Visiting Death  (2013) 
by Viktor Pinchuk, translated from Russian by Wikisource
Аn article from the newspaper "Respublica Krim" (Republic of Crimea), published 2013-11-01. The source:В_гостях_у_смерти_(Виктор_Пинчук).jpg

Five years ago, Komsomolskaya Pravda published an interview in which a reporter, dubbing me an "outrageous photographer," said that "a Crimean is going to die in Africa." This is not a joke. When planning another travel, I did not take a rope and soap with me: meant else. If there is at least one immortal, let him be the first to throw a stone at me. How is "my" Africa worse than "your" intensive care unit, hospital bed, or other place where you will pass into another world?

In the darkness of Namibian night Edit

Throwing belongings into the back, I waved goodbye to the local himba people. "This is not public transport. This is my personal truck," the owner warned. Later I realized what he meant: on the way we stopped for a while at a family of hermits who lived in the mountains. The visit is good for me: took a couple of pictures.

In the mountains with hermits

We arrived at the place around midnight. "Do you hear the sound of water? — the driver asked a rhetorical question. "It's waterfall." I saw nothing but blackening emptiness, the weak light of the moon didn't save situation. Nearby there were small houses — a medical center and a guard post. Without further ado, I chose a flat area, spread out a camping mat and carefully crept... into the Realm of Morpheus.

Herero woman, fellow traveler

Let’s play extreme? Edit

Early in the morning, I rolled up the "bed" and, leaving things in the branches of a tree, hurried to the waterfall, whose name in the language of the Herero tribe means "falling water". Epupa is a whole gallery of waterfalls. Twenty meters from the place of my overnight stay is main and largest. If I could rent a helicopter, the impressions of what I saw here and in neighboring Zambia would be brighter, and the pictures would be more striking. But since our material capabilities don't always coincide with our desires, here is the result: I liked the Epupa more than the world-famous Victoria Falls. There are no concrete paths (for tourists a la beachgoer); practically no signs of civilization, nature are preserved in its original form. Jumping over small streams, knee-deep in water, I made my way to the cliff, from where a grandiose spectacle opened. A few shots, then along the gorge of terracotta-colored mountains. After this I went down the boulders. The Kunene River no ceased to amaze the imagination with the opening landscapes. The expanses are deserted. After walking a little more, I came across a low tower of unknown purpose and climbed up a metal ladder, there was a small "box", something like a tiny safe with a padlock. Two or three frames more — and down, continuing the way…

Apnea African Edit

After a dozen meters, I came to a wonderful-looking "beach": a small strip of coastal sand, a quiet backwater — a cross between paradise and an advertising picture from a travel magazine. Usually don't swim on trips: firstly, I carry everything of value on myself, and secondly, water in Africa can be unsafe, hiding a lot of infections. But this river was clean and transparent. Take a chance? "Crocodiles don’t live in "falling waters", and if piranhas attack, I will quickly jump ashore..." the thought flashed.

Epupa — falling water

Smoothly, like a cat in sour cream, swam a few meters. Got to go back, but no… Getting into an argument with the current, I decided to swim to the opposite shore. I row forward, but swim to the side, double my strength — it does not help. The water carries me into the abyss. It’s impossible, in no case! After all, I left money, things and a passport on the shore… But the element don't listen to mad men: the current carried me away like a feather. Stormy waters closed over head, taking me somewhere down. It’s all? The prophecies come true? Another wave threw the swimmer to the surface like a chip and dragged him into the distance. A few seconds later, by some miracle, I was in the backwater on the other side. So swam across after all? An idiot's dream has come true! Rowing with the last of his strength, grabbed a rocky ledge, after climbed up, feeling the same as a marathon runner at the end of a difficult path…

Naked in Angola Edit

Found out later that the coast on which I found myself without a visa, clothes and documents is the territory of a neighboring country, not believing it at first. Only when got to the mainland, I was convinced by looking at the map, but that was after…


A minute to rest. Then hurried back to the visibility zone of the ill-fated "beach", where i left my clothes, not yet realizing that the two shores are separated by the "infernal abyss". From the top of rock, could see not only the sandy place, where I started the swim, but also (what is much more important) a tower, incomprehensible purpose. "Sooner or later people will appear here —" I thought — "because this was built for something..." From the side of the village, the path was blocked by a medium-sized waterfall, from behind — impenetrable jungle, where (by all indications) no human foot had set foot. An attempt to wade through this tributary failed: the water flow is very powerful. I tried to go upstream through the jungle, hoping to find a bottleneck. This pointless activity took about two hours. Returned to the starting position. I wonder how long I can be here. There is water — this is a plus. Food? I'll try the leaves of trees and bushes. But only three or four dozen meters away are canned meat that I took for breakfast. It's good that I was in the zone of visibility of a potential stay of people, and if it were a little further, where on both sides of the river the land is uninhabited? Perhaps they would have found me with a helicopter, but not the fact that they have one. Even so, it will cost me dearly. However, from now on I have no money, no clothes: there is nothing to lose. "It's a pity that there won't be enough time to visit Botswana," I reasoned, trying not to panic…

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