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Old 04-08-2009, 10:28 AM   #1
Three Dawg OP
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Noob in Namibia

Ok, here is my first ride report on this forum.

In January 2009 I did a fly-ride trip, trading the lovely Scottish winter for something a bit warmer in Southern Africa. I can't really get away from Scotland during the summer because of my job, so this is the type of thing I have to do to get my fix of riding in the sun. And anyway, 'er indoors isn't too keen on the pillion seat of my 1977 Jota...

Here's my normal ride:




Anyway, we'll scoot quickly through South Africa to the interesting bits in Namibia.

Here we are in the rental company's bunker in Cape Town after travelling for 18 hours or so from northern Scotland. Mmmm, what a nice shiny clean 1200GS. We were joined on this trip by my buddy The Bear on a GS800.



Our first overnight in the small town of Tulbagh, north of Stellenbosch, so a pretty undemanding first day. Lots of lovely Cape Dutch architecture here.





The next day we continued north to Clanwilliam along the Olifants River. You can do this on tarmac on the western side of the river, but the route on the eastern bank is far more interesting. This was our first day off tarmac road, and although the 1200 was a bit of a lump two up on the loose stuff, and The Bear is well out of practice, we kept it shiny side up.



After Clanwilliam we headed further north on dirt roads, which were generally in pretty good shape and easy to ride up over the Botterkloof to our overnight stop in the settlement of Calvinia. It was in the middle of this that I discovered the treacherous nature of GS fuel guages; show full for ages, then drop to half full, pause just long enough to clear town and then plummet to one bar. I sweated along this road, and not because it was warm out...


Three Dawg screwed with this post 12-10-2011 at 10:49 AM
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:16 PM   #2
Dessert Storm
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Hooked.

More please!
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:59 PM   #3
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Saw some camels along the way. Somewhat unexpected...



Anyway, moving swiftly on, accommodation in Calvinia was in old servants quarters with a distinctly rustic (but clean and tidy) feel. Lighting was mostly by oil lamps. Don't knock one reaching for a drink 'cos you'll grab it and the glass bit gets farkin' hot. Nineteenth century technology, and I can't cope! Dinner was in a restaurant so dark you could barely see the plate. Still didn't order the curried gizzards!

Next morning, ready to rock and roll. Hey, one day on dirt roads, no offs, got this adventure riding sussed.



Just before we leave Calvinia; shouldn't every town have something truly daft in it?



Next stop, Augrabies Falls. This was mostly on tarmac so quite straightforward but it was very hot. The rest camp at the falls is excellent, although the paperwork at the gate was tedious and I really needed to get under a cold shower and take on more liquid so I wasn't too impressed by the delays. At the end of it the guard asked for ten rand. 'Er indoors asked why and the guy smiled and said "It is for me" At least he was up front!



Elton John as a lizard?



Next day, onwards to the Namibian border and our stop at Fish River Canyon. This is one of the most exciting road signs I've ever seen on a bike.



Border post humour...



This is more like it. Once through the border we stopped at the town of Karasburg. Dirt main street, people everywhere chattering away, hanging out, finally real Africa! I was so surprised at the difference in the feel of the place compared even to dorps in the sticks of SA I clean forgot to take any photos. DOH!



Amazing riding on our first day in Namibia. Good graded roads generally, but with some tricky wee bits to keep us on our toes. Next stop, the Canyon Roadhouse, yipsiree.




The Fish River Canyon is supposedly the second biggest after the Grand Canyon, but that's tomorrow. Today we tie the bikes to the bikes to the hitching post (is that what you call 'em?) and hit the bar.


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Old 04-08-2009, 04:03 PM   #4
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Well done, more please

Nice report.

As an ex Sth African now in Aus I love seeing ride reports from Africa. Namibia is a special place.
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Old 04-08-2009, 07:44 PM   #5
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Thanks for showing us a seldom seen part of the world

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Old 04-09-2009, 02:31 AM   #6
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great report and pics - but then I am biased towards African reports
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:52 AM   #7
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Word.

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Old 04-09-2009, 11:41 AM   #8
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Dune 45 is the famous one- 45k from the main gate, but they are all beautiful. I took more pix of the other ones 'cos they hadn't been walked on.





A short walk took us to Deadvlei. The river sort of got squashed by the dunes, diverting it and leaving the trees without water.



We did a 'sundowner' drive later on in the day, On the way we came across a 6 foot long black mamba. You can perhaps see its head poking up looking at us. Our driver/guide Cliff wasn't going to risk going anywhere near it; they are very agressive and are not to be messed with.



And another African susnset. That thing is based on a Landcruiser. Crude, but effective.


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Old 04-09-2009, 12:18 PM   #9
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Back to the biking. We had to head north again because The Bear had to drop his bike at the BMW dealer in Windhoek and fly back to London for work. Me and 'er indoors would ride back to Capetown.

This is more like it...



Met this little fellow in Rietoog, a no horse town in the middle of nowhere. His mum ran a shop which had the essential cold drinks, some oil lamps, tin mugs and not much else. They were very friendly and we chatted for a while.



Not much to say about Windhoek, although we did find a funky bar called Joe's Beer House (I think) just around the corner from where we stayed. It was full of gigantic Germans. We dumped The Bear's bike at the BMW dealership in town and he flew out the following morning. We got back on and did the return trip properly. This next about 160km or so south of Windhoek. Another exciting sign!



Kids at a gas station on the edge of the Kalahari.



More to follow...

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Old 04-09-2009, 12:57 PM   #10
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Next stop, a lodge on the edge of the Kalahari. By now we were back on tarmac so cruising speeds were upped considerably, but I was also gassing up twice as often. The lodge, near Mariental had a 2km sandy road leading to it which was bloody difficult. I didn't drop it, but more by luck than judgement.

This fella dropped in for lunch. EEK!



Went out for another game drive in the afternoon. Rain in the Kalahari desert? What?



I haven't mentioned the wildlife- apart from the scorpions, deadly snakes and scarily big bugs that is. There was plenty to be seen, springbok, gemsbok, zebras, baboons, jackals and later on cheetahs, warthogs and meerkats were all spotted (and sometimes eaten) Some of these beasties were on the large side and equipped with armour piercing horns. If I'd had my Jota at least they'd have heard me coming...



OK, one last one. Sunset over the Kalahari. Man, this place gets under your skin.


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Old 04-09-2009, 01:39 PM   #11
Silver King
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Fack! I miss being in southern Africa. Great pics!
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:56 PM   #12
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Love this post

We're just about to do this ride... Joburg - Cape Town - to Nairobi. This is so helpful and funny too. Great pics, great sense of humour. Thanks for sharing :)
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