This is a trip we undertook in October 2011. Our aim was to navigate some of the dry riverbeds which were still on our ‘to do’ list.
For the most part, the video adequately covers hi-lights of the trip, but I have provided additional information below, which describes the river sections in more detail. You will also find a number of links to video clips on YouTube which provides some visuals.
Opuwa to Puros via the Hoarusib River.
We spent the night camping at the Opuwa Country Hotel which sits atop a hill overlooking the town with a commanding view of the surrounding countryside.
We set off early in the morning, but it is 113km of reasonable dirt track before one turns off and headed down the riverbed. The first hour or so was heavy going with thick sand and some pretty hectic rocky sections and we started to wonder whether we would ever reach Puros, but with the right speed and tyre pressure we mastered the sand and learned a few tricks to minimize the rocky sections.
Without rushing things, we managed about 42km down the riverbed before it was time to start looking for somewhere to camp for the night. There are two important things to remember when undertaking such a trip. The first is to watch out for the local desert elephants which frequent these riverine habitats and the second is NOT to set up camp in the riverbed in case of flash floods.
So, after spending the night in the shelter of a large dune well out of reach of possible flood waters, we set off for Puros over another particularly rocky little section. As we progressed, the rocky patches became less until we were cruising over longer and longer stretches of smooth sand.
Eventually, some 20km from Puros, we came to a junction where, on a previous trip we had stopped for a bite to eat, and had watched with interest as a local vehicle loaded with people and goats attempted to negotiate the thick sand and the steep embankment out of the riverbed. Inevitably, it never made the embankment and ended up bogged down in the deep sand.
As the driver climbed from the vehicle and made his way towards us, I felt that camaraderie that one has for fellow off-roaders and set off in the trusty old Land Rover to meet him. He explained that his truck no longer had four wheel drive and would I be so kind as to give him a tow. I was a little skeptical as there were still eight people in the vehicle who were making no effort to get out and help, plus a dozen goats in the back.
Obviously. this individual and his family, had learned to get by on the helpfulness of others. So, using my gear, I hitched him up behind the Land Rover and, as he leapt behind the wheel, we took off with a mighty jerk and headed for the embankment. I should not have doubted the Landy’s abilities – we sailed up, goats and all amid some mildly enthusiastic hand clapping from the occupants.
As I disconnected and waved them goodbye, I did get a a few thankful bleats from the goats!.