Marienfluss, the hidden gem

View from Camp Synchro to Kunene River. Photo: Frank Steffen

Marienfluss, the hidden gem

06 May 2019 | Tourism

Most people avoid driving up the Marienfluss to where it meets the Kunene River in the extreme north-west of Namibia, simply because it seems an arduous task to drive all the way via Orupembe up to the “Fluss” (as it is so often referred to), only to return the same way again after a few days.

It is however something different, if you are up to a serious off-road track, which at times allows you to cover no more than six to ten kilometres in an hour. And that is via the famous Van Zyl’s Pass, which is regarded by those who unfortunately lost a vehicle as infamous. Fact is, that you need to come prepared, self-sufficient and with a lot of patience as the road become increasingly bad as you approach Etengua (also Etengwa) further west, coming from Okongwati.

The Terrain
Your mind should be attuned to the demands of 4x4-driving and as from Otjitanda towards the Pass, you have no choice but to drive patiently. The approach road at times seems a bigger challenge than Van Zyl’s Pass itself. But the moment you arrive on the lookout point there is no need to tell you – you will know! The view is simply spectacular.

Driving down the pass again needs patience which is the guarantor for safety. Having navigated the Pass, you follow the Marienfluss’ valley, which is nestled between the Otjihipa Mountain range lying towards the east and the Hartmann’s Mountains lying in the west.

Driving in the valley is an absolute pleasure and as you approach Otjinungwa after about 60 kilometres, you can choose between camping at the Okarohombo Community Camp, camping at Camp Syncro or book into their chalets, or you may choose to enjoy a stay at the luxurious Okahirongo River Camp (which even sports an airstrip).
Then returning from Marienfluss, you can follow a route west of the ridge that splits the Marienfluss for a large stretch and in the process get to see fairy circles. Now you can plan your route to Orupembe and follow through to Purros and Sesfontein. It is bound to be an unbelievable experience.

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