Day 227. Sunday, 6th August, 2023. From Somewhere in the wilderness, beside a dried river bed to Oppi-Koppi Campsite at Kamanjab.

Wild camping.

The night was uneventful in terms of hearing or being disturbed by any wildlife. As we were surrounded by elephant poo and other animal droppings, I was afraid Poki might be rocked by an elephant during the night, or we may hear roaring lions. I did wake several times, but that was because I was too hot. I was aware Dennis was talking to me on one occasion, but was too sleepy to register what he was saying.

When I finally woke it was daylight. Dennis was sleeping like a babe, so I didn’t want to wake him. He needed a good sleep to cope with the rigours of driving in the conditions in which we found ourselves. When he did wake, he was cross with himself, as it was so late. He had wanted to be away by 7.30, before it got too hot. 

We quickly packed up, had breakfast, gave ourselves a “lick and a promise” wash and were away by 8.30. Back into the deep sandy river bed.

The river just seemed to go on and on. Every bend we came around, I hoped to see an exit point, but it just continued. Out of the blue, we came across two humans. Two men collecting seed pods in sacks. We stopped, hoping to get an indication as to where we were and how to find a road. Sadly they didn’t speak English, only Afrikaans and we couldn’t communicate. They just pointed up the river.

We carried on and eventually found a track leading up the bank and out of the river bed. At first it seemed well defined. Later it began to break up and we weren’t sure which path to take. We came to a tiny settlement. Well, a couple of huts with two ladies sitting watching a selection of cooking pots. They spoke English and told us to carry on, cross the river and we would find a gate. 

We came to what appeared to be a dry river and crossed it. Continuing for a while, there was no sign of a gate. We came to another dry river with vehicle tracks in the sand. I didn’t want to get back into a deep sandy river bed, so we carried on. Eventually we came to what appeared to be a more organised settlement. Surrounded by fences to protect animals, there were some cows and chickens, scratching around us. We stopped and as the gate displayed a sign showing a vicious dog, called out rather than enter.

The place was deserted. We decided to wait as someone must return, as animals need looking after. Rather than continue to be totally lost, we would wait to ask for advice. We took the opportunity to have a coffee/hot chocolate and then I decided, to pass the time, I would start writing the blog. 

Sitting in front of the habitation, I remarked to Dennis that it actually looked like some sort of desert camp. There was a solid brick built building and several small buildings with blue and yellow doors. They also each had a barbecue. 

There was no leaving this place until we got directions.

Looking up from writing I saw a man to the left of the complex. Dennis looked for him but he had disappeared. He re-emerged and we tried to communicate with him. No English, but we managed to ascertain it was a camp for hikers in the mountains. He said he would guide us out, we couldn’t understand where to, but he wanted $100 Namibian. Worth it, we thought. 

In and out of endless valleys

We juggled things in the back of Poki around so, Stevo or Siebo (we think that was his name) could have a seat. He duly directed us, avoiding many side tracks, until we reached a sign saying “Veterinary Control Point” and a major barrier and buildings. A gentleman with a clip board came to talk to us. 

Hooray, he spoke English and showed us where we were on the map. Unbelievably it was on the P2232 track we originally set out to find. We must have taken a few diversions along river beds, but somehow we had landed up where we wanted to be. The officer wanted to inspect our fridge to see if we had any meat, which wasn’t allowed. Fortunately, we had eaten the last remaining chicken the night before.

Here we parted company with Stevo or Siebo. After giving him a drink of water, as it was going to be a long walk back for him, I gave him T shirt and  N$50. He seemed delighted. 

The track along the fenceline lasted for 15k’s. We were not going to let it out of our sight..:)

The Veterinary Officer told us to follow the fence and we would come to the tar sealed, C35 road. We couldn’t miss the fence as it was a double height, electrified barrier protecting a game reserve. At about 1.45 we emerged on to the tarmac. It felt so good to be back on a route to civilisation.

We stopped in a lay-by and Dennis reflated the tyres while I made us some lunch. We then set off for Kamanjab, just over 50 kms away. Kamanjab actually has some infrastructure. A large, modern Shell garage and a supermarket, which looks reasonable. We decided to head straight for the campsite, though and will restock and refuel tomorrow.

Impressive entrance to the Oppi-Koppi lodge & campsite.

The campsite, Oppi-Koppi is very nice and the staff very welcoming and friendly. Overlanders are allowed to camp for free, if they eat in the restaurant. We went straight to the bar and Dennis ordered me a large gin and tonic (despite my protestations that it was too early). We sat at the bar and looked at the photo albums they have of overlanders going back to 2011. Interestingly the last overlanders to stay here, were a New Zealand couple from Auckland, at the beginning of July.

We then headed for our allocated camp site. Dennis attended to some maintenance issues Poki required after the rigours of the last 24 hours. Everything in Poki is covered in dust from the deep river sand and today from blowing dust in the strong wind. I have tried to clean her up a bit, but it tends to be a losing battle.

While Dennis was struggling with changing the air filter and greasing the drive shafts, I enjoyed an overdue shower and hair wash. Later we wandered down to the restaurant for dinner. I enjoyed an Oryx steak, while Dennis had a more conventional pizza.

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  1. Well there are certainly plenty of contrast’s in your journey right now. Your wanderings bring back memories of your adventures in Mongolia, lots of unmarked tracks. Glad it turned out well, long may that continue. Now, what about your aircon, or was the window already open?

  2. Hi Bro, The issue with these two days was the endless valleys and not being able to get a perspective of where we were. Also which track to follow!!

    Oh yes, the aircon works beautifully. …:)

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