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Old 12-07-2010, 12:22 PM   #1
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The Wussy Namibia solo ride

So I was about 100km out of Walvisbay in the middle of featureless terrain and only a long straight road, a sign that humans are here. I walk around and take a few pictures. I am alone, but utterly content. I have just done about 1500km gravel highways through the southern part of Namibia. There is no place else I want to be right now. I have done my first proper trip after my crash. I am still limping, but that does no matter now. I feel like screaming at the top if my voice. However that seems inappropriate here. Instead, I just drink in the silent desert air, sky and thunderous silence. I am in love with Namibia. I just know I shall be back many times as part of a group or solo. It does not really matter. I just have to return. That was part of the idea of the trip. To come see what I actually want to experience in Namibia.

Beautifull Namibia:


Everyone asked why I needed to do this and do this alone. I knew if they had to ask they will not understand even if I try explain it. How do you describe utter, brilliant contentment. I get my tripod out to take the picture above, but a car approaches. I hide tripod and wait for them to pass, giving them the "I am OK" when the car slows down as it passes. This was so good to see on the trip. Everyone slow down if you stop to make sure you are OK. Why does it only happen out here. We should force everyone to take a yearly, week trip to somewhere remote. Maybe the world would be a better place then...?

It was almost two years ago that my beloved 990 and I were is very different circumstances. I had three screws in my hip and the 990 needed a new font light and instruments and a new crashbar. Even then I knew this trip was on. This is the reason that this moment in Namibia has such significance. At least in my book I am OK...

Two years ago:


I was in two minds about doing this report. It was not something new to tour Namibia alone. There has been a few trips and on much harder roads. I just wanted to get some quality 'me time' and that is what I got even though I stuck to the main routes. My only aim with this report is to say.

If you are thinking about that trip you always wanted to do. Pack you bags and just do it!

Day 1 to follow

wildehond screwed with this post 12-16-2010 at 07:21 AM
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:44 PM   #2
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Hi Wildehond where are you now in Namibia and where are you heading. I am also doing a solo trip, leaving on Friday 10 December from Walvis Bay up north to Ongwediva through Twyfelfontein, Puros, Sesfontein, Opuwa, Epupa and Ruacana. I must be in Ongwediva on the 18th to attend a Owanbo wedding. After the wedding I am going down to Cape Town and all the way back to Walvis Bay. Maybe we see each other on the road.
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:51 PM   #3
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Unfortunately I am back at work at the moment. I actually did this trip in Aug this year. Just thought I might share my experience.
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:56 PM   #4
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Nice man, look forward to your experiences. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:30 AM   #5
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Very exiting first day. Cape Town to Springbok on the N7. Blacktop all the way. I only got away on the Monday at about 10h00 after faffing about, about the packing of the last few things. It is not like I have not packed and repacked the last two weeks. Up until about 5 min before the start I could not make up my mind if I should strap my tent and sleeping bag to the panniers or take the topbox and put them in there. They are relatively light so I decided to put them in my topbox. You know how much this decision mattered in the end? Nothing. What a noob! :-)

As I was going on my own I had to pack all the tools I might need and two spare tubes. I also packed water and food for at least two days if I should be stuck somewhere. I did not want to plan my route too much so I was not sure which routes I as going to take and what they will look like.

So at 10 the morning I wobbled out of the front gate. Damn the bike felt weird with all the extra weight. Two extra tubes two days food and water with all the usual stuff including tools becomes heavy. Did I forget anything. I was to relieved to finally stop making useless decisions get going on my trip. My first proper holiday in three years. I must stop doing this Internet start-up thing. Halfway to Springbok I put a post on my Facebook to taunt my friends and work colleagues.



I got a Airhawk seat after the last time I travelled this road. I am very glad I did. It has made a big difference.

The N7 is not the most exiting road, but I kept at the speed limit and actually enjoyed the view. The more I watched the world around me, I started to notice more and more things on the side of the road. The hawks hunting from the telephone poles. The people working on the fields. I greet some of them and the they all enthusiastically wave back. I start to relax. The bike purrs under me I get goose pimples just listing to the engine. Life is great! I sit back and enjoy the show. No TV program can be better than this. Tomorrow I shall be in Namibia. Contentment.

I rolled into Springbok. Just then I realised it was in flower season. I hope there is still cheaper places to stay. I found a room at the Sprinbok Lodge and looked over the map for tomorrow. Should I really do this, there are so many what ifs. Stop stressing you wuss! I will take the moments as they come. I fall asleep about 5min later, one more useless decision made.

The Namkaland Flowers: for those that are interested, the Namakwaland is semi-desert, but in spring time with good rain this desert bursts in bloom better than any flower garden. google namakwaland flowers south africa and you will see.


wildehond screwed with this post 12-19-2010 at 03:39 AM
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:34 PM   #6
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Day 2

This was the day I learn a hard lesson. Luckily I leart another lesson previously this year that saved me.

Finally some gravel. Springbok to Aus. Why Aus from Springbok? Ai-Ais is the normal target from Springbok. I wanted to travel the northern side of the Orange river past Aussenkehr on the C13 to Rosh Pinah. I was looking for the wide open raw Namibia not the touristy spots. Nothing wrong with that. Just not this time round. It was high season and I was not looking forward battling with Overlander trucks and 4x4's.

I got up early, shower and get a takeaway coffee I drink while load my bike. I am right next to the Police station in Springbok. I greet the first police officers arriving for work with a big smile. The half say hello. I forgot. For them it is just another day at work. I am going into Nambia today!

I get through to Vioolsdrif on tar. I love that drive through the "Fivemilepass" just before Vioolsdrif. As I go through the pass I am just thinking I will be driving on and in this kind of terrain a bit later. The border. Deep breath. I make sure I have all my papers. South African side is a breeze. As I drive over the river to the Namibian side I realise I have had a light sweat on me the whole morning. Just anticipation. That is my story and I will stick to it! The Namibian side is a bit more tricky. I can't remember the address of the people I am visiting. I give them the Aus campsite address. This makes them happy and I am through. Fill up with fuel just outside the Namibia border post and turn onto the C13. The first part is tar. I pass another bike going the other way. He gives me a big thumbs-up. The road must be good then. I had no idea! Only now my Nambian trip starts. Yes yes yes! This is why I came.



70 km of this. It am like a kid at the toy store. What do look at first!

These red koppies(little stone hills) show up every now and then. For some reason they fascinate me.



Then, I hit the first one. I was warmed about this by Ashley from KTM Cape Town. I think he is still miffed that I did not invite him to come with, but I needed time to think. The road on the Northern border is narrow and windy. Lots of off-camber turns. The real danger however is the sudden drops in the road where the small streams join the Orangeriver. They are deep and sharp. The bottom is corrugated and a mix of sand and gravel. Not to deep but it can catch you if you are not awake. (No I do not have a photo of this. You will have to go and look for yourself.)

I stop a couple of times and just look around me. How the hell do you get this onto 'film'. There is no way! I hope the photos give you some idea of what it was like. Note to self. Stop faffing next time and bring the helmet cam you idiot!



It is a cliche' I know, but I did not want it to end. Sometimes you run right up to the river. Dumpass I did not take a picture of this, but I was in the moment. I suppose you will just have to go and see this for yourself then... I stop at one of these narrow ledges over the river and gawk at the view. WOW!



I VW campervan eases passed me in the other direction along this road. I wave, they smile and wave back. We know why we came. Not a bad way to travel I think, this campervan. Why do you want to get there fast anyway.

Next time I am going to camp somewhere along this road. "Oom ek moes net hier stop. Dit is dan so mooi. Bietjie boere troos oom?". This translates to from Afrikaans to English something like. "Sir I just had stop her. It is just so pretty. How about some coffee" There is a mine along here somewhere. Damn what a waste. I will have to come back there some time soon and look for it. It is a tough life.

The road turns away from the river and widens. The road it badly corrugate for first part. There is a "bakkie" (small pick-up) about 1km in front of me. I hang back to let the dust settle. I nothing to spoil the view.

THEN the cherry on top for the day. A Klipspringer lazily trots between me and the bakkie and hops up the side of a cliff. Effortless. I slow and watch it staring at me proudly, like it is saying, "You try that boy!". I feel like an intruder in his domain an speed up. I cannot tell how much I enjoyed that show. Later I reach the tar and Rosh Pinah. Wide streets, but it is very depressing.

Quick fuel and burger at the fuel station. I also buy a Namibia prepaid mobile phone card. I eat with the locals on the "stoep"(front portch). They weird thing they is seem friendly, happy I am there, not indifferent as I was expecting. I will get to experience the Namibian people as a very friendly people. I am hot. The sun is beating down. The burger is, well a "cafe burger". BUT I am loving life!

Saddle up an hit the LONG STRAIGHT road to Aus. I am actually happy to ride the tar. It gives me time to digest the amazing scenes I saw this morning. There a big culverts under the road. Note self. If it rains here. Beware. This probably turns into a flood plain. I take a rest at one of the many rest stop along the road. It is hot, The black rock radiate the heat back.

After some more water and some raisins I am off to Aus.

As I enter Aus I am passed by the second bike for the day. It looks like a triumph Bonnievale. COOL! In Aus I camp at the campsite for N$64.Is is nothing special as you can see from the picture. Looks like the backyard of one of the houses. I love camping so I am happy. I see the tracks of a bike. Probably the bike I passed this morning. The bathroom is clean and I make my camp on the only proper grass. It think it is on top of the septic tank, but it does not smell and it is soft so who cares.


The Coke from the cafe' across the road goes done well. I make dinner and then proper coffee with my bealetti percilator. It tastes great. I saviour every sip. I settle down for the night. It is a bit noisy because of the fuel station across the road. But it quiets down after 8. I look over the map for tomorrow. Looks OK. Enough fuel. Probably will not need the fuel can. I was getting between 17 and 19km/l today anyway. I can't wait to get going tomorrow.

One problem though. My GPS was showing me in the middle of nowhere the whole day. The Track4Africa for Namibia did not load properly and I did not test it. Lesson learnt. I had a good map though with GPS coords on it so I was OK. A lesson learnt earlier this year. (We spent 8 hours doing 60kms on that day) Always have good map as well and make sure you know where you are on the map. These roads are OK, because they are well marked, but it is still good to have confirmation of where you are going.

Tomorrow unto the "Desert road" as the people call it.


wildehond screwed with this post 08-28-2012 at 08:40 AM
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:17 PM   #7
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I'm in.

Just out of interest. I'm planning a ride through Namibia in a few years. How many k's between fuel and water stops in the back country?

Also, how cold does it get. I imagine August is peak winter?
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:27 PM   #8
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I'm in.

Just out of interest. I'm planning a ride through Namibia in a few years. How many k's between fuel and water stops in the back country?

Also, how cold does it get. I imagine August is peak winter?
August it is actually starting to get warmer. The problem in August is also there is normally BAD east to west winds then. Late May is the best time of year.
The southern part of Namibia fuel is atually quite readily available. If you plan well, no more that 200km at most between stops.

The North western part of Namibia can become very lonely and far from everything. The general rule there, not that I have been there, is at least 500km worth of fuel or 45l and 8 litres of water. I am working on a trip in that part for next year.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:32 AM   #9
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Day3:

Aus to Sesriem, Well that was the plan anyway. In Namibia you just take it as it comes. Another lesson leart. Go with your insticts.

I get up before sunrise and get everything ready. I have that light sweat on me again. I am ready to go when the sun comes out. I was warned not to ride early or late because of the game around. I grew up in the Northern Cape where there are a lot of Kudu. I have seen what that can do to a car. I fill up just the tanks on the bike and leave the extra fuel can empty and ride out of Aus. I think of the motorcycle I saw leaving Aus when I arrived yesterday. I wonder where he is today.

Luderitz? It is 160 there and 160 km back. I am not going to do that if I do not sleep over there so I look for the C13 going to Helmeringhausen and turn off onto a wide gravel highway. I met/tolerated a guy at Vanrynsdorp when I drove up through South Africa saying that he did 200km/h on some of these roads. I suppose you could but then why. You will see nothing if you have an off it will big and help takes three hours to get here if you are lucky. Why? That is his problem.

I am here to experience the wide open spaces which turned out to be not so wide open. I pass a truck and he flashes his lights at me. Friendly I think and wave back. He was friendly but not in the way I thought. About 5km on I see why he flashed. The overlander trucks have cut through the top layer of the road surface and the ground underneath is a mix of gravel and sand. Not deep but enough for me to have a few swincter moments. But I manage OK accept the light sweat is now just sweat. These patches are only a few hundered meters long so I get through it before I do something stupid. I just get throught it an carry on. The views I always saw in pictures I am experiencing now

Where I came from.


Where I am going.


These pictures do not even come close to giving you an idea of the beauty of this part of Namibia. I am also surprised at just how much grass is left. I was expecting more rocky desert.

These roads are just spectacular. I get to Helmeringhausen and put in some fuel. The petrol attendant assures me there is fuel at the next place as indicated on the map. I should have looked around Helmeringhausen more. From what I have heard the apple tart here is better than the famous Solitaire apple tart, which has turned into a mass produced affair now anyway. Unfortunately I only heard this after the trip. Again I should have looked around more. I am learning still. Investigate places more.

People that know this part of Namibia will notice that by now I have passed the turn-off to the D707. Suppose I will not see as much game. Maybe. But man I saw lots.

So far I have seen a few Gembok(Oryx) and one springbok came passed the front of my bike at full tilt. But in the next section of road I got to see plenty. Unfortunately by the time I stopped they were all too far away to get any good pictures.
I was surreal to drive amoungst so much game. Gemsbok, springbok and zebra. Lots and lots of it.

The whole terrain are these very big open plains and then you pass though a sort of pass and unto the next plain. It was mind blowingly beautifull. I could have stopped every two kilometers and take a great photo. The one below I just stopped and got the camera out of the tankbag and just snapped what was there in front of me.



The road today was what I was looking for when I came to Namibia. These roads that just kept on going. I look at my GPS again. All it shows a few contours quite far appart. Then I realise. The first people trekking through this must have had some big ones. You make a mistake here or run out of water. That is it. You are done. I see a car every hour or two hours. Man I am such a wuss.

As I go north the corrugations get worse. I suppose more tourist traffic and it is late in the season. I passed grader a few kilomters back and trying to get the road into some order. I see a long high line of thick sand marking the road between the graded road and the road in current condition. Note so self. Stay away from that. Well little did I know I had a meeting with that line of sand later in the day...

Somewhere in between
.



I always make a point of slowing down when I pass the graders to greet them. You normally pass their caravan and camp relatively close to where the work. It must be a hard life, but also a peacefull life. I should have taken a picture of them. I think they would have enjoyed that. I must interact with the locals more. Lesson learnt. This lesson will bring me two very good memories in the next few days.

I fill up between Helmeringhausen and Sesriem. The kamp has got full fuel station, restaurant and two nice camp sites. Next time I would like to stay here. While I am there people arrive with a doublecab bakkie(small 4x4 truck). The one women starts to speak to me in german. They are from Austria and know the KTM bikes. I just stop her and tell her I am from South Africa. "But you are german right?" Is her reply. No I am actually South African. We talk for a while. Then her husband drags her away to leave. They tear off. What the hell is the hurry? I enjoy my cooldrink in silence and take the road to Sesriem. This will not be the only time I am mistaken for a german.

Towards Sesriem I pass more am more traffic. More and more Overlander trucks with people taking photographs of the crazy idiot on a bike out here. I only found out later what a weird sight that is to the avarage overseas visitor. I just drink in the sites and sounds and fall in love with my bike all over again. I was not wrong trusting my instict that day I took a test ride on the 990 and knew we will get along just fine after the first 200m. People say some bikes a better than others. I say bullshit. Only you will know which bike is for you. When you find it you will know. But KTM is more equal than others. :-)

Then Sesriem. Tourist center. Damn. I was just getting into the whole Namibia peacefull vibe. If you have not been there. It is a fuel station like these big things they build next to the national roads. Camps and lodges all around the fuel station. Satelite TV in the lodges. Sorry but I do not understand this. Noooo. Nothing I can do. I buy a bun and a fruit juice and take table and watch the people come and go. While I was there, there must have passed 8 overlander trucks through there. I am not going to fight this lot into Sosousvlei tomorow morning. I shall come earlier in the season next time. This trip is just about me and the road and lots of time to think.

While I eat there I start talking to an Italian couple. What is it about Italian women..? Somehow they just have something. Anyway. It takes a while for me to explain that people from SA travel this far on bikes on a regular basis. For the European tourist 1500km from home is worlds away. Again they also think I am german. The Germans must be mad to go everywhere in Africa on bikes then. They ask about the fuel and where do I sleep and all that. They are on their way to Cape Town. So I tell them to go rent bikes a tour a bit in the Western Cape. They seem to like the idea. Do not know if they did in the end.

I know it was plan to sleep here tonight, but seriously...

wildehond screwed with this post 02-13-2011 at 04:40 AM
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:00 PM   #10
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Enjoying your wussy solo ride

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Old 12-16-2010, 10:45 PM   #11
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Enjoying your wussy solo ride

Thanks. At least one person is reading it. I must admit that is was quite a personal journey. One of those things you know you just had to do.
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:16 PM   #12
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Lekker Willehond... thanks for this... I am currently recovering from two broken ankles... went over the handlebars when hitting a car head on and my feet got caught on the bars on my way over.. It's been 8 weeks and I will need at least another 8 before I can swing my leg over the saddle again, But the best therapy for me is to get my maps out and plan that " solo back on the saddle" ride.

I will be following your adventure in Namib.. I can see how the Namib is a good place to go for a trip like this, I have travelled there many times... This time I am in Australia so will look for something similar.... maybe the Flinder Ranges in South Australia
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:23 PM   #13
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Nice.
I like your attitude.
And pics.

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Old 12-16-2010, 11:32 PM   #14
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Lekker Willehond... thanks for this... I am currently recovering from two broken ankles... went over the handlebars when hitting a car head on and my feet got caught on the bars on my way over.. It's been 8 weeks and I will need at least another 8 before I can swing my leg over the saddle again, But the best therapy for me is to get my maps out and plan that " solo back on the saddle" ride.

I will be following your adventure in Namib.. I can see how the Namib is a good place to go for a trip like this, I have travelled there many times... This time I am in Australia so will look for something similar.... maybe the Flinder Ranges in South Australia
I hope you recover well. All I can say is that the time will pass. Just do the physio. It really helps.

I would not mind seeing some of Australia. Remember to post an RR and some pics.
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:42 PM   #15
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Nice.
I like your attitude.
And pics.

Thanks for the kind words. What I have seen from ride reports there are brilliant locations in California as well. I have a friend that did a month long motorcycle trip in the US. He brought back some brilliant photos.
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