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Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

ME
Level Contributor
49 posts
28 reviews
Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

Going to a 3 weeks selfdrive (2x2) during September with my son.

1. any recomendation about Sesriem Balloning? is it really worse (as it can't be over the dunes)?

2. As we have two nights (3 days) in Damaraland on the way from

Swakopmund to Opuwo does it make sense to select only Twyfelfontein and Palmwag area?

any recommendation for accommondation in the area?

shall we use C34+C39 or C35 +C39?

3. going south from Epupa to Okaukuejo; it looks that it can't be done in one day, as Hobatere Lodge is full on that night; any recommendation where to stay on the way?

4 any additional advice is mostly welcome

our general plan is

1 night in Windhoek

2 nights in Sesriem

3 Swakopmund

2 Damaraland

2 Opuwo + Himba

2 Epupa

6 Etosha

1 Windhoek

Thanks

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
40,063 posts
452 reviews
1. Re: Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

Slow down.

2. Stick to one. My suggestion Palmwag

Coast road C34/39 more interesting but C35 a better road.

3. This road, C35, is being tarred. (You are really going up to Epupa in 2 wheel drive?)

Pity about Hobatere but there are other Lodges along this stretch. Go through Kamanjab to Huab lodge or Ondundu on C35.

General advice? Again. Slow down.

But if you must , why not go to Epupa first and do Opuwo on the way back

OR

6 from Epupa swing around the north of Etosha on B1 and come in to Etosha via Andoni or Namutoni. then exit via Anderson Gate to windhoek which is an easy day.

ME
Level Contributor
49 posts
28 reviews
2. Re: Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

Hello Mfuwe; Thabk you for your valueable advices.

I belive that my plan is a Slow one; 3 weeks center/north only.

Any specific place in Palmwag ?

Can I do Swakopmund to Palmwag in one day ?

I read that the D3700 to Epupa is OK for 2 wheel drive; isn't it? (Iplan going south on the D3700 too).

My first night in Etosh is Okaukuejo (Naumutoni was full that day) so I planed using C35 south rather than B1

going to Epupa befor Opuwo means going from Palmwag to Epupa in one day which looks too long.

Thank again

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
40,063 posts
452 reviews
3. Re: Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

Hello again,

Not knocking it but of your 19 nights, 2 are in windhoek, 3 in Swakop and 6 in Etosha. That makes 11 of your 19 gone on reasonable roads. Personally unless experienced I would suggest to made Sesfontein your turning point. Stay a couple of nights there and take an excursion into the river bed or, if budget permits, there is a nice camp on the Hoanib river I believe (they will pick you up from Sesfontein as you will not get there in your own car.) You may then find space at Hobatere on other nights.

To your questions.

Palmwag. Folks give good reviews about Rhino Camp and so they should for that kind of money. I find Palmwag Lodge just as acceptable, using their excursion vehicle and we found Rhino and Elephant.

Swakopmund to Palmwag in one day ? Yes coming up C35 to Khorixas then West and North via Damaraland Camp. Do not be tempted to cut off the corner

D3700? In 2005 this was strictly 4x4, with 2 vehicles and carrying provisions. I may be out of date but until then I would not risk it in normal saloon.

I am not the best person to advise on this bit and obviously if Epupa is off limits for you in 2WD then the last question Palmwag-Epupa becomes academic also..

Please do not underestimate this area. It is beautiful but very inhospitable.

Again you do not state your experience in this type of terrain.

Any views Peter?

ME
Level Contributor
49 posts
28 reviews
4. Re: Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

Thank you Mfuwe again;

I have only little experience in this type of terrain.

I asked some different people about D3700 Opuwo-Epupa-Opuwo by 2x2 - the reply was that with slow 1 1/2 hourse driving it is OK, I'll appriciate any comments on that.

I'll certainly try Rhino Camp and Palmwag Lodge.

Thank you again and any recommendation are mostly welcome.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
40,063 posts
452 reviews
5. Re: Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

HP.

You have prompted me to enquire more and I will get back to you.

But for now be aware Opuwo to Epupa by 3700 is 185km.

On tar this would take more than 90 mins.

You would be looking at 3 hours on 'good' gravel (60kmph).

I am not sure your sources are correct. (Unless things have improved massively in the last few years.

I suggest you get a copy of the Bradt guide to Namibia. It is written by the MD of a UK tour company (Sunvil) who knows the area well.

Last December (2006) I went up to Sesfontein, from Khorixas, Damaraland Camp and Palmwag in standard Corolla and believe me it is not for the fainthearted.

ME
Level Contributor
49 posts
28 reviews
6. Re: Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

Thank you again Mfuwe;

I wouldn't dare going without the Bradt guide and the Footprint . the latest reprint i found was Feb 2006 but it is actually a 2003 edition - he explaine that Kaokolands require 4x4 but I plan doing only D3700 Opuwo-Epupa-Opuwo and emails I received from Opuwo and Epupa camps say that 2x2 is ok for that road (hope they do not wait for my heritage)

you are right; Opuwo to Epupa by 3700 is 185km and 3-4 hours looks more realistic for.

anybody can refer to it?

" Last December (2006) I went up to Sesfontein, from Khorixas, Damaraland Camp and Palmwag in standard Corolla and believe me it is not for the fainthearted" which was the bad one? c43 or c39? as from Palmwag i can go north with c43 via Sesfontein or the longer way c40+c35+c41.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
40,063 posts
452 reviews
7. Re: Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

Still awaiting news on far north.

To answer your latest question. C35 in no real problem. (All these roads do vary from time to time so this is relative.)

My route to Sesfontein was Khorixas, west along C39, through awesome scenery quite like Monument Valley Utah. But instead of the good the bad and the ugly there were only springbok and giraffe. No sign of Mr Eastwood. Very lonely, few cars and I do not recall seeing any 'Gas' stations. And this is the easy bit!

After passing Damaraland Camp the road swings north passed the Petrified forest etc., and then there is another 50 km to Palmwag and 'the fence'. Palmag is a little to the west of this junction and then Sesfontein is another 110km further on. From Khorixas the road was loose gravel in fair condition until after Palmwag and by Sesfontein it was very loose. North of there I did not go and the map looks very uninviting. I am well habituated to African roads but admit to some apprehension on this ride.

From Palmwag the road east to Kamanjab is reasonable with tar over the pass where you can refuel just before the Police checkpoint and turn left up C35 again. This was being tarred last December and may well be open now but when I was up there it was all closed and you were on the 'old' dirt road. I went as far as Hobatere. (You are missing a treat here). From then on you should follow C35 to C41 for Opuwo. This is probably doable in 2WD but as you know I have serious doubts from there on.

Do seek up to date advice and be aware of the total desolation of this area. Back home a puncture is a mere inconvenience. Out there it could be life threatening.

I was hoping someone else would pick this thread up but they seem to be away.

When do you depart?

ME
Level Contributor
49 posts
28 reviews
8. Re: Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

Thank you agian Mfuwe for your info;

We are going on Sep 10.

As I wrote; emails from Epupa Camp state that that part is OK for 2x2 so I made reservations.

Is there any type of car's road service in namibia?

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
40,063 posts
452 reviews
9. Re: Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

Roadside service?

there is no AAA or RAC type outfit.

You can use 'bush mechanics' if you can find one but conventional wisdom is ring Rental co and ask for instructions. You will need a Namibian mobile and hope to blazes there is a signal (which I doubt away from a 'town'. You HAVE checked your route with your Rental company? As you go on 10th this is all a bit late.

Take at least two spare tires, reserve fuel (you will be in low gears and this makes the car thirsty) and plenty of bottled drinking water. Never let the main tank go below half empty. Hope you have not asked for an automatic transmission.

I am sure that if Lodge says it is Ok it will be. Just be aware of the conditions at all times, take it slow and steady, leave plenty daylight in reserve and do NOT drive at night.

A useful precaution would be to contact your next stop before setting out so they can expect you. Then if you do not show up they can be alerted. If you have "Google Earth" take a look at what the terrain looks like!

Good luck. If something comes back to me I will pass it on.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
40,063 posts
452 reviews
10. Re: Balloonig and C34 or C35 advice

Got a response.

"As for taking a Corolla up to Epupa it's a little bit risky - if it rains it is impossible - If it stays dry then no problem at all."

So unless you hit unseasonal rain it looks Ok.

A report on your return would be appreciated.