To the Caprivi Strip

We wake up and pack things up. Jamie pumps the tires back up since we’re probably going to be on decent roads on our way to the Caprivi Strip. “Pump up the tires, pump up the tires, pump up the tires, check it out

Our neighbor comes to get his towel off the drying rack. He’s headed to Caprivi as well. “Divundu then the gravel C river road. Not so nice”, he does this hilarious looking arm wiggling bumpy roads pantomime. This guy also sounds German. He’s with an older lady with long dreadlocks. “Hey, weren’t they our neighbors at Olifantrus?”, “Oh yeah, totally. We’re on the same schedule.”

We get over to the lodge and say hi to Gerd. The dining area is prepped and there’s a decent continental breakfast all set up. We dig in. “Beans are cold, that’s weird”, “Cool beans?”, “Cooooool beans”, “C-c-cool b-b-beans”, “Cooooooool BEANS!”

There are some cute birds hanging out here in a cage

And it looks like they raise their own helmeted guinea fowl

Peter can’t find his water bottle and asks Gerd if he’s seen it. Maybe he left it in the lounge area last night. This sends Gerd on a super nice mission of going way out of his way to look for this bottle. He’s genuinely concerned about this water bottle. What a sweet guy. He asks everyone about it but it’s no where to be found and Gerd feels terrible. “It’s alright, it’ll turn up”, “I’m so sorry”, “Oh, not your fault at all. Don’t worry about it.”

We thank Gerd for the hospitality and hit the road. We’re not a moment down the road and the side tent pops open while we’re driving. “Oh shit!” and we have to quickly maneuver to the side of the road so we don’t damage anything or side-swipe a passing car. A quick investigation reveals that Peter’s lost water bottle somehow got jammed in the hatch and prevented it from closing all the way. “How the hell does that happen?”, “Yeah, your water bottle was on the tent but outside of it?”, “Weird”, “Ge-ge-ge-Gerd-Gerd-Gerd-ge-ge-Gerd’s the word!”, “Noooo..”

Feels like we’re the only ones on the road. Driving for miles without seeing another vehicle. There are lots of people walking by the road though. Seems to be the thing to do. Not sure where they’re coming from, there’s no towns nearby, but there are lots of small groups of young people just walking by the road. They all wave and smile as we pass by. One guy gives us a gun show haha. Namibians are super nice people.

The places along the road are now trending towards fenced in multi-building complexes all made from wood. It’s as minimal as you can think. Most of them are a hodgepodge of patched pieces lashed together. They must raise their own animals and just stay self sufficient on their land. They look like little forts.

“Hmmmm is there a gas station ahead? Gauge says there’s only160km left in the tank.” Hit the ‘what’s coming up ahead’ button on the GPS. 262 km to the next gas station. Well fuck. Check maps.me, “Ahhh this says 101km is the nearest station. It’s North though. We’ve got 160 on the meter. Hope it’s alright”, “Well if we don’t get lost we’ll just barely make it. If that’s even right. We still don’t have any Nambucks either”, “Riiiiight. This should be interesting.”

Obviously, getting stranded in the middle of nowhere isn’t too appealing. We are watching the map closely now. 58km to the station. Gauge says 76km until we’re out of gas. Cutting it close. AC off, fan on. Drop it to 100km/h and keep it there. None of these little towns have gas? For 200km? Wow. Holy fuck it’s hot. Cooking a nut stew in the front seat. The countdown is on.

We come to a more populated town with what looks like some staples. The sign on the way in says “Nkerenkuru. Feel at home”. Yes! There’s a shell station right here that wasn’t on the map. Must be brand new. 30 clicks to spare. That’s a load off. There’s an ATM too. And goats eating garbage.

There is a supermarket down the street. We roll over to check it out. Nothing. Nearly nothing in there. No good looking meat. No bread. I’d say this area is on the poorer side for sure. There is amazingly little of sustenance in the one store here. “You think Divundu will be any better than this?”, “I think it’s worth a shot”, “What do people live on here?”, “This I guess”, “There’s nothing here”, “No. Not really.” We get back to the truck. “So did you guys find any chocolate covered espresso beans?”

We’re driving right beside the Okavango River now. It’s pretty. Cows on the road everywhere. We pass a truck carrying a hundred people in the bed, clustered together, all standing. It looks Crazy. Just across the river is Angola. I suppose we could just dip in there if we wanted to as well.

We pull into Divindu. Much bigger than the last place. There are lots of girls with short buzzed hair and tight form fitting dresses everywhere. That’s the style. Guys are simply in shirts and jeans.

Grocery stores are pretty bare here too. We dip into one but again there is nothing that we want. Try the meat market?

It’s two freezers in a room. There are a bunch of fish in one. Unidentifiable meat in another. We ask the girl in there what it is and she says, “Gato”, “Gator?”, “I think she said Gato”, “What’s Gato?”, “No idea. Doesn’t look good though”, “Thank-you!”

Not having much luck with re-stocking in these places. I guess we’ll just push on and make due. The sun is starting to get low, we may be able to get to Popa Falls and find a place to crash there.

We get to Popa Falls with some daylight to spare. We find a camp on the map and make our way. There’s a large black gate and a guard. “Hi, we’re wondering if you guys have camping”, “Yes. Straight straight straight down.” He waves us through and we drive down a steep dirt hill towards the water. We go straight, straight, straight down but there isn’t great signage, we end up finding the campsites before reception. Yeah these will do.

We come around to reception and get things squared away. It’s nice in here by the river. We walk around and go check out the falls. Yep. Just as expected, they really aren’t falls at all but just a marketing ploy to drive business to the area. Fine by us. We just drove 600km through basically nothing. It’s still quite and relaxing by the water. Yeah, this will do nicely.

 

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