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Deep in Kaokoland (Photo Diary)

After driving up a dry river bed and accidentally scaring the hell out of unsuspecting animals, we got a taste of our own medicine when we were snuck up on by a band of Himba men bearing spears and axes.

Lula the Landy cruising down a dry sandy river bed, near Purros, Kaokoland, Namibia.

Using our hand held Garmin and Tracks4Africa map we agreed to drive up the dry sandy river bed instead of taking the bone-shaking, corrugated road.

 

Trees and shrubs on a dry river bed near Purros, Kaokoland, Namibia.

We were warned of flash floods and to be ready to reverse from aggressive elephants.

 

Wild Springbok on the Hoarusib dry river bed, near Purros, Kaokoland, Namibia.

Surprised animals scattered in front of us as we made fresh tracks on the Hoarusib river bed.

 

Wild Springbok running from us on the Hoarusib dry river bed, near Purros, Kaokoland, Namibia.

Pronking springboks left us for dust.

 

Wild Ostriches running from os on the Hoarusib dry river bed, near Purros, Kaokoland, Namibia.

In their panic, these poor ostriches didn't move off to the side but ran right in front, madly shaking their tail feathers. They reminded us of Irish river dancers with their bodies and necks barely swaying while their legs frantically kicked to get away.

 

A wild giraffe on the Hoarusib dry river bed, near Purros, Kaokoland, Namibia.

"Nobody knows the troubles I've had." sighed the leggy, yet still miserable, giraffe.

 

A wild gemsbok running away from us on the Hoarusib dry river bed, near Purros, Kaokoland, Namibia.

There's something distinctly samurai-esque about gemsbok, don't you think?

 

A vulture soaring above us on the Hoarusib dry river bed, near Purros, Kaokoland, Namibia.

We wonder if as many vultures would follow us if we were driving a Toyota.

 

A Himba hut made from trees near Purros, Kaokoland, Namibia.

Himba hoose.

 

A Himba herd of cows near Purros, Kaokoland, Namibia.

Himba herd.

 

Lula the Landy on a dry river bed near Purros, Kaokoland, Namibia.

Our tracks were the only ones there.

 

Lachlan sitting on his camping chair and playing guitar just past a Himba settlement called Orupembe on the bed of a dry nameless stream. Kaokoland, Namibia.

We bush camped just past a Himba settlement called Orupembe on the bed of a dry nameless stream.

 

The Vagabond Adventures with their camp setup just past a Himba settlement called Orupembe on the bed of a dry nameless stream. Kaokoland, Namibia.

(This picture was taken on a timer. We were not posing at all. Except maybe Bow Wow who was pretending to pick up a scent.) Himbas live on mielie meal and meat. There simply was no fresh food available unless we wanted to purchase an entire cow, sheep or goat. With our store cupboard rapidly diminishing I had to get creative and made a surprisingly tasty (in our ravenous state) pasta with tuna, cheesy marmite and chakalaka.

 

A large monitor-lizard just past a Himba settlement called Orupembe on the bed of a dry nameless stream. Kaokoland, Namibia.

This large monitor-lizard eyed up Bow Wow like a delectable nibble. We hoped to find grub soon before we started feeling the same way.

 

A Moringa tree just past a Himba settlement called Orupembe on the bed of a dry nameless stream. Kaokoland, Namibia.

We are pretty sure that this charming dessert tree is called a Moringa.

 

A large baobab near Mount Okamanga. Kaokoland, Namibia.

A large baobab near Mount Okamanga.

 

A cow skull in front of Lula the Landy just past a Himba settlement called Orupembe on the bed of a dry nameless stream. Kaokoland, Namibia.

I wanted to take this cow skull with us but sadly it still had a fringe and some wriggling maggots inside.

 

A Himba pen for keeping livestock, Kaokoland, Namibia.

This encircled enclosure made of thorn branches is a Himba pen for keeping livestock. We stopped for lunch and to have a look around.

 

The edge of the Himba pen for keeping livestock made from Acacia thorn bushes, Kaokoland, Namibia.

We thought that we were perfectly alone. However, as we approached the car to leave, three generations of Himba men appeared, as if from nowhere, bearing spears and axes.

 

A Himba man hacking at ox skulls in preparation for a Himba burial. Kaokoland, Naimbia.

They couldn't speak any English but managed to communicate that they were hacking at ox skulls in preparation for a Himba burial.

 

A Himba male standing tall with his tied skirt and jewellery, Kaokoland, Namibia.

Natural selection through the ages has carved the Himbas impressive physiques.

 

A group of Himba men with their tiered skirts and jewellery, Kaokoland, Namibia.

Their tiered skirts are made simply using two pieces of fabric, one for the front and one for the back. These are held in elaborate ruffles with a belt.

 

A single Himba male with hair in a mohawk-ish braid, Kaokoland, Namibia.

Single Himba men wear their hair in a mohawk-ish braid called an ‘ondatu’. The longer the tail at the back, the longer they have been waiting for the right girl. Clearly, this dudes getting desperate.

 

Himba burial site. Kaokoland, Namibia.

Himba burial site.

 

Himba grave stone at burial site. Kaokoland, Namibia.

Death of the physical body is not the end for the Himba. They believe that the deceased stays on in the homestead for generations.

 

Ox skulls with horns in a tree at Himba grave site, Kaokoland, Namibia.

Each of these ox skulls placed in a tree represent one hundred cows owned by the deceased.

 

Lachlan playing guitar at the camp site on the Ombuku river bed, Kaokoland, Namibia.

After the graves we hit a crazily bad road with sharp rocks that ripped chunks out of our tyres. In one section, the map told us that "Grown Himba man acts to throw stones." but thankfully it must have been his day off. Again we bush camped, this time on the Ombuku river bed. We could hear music and laughter coming from a nearby Himba settlement well after the sun had dropped below the trees.

 

Himba herd of cows, Kaokoland, Namibia.

Himbas own about 60 cows each and they know all of their animals individually. These ones looked delicious.

 

Himba girl with her herd of cows on the way to Epupa Falls, Kaokoland, Nambia.

We were so sick of chakalaka, we considered buying a cow from this Himba herds girl and strapping it to our roof.


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8 Responses to “Deep in Kaokoland (Photo Diary)”

  1. Craig says:

    I love the Jesus look lachy.

  2. What an awsome place to have visited with amazing people photographed. I wish Lucy and Lachlan all of the best with their future adventures

  3. humza says:

    I really want to appreciate your efforts to explore such marvelous world. I have sent the link of this site many of friends and family members. We are all waiting for the next posts like the next part of a tv drama. Himba like old tribe you can also found in India.

  4. Thank you! The Himbas are truly extraordinary people and we felt very lucky to be able to experience their culture. One of our biggest dreams is to travel in India. Maybe we will meet you there one day! The Himbas love dogs but on our travels through Africa Bow Wow has not always received such a warm welcome (dogs are not really kept as pets but for protection, hunting etc.) – how do you think Bow Wow will go down in India?

  5. Jasper says:

    Hi there,coincedentally i stumbled onto your site,very nice pictures and possitive reflection of our country,people and your voyage.
    I live and work here North and South of Opuwo in the Kaokoland.
    Let me know when you or anyone you know needs some advise or assistance,i will be glad to be of any help!
    Regards
    Jasper Uys
    Kaokoland mining and exploration cc
    PO Box 120
    Opuwo
    Cell: +264813707193 (When in network,mainly weekends)

  6. Hi Jasper,
    That is so kind! We fell in love with Namibia, our best experience so far and hope to visit again someday.
    When we do, we’ll be in touch!
    Many thanks,
    Lucie, Lachlan & BIG licks from Bow Wow

  7. I’m envious. This seems like such an interesting place. I’ll be sure to share this.

  8. Moringa Oleifera Plant says:

    Great work! Very good photos!

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