Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: Xpat on May 17, 2016, 06:30:09 pm

Title: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 17, 2016, 06:30:09 pm
Intro

For few years now I wanted to circumvent Okavango delta Maun to Maun properly - meaning riding Botswanian tracks and cutlines north of the delta between Khwai village on the east and Seronga / Shakawe in the west. I have tried to incorporate it into each of my last 3 Christmas trips, always failing due to running out of time or breakdowns. Apart from one post on a 4x4 forum I haven't heard about anybody who has done it - especially on a bike. And yet - to my surprise - the route nowadays exists even on Googlemaps and has actualy a name - Transit Road.
Makes one wonder what the heck are you lot - the cream of African adventure biking - doing :pot:.

So when my boss brought to my attention that I can have 10 days off over Easter if I take 2 or 3 days of vacation I jumped at the opportunity (wondering nonetheless why the boss wants me out of the office) to have another try at the delta circumvention. The plan was easy - ride up to delta on as much dirt as possible, circumvent the delta, do some exploration of area east of Namibian border between Tsodilo Hills and Dube border crossing and quick dash straight back to Joburg.

I do most of my trips solo mostly because I'm just too lazy to try to accommodate constrains of other people with all the attendant compromises, but decided this time to give it a go and put out feelers for a partner or two. As one would expect over family holidays most people were busy, but eventually AlanB put me in contact with Straatkat, who was keen to join. Unfortunatelly his work commitmets (he works for himself, so public holidays do not work the same way as for us corporate rats) didn't allow for the full 10 day trip. He had 4 days, so he decided to join me for two day ride up to Gweta through the Makgadikgadi pans, where he would turn back to Joburg, while I will continue to the delta.

With that settled all that remained to do was to pack up and wait for the departure on 19th of March.

Planned route:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2mA5eKOz2Xc/Vzs7eqaFH1I/AAAAAAAAJLI/ar5QA3D_Tow-IRbC3s60KGpYlrCKynOOACCo/s700/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-05-17%2Bat%2B5.25.48%2BPM.png)


Few teasers:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4UmUHSk1bgk/VvrET16GAWI/AAAAAAAAHis/Ja-JCuKlQusyUWwl-ZKfgmNWVYSI0NyPwCCo/s1024/P1010014.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5kP0Rv-izjw/VvrEQEWKRkI/AAAAAAAAHis/FLuZBDRM9a8srRJloJxRXrJAPt696FXmwCCo/s1024/P1010015.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-EAXpYvOsA2k/VvrEz8MP-YI/AAAAAAAAHjU/zUmvohxKq9kUUTZtCkfKL10zIXH6yrMBACCo/s1024/P1010034.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-rpqJInavMJE/VvrFeyOCaeI/AAAAAAAAHjU/0n_FPRXV6wcQ_vT5a4CjUhgXxq5kMI7rgCCo/s1024/P1010087.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8XjAO4D_T0E/VvrI7W0sXcI/AAAAAAAAHls/ekrbFaG0hDIFgmTK2OLmA1LIOWYS75CygCCo/s1024/TWH02504.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-94GV4_NSiS4/VvrGWcszjfI/AAAAAAAAHkA/7pKgVxoNzMMmgBb7TOrBwy8CrOXyHZRrwCCo/s1024/P1010194.jpg)




   
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Ganjora on May 17, 2016, 06:47:39 pm
This is going to be good.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: OOOOMS on May 17, 2016, 07:18:52 pm
Suuuuub!!!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Stevie on May 17, 2016, 07:19:12 pm
This looks proper
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 17, 2016, 08:08:34 pm
Day 1

Straatkat on TE610 and I on 690 met up at the Total garage in Hartebeespoort at about 7:15. I was 15 min late as I run into a dense fog over the mountains - probably the first time I run into fog in/near Joburg for the 9 years I've been living here. After cheesburger we set-off and rode tar 20 km or so to Brits where we hit the dirt roads passing through the private reserves on the way to Assen and Rooiberg. We were ridding at quite a klip - the roads were good, but occassional sandy sections and washouts kept one focused. I was clearly the weaker link in the duo, jumping up the pegs into the aggressive attack position at the sight of a slightest change in the surface, while Straatkat cruised unfazed nonchalantly sitting his front wheel about a meter or two to the right of my rear wheel to stay out of my dust. I eventually eased into the ride (as someone who started riding dirt in his middle 30s, I have to basically relearn everything at the beginning of each ride) and we cruised at what I consider reasonably high speed (though Straatkat may have dozed of here and there) steadily up north.

We stopped in Rooiberg for an early lunch. We spent lazy hour and a half eating and chatting before we set-off again. Due to my sketchy planning we missed the golden opportunity to fuel up, which would force us to change the route later on in the day, due to limited fuel capacity on Straatkat's TE610 (and probably mine 690 with all the rear wheel spin). You see, first day was basically a liaison and the plan was to get to Palapye on as much dirt as possible: from Rooiberg we were heading up along the western fence of Marakele NP, and then after 20 km or so on tar I wanted to hit the dirt roads to Stockpoort border crossing, from where I have plotted another 130 km or so of little dirt tracks to Palapye. It was a good plan, but there was no chance for refuel after Rooiberg as we would bypass both Thabazimbi and Lephalale - the next petrol was in Palapye about 250 km away. But I didn't use my brain which later forced us to make a detour to Lephalale and Martin's Drift.

After lunch we jumped back on the back and pushed north. We stopped only rarely, so there were limited photo opportunities. Here was one with Waterberg in the background:

Straatkat styling it up with Waterberge for a backdrop:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vstVH-uMXjI/VzsI1YD_V_I/AAAAAAAAI68/b6kQ10gn6tECIP55Rut9ufy7jRB1Gb3nwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B3.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yFlvFPkCQqw/VzsLUNoOSqI/AAAAAAAAI8w/dKU3BGCO0-gd2oJw56VTCmtRs37F48lzACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B5.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0PoaWDF-ZvI/VzsHzPeBgHI/AAAAAAAAI6I/wj_Jn09roJ82r0LSqdpgdz_YqdOLbXKHwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B2.jpg)


While riding along the Marakele western fence, Straatkat couldn't stand up my high speed cruise anymore, and gunned ahead leaving me in the trail of dust. When I caught up with him waiting on the crest of a small hill, he had big smile plastered on his face completely oblivious to the three elephants in blind panic pinned between electric fence and a mountain about 40 meters behind him. Before I could stop and warn him, he buggered of while I stopped the bike to calm the elies down and try to get some pictures. Not sure that was the best move as for a while it looked like the matriarch is considering charging through the fence, but eventually she moved off after the rest of the family and all I managed in the commotion are these glimpses of elephant matron disapearing in the forest:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-KdrRGAghGlo/VzsJyacEn7I/AAAAAAAAI7o/f1qxmoSOoCo4_zdBZQBzs876sIGBW4gWACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B37.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-43G0dnFcDGc/VzsKELM6h1I/AAAAAAAAI74/R_eHt4EbQFk0j0f8EElsBUFLNmScvVbjwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B38.jpg)


After Marakele Straatkat run out of petrol in his main tank and had to refill from his own custom made 8l rear tank. You see, Straatkat is a resourcefull man who knows how to use his hands to make his own stuff (all I can use my hands for is to search ebay and type in credit card details). Being a smart man, he didn't want to overcomplicate it so he didn't put in additional electric pump, but rather uses much more robust manual pump to trasfer petrol to the front tank - which on occasion earns him a wanking comment or 10:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ADqqvBwOiYQ/VzsKcLZTbOI/AAAAAAAAI8I/D8yae4irqvkSHoEVh4lKFhxiNPm3CZEzACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B40.jpg)


That was the point when I realised that I screwed up and we will not be able to make it all the way to Palapye without refuel. The only option left now was to a detour to Lephalale for refill, so we took dirt roads there instead of Stockpoort. When we made it there it was getting late (those dirt roads take time even though we weren't slacking), so after quick refill, we hit the tar to Martin's Drift border to save time. Martin's Drift took about an hour or more due to usual bottleneck at the Bots road tax counter. Which turned out to be blessing in disguise as we found out later we have just missed a huge deluge on the way to Palapye.

Once throug the border and after quick rehydration stopover at the Kwa Nokeng garage we pushed to Palapye 100 km away, which we reached just as the sun disapearead behind the horizon. We got Pula at the ATM, refilled, and headed for overnighter in Itumela campsite - the backpackers of choice in these area. Palapye looked like one huge swamp - clearly the ground was too waterlocked to be able to absorb the latest deluge.

Which almost came to bite us in the ass, when we made it to Itumela, where we found out to my dismay that they are sold out. WTF - this used to be quiet place hidden behind hideous train station that only initiated knew about. Nowadays its preferred stopover for the overland trucks, and if you happen there when they arive (they all seem to have the same schedule for some reason), you might find yourself out of bed.

Eventually, they found a room for us that was booked as a reserve should somebody from the overland truck want to upgrade from a tent. And I was really glad, as the whole camping ground was just one huge puddle and even getting to our accomodation we were sliding all over the place in thick mud.

Once settled in we headed to the bar for few beers and buffet dinner before hitting the beds.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Dol3kcroI3k/VzsMb5DYYJI/AAAAAAAAI-E/d5OpsEf-05MSNydkQORNH72mNsHws1uPgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B6.jpg)


Route ridden:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-slHFvRYPLW4/Vzs7frFT1sI/AAAAAAAAJLI/MvehiuLO9bQseXwc5yJhda9y5NCM706rQCCo/s700/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-05-17%2Bat%2B5.46.27%2BPM.png)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: skydiver on May 17, 2016, 08:50:28 pm
Looking forward to the rest  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Pilchie on May 17, 2016, 09:07:43 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 17, 2016, 10:44:38 pm
Day 2

I cannot remember if they do not serve breakfast in Itumela or they start serving too late, but we I believe we did set-off without one - apart form quick lunch bar or some such. Objective for the day was to cross Makgadikgadi pans and make it to Gweta for sleepover. It is bit of a shame not to stay over at the Kubu island, but I have been there 5 - 6 times, and Straatkat had a tight deadline.

Bikes ready to go:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SI_1SA0cR1Y/VzsNRPWFzzI/AAAAAAAAJBw/V2YwIJabVGUMYS8SZwiWDSRrqi43ey9KACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B7.jpg)

Unlike day before, we had about 240 km of tar to Lethlakane to get over with before we will hit the dirt again on Makgadikgadi. The slab was boring and annoying, but we soldiered on and made it to Lethlakane at about 10:30 or so. We stopped at the new Engen garage for a bite and petrol. It took a while to recover from the mind numbing slab and get blood circulating in the extremities freely again. We used the time enquiring about the current situation on the pans. Already getting there, we have seen heavy clouds gathering over the pans, and locals confirmed that the pans are wet. How wet, we will have to see ourselves.

Filled up we finally set-off shortly before noon. First 30 km is tar up to Mmatshumo, where we continued north on the double track running through the 20 or so km of bushes surrounding the pans. Very soon we hit the first puddles covering the track for dozens, sometimes even 100 meters or so. Initially we tried to look for alternative routes, but the bush was dense and pretty sure it was clear that we will have to get wet:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6mZBHM1Ma7I/VzsgJ197utI/AAAAAAAAJCw/M9TQgVi40yEcMQPyhG9H6heov5tLELh9gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B1.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-IFLwpMlO3o0/VzshBr-7PxI/AAAAAAAAJE8/HY1ediRbgBUsNcx11UbThCxTfeC019NxgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B2.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8EjtLL-Nlcg/VzsjmsV61yI/AAAAAAAAJJk/3bKLLaqpzng8REtTTOU9z7z3koTDb-NYQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B8.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-qc1Om3Gfaqo/VzshxBGrlXI/AAAAAAAAJKo/wzQ7D5pLU1Er7Hi0qCvlZ4wUqZkDyTlLwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B4.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jhwFq5uNd9U/Vzsj_fEZ5lI/AAAAAAAAJKA/UPY0rsZTPpQ9qMX8DJasJEb3rkB1wTRugCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B9.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8mPmigq_4E4/VzsiqKz67EI/AAAAAAAAJHw/SuZrun9nSRksFPpzfxpFDYyYZRRWSKdnACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B6.jpg)

Occasionally there were dry sandy patches, but not for long:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OdAu2hrsv-4/VzsgoTKfMEI/AAAAAAAAJDs/qciGgoZjNCUP0f50AuIP6hOoWGEDB8uQwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B11.jpg)


Eventually we made it to the Sua pan, but not without one or two mishaps. Of course, the pan was wet.

Straatkat and the butterflies:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-lD5s5uc7rAI/Vzsgr5swXnI/AAAAAAAAJEA/d0v65mYZOXwtq1ANXrWJU6nC5Yn0kGpCgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B12.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-V10OsnDzZv4/VzsOgDu3wpI/AAAAAAAAI_w/jzwP-5WK5OA0EBsOtpjL6urLtHR1pp-bACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B8.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-iysKwYDCa0Q/VzsFhSEigwI/AAAAAAAAI3k/lWn4gJ8mJLk40ZzS6yJbWQSRqle9FhxWgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B10.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-k64BQwTCSh4/VzsHAa8S3II/AAAAAAAAI5Q/VA_T1MqTpMI2onrCPIr5gG_Y7c4aIYMVgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B12.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AuAq-AJfA4w/VzsHLFdfnbI/AAAAAAAAI5c/Mh5wSJssTvUveTeVgtjHc1YvrmQJM-n7gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B13.jpg)


I have ridden them before wet and knew how unpredictable and dangerous this wet snot can be, so we opted for the track following the western flank of the Sua pan. It was much better - for a while...

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xfbb_LkwDo0/VzsgxM8vQ0I/AAAAAAAAJEA/SnYyTfIIRbs-KFkiK08EQVDEcODWRQlnQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B14.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5iBwebXbZcI/Vzsg0j4_nDI/AAAAAAAAJEg/4sYaLP0Lq1E2_vDql8pbqKCC4GycDcdKQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B15.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-fO0BOHpRQts/Vzsg0h9juKI/AAAAAAAAJEg/2UqpjKQj4G8ap64mbqnrQP99Aj6esLRPgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B16.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-t-xsBvYdfpM/Vzsg5qSIphI/AAAAAAAAJEg/2-cJ9HVEirkrE-hstlvPgLyBULbuIYSpQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B17.jpg)


But the track eventually hit the pan anyway. Big parts of the pan were under water - it was basically a shallow lake/swamp instead of set of big puddles:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-MICTTYI6k2U/Vzsg7Aw7irI/AAAAAAAAJKk/4KM6nWkbfggQhhzz88iplDdxdOcZD-zawCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B18.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-lCRaPx2Lj6c/Vzsg-Q2giMI/AAAAAAAAJEg/RJxzmACIsEMp9hUvX_aHv_g6UwQrL2begCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B19.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yCZCA9uUpVM/VzshBSfGG6I/AAAAAAAAJE8/3w9Vz_UbJ9csXYkyqRQ4kXLUaLuHKKswwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B20.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-CHo2fffayQs/VzsHSr1K8eI/AAAAAAAAI5o/UZvs65icgWs2hSGAFU4MQzHzzEC4R54vQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B15.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-sILjxMb8CHU/VzsHeW95YwI/AAAAAAAAI50/ODCyVv9vGVok5_5xroTQFTcaAPBQDpb0wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B17.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-BvkDvVTlJlY/VzsHu0aXmnI/AAAAAAAAJBw/VqkoxDSIlx8qAi73sZWY6iUjNFQ0xM9ZACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B19.jpg)


I was cruising without so much as a sweat, but Straatkat had a hard time keeping Husky up. The reason was simple - tyres. He was ridding Michelin T63 upfront and Kenda Block at the back. Luckily for me I have finally listened to Runner's recommendation before the trip and put real knobblies upfront (Maxxis CrossIT Desert) instead of usual E09 and left E09 Dakar at the back. And while the back was all over the show if I wasn't carefull with the throttle, the front felt absolutely safe like it had nail sticking out of it. Once or twice I pivoted 90 degrees around the front when I lost rear, and perfectly in control. I haven't felt once on the pans - actually on the whole trip, and another one after. And not for the lack of trying.

Straatkat on the other hand, didn't have much luck with that bloody Michelin. I think he mentioned that he went down 11 times whiile crossing Makgadikgadi, and it was sapping his energy. What was worse, his bike - apart from having really stupidly low air intake, has some weird condition and when the sparkplug gets wet it dies and doesn't want to start. He did his best to avoid it, but that Michelin made sure it came to bite us in the ass.

Straatkat down in the drink:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-WUBK21Pdl2w/VzshHvM6wJI/AAAAAAAAJKk/N7tHcDvWPacj5chevG7a2B6daA6lA0MrgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B23.jpg)


(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-MzuYyp9JBJc/VzshJ0nSKFI/AAAAAAAAJE8/cKJxS59X8-gES5e_bL7mOm7QQttfPE9HgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B24.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wEz4hFf519g/VzsIEdZVdnI/AAAAAAAAI6Y/jPa1A9fC2rIeKRkslWYe5CUiXnnjOiyRwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B23.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-fJxI2K8YTV4/VzsIUCbYvcI/AAAAAAAAJB0/aHlNPlRxHQw7dlHrgUagw5AMq7IsNzSkQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B26.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wTZmXV5a0QU/VzsIgPBMEfI/AAAAAAAAI60/giCK2hVJ_gkhUOPyyfelPSkLs0txHSg8wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B27.jpg)

After one of the falls which seen the airbox intake under water, Straatkat decided rather to take the sparplug out before starting the bike to prevent potential starter/valve damage. Luckily this time there was no water in and the bike started up without problem:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-uD4NyA6qjnI/VzsIjW_P-pI/AAAAAAAAI60/yHsXRJ22Jkg_f7QQcBZ8EDGTCfSFYAW2ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B28.jpg)


(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--jKvOsOhi6c/VzsI2Egp4-I/AAAAAAAAI68/_DpFlR0KBgUgpkOfG7mpVOEKDAr30mD3ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B30.jpg)

Space out of water was scarce:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8ALHuQvpfWw/VzsI18QDajI/AAAAAAAAI68/nL2LWrqTCLE0hnJzeqfIwa1zuVgOyyhbgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B31.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Mc1iurXtTvU/VzsKYHXkEYI/AAAAAAAAJBs/nd3zh94P8iU0egKsOib4sMgNATTleBWPwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B41.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-gULu5KvlRyI/VzsK5vHaU2I/AAAAAAAAI8o/QItNHxkmdsUzVE409IMWmgX7azPIzeJVQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B46.jpg)


So we pushed on - with all the reflection it felt a bit like riding the sky:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8AstI0IJ-ag/VzshNgbYw6I/AAAAAAAAJE8/tvPvV517gO80cK38CxDAIJ-8mjcwptrVACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B25.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-HNWIGwRX4sQ/VzshPsGFbLI/AAAAAAAAJFQ/9tT4EADerWoFmllfeIxsxdflET23a-qfQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B27.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Wqnqe0jwedw/VzshTGBvPzI/AAAAAAAAJFQ/_7W5_Qr06Hcs4KhbGcM979zB2Gvp2PQXwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B28.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-tGbzyg2NyTw/VzshUPoRqbI/AAAAAAAAJFQ/2HoFa93PHqYwNYPh1olm6ywSC2jtJCZagCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B29.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zIbs3Wheoq4/Vzshd8RyQnI/AAAAAAAAJFs/B-BOdXaiMEgzEEAPH1x6pSmzkIDsEK6CACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B32.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6ZG9UffvG5I/VzshfQkkO8I/AAAAAAAAJKg/YgleAkAsI90kLMEQl5KnyalRF3vExCilQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B33.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-eJflmHC1dxw/Vzshl3ESQqI/AAAAAAAAJFs/g31OYSQQmj42KIETvif5wccvi2TOrbggACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B36.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-_pBwQH3P_xY/VzshuaKTrMI/AAAAAAAAJKg/_VdXge04A2YDdBBSqEWxhman53UFigTmgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B39.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-tP7NzQ5pefk/Vzsh2QIV85I/AAAAAAAAJGI/ttGCmNZSAKEBH67WvddDALtUgihkBictwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B40.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-87dVxyppHXg/Vzsh9bN-xnI/AAAAAAAAJGk/g_GAD53j72MFOfnFtp32A1cTR9hK_37UgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B44.jpg)


Eventually we made it to the southern veterinary fence gate. I knew that afterwards the track runs on the higher grassy ground flanking the pan, so I Straatkat will have better time riding there:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-kSoF6MwQ28A/Vzsh-DIrSRI/AAAAAAAAJGk/Qy--F-VB9awOpGV1xVXeCuOdnPTZ0ZSMQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B45.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-j42M3OoRHUQ/VzsiFJevGMI/AAAAAAAAJGk/fdCUz7AR1mMZ0OSC8LoHwpdDQUiEaU8JgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B46.jpg)

And it looked good!

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-48hs_UPv51g/VzsiFpxbw1I/AAAAAAAAJG0/18UvZP7ucNcIQkABNY1JZK6Mz-aovyCzACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B47.jpg)

For about a km...

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-deiGIFU5SGg/VzsiFb9JVvI/AAAAAAAAJG0/LKa1ClTInQYn04i44_i_0d7cwpC-OxF1gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B48.jpg)

This ditch unfortunatelly proved fatal for the Husky - well for the day at least. Straatkat had a mishap in it and the bike wouldn't start afterwards.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SqaHASPB3qQ/VzsiMSFzslI/AAAAAAAAJG0/2eCH2su0XOksvb8moso-SACLkuexSOlcgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B49.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8tAnSUT23Ak/VzsiUihOMiI/AAAAAAAAJHU/5xMNqOi_J60RpSRva9X9Ihd_-8mzuu-WgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B51.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-q5xjaW7U8QY/VzsiUhSLYiI/AAAAAAAAJHU/mziyFLGRAv8auOd8FIoQCc2XUiac4gCjwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B52.jpg)


Out went the tools, sparkpugs, exhaust, the works. There was water in the engine, that must have made it there through the exhaust, as the airbox wasn't at any point under water. Once we believed we got the water out of the engine, we tried to push the bike. We got an odd explosion, but the bike wouldn't start. Eventually after many tries and with daylight disapearing quickly, we set-up camp on the higher and dryier ground about 100 meters from the road.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6-VFWKH7Tpk/VzsLQNFfSwI/AAAAAAAAI8w/y06o-PfU5qw11UmyyKN3c3ETCd-feV33QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B49.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xxkAqk600ns/VzsLGZyfmzI/AAAAAAAAI8o/-TICG5ImkI8fIvx64f2GkvOmH_ZZsi8XACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B48.jpg)

These 4x4s came by backtracking from the pans. They said there were 4x4s stuck on the pans ahead sleeping out there and they were not keen to end up the same way:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-YUFL-uZYUZ8/VzsLc9MfJXI/AAAAAAAAI9A/iHtv_mAdcmACqH6gz-al2CGCXd4mchRyACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B50.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-nQYzhmJUuqc/VzsLlPOkNzI/AAAAAAAAI9I/XdnkB5koVdgRJY8NgTNEGe2H7WM5DUglwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B52.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-BG26IuP47KQ/VzsL5lLlxrI/AAAAAAAAI9k/FoS0Tvn-asAy2Vfe0IOCLPE6ILQNBsJgwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B54.jpg)

Straatkat giving it his best:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-HnEiS9cFIqA/VzsMNQ4FBOI/AAAAAAAAI90/KWXwEBUoAasQMQQbe7cpLKp6QUPnnuIHgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B57.jpg)

But the daylight was fading fast:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-py3M7tSFKX0/VzsMOAbJqRI/AAAAAAAAI-E/EIDUv8N-glUNcN-8LN2KDeF50kRAAr01gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B59.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-604RmfnoZyM/VzsMbCISTyI/AAAAAAAAI-E/F1KS6Hwo3RUNET-rg5twFelsZtTd5dLwQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B60.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-hrFfL3gcbbY/VzsMmpW1OhI/AAAAAAAAI-U/nz4gbfFJWJ4OJZhFW4IHo-MOLF5zNPzDwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B62.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-epxYMpbfjgA/VzsMn0eobNI/AAAAAAAAI-U/ikIxchi4A-0nJpSHyZM9O6aU5apAod7MACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B63.jpg)


Route ridden:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-gyvvoPtvgQo/Vzs7eUsOOHI/AAAAAAAAJLI/yx-Rx3Vl1rUT8uNS5a7n4sTp6oqAm_nkwCCo/s700/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-05-17%2Bat%2B5.52.01%2BPM.png)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on May 18, 2016, 12:09:41 am
Bliksem! ... yet another full on adventure, Cool Bananas!

 8)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: lj111 on May 18, 2016, 07:38:29 am
Sub :sip:
Looking good :thumleft: and a bit wet :eek7:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: OOOOMS on May 18, 2016, 07:44:38 am
And awsome pics  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: katana on May 18, 2016, 09:17:42 am
Nice!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: FrancoisTz on May 18, 2016, 09:37:13 am
Guts you have in abundance, well done.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: ROOI on May 18, 2016, 01:59:39 pm
 :sip:  sub
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Orangeswifty on May 18, 2016, 02:20:39 pm
Great guns guys
Epic trip!
send more!! :thumleft:
Bertie should have taken his SE :biggrin:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 18, 2016, 02:36:10 pm
Thanks for the comments.

@Orangeswifty: SE would be great for this kind of trip (including Okavango circumvention) - lots of flat riding with dozens of km of deep Kalahari sand  except for one thing - the fuel range. For the Okavango part one will need at least 400 km range and that is without reserve for unforeseen events - like not being able to cross Selinda river and have to back track. I think that may be too much even for standard SE - Bertie's has Rotweiler conversion and my understanding from him is it eats even grass along the way if unattended.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Crossed-up on May 18, 2016, 02:57:53 pm
Great stuff! Look forward to more.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: ktmmer on May 18, 2016, 03:28:11 pm
Looking forward to more.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Rough Rider on May 18, 2016, 03:39:32 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Operator on May 18, 2016, 03:59:24 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Dustman on May 18, 2016, 04:39:41 pm
 :lamer:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Oupa Foe-rie on May 18, 2016, 04:57:25 pm
 :sip:  Xpat it's always nice to read your interesting reports .................  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: westfrogger on May 18, 2016, 06:11:17 pm
Looking good. Looking forward to more, red wine in hand and all.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Straatkat on May 18, 2016, 08:48:14 pm
Yeah an epic trip allright. Xpat does not give himself enough credit, he rides very well and did not drop his heavier bike than mine not once the entire trip I was with him. That in itself is incredible. I was thinking afterwards that maybe because he was riding in front, the water was clear and he could see the track better and me following in the muddy water sometimes ran into the side of the track and that caused me to topple over in the snot.......oh well I have to think of some excuse! The halfway worn T63 could also be part of the reason, but I did not have the worst tyre for the conditions as we will learn later!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Straatkat on May 18, 2016, 09:07:09 pm
The track, or should I say ditch that caused all the trouble looked like an innocent track on the side of the large puddle in the road, and as soon as I got into it I sensed here was trouble as it immediately went from about 150mm deep to over 400mm deep and it looked like it is just getting deeper, so I tried to climb out of the rut, and remembering what Xpat said," if you are going to fall, make sure it is on the left side as the airbox is on the right" so I dropped the Cricket on the left side after losing my footing and down it went. It was so deep that the exhaust gulped in all the slimy water it could, and this had us, (and I wanted to avoid this, but both Xpat and me are mechanical engineers), stumped for the rest of the afternoon.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: teebag on May 18, 2016, 09:17:49 pm
Did the transit road route around the top of the delta in a landcruiser in 2006, it was very wet. Look forward to the rest of your report.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 18, 2016, 10:08:14 pm
Day 3 - part 1

Despite the threatening clouds the night before it didn't rain and we woke up to the beautifull morning on the pans:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-3AfGkf2rUQk/VzsM5JPP5BI/AAAAAAAAI-g/YyzJivWjks8lOWkWgoprgmv3Y5Z5dwJwwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B66.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-BdATTw5dHIQ/VzsNJeZ1lxI/AAAAAAAAI-s/DN2YyA1oq64ES7rMLXIzrdpQu-2dueJawCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B68.jpg)

First order of the day was to try start Husky. It didn't even when pushed, so the last option was to try to pull start it with Katoom. Straatkat assembled Hussy together (it was in pieces after our prior day fixing efforts), while I broke and packed my camp and scouted flat dry place without grass big enough to pull Husky. I then pulled Straatkat over there through the grass in Neutral and once there he just kicked in second (I think) and Italian donkey came to life at first try. Straatkat's relief was pretty clear thanks to his ecstatic shouts and him trying to rev the Italian valves off.

With that sorted Straatkat headed back to camp to pack up, while I rode 2 km back to the veterinary fence to refill on water. At the gate I bumped into two bikers who just arrived through the lake from the south and greeted me with 'Hey Xpat', or some such. Which frankly stunned me for a moment as I'm usually not being recognised by people I've never met. They were of course Wilddogs - Jacques (pienaarj on WD) on Africa Twin (the only good one - XRV650) and Stein (sorry, didn't catch his WD name) on 800GS. They were newbies on their first trip - long way around to a wedding near Windhoek and then back to their respective homes, Cape Town and Pretoria and got somehow inspired to take this route by one of my reports. I couldn't help to not feel a bit sheepish about luring these newbies into a swamp, which my reports presented as mostly flat white plains worthy of 100 kmh and more. On the other hand they were young and this was proper character building adventure, so teh way I prefer to look at it now is that I contributed to the personnal growth of two fine young men  ;D.

And quite frankly, so far they've made it as far as the two senior adventurers and were about to get ahead. Which was even more remarkable looking at the tyres they had on and - how should I say - unsophisticated way of carrying luggage (though I've seen surprisingly many supposedly experienced riders using the same approach). I will come back to those later.

After short chat they rode off on the track I just came back on. I told them about Straatkat, but somehow they missed 1.9 meter tall dude 50 meters off the road on flat plains. I guess the ditch that cost us half a day commanded their full attention.

I in the meantime headed to the deserted shacks on the hill - for some reason the gate wasn't manned - to fill up our water pouches from the big green drum. Just to be sure I've put in water purification liquid. I felt quite relieved to have full stock of water again - I'm paranoid about dehydration since I almost expired from one combined with heatstroke in northern Kenya. It's stuck in my head and I believe make me consume unnecessary quantity of water (compared to other people I ride with), but I just cannot help it - I've already consumed about 8 litres of water out of 12 I have taken at Lethlakane (Straatkat was much more economical with his). And it was already hot which was exacebrated further by lack of any kind of shade within 10 km.

With that sorted I returned to the camp, packed up and we set-off again, now chasing the youngsters before us. Initially, the track was good with only occassional puddle here and there:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-v9RZRSvEkNc/VzsiVvD70pI/AAAAAAAAJHU/bjQb1JVUC3Qkrf39PFqzOc0zFhWBk4BEwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B53.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-c0EqyNq7KOM/VzsicqH6xrI/AAAAAAAAJHw/vF6UiVdQ0iox2KerB0N9L4s6a0RizTfCwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B56.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-rkMwxemfRwU/Vzsic9Kl33I/AAAAAAAAJHw/K9yyeduFojMhDsB8n_pGqqruh3WROaN9gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B55.jpg)

But then we hit the pans again:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4DtG1yQGAec/VzsioOrf4UI/AAAAAAAAJHw/etTfPbPV_tcIR1V-RlHNu7W1XuhEQaDjQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B60.jpg)

And the inevitable snot:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-50k2FzH0S9Q/VzsirIx3l7I/AAAAAAAAJHw/uS9pFmjkBtU5pLZzn2mLrU8cDCDApwp0QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B61.jpg)

Which eventually claimed its victim:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9PZh9i3Xq8E/Vzsiwe0KxlI/AAAAAAAAJIA/wp27dosWc64p_1EYpVU_1cTPJn2RF_fQQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B63.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-x6zG3yZ6z0w/VzsixtULhEI/AAAAAAAAJIA/kH50JSCOEV0Jucire7mAYAxhTc451A8eACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B64.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5sRUgPgBbTY/Vzsi3xuc9PI/AAAAAAAAJIM/O_N4bDgQPlEcZ0avthFKkrwspJ5Oo_bAwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B65.jpg)

From there we took it easy trying to avoid wettest parts, Straatkat using often his legs to compensate for the lack of traction (not that muddy boots provided any kind of traction):

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-x8c-hy-gLi8/Vzsi3LajM1I/AAAAAAAAJIM/0xTuapqnuZ0uK2SZ39VUcpD1uOlFglJDQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B66.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-NK-rAKa4RQc/Vzsi3qBZtgI/AAAAAAAAJIM/jSm2RB4UdkIscZiN3ORMC2dU-k39jB3kQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B67.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Qf3E3UK1j04/Vzsi--X_hAI/AAAAAAAAJIM/gB1KrQjlGGgfyZ-_e1qsmJDQ81mV5Ja1ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B69.jpg)


Eventually we came upon the stuck 4x4s who had to spend the night there (including, we were told later, lady in a wheelchair), where we also caught up with the youngsters. The 4x4s were already attended to by local rangers or some such in a bakkie who passed our camp in the morning, so we just pushed on (they made it out eventually and in the evening passed through the Makgadikgadi camp). At this stage we already opted to ride on the grassy plains rather than the snotty mud, and seemed to make much better progress than youngsters who we soon left behind. I didn't ask them later why they didn't go for the grass, but I suspect it had something to do with them not having GPS, so they rather stuck with the track.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-VzO74Vag54I/VzsNtuTF7dI/AAAAAAAAJBo/ogkQXiTKup4px6GJCVG01m9__tx4Tz0sACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B73.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Iejqa_CTyOA/VzsNe5kL2uI/AAAAAAAAJBo/se8u3i1p9VM4B20DDQVmy53G42mrI1llQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B71.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wozYibp1X18/VzsjZ0gpIcI/AAAAAAAAJJM/3qf5ZdmY_zct8_lEmBsmvaQqZ_wyYIpmQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B77.jpg)

Youngsters pushing on:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-93Md_b0n1gM/Vzsja_9QFsI/AAAAAAAAJJM/O-hS4FxMkjEyGgN-qhJ6lCTaL_tUAzj1gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B78.jpg)

And us trying to be smart up on the grass:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-c4d80m5rSDU/Vzsjg8MXl2I/AAAAAAAAJJM/9QUpMe9i-Wk0j5BiuowVeqQxDcYvUN9qgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B79.jpg)

Straatkat carrying some war paint:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-A732SXfav4I/VzsjJHgrerI/AAAAAAAAJI8/tCP6_6EZP2wkgwpkv5-rAG-TfU6UR4WcwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B71.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-PXEtQlGhS2Y/VzsjT3eMTMI/AAAAAAAAJI8/AbBHaYlWBz0bAYhmonUy9Nfprklc4TXsACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B75.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-nS_E8GUIGnE/VzsNnHq2xYI/AAAAAAAAI_A/_uaE5PMGMcIVX1NO3UjV2_vZWpMfgiMpgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B72.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-waT5agazoV0/Vzsjmue7p6I/AAAAAAAAJJk/qst76rvKY5sagDxQ5L8WcmfLTYGGwaBpgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B82.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-IZbygsIyYOc/Vzsj1VTl3_I/AAAAAAAAJKY/e3QPhX93HjQ6LYSQ6wA84aiSt1aWlOwUwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B86.jpg)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 18, 2016, 10:09:44 pm
Day 3 - part 2

This is where the tables turned and it was me having a hard time scouting the route through the grass upfront, while Straatkat cruised sitting comfortably in 2 or 3rd gear with his wonderfull wide ration gearboxs. I battled with the stupidly tall 1st and 2nd on 690s (I had sprocket sizes 16/48 equivalent to the OEM 15/45 as I was keen to preserve range for Okavango and didn't expect much of slow technical riding) as I was forced either to slip clutch a lot (being already on 2nd clutch in less than 10k km) or ride too fast for comfort. You see the problem  was not the grass - that could have been ridden reasonably fast, but hundreds and hundreds rabbit and aardvark dugouts, that were very difficult to spot and will stop you dead if you hit them, or worse could easily break your leg if you would stop next to one (or better pair - one each side of the bike) and try to put your foot down.

I had many close calls, and got caught out only once. I managed to stay upright and didn't even bang my jewelry on the handlebars, but came close:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-CFMxw72OG-A/VzsOcS4jx4I/AAAAAAAAI_w/i4kAEDCZoysCDE8LWL8jkLlK0RHk7EfMQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B79.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-1hU7J3L7tKg/VzsOVUYEd6I/AAAAAAAAI_k/1Tm4l0bUHAU3g6t_8w0iqIgkBLnMvpInACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B78.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9SMnJatzvFw/VzsN4Tx4LdI/AAAAAAAAI_U/m5rk0iGwgwQbznSsgwfAToF3P4OlfScyQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B74.jpg)

Straatkat in some kind of emergency...

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-S1o5g84UgTU/VzsN7KYA_gI/AAAAAAAAI_U/ayJ4np1oGdUSWrFlT9cOG4FULUFKzM8QQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B75.jpg)

...oh I see - a photo opportunity:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-KwaqJ8zLgoo/VzsOBsETVTI/AAAAAAAAI_U/0AFbGANO2RMzo2opSuHvrdMvzRWadEFZQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B76.jpg)

He just loves those - here in a fashionable hat (which I came to envy a lot in this shadeless place):

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-kdfG26T5e6M/VzsOm8at6-I/AAAAAAAAJAA/xGNdFuWoafgEbE-XocMMkLZBVfhcRqC8ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B80.jpg)


The second problem of being a scout was trying to spot the marshes soon enough, which few times I didn't, resulting in hard work of getting unstuck again:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zeGoD6Nx2y4/Vzsj3bXLbFI/AAAAAAAAJJ0/G42zPg7RcLYjHRKFmGXBLJPO6xfNMDPLgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B88.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-1f5iFUj3N2s/VzskQngp6wI/AAAAAAAAJKQ/WBMQRUfd1kQGDgRWEW_oHWruIzgms--9QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B93.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9tXVKnBKiU0/VzskFxmXJ2I/AAAAAAAAJKA/LGyU4RzauYUeIG2mGO_c89DmQ8cTq5_OgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B90.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-eBZT82ino2c/VzskWsnNJRI/AAAAAAAAJKI/PAW1h2PvBiQ7GiGeOGW_OuOYeNDtx-ftgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B95.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5e9doy_ao7o/VzskQh2P0BI/AAAAAAAAJKQ/gB_ppOUVDGgI6DXlo895OvD4vTu6HKO7gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B94.jpg)

The heat got better of me for a bit so Straatkat took a helm - that way!

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-tKWYNoVpHgU/VzskZAsRQXI/AAAAAAAAJKQ/AAp39KH7mC4svqbUovIp-REx0A5Jqk6CQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B97.jpg)

Or maybe there?

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4p-aSUPeLOI/VzskcqI5jbI/AAAAAAAAJKI/rFyTF39MBugZmyfmhvmYydfzGl_e66vowCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B98.jpg)

Bloody joker:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wBmneTeBS-Q/VzskZQTCceI/AAAAAAAAJKQ/1NgkXLJW45w3fXj12dRDQlF4t3V8qtDLQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B96.jpg)

We pushed on toward what we guessed is a high ground (kind of like trying to find a high ground on sea) making slow progress running into marshes again and again:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Ag5CaR5Io9E/VzsgQ1YtAtI/AAAAAAAAJDQ/1jgbs5wpLlcsv6T9VytGROUl3CUlj-FWACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B102.jpg)

I guess you get the idea.

So we were really stoked when we hit finally firm ground and found shade:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-iFQ2A-L-E0s/VzsO1lTanOI/AAAAAAAAJBk/s5UNmMmVkPgiaDmNG5i7qaQD7YZrSo82ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B82.jpg)

And soon afterward the youngsters emerged from the pans - so much for our smart detours:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vBxsryoogTU/VzsO_dGDEWI/AAAAAAAAJAM/_fJwxO1F2f0Qlr4uH_7dVcGHpZHsI5TFgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B84.jpg)

Jacques - check tha ATGAT, particularly the shoes, ideal to provide support on the snotty ground:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-l89KmxJ3dTY/VzsPPTOpliI/AAAAAAAAJAY/mHNmm1urTMYrgbXM6eZOAJmUUHUh_9FyACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B86.jpg)

Stein, better shoes, but check those tyres! All I can say is - respect!

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Wsd0NPmjSQc/VzsPSsST63I/AAAAAAAAJBk/iqR_EBbuw_MjgsRU0t527m_XLJP8YTgXQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B87.jpg)

Straatkat introductions:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0Vg_isxDv1o/VzsPnCvnkWI/AAAAAAAAJAs/Fp-XpulZ20cb1V9LTGgEMLcB1nXjJ4XLwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B89.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yN8_XlJDcwY/VzsP6eSZkgI/AAAAAAAAJA8/hRRvqlFmPRkc3YPHS0WCzfv-6pZ2s79pACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B91.jpg)

By now it was an afternoon and we decided to stay at the Magkadikgadi Adventure camp about 20 km away - and so did youngsters. We decided not to visit Kubu island - which was a shame for Straatkat who hasn't been there yet, but we were too knackered and late.

But the water wasn't done with us yet and we had to negotiate number of water pools. We tried to find alternative routes through the bush, but it never worked so we sucked it up and swam all the way to the camp:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-eIpL5rz7rwU/Vzsge5PJC2I/AAAAAAAAJDs/qcMxHgqW0BEPrbpwyTQ1ZzE5dgyUC4YhgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B104.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-46xQMB7RVjs/VzsgcJP3x1I/AAAAAAAAJDQ/bGSuO2Z3z8A8CeobT4L6K6SUVzuocTdxwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B105.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-MDaEDJ2lWio/VzsJMkJ-hKI/AAAAAAAAI7E/MuDhGYsjdzUbjH-grduKhmsRATh6FBVUQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B32.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-fEhW8D3F_is/VzsJwloLK8I/AAAAAAAAI7o/7BVAjQpugfQWQjntHm9buV1YcGW9nKgXwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B36.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-dKh-658fKSY/VzsJTOwYBDI/AAAAAAAAI7Q/X5Vbsbwk6NcNpcptbPXW3iJvdZIMW4liACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B34.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-f-ybD68Zla8/VzsgajL7gGI/AAAAAAAAJDQ/qFKe85XwFiQT5biZG5V5s0L2GUDIIbqYgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B106.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-YXiB8n8f3tU/VzsgkWjCp_I/AAAAAAAAJDs/fwyD0tM_s84Z_QsEylnPPYewHT251nzdACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B108.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-TUdnZERcMuA/VzsgkiKIFBI/AAAAAAAAJDs/SxZCzyj1oZA7WyNWeEnNJv-DGEVmLXi5wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B107.jpg)


We finally made it to the campsite in the late afternoon and booked their stationary tents. I was surprised to see fresh bike tracks - the guys told us 3 bikers stayed there the night before. As I found out much later, it was our own wildside and family - you can see their reports here:

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=192841.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=192841.0)

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=190584.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=190584.0).

Pity we didn't meet them - I'm sure youngsters would get along just fine, while us adults could have discussed grown-up things like whether Honda really is the biggest force of evil in modern motorcycling, or whether it indeed is BMW  :peepwall: :pot:.

Anyway, we settled in, followed about an hour later by youngsters. Stein by now was showing worrying signs of heatstroke and exhaustion and had to have a lay down in the shade with lots of soft drinks to recover. Once recovered, we all organized whatever dinner we could scramble from the variety of cans we were carrying on us and then proceeded to finish all the beer available in the bar. Which doesn't say much - they were just badly low on stock. We spend the rest of the evening talking the usual bikers crap involving brands, gear and routes and once the darkness fell hit the sacks.

Straatkat and his casa:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-g5uqG9c5HQ0/VzsQHdqS1hI/AAAAAAAAJBM/WdeKSyDHB-MARMA0JHUnqTsg_irVitPswCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B93.jpg)

Straatkat and I in unflattering photo from Jacques:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0SIYz6CXoXs/VzsQN4CWxyI/AAAAAAAAJBM/ZbqWWR_YtfUIbLKGaI6FFq6HRlIzDpJaACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B94.jpg)

Check tha packing - they really didn't try to make their life easier. But hey, they made it - oh just to be young again!

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ErfA_pLqhtg/VzsQfOnvdVI/AAAAAAAAJBU/pGmp3E3YlYE1kpb5K2CQ2i92YihHYbL-gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B97.jpg)

Some local paraphernalia:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-iO37DRlmG7w/VzsFzY5NI8I/AAAAAAAAI30/fZO5YDhyHGY_Ue-P0MYVBa_0HDRRt55fwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B103.jpg)

Little WD Makgadikgadi bash:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6sWAGYwtci4/VzsQiDv66DI/AAAAAAAAJBU/xbXXuEoKCx8xUeTe5j-wie8rYpg-llh7gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B98.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-VWcM6Njq3l4/VzsFp96WJNI/AAAAAAAAI3k/_-qjUUmb-Qgk3nm78j_EEROGYDxWIQQZgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B101.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--PQlgBKDK88/VzsGB6ybmEI/AAAAAAAAI4I/zRIdAM6U76EscyKxNtknaj_xpfV1EO5MQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B107.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Aaf3Zpu-8cE/VzsGOcWxf0I/AAAAAAAAI4c/oG0ey9wgnFkaEmeNBrMNAytcq4M-ZHXRwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B109.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LFJ5o0aXjdA/VzsGtaqNbII/AAAAAAAAI48/XvPtTxnfTqQWlQKkpNfYyloSmgROxBbswCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B116.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-rAAYhOBsk78/VzsGpodiyWI/AAAAAAAAI48/4X-L-Ek2o8gaA2qyUyByHRo_06FBkdPdACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B114.jpg)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 18, 2016, 10:14:08 pm
Yeah an epic trip allright. Xpat does not give himself enough credit, he rides very well and did not drop his heavier bike than mine not once the entire trip I was with him. That in itself is incredible. I was thinking afterwards that maybe because he was riding in front, the water was clear and he could see the track better and me following in the muddy water sometimes ran into the side of the track and that caused me to topple over in the snot.......oh well I have to think of some excuse! The halfway worn T63 could also be part of the reason, but I did not have the worst tyre for the conditions as we will learn later!


Bertie, I'm 100% positive it was the tyres. I have done since another 5 day trip through Limpopo and Tuli block as well as couple of weekends in De Wildt and didn't fall once. My normal score on E09 on the same terrain would be at least 5 - 6 falls. Like so:

(https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8811/16904872249_1d30b31957_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 18, 2016, 10:17:12 pm
Did the transit road route around the top of the delta in a landcruiser in 2006, it was very wet. Look forward to the rest of your report.

Fantastic - finally somebody with hands-on experience!

Teebag - do you remember if there is a bridge over Selinda river, or did you have to wade through the river?
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Straatkat on May 19, 2016, 01:26:16 am
After we struggled for a few hours to get the Cricket started to no avail, Xpat hauled out the satellite phone and we  phoned one of the 3 Husketeers, AlanB to ask for advice (another Mechanical Engineer...oh no!), to be fair he did come up with some stuff we could try that we didn't think of. Nothing worked as the exhaust was full of water unbeknown to us, so every time we cranked the bike it would let more water into the chamber and of course it would not start. We were
probably very lucky the piston didn't hydraulic. Drowning a bike so far from home is a nerve wracking experience. That night I did not sleep well, playing all the different scenarios out in my head. Eventually the penny dropped and we picked the bike up vertically and drained the water out of the exhaust and the header pipe. I am going to have some plugs welded onto the lowest point of the headers so that one can remove them and drain the water should this ever happen again. I must thank Xpat for his patience during this whole ordeal as he normally travels alone and now he has to put up with this scenario. Not once did he complain even though it probably caused him to be a day late and had to abandon his plans to circumnavigate the Okavango Delta due to time constraints.
A better adventurer to ride with you cannot ask for, his skill in dealing with problems along the way is also top drawer, I don't think there is anyone on this forum that has done nearly as many solo miles as he has. Definitely seen it all and got the T-shirt!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Ace Venture on May 19, 2016, 03:11:16 am
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: OOOOMS on May 19, 2016, 07:55:23 am
Awsome report, waiting for te next  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 19, 2016, 10:38:35 am
:thumleft:

Ace, since you are in Botswana - do you by any chance know if it is legal to ride dry riverbeds outside the parks? I have seen lots of nice dry riverbeds to the west of Tuli block around Bobonong (outside of the park or private reserves of course) that looked very enticing, but then I have seen on the T4A map indication that it is ilegal to drive in Motloutse river. Do you know if it is true and if that applies also to other riverbeds?

Ta
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: ROOI on May 19, 2016, 10:58:36 am
:thumleft:

Ace, since you are in Botswana - do you by any chance know if it is legal to ride dry riverbeds outside the parks? I have seen lots of nice dry riverbeds to the west of Tuli block around Bobonong (outside of the park or private reserves of course) that looked very enticing, but then I have seen on the T4A map indication that it is ilegal to drive in Motloutse river. Do you know if it is true and if that applies also to other riverbeds?

Ta
I do noy know about other rivers but the Motloutse is definately illegal to drive or ride  :xxbah:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 19, 2016, 11:05:18 am

Ace, since you are in Botswana - do you by any chance know if it is legal to ride dry riverbeds outside the parks? I have seen lots of nice dry riverbeds to the west of Tuli block around Bobonong (outside of the park or private reserves of course) that looked very enticing, but then I have seen on the T4A map indication that it is ilegal to drive in Motloutse river. Do you know if it is true and if that applies also to other riverbeds?

Ta
I do noy know about other rivers but the Motloutse is definately illegal to drive or ride  :xxbah:

That's a shame. Hopefully it is not the case for all of them. If those rivers can be ridden, it would open whole new playground within easy reach from Joburg, Limpopo and North West.

Let's see what Ace has to say.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: african dust on May 19, 2016, 11:18:44 am
what a blast. thanks for sharing. look forward to the rest. keeping me out of work you are.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Frog on May 19, 2016, 11:52:42 am
Wow - RESPECT!
Some of those paths are a handful when dry.
I think I would have turned around just looking at those wet pans!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: popipants on May 19, 2016, 12:37:31 pm
Thanks for sharing. Very good read...like always. :)

But I have to wonder. Who would take a caravan and 4x4 to the pans in rainy reason?
That surely is looking for trouble.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Steekvlieg on May 19, 2016, 01:11:33 pm
 :drif:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: caconcepts on May 19, 2016, 01:28:33 pm
Great read and awesome photos.....you lads have got balls of steel.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: lj111 on May 19, 2016, 02:09:28 pm
Epic trip guys!!
  :sip:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: bud500 on May 19, 2016, 03:25:06 pm
Epic trip guys!!
  :sip:

+1000!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: 0012 on May 19, 2016, 03:43:45 pm
loving this!    :thumleft:      :ricky:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Straatkat on May 19, 2016, 05:06:07 pm
Thanks for sharing. Very good read...like always. :)

But I have to wonder. Who would take a caravan and 4x4 to the pans in rainy reason?
That surely is looking for trouble.

That was my thoughts exactly, those guys were properly stuck, and then their buddy also with trailer tries to rescue and the he also gets stuck, and I am talking down to the axles stuff! When we passed them they were using the services of the local rangers and were furiously wielding spades and snatch straps in an effort to get out...well I suppose it was an adventure for them too, and how were they to know that it would be so wet.
One thing they all said to us was that it is so easy on a bike, I bet they have never ridden a bike under those conditions!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: exkdx on May 19, 2016, 06:49:24 pm
Great stuff so far!
Gooi (deliver) more please  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: wildside on May 19, 2016, 08:16:09 pm
Oh my word....you guys experienced one hectic ride.
 Boy, am I glad we took Jon's (owner of Makgadikgadi Adventure Camp) advise and didn't take that route. When we spent the night at M.A.C  we heard about the bikes and 4x4's stuck on the pans. I have been looking forward to this RR for so long...wanting to hear all the gory details. Thoroughly enjoying this entertaining report. Such a pity we missed each other.... apparently by about one hour.
Despite all these mishaps I'm sure you guys had an awesome adventure. Well done.
Super photos..... Looking forward to reading the rest of it. :ricky:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 20, 2016, 12:16:29 am
Day 4
 
In  the morning we had a breakfast of whatever each of us could find in the bags, packed up and set-off after few sage advices (ignored straightaway) and farewell to Jacques and Stein (they made it out fine, though only few hours after us and then decided to use remaining 3 days to get to Windhoek via Kasane and Caprivi strip – I was lobbying in vain for shorter Maun route with day off in Maun for rest and some game viewing). We were keen to catch up some of the lost time - Straatkat was now one day late for work and his boss (which would be him) was not happy about it. He is very strict with himself – if I would be my own boss I would have been by now found mummified in my bed with face eaten by neighbour’s cat and Sopranos or some such looping on my laptop nearby.
 
My original plan was to turn west at the veterinary fence gate next to the Adventure camp and head north-west across Ntwe-ntwe pan to Gweta.   By now of course even I have figured out that the pans may not be such a dandy idea and the guys in the campsite did confirm that the route heading north close to Nata is the only way to go – I think they formulated it as ‘easy’. I have expected the same as I have ridden the route before and knew that it runs on the high sandy ground dividing the Sua and Ntwetwe pans – so no more skidding on snot and aardvark dodging. So north it was.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-BabFU9bRVBY/Vz4crkS9SSI/AAAAAAAAJNE/f5l8dWdkCykMtrA4X4dLKWXDcN8JJfbmwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B1.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-UI6CsM8IwzI/Vz4d8Iy9cdI/AAAAAAAAJWc/QqJeUoRQMpQcViR5VjpKZmZqd2XS1q8dgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B2.jpg)

 
It didn’t pan out that clear cut. Within a km or two we run into swamps with big pools of standing water and were back to foot pedalling gingerly through the mud (well Straatkat was, my Maxxis and I just cruised through unperturbed). I was trying to scout the easiest route upfront for Straatkat to avoid another Husky trouble and we proceeded at much more cautious pace, than I initially expected.   
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-K-fFpbWGfn4/Vz4eYc7V9iI/AAAAAAAAJP0/EMt6QpI7VO8GSiq3nX-0N1XzHtf14EARgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B3.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-JuhW51ysb0w/Vz4cqMqNXdI/AAAAAAAAJMw/H7nryZsrDp44TVToJOVfiTEpMJl2ttFtgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B10.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SpFHhSHlaDk/Vz4ggLG005I/AAAAAAAAJRs/nqH8y-l-ODM_R-cpqVSJ6Tw3Sd6MA9inACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B5.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-XXcnqUkFh4A/Vz4g7jL243I/AAAAAAAAJSc/aj7AFWbaBnotl9eAUX3TdFuTpPgHVdTNQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B6.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-DYB25dEAAXI/Vz4dl_oOf3I/AAAAAAAAJWc/5ywjbCRluMYctHq-kEpTljjDgMvnU8H3ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B12.jpg)


After few of those swamps the situation improved noticeably and we were now riding on mostly hard-pack double track running through the bush, with occasional puddle thrown in here and there, running into few little settlements:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZPy1AoOe0mE/Vz4duHtcEdI/AAAAAAAAJPE/MsqOZRIYoNUUzl6DXBBRTON8J40o73z0ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B15.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-obnQIz-GUuQ/Vz4lRD7bB4I/AAAAAAAAJWk/DoVGP3g_DCwJjIextX9I1_aUAZBq0AUvACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B15.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-w0YVLCkGTd8/Vz4dvun5jJI/AAAAAAAAJPE/SJHTSwFuTV4inud6UpVv2zOfb5v-5Q3fwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B16.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-SnrJ3kOATes/Vz4d2xo7gkI/AAAAAAAAJPE/plB6RqA0gCsujttwuav9vm7OJngaxP02ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B18.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-x4kWaSirG1s/Vz4d-OnuTwI/AAAAAAAAJPc/javoZCsekZwuWXXcnf4qsBSAzVW6mu5gACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B20.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-x6eEgeHnBPo/Vz4eD-PVO1I/AAAAAAAAJPc/CBiHBSocTmEDYqrgFl-QR8uDwN7e5M7mACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B22.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9NhyZz81ack/Vz4eHH-6TII/AAAAAAAAJWQ/aUOYEeiGuwAmqkahTOZ-Z5dZWeuK8aOEACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B23.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OtqdrLSFfM8/Vz4eP6j-w8I/AAAAAAAAJP0/FXSOOPhdHLYH2gcUTdCZbC3VPKFqXGQTwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B26.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-y6M-miCHz5A/Vz4eTyz3ZHI/AAAAAAAAJP0/2KaQXGjVYs4_8-b_zD49l9ntaA9Ys5uqQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B28.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6VyLZvgAD8Y/Vz4eZOi2f2I/AAAAAAAAJP0/h0UuNUMnFQw_3WoWxuwrocqV10GvmQI4gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B29.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-sI-IP6gTIdY/Vz4eiGBZo3I/AAAAAAAAJP8/RXpOzeHgiwk3OO2ONewOhX-_O92n55IrACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B32.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-EUPRcdN-mkM/Vz4el1Jj62I/AAAAAAAAJQE/IUq_uCnD0VoCLe__SIA78J_q9Km8Zr6_wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B33.jpg)

We got lost for a bit and went bundu bashing looking for the right track:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-VJ931YxUPp0/Vz4erz5KhlI/AAAAAAAAJQE/MRIXG3WLu9A-ZxW8y8ZcNDRzuYnSQh2cgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B35.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-KJ4IFIH5LGs/Vz4evZTKTAI/AAAAAAAAJQE/_96Uwyarkj02ZxdtEecPTLgfaKY6HRzMwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B36.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-UiCkLSgDFFI/Vz4e2713S5I/AAAAAAAAJQE/T6nSW-565IY7NeNqhc5FKb-jppE614twACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B37.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5h5MFzosbPM/Vz4e4bwmyAI/AAAAAAAAJQE/WR6Nv64FC_gmmMmcYe0HqjrfOWiR0YOHQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B38.jpg)

 
The bush track eventually turned into the long expected sandy double track flowing through the grassy plains overseeing wet pans on both sides. It was great to be able to pick up speed again without worry and I immediately opened up and settled into pretty brisk cruise. Not brisk  enough though. Straatkat, the self-confessed speed addict, tired of the humiliation dished out for the past two days by that unholy coalition of T63 and snot, shot past me in the column of dust like a man possessed. I tried to keep up for a bit but when the high berm hidden in the grass next to the track snatched my luggage and almost threw me off for a second time, I settled back to what I consider a brisk pace and let Straatkat get it out of his system on his own. Once he did he waited for me  and afterwards he somewhat moderated his pace while I increased mine and we were cruising together him leading upfront. He clearly didn’t moderate enough when he overshot one fast corner, flew across the middlem…. (central divide) and into the grass on the opposite berm. Luckily he saved it, but I have to say - sometimes it does take quite a bit of grown up patience from us forty somethings to watch over fifty somethings and their little antics. 
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-EXb-HQ7b_es/Vz4e-k8y3gI/AAAAAAAAJQE/KSECdJzkfYgMURwHmWAJtDY3fA8qwt9ygCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B4.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-iLEsLT_WykQ/Vz4gK8O29eI/AAAAAAAAJRY/hn2wLaw8mskLkMfTLcYtwE9gQG8NH3hEgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B43.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5Q6F4lPt5Q4/Vz4gMDMAtaI/AAAAAAAAJRY/4F1L0E6ZuLgvnWjs5Mrtmx_U8ipWPrvkwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B44.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Xl0USfUpngk/Vz4gQGBAtMI/AAAAAAAAJRY/CXxdZ4sotA4ittmMraNkxUYsvg-uyB80wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B45.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-DCKXhY400vs/Vz4gGuhhNSI/AAAAAAAAJRI/m_wcS0thEvENyyTZWIgNOOUErZ-jY0JVQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B41.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-qNbMwgYtXUM/Vz4gXyoV5II/AAAAAAAAJRs/CfzNDO6GzbUfUGMT5oKnja0PBRekNPbNQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B48.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZbXY1wwOANw/Vz4gwdM90HI/AAAAAAAAJSI/z2Fq9zkVW9oXIEUbiFTRwhSjhbSm6zhzQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B55.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Ahz7RbobB5k/Vz4gxfI2g_I/AAAAAAAAJSI/sd2uac2EYk0jL25WRQpIihivVXXf_HJIQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B56.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-F7Je1ASzji0/Vz4l0hlzHOI/AAAAAAAAJXM/PSGhwPWuSuoIr3ukvviELH4RbvreR-DyQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B2.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-R8eH6idZB1I/Vz4mH4s7f4I/AAAAAAAAJXM/HbIWLamdcYIAcG2H_lZe6UOiKkPSTHbRwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B4.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZnFmHhWxdWM/Vz4mPwgetVI/AAAAAAAAJXM/KCr9rZV4BQAj2C-bqUBBQSDWlz2_9v4XwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B5.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-CsqKXsy6Nis/Vz4gbBCWQkI/AAAAAAAAJRs/wAFCsM4KGEERp56XsNupLYN3dHZogRCdwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B49.jpg)

Straatkat and his shenanigans:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-x7kS06CqCC0/Vz4gn5v8CoI/AAAAAAAAJR4/SOFjSsFjFkA6JbQrd71cAJX44aNxXd0TACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B52.jpg)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 20, 2016, 12:17:15 am
Day 4 - part 2

Then we came upon a river - 20-30 meters wide with flowing water, properly established riverbed and stuff. Now, I have been there only once 2,5 years ago, but I'm pretty sure there was no river whatsoever, especially not one with proper current. When I walked across the water wasn't higher than my knees so I just checked correct line, and with Straatkat walking along downstream to give me hand should run into trouble rode across without a glitch.

Straatkat not keen to get stuck again just few dozen km away from tar decided to err on the side of caution and duck taped the airbox (inside under filter as well as outside) and put a cloth over the outside of the spark plug (as I said earlier for some reason his bike had tendency to die if the plug got wet from outside - that was probably bigger concern riding through the water than risk of drowning the bike as water was mostly shallow) and then we pushed the bike accross with engine switched off.
 

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wkTxw3ZOPjc/Vz4mgJACVeI/AAAAAAAAJXc/AOyBXW3ag-87FQOgDG0yvUUkQ7MMwcazwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B7.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Q1VIfg4REng/Vz4mkC23kYI/AAAAAAAAJXc/fdRoxxnFo9kpFCdzeSx_Qe7KCLrsB8tnwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B8.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6lNrixKRJYE/Vz4lUPbbqhI/AAAAAAAAJXc/yzNdHF3QHDsyJRR5ym0h-2RG8uRrnIaOwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B16.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-WP31j384cLo/Vz4g53c-syI/AAAAAAAAJSc/f0yC4ptMv70zzOJz3zoeqwHuZzS6XiFvQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B59.jpg)

 
On the other side he reverted whatever changes he dis and we continued our smooth meditative flow on the plains and through the bush.
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Gq7B9vRF9kM/Vz4hAnotwUI/AAAAAAAAJV8/iiYj6ATlbBgcc1D838fWRnKZQM-2fS6WwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B60.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zUomTRE7kJ0/Vz4hMlt6QwI/AAAAAAAAJSo/2jPnmF_voAw17TMOtCmh6ueNpTfG70yqgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B63.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xT9-dQTiVKM/Vz4hEn_tjTI/AAAAAAAAJSo/L3oiwqX6gOoiU-0lPTBONTM08H6esveJwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B62.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-PJDqYh24-nA/Vz4hPhxPu7I/AAAAAAAAJTE/gz1LtHiXarIwokkaVGom-WoYjT9oc1XWACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B65.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-TU-vqIclkBk/Vz4ha3RgDkI/AAAAAAAAJTE/RYilNC8WWJs3R6XYDUMSvulzao5Qqm7kwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B68.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Y5VFntHSbCk/Vz4hqEtzfaI/AAAAAAAAJTg/QtSgx9W5hyYOrty3DGOZmXpRZI38iKWYwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B70.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--oybSfUgVjs/Vz4hzMX_m1I/AAAAAAAAJTw/hHMCGUcnDBY4pluOIlO-TFBcW42reAO1ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B72.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-pIEc5cyHO_c/Vz4h9FeTyZI/AAAAAAAAJUA/NtMULNw6DQUQDcHDcOTAInOqKdd8TQ7qwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B74.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-10b3MJabQ3Y/Vz4iDQHN10I/AAAAAAAAJUA/i0FGVObKTFU1NfkYdywCQTGdLQEubjSgACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B77.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-N80DYRoMPSk/Vz4iEEPviGI/AAAAAAAAJUA/T9n1p_CQU1QpXKvlcDQY6zm6z547vXCsQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B78.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-M8MUPIXyW8s/Vz4iEQLFCfI/AAAAAAAAJUA/enkvIjqtn4YP2NIqBGG7zFGoW1zu2F2WQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B79.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-htN4rVLBU-0/Vz4iKi1jD0I/AAAAAAAAJUM/qoTlN6ASTRYn-ZjEzCaQ4Rl6oaww_jewwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B80.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-RE5g9zf01MQ/Vz4iLpZv6lI/AAAAAAAAJUM/XDqPmQaiEiAUn4PJL6PrSxXyymo9kJstwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B81.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cRb-qw78PBU/Vz4iSpg5ToI/AAAAAAAAJUc/OQypttg1SCU8pmH6OMHGnYyWkVzdBBG3gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B82.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-mk9xXqpY5Q4/Vz4iVLRUgdI/AAAAAAAAJUc/4xZeeEkxQj8bzwjtN_5L-xM-Gj6jh87GgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B84.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-u_UahoHidXk/Vz4mpCQ5DdI/AAAAAAAAJXc/UOhQXiIyAJwjuMC3Rb_Noe6TJ1asJ5ehQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B9.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8USbzAIzu7o/Vz4k9u3nlKI/AAAAAAAAJWc/Ru-9-DJLOecOkpFydFD8CvERUS23ooJkwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B12.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-fxiHP4pB6Zc/Vz4lljcT0zI/AAAAAAAAJXc/FNKiUAwkTSkE7BR0yMgDAnEQNZ8S6oqGwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B18.jpg)


That is, until we reached the dense bush flanking the pans on their northern shores. There, to our (mostly Straatkat’s who understandably wasn’t interested in any potential problem only few km from tar) dismay, water ruled supreme again.  As on the Lethlakane side when we entered the pans 2 days ago, the track was in places under water for 100 and more meters and we also had to navigate a sizable (few 100 meters) swamp or three. All attempts to bypass the water through the bush were sooner or later thwarted by dense bush or swamps and we resigned ourselves to push last few km through the waterlogged tracks and plains, with me upfront scouting the best possible route.
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yhZ2bN2qE_8/Vz4ic3hNw0I/AAAAAAAAJUo/zWOAbpQyFCwm6U-Dbm_wBLwbZ6Z575mjQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B85.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-dd7lKyfWOKE/Vz4ilB7L7WI/AAAAAAAAJVw/pcpI-vouZuMtM-DECWtNEgpMgsvjldrIwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B86.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OTdAQm3fnoM/Vz4ilb8Rg8I/AAAAAAAAJVw/-SNuL4rryM8oLwhTje5OEE9vIMw7Fq3gwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B87.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-RAczMfljHgo/Vz4csCqusAI/AAAAAAAAJNE/fNqjFv8nilIuePsIyCjsHhCgoKV2gKO3ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B100.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8xY1niQB4qU/Vz4iw-ONI6I/AAAAAAAAJVI/-cWTyCqrZG4_XMwyk0NzmH-TqoPC_BMAQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B89.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-YHoebnTy_YI/Vz4i6FWiBPI/AAAAAAAAJVw/0xK0lgBGaKsRqDB1M8RKeFdWkY-K8zxZACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B91.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9Xc84N5LzVk/Vz4jAmo6vBI/AAAAAAAAJVQ/815jND9KYSUGuh-GCkbBtq2ojT4u2Dj-ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B93.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-dvJUseC6Mbg/Vz4jEo9_K1I/AAAAAAAAJVQ/eylaOc1vA9k39COscTAij3PlZ5o0KI-hQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B94.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-QcIF-k_nlYw/Vz4jMIipWDI/AAAAAAAAJVw/FQiff9k0XYQ_faJxhDJat5UYfIRP5LPWwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B96.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-py_ADH-DqMw/Vz4jQGV3-RI/AAAAAAAAJVw/9uMSow-Zh6EKHBsKBqTdBMEKc5uH0b0zQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B97.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6Ucv0hYiHbI/Vz4jSjUpjoI/AAAAAAAAJVw/7b_D-OipysckzKrwhJ4I0EGVDYAgF0DPgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B98.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-keE3kvYylG8/Vz4jUrNyOTI/AAAAAAAAJVc/f7Y-kIp3sPAGRWYt_8wmyjWMVwyCg84lACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B99.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-73JgniX2mdw/Vz4c1m38API/AAAAAAAAJNU/4E9IkxtmrJgT0hA9kDbP0JsGq8lQm8ABACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B102.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Z_88uxKQMl0/Vz4c9gmM4eI/AAAAAAAAJNU/0MC3z_OYoVoJe4JjcZ-yAtwFBQR3cY85QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B105.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9fLB8FOHsXU/Vz4dERLCAuI/AAAAAAAAJNo/nDtRBMu34PcSAWT1wesIY1hRgJ7Kr2_dQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B107.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-odNNj7EKSW0/Vz4dGsQ4h9I/AAAAAAAAJNo/ysvB3ydUgVcECVOz3hHN4jdJYd3W6P0zgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B108.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-gWVW3DJB4-o/Vz4dHs2uMpI/AAAAAAAAJN8/OEHQu157xpsEF_rtOUhI5TqEMtLe8UzGACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B109.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bZwycLrxQwo/Vz4dPDrtN2I/AAAAAAAAJN8/xtqI27Fpvrw2pOQbuJJRDaDr22XUJxAcgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B110.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-oF5dSA-JD7E/Vz4dY7w3u4I/AAAAAAAAJOQ/gRdHyiEayTYFUHemjmk0REAWIg_YyjNZACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B113.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GnUx08bhXsc/Vz4ddA7bfGI/AAAAAAAAJVc/rrJrnn85Sioi4QkBgELR7QMvq3NtKFyuwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B115.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zXPdWaAxN6s/Vz4dklPYm8I/AAAAAAAAJOo/nQcHeDILogAdRCSoXbiLlJUtm-QQa9nFgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B118.jpg)


And then finally at about noon the bush opened and we found ourselves at the main tar road between Nata and Maun. This was the place where we will part our ways. Straatkat turning right towards Nata 20 km away and then slabbing it on tar all the way (with sleepover in Itumela) home where he arrived safely next evening. Myself turning left and slabbing 280 km it to Maun - starting point of the Okavango delta circumvention.

It was a real pleasure to have Straatkat for company. He was real trooper, positive and upbeat throughout the problems we have run into, and - from my perspetive most importantly - seemed to really enjoy the trip. I am sometimes a bit of spoiled grumpy sod, as I have ridden this and other similar areas number of times before and therefore tend to forget how lucky I am to be able to experience freedom of riding these remote areas. So it was very refreshing to be around somebody who really enjoyed what Makgadikgadi has to offer. Thanks for the company Bertie and I'm sure we'll ride together again.

After the farewell, I slabbed it to Gweta where I was unpleasantly surprised to find the Shell garage out of business (how the hell you run out of business in place where next petrol station is 100 east and 200 km west is beyond me). I didn't have enough petrol to make the remaining 200 km to Maun and for a while grudgingly contemplated backtracking 100 km to Nata. But I knew there must be way to get petrol here and indeed locals directed me to a house on the outskirts where local guy sold petrol from jerry cans. It was Super and 93 and I wasn't sure about quality, so I have closed off and filled only one tank just to make it to Maun - which was probably good move, because the bike seemed to run like crap with whatever I have put in there. I was told afterwards that there is a South African owned camp with petrol station somewhere in the village, but don't know if it is true or not (I hope it is as this is major problem if you are crossing Makgadikgadi using Gweta route through Ntwentwe pan).

With that sorted I contemplated for a bit if I should what route to take to Maun. You see there is a cutline running north from Gweta along the eatern border of Naipen NP and then connecting to the east west cutline running to the dirt road between Maun and Mababe and Khwai village. But by now it was late, I was tired and I would most probably have to sleep out in the bush among big 5 and still would lose another day as I would have to backtrack to Maun for to fill up on fuel. So the cutline got discarded and I slabbed all the way to Maun where I settled in luxury ten in audi campsite. It was a misunderstanding - I asked for a luxury tent which I thought is a 2 bedded tent I usually use, but they actually have big luxury tents with bathroom and stuff which I didn't know about. A bit of luxury never hurt anybody (or as British army adage says 'any fool can be uncomfortable') so I just settled in.  

Route ridden:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-XZLSloEi1fY/V0HU9W743-I/AAAAAAAAJrA/HmemIYMe_EwBpeCzwGRiaFZWwDargHdGACCo/s912/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-05-22%2Bat%2B6.16.41%2BPM.png)
 
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on May 20, 2016, 02:12:04 am
Simply classic stuff, Xpat, thanks.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Koet on May 20, 2016, 08:46:59 am
Another classic RR
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 20, 2016, 12:59:21 pm
Thank you all for following and comments.

I just wanted to make a note regarding what hard core mothers we are:

Not really. It probably looks more dramatic  than it was (at least that is my POV - Straatkat, please comment if you feel differently). To be sure - it was as wet and muddy as it looks. But it was about perseverance to push through mud, water, heat, tiredness and discomfort and not about facing mortal dangers. The only life threatening risk I can think of there (as opposed to inconvenience like broken bike - no matter how annoying it may have been) was a heatstroke - and we paced and watered ourselves properly to avoid that (at one point I had to lay down for an hour or so in the only available shade under bike to cool down a bit). We were not exactly alone - there quite are people and water there in lets say 20 km radius, which is perfectly walkable in the pinch, the terrain wasn't technical requiring really risky moves (like trying to get a bike up rocky staircase, or having to ride too fast in deep sand just to be able to make it through) - just slow slog through mud, water and grass. I'm sure mine and Straatkat's view will differ, but I really believe strongly solely on account of tyres and that potential wet spark plug misbehavior on Husky that probably sat heavily on Straatkat's mind making him try to avoid the deepest water, which is usually also the most stable place to ride in the mud as it is lowest and hardest.

With my tyres (which I had on purely as lucky coincidence when I gave in to Runners persuasion, not because of some clever foresight - I notoriously ignore season when going for these trips) I would have literally cruised through no problem. I would have most probably had to spent night at the Makgadikgadi camp and not make it through in one day as we planned, but that is about it. And I'm very sure that the whole difference between us was that front tyre - I would say Straatkat and I are very even riders - he is way faster on quick bits, I'm probably a bit more stable in the slower technical stuff.

So to sum up, it was hard work, but I don't think we ever contemplated  turning back (of course apart from when Husky wouldn't start). And the cultines up north around delta are completely different ball-game in terms of risks. When riding there I have constantly this nagging voice in my head trying to make me turn back. There is no one there in some instances for 100 km, and you are slap bang in the middle of big five territory. So should something go wrong, the conundrum you face is whether to try to walk out during heat of the day through deep sand (I was told grown man can do about 30 km a day in that sand), or rather walk in the cold of the night and face prowling predators. Those kind of potential choices really screw with you brain even if nothing happens. You don't have any of those pressures in Makgadikgadi.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Rough Rider on May 20, 2016, 02:07:12 pm
Apart from the stupid airbox design the 610 has one other flaw with regard to water which came to the fore on your trip. There is no water drainage hole in the side of the cylinder head next the spark plug insert like on most other bikes. This results in it filling with water and causing some of the issues you had. 

Example on a DRZ

(http://i850.photobucket.com/albums/ab64/Jake_KXF/102_0163-1_zpsovz4qxny.jpg) (http://s850.photobucket.com/user/Jake_KXF/media/102_0163-1_zpsovz4qxny.jpg.html)



Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: alanB on May 20, 2016, 02:41:39 pm
I've been waiting for this report!

Nice ride guys  :thumleft: O0 As usual Martin plans stupendous trips and then does a great job of writing them up!  :ricky:

Love this chirp:

Quote
Once he did he waited for me  and afterwards he somewhat moderated his pace while I increased mine and we were cruising together him leading upfront. He clearly didn’t moderate enough when he overshot one fast corner, flew across the middlem…. (central divide) and into the grass on the opposite berm. Luckily he saved it, but I have to say - sometimes it does take quite a bit of grown up patience from us forty somethings to watch over fifty somethings and their little antics.  

 :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: RobC on May 20, 2016, 02:45:53 pm
What an adventure! Lekker! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: alanB on May 20, 2016, 03:00:56 pm
After we struggled for a few hours to get the Cricket started to no avail, Xpat hauled out the satellite phone and we  phoned one of the 3 Husketeers, AlanB to ask for advice (another Mechanical Engineer...oh no!), to be fair he did come up with some stuff we could try that we didn't think of. Nothing worked as the exhaust was full of water unbeknown to us, so every time we cranked the bike it would let more water into the chamber and of course it would not start. We were
probably very lucky the piston didn't hydraulic. Drowning a bike so far from home is a nerve wracking experience. That night I did not sleep well, playing all the different scenarios out in my head. Eventually the penny dropped and we picked the bike up vertically and drained the water out of the exhaust and the header pipe. I am going to have some plugs welded onto the lowest point of the headers so that one can remove them and drain the water should this ever happen again. I must thank Xpat for his patience during this whole ordeal as he normally travels alone and now he has to put up with this scenario. Not once did he complain even though it probably caused him to be a day late and had to abandon his plans to circumnavigate the Okavango Delta due to time constraints.
A better adventurer to ride with you cannot ask for, his skill in dealing with problems along the way is also top drawer, I don't think there is anyone on this forum that has done nearly as many solo miles as he has. Definitely seen it all and got the T-shirt!

Must admit I was pretty worried about you guys stuck out in the middle of no-where!

I'm glad you got going again! It can be so frustrating when nothing works, when it really should, and you start second guessing yourself.

A thing I learned on the 4x4 forum is more vehicles  are damaged in water than any other type of terrain. So it doesn't really pay to be brave in water. And the Husky's stupid air cleaner doesnt help at all!  >:(
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Bigsix on May 20, 2016, 04:45:32 pm
Quite an adventure!!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Straatkat on May 20, 2016, 07:24:50 pm
This ride report has waaay many pics of me, I think I should balance it out a little with some of Xpat, as he took most of the pics it is a bit difficult to take the pics and feature in them. (unless you have one of those selfie stick jobbies)



Apart from the stupid airbox design the 610 has one other flaw with regard to water which came to the fore on your trip. There is no water drainage hole in the side of the cylinder head next the spark plug insert like on most other bikes. This results in it filling with water and causing some of the issues you had.  

Example on a DRZ

(http://i850.photobucket.com/albums/ab64/Jake_KXF/102_0163-1_zpsovz4qxny.jpg) (http://s850.photobucket.com/user/Jake_KXF/media/102_0163-1_zpsovz4qxny.jpg.html)






The Husky 610 (Mine was named The Cricket after I gutted the exhaust, and it is rather loud, Danakil was responsible for the name)
These are wondrous machines, we were riding through very wet mudlands and Xpat would be ploughing deep furrows with his 690 and I would be following him and the Cricket just potters along like there is firm ground underfoot and I am sure it wonders what the drama with the 690 spinning like that was all about. Riding through the grassland you can use 1st and go so slowly you can almost count the compression strokes or 2nd gear and go a little faster, it just potters along and there is so much bottom end grunt, I just opened the throttle and jumped over many a aardvark hole which I only saw at the very last minute. And on the faster bits and even the blacktop you can do a comfortable 130. Here the 690 has probably got longer legs. Don't get me wrong, the 690 is also a marvellous bike, but for me the motor is a bit peaky at slow pace and the gearing is not as sorted as the Husky.
A major Husky drawback is the inability to do water, I sealed the plug with silicone, but after having to remove it after the first deep water episode it was left exposed to water ingress. Water gets into the plug and try as you might it will not start. Then there is the airbox that has the vents at the bottom, just a stupid design.
But then again after 1889 km's start to finish for this trip, other than me drowning the Cricket, it ran faultlessly.
Looking at the AJP PR7 with its air intake on top of the tank, now that is thinking! I am so jealous!

Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Straatkat on May 20, 2016, 08:59:45 pm
Some pics of Xpat
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Straatkat on May 20, 2016, 09:10:14 pm
There was a comment that we have balls of steel, I can't speak for Xpat, but I checked and mine are definitely not steel!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Straatkat on May 20, 2016, 09:25:22 pm
Some more pics
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Straatkat on May 20, 2016, 09:27:28 pm
And more
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Straatkat on May 21, 2016, 12:10:41 am
Doing this trip with Xpat had me realise a few things, a lot of guys dream big and make grandiose plans about trips they want to do, but the final act of actually going is missing from their plan. For whatever reason, being work restraints, financial constraints or family commitments they always find a reason not to go.
This is where Xpat is different, he also dreams big and has grandiose plans, but every opportunity he gets, being a long week-end or annual leave or just a week-end, he is out there on his bike doing what everybody else only dreams about. That is what I admire about him, and if he cannot find a buddy to ride with, he goes it alone. He is no superman and he can ride well enough, but he has been more places than anyone else I know. All it takes is that you must stop procrastinating and get out there! One day when he is old and sitting in the sun on his rocking chair in the old age home he will have hundreds of wonderful memories, and because life is so short I have made a promise to myself to do as many trips as I can possibly fit into my life, hopefully some of those will be with Xpat if he will have me along.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 22, 2016, 07:12:16 pm
Day 5 & 6

I took a day off in Maun to dry up from riding of the Makgadikgadi swamp and recover some energy before pushing deep into Okavango delta. I've finished all chores like filling up on petrol (including 14 spare litres in jerry cans, just in case), restorking on bully beef and buying a nice hat ala Straatkat (so I don't have to wear a scarf on my head during stops to protect myself from the sun) by mid morning. I've spent rest of the day lounging around the bar and pool and my favourite - sleeping.

My luxury den in Audi - ensuite bathroom and all:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2IntrkVmxqQ/V0GQT7U-ILI/AAAAAAAAJhs/BzhLLeFk924zN8jmibVqg2orcWox7otkACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B1.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9jclmza_uhY/V0GSAaJzBMI/AAAAAAAAJi4/2AQXo1wirUcr913DzcRvoRpOB2HQA2hRgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B2.jpg)

Next day was the day - the plan was to make it all the way to Seronga on the western side of Okavango, i.e. circomventing the delta. For a big day my lazy ass didn't manage an early start. Smart move would be to skip breakfast and be on the bike heading north by the first light, but my sorry little self could not pass on the full English breakfast one last time and therefore I left only past 8:00 am.  

First 40 km or so is tar which then turns to sandy gravel road at the veterinary fence at the end of a village, name of which eludes me now. This time I didn't even had to report myself at the fence gate as 2 years ago, they just waved me through invalidating some rumours on this site that bikes are not allowed past the gate.

Few km further I came upon the fork in the road - the left road heading to the Moremi NP south gate (where bikes are not allowed) and right heading up to Mababe village and onwards to either Chobe NP or Khwai village at the northern boundary of Moremi - this road runs outside of national parks and hence there is no problem with doing it on the bike. Which is somewhat funny as there are no fences anywhere and big 5 roam freely there:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ChlxX-U50eQ/V0GTN1qtAiI/AAAAAAAAJkA/XmrYvT3b1hMcRscxnlCOp81P972TENWyQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B3.jpg)

The road up to Mababe is wide easy gravel road where one can easily ride a ton or rather more. But this being a rich animal area, I took it easy at about 70 kmh constantly scanning bush on both sides for any game I may come upon. I have seen few zebras and a giraffe, but they all disappeared in the bush before I could take a picture:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-HV4jt87Yd0U/V0DCRgUIz2I/AAAAAAAAJZA/7n68-Zn4VfsmUs7nakfsKWbCLUTZoyBYwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B1.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-DWjgh1zZIQQ/V0DDT_DYtlI/AAAAAAAAJaQ/uBS5lAKwnbsl_JmT4RfVYok4b8CaEFvQwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B2.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-gzhiWHzsZ4E/V0DEanKWPeI/AAAAAAAAJbw/rZFFvs_GNngEB2cyFrPswfO7Q6e0avuEQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B36.jpg)


And then, at about the same place like 2 years ago I came upon first her of elephants:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5aR1fyFwsrg/V0DFLyph3bI/AAAAAAAAJdA/YvmBnkED99EcKyxVj2sxeT_G9QM-zNtXQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B5.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-NZ8-koIrb58/V0GXIHrWh2I/AAAAAAAAJmw/2g_hFguxf4g22U9HbGqI8dcXcF7sDYO3ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B59.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jthZDlBXorM/V0GXUH49OwI/AAAAAAAAJmw/TsOIl6tfB7cYGMdAf90GqX-ROetbPkfzQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B60.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OkWrQ-559P0/V0GXiojFUgI/AAAAAAAAJm4/Ckguoi5TdUMcZhtBybNVnaNo19XeVf5DQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B61.jpg)


And another one few km further:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yR32710BoU4/V0DHJWGOVXI/AAAAAAAAJgc/V2fDS7Wm3WgfTepwY82fmvf2ao3lsrvQwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B9.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7BPJlMFApHQ/V0DCSCkSw5I/AAAAAAAAJZA/NvsNj1wugW0r3RdOS3T2klTjQWzpk-SQwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B10.jpg)


Then I came upon a branch on the road indicating detour. But the road seemed fine so I continued on the main road until I came to big puddle. It looked deep so I tried to walk it first (looking backward probably not the smartest move considering that it was just small portion of much bigger swamp where crocks may find a living) but it got deep quickly so I reversed out and backtracked to the branch and took alternative double track heading into the bush:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6ggXZjCYhpA/V0DCwzmD8nI/AAAAAAAAJZg/Ir5VdUkvVy8SPRuydVU-YRWMSOHol4otwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B11.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9hPLyvPIKJs/V0DCxO-BfpI/AAAAAAAAJZg/iMa-Jribt6wyHX_J0Vfnrjize_ipjK2cgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B12.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-hzFbeZcZ8Dc/V0DCz886WNI/AAAAAAAAJg8/Kui4JfRwPKk-HRKhGeLFQOXN9-jQEpk6wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B13.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jaQJ-9XWTU0/V0DC74bIWkI/AAAAAAAAJZ4/mkIW-Gm8TC0NMZzIESlCTuq7HPEPn0ltACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B14.jpg)

The double track did worry me a bit as it was winding through the bush around the lake/swamp and I couldn't see what is around the corner. So I took it easy giveing anything that may be there chance to move on. which worked fine, except for one elephant I bumped into on the side of the road behind deserted camp surprising both of us. He got his back straight and turned towards me, but luckily I had ope track ahead and buggered off double fast.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-PgbwQO7udjw/V0DC-X6ZOUI/AAAAAAAAJZ4/7uTqr1zSyfQqpeFRmrSbfmsR-oW78e5hgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B15.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-1ewbix-XCA4/V0DDJlCXAcI/AAAAAAAAJaA/VmqhIlsKGt08tPhhBBP3yKDueT9IwBw_QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B17.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-QdIz6KntKTE/V0DDJBqQZgI/AAAAAAAAJaA/k9-5Gu1fJxEpPJRKi4RXcW7WPAgo5PqUQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B18.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-B-TRTnjxrkQ/V0DDU_18llI/AAAAAAAAJaQ/_uD_kesh14Yjbsux1oAyK5tW-IhG1XDBQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B20.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-viHmEPDlp2M/V0DDa1bEByI/AAAAAAAAJaQ/HA9hRESIgXMFVoKZtVjKzLiQnDAK8PXUACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B21.jpg)

The elie:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xBhE1CBTgyc/V0DDgzhaeFI/AAAAAAAAJag/2p-r-NINQOwoqHiem90LquGOxTKQ2eGRQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B23.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-WznFZUpbGDg/V0DDgjtawpI/AAAAAAAAJag/UrR1I2wKUYcDTCKn7g8IZDcE6guh61cqACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B22.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-es_gPS-UmXY/V0DDqwlCsxI/AAAAAAAAJa8/d6xjVY3dmMYIbgmMvFbH7Ks5sqawscQ5wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B24.jpg)

Once back on the main road, it was a short cruise to Mababe village, where I enquired about the state of approach road heading to 19th parallel (in case I would need to come back) and they confirmed that is cotton mud bath as one would expect this time of the year Mababe depression to be. I then rode through the village and stopped in a little rest spot behind a bridge at the other side of the village:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ix-TAtd7bNg/V0DDz_SsMyI/AAAAAAAAJa8/Xz8pbq6rDUMvdXcT3a8p7KkjWoQHNZ2yACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B26.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-35yAdsJ7Po0/V0DD0shviLI/AAAAAAAAJa8/Z549MJt4M4sO92cQRt3leDVTq0cTVXlvwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B27.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-XSHkuckIpKU/V0DD8_a6dSI/AAAAAAAAJbM/XJY0HH9rZpoFo0El3VKN61RdTSlVOlt1wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B28.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-W4oeC6BddQE/V0DD_CtYVAI/AAAAAAAAJbM/rGHHt4dAEXk8yXJqNtfNhxin2EimaqWngCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B29.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LcD167NxYs4/V0GUnwlzOtI/AAAAAAAAJk0/YVon28QOI0sECWX0ObI7sVYDpnlqfvhmgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B4.jpg)

After break I continued west towards Khwai village and turn-off to Seronga, bumping into another herd or 2 of elephants along the way. The road here is a main connection between Moremi and Chobe and there was quite a lot of tourist trafic.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LI3EOqMR6_Q/V0GXhAKGIAI/AAAAAAAAJm4/4R_CkUsZ3Pg-qzHL-5zhY5JdhJ-AzIhMQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B62.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-i4USWb7YMJk/V0GXsIY7lII/AAAAAAAAJm4/mLPJqs05cSsiFJIOhCTbKt4av8E6Qt2tQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B63.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AHKnR2H_uA8/V0GX4h3AqRI/AAAAAAAAJnE/ZPFU9eBL08Y9JZYVDqeUp3m1QctymiGngCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B64.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Jr1Ww5sMAAA/V0DELgeGBYI/AAAAAAAAJbk/uvVLLJIhWNISU5o1ItphXiGjjqNZDFKnwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B32.jpg)

Turn-off north to Savuti and Chobe NP:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-NbILpXiZ7es/V0DESMgyQYI/AAAAAAAAJbw/WV5WBulEF2470qeZSoKmPd4LnkmLo7MKwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B33.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-fZPt-QUYB2Q/V0DETDlhmLI/AAAAAAAAJbw/AG3EdOUxVJkKIjtEoN6_WCMdtfJPEx68gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B34.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jA7BDRqsNz4/V0DEb7I0LKI/AAAAAAAAJbw/9oUof7v69t8bdT9TGBss4ljxMs7T9UzcACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B37.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ydAAuudBJAw/V0DEed_S4RI/AAAAAAAAJcY/WwP6KyYsp_IiKM33SLctbMxfIBTqDc2EACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B38.jpg)

Eventually I came to the turn-off to Seronga - there was even a traffic sign! What was less encouraging was the fact that it was a deep sand double track winding through the bush. I have expected it to be a cutline - which are wider and run straight, making it easier to pick-up speed and spot the animals upfront. By now with my late start, slow speed and frequent stops for pictures it was after 11:00 am and properly hot. And I still felt a bit stiff from the Makgadikgadi rafting. So it was very easy for this wuss to come to a conclusion that it would be better to stay one more night in Khwai vilage (at the end of the day this is one of the richest area for animals anywhere in the world so it would be shame to pass it without proper visit) and set-off again tomorrow morning early. This track was the start of the toughest and by far the riskiest bit, so early start with lower temperatures would definitely give me a great advantage. And despite this being pure momentary improvisation on my side, I would strongly recommend anybody trying to attempt the same to take the same approach and stay over at Khwai:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7C-1NDTmyVs/V0DEow6HOkI/AAAAAAAAJcY/aY1szfbPcaUoy5DVt5f0l1HJvpYndrWdwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B40.jpg)

The track to Seronga cca 200 km away (so far I've done about 120 km from Maun on very good gravel):

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Q5rDeAIVGl4/V0DEtQ2oBrI/AAAAAAAAJcY/uyk7L6Q_2kcyMs7eCmxldFIF4V1oQNYOgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B41.jpg)

So I continued west to Khwai village about 15 km away:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4xN6nN0va3g/V0DE0TgB_WI/AAAAAAAAJcs/3uBgIlWTDuARDz4uGvdXy0GxQiLfdfEBgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B43.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-UeytmBwzNPY/V0DE2wzYlRI/AAAAAAAAJcs/atyU6hgFyQohLZ-dsbXS2E09rQBUYTPHwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B44.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-I7aQjYBHA9I/V0DFBKafm7I/AAAAAAAAJcs/9Z4ZQnCXxf44-FjMx2lRF6vaMKWZLuGAQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B46.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xpCgvsUzjJU/V0DFC-BvayI/AAAAAAAAJdA/tECME9Vmztcm4eE6K-wEd40PrJ8ZM04kACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B47.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AzbrLMGiSO8/V0GVx0xGtqI/AAAAAAAAJl4/CqdghcLWLekSiC8MPh-PCmHm7aPmr15NQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B5.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-23BTnIIiYUI/V0GXKiODprI/AAAAAAAAJmw/uNIB2IoKyQs-bMY_Rwoqig8WuWW6Gvv1wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B6.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-JYG7foNjgKw/V0GYiBRvasI/AAAAAAAAJn0/RfBNsdeVk1YIeOikqR7aft3giWb1ckL4QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B7.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-geCmd3WO0j8/V0DFHCHlrjI/AAAAAAAAJdA/zGMduqkhMgcCrvD1pYf6L-45IeEArG2awCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B48.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bH3JpuP0--4/V0DFSKzJDgI/AAAAAAAAJg0/hZNTUgL0YbAGednsYBEGCGp5p13PloOdgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B51.jpg)

Guesthouse at the beginning of the Khwai vilage - associated with the Sango camp tucked away in the bush on the river few hundred meters away:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7sb4Oen_i8s/V0DFQl74Q5I/AAAAAAAAJdY/PSrydDgBFVY4G56PgxX2_TrCVq2qZ26FACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B50.jpg)

And the village:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xit7oKxpduU/V0DFTLUnewI/AAAAAAAAJg0/sc_2T8gaRR4UXs92h9gBUNDmmYMRQzIBgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B52.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ndSBhZ4tZaU/V0DFWwxnZ1I/AAAAAAAAJdY/zfrqoiK4l7MzbAWcrcCUcNNaKGH5z7VdwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B53.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xDXWU_JBQ0k/V0DFafcCFMI/AAAAAAAAJdY/vDlKp8VCHcg-bESx0sNAbF-iPNw2DMOpwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B54.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wDXGck-3rAM/V0DFarNb6AI/AAAAAAAAJdY/OyE2GvnVtNQAMd6eRLhz43HuXTE4bKBUwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B55.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bXg5ScJZJ8E/V0DFeXmdUAI/AAAAAAAAJdw/jFVxZx5VBUUDgWgiaU3FX3Bdaei0WD08QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B56.jpg)

Bridge over to Moremi north gate:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-44N1GpKgW_c/V0DFlrnB8vI/AAAAAAAAJdw/POVO0Q7EB-IzSmFvsBS3jBfwOXqAxmyxQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B57.jpg)

In the village I asked about accomodation and they told me about Sango camp, the guesthouse and then something called Khwai tented camp. I have enquired in the first to and to my dismay they were full. When I was already contemplating riding up the north gate and camp there (or as an alternative backtrack to the community campsite about 20 km back - but I wasn't keen on that one as it doesn't have any ablutions I could take refuge in if elies, which rule there - would come by) I eventually bumped into that Khwai tented camp fully expecting it to be full. But to my relief it was empty - they were officialy under reconstruction and kind of closed for business. They actually almost refused me as they didn't know what to do with walk in tourists (these are all upmarket places where you have to book ahead) - they didn't even know what to charge me. Eventually they called somewhere to Maun or Cape Town or some such and agreed for me to stay - for 150 USD per night (all meals and drinks from free fridge included) - I found out now that they  normally charge 350 and more, so I actually fared very well. It was very pricey, but there weren't any alternatives (except for camping) and I decided to spoil myself before I hit that dreaded double track up north. So I took it and settled in. As the only guest, the service was great (kind of silly to have personal guide, cook and all that stuff for one smelly biker, but hey - they weren't that discerning).

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-yiI7y1a_0jg/V0DFvDwyFUI/AAAAAAAAJeQ/duka1CUZxXAJkgmSLbeM7yJxJrS7JxGtQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B60.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xhqcb9dUT1E/V0DF2gNhhBI/AAAAAAAAJeQ/7aqLDQLqtL4rnej8fvvh2eZ_eFPd85YrACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B61.jpg)

My tent:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vXcFvhFWjYU/V0GbJgoiUBI/AAAAAAAAJpk/nVQQ4KmNlJ4Lwxwv5I4Pece24kWPgXJzgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B9.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-uoBOSIQYST4/V0GQMIuiyAI/AAAAAAAAJhk/B-lvuiwGgv8ueo0SgpxoDr3g6SAyuZeOwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B10.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-fzNtuN6xMzA/V0GZ3DsmblI/AAAAAAAAJow/rCjR-1hoWZUYUK_8av4B1U6KZpl9IslNgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B8.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ybjNklyaT5s/V0GRLj1tsfI/AAAAAAAAJiI/tMCcbJAkIZsFjp16OVES3YZDJMTUPe2egCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B12.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-kl4wT48dZpQ/V0GRNtu7jrI/AAAAAAAAJiI/fJjV-zjPE2oeYB6nMBusV35P5AMVn0IKwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B14.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-DHNv5uoGHmU/V0GRgMqi4jI/AAAAAAAAJic/X7IE3-ZvgJI9esp40DLI15mUt5GDm5zygCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B16.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xU6ZvrUGSC4/V0GRi8Q3QfI/AAAAAAAAJic/4VQngIk6mgkgYrWF5rRpgN7AKrbFP987QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B17.jpg)

In the evening I change quickly my rear brake pads as the original ones were gone from the sanding they've got on Makgadikgadi, and after fantastic three course dinner with candles and shit (yup, this place was completely out of my league) I settled in my bed falling asleep to the sound of hippos eating grass 5 meters away and lions calling each other in the nearby bush.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Y9xmwHXAbXM/V0GRxLRnxSI/AAAAAAAAJik/ynJ4DC_rBl0tyLgAM99VgCIqZakEV8ceQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B18.jpg)


Route ridden:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-qVtIzf_SETQ/V0HU9G-TxWI/AAAAAAAAJrE/7Y55yoiO-gEcRDv7VE62MnkzySbV3JA3ACCo/s700/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-05-22%2Bat%2B6.17.48%2BPM.png)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: 0012 on May 23, 2016, 04:51:11 pm
that lodge must have been  :drif: after all the riding up until now!

I would probably have made sure the bar fridge pays back a large portion of that $150 spent  :lol8:


great RR so far   :ricky:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: OOOOMS on May 24, 2016, 07:47:47 am
Great stuff! Keem 'em coming  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 24, 2016, 08:32:52 pm
Day 7
 
Unlike prior day, this time I did wake up early still in darkness, and quickly ready for early start. The guys in the lodge confirmed that there is a road all the way to Seronga, and that I should be able to make it there in one day. I took it with grain of salt – people here are absolutely unrealistic regarding the speeds you can do on bike (it’s not that unusual for some  to expect me do about 600 km in one hour), however it did cheer me up a bit and helped to overcome nagging doubts I had about this whole business.
 
What put me back down again when I came to the bike all ready to go, was the flat rear tyre. I was quite annoyed with myself that I didn’t notice anything yesterday while changing the rear brake pads (and therefore having the offending wheel off) or while strapping all my luggage on for an early departure. It either must have been a slow puncture, or I must be getting old. Now it was going to cost me the early start advantage. I unstrapped and pulled off all the luggage and dug out the tools and spare tube from the bottom of my bags.
 
Watched by the whole lodge crew I took the wheel off to get the tube out. The lodge mechanics gave me a hand, which proved to be more of a hindrance than help. I’m generally pretty efficient when dealing with flat tyres on my own, but in the company of others – especially mechanics – I tend to get a bit tentative. I blame that soft spoken offroadcycling tycoon mechanic for this – who likes to ridicule my bike fixing efforts, instead of being smart and supportive as results of these keep him in business. While getting  tube out of the tyre  would normally take me 3-4 minutes max (yes, on the same tyre I had – Dakar  E09), this time three of us each with his own tyre lever were battling probably 10 – 15 minutes to get it out. The tube turned out to be punctured by thorn embedded in the tyre.
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ki1euOjvwF4/V0GR2FGPmrI/AAAAAAAAJiw/wVgsP4LG3TsT2DdOkXoREzVbBbUuSTFQwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B19.jpg)

While one of the mechanics patched the tube, the other helped me to put the spare tube in. We then spent half an hour trying to blow it up using variety of contraptions on hand. You see this luxury lodge with 2 – 3 safari vehicles parked in didn’t have a compressor. I dumped compressor from my gear to save weight/space after wolf skaap laughed at me – justifiably I should add – for carrying that crap around.  I had two small mountain bike pumps (for redundancy), but they take for ever to blow up bike tyre – especially the rear one. So we resorted to a big stand-up hand pump they pulled out of some dumpster. It was in in such a state of disrepair that it required 3 men team to operate, holding various orifices and connections while trying to direct the air into the tube. Hence it took us a while before we  admitted to ourselves that we may have indeed pinched the spare tube. Perfect timing – I have changed tube probably 20 – 30 times before and never pinched one. So why have the first pinch while desperately running out of colder temperature and time, right?
 
I was always deeply suspicious of teamwork - subversive corporate ploy to suppress individuality and foster conformity. And I was clearly right, which became even more abundantly clear, when my helpers called break for breakfast, while I swapped the patched tube back in 10 minutes flat, confirming that the spare one was indeed pinched in the process. Unbridled individualism all the way, say I!
 
The next challenge was to try to inflate the tyre as it just wouldn’t come up from behind the rim and none of our air blowing contraptions worked. Eventually the lodge manager jumped into the car with the rear wheel and drove off to the Songu lodge, to use their compressor. In the meantime I have patched the spare tube and once they were back, assembled the bike back together and packed my bags. By now it was 11:00 am, hot and I had to take a good hard look at that plan of mine. After short deliberation I have decided to give up once again on the Okavango circumvention. I had 3.5 day left to get back to Joburg and with the late start would probably spend 1.5 day just to get out of sticks in Shakawe over 300 km of bush away, most probably bush-camping in the middle of the delta. Trying to ride a tough and tight sandy double track through the hottest period of the day among best off the African crickets against clock just seemed a bit too risky.  And even if I would make it, I would have to slab on 690 1500 km in two days, and I just didn’t want to finish the trip on that kind of note.
 
Instead, I decided to enjoy one more night of wilderness in Khwai, and then retrace back to Mababe and take 200 km of cutline through Kalahari east to the main Kasane – Nata road  for a sleepover in the Elephant’s sand, from where I would cruise in two days back to Joburg on the dirt roads along Zim border, probably sleeping over in Tuli block. That sounded like a decent plan that should leave me fully dirt saturated for a week or three.
 
So I settled back in my tent, took off my saddle bags, packed basic tools to my rollie bag on top and went for a game ride. You see – and it really surprises that nobody seems to know this – the area north of Khwai river is public land and therefore fully accessible to the bikes. It is just across the river from one of the top areas in Moremi NP and there are as many animals north of the river, as they are south. This is not your Kruger fence ride – this is real ‘game ride’. Now riding on a bike on winding double track through a dense bush with all the big five around gets a bit nerve-racking after a while, so after few about 10 km of double track during which I tried to stick to the open plains I have chickened out and headed to the main road I arrived on the day before.
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5nDBIlOFYMY/V0DF5sfSBSI/AAAAAAAAJgw/amedCkRts_s4-YbZZAw1nmJ0V4ugQ16KwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B63.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GQe-oTouCXw/V0DGAHVXgRI/AAAAAAAAJek/5StduE-Wk8oRb4-Rw9sIb8mMS3j07cUIACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B65.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Fv0U5PXWg00/V0DGDVwuAII/AAAAAAAAJe4/9N6-EEBNWCgPngjkwPVIO3DEFcfBA_6awCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B68.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-J2y_8yCPYrk/V0DGQoo5wuI/AAAAAAAAJfM/2SK1qFvp6Go7sOEdZndR2a-B6QfKGHpbACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B72.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5F_gPPtOfGU/V0DGSKfN4KI/AAAAAAAAJfM/45320-MTzbUvoB4uBaLJBYpnYaC6wgp_ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B73.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-xpRH6tmRzFU/V0DGHwoGA0I/AAAAAAAAJe4/BDl1bQ-yFGs03UzVbXkmcR3DYpgkIq3_gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B69.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-x3E5Yhv5Ms8/V0GYNgkz9-I/AAAAAAAAJnk/LbR9OnL0nxUdmzjaDA9dr5DVy-6POQzuQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B68.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-H0NF0za0h_w/V0DG2BO83BI/AAAAAAAAJgA/sMsvdVm1PZwYo7tsZHS0VnNEgmRY9651ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B84.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-hAMz5CX9tbg/V0DGOjriE9I/AAAAAAAAJe4/je_vzbWeRP0Rgix-QL0oD7ne9pjVLETZgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B71.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bZre8NU-Db0/V0GYmFEUa1I/AAAAAAAAJn0/aBRYTLeV-QEkuIx6dFly0F-5lK6-Q83SwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B70.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-t92zQtTjuHA/V0GZOfwnCmI/AAAAAAAAJoE/uEZ0VXATRIMgP2iI4jRS_jZv3xfwFXRrQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B76.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8Nzo8B6RpzI/V0GY46MUIMI/AAAAAAAAJoE/XRlKKF62LNQQi53yd94QSXMo9WRuEEK8ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B73.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-iX_n-uLWokU/V0GZij-n4GI/AAAAAAAAJoU/XvKsMjq-NjoLMem9fLRO7yRC0OK0BnYzQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B78.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ovwe7KW12dM/V0GZlbVBaGI/AAAAAAAAJoU/_MBy0WlVjVk3DfxKELBX5KYvk6AZcoMJgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B79.jpg)

I stopped by in the Khwai woollies to restock on something I cannot remember now, and then took the main road 15 km back to the turn-off to Seronga, which I took and rode the double-track up for about 5 km confirming that it is very sandy and tightly flanked by the surrounding bush. I then face-abouted and rode back to the main road stopping there when my rear brake failed. I correctly guessed the root cause – yesterday when I changed the brake pads (first time I did that – I learn best in the bush) I didn’t adjust the brake pedal. Which was now dragging the break, boiling up the brake fluid, making it fail eventually. Adjusting the brake was a quick fix, but while waiting for the rear brake to cool down, the rear tube out of a blue quickly deflated. Just like that – WTF! I raked my brain trying to figure out how overheated brake may cause rear flat, but came out blank. This was getting properly annoying!

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-IUv16SjaBKk/V0DGZC0-07I/AAAAAAAAJfM/WUHOPKQb6QUkOgoJcC8EmAeFYVS-PbO4wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B76.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-p03Y4zEtjvw/V0DGhXWHckI/AAAAAAAAJgw/fo0sanFpkYYdwejTl3TdnzBzWiCewAEMgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B79.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7Uo62Uzpo1g/V0DGm1I2ShI/AAAAAAAAJfs/FgeuoGYGNBQrB2OQRfGLDo2Tchnf7WjUQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B80.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-HYb1LZ8l3t8/V0GSCSCVM-I/AAAAAAAAJi4/pqPIuhZy3lsu5O93xkW9DZ1TDTtonWeLQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B20.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--F5PBH_hhUQ/V0DGViG8trI/AAAAAAAAJfM/jB_aCo5UuIUd9lQnwZ38g8tzZI6sSeY5wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B74.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-l8OTuaLCj5Y/V0DGodOwWTI/AAAAAAAAJfs/wU74ykRQ_kcrUqYaxKjThL94e-1lpzPuQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B81.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GGubgSP_VTs/V0DGuDRSDEI/AAAAAAAAJfs/qSDnGQ4L2N4CASy-2Wo9hR77BaY8_Is1ACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B83.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-k2ne7W65oAo/V0DGsT_dK0I/AAAAAAAAJfs/VLEiqSwdd-MpT91GWeDpSohhN9bTr6ZLwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B82.jpg)

 
South African family in 4x4 on vacation kindly stopped by and gave me one of those tyre-fix cans. It didn’t work. Not keen to try to fix the tube out there I decided to limp 15 km back to the lodge on the flat tyre. Once there, I left the bike at the workshop and headed straight for tasty lunch, few sodas and afternoon nap. I had no juice left to deal with another flat straight away.
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9Bz0HG9rZUg/V0GYShpoDbI/AAAAAAAAJnk/4SnbDIeKmpQneENKxKW-xO3XngCqikKsgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B67.jpg)


Later in the afternoon with the midday heat subsided I took the wheel off and found the culprit – the rubber band covering the spokes snapped (or may have been held in place by duct tape and that came off) and one of the spokes pierced the tube. This was a new one for me and I wasn’t sure what the best solution to cover spokes was. Duct tape did appear to me, but just to be sure I called Straatkat who confirmed that is indeed the way to go. Keen to preserve whatever little duct tape I had I checked first with the lodge guys, but they didn’t have any (actually never heard of one), so I had to use mine – I had only small one and used most of it for the fix. I put the spare tube in and fixed the punctured one one more time.
 
With that sorted already in the dark I just washed up and went for another luxury 3 course dinner by the candles with lodge manager lady, my personal guide (who’s sole job was to escort me after dark to the tent as lions frequent the campsite often) and a South African construction manager Freddy, who arrived that day to oversee rebuild of the campsite. He lived in Maun and owned a bicycle shop. Which of course I for explanation on as I would have assumed that nobody reasonable would chose to ride bicycle in Botswanian sand (but then who am I to pull a reason as an argument). Freddy explained how wrong I was – they use special wide tyres almost the size of motorbike ones, and ride anywhere on them, including crossing through Moremi and Central Kalahari NP (which until then I believed is accessible). Some hobby – eh? Puts that once a year 94.7 thingy into perspective.
 
After the dinner I managed to beat all the lions to my tent and fell asleep to the sounds of mightily pissed off elephant somewhere nearby.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: JMOL on May 24, 2016, 08:43:17 pm
As always - unbeatable!!

Thanks for sharing  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Straatkat on May 24, 2016, 11:16:49 pm
Xpat, you make me properly jealous for not coming along with you, we could have beaten that puncture demon together. We seem to be unstoppable when it comes to fixing bikes! I am seriously pissed at my boss for ordering me back, think I am never going to speak to him again.
 
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: OOOOMS on May 25, 2016, 07:54:14 am
Really a pity about your punctures / setback......

....you will have to go back again  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 25, 2016, 10:50:20 am
Really a pity about your punctures / setback......

....you will have to go back again  :biggrin:

Oh yes, I will be back.

In a way I do not mind the set-back. I'm slowly running out of new tracks to ride, so saving one for later isn't such a bad thing. And I had a good ride anyway.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: african dust on May 25, 2016, 12:44:09 pm
I suspect there will be no shortage of people wanting to "tag"along when you do ytour next trip  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Kaboef on May 25, 2016, 01:45:24 pm
Brilliant pics and a great report.

Thanks guys.


Jeesh, I must go back to Bots soon. Forgot how beautiful it can be.


Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 25, 2016, 09:38:01 pm
Day 8
 
There was still air in the rear tyre in the morning so I packed up and after breakfast set-off following the main dirt road back to Mababe. I’ve stopped for a break at the same rest spot as two days ago – this one:
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LcD167NxYs4/V0GUnwlzOtI/AAAAAAAAJk0/YVon28QOI0sECWX0ObI7sVYDpnlqfvhmgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B4.jpg)

This break turned out to be much shorter. As soon as I pulled off my helmet and gloves I’ve been welcomed by pissed off grumble from a nearby pond hidden about 10 meters away behind high grass. A quick peek over the grass confirmed my suspicion:
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-D7hDxd_TknY/V0GZ287n7AI/AAAAAAAAJow/l3lt80Uw63wnmXZs8AROpUkk1BzJvNN5gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B80.jpg)

I managed to snap the above pic and then moved away double pronto (why again do the modern bikes have to go through that stupid whizzing staring procedure?) over the bridge to the first spaza shop I bumped into in the village. It felt safe– there were lots of kids around which I felt reasonably confident to be able to outrun, should some cricket pounce out of the bush. I had a cold Coke or two and asked again about the connection to the 19th parallel cutline, which I was keen on as I haven’t done it yet, but they re-confirmed that the track is 40 km of cotton mud swamp now.
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-WHDoH4KPIfM/V0GSg8ZlxSI/AAAAAAAAJjY/ruqWg2MEdxEftXSAwicwdO9fnEM42HJqgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B24.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-stRInvRH--c/V0GSK5RpodI/AAAAAAAAJjE/X0aNy6wBtYYnEwgHQxI-zN8f5OvdJ-hZgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B21.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0baBgJYmo3w/V0GSU9FOzQI/AAAAAAAAJjM/vBt4OIp2qP4NYv-P6wVVgpI-W5ztWYIEQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B22.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-RrSrgQ3uFSE/V0GSWrewm6I/AAAAAAAAJjM/F4aFbQ9KRIcZCKtjgBw081766xJ9z9DxACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B23.jpg)

 
So no 19th parallel this time either and I continued on the main dirt road, which in Mababe turns south west heading towards Maun about 110 km away. After few km I had to again use the double track detour through the bush to bypass the little pond I tried to walk through on the way up, bumping again into a herd of elephants:
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Y7EP6Sr8KAY/V0GZ9Sr0FVI/AAAAAAAAJow/i7FfX6WD_cMFklfnSfOir5bb8V0YSfs_gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B81.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AXFmardVpCo/V0GaMsKl2TI/AAAAAAAAJow/vD1F6zQyTvYNsbxN9td3PpCX8SFiH96JACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B82.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4sFiUyyawfs/V0GaSscrbnI/AAAAAAAAJow/MLyr5R2edWAE71XD33myWiUflG7DwAmygCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B83.jpg)


About 20 – 30 km south of Mababe I came upon my cutline heading straight east through the Kalahari bush. From this point it is exactly 200 km until the cutline t-bones the tar A33 80 km south of Pandamatenga and 130 km north of Nata. I turned onto the cutline and straightaway saw that it was much more deserted and overgrown than two years ago – which was right after the Bots government cancelled all the hunting concessions this area was used for at the time. Clearly the already very sparse traffic to and from hunting camps disappeared by now and currently the cutline was used probably only by anti-poaching patrols. I thought the cutlines were primarily firebreaks maintained  to stop the fire spreading across the bush, but in its current state this cutline wouldn’t stop anything – if anything the sea of dry grass would probably make it spread faster. For a comparison, here is repeat plug of my video from the ride on the same cutline in December 2013:
 
https://www.youtube.com/v/DzcGLtxF5tU


And here it is what the cutline looks like now:
 
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8h3uvx1D_eo/V0GaUoMk5tI/AAAAAAAAJow/haLNOdqqt5ErHmK4HJzwLluzNuUb4TuiwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B84.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jMwzesL49s8/V0GajpI9xHI/AAAAAAAAJpE/CdP5sXLG2gU5xHXYDa4DyC4ibwz2fr9KgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B85.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-uNNKwdjPnNE/V0GTkdk7XII/AAAAAAAAJkA/5vyM7bCm2Uwxp8OCzXkqjYy2sjKCessqACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B32.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-DjxHLUEFPkg/V0DHBRrY54I/AAAAAAAAJgM/kCHTuFHatAU1cU5N3cn5jqXYhxClGRCMwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B88.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-J34uRZdBCBQ/V0DHMHf6cxI/AAAAAAAAJgc/juWPZUUBaiQfAVMvLcj5e8QiCVYkhWh5wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B90.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6boaEjBALLc/V0DHRrTHVSI/AAAAAAAAJgc/ncU49ZDxZdMPnWdTQ4q2NjzcocRIfahNACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B92.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ozTmx0Wum70/V0DHciSlbAI/AAAAAAAAJgs/KsOecx62sLYr_0ogUz8nZ9mQzeiWN3ltwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B95.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-eZgkrtNi7Ec/V0DHeck7D6I/AAAAAAAAJgc/od6TpiD1TtMKVfv1gHDgPDZqHg3RPbFnACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B96.jpg)

 
I set-off heading dead east, but from the get go had funny feeling about this thing. I was a bit nonchalant with time in the morning considering the cutline a non-event on 690, as I have already done it on much heavier Tenere, so by the time I set-off on the cutline it was already almost 11:00 am and very hot. The sand was significantly tougher than the last time, when I rode just after heavy rains and the sand in many sections was much more compacted – there were long sections of tough sand to be sure, but usually intersped with easier more compact sections usually in depressions where water worked the sand into more of a soil. Now I was riding sandy double track basically the whole time. And I couldn’t ride the deep sand on the side of the cutline off the double track (which is easier as it doesn’t require as much focus on the line) as they were heavily overgrown. So I was getting headache focusing heavily on the straight line in front of me for dozens of kms.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bGA0dI0z_1k/V0GatVZC89I/AAAAAAAAJpE/2A0EeuYE4KMlwS2rH_U8WTWED0jrSe7SwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B87.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cBRk8Q65cwU/V0GStyxdxZI/AAAAAAAAJjg/ZqjoTXdjjTkQOAcMX7fE9qVD6vr46qZ3QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B25.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-EW9K-n0qNlo/V0GS33xp7dI/AAAAAAAAJjg/MKiymSz1xaoJyKPiVAfnaBU45rdNosoJwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B27.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7675tig5CUo/V0GTFz0K9AI/AAAAAAAAJjw/8ehNeWGP9lEv78CrcghLLiN2AkkiApc1QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B29.jpg)

 
All those things were to be expected. What was really bugging me, were the incessant worries about the bike catching a fire. The problem was the grass was dry and ripe and the bike and I were being bombarded by millions of grass seeds, which very quickly clogged the radiator guard, blocking the air flow and resulting in greatly diminished engine cooling. While I was ridding at reasonable pace mostly staying in the 4 and 5th gear (which normally would be more than enough to keep the bike cool enough) the engine was still running hot and the fan was on all the time. I stopped often – always in the clear making sure no grass could touch the bike – to let the bike cool down a bit, but it never lasted more than 2 -3 km before the fan was on again.

On number of occasions I poured precious water into the bashplate which by now has collected a veritable haystack, and at one point I took the radiator guard off and cleaned it of the grass. That helped for a bit, but it took only 10 or so km before the guard was clogged again.
 
What didn’t help was the story Freddy shared night before over dinner of a family in 4x4 somewhere between Linyianti and Savuti, who’s car burned down when they stopped with clogged radiator in tall grass for a little break. That and the images Speedy Goncalves crying over his burning Honda on the Argentinian pampa were enough to eventually dissolve my resolve to make it through. In my paranoid state I even took the satellite phone out of the rollie bag and put it in my back-pack – to have it on me should I need to abandon the bike in a haste.
 
So about 50 km into the cutline I stopped to ponder my situation and decided to turn the tail. I did consider pushing on and then cutting south to Gweta along the Nxai Pen NP eastern boundary, but the distance was almost the same as to the A33, I would still have to cross the toughest 40-60 km of sand about halfway into the cutline. And anyway, the chance that there will be less grass were more or less nil.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-dRpTqXfz4jU/V0DHoZxuTQI/AAAAAAAAJgs/iQT_mnbyWmYLvLdCfj87CzCwouRmhc9VgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B98.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-3QFeT8b2En4/V0GTj9-mAqI/AAAAAAAAJkA/sehXJSUYQ5Ep4KWh5LYu6NbH9_LT47k-wCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B30.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-81AB0wqX1eM/V0GT80k-ETI/AAAAAAAAJkc/mk-nevRt-G8UOR5DZSEvwCz3hDzyQnVhACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B33.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--Fmg61jsjZs/V0DCTdK_FYI/AAAAAAAAJZA/A6bpvySlHPgWvIEoqFBAVF67wv9KluCowCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B100.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-gXCUn-b_hCc/V0DCel1UYBI/AAAAAAAAJZQ/SdrgJU3qEZ0c7OIPuN-1Clky7xWP_nGmQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B101.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-a_xFWXZs4W8/V0DCbtmD8NI/AAAAAAAAJZQ/lYcZnNUD4E4OoLqYbkNRIaNz729o2drMACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B102.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-rp9wYZyeDuY/V0DCm7sTE6I/AAAAAAAAJZg/6VVZ2UH3go0xU6Ln4BDubLg6WJvHPJXUACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B104.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-W0LQj9450Fc/V0GT62TwQeI/AAAAAAAAJkc/yXlqmuY674EPHiUss5BNRbF8ddog7vzoQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B34.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/--w9EHnxMD9w/V0DCo-4XI1I/AAAAAAAAJZg/72sNtbVnNiAb7i6NOECGMVXy7asWWPtAACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B105.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6ySHLjbGJok/V0DCqU4qB6I/AAAAAAAAJZg/HXyYWJru3IIUqxZGi4YvU6rsZh9l33__gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B106.jpg)


I've made it back out of the cutline in an hour or so and then continued on to Maun where I arrived at about 3pm. I considered staying night in Audi, but it was too early and I had to push on so I filled my tanks, and pushed on another 200 km through a light rain to Gweta and Planet Baobab for a sleepover.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-pTbNWlvvCrQ/V0GVa7zqMgI/AAAAAAAAJl4/imWgCo5D4hkaUaTDrezQjX6RoUHJrfzZACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B47.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GU7Ip7h2MgM/V0GVU73IMII/AAAAAAAAJl4/yqt05tztdAE7lcXNLphIzqWr3m7UzTo1gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B46.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ggXywWZ22_0/V0GULGp_NmI/AAAAAAAAJko/iYEa5b1gHOAx-R1Z0KMk4KNX4NRrOvI-QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B36.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-UxY_KgTzz3o/V0GUStFdz8I/AAAAAAAAJko/Rf6WiWrsz58QcRHHTVEIa6VnyshQdwYhQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B37.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-q5XURgAjZWI/V0GUbi7BDsI/AAAAAAAAJko/HswZeBAMngobNkazNtK_ycuLJ1KBzsUIACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B39.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-BbbFkCiJLZ8/V0GUiR55MYI/AAAAAAAAJk0/FQBSWIwI46E4pqktW3nnVSg3u0FaBW5NACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B40.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-8LY0A0jfMZU/V0GU5-LF-aI/AAAAAAAAJlA/Y3iz4ugpu6UAcKAXFGB6lyNTr-_2kSvowCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B42.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-75Q0DYdDSG4/V0GU-osBBsI/AAAAAAAAJlQ/ytjfBPdH1W8qDDGjsXG5egLbEENb3z-7gCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B43.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-kobbSxyyYPM/V0GVAfN42LI/AAAAAAAAJlQ/T3hWrj5q6okijuC7OutEeAHBmy2-X9XzQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B44.jpg)


Route ridden:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9QJBskf-kWE/V0HU9DQxSOI/AAAAAAAAJrE/AjkBmuWRziQzLz_ajk3ydoiTU0AqE7exACCo/s900/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-05-22%2Bat%2B6.22.12%2BPM.png)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: OOOOMS on May 26, 2016, 06:53:16 am
Great stuff....."My daily fix"

Once again great pics and nice video  :thumleft:

PS I carry a few of these fairly lightweight fire extinguishers, nice and compact and have seen a few demo's of them. Pretty effective imho! No expiry date, but not refillable.

Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Brewed_Coffee on May 26, 2016, 08:09:44 am

PS I carry a few of these fairly lightweight fire extinguishers, nice and compact and have seen a few demo's of them. Pretty effective imho! No expiry date, but not refillable.



Where do you get them from?
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Malcolm on May 26, 2016, 09:22:11 am
i also carry those extinguishers, i found mine at Builders some time ago. 
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Werner747 on May 26, 2016, 09:42:16 am

PS I carry a few of these fairly lightweight fire extinguishers, nice and compact and have seen a few demo's of them. Pretty effective imho! No expiry date, but not refillable.



Where do you get them from?


From http://www.firestryker.co.za/firestryker-outlets (http://www.firestryker.co.za/firestryker-outlets) the full outlet list attached.  ;)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Cota on May 26, 2016, 10:07:07 am
Fantastic stuff!! Some great scenery...  :3some:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: katana on May 26, 2016, 10:24:37 am
We have messed around quite a bit with those Fire Strikers.  I believe they will only contain an enclosed fire, when it robs a space of oxygen.  Absolutely useless in any breeze on a diesel fire.  They also burn hot on the striker end, which in itself causes problems.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 26, 2016, 12:35:39 pm
Thanks for following.

Regarding the fire extinguisher - I'm in the process of trying to shed weight and luggage, rather than add more. Even if it may be small, if it is absolutely not necessary I prefer not to take it (yet I still carry too much crap compared to some other people). And assuming that that extinguisher thing would actually work in open space (which I doubt) I'm not sure how effective it would be anyway - if I would catch fire while riding (as I think happened to Speedy), by the time I would notice it may be way too late (those 690 tanks are tricky to fill and I regularly end up with petrol spills despite my best efforts to avoid them - if flames will get to spilled petrol I will not have a time to even abandon the bike on my own).

I'm not even sure if the risk of fire was real or only in my head. Assuming it was real, the right solution IMO is to take the risk into account upfront and adjust the riding to mitigate it. Specifically in this case I wouldn't just waste away 3 - 4 hours of colder morning for breakfast and easy cruise of about 60-70km, but rather start as early as possible, and push on to get to the cutline as soon as possible when the temperatures were still lower. The early start would enable to sustain high speeds for longer distances, keep the temperatures a bit lower and give me time to stop to let the bike cool down and possibly to clean the radiator guard few times (it worked for about 20 - 30 km when I did it).

On the bike preparation side, I will get another fan installed on the radiator to help with keeping the bike cool.

I got complacent because I have ridden that cutline before and expected it to be more or less the same. I have never worried about fire first time (when it was wetter) and the risk of catching fire didn't cross my mind at all until I hit the cutline - at the end of the day few days before we've spent 3 days crossing a lake just 100 km to the south.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: OOOOMS on May 26, 2016, 12:54:25 pm
Yip, I can understand your reasoning regarding weight and space being at a premium :thumleft:

Like a first aid kit.....takes up quite a bit of space, but are you going to use it? Well Mommy says I must, so best I do  :laughing4:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: OOOOMS on May 27, 2016, 08:38:01 am
OH Nooooo......

Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 27, 2016, 10:10:31 am
Sorry, a bit busy now. Will try to wrap it up over the weekend.

Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: teebag on May 27, 2016, 11:05:29 am
Fantastic - finally somebody with hands-on experience!

Teebag - do you remember if there is a bridge over Selinda river, or did you have to wade through the river?

We bush camped up near the Zibadianja Lagoon and crossed the Savuti Channel to head up towards Linyanti - there was Zero water in the channel till later in the year.


Current pics from the area:
Zibadianja Lagoon water less than 2km down channel
(https://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/13247722_1087472217979759_2656679996805324206_o.jpg)

20 km further down channel
(https://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/13246251_1087472251313089_7331316730807894188_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 27, 2016, 11:18:57 am
Thank you teebag - much appreciated  :thumleft:.

If you followed the channel up to Linyanti - weren't you riding on the private safari concessions, or are those also considered public land?

Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Amsterdam on May 27, 2016, 12:09:12 pm
Enjoying this and inspired. Don't know much about the area. Is July a good or bad time for riding there ?
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 27, 2016, 12:44:47 pm
Enjoying this and inspired. Don't know much about the area. Is July a good or bad time for riding there ?

I'm useless with the seasons and generally ride whenever I can or fancy, but I think the worst time is probably March - May, when pans are wet and grass too long. You can google bots seasons - you will get information there, for example:

http://safari-consultants.com/destinations/botswana/when-to-travel-seasons (http://safari-consultants.com/destinations/botswana/when-to-travel-seasons)

From my perspective the season is important only for two things - if you want to avoid flooded Makgadikgadi, which I think you will be fine in July, and if you want to do that delta circumnavigation, when it is important to know if you can cross Selinda river or not. I'm still not sure though when that river is high. Outside of that I do not think season makes too much difference. Once in December I couldn't do Hunter's road, because it was just cottom mud, but I found a cutline along Chobe boundary instead and all was good.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: teebag on May 27, 2016, 02:17:46 pm
Thank you teebag - much appreciated  :thumleft:.

If you followed the channel up to Linyanti - weren't you riding on the private safari concessions, or are those also considered public land?

Remember we did this when it was still hunting concessions and the rest run by Bots parks, I think after that they banned hunting in the area and moved to private concessions.

PM me your email and I will send you the track
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 29, 2016, 02:17:19 pm
Day 9

I had two days to get back to Joburg, which should be easily doable from Planet Baobab even including lots of dirt. So that is what I wanted to do. My usual route through Makgadikgadi was out, so instead I aimed to hit the dirt roads along the Zimbabwean border all the way down to Tuli block, where I would spend the last night of the trip in Molema campsite. Next day I would then hit as much dirt as possible crossing to SA through Zanzibar and then riding down through Belfast and Waterberg to Joburg. Pretty straightforward.

As I was out of the sticks, I took it easy in the morning, having lazy breakfast and walk-around before setting of way past 9:00 am. First 100 km was boring straight tar to Nata, so I dialed in my normal cruising speed of hundred something and went to sleep again. I woke up again about 20-30 km later, when my rear started to weave about little bit. The inteligent response of course would be stop and check what's going on, but that is not how I roll. 

Instead for next 5 - 10 I accelerated and decelerated number of times to see what is going to happen. When I sped up the weave seemed to go away, while slowing down made it more pronounced. Always good at imagining the worst scenarion I was wondering if the reare wheel bearings are gone and eventually decided to stop and check. And, as anybody with two brain cells have already correctly guessed by now, it was another flat. The hard walled E09Dakar somewhat managed to stay on the rin and at higher speed almost seemed completely normal - at least in the straight line.

I pulled off the road and set-up workshop in the shade under the only tree/bush for few km around:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-z_yLHclv4Jk/V0GVu1WqduI/AAAAAAAAJl4/6_YUJUdeGhQkclIK96o59w21SxzWR4jNgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B49.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-sYJpWbeDJzk/V0GWK58r2oI/AAAAAAAAJl4/5BNJ1dN1-C8vJAMMWysa-uKzRpSerhcqgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B50.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5dOGldUpTVg/V0GWK3uGhOI/AAAAAAAAJl4/OYCyxmOeoQc21S7IiP9l9qsUc3pjKPuoACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B51.jpg)


As soon as I pulled the tyre off I realized full extent of my idiocy. Riding those 5-10 km on flat tyre in the excess of 100 kmh completely destroyed the tube. That was stupid, but I had a spare tube, so no biggie. The real problem was that the tube ripped off the duct tape from the rim exposing the spokes. I knew I didn't have enough duct tape left to cover the rim (in my weight/space saving efforts I took only small roll of duct tape instead of the big one I used to carry before - and it turned out the small one is good to cover about 1,5 rim) and now finally fully awake realised that without covering the spokes I'm going nowhere even with new tube. The tube would get punctured withing 10 - 20 km at most by the spokes.

The only course of action left was begging, so I positioned myself on the road trying to look presentable in my Maun acquired hat (I don't think I would have any chance in that beanie Straatkat kindly posted pictures of me in) while trying to intercept very sparse traffic. Initiaully I got passed by quite a few cars - including those bling tourist 4x4s, but eventually people seemed to start like me more and few cars - locals as well as tourists - stopped. To my surprise, most of them never heard of, let alone had, a duct tape. Until then I lived under sweet misconception, that anybody in Africa venturing in a vehicle more than 10 km out of town carries duct tape and cable ties as the basic minimum survival kit. Not so, it turned out.

About two hours into manning the road block, my brain started itching. You see, I'm not very smart at planning and organising my trips - I do not prepare and tick off checklists of things to have, and despise thinking hard upfront about what I will really need or not. The way I compensate for this sloppiness is redundancy - when I do pack what I believe in the moment is the absolute minimum required for the trip, I take step back and feel proud about how much space I have left in my luggage. And then proceed to fill-up the space with another peace of almost everything I've already packed - for some reason usually packing it separately from the original items. So now I started to have this nagging feeling that I may have packed another roll of duct tape somewhere about the bike.

And indeed I found one in the pouch designated for food! Well, there went two hours of my life I'm not getting back. Relieved, I taped over  the spokes, put in the spare tube and, leaving baggage behind, took the bike for quick spin to get the bead set in (it gets tiring to try to inflate tyre enough with MTB hand pump). The tube, patched by the guys in the Khwai Tented Camp, turned out to be leaking, so back to the workshop for another round of tube extraction and patching.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-AEoPBIY3yzo/V0GWH8DQZFI/AAAAAAAAJl4/DKf7UlibwKoMpmZxQWynsDQnCkBqhweTQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B52.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-H3mdVBAsz3w/V0GbLHsc7aI/AAAAAAAAJpk/BHlqYvhEwdI75Jva7yzHvKjoQ6-wl6J9QCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B90.jpg)


My patch didn't work 100% either so I have repeated the process one or two more times (the solution Bill the Bong adviced on kindly later on seems to be to use Rubber Cement instead of that vucanising solution provided in most of the current tube patching kits - unless the tube is from natural rubber which most tubes are not nowadays) and almost started to enjoy it.

I was ripped off my tyre fixing revelry at about 4:00 pm by mother of all storms approaching from west, lightnings and all. There are few thing I like less than electric storm on the flat Botswanian plains, so I assembled the bike back  ctogether after the last patch, packed hastily and set-off with lightnings striking close by now towards Nata. The plan was to stop regularly to reinflate the tyre with the pump and try to find permanent solution in Nata. I've made it to Nata in one go at dusk - the tube was leaking air much slower after the last patch - and I stopped at couple of garages to buy new duct tape and tyre-fix spray, that I hopped could stop the slow puncture. It turns out they didn't carry those in this thorn ridden 4x4 country, so I set-up a watch at one of the garages looking for an unsuspecting whiteys that may carry such things. Pretty soon an elderly white couple in some kind of 4x4 on their way to Kasane stopped by, and I was able to buy from them a big can of tyre fix which I promptly sprayed into the rear tube.

With that sorted I headed already in the dark 10 km south to the Nata lodge to sleep over.

To sum up, in about 8 hours of pretty hard work I have managed to ride 100 km on tar between Planet Baobab and Nata:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-9BT3MRw0JkM/V0nLoSljvYI/AAAAAAAAJrw/2aR4gZcWGisZLTkei79yYBO6TEMk2ygogCCo/s800/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-05-28%2Bat%2B7.16.41%2BPM.png)


By now it was clear I'm not going to make it back on time for work, so I SMSed my boss taking one more day off.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 29, 2016, 02:54:01 pm
Day 10 - 11

In the morning I scored another can of tyre fix and a bottle of slime from nice gentleman I bumped into in Nata lodge. I wasn't sure if the tyre fix spray from last night worked. The signs were good - the tyre didn't loose any pressure overnight, but I couldn't be sure if it will hold pressure while riding. I still had about 900 km to cover to Joburg, and to be safe I have resigned myself to ridding tar at least to Lephalale, where I knew place where I should be able to get another tube.

Nata lodge:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cnFwuxHtqCE/V0GWgPZemeI/AAAAAAAAJmA/Xyba6eLOL4cu3ra_G8VO1ZTbSqfS_oPZwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B53.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-e3NDsFuKsms/V0GWkSSQJzI/AAAAAAAAJmM/bDlsEbJrRF8ouy8vH6i3g401G28xKx1WwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B54.jpg)


I set-off after breakfast in the lodge and things seemed to go well. I stopped regularly to check the pressure in the rear tyre and it seemed to hold, so eventually I stopped to worry and pushed on. It was bloody hot, there was quire a bit of traffic of people returning down to Gaborone from Easter holidays, and of course 690 is not the tool for this kind of slab. I have expected all that - what I didn't expect were very frequent police blocks - every 30 - 40 km at every main intersection. They didn't stop everybody, but more often than not pulled me aside, which was starting to get really annoying. I'm not mature enough to be able to just go along with this kind of nonsensical police intimidation, and knew that it was just question of time before I will lose it badly with one of the uniformed illuminati - which I almost did when they stopped me for a 4th time.

So I made it fuming (from heat and anger) to Francistown, where I made some token queries about new tube (not a chance - especially on Easter Monday), filled up with petrol and turned west to Matsiloje on the Zim border, where I would connect to the dirt tracks heading south along the Zim border hopefully avoiding any more police encounters. This worked as a charm and I rode dirt down to Sephophe, where I hit dirt again heading down to Martin's Drift, where I arrived early in the evening.

Normally I would push through the border, to have clean and easy start next day, but I was too knackered from the heat and the border seemed to be overrun by some religius pilgrims or some such, so decided to stay the night in the Kwa Nokeng Lodge on the Bots side and cross to SA next day.

Route ridden:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-t8yf-YOGltQ/V0ri4X6CfHI/AAAAAAAAJsI/WwVJQyMR5S4XO3l1F6-njFuhloygaqG2wCCo/s640/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-05-29%2Bat%2B3.12.18%2BPM.png)


Day 11 - last day.

After breakfast in the morning I crossed almost empty border in about half and hour and took tar to Ellisras, where I stopped about 5 km behind the town in the direction of Thabazimbi at a worshop I knew sells tube. The owner wasn't there and when I called him he said he is out of tubes, but he arranged his helper to patch an old 18 inches tube, which I bought as a safety should I run into trouble before getting home.

With that sorted I rode another 70 km on tar towards Thabazimbi, and then hit the dirt roads at the northern end of Marakele NP and continued on dirt through Rooiberg, Assen all the say down to that village sought of Jericho which you need to ride through when doing riverbeds in DeWildt. To wrap the trip properly I crossed about 10 km of DeWildt from the water tower down to the mountain and then hit the tar again in Ga Rankuwa and took it home through Hartbeespoort.

Waterberg - Marakele NP:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LXPBODDqozA/V0GWgRVhoEI/AAAAAAAAJmA/y7hW0EPN2voXEpILHpy5REMkmNSWcSfXwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B55.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jlhmLcheUSo/V0Gbe2ParLI/AAAAAAAAJp0/h6FxfpI3ZpU_wXrm0iL_F3MXZVVU8zlGgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B93.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-RU0mBoTcUL0/V0GbtLge0HI/AAAAAAAAJp8/zwUzJeN4ZnsVnjtH28Ln2u1zii-HsVdOgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B94.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-_E05097MtbA/V0Gb1h0q_hI/AAAAAAAAJp8/zrjdlHVYnI02Vgn0-IPcMJmfo_UPlqlWwCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B96.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vWqGO_C7Thk/V0GcDlWUeOI/AAAAAAAAJqE/0tMWRXONGoAqQfB9EW6ZuEkYPHFFDk5AgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B98.jpg)


De Wildt:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-dy4hsBcpZzU/V0GcG0PPs-I/AAAAAAAAJqE/aBnvYVMRPXErcCyBzrn25bMj9-DT9lNBACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B99.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wAtSBJL9uUo/V0GQQc2eMKI/AAAAAAAAJhk/nUCMv9cGO_MR5VMFUDF2CBgzzu-LHT7mACCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B100.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ABMhgdZYNDk/V0GQp1EM-zI/AAAAAAAAJhs/_Q6t44KEaPA9fnD2lG3_ZN0KnZkz4r6TgCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B101.jpg)

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-DUVjKcpFrSM/V0GQpqjdvRI/AAAAAAAAJhs/ZFtjX7llmMAqgMccXqrVmmWI-P5SkzFIQCCo/s1024/p%2B-%2B102.jpg)


Route ridden:

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-K51wA0HofxI/V0nLv1Y5uHI/AAAAAAAAJrw/VhL8HgQ74UQ-iomNvc5DKLH923yEURevwCCo/s576/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-05-28%2Bat%2B7.20.30%2BPM.png)


To sum up - it was a good trip even though it came short of achieving the main objective - circomventing the Okavango delta. I will be back to finish it.

Thanks for following.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: JMOL on May 29, 2016, 04:27:46 pm
Thanks for sharing  :thumleft:

Always a pleasure to read about your trips.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: OOOOMS on May 29, 2016, 05:43:44 pm
Tx for the excellent report and pics  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

 :wav: :wav: :wav:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: landieman on May 29, 2016, 07:38:36 pm
FANTASTIC R/R  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Malcolm on May 30, 2016, 06:59:35 am
Thanks Xpat, nice report
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Snafu on May 30, 2016, 09:27:14 am
Very enjoyable RR, thanks !!!!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: 0012 on May 30, 2016, 03:49:42 pm
awesome report as always, thanks very much!

Have you thought of doing the tubeless modification or are you against the idea?
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on May 30, 2016, 05:57:36 pm
awesome report as always, thanks very much!

Have you thought of doing the tubeless modification or are you against the idea?

Thanks.

I haven't thought much about the tubeless (I have only for a while pondered Tubeliss), neither am I against it. But I will probably stick to the tube. At the end of the day, that whole drama was result of only one puncture and the subsequent comedy of errors on my side (pinching new tube, not checking the rim tape, not checking my tyre pressure in Planet Baobab, riding on flat tyre for 5-10 km at about 100 kmh).

I may in the future get that sicaflex (or whatever is it called) applied to my rims, but only to slow down deflation when I get puncture - I would still probably run it with tubes (at least in the front, where I feel the lip on the rim is not big enough to hold tyre on strong enough).
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Skim on May 30, 2016, 07:02:51 pm
Dankie vir die deel! Nice RR and lots of lekka!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: mtbbiker on May 30, 2016, 07:36:50 pm
Thanks again for sharing one of your epic trips.
It is so true, when we get the opportunity to be part of a trip that we  always dreamed of doing, we have 101 excuses why we can't  :xxbah:. But one can always make a plan  :deal:, will be doing a lot of these routes albeit in a 4x4 a couple of days from now (At least I have the family with to share  :thumleft:) But YES I will be dreaming of what it will be to do with the bike !
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: GSpear on June 05, 2016, 10:49:24 pm
Enjoyed your RR Xpat. Thanks.
I'm looking for a "prop/stand" like yours to hold the bike up when fixing flats. Where did you get that one ?
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on June 06, 2016, 10:24:46 am
I've got the stand at offroadcycles.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: GSpear on June 06, 2016, 11:05:00 am
I've got the stand at offroadcycles.
Great, thanks.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Tom van Brits on December 11, 2016, 02:12:46 am
I have managed to see 70% of the pictures and read the read from Gough. Was worth staying up late to make use of that little extra bandwidth the rest of the sleeping team members are not using! Epic trip, would love to do this myself sometime in due future!  :thumleft:

Many great pics as well!!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Slim Jim on December 11, 2016, 10:28:58 am
Thanx for the RR , that looked like an awsome adventure!
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Horizon Seeker on December 22, 2016, 02:21:19 pm
Flip it man! Your adventures and writing is so epic dude! I seriously think you should put it all into a book :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: m0lt3n on December 23, 2016, 07:35:14 am
I almost missed this one!
another super inspiring RR.

Xpat, how do you take your pictures? with a phone or is it something like a gopro set to take pictures at certain intervals?
How do you map in google maps? Meticulously afterwards by zooming in and plotting from memory or do you use some kind of tracker?
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on December 23, 2016, 10:27:33 am
Thanks.

@HS: well, it is all posted here so no need for book ;). And for book I would have to actually read it after myself and correct all the stupid grammar and stylistic mistakes that become visible always only once I post the report.

@ m0lte3n: for pictures I use two systems:
- for the good ones - not the riding ones - I use camera with good glass. Actually two cameras with two different lenses - in my case both Olympuses - one OMD EM1 and one OMD EM5. I try to limit my luggage, but I generally do no skimp on photo gear - except if it is just little fartabout.
- for the riding ones (and I guess those are the ones you are primarily asking about) I record video on the helmet camera (in my case Drift Ghost S) and then at home scrap the images off the video. That way I have both video as well as images. The quality is not great, but it is sufficient for documentary purposes I use it for and enable me to capture those moments that everybody misses on the trips (mostly when going gets tough, the last thing people want to do is to stop and pull out the camera - this way it just records automatically). I have tried the interval photo taking on helmet camera, but didn't like it at all - the Murphy says that all the good images are always screwed (for example the image is taken exactly as the lion is already over the road and you can see only tail on the image). The only downside is that one has to sit through a lot of footage at home scraping images of it - and if you want good quality you will need big cards, and good computer to be able to handle tons of footage - that is usually where computers run out of steam quickly.

If you want to use helmet camera the way I do, I would suggest to  use high quality setting (I use 1080p and 60 fps) - but of course that means bigger cards and more processing power. When I first used this on my first X-mas Safari trip, I had previous Drift and was recording at 720p and the lack of resolution combined with wide angle lens that makes everything much smaller were a serious limitation. Here is photo of two full grown lionesses running about 15 meters from me on the Chobe boundary, and as you can see - if I wouldn't point out those are lions, you probably wouldn't guess it. At higher resolution 1080 or ideally 4k (not available at the time) this would be much better image:

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-1KtoZ6M1orc/U7OV1oz8y4I/AAAAAAAABfY/1hxNifX9e2g/s1024/B%2526Z%2520ZIM%2520southlion.jpg)


Here is the video this image was scraper from, the lion part is at 3:05 and again - without subtitles you probably wouldn't know those are lions:

https://www.youtube.com/v/IMBXb1jIa0M
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on December 23, 2016, 10:39:07 am
@m0lt3n:

Regarding the maps, yes I use googlemaps (or rather mymap application from google to route my trips. For the off the beaten track rides - which is most of my riding, I use two ways:
- The easy way - routing on googlemaps: Most people would be very surprised what little tracks are available now on googlemaps. And if it is on googlemaps, then it is fully routable - i.e. you can just create route by clicking on the spot on the route and google maps will create route for you automatically in the same way as if you say to it get me from Pretoria to Bloemfontain or some such. For example that route around Okavango I was attempting on this trip is fully routable on googlemaps and I have plotted the whole route on googlemaps probably in 15 - 20 minutes - and yet there is not a single supposedly 'adventure' biker who ever ridden it  - weird as this is probably ultimate ride anybody can do anywhere in the world. The only trick is that the real little tracks are not visible on googlemaps until you zoom very close (sometimes 500m or more). And when routing, the googlemaps has a tendency to route you on the main routes, so to avoid that you may need to click on the route itself in a way that it cannot find alternative route on main roads.

In this link you can see this specific route I did directly in googlemaps, and you can zoom in and out, as well as modify the route (I have made separate copy for you - or anybody who watches this - to play with - just be aware that if multiple people change it, it changes fo everybody so it may become unwieldy):

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AOlj8JABioS7MQt5gPXhW6pbQzU&usp=sharing (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1AOlj8JABioS7MQt5gPXhW6pbQzU&usp=sharing)

Just in case the link doesn't work (it doesn't for me at work where Google Drive is blocked), you can try this link:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1AOlj8JABioS7MQt5gPXhW6pbQzU (https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1AOlj8JABioS7MQt5gPXhW6pbQzU)

- The hard way: if one really wants to ride off the beaten track which does not exist on googlemaps, then you need to switch to sattelite view and plot the route yourself following it on the satellite images. But this is for really off the beaten track. I have used it to plot route along the Moz coast up to Vilanculos in X-Mas Safari 3 trip (all my trips are linked in my signature), and it takes weeks of hard work. But then you have really unique and special route - though that particular one is almost not doable even on 690. I've done about half of it and will need to come back to try to conquer the whole thing.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: m0lt3n on December 23, 2016, 10:46:50 am
Thanks, good info.

If I may ask more:
what about battery power on the Ghost? Most GoPro's last about 3 hours, is the Ghost just very good with this? Or do you swop out and charge batteries all the time on the bike? Or only record very selectively via wifi remote or something?
I have a gopro and a knockoff one, but in general I am just to lazy to fit them, often carrying them with on trips without using. And like you said, if its not 1080, its not of much use (and my cheapies are not)


Thanks for the mapping info, also blocked for me at work, so will check it out later.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on December 23, 2016, 10:56:50 am
Thanks, good info.

If I may ask more:
what about battery power on the Ghost? Most GoPro's last about 3 hours, is the Ghost just very good with this? Or do you swop out and charge batteries all the time on the bike? Or only record very selectively via wifi remote or something?
I have a gopro and a knockoff one, but in general I am just to lazy to fit them, often carrying them with on trips without using. And like you said, if its not 1080, its not of much use (and my cheapies are not)


Thanks for the mapping info, also blocked for me at work, so will check it out later.  :thumleft:

Battery life is less bitch than I expected. Drifts generally last longer than GoPro which used to be famous for crappy battery life (I'm surprised by your 3h estimate, would expect less). The old Drift Stealth I had had an option of bigger battery which lasted about 5 hours. The new one has only smaller battery and lasts about 3.5 hour. I do carry 3 - 4 batteries on me, but rarely need to change the battery during day (provided I charged it overnight).

My approach to recording is very extensive - i.e. when I come to a part that I know will be good (or like what I see while I ride) I switch it on and forget about it. I switch it off when the part stops becoming interesting or if I stop. So my clips are usually very long and require lots of work at home. Some people try to record only interesting max 7 second bits to save themselves from huge editing effort afterwards, but to me that is a no-go. When I'm on a trip, I want to be on the trip and enjoy it to the max, rather than worry about filming - that can easily ensure that while you were there physically, you actually never were there as you were basically working on a movie. In my approach I get best of both worlds - I enjoy the ride to the max, and still have footage of everything I want. The only downside is that it takes months to process the footage, but that is the price I'll happily pay.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: m0lt3n on December 23, 2016, 11:08:38 am
really is best to learn form experience, there is no shortcuts.
And yes you are right about it being crappy. the hero H2 I have is actually only good for about half an hour, but the knockoff, I think SJCam, lasts 3 hours (roughly, I havent really checked)

I once did a nice and fancy vidio of a trip and vowed never again, so now I am also in the category of trying to catch the good bits - ending up catching nothing.


Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on December 23, 2016, 11:12:54 am
really is best to learn form experience, there is no shortcuts.
And yes you are right about it being crappy. the hero H2 I have is actually only good for about half an hour, but the knockoff, I think SJCam, lasts 3 hours (roughly, I havent really checked)

I once did a nice and fancy vidio of a trip and vowed never again, so now I am also in the category of trying to catch the good bits - ending up catching nothing.

Making videos is tons of work, whichever way you do it. But you can use the camera only to scrap photos off the video like I do nowadays (I have the video footage, but rarely find time to try to make video) it is not that bad. And that way you are much better able to convey what the trip was about and capture those precious moment like being stared down by lion (it takes much bigger man than me to pull out normal camera during stare-down with lion), or the hard sections of the ride, that usually you miss in your normal photos as you are having your hands full with trying to make it through.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: 1ougat on December 23, 2016, 11:56:43 am
 :sip: Good show  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: aka.Goliath on December 23, 2016, 12:02:12 pm
Xpat. When you said plot on satellite images what program to you use. I ask because I use google earth (the downloaded program on my PC) to manually route all my tracks where none exist. It works kinda well as you create the routes and save them in whatever format you need and then put them together in base camp to make the complete route.

BTW for those of you who don't know. To convert google maps to Garmin tracks use the website called gpsvisualizer.com
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on December 23, 2016, 12:17:37 pm
Xpat. When you said plot on satellite images what program to you use. I ask because I use google earth (the downloaded program on my PC) to manually route all my tracks where none exist. It works kinda well as you create the routes and save them in whatever format you need and then put them together in base camp to make the complete route.

BTW for those of you who don't know. To convert google maps to Garmin tracks use the website called gpsvisualizer.com

I don't actually know - it is kind of weird thing. There is something called mymaps on Google - I suspect you must have google account (like gmail or Google Drive, or some such - you can register for free for those) to have this available. It used to be available from Googlemaps at the bottom of the menu, but now it for some reason disappeared. The only way I can get to it is to type in Google 'mymaps' and the first link that comes up takes me directly to it. Not sure if it works for people who do not have Google account though and I do not understand why it is not available directly on Googlemaps anymore (or maybe I'm just too stupid to be able to find it). You can create your own maps in this (either by routing existing routes on googlemaps, or by manually plotting the route on satelite image - or combination of both - you have 10 different layers available to play with) and save them - they are then stored on your Google Drive like any other documents/files you might have uploaded/created there.

It is also available as an application for Android for download in Google Store - not sure if that can be used on computer or not. And yes, you can export them as KML/KMZ files and then convert to whatever format you want for your GPS using that GPS visualizer you mentioned (or any other free SW on internet).

I do have Google Earth as well, but do not like it much (probably because I cannot use it right?), because whenever I want to see actual map instead of just satellite image (like when I want to route roads that are already available on Googlemaps, instead of just painstakingly plot them myself), it somehow switches completely to Googlemaps. I'm sure there is probably way to do this intelligently in Earth, but I wasn't able to figure it out.

Edit: Here is a page that should help you set-up and use Google MyMaps: https://support.google.com/mymaps/?hl=en#topic=3188329 (https://support.google.com/mymaps/?hl=en#topic=3188329)
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on December 23, 2016, 12:25:39 pm
Here is a tutorial on MyMaps - I'm sure you can find many more on youtube, just type in 'Google My Maps'

Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: aka.Goliath on December 23, 2016, 12:26:08 pm
Shot for that. Wow this is like a whole new world of mapping for me, it works a bunch better than google earth. I see I already have a bunch of maps saved to google drive from way back. These are the things that you start one evening and all of a sudden its 4.00am.
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on December 23, 2016, 12:30:46 pm
Shot for that. Wow this is like a whole new world of mapping for me, it works a bunch better than google earth. I see I already have a bunch of maps saved to google drive from way back. These are the things that you start one evening and all of a sudden its 4.00am.

Yes, I find it much easier and intuitive than Google Earth. And you can combine different layers - for example for one you can use normal Googlemaps routing like get me from Joburg to Clarens, and in the next layer you  can manually plot on the Satellite image Old Mill Route (assuming of course you don't already have it as GPS track), and combine those together in one map.

And yes, this can be extremely time consuming. I'm busy trying to plot new DS route through Lesotho (by DS I mean plated enduro bikes, not adventure bikes, as some people mistake the two) for my 500. And it's going to be weeks of work to plot - just to find out when I get there finally that the rocks are too big (ROA route on google satelite images looks quite doable) and I have no chance anyway  :imaposer:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: aka.Goliath on December 23, 2016, 12:36:50 pm
Hahaha that's always the problem with routeing like this  :lol8: You never really know what you going to find, locked gate, rocks the size of your bike etc. but its all kind of part of the adventure. I've headed down 40km of  farm/gravel roads only to find a large locked gate at the far end making turn back and ride around.  :patch:
Title: Re: Short way around the delta
Post by: Xpat on December 23, 2016, 12:39:50 pm
Hahaha that's always the problem with routeing like this  :lol8: You never really know what you going to find, locked gate, rocks the size of your bike etc. but its all kind of part of the adventure. I've headed down 40km of  farm/gravel roads only to find a large locked gate at the far end making turn back and ride around.  :patch:

That is why I prefer to plot routes in Botswana, Mozambique, Zim, Swazi and Lesotho - no, or very little, private property there so you can be sure you are not going to be stopped by gate, which is highly likely in SA. But even these countries may throw a steep staircase in to stop you. :)