In my previous blog I wrote about what a beautiful oasis Marble Camp is. It was a great spot for us to recover and prepare ourselves for our trip up to Camp Synchro on the Kunene River. We met some other campers who were towing a trailer and they told us about Red Drum Pass that awaited us shortly after we left Marble Camp. The Pass turned out to be relatively easy to negotiate, but the rocks were quite jagged and we crossed fingers that they wouldn’t damage our tyres. Apart from a few small tears in the sidewalls of the tyres, we survived the climb up and over Red Drum Pass relatively unscathed.
From there it was a short drive to Red Drum, which, although it features on all the road maps of the Kunene region, is really no more than a junction marked by a red drum. We came upon it quite suddenly and it took us a moment or two to realize that this was the famous Red Drum that everyone talks about. We had to stop and take the obligatory photos to show that we’d passed it! Rob looks a bit perplexed about something – probably wondering what all the fuss is about.
Once we turned off at Red Drum and headed into the Marienfluss, the going was a lot easier. The Marienfluss is a valley that runs alongside the Hartmann Mountains in northern Namibia and it is definitely one of the prettiest areas in the Kunene region. It is described as one of the southern Africa’s last wilderness areas because of its isolation, and it’s easy to see why. Although it is dotted with little Himba settlements, they are few and far between so do little to change one’s perception of being in an undeveloped and remote area. These colourful Himba ladies graciously allowed me to photograph them. Unfortunately our idea of a reasonable price to pay for a photo was somewhat different to theirs – their thinking was more in line with what a model like Kate Moss would charge! As a result their smiles turned to glares as we drove away.
We loved the beautiful fairy circles that dotted the Marienfluss and stopped often to photograph them, the yellow grass, mountains and red road. The area has an almost ethereal quality about it.
The road was very corrugated and sandy in patches. It was quite sad to see how motorists had left the track often to get away from the sand and corrugations, causing the track to become ever wider. Sometimes we had as many as six tracks to choose from. Driving off the road is not encouraged as the damage to the environment is usually permanent.
There were lots of wild animals and birds to be seen along the way. These ostriches made a beautiful picture in the landscape.
We also stopped to watch a Pale chanting goshawk swoop down and catch a snake. When Rob set off on foot to try and photograph it, the goshawk flew off clutching its prey in its talons. These are the magical moments on a trip and they need to be savoured without being in a hurry to get to your next destination.
What a special time it was in this area. If you’re prepared to put up with the atrocious roads to get there, the beauty will amply reward you for your tenacity and endurance. Our destination for the day was Camp Synchro on the Kunene River – one of two camping places at Otjinungwa. More about that lovely spot next week …..