Drive along the Cunene River

Namibia must have thought we were having just too good and epic of a time. It was ready for us. We thought we were ready for it. It had one more curve ball to throw at us. One that we never saw coming.

My last post had us in Epupa Falls and the plan was to take the northern route to Ruacana. This was my description:

“It should take us ~2 days from Epupa to Ruacana. It should be epic. Who needs hiking when we are loving this wild driving so much? We’re sold.”

Well, the curve ball that was thrown but not in the way we had expected a curve ball to come. Instead of breaking down or thinking we were going to be on a smooth open road which turned out to be a treacherous all-wheel-drive experience the exact opposite happened.

As we got to Epupa Falls and enquired about the road we were about to embark down we found out that in fact parts of the northern track had been washed out a couple of years ago and the track had been replaced with a relatively good road that should only take us ~5 hours to get to Ruacana.


Time to change plans. Again.

Instead of an epic 4×4 adventure, we decided to have a few lazy days in preparation for our even lazier days in the Zambezi strip that were coming up. In this light we spent a night at Epupa Camp, right above Epupa falls and took the leisurely drive towards Ruacana, stopping for lunch and finding a campsite at the Kunene River Lodge (yes, for some reason it’s spelt differently then the river which appears to be spelt with a C as in Cunene.) Here we hold up for the next two nights, doing some laundry and sorting ourselves out. Not quite what we had imagined but a nice time nonetheless.

IMG_3458 (2)

Blogging along the Cunene River in Epupa Falls.

Epupa Falls: Been there, done that, got the picture. 

IMG_3504 (2)

Our campsite at the Kunene River Lodge. 

I think I’ll remember these three days less for the driving and scenery (Epupa falls was nice but once you take the photo there’s not much reason to stick around) but more for the people we met and conversations we had.

In Epupa we met a nice South African couple living in Swakopmund. Semi-retired he’s an Anaesthetist that works 3 weeks at a time and then takes 3 weeks off, swapping duties with his business partner. They were waiting around for two flat tires from a really rough drive the day before to get fixed and recommend we don’t drive that route. (If we had more time we might have considered it…) We had great discussions about Namibia and the importance of always adventuring. They were such lovely people that after only a short conversation of an hour or so they shared their details and insisted we stay with them next time we’re in Swakopmund.

At the Kunene River Lodge I noticed an older man lurking around our campsite as I took a break from doing some washing. He pointed to monkeys in our campsite. I gave a curt nod in recognition and mentioned something about having put away all our food so we weren’t worried. I shooed them off, got the stuff I needed and returned to washing. Only at that point did I realize that he was trying to take a picture of the monkeys I had just shooed away. Whoops!

Later that afternoon, the same man and his wife were walking slowly past our campsite and pointed to our rooftop tent. Somehow, in their limited English and our non-existent German we struck up a conversation. They had just sold their camper in Germany (for a price much higher than they thought it was worth) so they were using that money to take a 3+ week trip to Namibia. This year they are celebrating their combined 160th birthday, 60 years of marriage and the birth of yet another great-grand child. Talk about hitting home the message of “Never stop adventuring!” And seeing them adventuring together at that age was an incredible inspiration. They were looking for someone (besides themselves) to talk to and we chatted over a couple of gin and tonics about the places we’d been and where we’d still love to go. (Almost everywhere.) What a great conversation.

Next stop: Ngepi lodge on the Zambezi Strip.

IMG_3520 (2)

This monitor lizard kept coming after us at our campsite at Kunene River Lodge.  I didn’t want to get too close to his claws or that tongue.  Trying to scare it off I rolled a small piece of wood quickly at him and he caught it in his mouth.  He was hungry.