Mini "van Zyl Pass"

Trip Start Apr 24, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Namibia  , Kunene,
Saturday, June 30, 2012

Van Zyl's Pass Rest camp

We took the "road less traveled" out of Opuwo. A lovely drive passing many small Himba villages.  We came prepared this time.  I bought lots of “sweeties” in Opuwo, so not to be red faced every time the children, and in some instances, the adults, asked for “sweeties”.  It was fun as they allowed you to take their photograph if you give them sweeties.  At this stage still a novelty, we stopped at just about every opportunity.  Sort before long it became a bit of a burden.  We decided only to stop when it was one or two people at a time.  The crowds became a bit overwhelming.

The road became more and more “off-road” but not bad at all.  We got to Van Zyl’s rest camp around 3 pm.  One other bakkie passed us and were there before us.  They took one of the three camp sites. We took site number 3.  Very nice camp site under a humungous Anna Tree.  In the sand, next to the dry river bed. No sooner had we set up camp when the lady from the other camp came to enquire if we were going down Van Zyl the next day.  They needed a partner.  We had no intention of going down Van Zyl with Lynx. 

Early evening two Landies arrived and asked to set up camp next to us.  Not much later another 3 bakkies arrived and did the same toward our other side of us.  Needless to say, the camp was slightly over crowded.  The ablution had one donkey, one shower and one toilet.  At this point we were 18 people.  So much for having a nice hot shower.  Thank goodness Lynxi has its own shower. The camp had water enough so we could have our own private shower.

Next morning the lady was the first to attempt Van Zyl.  The 2 Landies followed and we left even before the 3 bakkies that arrived late the previous day.  They still have to fix a puncture on a tyre.  It was fun watching them get the tyre of the rim by driving on to the tyre and maneuvering it so that the tyre eventually came off the rim.  This was a first for us to see.

Bright eyed and bushy tailed we set off after our nice hot shower.  Little did we know what laid in wait for us today? There would be three legs to the trip today.  Had I known I would have booked a helicopter to come fetch me at the camp?

I am going to ask Carlos to write this part as I might put any one off it for life. As the one lady said that we met along the way “wat besiel ons om hier te wees?” and they were in a group of around 8 bakkies.  We did it on our own.

Folks, all I can say is “It was great fun although at times I was concerned”.

There were about five sections where there is no way out. Let alone if somebody comes from the other side. “Low range, Diff lock et alles”. We did 13 Km in 5 hours.

Can only imagine what it would be like to do the "van Zyl Pass "on your own'  Doing it in a team will not speed things up but the morale would be higher.

We called that stretch of road “Mini van Zyl” and will remember it for a long time. After having done it (there was no other choice in any case), we have a much relaxed attitude about many of the roads that we have done since. What we are still concerned is “Deep Sand” while towing.

Once we reached the highlands, the road got flatter and there were milliards of Mopani trees. The ride was more confortable. We reached  Okangwati and the main road to Epupa at dusk. There were no camps around, so we continued to Epupa. The road was a good Namibian standard with many up and downs through river beds. Took it easy +- 80 kph and arrived approx. 21:00.
The Epupa camp was full of South Africans. We have not realised by then that we were in the middle of vacation time. We checked in on the camp next door "Omarunga". What a blessing. It was much quieter and much better looking.
We will tell you about it in the next entry.

Bye for now

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