Winter 2023-2024


Route:  Namibia – Angola – Namibia – Botswana – Südafrika – Namibia

km driven in just under 6 months: 17,000 km

Preparation and entry into Angola

We arrange to meet Jutta & Gerd who want to try to drive with us through the „Iona N.P.“ in southern Angola with their huge Kat truck. Nobody can give us exact information about the accessibilty of the slopes. So let‘s go. We are perfectly prepared with our satellite phone and good road maps. Both vehicles are technical in good condition! Our Toyo is even getting a new set of tires, as the supply of spare parts is much worse in Angola than in Namibia.

der Kat und der Toyota
der Kat und der Toyota
der erste Übernachtungsplatz am Kunene in Angola
der erste Übernachtungsplatz am Kunene in Angola

We are lucky: on October 1st the e-visa requirement for us Europeans will be lifted. So, fully bunkered, we use the small western border crossing at the Ruacana Waterfalls. Drinking water, beer and food must be enough for at least 10 days! Above all, the diesel tanks are filled to the brim, as there is only one small gas stationbehind the border which usually does not have diesel. For days, locals wait in line in front of the gas pump with their cars. 1 liter of diesel costs the equivalent of € 0,17 which makes smuggling into Namibia very lucrativ.

The „Iona N.P.“

The park is huge and one of the loneliest and most difficult parks to navigate in southern Africa. Barely populated, it stretches along the Kunene River and marks the border with Namibia. As an extension of the Skeleton Coast, it ends in a dune landscape on the Angolan Atlantic coast. According to the civil war (1975 – 2002), the wild animals unfortunately fell victim of the hungry population and poaching is still very wide spread.

The park is huge and one of the loneliest and most difficult parks to navigate in southern Africa. Barely populated, it stretches along the Kunene River and marks the border with Namibia. As an extension of the Skeleton Coast, it ends in a dune landscape on the Angolan Atlantic coast. According to the civil war (1975 – 2002), the wild animals unfortunately fell victim of the hungry population and poaching is still very wide spread.

Adventurous, strenuous slopes

There is another challenge for the truck:

Jutta often has to jump out of the vehicle with the handy electric Stihl chainsaw and cut down thick branches or even the occasional tree! She should have been a forester!

It takes us 7 days to cover 700 km, driving between  5-7 hours every day!
Our ultimate goal: we don‘t want to slash our new tires on the sometimes very sharp- edged, stoney slopes. A real driving challenge for the truck which does not fit into the track width.
It‘s good that Gerd has trial driving experience , otherwise the trip would have ended a couple of times already. The tires have lost a lot of tread but they have held up well!

„Colina Canyon“

Finally, after a week on the now relaxing desert tracks, we reach our destination, the impressive „Colina Canyon“ with its rocks and sandstone formations! We are thrilled!

We spend the night here surrounded by this „moon landscape“.
The dry „lake Arko“ with the bizarre rock arches (Arko) is just around the corner which we of course also take a look at.

The wonderful secluded beaches on the Atlantic coast invite us to go wild camping. We enjoy swimming in the warm sea. The people, when we meet them, are friendly and helpful. We feel totally safe.

Starter motor or battery

Unfortunately we have problems with our starter motor or are the almost new batteries defect?

So we decide to drive straight to the next larger town, Lubango. In a chinese workshop they try to help us with a new starter battery but without success. None fits into the limited space. Hans has anyways the feeling that our starter motor has to be overhauled after 17 years. But no one believes him!

The cheap diesel means that our car suddenly starts to stutter and looses power rapidly.

Both filters are totally dirty. The Toyota workshop in Lubango offers us a good price. We have the diesel system and the dirty diesel tank cleaned. The starter is taken apart and cleaned so that the car starts again straight away. So it wasn‘t the batteries after all!


From Lubango  we drive down the magnificient „Sabo de Leba“ pass at 1845 m above sea level to Lobito, a somewhat run- down town  by the sea. The campsite is closed so that we stay next to the „Alfa-Beachbar. The owner is super nice and helpful. We can use all facilities and the pizza is excellent. In the evening the beach volleyball players meet here for training – multicultural, black and white, man and women. We enjoy the relaxed atmosphere with a good cocktail.

Der erste Drink an der Beach
Der erste Drink an der Beach

Even two whales swim along the beach just in front of us. The water depth is getting deep very close to the beach. Impressive – just as ordered for us.

Coffee planations

From Wembele we drive along a road marked as picturesque on the map. The climate there is pleasantly cool but also very humid. Bananas, any kind of tropical fruits, bizarre flowers, tobacco and coffee grow here.
On a coffee farm we meet the first foreign overland travelers since 2 weeks – a couple from Switzerland and one from France. Angola is not yet prepared for individual travelers which suits us very well.

The supply is therfore not always easy. Many families here are very poor and therefore self- sufficient, especially as fisherman. In the barely bigger towns we have to do our shopping in the Shoprite supermarket. Who knows when we will get the next opportunity? We are always able to buy onions, potatoes and chicken but rarely fresh fruits or vegetables. We then regularly end up at the hot counter where homemade food is offered. The stews, grilled chicken pieces or vegetable stir-fries are usually very tasty! Our kitchen stays cold more often – quite easy going.

The rainy season starts a little bit earlier than expected in the mountains so that we drive back to the coast. We spend a couple of days again at the „Alfa Beachbar“ together with the swiss couple and Jutta & Gerd.

30–days Angola Visa expires!

Actually we all want to travel further up north. But it turns out that the information we received upon entry regarding the extension of our 30– days visa was incorrect. In the country we can not extend it.

krasse Kriegserinnerung
und auch hier immer wieder Kriegsrelikte

We have to turn back to an immigration office to the border. The very friendly officials in the city of Benguela apologize to us that their restructured program is not yet running properly.

So we have to go back to the border of Namibia. It‘s a shame because we would have liked to stay longer. A lot will definitely change in the next few months as Angola is of course also hoping for tourists.

Since our Toyota starts well again we drive the lonely route and track that leads along the beach. It is now almost completely tarred.

ein gebrochener Bolzen wird "bandagiert"
ein gebrochener Bolzen wird „bandagiert“

We enjoy two more days on the „Praia Pipas“ where we get to know Alexander, a lively anaesthesiologist from Belarus and a few Ukrainians who come to the coast over the weekend from Lubango to party and kite surf.  At the end we see on the horizon a large group of dolphins. It must be thousand of them. The sea seams to be boiling!

Departure from Angola in „Santa Clara“

One day before our visa expires we reach the infamous „Santa Clara“ main border crossing.

5 years ago we had to take this border. It was the only border that tourists could take to enter Angola with an e-visa. It is also the largest and the most important for commercial traffic.

Since we know the chaotic conditionswe contact a „fixer“ who is supposted to guide us through the various border procedures. Dozan, his name, is already waiting for us and is trying hard to keep away invading crookes who don‘t inspire confidence.

The exit papers are quickly stamped and we continue to the Namibian side. Ozan jumps on our bumper for the next 500 mtr.because it starts to rain.

Our fixer is being arrested

As we stop in front of the immigration building two very unfriendly guys in uniform storm towards us and brutally arrest Ozan right away. Despite protesting that he is together with us he is taken away immediately. We are shocked and try to locate him in the surrounding buildings. He just calls for help via Whatsapp – „help me, help me!“ – then his phone is taken away.

We are frustrated not able to help him. A little bit later one of the unfriendly uniformed man told us to complete the entry formalities ourselves. No sooner said than done – we want to get out of here as soon as possible. Who knows what is behind this action.

On the namibian side we try again to contact Ozan but without success. We describe the situation again with a detailed explanationin English – maybe it will help him!

He is released a couple of hours later. Apparently the uniformed men were drunk. In any case we are relieved.

Corrupt border guards

A few weeks later we find the explanation. In a Namibian newspaper this border crossing is described as „extremely corrupt“. The article was sent as a petition by the citizens of the border town to the Namibian government.

The explanation: the border officials have been randomly arresting local legal border crossers for years to accuse them of smuggling, illegal work etc. … In this way they collect „ransom money“ – probably a very worthwhile „business“.

We must have found ourselves in the middle of such a situation. In any case – this experience stays with us for quite a while so that we warned other travelers about it.

Hans gets Malaria

In the Etosha N.P. with lots of animal sightings and at the large pool in Tsumeb everything is quickly forgotten!

Unfortunately the relaxation does not last long.
We both caught a bad cold. For Hans the Corona rapid test is positiv. Well, medication and resting in the hammock are probably the best.

During the night Hans condition is getting worse dramatically. 40°C fever and hallucination makes me scared. At 4 a.m. I immediately pack up our awning and bring him straight into the nearby private hospital. Luckily we know it from previous PCR tests.

Diagnosis: Malaria Falciparum or Tropica, the worst and often deadliest variant! Maybe Corona was also involed which didn‘t make us suspicious in advance.

Hans lacht schon wieder!
Hans lacht schon wieder!

Fortunately he is treated intensively for three days – routine in this clinic. In the north on Namibiaan increasing number of cases have appeared, especially coming from Angola. Even though the rainy season has not yet started. That‘s why we didn‘t think prophylaxis was necessary. You live and learn!
The swiss couple with the Landy were also hit – luckily just one of them

For one week we rent a nice room in a guesthouse with a beautiful garden where Hans recovers very fast. A stand – up man!
We get rapid malaria tests (we did not know that this is existing) from the local pharmacist who already knows us very well! We also get tablets for emergency treatment for the first 48 hours.  During this time you have to reach a clinic to avoid long-term consequences!
We can live and travel further with these helpful experiences and medication and feel responsible to inform other travelers.

We are now changing our further travel plans going further up north into the Caprivi strip. It is also Malaria region.
Therefore we cross an eastern border into Botswana heading towards Maun.

Hans ist wieder gesund!
Hans ist wieder gesund!
Malaria follow-up treatment in Maun

In Maun we visit the Swiss air rescue service which we know from previous years. We want to get follow-up treatment advices from Mischa, the dedicated emergency doctor, and her husband Christian. As they have both living here for a long time and therefore have a lot of experience with malaria.

After our description Mischa is amazed and immediately sends Hans to the next laboratory. As it turns out the red blood cells are still severely affected (Anemia). There are still agressive parasites in his blood. A shock for all of us!

Hans, the phenomenon

After two courses of treatment with variuos medications and some more blood tests Mischa is relieved. The blood tests look clean.
She can‘t believe until the end that Hans doesn‘t suffer any further damage (e.g. kidney failure …)
All values are great!
Her saying every time we visit her: „Hans, you are a phenomen for me!“
We become friends and are thrilled at how well and intensively Mischa looked after Hans!
How lucky we are

South African Atlantic coast

Now we do not want to put any more strain on this and are taking a moderate route to the South African Atlantic coast.

am Oranje River durch die Vineyards
am Oranje River durch die Vineyards

We are looking forward for cool fresh sea breezes, good seafood (crayfish) and relaxation.

With our German traveling friends Barbara and Paul we spend a few lovely days in Port Nolloth with good seafood and ocean view!
Very relaxed we decide that we all four are ready for a little new adventure again. We recommend to drive the „Holgat River Trail“ we did a couple of years ago.

In soft river sand with reduced tire pressure the vehicles dig through deep sand. After a day and a half we reach the „Bakkrans Cave“ where we take a day of rest.We enjoy the tracks along the Oranje River, crossing border at „Alexander Bay“ into Namibia and into the southern wine region.

In Lüderitz we know our special crayfish supplier where we buy a whole box! No problem! The chef at the BBQ is ready!

At the waterhole on the way up north we encounter herds of Oryx antilopes, ostriches and the famous desert horses. On the way to Windhoek we are witnesses of a murderous thunderstorm at „Kronenhof Lodge“ –  with wonderful spectacular views and rainbows

Impressions of our Tour 2022 – 2023: Botswana (Moremi) – Zambia ( South & North Luangwa):