Category Archives: Namibia

Rivers & Old Friends

After a few nights camping in Etosha National Park, we headed back up through the Zambezi Region (recently renamed from the Caprivi Strip) to visit some of Jen’s old haunts from her days working for Elephant Energy in Katima Mulilo in 2009.

We headed up to a town called Rundu, and stayed in a lovely cabin along the Okovango River.  This normally wouldn’t be a tourist stop, but we wanted to visit a regional sales manager for Elephant Energy named Teo.  He was wonderful and even invited us into his home to meet his family, including his daughter who is named after the former Director of Elephant Energy!  It was amazing to see how the organization has grown.

Sunset along the Okavango from our cabin window in Rundu
Sunset along the Okavango from our cabin window in Rundu
The Okavango at sunset in Rundu.
The Okavango at sunset in Rundu.
The Elephant Energy kiosk at the store in Rundu.
The Elephant Energy kiosk at the store in Rundu.
Jon with Teo and family at their home in Rundu
Jon with Teo and family at their home in Rundu

We continued on public transport to another camp along the river.  By public transport, I mean we waited at gas stations for mini-buses, or combis, while men shouted at us “where are you going?!” before ushering us into private cars, full to the brim, where we were stuffed in and taken to our destinations for reasonable prices.

The next camp, Ngepi Camp, is really a legend of the Caprivi.  The camp is remarkable: right on the headwaters of the Okovango River (south, it spreads to the Okovango Delta in Botswana), with treehouses right on the river, funky and funny signs, open-air reed-enclosed showers and toilets, and a “swimming pool”, which is really a big dock surrounding an enclosed metal cage in the Okovango – one of the only ways to swim safely in the hippo and croc infested waters!  At Ngepi, we camped on the banks of the river.  The next day, we We relaxed by the water, took a dip in the “pool,” and then we took a Mokoro boat ride down the headwaters of the Okovango.  Jon demanded hippos, and soon thereafter we saw at least 6 hippos dive from an island into the water in front of us! We were stranded for awhile while they loudly snorted at us from the river, terrifying our German friend, Sophia.  Later, a clan of rowdy South African rugby players descended upon us at the bar, and a good time was had by all.

Our new German friends from the Mokoro ride, Sophia and Lukas, kindly offered to drop us off in Katima Mulilo, as they were passing through there.  Katima was Jen’s home for about 5 months in 2009, while working for Elephant Energy.  It was great to visit old friends in town, and to see the new shop for Elephant Energy in Katima Mulilo.

Jen and her friend Anna at the EE Katima Mulilo market kiosk
Jen and her friend Anna at the EE Katima Mulilo market kiosk
Jen and her friend Joseph from her EE days in Katima Mulilo
Jen and her friend Joseph from her EE days in Katima Mulilo
Our friend Kristophe (who attended our wedding) and his hydroponic farm startup in Katima Mulilo
Our friend Christoph (who attended our wedding) and his hydroponic farm startup in Katima Mulilo

Then, off to our third country…Botswana!

Sand dunes at Soussusvlei

We departed Cape Town on an Intercape bus; 20 hours to Windhoek.  The 20 became 25, and in the middle of the night we crossed the border between South Africa and Namibia.  We were forced to turn over our passports to the South African police, and they handed them back to everyone after the immigration process on both sides.  Everyone, except Jen, who stood nervously after watching all 60 some people, including Jon, receive their passports.  “Where’s my passport?”  The officer shuffled around nervously.  GREAT.  Then he pulled my passport out of the back of his pants, with a twinkle in his eye.  He had been hiding it as a joke!  VERY FUNNY.

We took a tour to Soussevlei, sand dunes in the Namib Desert.  We had a great time traipsing about the dunes and the dead trees, despite the wind.  Jon even climbed the “Big Daddy” dune in record time.  Then it was back to Windhoek, where we enjoyed some more game meat and craft beer.   We’ll let the photos speak for themselves.