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Travel Namibia 25 4WD ALTERNATIVE ROUTE In a 4WD from Twyfelfontein you can drive part of the bleak Skeleton Coast National Park via the gate at Springbokwasser. On the C24 road you’ll pass the wrecks of many ships that have fallen foul of this foggy coastline, and can visit the Cape Coast Seal Colony before reaching Swakopmund. This route will take you a good seven hours, but it’s a great adventure. Be sure you have enough fuel on board as your first petrol station is at Henties Bay. Day 7 Swawakopmundundund oror Spititzkoppe Swakopmund and nearby Walvis Bay have plenty to keep you occupied for two days, but if you’d prefer a quieter end to your tour, head to Spitzkoppe and camp. Here each carefully-planned pitch is isolated among the rocky outcrops that rise up spectacularly from the gravel plains. Showers are cold buckets on a pulley system set among the rocks and some pitches have carefully hidden alfresco long-drop toilets – all immaculately clean. Spitzkoppe has a number of cheetahs, although these can be elusive. Similarly difficult to spot is the bushman art that is dotted around this community-run site. Accommodationodationodationodationodationodationodation: n Spitzkoppe Community Camp www.nacobta.com.na DRIVE TIME: n From Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe is a two-hour drive. It is three to four hours from both Spitzkoppe and Swakopmund to Windhoek to complete your circuit. C LOCKWISE FROM THE TOP: Okaukuejo’s floodlit waterhole; the road to Damaraland; quadbiking at Swakopmund; an ancient welwitschia plant, a cheetah cub at Africat. Chris Marais

KAOKOLAND An excursion into Kaokoland is a real chance to meet Herero, Himba and maybe even Topnaar people. Much of this remote part of Northern Namibia is reached on roads that are badly rutted or are dry river beds – although the C43 as far as Sesfontein is passable in a robust 2WD. North of Sesfontein, a fully kitted-out 4WD is essential, and it is important to travel with at least one other off-road vehicle in case you break down or get stuck. Preparing your own expedition into Kaokoland is time-consuming. You’ll need to work out how much fuel, water and food to take and it is advisable to carry a GPS and satellite phone and to get training in off-road driving techniques. However, the rewards of travelling in this part of Namibia are huge and you will return with a life-time’s worth of memories. Here, more than anywhere else in Namibia, you’re unlikely to want to move on every day as the driving is tough. If you are not an experienced 4WD driver you should always join an organised guided tour. Accommodation: n The community campsites here are a real highlight and a chance to put money directly into the community. Sites such as Purros offer great wildlife viewing and the opportunity to visit a Himba village with a local guide. If you need to rough camp, ask permission at the nearest village. n There are rooms at Sesfontein Fort (www.fort-sesfontein.com) and Kunene River Lodge. Palmwag (see the Northern Route above) makes a good place to start your expedition. D RIVE TIMTIMTIME: n As a rough guide, it’s possible to drive from Palmwag to Purros in one hard day’s drive (it would 26 Travel Namibia be far better to start your day in Palmwag with a game drive in the concession area and overnight in Sesfontein). Distances can be deceptive. For example, the short 100km trip from Ruacana at the top of the C35 to Kunene River Lodge will take a day. MOMO R E ININFORMATIONTIONTIONTION: n Wilderness Journeys by Willie and Sandra Olivier details a useful route for 4WDs through Kaokoland, including advice on responsible driving and camping, fuel, water, equipment and journey times. Caprivi Strip to Victoria Fallsallsallsalls The drive from Windhoek through to Victoria Falls is feasible in a 2WD. It is an epic journey that can incorporate many of the highlights of Northern Namibia, including Etosha. The Caprivi Strip feels like a different country to the rest of Namibia, with its lush flood plains and green forests, yet it is often overlooked by tourists because of its distance from Windhoek. There are four rarely visited game parks to choose from in this narrow strip of land which is 500km long but at times only 32km wide. D RIVE TIME: n The coach from Windhoek to Victoria Falls drives solidly for 22 hours, but it would be a shame to attempt this yourself in anything less than seven days as there is so much to see. n The Bradt Guide to Namibia details a 21-day itinerary that takes in Kaokoland, Etosha, The Caprivi Strip and even nips into Botswana. Cape ToTown The road from Cape Town into South Namibia is not difficult. Time your trip between mid-August and mid-September and you could catch Namaqualand blooming around the town of Springbok. The border area around Vioolsdrif is particularly pretty and you can stay on the banks of the Orange River. If you are hiring a car and driving it into Namibia you need the permission of the hire company. At the border crossing you may be asked to show proof of insurance and the vehicle’s ‘blue book’ which contains all its details. D RIVE TIMTIMTIME: n It is 1455km and roughly 20 hours driving from Cape Town to Windhoek, not including the time taken to cross the border and breaks – not to be attempted in one day! I DEAS FOR MORERE ADVEVENTUROUS TRIPTRIPTRIPTRIPS Itineraries Mary Askew Mary Askew