Sesfontein to Opuwa

March 29, 2011 - Opuwo, Namibia

The journey to Sesfontein was a day of adventure! We came up to a long puddle that covered most of the road, George chose to take the left side without walking it first.....BIG mistake!!!! We were almost through when suddenly we were in up to the undercarriage in thick mud. After much digging, rock piling, sweating and straining we attempted to winch ourselves out with a big tree on the left. That only made things worse, the mud got deeper the more left we were pulled which could not be helped since there was nothing else to attach the winch to. After some time a German couple stopped to help. Harold was more of a spectator and instructor whilst Ully helped by collecting big rocks for me to position in the track which was by now knee deep mud. With everything set up we got Harold to put his vehicle in the middle of the road to anchor the winch against but still nothing budged. The caravan had to be unhitched, that in itself was hard work as the jack would not stay upright in the mud and then we could not get it out of the mud afterwards! The mud was like glue with thorns and rocks in. Mum, I am surprised your old Merrell sandals lasted, it was really hard work to extract my feet with each step! Our sorry little caravan was the last to make it out. Sadly you don’t get to see how bad it really was as I had mud up to my elbows, Ully took a few pics at the end. Thank goodness we could have a shower and change of clothes before moving on. Even the shovels and jack had to be puddle washed too! Andre, the tyres are doing very well!

We pulled into Fig tree camp site in Sesfontein exhausted! The fig trees were beautiful and this community campsite was right in the village next to a neat looking school. The water came through our camp like a river all night with the rain. We had our own solar heated shower, toilet and basin whilst the locals bathed just 20m away in a pond behind a bush, right next to another stagnant pond that smelt a bit like sewage. How unfairly privileged we are! The next night we moved to a mountain camp related to this one but totally understated. Our exclusive camp, Kanamub, was under a huge rock overhang (great for the rain) with a kitchen area in the cave, an outside tap, shower with a donkey and a long drop. We stayed 2 nights seeing no one except the two men sent 40kms by foot (there and back) to check up on us. Locals here travel great distances with no water or other provisions they just trust someone will help them! Cancelling our plans to go to Purros because of the rains, we went instead to see the vlakte (plains) nearby where the fairy circles abound. Biologists we had met said these sand circles in middle of the grassy plains are due to termites.

Next day we went on to Opuwa as the rains prevented us from taking our intended route. We found our German rescuers again, they were stressed and exhausted from their own drama attempting to go from Epupa Falls to Ruacana Falls that day. They got stuck in the deep sand of a river flowing over the main road for five hours! To add to the stress, the river slowly rose as the floodgates from the dam upstream had been opened. Some Himba people came to help them, they made a temporary wall around their car so that the water was diverted and helped them empty the vehicle. Ully spoke English well so she got on the back of a local’s motor bike and had to ride for half an hour out to find the road workers with heavy vehicles who could help. So.... we all learnt our lesson......walk it first!

There is a coffee shop in Opuwa, happy days! We have spent some time here, the beer is R15 a quart! The owner Annette contacted a private guide for us and today we went to a Himba village with our new German friends. We took food parcels as gifts and with the help of the guide got permission from the head man to wander around, meet all the people and take as many photos as we wanted. Mostly it was just Himba ladies and their children as the men were out herding. On leaving we were asked for panado, antiseptic ointment and dressings and eye drops.....so much for the Mopani natural treatments we had been told all about.

Opuwa is an interesting town, a hotch potch of cultures all wandering down the streets. It is funny to see Himba people shopping beside you in the OK or talking on cell phones. From almost nakedness then one sees the full flowing patterned dresses and head gear of the Herero women. Some of these dresses are quite lavish yet these ladies sit in the dirt in their gowns. All in all, this bustling dusty main road is an incongruous picture of activity along with the many pigs and goats.

We ate and watched rugby at the local restaurant, I even got a complimentary tart with coffee since the owner was having a party – what a treat! Yum, the first dessert and coffee since Solitaire. Next is Epupa Falls.

 


Pictures

1 Stuck - early days, it got much worse!
2 Trying to jack up the caravan after George winched it out of the mud.
4This is how we should have done it! George having a wash down.
5 We not the only ones getting stuck!
 
 

14 Comments

Claire:
March 29, 2011
I always did love a mud bath - do u remember the year we could only get off the farm by being pulled by the tractor, Ali? (you would have been 10/11).
And what about using the anthill near Grandpa's house as a mud-slide in the rainy season - that was too much fun. Glad you guys managed to get the vehicle out of the mud. Love the photos. It's so good having Mum here - let's talk again soon. Love Claire
Claire:
March 29, 2011
Just a little curious ... why would you have a shower with a donkey ???? or was it just visiting for a drink???? :)
Alice:
March 30, 2011
HI Claire, they call a boiler here a donkey, so you of course stick in your wood and make yourself a hot shower. Better than solar around here these days as it has been so overcast. Yes mud bath good, it was quite good fun. I felt like having mud fight but got in trouble when splashed George too much with all the rock hurling. Felt like super woman there moving bolders and extracting the shovel out of glue - took all my might and really some blood and lots of sweat!
Ellie:
March 30, 2011
Hee hee hee. Sounds like fun indeed! Winter & rain just starting here this morning. Feel cheated as it's not Easter yet! Did spend Sunday on Melkbos Strand soaking up the sun. Hope it isn't to be the last time!
brigitte parfitt:
March 30, 2011
Hi Alice, it's fascinating to read about your adventures. They also stir up memories of my own being stuck in the mud in Ethiopia. After that experience I knew why the build houses/rondavels with mud - because it sticks like super glue. I also wondered about showering with the donkey and why you would call your husband "a donkey"??? hee,hee. Sorry, George, I am on your side, too, just got a bit worried for a moment. So glad to hear that the German Troopers were out to help you.
Vee vill help you, ja ??!! Sprechen sie deutsch? Ja, Volkswagen. And thanks for you mail, Alice, I so enjoyed it. Must answer that seperately. Lots of mud - oops, I mean love ... Brigitte
Sha Johnson:
March 30, 2011
Wow what adventures .. take care with all the flooding reported up north. I am chilling at a workshop in Durban and struggling with heat and humidity - hint of winter as the sun sets at 5.30 and it is darker in the early mornings...
Love Sha
Charmaine:
March 30, 2011
lotsa love and stay in touch Charmaine, (newbie) ha-ha frm phcy.
March 31, 2011
Am loving hearing about your adventures and the people you meet along the way!
So glad you decided to blog your journey.
God bless you both as you go.
X
Rene:
March 31, 2011
Hi Alice and George,

Opuwa briongs back weird memories as I spent some time there during the "bush war". Loverly countryside though and we I remeber we made lots of frienda amongst the locals by swopping cigaterres for meat.

You guys are obviously having a jol. We miss you and you are constantly in our prayers. Lots of love and God Bless

René
Jo Van Der Merwe:
March 31, 2011
Hi Alice and George
Its impressive how you all just keep getting out of whatever you get stuck in. 15R a quart! - is that good or bad. I like the rock overhang site. I can't remember the anthill claire is talking about.
x0x0 Jo
Jo Van Der Merwe:
March 31, 2011
Also, that one guy's outfit is hilarious - half a blue tu-tu ra ra skirt thing at the front, and then half a long pencil skirt at the back, whats that all about. only in Africa .....
Herman Grobler:
April 1, 2011
Yak, the one side of adventure that is not so nice. should have done some mud wrestling though. :) I love the picture of the women "latest picture" it is stunning
Wilna En Koos Lourens:
April 1, 2011
Julle fotos is "stunning". Geniet die adventure, terwyl ons werk.
Liza:
April 1, 2011
It seems as if your adventure is now realy an adventure! Up until here it sounded more like an awsome holiday. I realy enjoy your blog. God bless
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