FROM THE ATLANTIC Coast, 1400 kilometres along the Angolan border, Namibia’s north ends at a small ferry crossing. It would be completely unremarkable but for one thing. It is the only place where four countries-Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe- meet.
Some of Namibia’s greatest attractions are in the north. A number of national parks and game reserves are clustered in the east, where the waters flow into Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Small settler towns offer frontier hospitality and history. Nature blows your mind in many places, like Etosha (separate page) and Epupa Falls, in an area where the famed Himba tribes settled hundreds of years ago.
We had entered Namibia from Zambia, and then headed west, in a 3 truck convoy carrying US$15million in gold! The trucks, not us.
From the eastern point where it meets Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, Namibia's northern border runs over 1400km to the coast.
In the far west, on the border with Angola, sits the beautiful Epupa Falls.
At the eastern end, in the Caprivi Strip, sit several national and parks and wildlife reserves.
In between, and on the way to Windhoek are a few so-so settler towns to pause in.
Mahango Game Reserve is wedged between Angola and Botswana. Besides scanning the Cubango River for elephants and birds, you can swim in a croc-proof cage.
Experienced and knowledgable guides can take you on traditional "mokoro" canoe safaris, for a different viewing of wildlife and the environment.
Floating safely out of sight of these big fellas is pretty cool.
Animals and birds are very relaxed, as you cruise soundlessly by. You will be too.
Grootfontein has a little history, and if you have been heading south a touch of paradise- a fully stocked supermarket with German salamis, cheese, breads- not a tin of Zambian meatballs to be found.
20km down this dry, dusty and deserted road, lies one of the world's most disappointing tourist attractions.
If you were writing a book on where not to hitch-hike, D2905 would be its own chapter. Still, not only did we get a ride, but we bumped into some friends, too.
84% iron, 2.7 x 2.7 x 0.9m, the 60 tonne Hoba meteorite is the largest meteor chunk on planet earth. 80,000 years ago it fell from these blue skies. It sounds a lot more impressive than it looks.
By the time we had got to Grootfontein, slept, gone to the site, back to town, it was too late to leave that day. With our own car, we would have driven out in 30 minutes, shrugged our shoulders and left!
Omaruru town was much less disappoiting. Namibia's first winery, Kristall Kellerei, does tasting and platters. Kudu meatballs, roast oryx and zebra salami, from memory. Very Nice!
Far away in the west, haphazard Opuwo is the last town of sorts on the way to the magnificent Epupa Falls. At least the kids are friendly!
There's really no chance of getting there without your own vehicle. Even if you had somehow got to Opuwo, there's 180km of this.
I think I picked up around 20 hitch-hiking Himba tribesfolk that day, in 3 groups. 6 or 7 squeezed into the back seat of the Hilux.
A handful of camps and lodges lining the Kunene River is the reward.
Epupa Falls are a sprawling range of drops, easily explored without a guide.
A thick cover of trees at the top of the cliffs obscures the Angolan border.
The river cuts it way through the rocks, leading down to some swimmable beaches.
Wildlife is not a big deal here, though you may spot a few familiar friends.
Like a hyrax (rock dassie) bounding about the rocks.
Within sight of the relative luxury of the camps, sits the village of traditional huts and kraals (yards).
The isolation is wonderful for the Hilux-renting visitor, but is a harsh life with few opportunities for the locals.
A small market sets up under a tree or two, where villagers hawk the wooden and woven goods.
The light changes throughout the day, bringing different colours to the surrounds.
Clouds signal the approach of seasonal rains.
Sub-tropical storms will soon fill the falls and rivers. We were there at the lowest point in the cycle.
Heading back south, we picked up more Himba travellers, decked in their traditional finest. The crown is made of goat leather.
Otjize, a paste of butter, fat and red ochre, is only worn by women, partly as sunscreen, but also for traditional reasons. Hard to get out of car seats, by the way.
Like the Himba women, the scenery around Epupa is truly iconic.
Older people are quite reserved, but kids are still curious. It is an outstanding part of an outstanding country.