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Purros, Hoarusib & Khumib
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The Purros Community Campsite
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The drive from Amspoort to Purros (or Puros) was beautiful, but after 3 nights in the wild we were looking forward to some simple comforts, especially a hot shower. We've been in Purros campsite - or formally: Ngatutunge Pamwe Campsite - before, and wanted to come back: Purros is, for me, the top campsite, of all campsites I've seen in Namibia (well, except for wild camping...)

Why?

  • You really have some space to yourself - the 4 campsites are well apart from each other, with other campers being out of sight. Most campsites we've been to are clustered in a too small place. The campsites are built on the banks of Hoarusib river.
  • The sites are well-equipped: a solid braai place, water tap, sink and a clean-swept sand floor, under big camelthorns providing shade. A toilet and a romantic hot (donkey boiler) shower hidden in reed walls under another tree. Ask for place 1 or 2 if there, they're the best. One place can hold 2-3 cars, if necessary.
  • There is wildlife - tree squirrels, mongooses, very nosy francolins, extremely hungry, but well-behaved hornbills in the campsite - better fun than all TV breakfast shows. Not to talk about the elephants that roam free in the campsite at night...
  • The campsite managers are friendly, but unobtrusive, and know their region (and English) well enough to give advice. They also sell firewood and cold drinks.
  • The surroundings are beautiful - Purros campsite is an excellent base for drives in Hoarusib river and to Kaokoveld. The valley is more fertile than the general area, as best seen from the viewpoint hill 1-2 km from the camp.
  • This fun costs just 40 N$ pppn. Advance reservations are most of the time not needed, but come early in the day.

 

The only bad development since our last stay in 2003: tourism! A small lodge nearby operated their generator during the otherwise silent evenings, a new big lodge is being built near to the village, and there seems to be an airstrip now, judging from the air traffic we heard. Well, the guys there deserve some tourism $$ - if they do their best to preserve Purros' natural beauty as it is.

We arrived there after noon, and had a lazy afternoon sleeping, reading, doing pilates and doing the laundry.


The Hoarusib-Khumib passage
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On our second day in Purros, we decided to do a round trip up Hoarusib and over to Khumib river, the northernmost of the big ephemeral rivers - again a tip from Keith. We hoped to see elephants as well as beautiful landscape - and were well rewarded!

We first drove to the viewpoint on a hill southeast of the campsite. The hill rises just from the riverbed, near the Purros Himba cultural village. The view over hills, valley and riverbed with palms is gorgeous! And we saw two elephants and several giraffes from there :-) Impressive, though, was also the difference in vegetation between now and last time we've been here - in April, just at the end of the rainy season. The plains North of Purros had been green at that time, a welcome diversion for eyes used to brown and grey. This time, green was restricted to the trees in the riverbed. Check out the picture of April 2003 here...

 

We decided to enter the riverbed, just to meet the elephants there... Driving up the riverbed, the tracks sometimes disappeared, or led to sandy patches sprinkled with not so nice acacia thorns. Sometimes, the most prominent track leaves the riverbed for a while - but the general direction is clear: follow the riverbed upstream. We met more elephants (and witnessed a lengthy bullfight), more giraffes, but also cattle - and Himba. There was water flowing in the river at times, but much less than in April 2003. Vegetation is special, as there are much more Makalani palms here than in the other riverbeds we've been - giving an oasis feeling to the whole picture.

The track more or less follows the river upstream, to a place where the river cut a gorge in to the hills (clear turn to the South, if going upstream). This is where the road to Khumib leaves Hoarusib. There is also a Himba Kraal there. The track now leads towards the hills to the North. The look back when driving up, however, is stunning: the whole Hoarusib valley laid to your feet, with cattle grazing on the meadows in the foreground, and the river meandering towards Purros, the mountains, and eventually Möwe Bay - well, you cannot really see Möwe Bay, but it is a view to behold, anyway...

The tracks get rockier, and the rocks get more colorful as the path climbs on, with occasional views to the Hoarusib gorge to one side. A lone place, even though the road seems well-worn by locals driving from Orupembe to Purros. We stopped frequently to enjoy indescribable vistas, to take pictures of plants growing in this arid solitude or just watch the many colorful stones. And of course to listen again to the quacking of Korhaans. Those guys really look for the most deserted and inhospitable places...


The divide between the Hoarusib and Khumib catchments, between two red-rock hills, gives magnificent views to both valleys. They are similar, but nevertheless Khumib looks much more like the real Kaokoveld. A lovely valley with soft rolling hills of yellow dry grass, the valley bending to North and Orupembe in the distance. A yearning grew to just follow the valley up to Orupembe and on to Marienflusstal... well, next time!

 

The track meets Khumib river at a Himba kraal, and we turned west/down. The difference between the two riverbeds is amazing: no camelthorns or ana trees in Khumib, just mopane trees - I wonder why? This is probably the reason why we didn't see any elephants there, just giraffes and oryx. The drive down Khumib is less scenic, as it winds down in this riverbed with not much to see. The adjacent plains gradually give way to gravel fields, and suddenly, the track joins the D3707. The way to Purros is longer than I expected, but it is nice to drive down towards the buried mountains of Hoarusib valley (canyon?) again.

This was a wonderful trip, I'd do it again anytime - next time maybe using the Khumib-Hoarusib road instead of D3707, from Orupembe to Purros?

The next day, we left Purros towards Sesfontein and Huab - see here.



Last update:  23:45 12/03 2007
Kalahari Meerkats
Upington
Augrabies NP
Namaqualand
Naries - more flowers
Kleinzee diamond mine
Namibia's South, Orange
Fish River Canyon
Aus
Koichab Dunes
Lüderitz
D707 scenic route
Büllsport & Naukluft
Windhoek & Waterberg
Outjo & Khowarib Gorge
Hoanib & Amspoort
Desert Elephants
Purros, Hoarusib & Khumib
Huab, Doros, Ugab
Erongo, Boshua, WDH
Travel facts
Gallery of this trip



Hoarusib valley




On the passage




Khumib valley




Purros campsite




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