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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 18 Apr 2014
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Marienfluss valley to Angola?

Hi

I am planning for another trip across Africa by bicycle and I want to do some remote cycling in Namibia and might give Kaokoland a go. The valleys (Marien & Hartmann ) looks amazing - but I wonder if I have to backtrack after I´ve been there? Or is there any possibillities to cycle (or walk with the bike, several days no problem) along the Kunene river all the way to the C43-road? (where I can go south or continue along the river). Is there any trails at all up there? (It´s hard to see on google maps).

Also wander about to some trekking in the area..? Any information about climbing the highest peak in the Hartmann mountains for exemple?

cheers

Last edited by lostcyclist_com; 18 Apr 2014 at 22:14.
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  #2  
Old 18 Apr 2014
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Join the email list at overland.co.za - far more local knowledge on there than here I suspect. Else I can ask for you if you like.

You may need to cross the border at Ruacana - I assume locals cross all of time west of that, but no known bridge or ability for foreigners to do so etc??. Plenty of crocs in the river (I went kayaking for a few days) so don't swim across ;-)

Remember in this area there are wild animals and they are usually pretty grouchy. The Elephants around here are used to killing people when they see them etc.

I'm sure your well researched so sorry if this is annoying advice, but both sides of the border are pretty remote, extremely hot and dry and 'interesting' as a area to go for a cycle or a walk to say they least. I meet a truck that had ruined 3 of its tyres and had been broken down for 2 days, run out of water and the 5 people were just sitting around hoping something turned up.

Worth getting the Bradt guides if you can.

Obviously go during the 'dry' season. Any time over summer would be suicidal and flooding during the rains might be difficult. Outside of that if your extremely hardy it would be quite an adventure. Good luck!

Last edited by roamingyak.org; 19 Apr 2014 at 02:25.
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  #3  
Old 19 Apr 2014
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Another good and helpful read are Johan Snyman's books on Kaokoland and Damaraland. They are available from T4A in Stellenbosch.

Margaret.

Ruacana is the crossing point into Angola.
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  #4  
Old 21 Apr 2014
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I think you need to do a lot of careful research before heading off along the border region. It's very remote and not all the wildlife is friendly. I think the main concern, apart from getting stranded, would be land mines and other UXO, as this was a battleground between SWAPO and the SADF years ago.

I have a friend who runs Iona National Park who may be able to provide you with some more details if you PM me, but Ruacana seems to be the traditional crossing point. I am also currently hosting an overland cyclist who came up from Namibia to Luanda, so if you stick to the main route it must be possible!
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Old 21 Apr 2014
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Thanks, guys.

First of all: the title may be a little misleading. I plan to cross into Angola at the main border crossing. My question was more about if I have to backtrack from Marienfluss to get to Ruacana and on to Angola OR if it would be possible to cycle (single track totally fine) along the river, on the namibian side, all the way to Ruacana. I really hate backtracking and want to avoid it.

Is there no people living along the shores? If there are people, there will be walking trails too - and walking trails mean it would be possible to cycle/push the bike.

Another option would be to forget about Marienfluss and instead cycle on the C-43 north of Opuwo and then turn of towards the river at Epembe on road D-3701. And then along the river to Ruacana. Map: http://www.gondwana-collection.com/u...12_English.pdf

But it would be cool to try to cycle along the river all the way from Marienfluss, north of Baynes mountains. But maybe it´s just plain stupid becaus of the animals and mines (so there might be mines on the namibian side too..? :-( )

I have a cheap, old computer and it´s hard to see anything on Google Earth.
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  #6  
Old 24 Apr 2014
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Hi there,

If I may jump in...
I am also cycling ( currently in northern SA ) and making my way north to Namibia and hopefully Angola. Also thinking of crossing at Ruacana.
Would you be kind enough to keep us posted and write a brief trip report when you are done ?
Also ozymandias24, any way you can put me in touch with the cyclist you are hosting ?
Cheers,

Levelo.
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  #7  
Old 24 Apr 2014
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I know he posts on this forum. I'll tell him to check out this thread!
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  #8  
Old 24 Apr 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levelo View Post
Hi there,


I am also cycling ( currently in northern SA ) and making my way north to Namibia and hopefully Angola. Also thinking of crossing at Ruacana.
Would you be kind enough to keep us posted and write a brief trip report when you are done ?


Levelo.
Sure! But I think you will be there way before me! I plan to start cycling (from Swakopmund) around 7th-10th september! Then I heading north, hopefully Angola, and then in to Zambia. I will probably hit the rainy season but I ignore that fact right now...

You have one of the most beautiful countries in the world a head of you! Namibia is fantastic, if you leave the mainroad.

Do you have a visa to Angola?
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  #9  
Old 24 Apr 2014
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Hi,
Joining into the thread here - just came from Namibia Kaokoland by bicycle.
You can follow the river heading from Outapi or Ruacana town down the hill which takes you to a Dam and Hippo Pools community campsite. Watch out for the crocodiles in the campsite at night. I slept in the bathrooms.

The tar ends there and you have about 35km to the Kunene River Lodge on some fairly nasty rocky road with some real sinister climbs. It's hot, there is no clean water around, and in rainy season you will find yourself knee or chest deep in water depending on the path you take. I never drank from the rivers.

From the lodge you can head further west following the river for another 100km, which by bicycle will probably take 2-3 days - the road is far worse than the stretch you had just taken. 8km from Kunene River Lodge is a junction which puts you on a reasonable road with 2-3 rivers to cross depending on time of year. One you'll definitely have to get off and push, the others you can race down the hills and try to roll through. The next junction about 50km away lets you go right, taking you to another waterfall (which is where you'd end up if you followed the river track) or left into Opuwo. Recently graded and 80km to town where you can get more supplies from the grocery store. You aren't going to find many people along the way and supplies are gong to be very limited. There is a nice borehole on the way to Opuwo but that is the only one I saw in about 300km while touring through the area.

Sorry I don't have route numbers handy, but heading further south and west after Opuwo is possible where with varying road conditions, 10-12% grades and more rivers to cross. I don't know anyone who has made it to the coast from that side, most usually go around Etoshas west side and end back up heading towards Damaraland. Good luck and stay hydrated.
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  #10  
Old 25 Apr 2014
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In 2011 we travelled up to the Epupa Falls north of Opuwo and did some hiking there. The footpath leading westwards along the Kunene peters out after about 2 kms. The footpaths which the locals use all lead into the countryside, away from the Kunene. The trail going westwards is probably mainly from the tourists who want to walk to the bottom of the waterfall.

On the "Wilddogs" bike forum in SA is a RR about a mc trip along the Kunene from Ruacana to the mouth of the river, where they also warn about landmines on the angolan side. See here Angola, it's not like they said.

Good luck!
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Old 27 Apr 2014
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Originally Posted by roamingyak.org View Post
Join the email list at overland.co.za - far more local knowledge on there than here I suspect. Else I can ask for you if you like.
Well.... Yes, can you do that? And share the information with us in this thread? Cheers!

Quote:
The Elephants around here are used to killing people when they see them etc.
Do you have some links to some of those incidents?

Quote:
I think the main concern, apart from getting stranded, would be land mines and other UXO, as this was a battleground between SWAPO and the SADF years ago.
So there might be mines on the Namibian side too? I mean - Angola is unfamous for mines, but Namibia..?

Tiredofit & Vaufi - thanks a lot! Great!
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  #12  
Old 27 Apr 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostcyclist_com View Post
Thanks, guys.
First of all: the title may be a little misleading. I plan to cross into Angola at the main border crossing. My question was more about if I have to backtrack from Marienfluss to get to Ruacana and on to Angola OR if it would be possible to cycle (single track totally fine) along the river, on the namibian side, all the way to Ruacana. I really hate backtracking and want to avoid it.
I have a cheap, old computer and it´s hard to see anything on Google Earth.
As others said above, possible to make it in a Land Rover along the river from Ruacana to Epupa Falls in the dry season or vice versa. Rough, but nice, you need to carry all you need and treat anything else found along the way as a bonus. Good stuff available at the Falls in the camps for high prices.
Epupa Falls - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the wet you'll be swimming rather than cycling. Enjoy the croc's.

Get on a better computer and make detailed gps notes with google earth and the various gps maps available....
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  #13  
Old 27 Apr 2014
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Originally Posted by lostcyclist_com View Post
Do you have some links to some of those incidents?
Not much internet or news up that way. Or electricity, or phones. What happens in the bush tends to stay in the bush unless it involves a foreign tourist then its world news.

I know this from the sadness I experienced in one of the communities I stayed in, as an 11 year old had been killed the week before by an elephant. They said it happens every so often.

A guide at another of the community camps also spoke of teenagers being killed the year before - smashed to death as they tried to hide in a thicket bush.

It's a bloody hard place to live!
The Desert Elephant - YouTube
Elephants in the Namib desert - Wild Africa - BBC - YouTube

Go Austin you hero! ;-p
Austin Stevens - In Search of Desert Giants (Full Documentary) HD - YouTube
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Old 27 Apr 2014
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Originally Posted by lostcyclist_com View Post
Well.... Yes, can you do that? And share the information with us in this thread? Cheers!
Can you kindly articulate the questions you want answered please, then happy to do so... - cycling Africa is hard work from what i saw whizzing past in my landy ;-p
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Old 27 Apr 2014
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Thanks.

Quote:
Can you kindly articulate the questions you want answered please, then happy to do so...
:-) I wonder if there are any trails or foot path from northern end of Marienfluss Valley to Epupa Falls/Road c-43. Vaufi above said he didnt see any though.

It may be possible to do it anyway though. Okey, if there are deep gorges or very soft sand...very hard. But if its quite flat... I could push my bike for a week, not so fun, but rewarding afterwards. There are water in the river and I would bring food for a couple of weeks. I carried food for 50 days on my bicycle in Kunlun mountains a few years ago. We pushed our bikes for days and days across several roadless 5000m passes in snow, didnt talk to anyone for 38 days etc. It may be something similar here. Only sun instead of ice, and sand instead of snow. And 10 days instead of 38.
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