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“Long Ride for Justice” -Namibia: The second leg of Ben Freeth’s journey

Updated: Feb 21

Blog 3: Thursday 15 February 2024


Continuing to head west along Namibia’s Caprivi Strip




Map of our progress along the Caprivi Strip


My mule, Nikao, and I, together with Dr Telané Greyling, who is driving our backup vehicle, are now getting towards the end of the Caprivi Strip, having crossed over the Okavango River a couple of days ago. It’s the fourth-longest river system in southern Africa, running southeastward for 1,600 km (994 miles).


Crossing the Okavango River with my mule for the trip, who I’ve called “Nikao”


This magnificent river forms part of the border between Angola and Namibia, and then flows into Botswana. It’s the main water source for more than a million people in the region. Interestingly, the Okavango River doesn’t have an outlet to the sea but instead discharges into the world-renowned Okavango Delta in the Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana. It’s the largest inland delta on earth, irrigating more than 15,500 square kilometers (6,000 square miles) and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



On the bank of the magnificent Okavango River


We stayed at the River Dance Lodge campsite last night, which was wonderful. I managed to get a shower and wash my clothes - it was great to be able to do that!


River Dance Lodge is tucked away on the banks of the river and this area is completely different from the rest of Namibia. When you're on the road, just finding a place to sleep each night is a challenge as there's very little water and minimal comfort, so it was great to be able to sleep on the banks of the mighty Okavango and listen to the night sounds in a completely different part of Africa.



Nikao looks forward to water and additional grass after a long day.

He also enjoys sampling the campsite supper!


Roasting butternuts in the coals of the camp fire under a rich canopy of stars

 

We’re continuing to follow the river and I’m very fortunate to still have Dr Telané Greyling backing me up in the vehicle, which is fantastic. Nikao has calmed down very considerably and is settling into the rhythm of the track. So that’s a great comfort!


Nikao grazing while Telané enjoys filtered sunlight in the lush vegetation of the Caprivi Strip

 

I’m doing some riding, as well as walking, depending really on the amount of grazing. Where the grazing is good, I spend more time riding. 



Nikao takes the varied terrain in his stride

 

The grazing is actually very good at the moment, although I'm walking right now as I send this message.

 

We managed to get through elephant and lion country without any incident, so that was a huge relief. I’m told that more than 130,000 elephants move through the Okavango region, following ancient migration routes. Lions tend to prefer the open savannahs, as is the case in Zimbabwe, but they are also found in desert conditions and in the swamps of the Okavango Delta. 


Shafts of sunlight heighten the rich colour of Nikao’s coat


Welcome shade for the horsebox and Land Rover under a camel thorn tree,

with grazing for Nikao

 

I'm gradually getting in contact with people ahead of our arrival in Windhoek and now have a better idea of when I might arrive. If we’re able to continue going at this rate, I should be there just after the middle of March, which means we’ll need to get journalists in place for this so that we can publicise the shocking state of affairs where a few SADC presidents illegally shut down the regional court of justice, the SADC Tribunal. They did not have any justification for doing so. Also, there were not enough signatures on the new protocol to change the previous protocol, and many people have suffered as a result of this terrible injustice.

 

Our landmark Campbell case judgment, Mike Campbell (Pvt) Ltd and Others v Republic of Zimbabwe, stands as a judgment that is final and binding and is established in South African law as well as in American law. If Zimbabwe is able to progress, this judgment will be one of the foundation stones on which it can progress. Countries without the rule of law and property rights always fail. 



Mike Campbell with me and our legal team at the SADC Tribunal

after we won our landmark farm case on 28 November 2008

 

We’ll start heading south west in a couple of days, but in the meantime we are continuing to follow the remarkable Okavango River and our progress is really good. We’ll then be venturing into the dryer country.

 

Below is a map showing the route of the Okavango River which discharges around 11km³ of water into the swamps of the Okavango Delta in Botswana every year. 


On the left of the map you’ll see the Omatako River, which we’ll be following southwest

 

To read the introduction and objectives of my “Long Ride for Justice”, as well as my regular blogs, click HERE 


My sincere thanks to you all and I’ll keep you posted.


Ben

Ben Freeth

Mobile: +263 773 929 138 (Zimbabwe)

Whatsapp: +44 7539 070 122 – limited mobile phone signal in parts of Namibia

 

Ben Freeth is the executive director of the Mike Campbell Foundation and is based in Zimbabwe. The MCF is taking action to restore human rights, justice, the rule of law and property rights for all in Zimbabwe.








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1 Comment


Elize Angula
Elize Angula
Feb 19

Welcome to Namibia, Ben. I stand with you in your journey to raise awareness of the SADC Tribunal, which was once a beacon of hope for the southern african community in restoring the rule of law and justice in the region. I am proud to have been your dad's legal team then and now as TRUSTEE of the Foundation. Lets have coffee when you get here. Keep the faith.

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