Tuesday, July 16, 2019 | Zambia – Lusaka Province, Lusaka | Petra
EXPLORING THE CAPRIVI STRIP
June 01 – 30 | Our supplies of food are well stocked, the tanks are filled and we are ready for our journey to the north of Namibia. The Caprivi Strip is our main interest this time, after we’ve missed it last year. Before that, however, we would like to pay a visit to the Waterberg, a memorable place in German colonial history.
THE BATTLE OF WATERBERG
Standing alone in the middle of the dry, flat landscape, east of Otjiwarongo with an altitude of 200 meters – the Waterberg.
Due to the Battle of Wartenberg on August 11, 1904 between Herero and the German Schutzgruppe for German Southwest Africa and their native allies the mountain was sadly important. Read about either here or on the tables of the historical path on site.
On a guided morning walk up to the plateau, we learn from our guide, a young Herero, more about today’s importance of the table mountain and the fauna and flora of the area. All sorts of wild animals and even rhinos are at home here.
He is called Waterberg because the sandstone of the mountain absorbs the rainwater (if there is rain) like a sponge. The water seeps down and escapes at the edge of the mountain at springs. Since 1972, this table mountain is the Waterberg Plateau Park.
A few days we stay here in this quite lonely area and enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the here and now.
OLDER THAN DIRT
Almost 300 kilometers northeast of the Waterberg, we visit the famous Hoba meteorite in the Otavi mountains on our way to the Caprivi-Strip. It is the largest meteorite ever discovered on Earth.
In the 1920s, the owner of the Hoba farm accidentally came upon this iron colossus while plowing.
Weight: exactly 50 to 60 tons.
Age: precisely 190 to 410 million years.
Time of his impact on Earth: on the dot about 80,000 years ago
Since then he is here, so we can take a closer look at him.
We are very impressed by so much mass.
Of course, our itinerary also makes a detour to the Etosha Park further west. And as everywhere in Namibia, we also meet here the consequences of the failed rainy season.
The dirt roads and plains are dust-dry, the scrub is withered, most of the waterholes are dried up and the wildlife makes itself scarce. Only at the big waterholes animals can still quench their thirst. We wait patiently for them to appear on the scene individually or in whole herds.
ANOTHER VERSION OF NAMIBIA
As soon as we drive a good 400 kilometers northeast to Rundu the situation changes and we experience a Namibia as we haven’t seen it before. The great Okavango River, border river between Namibia and Angola, spoils us with green vegetation and reed-covered shores.
However, a scrutinizing look at our tires blurs this picturesque idyll. Especially our left front tire shows an uneven wear which became worse during the last few days on the road. We turn it over in our mind and decide to drive back to Windhoek for safety’s sake. We want to get the tires and shock absorbers checked by an expert and, if necessary, have them replaced. We don’t dare to continue our tour with the risk of a greater damage in the end.
With new shock absorbers and correctly aligned tires, we return to the Okavango River and continue where we left off five days ago.
Majestic Okavango River flows slowly past us. There is no rush. From the highlands of Bié in Angola, he makes his 1,700 kilometer flow through the Caprivi Strip to Botswana, where he pours into the expanse of the Okavango Delta and finally disappears into the deep Kalahari sands.
Maybe we are wrong, but it seems to us as if the people up here are happier and more relaxed than in the south of the country. Could it be that the drought doesn’t dominate them that much? We really do not know and we are just happy about the friendly atmosphere around us.
We enjoy the tranquility of the area and do it like the Okavango River does. We let the time flow by. There is no rush.
NO BREAKFAST WITH ELEPHANTS
As much as we wish, we just do not see any elephants. Hippos are our daily companions on the rivers of the Caprivi Strip, but the elephants are probably traveling somewhere else. There is no difference at Kwando River in the Zambezi region to wat it was like a few days ago at Okavango River.
Nevertheless, there is enough to see and admire. We study the smaller animals and watch the smooth flight of the african fish eagle, the graceful wading jacana in the shallow water or the swift fluttering of the pied kingfisher. Watching birds is a lot of fun.