The first part of our journey led us from South Africa to Windhoek; for the second part, we take the route over the Waterberg Plateau and Grootfontein to the Khaudum Nationalpark and all the way through the Caprivi Strip to Zambia's border.
The rainy season stretches extraordinarily long this year and we have to cope with water crossings from our very first day. Some trucks and buses are stuck in overflown sections and need to sit it out, whereas our Landcruiser makes comparatively short work of it. On top of the Waterberg, the view over the green bush setting is great and we enjoy the uncharacteristically lush and colourful Namibia. Well prepared tracks guide as to Camp Nhoma at the gateway to Khaudum National Park, probably the most deserted park of Namibia's north-east. A tour with the San tribe brings back the feeling of how unimportant telephones, internet and other technical goodies really are - for the people here, the bush is the supermarket. They find fruits and natural medicine seemingly wherever they go and create traps as well as tools with the most basic ingredients. They aren't a wealthy tribe, but they leave an impression of absolute happiness.
On our way into the park via a side track, we get bogged down in a muddy depression and it should take us 3.5 hours to free the car from the dreaded black cotton soil, which is a clay-like surface... our saving grace turned out to be a cooking pot, which we placed underneath our high-lift jack to prevent it from sinking in... Since the park is not being maintained at all, we have 25 kilometres of overgrown track ahead of us with only the GPS showing us the way. During the dry season parts of the track would be visible, but not so now, so we resort to crawling speed. Even more so because we have to remove the occasional branch and tree, which were dislodged by elephants. It takes us another 8 hours to get to the camp, so we manage to cover a distance of 64 kilmoteres only today...
The Khaudum gives us solitude in spades - we are the only people on a patch covering 4000 square kilomteres - and we cover 150 kilometres of deep, sandy tracks before we have any sort of asphalt back under our wheels. At night, our roof tent is not only a comfortable place to sleep in, but gives us much-needed relief from mosquitoes and dust, too. For us, this added benefit makes it worth its weight in gold, especially since lanterns around the camp attract all kinds of little night critters.
The Caprivi Strip is our last section prior to crossing the border between Namibia and Zambia. Right next to the Zambezi River we set up camp for the last time and we already look forward to continuing our journey in July, when we will make our way to Malawi.