It is one of the ‘must do’ 4x4 drives but in my personal opinion don’t expect too much apart from awesome views.

    The Marienfluss on the other hand is beautiful once down there, it’s vast to say the least. It is alos very difficult to get a good shot of the fairy circles but we tried our best....

    The track through the fluss towards the Cunene River is seriously corrugated and not pleasant to travel on so we did stop every few minutes to take photos in the hope that the liver and kidneys would fall back into their respective places...


    As we arrived at the camp site we saw the Cruiser parked in the sand outside so we walked over to see if there was anything we could help with. It turned out that they had picked up a crack in the auxiliary diesel tank along the way and were now attempting to save 180l of diesel...

    We managed to get most of the diesel out and then cleaned up around the crack and applied some Pratley’s steel weld to the area ... there are certain ‘small wonders’ created by man, duct tape, Q20 and of course steel weld! What would we do without these things?? Oh yes I forgot to mention a large hammer!

    Once we were done helping out we headed down to the river for a wallow in the seriously fast flowing water only, what a welcome feeling it was to cool off a bit!

    It was now Christmas eve so we started our fire and sat down to relax for the evening.

    Day 10, Cunene River – Opuwo region (376km):


    We woke up bright and early on Christmas day packed up our small camp and as we were about to head off we realised we had a flat battery ... both the vehicle battery and the aux battery were flat! We popped around to the German family who were camping next door to us and asked them for a jump start ... we were now on our way.

    It turned out that the brake master cylinder had now sprung a leak and was using a fair amount of brake fluid; the vehicle battery was also very low on water which was the reason for it now charging fully or at all for that matter. We now had to be very careful when we stopped in the evenings to make sure I disconnected the aux from the main battery so that we didn’t have the same issue again, especially if we were in a place where there was nobody to help...

    We headed to Red Drum and then past the Marble mine, we’d been told by another couple from SA that we met on route this morning that they had come down the pass we were now heading up and they had got stuck on a number of occasions ... we didn’t have any hassles though and joined up with the D3703 again which had been recently graded. This is quite sad to see that they have cleared so many bushes for a simple gravel road.

    We were headed for Opuwo so we could fill up with fuel and then find somewhere to stay for the night. Being Christmas day there wasn’t much going on in town at all, not that I think there is every much going on in Opuwo!

    We camped somewhere between Opuwo and Sesfontein, I can’t remember the name of the camp site but it was a little way off the main track to Sesfontein.

    Day 11, Sesfontein – Purros – Hoarusib riverbed 4wd trail (316km):

    The road from Sesfontein to Purros is another one of those nightmare roads, the corrugations are horrendous! We drove through Sesfontein and tried to think if there was anything we needed but nothing sprung to mind immediately.

    We travelled about 60km and then it suddenly hit us ... we hadn’t bought cigarettes and beer! Drama, we had one box of cigarettes between us and 6 beers ... this would just not do! We contemplated turning back to Sesfontein but rather hoped we’d come right in Purros, we were holding thumbs because we didn’t know how long it was going to take us until we found a shop again.

    We arrived in Purros to find a little spaza shop much to our delight, the delight soon turned to shock as the lady informed us that we would be paying R50 per box of smokes and just over R200 a case of Tafel! We couldn’t really argue though could we? We went ahead and bought 5 boxes of smokes and 2 cases of beer ... desperate times call for desperate measures! Anyway off we went along our merry way.

    We entered the riverbed shortly after the shop and followed the tracks on the GPS, we could only have travelled a few kilometres down the river when we came across a desert elephant ... a dead one!

    This was an extremely sad sighting and there were many theories as to why it had died. Had it died of natural causes? Was this the doing of the parks board, perhaps it was a troublesome elly? After all it wasn’t far from the village of Purros... I guess we’ll never know. The other interesting thing was that the head had been removed I suspect to remove the tusks.

    The most unpleasant part of this sighting was the stench, it was horrendous!

    It’s also quite obvious that there isn’t a population of small scavengers in the area such as Jackals, Vultures etc because the carcass was basically still whole and relatively fresh.

    We carried on down the riverbed slowly, the scenery was amazing!

    It wasn’t too much further and we eventually got to see the desert elephant we were looking for... we initially saw him when he was a few hundred meter away we inched forward a bit and then waited for him to walk closer on his own accord. He eventually got within 5m of the vehicle, we sat dead still while snapping away with the camera and video.

    He stopped in front of the vehicle for a couple of minutes, very calm and quite inquisitive actually. He then moved off in front of the vehicle and past us and continued on his merry way down the riverbed. What an awesome feeling to have seen one of these elephants!

    We followed the Hoarusib riverbed 4wd trail until we reached the man made animal watering hole where the track split, the 1 split would take us back to Sesfontein. We decided to take the other one which was the Palmwag Crowthers 4wd trail; we headed a short way along the Mudorib riverbed and decided to start looking for a ‘safe’ place to set up camp...

    Flash floods were all we could think about while looking for a spot, we eventually found a spot in the riverbed mind you but it seemed to be the best in the area. It was extremely rocky and dry but set up there none the less. We started a fire, cracked a beer and sat down to relax ... we’d had an awesome day!

    Little did we know that this evening was going to be one to remember...

    We headed off to bed at about 10pm but as we’d slept on the ground under the eazi-awn till now we were a little uneasy about doing the same here, it seemed like creepy crawly heaven ... snakes, scorpions and the like would have made home here! We’d already had a few of those under our mattresses and didn’t feel like any more tonight, we were also hundreds of kilometres from the nearest help if there was a problem.

    We decided to sleep up on the roof rack to get away from the dodgy creatures, it was horribly uncomfortable and a lot smaller than you’d imagine. We didn’t sleep all that well at all, the mosquitos were everywhere!

    I must have dosed off and began to have a decent sleep sometime in the early hours of the morning and was rudely awoken by Braam who had grabbed hold of my shoulder and whispered “Did you hear that, how close is it?” Then we heard it again ... a male lion making an earth shattering sound, so loud that the hair on your body stood on end! He was close, very, very close. From what we could hear he was just to the right of the vehicle in front of us. There was a moment of silence ... you could almost hear the cogs ticking over in our heads ... “What do we do now, we are extremely vulnerable up here on the roof in the open!”

    We started scanning the area with the torch to see if we could perhaps get a glimpse of him, we didn’t see a thing. We then decided to get off the roof and into the vehicle as quickly as possible, down we climbed and into the car we chased. Still scanning around us with the torch we heard his thundering roar again ... only now he was on the left hand side just in front of us. He had walked directly past us in front of the vehicle some time while we were getting into the landy. We listened a little while longer but didn’t hear him again, we now had a mission for as soon as the sun was up which wasn’t too far away as it all began at 05h30.

    Day 12, Palmwag Crowthers 4wd trail – Moon Landscape – Palmwag reserve – Torra Bay (260km):

    We quickly packed our things up and went for a stroll to see if we could see any of his tracks, it didn’t take us long and we’d found them ... just 20 paces from the front of the vehicle, he walked straight past us just as we’d thought. We set off along the riverbed again following his tracks as far as we could, we eventually came to a spot where he had obviously met up with another pride and a huge fight must have ensued because the ground and sand had been severely disrupted in places and there were several other lion tracks all over the place. We tried to follow them a short distance on foot but they headed off into the mountains.

    All in all it was definitely a night and morning to remember, we didn’t see the desert lions but we sure as hell felt one of them!

    We eventually left the river bed and travelled parallel to the Skeleton Coast National Park for a very long time, this is most certainly the remotest place I have ever seen. This place is vast; there is nothing for many hundreds of kilometres!

    From here we headed towards the Palmwag reserve which we didn’t have a permit for but found out we could acquire this on exit of the reserve, up till now we had seen so much game and wild game at that. It’s one thing seeing all these animals in the Kruger or Etosha for that matter but getting to see them truly in the wild and not in a large zoo is something else. Inside the Palmwag reserve we saw loads of game once again but after all the game we’d seen we pushed on through relatively quickly.

    If you do enter this area at any point make sure your GPS has the latest T4A because without those you will get very, very lost!

    We exited the reserve and headed to Palmwag to fill up with fuel, on the GPS it said there was an Engen there ... there is certainly no engine but a very old Shell filling station. From there we were headed for Torra bay along the C43 for a couple of kilometres and then onto the C39 which takes you to the Skeleton Coast national park at Sprinkbokwasser gate.

    We arrived at the gate, paid our park entrance fees and headed off to Torra Bay where we would be camping for the night. Again this part or the world is something that you have to see, there is nothing but black dunes, red dunes and white dunes as far as you can see.

    Once at Torra bay which is nothing more than a huge tented fishing village we set up camp and we now experiencing the coldest weather for a number of days now! We made our fire, cooked dinner and tried to go to sleep...but alas this was not to be...

    I have never seen or heard that many portable generators in my lifetime, the noise was unbearable. Thank fully there was a sign at the gate that said generator had to be off by 10pm ... these people made sure that they used up every last minute too!!


    Day 13, Torra Bay – Cape Cross – Swakopmund (332km):

    The generators woke us early at Torra bay so we were up and packing to get a move on away from the noise. We were now heading down the coast on the salt road towards Cape Cross then onto Swakopmund. This road too is not one I will travel in a hurry again, the corrugations were shocking!

    Along the way we came across this old oil rig standing in the middle if the desert dunes, again we found no information so just has a few pictures.

    Shortly after seeing this old rig we came across one of the ship wrecks along the Skeleton coast, this old ship wreck was still quite in tact considering the conditions it must have endured being so close to the water and being all wood apart from the engine.

    All of this was still in the Skeleton Coast National Park which we were about to exit on our way down to Cape Cross ... the land of seals and smells!

    These are the entrance / exit gates to the Skeleton Coast National Park

    We were now on our way to Cape Cross, we had been there before but seen as though we were driving past we thought we’d stop by again and see the masses of seals. It is very difficult to comprehend how many seals there are in this colony ... I stand to be corrected but I have a number of 500 000 seals in this colony.


    The smell of the dead is almost unbearable but you do get used to it after a few minutes. The black dots are all the pups and the noise they make in incredible; there are some flipping large males there too!


    Day 14, 15 and 16, Swakopmund (60km):

    The next 3 nights we spent in Swakop and didn’t get up to much besides some dune driving which was a new experience to both of us, our first day out was great as it was new and the adrenalin was flowing as we had to really chase to make it up some of the monster dunes.

    We ended up following a group of vehicles around and trying to watch their lines and momentum etc just for some sand driving tips. It is really different to any other 4x4 driving!

    This is another place that you can get horribly lost without a GPS!! I had mine switched off for the first 30min or so and then looked around only to have lost my bearings totally! LOL

    The slip faces on these dunes can be damn frightening, as you can see the last photo above here is a fairly large dune that we didn’t have enough momentum and slid down sideways. This driving is also to be done when you nerves are all intact and you don’t have the slightest hangover! Our 2nd day out in the dunes was probably the scariest time of our lives...

    Day 17, Swakopmund – Sesriem (346km):

    We left Swakop fairly early on New Year’s day and didn’t want to see this place ever again, it had done far too much damage to our livers that all we wanted to do was get as far away from there as quickly as possible!

    We headed south towards Sesriem as we hadn’t decided where we would stay; this part of the trip was even more unplanned than the first part

    We arrived at Sesriem, filled up with Gas and checked in at the Sesriem camp site for the night. The facilities are good at the camp site with decent ablutions, swimming pool and shady camp spots which is always good and even more so when you in the desert

    Day 18, Sesriem – Luderitz (504km):

    Once again while rolling up the sleeping bags and mattresses we found yet another scorpion that was stealing warmth from under my mattress. Hmmmm this has got to stop now!

    Once back on the road we had an uneventful drive to the town of Helmeringhausen where we filled up with fuel again and then were on the road to Aus.

    In the town just near the filling station there were these 2 old rally cars which I thought were interesting.

    The sign at the garage was also pretty humorous.

    The stretch of road from Helmeringhausen to Luderitz was all tarred which made a change to the rough gravel and dirt roads we’d been travelling for nearly 3 weeks. Not long after we’d gone past Aus we spotted the desert horses which were also very good to see.

    Once we arrived in the ‘ghost town’ of Luderitz we went in search of a place to eat and a place to sleep. Who would have thought we’d battle to find either of these? We eventually found a hotel that would serve us food and cold beer much to our delight! After lunch we checked in at the hotel and got a good night’s rest.

    Day 19, Luderitz – Kolmmanskop – Sendlingsdrif – Pofadder (1056km):

    We got up and had breakfast and were on the road again by 9am, the rest and comfortable bed was fantastic I tell you! We were now heading to Kolmmanskop, the weather wasn’t really playing the game as it was overcast and not ideal for decent photos but hey what could we do about that...

    On arrival we saw that there was only 1 other vehicle there which was nice, when we left however the parking lot was full!

    We were now heading towards the Sendlingsdrif border and on our way back home via Alexander Bay to Port Nolloth. These pics are the ferry that transports you across the Orange river.

    We had intended to drive through the night to get back to Jhb early the next morning but patty gave us hassles as we arrived in Pofadder.

    As we were approaching a stop sign the wheels locked up, it was as if the hand brake had been pulled up. It was now 8pm and we were stuck in the middle of the road...there was much profanity falling out of my mouth at this point in time!

    We tried all sorts to find out what the problem was, firstly we removed the front prop shaft...that wasn't the problem. Then we removed the rear prop shaft to try isolate that the gearbox and transfer case werent the problems, they were fine too. By this stage it was 11pm and were were getting pretty tired and frustrated so we decided to check into a hotel and have another look in the morning.

    After some deliberation that evening we came to the conclusion that it had to be something wrong with the rear diff internals or a bearing.

    Day 20, Pofadder – Johannesburg (979km):

    The next morning we got back to work on the vehicle which was still standing in the middle of the road ... luckily Pofadder isn’t the busiest town in SA! We had begun to take the side shafts out the night before but got thrown by loose wheel bearing so we put it all back together. That morning I thought I’d call Brian Cotton from Landy Online and ask his advice...he basically confirmed our thoughts and said we should remove both side shafts, make up a gasket using cardboard or what ever we could find to keep the wheel bearing kinda free from dirt.

    Once we had done all of this we put the central diff lock on and drove her around the corner to the garage to fill her up and get back on the road...we were mobile again and quite chuffed we were able to sort it out ourselves! All of this was done by 10am ... now we had 970km to home...

    The trip home was long but we made it back in 1 piece at around 22h30 that evening.


    Summary:

    All in all this was a fantastic trip, we moved a lot faster than anticipated being just 1 vehicle. Having a 2nd vehicle along for the ride wouldnt have made much difference to where we went though, we did everything we could possibly do. It may seem like we did a lot of travelling on a daily basis but that is what we were prepared for and wouldnt have changed a thing besides the Swakop 3 nighter! New Year’s would have been enough J. The ‘water bag’ from Front Runner proved brilliant and extremely useful, it helped keep the weight off the roof as it was lying in the foot well in the rear.

    On the black top we averaged about 110kph but on the dirt mainly due to the road conditions on some days our average came down to 6kph for the day. Our overall average was 61.4kph.

    Our travelling time for the trip was 131 hours and we climbed in excess of 57km vertically


    Things that worked well:


    ·DIY drawer system worked extremely well.
    ·The For Fours bash plate was a necessity in the dunes because without it I think we may have had one a two bent control arms J.
    ·The aux battery housing with 4 additional charging points for cameras and fridges.
    ·Having a seperate fridge (beer and water) and freezer (food).
    ·BF Goodrich Mud Tyres were brilliant to say the least.
    ·Having nothing but fuel and a gas bottle on the roof...a light vehicle for a change!

    Things that didnt work well:


    · An electrical short somewhere that caused draining of the vehicle battery.
    · Not having a long range tank.
    · Never used the gas bottle.
    · Aux battery charging box wasn’t dust-proof so all equipment got extremely dusty!
    ·I will definitely laminated the maps for the next trip as they get ruined in the car.




    That's all from us for now...

    Cheers,
    Braam and Mike

    PS: 3 weeks with your best mate is awesome but my goodness did I miss my girlfriend, I’ll never leave her behind again!
    Last edited by GreenDisco; 2013/11/18 at 11:22 AM. Reason: Added report text ...
    Mike


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    TJ Evolution - Jeep Builds - Overland Blog

    "Evolution through carnage, the Jeep will keep what its wants!"

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    Brilliant trip report!!

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    Absolutely awesome. Wish I could write a trip report like that. Been to some of those places and by reading the report, one can almost feel and smell Namibia. Well done!!!!
    "If you don't care where you are, you ain't lost"

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    hey g.d, briliant trip report. we did almost the same trip as you but maybe a day or two ahead of you we spent christmas in walvis bay and new year in ludritz(bad move) so your photos are almost coppies of ours.

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    A pleasure to read, thanks for the trouble.

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    Thanks to all for your comments!

    Big T, yip we were a little shocked by how quiet Luderitz was ... I feel for you over new year though! Sheesh.
    Mike


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    Fantastic report, this really is an inspiration to do some traveling. Thanks for the effort.

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    Brilliant report, well done!
    I'll be using that to plan future trips...


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    That sets the standard for how to write a trip report. Excellent! I recommend that forumites should follow the link to the report with pictures, rather than read the text here.

    I can't for the life of me understand why you didn't take a tent! Hopping off your roof in the dark to sit in your car, not knowing how close the lion was...........well, maybe you've learnt your lesson!! Never mind the scorpions.......

    Great report, nice trip..........too much driving for me, but you've been to some wonderful places.

    Mike
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

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    Thanks for the comments Mike, much appreciated!

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeAG View Post
    I can't for the life of me understand why you didn't take a tent! Hopping off your roof in the dark to sit in your car, not knowing how close the lion was...........well, maybe you've learnt your lesson!! Never mind the scorpions.......
    In the past we've always had wives / girlfriends with us so the trips have been 'tamed' somewhat ... we thought we try the rough (some may say crazy) way this time around. I will take a tent on the next trip though . I am looking for a super light roof top though, mine is far too heavy!
    Mike


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    Great report!
    I will definitely refer back to it in my planning for my Namibia trip later this year. (similar route planned)

    Damn that Disko is heavy on juice. Only 4.5 km/l!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dapper Muis View Post
    Great report!
    I will definitely refer back to it in my planning for my Namibia trip later this year. (similar route planned)

    Damn that Disko is heavy on juice. Only 4.5 km/l!

    Thanks DM! If there is any info you require let me know and I'll shed some light if I can...

    That thirsty little cow was far worse on this trip than any other so I think she has an over fueling issue ... something with the EFI. Need to look into it soon ... because that consumption is a little rough on the pocket!
    Mike


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    Awesome report. Thanks.

    I gotta do some more traveling.
    Paul.

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    BRILLIANT report GD! Been to all of the places (except the road to hell) over the last decade-&-a-half and, MAN, it gets the mind going! I'm ready to pack NOW! But I shouldn't complain.... just did a 7300km trip right up to Epupa in Sep-Oct last year!

    Agreed, the Disco's definiately heavy on the juice. We averaged 6.13km/lit with a 4lit auto Ranger towing a trailer! Admittedly we didn't do any such heavu going this time round....
    Work. It's a wealthy man's privilege, and a poor man' fate....

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    Thanks all for the positive feedback!

    Posted from my BlackBerry using BerryBlab
    Mike


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    Excellent read, I always enjoy the "will do again.....won't bother next time" remarks. I travelled alone on about 80% of my trips (with missus of course) and enjoy these one vehicle reports.
    FJ Cruiser
    Echo Kavango

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    Sounds great - I'll still need to download the report....

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    Awesome trip report.
    Great !

    Do you have the GPS tracklog that you could share ?

    Regards,
    Itamar

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by itamar.vieira View Post

    Do you have the GPS tracklog that you could share ?



    Thanks Itamar!

    I do indeed have the GPS tracklog, PM me your email address and I will email it.
    Mike


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    Did a very similar version of your trip in September, also only one vehicle.
    Along the Kunene, down van Zyl's pass , up to river through Marienfluss, down to Puros (including Puros canyon) Sesfontein, Palmwag and down to Cape Town.
    It brings back fond memories and as said by so many others, brilliant trip report!

    Also took less than two hours to do the actual pass from the campsite to the rock pile at the bottom.

    Regs

    Deon

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