The next days we were busy mainly with working ourselves through 4×4 tracks and looking for the famous desert elephants inhabiting the north-eastern side of Namibia. We were rather successful in both these tasks. So we could satisfied continue our route to the most northern point of our trip: Kaokoveld and the Epupa Falls.
On the way through Skeleton Coast
Our journey led us through the Skeleton Coast, which for centuries has lived up to its name. It has become the graveyard of countless ships, unlucky explorers and even whales. The road of hundreds of kilometers was really spooky, with even a short sand storm and completely abandoned sections. But the scenery was stunning!
However we were also happy to reach Palmwag, where life was visible again. The first creatures we met were some giraffes right next to the street.
Palmwag elephant expedition
In Palmwag we finally got to try out our roof tent. It was fun, although a bit cold in the night, but in the morning we got really compensated. Not only that we woke up for the 1000s of different birds singing, but the view from our tent was breathtaking. About 25 meters from us there was a desert elephant having its breakfast…
During the days we drove through the Palmwag Concession Area, where we were happy again, that we decided for a 4×4. It was a fantastic experience to spot desert elephants and hyenas, for the first time. And of course we were surrounded by zebras, all kind of antelopes and giraffes the whole day, while we met only one single car during the whole trip.
Off-roading in the Hoanib river bed
A few days later we went for another off-road tour into the dry bed of the Hoanib river. During the 100 km drive we bumped into 2 herds of elephants – in the first case really in the middle of them, we had a great lionless picnic and had to dig out the car from the sand only once. It was an eventful day!
The first encounter with the elephants was like in a dream: we turned a corner around a sandbank, and suddenly about 10 elephants with 4 babies were at about 10 meters from us – walking slowly in our direction. This is a distance where you cannot quickly leave anymore, as it might scare them. It was an amazing feeling: excitement, a bit of fear and the wish to reach out from the car and pat the babies passing by. :) (which we smartly – and sadly – did not do)
Watching out for crocs on the Kunene
We reached the most northern point of our journey in Africa: we visited the Epupa Falls in Kaokoland on the border to Angola. In the beautiful surrounding of the palm tree forest along the river and the spectacular falls of 60 meters of the Kunene river we enjoyed the warm temperatures. We took a small canoe to look for crocodiles – Julias’ favorite program so far – and other life around the sandbanks. On this trip we even touched the grounds of Angola, and that without passport! :)
This area is inhabited by the Himbas and Hereros. The Himbas still live the traditional life of the nomadic shepherds, staying in one spot only as long as their animals find enough food. They build small round huts of branches and abandon them when they move on. The outfit they wear is beautiful, like a decoration – you will see on the pictures. The Herero women are clearly distinguishable from the Himbas, as they are wearing long, colorful dresses and a special headwear.
More photos from the Hoanib River, Palmwag and Epupa