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Old 04-27-2006, 04:03 PM   #1
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Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
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Goat meat, good friends and riverbeds

Kaokoland - barren, hard, beautiful and honest. Situated in the north western part of Namibia, it is an area that demands respect from travellers but will reward beyond expectation.

In 1995 my wife and I, together with my brother-in-law and his wife did a trip in two vehicles through Namibia. We spent nine days camping in this wilderness area. The effect it had on us was unexpected and radical.

All four of us resigned from our jobs in Gauteng,picked up our roots, said goodbye to friends and family and went in search of a better quality of life. My wife and I moved to the coast in the Eastern Cape and her brother and his wife moved to the Northern Transvaal bushveld.

Another of our Kaokoland resolutions was to do annual offroad trips so that we don't get lost again in existence as opposed to actively living life.

This resolution came to nothing though. It is no easy thing to move to the platteland (country) and start from scratch. Dues have to be paid and it took some time to recover financially.

Fast forward to 2004 and nine years later I get the opportunity to once again go to Kaokoland and even better, on a bike trip! There were to be three of us. Hennie and Nardus have a long history and have done many rides together. I was the newcomer and was a bit wary as to how the dynamics would pan out. However, Kaokoland on a bike is a dream I never even dared dream and I was willing to do whatever it takes to do this trip.

We had to cover about 3500km of tar to get to Usakos, our starting point. We decided not to waste time with sleeping over and rotated the driving to do it all in one go. Twenty four hours later and we stop in Usakos, the front of the bus covered in insects from two countries, three provinces and three regions. Inside, two Dakars and a 1200 sardined with all our luggage, food and kit. (Nardus on the left, me on the right)

We woke the local mechanic, Arrie, from his afternoon nap and arranged for the Sprinter to stay in his yard for some two weeks while we are off on the bikes. He didn't know us from a bar of soap, yet he is willing to help. Namibians are good people.

We offloaded the bikes and packed our kit. Splitting the food stuffs took some deft manouvering to try and have the other guys pack the heavy stuff such as canned goods. Because of the nature of the area we have to carry extra fuel as well as water, packing light is not really an option.

Just as me and Nardus were all packed up and ready to roll, Hennie started to break out the toolboxes. He wanted to do an oil filter change! WTF?

Subsequently and on many trips I have learned that this is what Hennie does. He is never on time for departure. Prepping his bike is done just after he arrived late at the departure point. By now it doesn't bother me anymore, it is expected. It's who he is. Lately when we leave at eight for instance, we tell him we leave at seven. Works like a charm.

By the time Hennie was ready it was too late to hit the trail and we found accomodation in the local camp ground.

We spent the evening in the local hotel (the bar to be specific) with Arrie and friends. We had a splendid time and by the time we got back to the camping grounds, it was all locked up and lights out. We had to use sidecutters to get in.

The next morning we hit the road early and with a hangover. Excellent. The best adventures start with a hangover.

We passed by Spitzkoppe and took our first water break under a tree.

We were soon to enter the Namib desert and shade would be in short supply. Not too long after we hit thick river sand and the 1200 chucks me off. This was to be the first off of many. The bike was brand new and it's the first time that I had the opportunity to ride it in sand. No big deal but I noticed that it seems to not like sand that much. Also, I had very little experience with a heavy traillie in sand. That was to change rapidly.

Like I said, shade in short supply

The glare coming off the ground hid little bumps quite well. Hennie had a nasty moment when he hit a bump while his attention was on the GPS. I could see he was a bit shaken. Ending your trip in the first 150km is the last thing any of us wanted. Also Hennie was trip leader, as he had done it twice before. We would be lost without him.

Brandberg, our destination for the day.

Then we came across this:

Welwitschia Mirabilis - a desert plant that can live to a thousand years. This one was huge, it must have been several hundred years old. It actually only has two leaves, but the wind over the years tears it apart. Brandberg in the background.

Shade was still in short supply and the sun was doing it's desert thing. Brandberg can be loosely translated as Fire Mountain.

Late afternoon and we were getting close to the Ugab riverbed where we intended to sleep.

It was a day well spent.

We unanimously opted to leave our tents behind, preferring only to sleep on ground sheets.

Day one ended in loud desert silence, with Brandberg living up to it's name in the background.

Day two to come.

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Old 04-27-2006, 04:15 PM   #2
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so dry - it's making me thristy. great shots
What's next? More action!
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Old 04-27-2006, 04:45 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by wachs
so dry - it's making me thristy. great shots
Me too....I think I will get another beer while I wait for
Dont be THAT guy!
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Old 04-27-2006, 04:57 PM   #4
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"Triumph over adversity is good for the soul." -- Packmule
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:53 PM   #5
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. . .

Wow! Welwitschia Mirabilis. Right on!

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Old 04-28-2006, 03:12 AM   #6
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Wow!! Beautiful!! Looking forward to seeing a part of the world we rarely get to explore.

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Old 04-30-2006, 09:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by metaljockey
Then we came across this:
Welwitschia Mirabilis - a desert plant that can live to a thousand years. This one was huge, it must have been several hundred years old. It actually only has two leaves, but the wind over the years tears it apart. Brandberg in the background.
freaking awesome shot and awesome ride report. I don't vote on many threads. this one is 5 stars. awesome shots.
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:14 AM   #8
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Excellent This place looks awesome.

gaspipe [the original]

Hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd...
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Old 04-30-2006, 12:41 PM   #9
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That place looks absolutely superb!
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Old 04-30-2006, 01:37 PM   #10
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Thanks for the kind words, and yes Twyfelfontein Lodge is the bees knees. Whilst sitting there we said " we sure as hell are coming back here with the wife and kids" (or kid, in my case). And so I did, two weeks ago. In the rainy season. It was wonderful. We had to be winched out of one spot and had to dig our way out of two more with a little foldaway spade. Excellent fun.
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Old 04-30-2006, 03:02 PM   #11
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So... at this cuca shop there is this bottle. Copperband be it's name. It's not something we know or have ever come across. It is enticing to Nardus though and we are in a strange country so you have to sample the local brew. (Only 4 months later we find out it is bottled in South Africa and sold in our local bottle store) This turns out to be Mothers Milk (with a capitol M). It tastes like Coke, it goes down smoothly and quickly. No mix needed.

As I said mother's milk and Hennie goes blasting down the track with the saddle bags flapping like some bird in distress. That boy just cannot hold his liquor. The result is that for the next 10 km me and Nardus have to pick up the detritus emanating from his top box. The most painfull salvage is this:

A little wet patch and the remains of the Copperband Rumba.

It was just one of those perfect days and this picture is one of my favourites ever. Me having one of the happiest days of my life.

The day progresses and a lot of distance is covered and alcohol has nothing to do with what happens next. We go down a very rocky downhill and my specially made up heavy duty extra coverage bash plate gets ripped straight off the bike.

To this day I hold a lot of anger towards BMW for an absolutely crap idea to fit straight onto the engine casing with substandard rubber ................. hold it.. try and relax .. focus... not the place and time ... move on , think of peace and tranquility.

So it's fckng close to 40C and all the mounting rubbers are sheared and I'm thinking "fckng german sheisters" and did I mention it's 40C? I don't have spare rubbers (I do now, religiously) and we're at the bottom of an engine casing destroying rocky climb.

Here's the mthrfckng snfbtch bstrd rock still holding it's aluminium trophy.

There's no way I'll get out without totally destroying my engine casing so it's precision engineering Africa style

So what we do is to dispence with the rubbers and fit the bash plate straight onto the casing with bolts. The bashplate is now carried much higher and I feel quite chuffed having outsmarted the german engineer bstrds. I know, you see it coming.. I didn't.

Several hot blasting hours later we crest a hill and cast our eyes on Canaan. Or in this case, Epupa falls. To see paradise in this burnt surrounds almost brought tears to my eyes, except my riding partners would've divorced me if they picked up on that.

Really, this view had a profound effect. Felt it in my intestines. We went down and camped right in between the palms on the right by the main chasm.

And be honest, this is a damn beautiful piece of machinery, isn't it?

metaljockey screwed with this post 07-01-2006 at 10:33 PM
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Old 05-28-2006, 08:07 PM   #12
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Laugh Goeie trip my maat

Thank you for an excellent trip report . It is nice to see some BOERE still doing it the real way . Mind you I am also a BOER but only posting in English , for everyone else . That campsite next to the Kunene at Epupa Falls is exactly where we had camped at when we crossed the Zebra mountains coming from Ruacana .

You might recognise the 2 Baobab (Kremetart ) trees from Epupa Falls . I had it enlarged and framed as a reminder of our trip as well as another Himba CHICK photo just before Epupa . We did not do the trip by bike though , but with my Landie . My Africa Twin was in Mexico at the time . We went home for vacation . When you crossed over Van Zyl's Pass did you also sign some rocks at the foot of the mountain ?

Our trip started from home ,(Uitenhage ) all the way through Botswana up to Epupa and then down through the skeleton coast , Sossussvlei and along the West Coast To Cape Twon , where we did shark cage diving , and back home to Port Elizabeth along the famous Garden Route .

Here are some of my photo's which we took along the way .

Baie dankie vir die NICE REPORT

Where are you guys from in the Eastern Cape ?
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by gaspipe View Post
Excellent This place looks awesome.
Stayed there in 2008 on a trip and remember having lots of ice cold beer in that bar, great place and great trip.

Loving reading the ride report on a crappy cold night in England with a hangover from last nights works Christmas party. Wanna go back to Namibia, great place
I blame my parents, German mother, Irish father.

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Old 03-14-2013, 11:13 AM   #14
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My mate, just amazing post. Thanks and cheers
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Old 04-30-2006, 02:07 PM   #15
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what can I say...wish I was there
Originality is the art of hiding your source of inspiration.
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