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Angola - 2019 #

Riaan Harman

G-Wagen Club SA
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#1
G-Wagen owners we are looking at planning a trip to Angola with Martin Le Roux as our guide.

There is already seven club members going and we decided to open it up to other G-Wagen owners.

What is on the table:
Date: 15 June 2019 to 6 July 2019 - (Please indicate we can still change - Best time is from March to September, guided tour is 18 day's)
Vehicles: Maximum 10
Costs: R300 per day per vehicle when we have 10 vehicles. (Deposit of R1000 payable before 15 January 2019 and the rest in cash before we cross the border to Angola.)

Kids are more than welcome to tag along as it is in SA school holiday's.
First day we need to travel to Kang in Botswana
Second day to Tsumeb where we shall meet Martin.

Doodsakker is included.

The finer details of the trip will be posted later on when we know what the interest is.

It's a self catering trip as always.

Please indicate

Regards
Riaan
 

Riaan Harman

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#2
1. Cornel Zaayman & kids - Information sheet received - Dep Rec
2. Anthony Barker & kids - Information sheet received - Dep Rec
3. Riaan Harman - Information sheet received - Dep Rec
4. Alan Husgen- Information sheet received - Dep Rec
5. Wolsak - Information sheet received - Dep Rec
6. Wolfgang - Information sheet received - Dep Rec
7. Heinie Klee & Jan de Raedt - Information sheet received -
 

Riaan Harman

G-Wagen Club SA
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#6
1. Cornel Zaayman & kids - Information sheet received - Dep Rec
2. Anthony Barker & kids - Information sheet received - Dep Rec
3. Riaan & Kay Harman - Information sheet received - Dep Rec
4. Alan, Karien en Jana Husgen- Information sheet received - Dep Rec
5. Wolsak - Information sheet received - Dep Rec
6. Wolfgang - Information sheet received - Dep Rec
7. Heinie Klee & Jan de Raedt - Information sheet received - Dep Rec
8. Lorraine & Edward Middleton - Dep Rec


Two places left!
 

Riaan Harman

G-Wagen Club SA
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#7
G Club members and forum members we want to close this event to finalize the planning if there is anyone still interested please reply on this message. By the end of this week we want the final numbers.

Regards

Riaan
 

Riaan Harman

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#10
ANGOLA TRIP REPORT - WEEK 1:

Verskoning dat dit in afrikaans is maar die res sal in engels wees het die manne gesê.

17 JUNIE

Ons het net na 6h by Kupferquelle gery in Grootfontein.
Artetiese water bron besoek waar die soldate met breakfluid gaan tan het. Die water is sout en lou warm.
By Santa Clara grenspos gekom het ons 'n runner gekry wat ons gehelp het met die papierwerk. Dit het op die ou end 4 ure geneem. Almal het lekker geëet en kinders het handjie tennis gespeel en lift gevang op die motorfietstaxi. Uiteindelik oppad vind Karien uit haar handsak is gesteel. Dit het ‘n demper geplaas op alles maar gelukkig was die paspoorte by die runner.
Ons ry deur Onjiva en maak brandstof vol by Pumangol. R4,82 per liter!
Ons kyk na tenks wat afgeskiet was in die oorlogtyd langs die pad.
Ons het tot so 6h aangery en toe so ent van die pad af kamp opgeslaan 25 km Suid van Xangongo.

18 JUNIE

Drivers meeting is 7h45. Ons vetrek net na 8 en stop in Xangongo by kerk. Ry daarna oor die elle lange Cunene. Kry 'n woud Kremetartbome langs die pad.
Stop by die vyand se basis kyk nog tanks.
Gaan kyk na die grafte van 114 kubaanse soldate wat met 'n trosbom doodgeskiet is. Die grafte het almal houtkruise opgehad maar is deur termiete opgeëet. Grafte is nie gemerk nie so die ouers van die kinders kan nie die grafte uitken nie.
Stop by vyandbasis waar Martin hulle voorgelê is in oorlogtyd. Die basis was versteek en nie eers die recce’s het daarvan geweet nie. Loop deur ondergrondse bankers.

Besoek die northodite myn. Lyk soos swart graniet. Meeste voer uit na China toe. Ongelukkig vind geen reabilitasie plaas nie. Meeste van die myne word ook deur chinese ontgin.
Drink 'n biertjie by plaaslike pub - N'gola bier.
Kom in Lubango. Kan die Christusbeeld al op die berg sien. Een van 3 in die wêreld. Diè een is die kleinste.
Ons ry deur Lubango. Stop by die mall vir aanvullings. Ry verder en sien hulle sportfasiliteite, onderandere vroeër jare se bull ring.

Ry die berge in na Tundevale waar hulle 'n hele skool kinders ontvoer het en kom oplei het vir oorlog. Sien die skrikwekkende afgrond waar kinders afgegooi is wat nie wou saamwerk nie.


19 JUNIE

Ry deur stad. Sien 3 pienk en een geel hotel wat vir die sokker gebou is wat tot vandag nog leeg staan.
Besoek Christo Reio. Kubaanse sniper het sy regterhand se vinger afgeskiet - laat 1960's gebou.
Besoek die plaas van vroëere Van der Merwe’s Dorslandtrekboer. Op sy plaas is ‘n Dorslandtrekboerebegrafplaas. Klomp du Plessis begrawe.
Besoek die kerk waar die Dorslanders met slegs een stem besluit het om terug te trek. Later verander na Rooms Katoliek en gerestoreer.
Besoek die dorp se begrafplaas. Geen gemerkte grafstene net ‘n gedenknaald.

Ons ry na die bekende Leba pas – kyk van bo uit oor die pas - pragtig. Ons ry die pas sommer af en weer op. Pragtige tekeninge langs die pad deur skoolkinders gedoen.

Riaan koop rooi bessies op aanbeveling van Martin vir 500 kwanzas. Gin rooi bessies nie... klein rissies…
Slaap in ou gwarrie. Weet daar is nie landmyne nie want volgens wet moet 2km radius ontmyn word.
Almal kuier lekker om die kampvuur. Riaan deel rooi "bessies" uit tot almal se ontnugtering.

20 JUNIE

Die groep is vroeg vanoggend almal vang ritme. Ons ry al 7h50 uit die kamp uit.
Ry oor 'n paar Baily brue wat deur die weermag opgesit is. Staal konstruksies wat inmekaar druk soos ‘n legkaart. 'n Kleintjie kan so vinnig as binne 4 ure opgesit word.
Stop by 'n stasie wat deur die chinese opgesit is in ruil vir olie. Die probleem is dit word op plekke opgerig waar dit nie benut gaan word nie.
Ry tot by Jamba. Ry oor groot rivier. Suid Afrikaanse invloed: mens kan sien die dorp is goed uitgelê.
Koop heuning langs die pad 1000 kwanzaz per liter. Dus R33 per liter.
Ry deur Kovango. Silos word opgesit om die mense aan te moedig om meer mielies te verbou en aan die silo eienaars te verkoop.
Kom in Menongue. Slaap op die sokkerveld by die sendingstasie van Wessel en Jane. Lekker warm stort vir die vrouens en spoeltoilette. Lopende fonteinwater met 'n pyp aangelê uit die berg. Enigste skool met lopende water…
Hulle was al tydens die oorlog hier, 18 jaar in totaal, 14 jaar in Menongue. Hulle lei mense op vir 'n jaar. Stuur dan uit om nog sendingstasies te vestig.

21 JUNIE

Wessel begin vir ons die dag met 'n boodskap en gebed.
Sien 'n helikopter wat afgeskiet is. MI23 Russiese gevegshelikopter.
Besoek die museum Quito Canavale waar die ooreenkoms geteken is om Suid-Afrika te onttrek uit die Angolese oorlog.
Die tenks en vliegtuie word goed onderhou. Indrukwekkende standbeelde. Standbeeld van 2 soldate is 54m hoog. Dis 'n kubaanse en angolese soldaat. Die figuur agter hulle is 'n AK47 wat deur die landswapen omvou is.
Slaap net noord van Quito Canavale.
Almal kuier lekker om die kampvuur.

22 JUNIE

Almal mooi betyds. Jan kry die bra omdat sy kar agteruit geloop het met sy vrou agterin.
Oppad na Huamba.
Ons koop tamaties en uie by die mark. Goedkoper en beter kwaliteit as Shoprite.
Sien 'n vrou wat kasawa fyn stamp soos in die ou tyd. Sien ook mense wat hul land met 'n skottel natly. Mense lewe baie primatief.
Word gestop deur polisie wat ons paspoorte neem om ons info af te skryf. Kontrolleer ook ons passage.
Stop by mark en koop tamaties en uie. Kommunikasie wys maar met die vingers.
Jan kyk op sy vrou se selfoon en slaan ‘n slaggat bakkie se band is afgeskryf.
Besoek Savimbi se huis. Heeltemal uitmekaar geskiet.

23 JUNIE

Martin se bakkie se breakfluid pypie word reggemaak die Toyotas hou ook nie op die paaie nie!. Cornel se waentjie se bracket word vasgetrek met toue.
Ry oor lelike teerpad. Hoe hoër mens opbeweeg hoe meer tropies raak dit. Ry gereeld oor riviere. Ongelukkig baie meer rommel sigbaar.
Kremetartbome is maer en langer. Bas word afgesny om matte mee te weef.
Sien baie meer landbou ontwikkeling. Hoenderhokke, boorde, tonnels.
Kom 4h al by die kampplek op die wal van die Kambambe dam.

24 JUNIE

Word vanoggend wakker met water verby die voorste bande – hoogwater by ‘n dam! Sluise word in die aand toegemaak. Cornel het sy braai in die water gaan uitduik.
Ry die Tombinga pas deur 'n woud. Pragtige reusagtige bome.
Sien nog meer Kremetarte.
Ry deur N'dalatando. Stop by vulstasie. Koop Blue koeldrank R5 elk.
Besoek die Calandula valle 2de grootste naas die Victoria watervalle.
Ry dan na Pedras Negras (Black Stones of Klippe van die gode). Gaan klim die klipkop op.
Slaap op die klippe met spruitjie wat langsaan loop.
 

Riaan Harman

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#11
Paar foto's wat by die dae pas.
 

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Wanna Be

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#12
Some more photos week 1
 

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Antony

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#14
Week 2 – 24 June to 1 July

By the 24th of June, we’d been travelling for more than a week, having left Johannesburg on Friday the 14th, and had become quite seasoned at making and breaking camp in the short time before sunset in the evening and drivers briefing at 7:45 in the morning. Our vehicles were travelling well and no one had any significant issues, although up to this point, we’d only driven on tar while in Angola. The Chinese have done a great job of laying down road infrastructure there, one can only hope that it is well made to survive the 2800mm of average rainfall Angola receives each year. The morning of the 24th dawned with a surprise, the previous evening we had camped on the banks of the Cuanza river near the town of Cambambe. While deciding where to put up the tents the previous evening, we noticed a tide mark on the banks and had some conversation as to how the tides could move so much, our guide said nothing and we all proceeded to pitch our tents. During the night those of us that stayed up a bit later saw the water beginning to rise significantly, fortunately most tents were above the high tide mark but how was it possible for such a tide to exist on a river so far from the sea? The secret was revealed when we learnt that downstream was the mighty Kambambe hydroelectric powerstation and the sluices were closed at night to allow levels to rise and provide sufficient water for the daytime demand. Packing up the morning with a diminished shorline impressed on me once again to never ignore pointers such as tidal marks, even when they dont make logical sense.


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By now we were quite far north, in the Malanje province, parallel with the top of Malawi. Around us was tropical rainforest, with huge trees extending into the canopy and roads narrowed by the encroaching vegetation. We visted the Kalandula Falls, an impressive waterfall with many streams meandering through the rocks to crash over the 105m high percepice. The falls are 400 meters wide and are one of the largest by volume in Africa. After the impressive vista of the Kalandula Falls, we slept amongst the equally impressive “Pedras Negras” massive rocks almost like the dwalas of Zimbabwe. With the mist and the silence, one could belief that the huge indentations in the rocks were indeed the footprints of an ancient queen according to local lore.
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Antony

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#15
Turning west, we headed to the coast to Bengo where 153 wrecks of Portuguese ship lie rusting away on the beach. Its an incredible sight and a grim reminder of the absolute panic in 1975 when the Portugese fled Angola. In testimony to the Angolan people though, the wrecks remained largly untouched for thirty years and only recently have the locals started dismantling the hulking heaps of metal as the Chinese have created a market for scrap metal. Luckily we had all had our tetanus shots as the kids were clambering all over the ships. After Bengo we headed into Luanda where Martin was amazing at keeping the whole convoy intact through the bedlam traffic of a major African city. The people are very friendly and there was no aggression on the roads whatsoever making it much easier to stay together. Of course the BRA fastened high on a roofrack acted as a beacon for those following and was really helpful in keeping the convoy together. After a stint at the shops where some of us looked like we were stocking up for the entire trip, we made our way to Trentyre, a tyre business operated by a South African and a real help, as accomodation in Luanda is difficult to find and expensive to book. We were welcomed with open arms by Paul from Trentyre and invited to make use of his bathroom and braai facilities. The ladies and many of the gents certainly enjoyed a decent shower that evening. I spoke too soon about the mechanicals, right outside the gates of Trentyre, one of the trailers lost a wheel, the wheel bearing cap had got lost and the bearings had collapsed. Luckily Heinie had a spare wheel bearing kit with him and we were able to repair it with a temporary cap made out of a tomato paste tin until a spare cap could be flown in from Windhoek.
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The next morning, with all vehicles back in good shape,we left Luanda and headed north towards Soyo and the Congo river. This stretch of road was the worst we encountered, it was more a collection of massive potholes strung together with bits of tar and when you see a string of Russian Kamaz trucks heading toward you weaving through the potholes like a crew of druken sailors, you know that these are not potholes you just drive through. Some were deep enough to come up to the bottom of the G’s door and most were big enough to take an entire G. Needless to say we proceeded with extreme caution and progress was slow. Soyo was reminicent of Camps Bay with the beach and palm trees and beautiful houses, only it was all but deserted, a strange experience indeed. With an important naval base right there at the mouth of the Congo River we didnt spend too much time sight seeing. The Congo was impressive. I read later that its mouth is 2km wide and the basin is second only to the Amazon. We dipped our feet into the water, but with the heavy oil industry right there, they were quickly blackened by the oil particles in the water and on the beach.
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The spare parts had arrived for the trailer, so we headed back to Trentyre to collect them and sleep there again. Some of us went out to a local restaurant where we enjoyed food that we didnt prepare ourselves. The kids climbed into a massive family-sized pizza with all the gusto of refugees being presented with proper food for the first time in a long time. On the 28th we drove through some of Luanda and visited the war museum in the old fort overlooking the harbour. I was struck by how orderly the traffic moved and how little gridlock there was despite it being peak morning traffic for the 2.5 million inhabitants.

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Leaving Luanda and now heading South along the coast, we saw some incredible landscapes at Quicama, where the wind and rain have carved amazing channels in the soft sand constitutes solid gorund around there. After a relatively short drive, we arrived at the Kwanza River Lodge for refreshments. It wasnt long before Martin proposed that we sleep there and there was an almost unanimous vote for the luxury of a bed over the tent mattress. With lodgings settled, we relaxed and set sail on the Cuanza river for a sunset cruise. The river is impressive, wide, fast flowin gand deep. The lodge itself is well known for fishing and the boys managed to persuade one of the locals to take them on the river in his boat to try their hand at catching something. Dinner was a catered affair made all the more tasty because we werent preparing it ourselves.

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Well rested, well fed and with clean linen and clothing, yes, the lodge had kindly washed whatever dirty clothing and bedding we gave them the day before, we continued south through Cuanza Sul and had lunch at the Cachoeira Waterfall, its incredible for a South African, coming from such a dry country as ours to see the sheer volume of water flowing through Angola, and this was during the dry season! That evening we camped on the beach. A wonderfully peaceful place, once we had all got through the sand seeing as none of us thought it appropriate to deflate our tyres, we’d been driving on tar for so long that it completely slipped our minds, instead we struggled along and dug and pulled the vehicles into position. Shortly after that the boys, some younger, and some much older took their rods for a spot of sunset fishing in the Atlantic. Interestingly, we were so far north and away from the Benguela current that the Atlantic was much warmer that we are used to on the beaches around Cape Town.

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On the 30th we left Cuanza Sul and entered Benguela Province, stopping at the scenic town of Lobito. Here we visited an open air cinema, a relic from the Portuguese time. It felt like a hybrid between an old drive-in theatre and a cinema. What continued to amaze me is how, even though the complex was clearly deserted, it was relatively untouched. That night we slept in a dry river bed at a place known as “Camp Skaapkop” the photo explains it all. By now we had left the tar behind us eventually and got ready for more dirt road travelling. A peculiar feature of the area are the bridges, designed to cross the mulitude of rivers and river beds. Clearly built by different contractors to those who built the roads, most are not at the same level as the road, with some differing by three or more metres! The bridges are also massively overbuilt for the size of river bed they cross. Another example of where petro-dollars have been wasted on infrastrucutre that is clearly not fit for purpose.


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Finally we reached Namibe, the province named after the desert that extends all the way up into Angola and the start of the trip through the Parque Nacional do Iona. Here we camped on the beach again and the boys were able to go fishing. Here we bumped into a South African tour group that came up specifically to fish. Apparently the fishing is excellent. These guys even had drones that they used to take their lines out to the right place. Needless to say, the boys were suitably impressed. So ended our second week in Angola. We were settled into the travelling and enjoying it immensely. The country is on eof contrasts and contradictions, a few days ago we were deep into tropical jungle and here we had arrived in a land of only sand. Talk turned to the infamous “DoodsAkker” 70 km of beach driving that would mean the end of your vehicle if you misread the tides or had car trouble. At high tide, the sea washes up against the steepest of dunes and there really is nowhere to hide, but that would be something to deal with tomorrow
 

Alan

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#17
OK, so here the last weeks travel report.

Week 3 from 1 July to 7 July

So after travelling many 1000 km’s through Angola and resting at camp Skaapkop we had to again report just before 8:00 for our morning meeting ready to leave at 8:00.

We set off and the first stop was a market in Dombe Grande. Here the ladies could have their last chance to buy material and Alan could get his long handle shovel. While waiting in the market some of us enjoyed a cold one.
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Once done we left the market and drove through the once beautiful town of Dombe Grande and then visited a once huge and viable Sugar mill. It now only serves to remind us of the past with only the façade still being reasonably intact. The insides have long since been gutted and some villagers are still busy pillaging what they can. One can only imagine what it must have been like 50 years ago.
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We left Dombe Grande and again had to use a 150km Gravel road that took us via the treacherous Dombe Grande Pass. The gravel road was rough and pieces of vehicle suspension could be seen every couple of km’s. Once back on tar it felt like we were in heaven although this did not last very long. As described earlier the bridge builders and road construction companies never communicated and very obviously did not care either that the bridges and road do not meet. This meant all bridges were essentially pieces of gravel road.
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The landscape has by this time also changed and is more in line with the Kaokoveld and after a long day’s drive we set up camp on the Beach. Again we tried our luck at some fishing without result. Instead we had beautiful sunsets to go with the sundowners.

2 July

After the general ritual of every morning we set of again with the first stop being an old deserted Lighthouse.

The next attraction was a Fishing Village that has apparently been bought by some rich fellow who now buys all the fish and obviously runs a very successful fishing business. On leaving this village we were stopped and every car had to have its occupants details captured. This meant two police officers wrote down the vehicle registration and name, surname and passport number. It seemed they were both not literate as each vehicle spent about 10-15 minutes for them to capture those details. They would also not allow us to do the writing. I think they thought they need the practice.
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After all that some of us even had new names.

We drove further south to Turtle Bay where we inspected the once impressive house of the harbour master.

From here we next stopped at Namibe. This is where the iron ore from Jonas Savimbi’s mines was shipped out. Most of the original infrastructure is still visible and was of the highest quality. Needless to say the Chinese probably convinced Angola that new Chinese equipment is needed and the old is being dismantled for its high quality Krupp steel and replaced by soon to rust to pieces equipment.
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We could drive right through the harbour to what seems to have been a military look out. From here one could see miles over the ocean to the other side of the bay with huge ships and large school of fish below us.

Namibe seems to have been a wealthy city in its time. It is rich in history with old slave caves on one side and forts on the other. A beautiful esplanade just helps one imagine what it must have been like in its heyday.
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On the market we had a last chance to buy some bait for fishing which was supposed to be at its best at our next stops.

At one of the local supermarkets we stocked up our last supplies and filled up all vehicles and extra containers in case the last fuel stop did not have fuel, as we were not going to get another chance until back in Namibia.

After preparing for the last stretch we continued for a few km and turned off the main road to set up at Camp Welwitschia. It is named as such as one literally camps in between thousands of year old Welwitschias.
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Alan

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#18
3 July

This morning we drove a short distance to an underground military base which apparently even our intelligence did not know about. It spans across quite a large area with ops rooms, canteens and living quarter all underground and difficult to spot from the air. It was quite impressive.
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After the stop there we continued to go visit the Flintstones. They weren’t home but we had a look around their area which resembles a moon landscape. Sandstone has been eroded over the years to form impressive channels and vistas.
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Next stop was Lake Arco, which reminded one of the Ngorongoro Crater. In the dry desert like area there is an oasis that is possibly self-sufficient. It has water and lands are cultivated, cattle roaming oblivious of the outside world.
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From here it was onto the final camping spot before the dreaded Death Acre. We entered the Iona national Park just before Tombua. Registered at the entrance we had a few km to cover before setting up camp in the dunes. We drove a few dunes and after a dune photo session pitched tenst and started relaxing. Some went fishing with positive results this time. Unfortunately we are all not fishermen and the fish was not identified and released.
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The evening was cool and misty, making for a wet packing up in the morning.

4 July

We packed up and headed for the start or the Death Acre which we had to start driving at 10:00 latest in order to maximise the time to drive between high tides. It was a misty start but cleared up quickly. We were briefed to keep up speed and not to leave a big following distance in case someone got stuck. Also recovery gear had to be placed where it could be reached quickly in case we needed it. Lucky for us we managed to pass the first critical point without any incidents or problems and this luck continued to stay with us until we exited the Death Acre.
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After the Death Acre we ascended a huge dune to savour the moment. Others attempted the dune and had to try again and leave the trailers behind.
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From here it was plain sailing to the Cunene River mouth. It is said that the wind was born there, but on our arrival it seemed like a very nice spot. We saw fishermen with good catches and we drove through the fresh water to get most of the salt of our vehicles’ undercarriage. We turned back a few km toward the Death Acre to set up camp near the beach. Wind was slowly picking up but nothing serious. The seriousness of the wind only showed itself later when it became impossible to do anything unless you were inside the vehicle or in a caravan. Unfortunately it turned out to be one of my worst spots to camp ever.
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Alan

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#19
5 July

The morning gave us a gap from the wind and we could pack up and start the last two days of travel along the Cunene River towards Ruacana.

We stopped off at the old water pump station that used to pump water to the Tiger Bay peninsula, now only a disused camp with fishermen using the building as shelter.

The road was reminiscent of the Kaokoveld, hot and dusty but beautiful scenery. The gravel road with lots of sharp shale was a challenge as a wrecked tyre here could mean problems.
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The day’s drive ended with a Riverbed campsite not dissimilar to the Molototsi. Night time temperatures were warm but comfortable and a good rest was had by all after a nice communal campfire dinner.

6 July

Today’s drive was a continuation of the day before. We saw lots of different Flora and were amazed at some of the locals. Two up on a small motorcycle with a goat each on their lap.
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The scenery included the Zebra Mountains, and some local villages. Our campsite tonight was a flat area set in between a lot of Baobab trees. When we stopped we had in instant spectator crowd of Himbas. They are friendly and probably appreciated the entertainment we provided setting up camp. After sunset they made their way home.
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7 July

Our last day in Angola. After packing up camp while the Himbas watched they requested any water containers we could spare.

We left the Himbas with their new containers and set off to a last photo shoot under a Baobab tree.
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The road was again a continuation of the previous day taking us through Villages and showing us the locals using a motorcycle for a family outing. 5 people on one motorcycle!

By midday we reached Ruacana border post. Things were a little slow but eventually wer got through without any issues.

Once back in Namibia it was time to say goodbye as most had their own plan on how to best get home.
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It was a really amazing journey with great people. I for one would love to do it again but with a lot more time allocated.