NAMIBIA – OPUWO 27 APRIL
Another day’s drive from Etosha to Opuwo. About 5kms before Opuwo, there is a poorly signposted Police Stop. I slammed on the brakes but hit the bump at the stop sign really hard. I then received a right royal bollocking from the police; you’d have thought I’d murdered someone! I apologised, the response was “You’re making excuses” my reply was “excuses for what, I’ve admitted guilt, throw me in the dungeon!”………….they scratched their heads “Eish this man is crazy!” It ended with a smile though!
Anyway, Opuwo – what a fascinating place. Emma likened it to that clip in Star Wars where they enter a bar to find aliens of every shape, size and colour. In Opuwo’s case it’s a melting pot of tribes, all dressed in their finery from Himba to Herero. We stop the night at Opuwo Country Lodge where there is a dinner in honour of the local mayor (or equivalent) – quite an insight seeing all the various tribes and folk assembled there in all their customary tribal attire.
NAMIBIA – EPUPA FALLS 28 APRIL – 30 APRIL
Next day we’re back on the road to try and reach Epupa Falls the same day. We pass numerous Himba (Himba are an ancient tribe) villages with their exuberant, smiling, laughing children calling out to us. It’s not such a bad road and we arrive at Omarunga Lodge early afternoon in the searing heat. We are now at the northern, most remote part of Namibia, that borders Angola.
Omarunga is just about 100m from the falls and we get a lovely pitch right on the river’s edge, surrounded by huge Makalani palms with the roar of the falls as a backdrop. So beautiful and totally unspoilt, no gates or fees to pay to get to these sacred falls.
The next morning we go for a walk to view the falls and they literally take my breath away. It’s hard to describe the raw beauty and majesty of these waterfalls. If angels flew over Victoria Falls then they must have come via Epupa! They cascade over a good few kilometres and are adorned with Baobab trees and all kinds of lush vegetation – such a thrilling sight, and one I will cherish forever.
As we prepare to leave Epupa, we are a little more than 2 kms along the road when the Landy just dies on us. I checked all the obvious stuff but to no avail. Just then, a group of 6 Himba women walk towards us, small children in hand. They seem most concerned about our plight but we can only communicate with hand signs. I was fairly stressed, not the best of places to breakdown! Then a pretty young Himba girl steps up and offers me her phone to make a call. I was so deeply touched. You need to consider that money, as we know it, is not an integral part of their lives, they eek out a simple existence in age old primitive ways. So to offer me the phone to make a call was beyond generous; she probably spends much of anything she earns to afford the phone. How heartwarming is that? We did eventually manage to patch things up and get back on the road, the breakdown is long forgotten but the generosity and care of the Himba is something I will never forget.
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