My first stop in Namibia was Orange River, the longest river in South Africa. It flows all the way from the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, through South Africa into Namibia. After arriving to the Felix Unite rest camp in Namibia, we had lunch and packed our stuff for the canoe trip.
We left around 3 o’clock in the afternoon to canoe the first 6 kilometres of around 30 k in total. It was a fun but difficult canoe trip. Late in the afternoon the wind over the Orange River picked up and made navigating the canoe more difficult. At some point we were paddling with all our strength straight into the wind, however we still floated backwards.
Sleeping Underneath the Stars
We gratefully accepted a tow from one of our guides and we managed to make it to the spot where we’d make camp. Our camp was a flat stretch of beach along the river, were the guides made a fire to cook dinner. The facilities were a few large bushes on the other end of the beach. That was it.
We spent that night sleeping under the stars with only a sleeping bag in between us and the sand and pebbles. Although I woke up fairly often, the abundance of stars along the sky made up for any discomfort. I woke up the next morning as soon as the sun rose. After a basic breakfast it was time to get back into the canoe.
Paddling for 25 More Kilometres
Luckily the second part of the journey was much easier than the first day. There was little wind and more rapids meant more fun. At one point we almost capsized but luckily we managed to paddle our way out of that one.
Surprisingly enough, our group was actually going to fast. So we made an extra stop to relax in the shade for a bit, since our we’d have to wait for our pick-up anyway.
By the time we arrived back to the base camp along Orange River, I was dirty, smelly, sore, and had blisters from all the paddling.
Needless to say, I had the time of my life.
If you ever go on a similar trip, make sure you bring enough water and sunscreen. We drank about 5 litres per person over the 24-hour duration of the trip. We also had to bail out a couple that ran both out of water and sunscreen before we got back to camp. So make sure you’re prepared to deal with the African sun!
Have you ever been on an overnight canoe trip? Would you like to? Please let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.