This epic journey down the Kunene River by Willem van Riet and Gordon Rowe, from Matala in Angola to the Atlantic Ocean, through the previously unexplored gorge where the river cuts through the Baynes Mountains, ranks as one of the most important expeditions undertaken in the history of African river exploration.
If we had imagined that paddling down the Kunene involved blistering heat in a country of utter desolation, hunger, attacks by aggressive crocodiles and such back-breakings labour on the portages, perhaps we would have thought twice about our plans for exploring the lower reaches of this mighty river. Canoeists, like mountaineers, always set their sights on a bigger and tougher challenge, and after having canoed down most of South Africa’s largest rivers during the last six years, the Kunene had become my personal Everest. It was something I had to do; a final problem to be overcome. The idea of challenging the 750-mile Kunene, which first occurred to me when canoeing down the Orange, grew and grew until Gordon Rowe and I decided to have a crack at it. Read More