Need help with Southern Namibia roads.





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  1. #1
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    Default Need help with Southern Namibia roads.

    We are planning a trip to the Northern Cape and Southern Namibia and need some help about the roads we are planning to travel. Keep in mind we might have normal caravans in our group, but cars will all be 4x4s.

    1. Driving from Ai-Ais to Aus, how is the C37 & C12 up to Seeheim?

    2. Driving from Aus to Augrabies, which route is the best?
    a: Karasburg-Pofadder-Kakamas
    b: Karasburg-Ariamsvlei-Kakamas

    Johan van Rensburg
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  2. #2
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    Johan, I will definitely not go to Namibia with a conventional caravan.
    "If you don't care where you are, you ain't lost"

  3. #3
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    Generally the secondary dirt roads in Namibia are good and the C12 is no exception. However you are taking a chance towing a caravan and that goes for any secondary road.
    The Pofadder route is more scenic but the Ariamsvlei route is the better choice for caravans.
    Dirt roads of course are dependent on conditions at that time so locals are the best people to ask en route.

  4. #4
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    Johan,

    I will not recommend “normal” caravans on the gravel roads. Having said that, Namibian gravel roads are generally in much better nick than anything I found in RSA when I did some of the roads you are suggesting in December 2009.

    If you HAVE to go on gravel consider seriously NOT to exceed 80 km/h and make sure your caravan is well protected from stones kicked up by the towing vehicle.

    The road from Ais Ais to Aus via Seeheim is spectacular. This is the C37 going on to the C12. There are various historical (German/Nama war memorials) and very nice lodges on the way. You also drive close to the Naute dam (second largest in Namibia) if you make a small detour at Seeheim. Seeheim itself is a lovely “hotel” built in about 1890 by the Germans. If you take this road leisurely, you will certainly enjoy it.

    Driving from Ais to Augrabies (with a normal caravan) is problematic. The shortest route will be to go from Ais Ais to Karasburg (tarred via Grünau) with an option to go on gravel on the D210. Unfortunately I have no idea on the condition of the gravel D210 and will not use it. From Karasburg you can take gravel road C10 (good condition) to Onseepkans and cross the border there. BUT!!!!! The gravel road from Onseepkans to Pofadder is the worst I have ever seen. No way with a caravan, only with a 4x4 or bakkie at the least.

    Therefore with a caravan…the best option with be to do Karasburg and then Upington to Kakamas and on to Augrabies.

    My suggestion to you (assuming you are travelling from Alberton) is the following:

    With normal caravan:
    Drive tarred road to Upington, then Kakamas and on to Augrabies. From Augrabies take the N14 to Springbok and then via Noordoewer to Ais Ais. From Ais Ais I will take my chances and go to Seeheim as I have suggested above. From Seeheim there is only a short distance on gravel to the tarred road B4 (Keetmanshoop – Aus) to Aus. The return leg will take you from Aus to Keetmanshoop and then on to Karasburg and back to the RSA.

    Without a caravan: All of the above but I will from Augrabies go via Pofadder to Onseepkans. The terrible gravel road from Pofadder to Onseepkans the R358 is only about 50 km of utter hell.

    Check out some pictures I took on the Ais Ais to Seeheim road.

    1. Seeheim hotel
    2. Bar Seeheim hotel
    3. German war graves Holoog (Ais Ais to seeheim)
    4. German war memorial Kakamas
    5. Pienk padstal Kakamas (A must see)
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Our planned route at the moment is:

    Day1:
    Jo’burg to Kathu - Sleep-over at a B&B
    N12 & N14

    Day2:
    Kathu to Ai-Ais - 2 Nights as AiAis
    N14 to Upington, N10/B3 to Karasburg, B3 to Grunau, B1 & C10 to AiAis

    Day4:
    Ai-Ais to Aus - 3 Nights as Aus
    C10 & B1 to Grunau, B1 to Keetmanshoop, B4 to Aus
    (Wife wants a pitstop at Quivertree Forest)

    Day7:
    Aus-Augrabies - 4 Nights at Augrabies
    B4 to Keetmanshoop, B1 to Grunau, B3, N10 & N14 to Augrabies
    Maybe use the C12 from Seeheim to Grunau

    Day11:
    Augrabies to Jo’burg (or maybe just halfway)
    N14 & N12

    1 or 2 of the families that might go with us are towing normal caravans, so we try to stick to tarred road as far as possible, but that might change.

    My concerns at the moment are:

    1. Road from Grunau to AiAis. Tarred or gravel? Condition?

    2. Distance from Aus to Augrabies. Staying on the tar road add about 150km to the trip. Can we make it before the gates close at Augrabies? According to GoogleMaps this trip will be about 10hours.

    Johan van Rensburg
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  6. #6
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    Johan,

    The distance from Aus to Augrabies (tarred) via Ariamsvlei and Upington is about 792 km. To do this is 10 hours will be possible but difficult. The problem here is that you have very little “overnight” facilities along this route should you not make it. The will find the only “proper” facilities either in Keetmanshoop/Grunau (but it is too close to Aus) and Upington (too far away.

    I would consider the following option: Travel from Aus to Rosh Pinah. This is a tarred road. Then travel from Rosh Pinah on a gravel road along the northern bank of the Gariep (Orange) river to Noordoewer/Vioolsdrift. This is a very scenic route (Richtersveld like) and very possible with a caravan. This road is being maintained by the mines at Rosh Pinah to allow their workers a shorter route travelling to South Africa. Along this route you will also find very nice lodges (Norotshama River Lodge/Aussenkher nature Reserve) that can serve as a nice stopover. Then proceed from there (all the way tarred) to Springbok, Pofadder and Augrabies. The distance is 737 km.

  7. #7
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    If you need to overnight in Grunau, the Grunau Country Lodge (+264 (0) 63 262001) has a camp site and very nice rooms, plus HUGE very well-priced steaks in the restaurant. They even rustled up some pretty good wines last time I stayed there.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the advice guys.

    Cal: I never even looked at roads west of Fishriver, must say I like the idea of stopping over at Richtersveld, maybe more that one night. Now busy with new route, will have to ask more questions later.

    Thanks again.

    Johan van Rensburg
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  9. #9
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    In late december 2010 I drove that are quite extensively, up to Sossus. All roads in that area except the B1, B3 and B4 are of course gravel.
    All the roads are quite acceptable, but with some corrugated sections. I can vouch for: C37 (quite corrugated in Canon Lodge area) / C10 / C12 / C14 / C19 / C27 / D826. I was warned against using the D707 by local - very rough. Some of these are a bit to the north of where you are planning.
    The best road I drove was the D316 en route from Vioolsdroft to Ais Ais - like an arport runway! the way home via Karas / Ariamsvlei is simple but rather boring.
    I stayed at lodges so cant comment on campsites. Ais Ais looked quite empty - but was really hot. Its worth a couple of days stopover though. The recent flood damage has been repaired and the facilities are good. Visit Duwisib Castle if possible. Buys lots of droewors from Oom Gert at the Grunau filing station shop!
    Namibia is a magic place - enjoy! Do heed the advice about stone flaps and limited speed... its possible and tempting to travel faster than you really should on most of those roads.
    [SIGPIC]Simon Boyle
    2014 Fortuner 4x4 D4D

  10. #10
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    Skymaster I don't recall seeing when your trip is planned for, but if you go to Rosh Pinah, check in Aus whether the road along the Orange is open. You don't want to arrive in RP and have to turn around and go all the way back to Aus.
    Family of mine in Rosh Pinah have just told me that the road will probably be closed due to the Orange flooding its banks, so to the pont at Sendelingsdrif.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skymaster View Post
    Thanks for the advice guys.

    Cal: I never even looked at roads west of Fishriver, must say I like the idea of stopping over at Richtersveld, maybe more that one night. Now busy with new route, will have to ask more questions later.

    Thanks again.
    I just hope you're not thinking of taking the "normal" caravans into the Richtersveld.
    "If you don't care where you are, you ain't lost"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook View Post
    I just hope you're not thinking of taking the "normal" caravans into the Richtersveld.
    Guys in my pervious post when I mentioned, in brackets Richtersveld, I was not suggesting that you go to the Richtersveld. I was merely referring to the area. The road along the river from Rosh Pinah to Vioolsdrift is accross the river from the Richtersveld. Therefore the scenery, vegetation etc is the same. By the way, during my last visit there we found a Fish Eagle pair with chicks.

    Secondly, I am more than certain that the Gariep (Orange) will not be flooding at the time. However, it will be wise to make your enquiries before you take this route.

  13. #13
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    Hi Cal, it's not me misunderstanding. It is Skymaster saying they think of going to the Richtersveld fo a day or two.
    "If you don't care where you are, you ain't lost"

  14. #14
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    Trip is planned for end of April-2011.
    Plan would be to travel from Aus to Sendelingsdrif and then to Augrabies via C13, N7 & N14.
    I would like to stay over for a night or 2 and then do some driving in the Richtersveld parks during the day.
    Hopefully by end of Jan we will know who is going, and then finalise the route.
    If no "normal" caravans are going, we can use more adventurous routes.
    Last edited by Skymaster; 2011/01/14 at 10:20 AM.

    Johan van Rensburg
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  15. #15
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    Geniet dit Ouboet!

  16. #16
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    Default Southern Namibia

    Quote Originally Posted by Cal View Post
    Johan,

    The distance from Aus to Augrabies (tarred) via Ariamsvlei and Upington is about 792 km. To do this is 10 hours will be possible but difficult. The problem here is that you have very little “overnight” facilities along this route should you not make it. The will find the only “proper” facilities either in Keetmanshoop/Grunau (but it is too close to Aus) and Upington (too far away.

    I would consider the following option: Travel from Aus to Rosh Pinah. This is a tarred road. Then travel from Rosh Pinah on a gravel road along the northern bank of the Gariep (Orange) river to Noordoewer/Vioolsdrift. This is a very scenic route (Richtersveld like) and very possible with a caravan. This road is being maintained by the mines at Rosh Pinah to allow their workers a shorter route travelling to South Africa. Along this route you will also find very nice lodges (Norotshama River Lodge/Aussenkher nature Reserve) that can serve as a nice stopover. Then proceed from there (all the way tarred) to Springbok, Pofadder and Augrabies. The distance is 737 km.
    Hi . we have just come back from Southern Namibia , beautifull place ,
    Keep the following in mind ,
    1. Travel time takes longer on the dirt roads ,
    2. Tyre pressures are very important ,
    3. Take 2 spare tyres per vehicle , tyre repair kits , 12v compressor , tyre weld canisters , also for any thing being towed spare tyres is a must , check wheel nuts frequently !, We have seen tyre blow outs and trailer wheels leaving the trailers by themselves in transit ,
    4. not all the atm's have cash or work or you cannot draw from them with SA cards , take enough cash over ,
    5. The road from Rosh Pinah to the Noord Oewer area is good , we stayed at Amanzi Trails - excellent camp ,
    6. On the road from Rosh Pinah to Noordoewer take note that you will be stopped by Customs where the road splits to Sendelingsdrift and Noordoewer , Please wear your seat belt I nearly got a fine , my fault ,
    ENJOY , we are already planning our return trip ,
    Landrover Tdi 110 CSW 1996
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  17. #17
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    Default Pont might not be running

    Good afternoon, I did the Southern Namibia in April 2010 and we were planning on traveling from Aus to Rosh pinah and then to Sendelingsdrift, but due to high water levels the Pont was not running.

    If I remember correctly you also need Mining clearance to drive from Rosh Pinah to Sendelingsdrift (But I might be mistaken)

    Enjoy it it is a wonderful trip.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by stefan01 View Post
    if i remember correctly you also need mining clearance to drive from rosh pinah to sendelingsdrift (but i might be mistaken)

    enjoy it it is a wonderful trip.
    not necessary.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bosveld Tv View Post
    4. not all the atm's have cash or work or you cannot draw from them with SA cards , take enough cash over ,
    Some cards are problematic. Generally Namibian Standard bank or First National card do work. Try to draw at Standard with Standard or FNB with FNB cards. Also cehck with you bank in RSA before travelling. They can change the settings I am made to believe. Credit cards do work.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skymaster View Post
    Trip is planned for end of April-2011.
    Plan would be to travel from Aus to Sendelingsdrif and then to Augrabies via C13, N7 & N14.
    I would like to stay over for a night or 2 and then do some driving in the Richtersveld parks during the day.
    Hopefully by end of Jan we will know who is going, and then finalise the route.
    If no "normal" caravans are going, we can use more adventurous routes.
    Johan,

    maak net seker julle kan by sendelingsdrift met die karavane op die pont kan kom. na laasjaar se reens het hulle die deel aan namibie se kant weer geskraap(vanwee die verspoelings) en die helling was so erg dat my towbar agter geraak het. Ek dink dit was bietjie onkundig van hulle om dit so skerp te maak.

    Robert
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