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Headed North Again

May 4.  Breakfast at the hotel and say goodbye to Carol and Jeff.  Rest of us take off in our two vans for very long drive north.  At least we’re on a good, paved road.
This seems like a good time to comment on our three guides–Tarry, Stuart and Usko.  In short, they rank a sold A.  Tarry is an amazingly mature 27-year old, who,is extremely knowledgable about everything and relates well to the guests.  Stuart is jovial and fun-loving, with a deep, resonant voice that even I can hear.  In his thirties, he’s experienced as a guide, but has been with Ultimate Safaris a relatively short period of time.  Usko is also experienced as a guide, but is making his first trip with Ultimate Safaris, as something of a trainee, though you would never call him a trainee, because he is a full participant as a guide and as knowledgable as Tarry and Stuart.  He is more reserved, but is a real sweetheart, who everyone likes.  The three are hard working, fully focused on the group and work well as a team.  I would not hesitate to recommend any of them as a guide. We’re very lucky to have them, and they’ve enhanced our trip greatly.
We set off from Windhoek and head back up to the northwest into the heart of Kaokoland to reach Opuwo Country Lodge in Opuwo, the regional center of Kaokoland. The road today takes through the towns of Okahandja, Otjiwarongo and Kamanjab to arrive around 4:15 PM, after a 9-hour drive, at Opuwo and Opuwo Country lodge. We will be based here for the next three days, going out from here to explore the area and interact with the locals. 
As we approach the Opuwo area, we observe dirt and litter along the roadside, the first time we’ve seen this in Namibia.  The area has something of the feel of a Ghanaian town, though with fewer shops lining the road.  On the way through Opuwo to our hotel we have the opportunity to observe the fascinating mixture of Himba, Herero, and Oshivambo cultures that exist side by side in this small town that has something of the feel of a ‘frontier’ settlement.  We see bare breasted, barefoot, Himba walking along side Hereros dressed in their colorful costumes and people in Western garb.  This promises to be quite a different experience than what we’ve had.

 

The hotel is situated on a hilltop to the North West of Opuwo overlooking the valleys and mountains with magnificent sunsets and 360 views, an ideal base from which to explore the culture and tradition rich lifestyle of the Ovahimba.  Rooms are comfortable, and air conditioned!  We have a couple hours to rest and relax before meeting for dinner.
Meet up at the lodge for drinks and another very good dinner.

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