10-09-2012, 03:30 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Southern Africa
Hitting Namibia again
After our rest day its time to pack up for our final destination across the border. From Kasane, there is a road bisecting the Chobe Park that leads to the Ngoma border post.
It looks like this at ground level. Up ahead is a control point…
…where every vehicle has to fill in the names of rider/passengers and registration number. Different books for entry and exit allow correlation between the two control points (there is another one at the exit of this corridor).
We do spot some game amongst the shrubbery, including giraffe, buffalo and antelopes, but they tend to keep a safe distance from the traffic even though nobody actually speeds.
At the exit, some pointers to the dots on the map before we leave Botswana.
The Ngoma border post has a spectacular view over the Chobe floodplain down below, with a sprinkling of baobab trees on the slopes down to the water bearing the scars of elephant’s affinity for these trees.
Down below the locals busy themselves with fishing in the shallow water.
We head for the customs counter…
…and find a sign to make me feel really welcome:
The paperwork is quick and painless, and now it’s time to paint Namibia!
The road to Katima Mulilo is arrow-straight because the landscape is so flat everywhere.
As the floodplain fades in our rear-view mirrors, I start looking for signs of water supplies. Despite the apparent abundance of water in this area, we are actually traversing a semi-desert: all the water comes from rivers formed in the highlands of Angola and Zambia, far north of here.
We spot storage tanks every kilometre or so, with connected taps nearby. Initially I assume they are filled from a borehole, but that requires a pump and electricity, which are not in evidence.
The answer is soon revealed. Large diameter pipes, fed from a reservoir distribute the water to the tanks. But it’s a work still in progress.
Although there is water for drinking, there’s not enough for agriculture unless the swamps reach your property, like this one.
Most villages aren’t so lucky, and the men are working in the cities to earn an income for their families, leaving many properties deserted. The soil is like beach sand and only the hardiest of plants are able to take root here.
Across the road, these kids are looked after by their mother…
…and grandmother, spending her twilight years surveying the patch of sand in front of her hut.
We soon approach the capital of the Caprivi. I have Hippo Lodge loaded as a waypoint, but it’s closed down.
We follow the road a bit further past swathes of water, ending up at the Island View lodge. The facilities are top notch, with lush lawns overlooking the island after which the lodge is named on which we pitch our tents.
This time we are adjacent to the mighty Zambesi. We decide to do another sunset river cruise to see what it looks like upstream of Kazangula.
Most of the animal life here consists of birds, with a few crocs lazing in the setting sun, but we also spot an otter eating a fish. Hippos are given a wide berth by our nervous captain, who’s had a run-in with them before.
It’s obviously the dry season, going by the exposed roots above the waterline.
Further on, near Katima, a pump tower shows just how high the water can rise here.
We pick up a couple at the Protea Hotel upstream. They turn out to be Marco and Sylvie, who've ridden all the way up from Swakopmund. They’re from Germany, and have shipped their bikes over to tour the area. They are heading south while we are now heading west- little did we know we would meet up again!
Another stunning sunset follows us back home.
The lodge sells cold Tafel and Windhoek lager, as well as pretty decent braaipacks, and we make use of proper barbecue facilities for a change. It’s great to be in Namibia again!