Kaokoland via Van Zyls Pass

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biggles
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Kaokoland via Van Zyls Pass

Post by biggles » 25 Mar 2017 09:32

Part 1

So Zan Zyls has always been on the bucket list and the Kaokoland in general. I have the Troll in Namibia as I am using it as a launching board into the Okovango and Pans in April. A public holiday and an opportunity to take a few days off in a slow period at work meant I cleared away 4 days to go exploring. Armed with the latest tracks4africa I was all planned.

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One problem is I have no friends... :confused: or at least ones that wanted to do 1630km in 4 days. So it was going to be a solo trip. In the days coming up to the departure date I had many pieces of advice from people that had done the pass and knew the area but a common theme was "don't do it alone". Clearly they were not familiar with patrols and they all drove fortunas and Land Cruisers (so basically pussies). :rolling: Fuel was an issue as I had no reference for fuel consumption in the bundu. So I packed two extra jerry cans to the 3 I have on the rear bumper for a total of 235l onboard :lol:


So the day arrived and I was off from the mine and in Kamanjap by 7. Stayed at the Oppi Koppi camp and being StPaddies day and the Irish blood and what not... and a group of hunters, lots of Jamesons, home made wors and lots of bullshit stories the following day started slowly... slowly with a headache and it was extremely bright.

Kamanjap to Opuwo (last piont for fuel and civilisation). The road from Opuwo is washed out in a couple of places and the crossing of the Hoarusib was washed away and water flowing. I had to go downstream to find a crossing piont. From Etanga it is a rough track. I made it to the Van Zyls Pass community camp site by 4ish and set up camp. The camp has 3 places and was pleasantly surprised as everything is in keeping with the surroundings. Each has a flush tiolet, bathroom shower and sink with donkey hot water. All in mediocre state of repair but enough to be comfortable and usable. I picked up a camp mate in the form of a half starved dog that stole half my boerwors of the grid :surprised:

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Next morning it was off up the pass.
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At the top. A young himba family came to say Hi and were very taken by the drone!! Take apples to hand out. I took a couple of minor wrong turns and there is always a helpful herder boy to piont out the right direction... followed by demands for sweeties. Biltong and apples are what I dish out. Everyone is helpful and keep an eye on what the next big local village name is. It seems no locals know what van zyles pass is. But even the toddlers know the direction of the next village and its name.
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And I was done in 2 hours
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So I was very worried about van zyls. I only had one spare wheel and I took it very easy, I picked up some small sidewall cuts. I was running slightly too low tyre pressure at 1.6Bar. I should have been at 1.8 or there around. I would rate the pass a 4. Of course this changes from year to year. It had rained heavily but not enough to damage the road. I did not have to do any packing of rocks and the only time I had to walk the route was when I could not see over the bonnet. Too be honest I wanted to run the drone up and attach the GoPros when I got to the bad downhill. But I was through the bad downhill before I realised it was the bad downhill :redface: Infact the only real compaint I have is that I spilled my coffee :rolleyes: :rolling:

So into the Marienfluss valley that is usually a sea of golden grass. After the rains it looked like Ireland.

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And the Landy that didn't make it
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I was well ahead of schedule so I spent plenty of time filming the fairy circles and had a long lunch looking out over the valley. Made it to Kunene Camp Syncro by 2pm.
With great Power comes Great Fuel Consumption
:layrubber:

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Re: Kaokoland via Van Zyls Pass

Post by Herrie » 25 Mar 2017 09:45

This is very good and I like that you enjoy this trip! :thumbup:
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Re: Kaokoland via Van Zyls Pass

Post by Alex Roux » 25 Mar 2017 10:26

Steve

We drove that route in July 2016.
I would not have done it on my own though!
Much much greener now
I presume the young Swiss couple are still running camp Syncro?
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Re: Kaokoland via Van Zyls Pass

Post by Tinus lotz » 25 Mar 2017 13:44

Great love to do that one .....nice one biggles.... :salute:

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Re: Kaokoland via Van Zyls Pass

Post by biggles » 25 Mar 2017 16:09

Part 2

Camp Syncro is a lovely private camp on the banks of the Kunene (crocodile infested) River. Run by a Swiss couple Ryan and Sarah. If is very pleasant but they only have 4 camp spots and 2 chalets. They say they frequently have to turn people away to the community camp. So booking is advised. I was lucky as they had not seen anyone since the 3rd!! And from leaving Upowu I only say 3 cars of which one was a tourist!!

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The following day it was back along the Marienfluss valley toward Red Drum Pass (Joubert Pass)
Apparently there is petrol available now!! I never confirmed.
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This is the remains of a landmine destroyed bakkie from the border war times.
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The start of the Red Drum Pass
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Lone Stone Men of the Kaokoland
A friend and film maker had asked me to get some drone footage during the wet season of the lone stone men. They are artworks that were placed around the country side, a "mystery" as to who put them there. But a nice touch to see random scultures in the desert.
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Once through the red drum pass and on my way to Orupembe the road improves and once on the D3707 things speed up, but you may still have to go into low range for some of the bad sections...

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Some of the 3707 runs along the Hoarasib River and 4 crossing had been washed out, the last was a 10km detour to a crossable section as the opposite bank was a vertical wall after the flooding.
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With great Power comes Great Fuel Consumption
:layrubber:

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Re: Kaokoland via Van Zyls Pass

Post by biggles » 25 Mar 2017 16:34

Fuel consumption without caravan on the open road was 5.3km/l (125km/h)
When I hot the bad road and back to tarmac I averaged 4.38km/l (offroad)

Basically i still had 60l in Jerrycans when I got back to the petrol station.
With great Power comes Great Fuel Consumption
:layrubber:

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Re: Kaokoland via Van Zyls Pass

Post by Ds J » 25 Mar 2017 20:23

Dit laat my bek water! Wrastag prastag!

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Re: Kaokoland via Van Zyls Pass

Post by Pst JJ » 25 Mar 2017 20:27

Would love to do that trip one day, definitely on my bucket list!
Even though doing it alone might be "foolish" I like the idea, Respect man

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Re: Kaokoland via Van Zyls Pass

Post by Jorrie » 25 Mar 2017 21:39

Thanks for a nice trip report. I enjoyed it and will certainly use the info in planning my 2019 trip to Nortern Namibia
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Re: Kaokoland via Van Zyls Pass

Post by Peter Connan » 26 Mar 2017 04:39

I guess not many people see it like that! Very green. Nice trip and great photos, thanks.
Mag ons ons kenniskry met lekkerkry aanhoukry.

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