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Exploring lesser known roads in Namibia

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Anyone who has been to Namibia knows that their off-the-beaten-track roads are grueling, occasionally good and forever changing. My wife and I drove from Gobabis, in the east of Namibia, to a secluded campsite just 80km east of Windhoek on the C23 to Dordabis. The Stolzenfeld Saloon Campsite was where we stayed for the night and thanks to the rainy season, this part of the Namibian highlands was a scenic wonder. When driving the 5km through a game farm, we saw a lot of wild animals such as Impala and then we drove through the infamous Schaap River until we reached the campsite in the valley.

Luckily for us, when we arrived at the Schaap River, it was bone dry, so crossing it was a breeze. However, that night the weather would bring an unexpected surprise.

We enjoyed the rest of the evening with newly met friends and we were joined by Graeme and Luisa Bell with their two kids, who travel the world in their Land Rover Defender 130 camper conversion.

After enjoying a fun evening, it was time for bed. We slept in the 5-star tents on comfy stretchers. The sturdy canvas tents were a welcome escape from what was to come later that evening. It rained throughout the night.

At about 4am in the morning, my wife said she heard a rumbling noise close by, which she said sounded like running water. I told her it was possibly just the wind but knowing that we had to get up soon afterwards, we got ready to capture a few sunrise photos for our Facebook page. We fetched our gear from the car at about 6am and walked down the valley where we were met with the rumbling sound. The Schaap River was flowing with full force! This obviously created a great scenario for some awesome sunrise shots.

After spending about 2 hours capturing photos, we decided to say goodbye to our friends and head off home. We wanted to take a more scenic route and drove the 287 km gravel road to Gobabis along unmarked tracks.

We drove 12km south east to Dordabis, followed by a short 65km drive to where we got to the first gravel on the short M51. Driving the short distance on the M51, we made a right turn onto the D1790 to get to Gobabis. We drove about 15km on this road just to find a beautiful water pan, created by the recent rains. The pan stretched for about 500m across and looking at the submerged fence poles, we guessed the water levels to be about 1.4m deep in certain areas.

We took some photos of the breathtaking scenery, and as always, we had to put our Landy in the foreground for our Instagram albums.

Note to readers:
When driving this stretch of gravel road, especially with a trailer, keep in mind the terrain is constantly changing. At the start, there was red Kalahari dune sand, which can get very thick and create a crest in the middle of the road with washboards. Following that, is the white limestone gravel with small pebbles and rocks. With all-terrain or mud-terrain tires, these pebbles tend to fly around when lifted by the tread of the tyres. Make sure your trailer is equipped with some sort of stone protector to stop the small stones bouncing around, or you could end up having to replace a windscreen.

Follow this route for about 30km, which is lush and thick with trees and thorn bushes. Be careful of animals jumping out into the road and this route is not recommended for night driving. After another 50km you will get onto the C20 main gravel road and then it’s another 80km to Gobabis.
We certainly had an adventurous and fun weekend where we met some interesting people, took in some breathtaking scenery and scenic countryside. We would certainly recommend everyone visit this vast area of Namibia, especially during the rainy season.

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