Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: Zanie on May 03, 2019, 10:06:05 pm

Title: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on May 03, 2019, 10:06:05 pm
The motivation

Ever since I “downgraded” to a smaller bike (from a F650GS to a Honda CRF250L Rally), I’ve been eyeballing the more extreme routes and tours to be found on this forum. Maybe I was ready?

Lance seemed to have faith, so we signed up for the April 2019 Specialised Adventures Kaokoland and Damaraland tour with Hardy and his team.

The months dragged by. We tried to fill time with off-the-beaten-track trips.

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Lance sat with a problem. He has three bikes (which doesn’t seem problematic at all!), but none of them were ideal for the up-coming trip. His 2-stroke KTM won’t make it, his BMW G450X has no papers and questionable reliability, and his 800GSA is a tank. Lance can ride sand well. He will survive Kaokoland on the 800GSA, but will he have fun surviving?

Lance in the sand on his 800GSA:
https://www.youtube.com/v/0AfEqtSecMQ&t=33s

I sat with a problem. Sand is no longer my nemesis, but I still struggle a bit even on the smaller bike. The Rally is also relatively heavy for a 250, which can be felt in technical areas.

I didn’t quite make it here:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40782684453_860f20e571_b.jpg)

I found a solution in the unlikely form of a pink bike: my Honda CRF230F. It makes sand a breeze and is over 40kg lighter than the Rally. I have been stress-tested in technical stuff on this bike and the conclusion is that I will survive while having more fun.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46832457385_0d79b08331_b.jpg)

The bike also appears unbreakable; unlike its rider!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40782684203_f02c874f74_b.jpg)

This freed up my Rally for use by Lance. Therefore he didn’t have to consider getting another bike (I’m not sure how he feels about this!). All he needed to do was try to keep additional damage to a minimum. The major existing scratches on the Rally are already thanks to use by Lance…

Lance adventures on the Rally:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40782684243_70fc3290fd_b.jpg)

A WhatsApp group was started for the April tour group, where we virtually met Duncan, a.k.a. MNET – you may need a decoder to understand his typing! Duncan is also based in Cape Town, so we arranged that we travel together to Windhoek, the starting point of the tour.

We bumped into the real-life version of Duncan at a funduro. It seems that dirt bike riding is a pastime for those who prefer the lesser-travelled roads on the larger bikes.

The up-coming trip finally started to feel real when we had to pack. We spent two solid evenings packing until midnight.

Kaokoland survival kit bought for the trip:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40782684333_85a98d5e1d_b.jpg)
FYI: The steel putty was already in our inventory.

The night before we left for Namibia, we met a strange creature: a KTM disguised in green!

My two bikes shared a trailer with this imposing specimen:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40782684133_10662b33fe_b.jpg)
On the way!

The next morning, we set off at a prompt 6:30. No-one wants to be late for a holiday!

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Breakfast was 2 hours and roughly 200 km later at Kardoesie, a gem of a place on Piekenierskloof Pass.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47749186541_e0924fe3cd_b.jpg)

Duncan fielding some last work calls:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33872144488_9906b70d4d_b.jpg)

Extinguishing road-side fires:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47749186481_bebf5cd364_b.jpg)

The middle of nowhere claimed its first victim:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33872144198_ccfccac7e7_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33872143978_e950e05db1_b.jpg)

Lesson: Never tackle an extensive trailer session without new tyres. Lance has learnt this before, during a dirt bike tour to Transkei. Duncan has now received this wisdom as well. He was well-prepared though. The guys implemented a pronto wheel change.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47749186441_904fbb95d5_b.jpg)

The border crossing into Namibia was longer than necessary, at 1.5 hours, because their road tax system was down. As retribution, we implemented tax evasion (for the bikes) by stating that all will be used off-road only. This could have bitten us in the backside if we had a difficult official on the way back into SA, but we were lucky on our return trip.

Each bike’s VIN was carefully checked. I am forever-grateful that my pink Honda, though not road-legal, was bought with full papers and I had it registered in my name. According to discussions with the officials, it seems tricky, if not impossible, to bring an unregistered bike into the country (legally).

After 11 hours on the road, we reached Savanna Guest Farm, roughly 50km north of Grunau. Costs averaged about R650 per head, including accommodation (rooms, not camping), supper, drinks and breakfast. This is great value for money when considering the setting and the all-you-can-eat buffet of home-made food options – made for just the three of us!

Savannah Guest Farm:
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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47696468042_4f2d63c7b6_b.jpg)

There is a swimming pool to the right of the grassy area:
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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47696468082_dae87761a5_b.jpg)

An intriguing local:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47749186181_c5212f9327_b.jpg)

The next morning, the guys increased the trailer tyres’ pressure, given the 3-bike load.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47750135471_540ee22797_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47750135321_e862bdd796_b.jpg)

Yet no chances were to be taken. We did not have a spare anymore… Hence, we stopped in Keetmanshoop for two new tyres. The spare, used yesterday, was removed and kept as a spare. We wanted brand new tekkies on the trailer!

Aside: If you want super-quick service, try TrenTyre. We’ve never seen a tyre fitment done at that speed. Tyre change x 2 and payment took 15 minutes!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47750135201_9a4bba6721_b.jpg)

Synchronised fire extinguishing:
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We were on the road from 8:30am and arrived in Windhoek by 4pm. After a long day, we finally got to meet the Specialised Adventures team and the rest of the crazies on the trip. The mix of bike brands led to friendly ribbing, starting well in advance of the tour:

The Hondas:
CRF230F: Me (Zanie)
CRF250L Rally: Lance (LanC)
XR650L: Abel (Bloed en OMO)
XR650L: Johan
XR650L: Hennie R
XR650L: Hardy (Hardy de Kock) [crew]
XR650L: Ian (xrforlife)
XRV750 Africa Twin: Gordon

The KTMs:
690: Duncan (DrunkenDuncan)
690: Brian
500: Henk (chopperpilot)
500: Bertie (Straatkat)
640 Adventure: Kobus (Kobus Myburgh)

The lone rangers:
BMW G650 X-challenge: Craig (dirt rat)
Suzuki DR650: Pete (P.K.)
Kawasaki KLR650: Hennie D (Oubones)

In air-con boxes:
Janco & Sammy [crew]
Jannie & Beatie
Gené [crew]
Chantal [crew]
Elsabe
Diesel (trip mascot in the form of a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy)

Same as the Kobus / Henk ride report, I’ll use real names, aside from Oubones, to distinguish him from the other Hennie!

Some of the crazies were crazier than most: Oubones started his trip with a bike ride from Hammersdale (KZN) to Loxton, Craig rode all the way from Cape Town to Windhoek, while Johan’s pastime includes learning how to catch and relocate snakes (including cobras and a black mamba), just because.

Most of the group had loaded their bikes and either rode in convoy with Hardy’s team from Loxton, or flew up.

So much bike porn:
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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47750135071_08bf7ea7e4_b.jpg)

Poor Bertie’s riding boots and kidney belt went missing, compliments of Air Namibia. Kobus took him on a quick shopping spree to remedy the dire situation.

Speaking of dire, this was the tone of the ride briefing warnings from Hardy to try to keep us all alive (a huge responsibility) until the end of day 11. The whole gamut was covered: from death by tetanus, to death by lions, death by elephants, death by dehydration, death by fesh fesh, and death by stupidity (the most likely one, I’m sure). Each was illustrated with vivid real-life examples.

There was time for light banter nevertheless:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47750134431_24c3fe3c41_b.jpg)

All of us stayed in Safari Hotel, in shared rooms. All, that is, aside from Brian, Pete and Hennie R, who had gone ahead to Spitzkoppe for an extra night of star-gazing in brotherly togetherness. They took along a boiled egg for rations. We’re not sure whether they will survive. Death by starvation was not covered; neither was it a real threat throughout the rest of the trip thanks to Gené, Chantal and Sammy.

Lance and I shared a room with Duncan. I learnt to use my ear-plugs that night. The MNET decoder switches to a drone of unintelligible input at night!

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Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on May 03, 2019, 10:13:09 pm
Day 1: Usakos to Spitzkoppe (89 km)

Video of day 1:
https://www.youtube.com/v/mNo-GtsiV-8

The morning started with a game of musical cars, bikes and people. Somehow most of the people ended up in a hired minibus, with the cars and trailers piloted by allotted members of the Specialised crew. The reason: The official tour starts in Usakos, in order to reduce exposure to tar and air-con box hooligans.

We off-loaded the bikes at probably the hottest place in the whole of Namibia: a spot on the outskirts of Usakos, where the vehicles and trailers will be safeguarded. As a perfect illustration of human logic, two husky dogs greeted us.

We fuelled up in Usakos. We were to learn the law of Namibia: If you see fuel, fill up!! The vast distances are unforgiving of ignorance of this law.

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We only needed to endure 25km of tar. It was the last substantial stretch of blacktop we’d see until the very last day of the trip. Kudos to Hardy for reducing the pain.

I felt very small and vulnerable on my little bike:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32806836537_74f07c1329_b.jpg)

The good stuff:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46833700465_49d99995b2_b.jpg)

In the pic above, my hydration pack carried water, a pair of slops, a soft hat, my specs (I also have prescription inserts in my riding goggles) and any nibbles. Lance carried spare tubes, a mini-compressor, tools and a Desert Fox fuel bladder on the Rally (for my pink bike), as well as his own hydration pack on his back.

We could pack very light, thanks to the Specialised Adventure team’s Iveco, which carried our allowable amount of 85 litres of stuff each. Most of us had ordered custom-made 85-litre bags from Pete. They are hardy (as in durable, not the person) and awesome (Hardy can also be awesome on his good days).

I did not pack much clothing (I think the guys got tired of seeing me in the same riding top every day). Most of the space was taken up by goodies for a mid-trip oil change and a pair of tekkies – the latter was not even used.

Hardy’s Honda was travelling in style. It would be unleashed from its cage on the more technical / interesting riding days.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32806836477_984a3cd3a1_b.jpg)

Abel on his Honda:
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Abel is a super-fit, looks-20-years-younger-than-he-is, triathlon athlete. His background of mountain-biking and fitness would have to make up for the fact that this is his very first multi-day off-road trip…

Spitzkoppe in the distance:
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We stopped at the Spitzkoppe Community Restaurant, where a semi-circular lapa and stoep offered shade and drinks.

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Lance and I stuck to the non-alcoholic stuff during the day and on most nights. Dehydration is a real thing here. It is also scary. I’ve seen first-hand what it does to people (RR for that trip still to come). So Hardy’s concerns are well-founded.

Speaking of dehydration, Lance’s bike kit set-up was the envy of all when it came to keeping cool. He had ordered downhill mountain bike shorts online. It turns out they’re made of tough biker-kit material. He wore the shorts with MX boots and knee guards.

Duncan and Lance:
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The last time I was in Spitzkoppe, back in 2017, I was sick as a dog and did not do any exploring. I had vowed that I’d be back and, this time, I’d accompany Lance on an around-the mountain ride. I got my wish today. Lance and I were joined by Oubones on a relaxed ride around the area, checking out all the camping sites.

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Lance and I:
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Lance and Oubones:
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Oubones had bought a well-priced KLR before the trip, fixing it up. He’s a DIY type of guy.

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Two days before the start of the trip, each person was given the tracks for each day. This meant that everyone could set their own pace. My (and Lance’s – through extension) and Oubones’s pace was on the slower side. We’d see a lot more of each other! Some guys we’d only see for breakfast, supper and (sometimes) lunch.

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We learnt something of Oubones that day. You only need to stop for a short time…

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..before he finds a hill /rock to climb!

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He doesn’t seem worried about heights.

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Lance got half-way. I stayed earth-bound!

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Back on the bikes:
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We spotted three guys who were lost; looking for the campsite. They had stayed a bit longer at the restaurant / pub. Hardy and crew had left to set up camp in the meantime. We weren’t too worried, because we were planning on exploring the whole camping area.

From left to right: Ian, Craig, Abel and Lance.
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Lance exploring a rock:
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Rock arch:
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Eventually we ran out of campsite to explore and bumped into the one where we were to stay. The Specialised crew supplied tents, stretchers and matrasses each night. They said that experience from previous trips shows that no-one uses the tents after the first few days, but sleep under the stars instead. We decided to take their word for it and just skip the tent idea to begin with. We found a cozy-looking wind-free spot by a rock.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33873332128_ae83b195fa_b.jpg)

Then disaster struck. Some of our crowd had gone hiking up nearby rocks. Johan collapsed / passed out (not sure the cause) and then rolled / fell down a rock face. Hardy told Lance and I not to go look. To say he seemed stressed was an understatement. He told us it was very bad. Johan was properly “f****d up”. He was trying to get a chopper to evacuate him. We hung around at camp, in shock.

Meanwhile, a rescue party consisting of Specialised crew and strong bikers, with stretcher in tow, managed to carry Johan off the rocks where he had fallen. Medical services would not have been able to reach him there.

A view from one of the tall, surrounding rocks (note the small bike far below):
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33873332188_85fe46199d_b.jpg)

By the time Johan was brought back to camp, he was conscious and, mercifully, could move his fingers and toes. Apparently, if he had fallen in a slightly different direction, it could have been much worse. As it was, his fall was stopped by face-planting into a rock. But he’s a tough bugger. You need to be one to catch cobras! And he can give Chuck Norris a run for his money. No ordinary pedicure for this guy; most of his toenails appeared to be abraded off.

Johan was kept as comfortable as can be managed under the circumstances (given some water, covered by space blanket, etc.) until an ambulance arrived. It was terrible that he would miss out on this trip, but at least he would be ok. We later heard that Hardy had offered a trip to Johan, at a later date at no additional cost, which is very decent of him.

So the most severe (but not the last) medical incident was not caused by biking at all. It shows you how quickly life can throw you a curve-ball. Start ticking off those things on your bucket list now! You may not have a tomorrow or later.

The paramedics:
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The campsites at Spitzkoppe do not have any facilities. If you wanted to shower or were averse to a veldtie, you had to head back to the restaurant / bar area – showers and toilets can be found nearby.

Heading to the shower at 10 km/h, thanks to minimal ATGATT:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33873331958_40bca8e130_b.jpg)

I think it was Pete who warned us that any wind-free place, such as our preferred ‘rock bedroom’, equals mozzies. He had been eaten alive at that exact spot on a previous trip. We took his word for it and ‘moved house’.

Our new abode:
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Spectacular view, plus bike:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33873331728_1dc690315e_b.jpg)

The communal and kitchen area:
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Supper consisted of kebabs and braaibroodjies. We slept under the stars that night. A beanie was necessary, to pull over your eyes to block out the spotlight-like light from an almost-full moon.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on May 03, 2019, 10:26:07 pm
Day 2: Spitzkoppe to Palmwag (335 km)

Video of day 2:
https://www.youtube.com/v/AEvCWBhxJLM

Morning in Spitzkoppe:
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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46977194164_ac1d60f541_b.jpg)

Diesel had his own designated matrass:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33889333478_bd47a853cf_b.jpg)

After a last loo-break at the restaurant / bar area at the campsite exit, we headed off on the longest riding day of the trip. The days’ distances were inversely proportional to the level of difficulty. 335 km? Easy. 60 km? Be afraid, very afraid. The first three days aimed to get as far north, using the most scenic routes, as possible.

Bye, bye Spitzkoppe:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713860812_fd6b566c96_b.jpg)

Abel and I:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46977193974_6f48eac226_b.jpg)

Gordon on his Africa Twin:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33889333278_85f1342a7e_b.jpg)

Let me never forget that this used to classify as terrifying sand when I started riding:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713860712_3b1f4c2571_b.jpg)

Lance has this magnetic attraction with riverbeds; he must explore them!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766250841_ce24e6d5d6_b.jpg)

This is the spot where his parents crashed back in 2017 when riding here 2-up. The road was in a much worse state then. It appeared that it was graded recently.

Graded surfaces didn’t interest Lance:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33889332978_b43419b9db_b.jpg)

Despite the guilty look, Kobus was not the cause of this side-stand incident:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713860632_44604f9056_b.jpg)

Getting Abel upright (Oubones looking on):
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766250691_1f1ae1d180_b.jpg)

Craig in a vast landscape…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766250261_5da1208aac_b.jpg)

…making a beeline for one of the few patches of shade! I found it comical how a lone tree will sprout bikers.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46850014045_3bbd50c16b_b.jpg)

A sobering reason to keep your speed down when not on the road / track:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822826707_e0a018da85_b.jpg)

I suspect rain-enhanced aardvark holes:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766249851_d83fb0c9bf_b.jpg)

Our lunch-stop was far from the road, to reduce dust from passing vehicles. A downed barbed-wire fence caught Pete.

Janco assisting with detanglement:
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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766249621_7e397fa2b9_b.jpg)

Kobus took his chances and charged across:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822826427_f465e7db7b_b.jpg)

Lance and I both pussy-footed across. I’ve been caught in wire twice before, during bush rides on my little pink Honda, and it’s no fun when your rear wheel locks up suddenly. Even less fun when the wire snaps and flicks forward to hit you. Then there’s the time when I got a single strand of live electric fence wire caught on my F650GS. That was unfun to solve.

I think this wire was the cause of Gordon’s rear flat on this day.

The main shade tree at the lunch spot provided respite from the sun for the chefs of the yummy mince jaffles.

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The jaffles were complimented by last night’s leftover kebabs.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713860062_101601ff9c_b.jpg)

The vehicles that accompanied us from left to right: Jannie and Beatie’s bakkie, the two Cruisers and the Iveco.

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33889332678_f9f9d11571_z.jpg)

I’m not sure what happened in the picture below, but it begs a suitable caption. It appears as if Abel wants to kick his bike, while Kobus is pleading with it to get up!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713860142_7ecc8702ac_b.jpg)

Abel spent the latter part of the day on a bike. The only thing is that the bike was in the back-up vehicle. Abel sat on Hardy’s bike on the back of the Cruiser, while Janco (crew) rode Abel’s bike to Palmwag.

The reason: the front was apparently very squirmy on the loose stuff, which was not conducive to a happy ride for someone quite new to sand.

We saw our first elephant after the lunch stop.

Oubones:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33889332428_be179bf771_b.jpg)

Me:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713860442_54e710c823_b.jpg)

Stunning scenery:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766248701_42e68d39da_b.jpg)

An unusual sighting in Namibia (clouds) coupled with the usual (corrugations):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822825757_8b44b9c48a_b.jpg)

The sky turned distinctly ominous.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822825517_76d94946be_b.jpg)

There was a big storm up ahead. We spotted flashes of lightning, and the smell of rain was in the air. The beauty of the road and setting hit an emotional chord in my chest.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766248461_33250109c2_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713859862_5d120dee0b_b.jpg)

We stopped at the Huab River, because the future looked like Armageddon.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822825207_4a623650e2_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766247861_f3a888f130_b.jpg)

With the bikes switched off, we could hear the occasional peal of distant thunder.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713859682_fcc59534a9_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766247551_8b9344a137_b.jpg)

Angry skies to the front:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46977194384_112927f29a_b.jpg)

Bright blue sky to the back:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822824537_ab97c7c923_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713859642_b584a011ac_b.jpg)

As usual, Lance had to explore the riverbed. Careful observation of the tracks in the photo below reveals that an elephant had the same idea. But if you believe the rumours, these are just prints rubber-stamped on the surface by Hardy, complimented by imported and strategically-placed dung!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713859772_905802ff57_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822824817_62b98acdbf_b.jpg)

Signs of life on the sand:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766248061_f06a5a9775_b.jpg)

Heading onwards:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766247311_0b944f073e_b.jpg)

Check the sun rays:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713859522_76011bec1b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766247141_3df841a809_b.jpg)

Depending on your viewpoint, we were lucky or unlucky. We experienced about 10 drops of rain each. Others in our group were drenched. The back-up vehicles had to deal with flash floods!

One of the ten rain drops:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713859362_c5e417970b_b.jpg)

I’ve been to Namibia twice before; two weeks each time. This was the first time here that I’ve experienced rain… or puddles!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822823547_ed8b075b8b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766246951_91311e3491_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713859202_33d809a60e_b.jpg)

First giraffe sighting of the trip:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33889333728_81b3bafa69_b.jpg)

A bit about the fuel situation with my pink bike: It has a 7.2 litre tank (says Google). We carry another 5 litres in a Desert Fox bag on the Rally’s luggage rack.

The 230 was remarkably frugal for an old carbureted bike…on good roads. I have no fuel gauge. The bike simply runs dry, at which point you switch to reserve and then start guestimating how many kilometres you have left before the bike splutters and dies yet again.

Depending on conditions, it can run anything from 15 to 25 km/litre. A theoretical maximum of anything between 200 and 300 km was therefore possible, given Lance and my calculations – and arguments about these calculations! We would get the opportunity to test these limits in due course…

I got some extra fuel from the back-up vehicle towards the end of the day. Lance said I would make it, as our last fuel stop at Uis meant I would cover 242 km by the time we reach Palmwag. I did not feel ready for that scientific experiment.

All fuel from the back-up vehicle is included in the tour cost, as long as you fuel up when you see a petrol station, and you understand that the fuel is there to get you to the next destination – not all bikes (especially the tankers) can be fully-fuelled on some of the more remote legs.

We finally reached Palmwag under a Jekyll and Hyde sky. The two photos below are taken from the same video clip, 13 seconds apart and (obviously) facing a slightly different direction.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822823307_ed82253644_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766246731_1ae66460b5_b.jpg)

Our sleeping arrangements were not as big-sky glamorous as the previous night, but it still came with the optional extra night installation of huge-moon.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822823047_195841dcce_b.jpg)

The rest were dotted everywhere.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766246551_2d1ca36206_b.jpg)

On a trip such as this, the bikes become transport, cupboard and washing line all rolled into one!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766246291_6cd78ddc5a_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713858822_f282f472e5_b.jpg)

Chantal and Gené busy in the kitchen with the lunch packs for the next day:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713858932_368193c2f6_b.jpg)

Oubones surrounded by matrasses, chairs and clothing / goodies bags.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822822427_0e194ce608_b.jpg)

Abel’s bike had its D606 front swapped for a TKC80 to try to reduce the squirms.

This bike was to cause a couple more headaches for Kobus:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47766246111_ae9b94ba36_b.jpg)

Not that he needed additional headaches, since he had some of his own, in the form of a 640 that was not running as it should. The potential cause (this time!) was a choked air filter.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32822822757_1134aacb7a_b.jpg)

Oubones was also doing some DIY on his bike, which had shed some silencer bolts during the course of the day.

Brian, Pete and Hennie R having sundowners:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47713858602_dca51e18e6_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on May 03, 2019, 10:33:22 pm
Sub :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Noneking on May 03, 2019, 10:34:06 pm
Looking forward to the rest!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: exkdx on May 04, 2019, 03:20:53 am
Sub.........
I am enjoying your perspective of this trip :biggrin:
Ready for more :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Mev Vis Arend on May 04, 2019, 05:59:17 am
Ek kan nie wag vir nog nie, Zanie. Ek is nogsteeds bitter vies dat ons nie die trip kon doen nie. 
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Oubones on May 04, 2019, 06:39:42 am
Lekker om dit uit oë te sien!
Een korreksie, ek het net tot op Colesberg gery en van daar getrailer tot Windhoek.
Hehe, ek en Craig het lekker nat gereën by jul 10druppels.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Edgar on May 04, 2019, 07:14:20 am
It looks amazing!! Thanks for sharing!! :drif:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: chopperpilot on May 04, 2019, 07:57:22 am
Lekker Zanie!  ;)

Not an easy feat riding the Kaokoland.

Your exposure and experience with funduros and other rides prepared you well!

Looking forward to your angle of our trip. ;
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on May 04, 2019, 08:48:52 am
Lekker om dit uit oë te sien!
Een korreksie, ek het net tot op Colesberg gery en van daar getrailer tot Windhoek.
Hehe, ek en Craig het lekker nat gereën by jul 10druppels.

Dankie Oubones. Dis nou reggestel. Ek volg jou RR lekker en het gedink ek moet daai fout in myne regmaak, maar toe heeltemal vergeet!
Ek's eintlik spyt ons het net die 10 druppels gehad. Dit sou nogal 'n belewenis gewees het om so nat te reën in Namibië!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Vis Arend on May 04, 2019, 09:33:02 am
Well, I can't get enough of Kaokoland, so will be watching here as well.   :biggrin:

Well done so far Zanie, was a real pity we were not with on the April trip, but our turn is around the corner.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: BullFrog on May 04, 2019, 09:48:16 am
Subscribe for sure!!!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Dwerg on May 04, 2019, 09:52:54 am
Great so far. Love the detail
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: AdventureBoy on May 04, 2019, 10:00:12 am
Zanie
Lekker report. looking forward to reading the next update
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: JannievandieVaaldam on May 04, 2019, 04:03:11 pm
 :drif:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on May 04, 2019, 04:06:20 pm
Lekker other perspective of the trip, Thanks Zanie.

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: ALLEN I on May 04, 2019, 05:33:47 pm
Brings back lotsa memories. Love it. "Gooi nog"  :ricky: :ricky: ;D
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on May 04, 2019, 05:35:51 pm
Brings back lotsa memories. Love it. "Gooi nog"  :ricky: :ricky: ;D

Ja baas! Ek gooi!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on May 04, 2019, 05:36:05 pm
Day 3: Palmwag to Opuwo (242 km)

Video of day 3:
https://www.youtube.com/v/7DepewnAJNo

A weird role-reversal took place on this trip. I was almost always up before Lance, a usual morning person.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719178242_476c38f9a2_b.jpg)

Lance’s morning ablutions included relocating a colony of ants that had undertaken a land grab of his one riding boots.

Bikes used as washing lines:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719178002_8c2c47c958_b.jpg)

Trees used as washing lines:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719177802_4b0f6253c0_b.jpg)

The smart people brought mozzie nets. The – let’s charitably call them less smart – people were eaten alive.

Morning at the social circle:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719177602_f058ed7fd7_b.jpg)

Breakfast was scrambled eggs, mushrooms, toast and wors.

We were setting into a packing routine: all chairs, matrasses, stretchers and clothes bags were packed and brought to the Iveco, where they were stacked into neat piles for loading.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719177502_bc29beeb94_b.jpg)

On the road:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719177382_b0b7fe9a9d_b.jpg)

Random notes of interest: The 230 had a lot more lower-down grunt than the 250 Rally. I always pulled away from Lance on the hills. On an incline, he had to gear down and rev to increase speed, I just needed to open the throttle (Lance called it the Vuvuzela effect due to the noise).

I enjoyed the 40-odd kg lighter bike in the sand and hectic technical stuff, but I missed the Rally’s plush suspension!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32828035887_388f0a1dc0_b.jpg)

Hardy, doing the thumbs-up check that we are ok, while we were stopped at the roadside:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719177292_45ca389886_b.jpg)

These calves appeared to be plotting an across-road run:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32828035737_6dfc0330bc_b.jpg)

Henk and Bertie blasting past on the 500s, at seemingly supersonic speeds (from the perspective of a tortoise):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32828035627_05f99807d1_b.jpg)

This stretch of the C43 was very pretty. Hardy said he had seen a cheetah here. We had to make do with springbuck (no photos though, because they become dots on GoPro footage).

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32828035567_7b3d3a11b5_b.jpg)

Our rest / drinks stop was Khowarib Lodge. Lance and went to the lodge, saw no bikes, and decided to do some further exploration until we found bikes or bikes found us. We ended up doing a 3km loop.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32828035447_0ac290dc5d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719176542_f5438ef9ba_b.jpg)

By the time we back-tracked to the lodge turn-off, we found Kobus, who confirmed that the original spot where we had stopped was indeed the correct one.

Brian overshot the main Khowarib Lodge ‘driveway’, but returned. Duncan missed it completely! I think the language barrier turned the morning’s Afrikaans ride briefing into unintelligible alien speak for him. I’m not sure when or where Duncan was found, but he was still on the main track. He had just missed the rest stop.

Thanks to Brian’s short recce of the route ahead, he had some valuable information to impart. More on this later.

Khowarib Lodge bar:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47771537091_ee8c2eb57e_b.jpg)

Lance on the deck:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32828035137_6befe0679f_b.jpg)

Shade!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32828034967_1a5160349a_b.jpg)

Brian (trying to show his good side!), Henk and Gordon:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47771536921_05d36ee26e_b.jpg)

There was more than shade to be found at the lodge:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719175882_ebedea9493_b.jpg)

Bertie, Craig and Henk:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47771536611_20dd7fb689_b.jpg)

Brian, Hennie R, Lance and Pete:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719175682_1b7f172b7b_b.jpg)

Interesting tree… Shrub? Plant?
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47771538611_f7a92ccd76_b.jpg)

After a good rest (Duncan will beg to differ!), we set off.

Kobus and Pete:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47771536411_4b3ba55631_b.jpg)

There was a concrete causeway on our route. During our break, Brian mentioned that he had taken a tumble there. As a rule, Brian doesn’t fall. If he falls, you take note!

As with the Dakar race, a gaggle of spectators means that you should treat the road with severe caution. Suspiciously, Brian and Hennie R stationed themselves at the causeway. Lance joined, with his GoPro.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719175322_f1bc4f7609_b.jpg)

A trick with these slimy crossings: choose a car track (they have the least slime), reduce speed, and do not touch the throttle or brakes while crossing. Most, including me, made it across unscathed.

Oubones had a bit of a wobble, corrected with a kick to the ground.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719174992_53d268882e_b.jpg)

Ian rewarded the awaiting spectators with a spectacular slide.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32828034147_cf14554de3_b.jpg)

The reward for the most falls of the trip was strongly contested between Ian and Abel.

Jokes aside, careful viewing of the day’s video clip and this fall highlights the importance of wearing a helmet.

Lance stashed his GoPro, because only the cars were left to cross. Therefore he missed the Iveco sliding dangerously close to the edge!

We South Africans are so jaded. When I saw a group of people, preceded by a cop-car, I thought “protest”. Nope. The small town of Warmquelle was celebrating Palm Sunday!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47771536091_f3cebafc8f_b.jpg)

They were a merry bunch:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47771536051_835a29fde5_b.jpg)

Mini rest / snack stop:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46855169545_4002ae80c3_b.jpg)

What makes you think Hardy often wears a cap?
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46855169645_2bec460fca_b.jpg)

I would have never believed that this green landscape was in Namibia:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47771535851_ccbc933e46_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46855169405_5eed68d024_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46855169255_f2e481ba90_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46855168645_988c5c0bb7_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/33894563698_45c6e69db7_b.jpg)

There were beautiful baobabs:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46855169075_64e81d2bbf_b.jpg)

We started seeing little pieces of rougher road today; being kept on our toes with the rocky ditches.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40805366223_a4cd2031a3_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719174702_1a3cbfdfbf_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47771535951_526cf81687_b.jpg)

One of the ditches had a step-down on the left. I’m glad I managed to scrub off speed. Nevertheless, it was still a hard hit. I think Oubones did some damage to self and bike on the same step.

The ‘oh-no’ moment of the day was when I hear this over the comms from Lance: “The bike just died!” How on earth can my 250 Rally die? It’s a brand-new bike! Horror turned to hilarity when it turned out that Lance had accidentally hit the kill switch mid-ride due to the bouncy road.

Lance found another riverbed to explore while I had a pee break:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719173692_a27bd40a13_b.jpg)

A shady tree!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40805365433_5cec67a57d_b.jpg)

A roadside rest was always an opportunity for drive-by snaps.

Pete:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46855168325_82ab09c9a4_b.jpg)

Henk (Bertie is hidden behind):
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719173382_d1bcd35cc2_b.jpg)

Ian:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40805365293_aa003acddb_b.jpg)

Duncan:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40805365223_18a0173a15_b.jpg)

Abel:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40805365173_77bbe5356b_b.jpg)

Green!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40805365093_1491575c2f_b.jpg)

We finally reached Opuwo, where we refuelled. Lance, Abel and I waited on the pavement for Oubones, because he did not have a GPS and was not sure how to get to our campsite from town.

Himba walking past while we wait:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46855167145_39494fc8a7_b.jpg)

We stayed at the campsite near Opuwo Country Hotel. It was arranged that we could make use of the bar and pool facilities. The place had a spectacular view.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46982371514_1424aa2580_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40806189583_23bf6c00a2_b.jpg)

We settled in at the campsite:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46982371244_04be3693ac_b.jpg)

Diesel also settling in!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46982371054_62dfe2108f_b.jpg)

Lance and Oubones – one of our usual neighbours:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719172672_4c6cd29d40_b.jpg)

Other neighbouring ‘homes’:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40805364633_641c538782_b.jpg)

Some male specimens (Duncan, Henk and Bertie) ogling a bike’s innards:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40805364933_968c3919df_b.jpg)

The air filter took a bit of a hammering from three days of gravel highway:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/46855166985_ea49b2845c_b.jpg)

Hennie and Brian lubing and primping a bike:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47719172602_d793003cb4_b.jpg)

Local wildlife came to visit, in the form of a small (fe)lion:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/32828032347_c70de38b0a_b.jpg)

Lance uploaded the tracks for the following days into Oubones’s phone. The remaining problem was how to charge this phone.

The good news: the KLR had an auxiliary power point. The bad news: some previously plugged-in gadget had fused to it and left broken shrapnel in its wake when removed.

Lance and Oubones checked whether the power point was salvageable (it wasn’t), followed by trying to sort out the wiring going to a voltmeter with built-in USB charger. In the end, it was found that the actual voltmeter, rather than the wiring, was faulty.

Lance and Oubones trying to solve the mysteries of a KLR’s innards:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/40805364563_689907bb6e_b.jpg)

Supper was steak and potatoes, followed by fruit salad. Good food was never in short supply!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Noneking on May 04, 2019, 06:23:26 pm
Really enjoying your detailed report! Brings back very fond memories of our trip almost a year ago
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Minxy on May 04, 2019, 06:34:35 pm
Great stuff keep it coming :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Highsider on May 05, 2019, 02:05:00 am
I’m really enjoying all the parallel accounts of this trip, the different perspectives are fascinating. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Crossed-up on May 05, 2019, 06:45:06 am
Great trip, great report, Zanie. Well up to your usual high standard!  :

I always admire your appetite for adventure.

I'm enjoying it muchly. :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Rexc-w on May 05, 2019, 11:45:26 am
Enjoying Namibia and the detail.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Stichhom on May 05, 2019, 01:10:28 pm
Zannie, wow, incredible RR, really enjoyed as if I was there in Namibia. This trip is on my extended bucket list...one day...

What happen to Johan after the fall? This proves to me the importance of a competent tour operator like Specialized Adventures and how the potentially lethal situation was remedied. Regards
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Bloed en OMO on May 05, 2019, 07:34:18 pm
Thanks Zanie for some great photo journalism.

It was a pleasure and inspiration to see you and Lance come zooming past me on the gravel highways - the epitomy of coolness and ease.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on May 06, 2019, 07:33:25 pm
Really enjoying your detailed report! Brings back very fond memories of our trip almost a year ago

Your RR is what inspired us to sign up!

Great trip, great report, Zanie. Well up to your usual high standard!  :

I always admire your appetite for adventure.

I'm enjoying it muchly. :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

I have you to thank for teaching me how to ride my pink bike! Our Sunday adventures taught me that some scary-looking obstacles are actually do-able.

What happen to Johan after the fall? This proves to me the importance of a competent tour operator like Specialized Adventures and how the potentially lethal situation was remedied. Regards

I've been on a few organised tours and the medical knowledge / back-up is crucial. I've seen another bad accident (not on this trip), where a guy's ankle was broken so badly you could see the broken piece of bone pushing against the skin from the inside and the foot was hanging at a crazy angle. There, again, the situation was handled promptly and professionally by the back-up medic on the tour.

As far as I know, Johan wet to the nearest hospital, at Swakopmund, and was discharged within a couple of days.

Thanks Zanie for some great photo journalism.

It was a pleasure and inspiration to see you and Lance come zooming past me on the gravel highways - the epitomy of coolness and ease.

And absolute kudos to you for doing this as your first serious gravel tour. I would not have been cool and at ease if that was the case!! You should have seen me at my first serious sand - tears everywhere  :P
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: DRme on May 06, 2019, 09:43:22 pm
Hi Zannie,
Great report! Very good photo and video coverage of the trip. Thank you for sharing with us in this way. Looking forward to the rest with anticipation.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Dwerg on May 16, 2019, 11:48:11 am
En nou?
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Malibu on May 16, 2019, 01:11:48 pm
*sub*  :)
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on May 16, 2019, 11:04:53 pm
My apologies for the silence. Life has been a bit mad. We recently moved house and things just semi-settled before we started packing for the next trip!

I struggled to take leave last year, which is why I applied for two big batches this year. Batch one was the Namibia trip. Tomorrow we head to the Transkei with the dirt bikes. My little pink bike came back from its services today with new soft takkies, chain and sprockets. Lance is taking his 2-stroke KTM.

The two trips almost back to back means that work has been crazy as well. Unlike many on this forum, I don't get time to post during work hours.  ;)

Day 4's report and video are almost done, but they'll have to wait until we return, after the 24th May. This is a monstrous undertaking - there's 12 hours of footage to work through!  :o
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: 2StrokeDan on May 19, 2019, 08:58:30 pm
Enjoyable report Zanie, on one of my favourite regions.

And who better to look after you than Hardy & team?
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Lem on May 19, 2019, 09:29:07 pm
Absoluut Manjifiek  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: sidetrack on May 20, 2019, 11:49:35 am
"Sounds like a KTM trying to start"  >:D :biggrin:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Noneking on May 20, 2019, 01:17:25 pm
"Sounds like a KTM trying to start"  >:D :biggrin:

Hy’s oppad in ń krat
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: windswept on May 31, 2019, 08:38:32 pm
Come on girl. Time to update. 8)
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on June 02, 2019, 10:27:46 am
Enjoyable report Zanie, on one of my favourite regions.

And who better to look after you than Hardy & team?

We were very well looked after by Hardy and his team. I'd highly-recommend this tour to anyone who wants to do Kaokoland. All that we needed to do was eat, sleep and ride! No worries about carrying a mountain of stuff and spare fuel or making meals.

The area is mind-blowingly beautiful. As Hardy said, truly one of the last untouched wildernesses. It took a lot to readjust to 'normal' life after this tour.

Come on girl. Time to update. 8)

Day 4 will hopefully be posted by the end of today. I've completed the writing and choosing/linking of photos. Lance is basically done with the video (these reports are a team effort!) - just needs to do sound levelling and adding the music.

For the cause of our absense / silence, see pics attached. We were flipping and drowning bikes in the Transkei!  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: 2StrokeDan on June 02, 2019, 11:47:06 am
Low-flying Katoom alert!!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on June 03, 2019, 07:30:06 am
Day 4: Opuwo to Epupa Falls (229 km)

Video of day 4:
https://www.youtube.com/v/lwWA5_RoCZM

Another fantastic day of biking dawns:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980588202_c6430908df_b.jpg)

Revealing some creatures of the night:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980634906_466aa09cc4_b.jpg)

Sammy prepping breakfast:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980582378_7b948cd30d_b.jpg)

Jannie, Abel, Pete, Hennie R and Craig enjoying a breakfast of French toast and sausage:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980634641_e1b59ee5ac_b.jpg)

Hennie R, Craig, Henk, Bertie and Ian:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980634736_236416c81c_b.jpg)

Oubones was busy with DIY again. His luggage rack was only attached with two screws. More were required as insurance to keep the rack in place for the remainder of the ride.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980582223_35d21e0d78_b.jpg)

On the way out, some stopped to buy ice to fill their water bladders. Others (including me!) hovered around like vultures to nab any remaining ice not used.

The ubiquitous ‘beware of cow’ sign:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980582108_f2c5f07774_b.jpg)

And the funny ‘shady tree sprouts bikers’ phenomenon:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980634536_60304c13c2_b.jpg)

Oubones sharing some biltong snacks:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980582068_b3e1ccd299_b.jpg)

The C roads here are well-maintained. This one was having maintenance work done to it. I took the opportunity to claim my own lane.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980582018_acabfa585f_b.jpg)

It came with arbitrary speed limits. 30 km/h? Really?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980581948_e9b9e96822_b.jpg)

A big dot on the horizon signalled the end of my lane.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980587667_18a11dc3c9_b.jpg)

I’m not about to challenge a grader for this space!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980581838_d4104db153_b.jpg)

Again: a lonely tree became a bustling metropolis of activity, filled with bikers and locals.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980581798_a7abd96c1b_b.jpg)

This tree appeared to be climbing out of the ground.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980587502_d8397fdbef_b.jpg)

A friendly local:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980587452_b800e04393_b.jpg)

Craig on his trusty steed:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980634086_f97e78a10f_b.jpg)

Abel (not sure whether to call his steed trusty, but all eventual gremlins were not of its making):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980633796_53d75bbb57_b.jpg)

Hardy zooming by:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980634036_02f84c2721_b.jpg)

Kobus giving us the thumbs-up:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980581543_95e041ab8f_b.jpg)

River crossings were never quite enough for Lance.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980633936_590992f68b_b.jpg)

He had to go explore down the riverbed!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980633866_7299b31275_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980633831_3363ed3910_b.jpg)

These sheep took the road markings to heart. Go right!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980587092_0fd0b984e2_b.jpg)

We visited the Dorsland Trek monument just outside Swartbooisdrift. This commemorates the final leg in a marathon of travel. The Boers didn’t like the Xhosas and Brits, so they moved from the Cape to the (then) Free State and Transvaal. Then they decided to go to Angola. There are two theories for the reasoning behind this monumental decision: (1) the Brits followed them up-country and were being annoying or the (2) ‘because it’s there’ approach, i.e. no particular reason. I would hope that they followed reasoning number one, because number two seems a rather arbitrary reason for 3000-odd people to die. Once in Angola, the Portuguese got annoyed with the Boers, so many Boers went to Namibia – then part of South Africa.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980586787_e476e1404e_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580723_3abe678b1c_b.jpg)

Camouflaged on the monument:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580823_b3b564655c_b.jpg)

The place was boiling, with every scrap of diluted shade occupied, therefore we did not tarry long.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980586862_1e916ce129_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980633561_62b9bd4c16_b.jpg)

Unlike the Dorsland Trekkers, it had taken us only 6 days to reach the Angolan border, but this was as far north as we would go. Yet, from now onwards, the roads got interesting!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580658_bd3ffe7253_b.jpg)

Someone had fun here:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980586542_d7a6680549_b.jpg)

Henk crossing the riverbed:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980586487_1cced467a1_b.jpg)

We were meant to stop here for a lunch of jaffles on the fire, but we were running short of time. It was decided to push on.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980586582_77c61ea602_b.jpg)

Chantal handed out snacks to keep us going. I still had plenty of leftovers from the previous day’s snack pack!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980586432_5c73b0f3eb_b.jpg)

I’m not sure where everyone went after this point, but it felt as if we scattered to the wind. The roads were of variable surface and there were a couple of splits from which to choose. It was great fun!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980586397_dcdc045a94_b.jpg)

Lance kept an eye on his Garmin (a well-abused small cycle computer) to make sure we were heading in a vaguely-correct direction. I have absolute faith in this vagueness. He seems to have a built-in GPS in his head.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980632946_bcbcfcbdab_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980586197_981b062cdc_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980632836_0aaf2287de_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580188_634ea8c7e9_b.jpg)

One of the splits:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980632731_268670d25c_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980632671_1e86c63d18_b.jpg)

The surface was like liquorice: all sorts!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980586047_d6a467135b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980585842_31317503dd_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579888_3d53963b15_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579823_e78b915f41_b.jpg)

We were joined by Oubones, Pete and Duncan.

Oubones:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980586327_2a3c7aed87_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980632511_e8aa8c14b4_b.jpg)

Pete:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580333_35feed74dc_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580053_c533a28fc4_b.jpg)

I assume there are no pics of Duncan due to his penchant to zoom past and then wait. He is actually one of the medium-fast crowd, which to us means ‘medium-rare to spot back here’!

The track became fainter still:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980585702_10e3654d7c_b.jpg)

And then ended at a river. A very wide river. Uhm. No.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980632246_3072c63d63_b.jpg)

Lance imagines a bridge further back.

Retreat, retreat!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980632161_4ba6629cee_b.jpg)

Huh? But we just got here!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980585447_860a54bbf4_b.jpg)

No bridge here either!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980631986_70a41cb665_b.jpg)

We retreated even further, but after reaching the same river (Ondoto – a Kunene tributary) a third time with a glaring lack of man-made constructions, we slowly came to the conclusion that this was part of the deal: the river must be crossed. Duncan appeared again at this point.

The third crossing came complete with a demo of what could happen when things go wrong: two guys with one very stuck bike. The guys looked rather tired. They were in the stand-and-stare-at-that-damn-bike point of the game.

Pete and Duncan greeting the owners of the Africa Twin and the (stuck) Triumph:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980581228_3c915565aa_b.jpg)

Many hands make light work. The number of people moving the Triumph were limited only by the number of conceivable hand-holds! Pete, Duncan and Oubones pitching in:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980631926_486daa0bf1_b.jpg)

Next came the Africa Twin:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980631871_6e4d9edcaf_b.jpg)

Lance lending a hand (singular):
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980587027_01f1b82679_b.jpg)

Abel popped out of the woodwork. I have no idea where he came from, as he wasn’t on our missing-bridges excursion. I suppose we were on the path-less-travelled and were now on the main drag. Abel was uncertain about the crossing, so Oubones and Duncan went to help.

It seems very wet…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980585222_49e8198caa_b.jpg)

Life can be greatly impacted by your perspective on it. The below photo’s perspective shows a mud-drenched Abel.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980585212_8c191db245_b.jpg)

Reality is otherwise. Abel is dry, Oubones is helping (hidden behind Duncan in the pic above), and Duncan is actually a considerate guy in real life!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980631726_44e9268aab_b.jpg)

I wonder what Mr. Triumph and Mr. Africa Twin thought when we crossed one by one with no incident! There is something to be said for small bikes and a supported trip, with built-in luggage-carrier services.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980631656_34f82396e6_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579138_cc4db8817d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980633661_b1835b27bf_b.jpg)

Though Duncan carried more tools than most. It must be a KTM thing!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580973_8f2420f0dc_b.jpg)

We were salvaging the pride of small bikes everywhere…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980631596_3270a142b4_b.jpg)

…until Lance had a side-stand incident in the sand right about here:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980631501_d03cc5e5b5_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on June 03, 2019, 07:30:36 am
Day 4 continued

Back on dry land, Lance was certain that we were meant to take a more obscure path. Duncan objected when he saw the reeds. It meant one of two things: boggy conditions or elephants! Oubones and Duncan decided to keep to the ‘main road’.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584982_c8d63fcdfe_b.jpg)

Pete and I continued to follow Lance, and found neither grey mammals nor green marshes.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578878_3bb64e18bd_b.jpg)

What we found instead was a last remnant of the old Kunene road!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584912_44a20482f9_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578818_0802b378b2_b.jpg)

Lance was bounced off the road to the left here:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584822_d9eecd3e6a_b.jpg)

A check-in by Lance at a split: “You ok with following this old road?” A unanimous: “Yes!”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578713_cfc81733c6_b.jpg)

It used to take people one to two days to traverse this road. My parents did it by 4x4 and needed a stiff brandy to calm the nerves.

If you dig on this forum, you will find some RRs featuring the old road. Sadly, hardly any of it is left. The new road mostly follows the old road’s route, obliterating the older track in its wake. This section was a rare gem.

Photos don’t do the gradient justice:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578663_e917dba0a5_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578633_cd81808e20_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584682_b77be1970f_b.jpg)

The Kunene River to the right:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980631041_e271775bf1_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584372_5ccb5277f1_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578363_cdbbbaf37a_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578293_a34bf8041d_b.jpg)

The “wow” response!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584132_5219ac7d89_b.jpg)

Hardy meant for us to take this route. We were soon joined by Craig, Abel, Hardy, Kobus and the air-con boxes. I assume that most of the rest missed out.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578023_6c8ebf6724_b.jpg)

Both Lance and Ian went down to the river, but were called back due to the very real threat of crocodiles. These sneaky logs have a deadly burst of speed and have nabbed some people before.

Continuing on the old road:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578043_6fff9c7bb2_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980577913_abc24d3d54_b.jpg)

We were advised to head to the new road when we could, because today would be a long day. We found the split…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583832_e5ec790614_b.jpg)

…but decided to stick on the old road as long for as long as we could.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583727_9b06a9810b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980630296_5ef55799dc_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980577663_e75ff70035_b.jpg)

It didn’t take long before the old road was swallowed up by the new one.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583612_4f3e69099d_b.jpg)

But we kept looking for the old road, taking random turn-offs during the search.

Seems legit?
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583562_55965d8209_b.jpg)

Pete was with us and in a similar frame of mind. He and Lance had a short sand excursion.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583557_01d763d3c3_b.jpg)

And so it went, good / new road, followed by bits of old road…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980577513_c44e238e5a_b.jpg)

…back to the new road, etc.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980630066_2281dcb90e_b.jpg)

My closest call to a fall on this day actually happened on the new road. It still had some unexpected dongas, dips and rocks to throw at you when you least expect it. The road is like a roller-coaster, with very steep hills and dips. The gradient hides the wash-aways until the last moment.

I hit a good-sized rock on a mini-step and was flung forward over the handlebars. Lance said I was on my front wheel for a bit. I don’t know how, but I managed to hang on, with only some sore fingers to show for it (I ride with two fingers on each hand resting on my levers, as a rule).

The new road is obviously a health hazard! Time to find pieces of the old one again.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980576638_394917654d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980637111_94b5746da8_b.jpg)

Back on the new one. Bugger!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980629116_c4254a954d_b.jpg)

Friendly locals:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583352_26f225fc1b_b.jpg)

At least the new road still had water crossing obstacles.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980628966_1cee4974df_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980576203_26508df375_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980576088_2181306793_b.jpg)

The bank on the other side was steep and had a donga to the right. Some local kids were gesticulating wildly. We took it as a wave or the usual “make-your-bike-go-vroom!” action, but when considering the footage, it looked more like a “slow down!” wave. Later that day we found out why: a biker had hit earth hard in that donga.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980575948_cd876f274a_b.jpg)

Another piece of old road:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980576003_ff8b6021f6_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980628536_2b6ec6c4e3_b.jpg)

Back on the new one:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980628326_ecb459b7e0_b.jpg)

Still pretty:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980575548_3fd662e608_b.jpg)

We were less than 40 km from our destination of Epupa Falls when we spotted a sign that is surely irresistible to most bikers. It said “cold beer”. Sure enough, we spotted some of our crowd.

Gordon, Brian, Hennie R, Pete and Lance:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980576793_509ce1e116_b.jpg)

Oubones had a prime spot:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980637306_644d94cb28_b.jpg)

We decided to try some cold juice. In Kaokoland, this can cost upwards of R30 for one! This particular spot (owned by someone called Corrie, I think) was more reasonably priced.

Refreshment bliss:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980575408_a379113342_b.jpg)

Don’t turn your back on the water for too long:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980629366_9947e3df52_h.jpg)

There were interesting objects, both of the natural variety (such as this big tree)…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980581527_e4e2f026bb_b.jpg)

…and man-made.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980575248_c64be9d3fb_b.jpg)

It was here that we bumped into the riders of the Triumph and new Africa Twin. The guy on the Triumph was obviously having a bad day. He was the biker who had come short on the donga by the waving kids. The front end of his bike looked a bit sickly.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980637226_65912fe363_b.jpg)

Back on the road again, all refreshed:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980581317_74f8323d59_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980627791_a3954a3b91_b.jpg)

Excuse the lens flare from the GoPro lens protector:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980574938_da011d9e26_b.jpg)

Still hugging the Kunene:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980627521_ba258b89e2_z.jpg)

Beautiful scenery:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980627496_d1f4405197_b.jpg)

With a beautiful baobab:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980574598_502f050042_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580642_1d75749787_b.jpg)

And then we arrived!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580602_fde106e990_b.jpg)

Epupa Falls Lodge and Campsite:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980627081_980f515b25_b.jpg)

Pool and beer available at the end of the magical stairs:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980574228_e2d45439a1_b.jpg)

The Epupa Falls are visible from the deck of the camp restaurant / bar.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980574153_c2c5bd7a42_b.jpg)

But the best view is out the main gate…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580162_b83ddba3cd_b.jpg)

…and around the back.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580112_57a5bf5c20_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980626721_ddc64eed85_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579917_528a6c3198_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579762_170d39d420_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980626431_10b0efc80b_z.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579462_c5820f9d45_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980573373_8bce69714e_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579562_e4c954eb27_b.jpg)

Given the good facilities at the campsite, it was time for some bike TLC. I was worried about my air filter, given the state of the air filters I’ve seen from Duncan, Oubones and Kobus’s bikes. I needn’t have worried. Mine was still good to go.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579327_ed92a1e39f_b.jpg)

Next was an oil change. I like doing my own, because that means that no washers go missing (looking at you, Lance!) and all bolts / nuts are tightened to Zanie-strength, i.e. I can loosen them again without stripping a bolt or my moer.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980626096_e681a5c0e8_b.jpg)

Lance got called in to be the official oil-container-holder (pic by Kobus):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980572793_e0c7f9bc2a_b.jpg)

The humidity was high next to the river, which meant uncomfortable heat. I did not touch the hot water tap of the shower.

Supper was a carboload smorgasbord: pasta bolognaise, served with bread. We were being prepped for survival. Tomorrow is our first shorter-distance day. Remember what I said about short-distance days?

The high humidity and heat also meant mozzies! Craig’s tent set-up seemed like a plan. For some reason he brought his own tent (Mr. Camel Man?).

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579087_4896d51ba0_b.jpg)

We used one of the Specialised Adventures tents, minus fly-sheet, for maximum possible air-condition.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: MRK Miller on June 03, 2019, 03:56:04 pm
Awesome. Thankyou. We were there many yeas ago, in 4x4. If only i had found adv biking then. We walked down river from the falls and swam in the river. Was young and dumb then. But it was a awesome hike down river
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Noneking on June 03, 2019, 08:13:26 pm
Great RR
Waiting for the rest
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: DRme on June 03, 2019, 09:31:41 pm
Thank you Zanie. This is absolutely great to read and see. You transport us there and bring back good 4x4 trip memories. It is of course much greater fun on a bike!
Looking forward to the rest.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: LanC on June 03, 2019, 10:19:31 pm
Day 4 was my third favourite day of the trip  :ricky:
I found some videos covering most of the old D3700 along the Kunene. It looked like a real challenge back then:
https://www.youtube.com/v/CLVYEQDMLYk
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Lars on June 05, 2019, 06:03:08 pm
Great RR! These reports inspired me to get a DS bike and now I am busy overcoming my fear of sand... Your videos are awesome! Did you do the Wildcoast adventure ride?

Cheers Lars

Subscribed
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: ALLEN I on June 07, 2019, 11:54:39 am
Magic ride you guys.  :ricky: :ricky:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Matewis on June 07, 2019, 01:09:48 pm
WOW,
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on June 09, 2019, 02:28:25 pm
Awesome. Thankyou. We were there many yeas ago, in 4x4. If only i had found adv biking then. We walked down river from the falls and swam in the river. Was young and dumb then. But it was a awesome hike down river

It's a good thing the crocodiles weren't hungry on that day!  :o

Great RR! These reports inspired me to get a DS bike and now I am busy overcoming my fear of sand... Your videos are awesome! Did you do the Wildcoast adventure ride?

Sand can indeed be conquered, but a small bike helps a lot with the conquering.  ;)

I'm not sure what you mean about the Wild Coast adventure ride? I haven't been there on an adventure bike (on my to-do list), but a bunch of us did go on the dirt bikes. It wasn't really a club / organised ride in the usual sense; just one person who did a block booking and then "found some friends". We spent 4 days at Trennerys and 4 days at Kob Inn, using those spots as a base for exploration. It was epic.

"Sounds like a KTM trying to start"  >:D :biggrin:

Hy’s oppad in ń krat

Lance has some personal experience in this matter. He has a 2-stroke KTM and it did not like starting during our Wild Coast trip!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Rough Rider on June 09, 2019, 03:19:43 pm
Nice  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Tom van Brits on June 09, 2019, 03:56:43 pm
Super!!  :laughing4: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Just Blip It! on June 12, 2019, 10:21:10 pm
Great reading! Keep it coming! :sip:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: pietas on June 13, 2019, 08:00:20 am
Zanie, dis goedr om te sien hoe ver jy al gekom het met jou ryery. En dat jy dit geniet. Jy moes net eers die bike vind wat vir jou werk.

Dankie, ek lees lekker.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Bloed en OMO on June 18, 2019, 10:00:11 pm
Day 4 continued

Back on dry land, Lance was certain that we were meant to take a more obscure path. Duncan objected when he saw the reeds. It meant one of two things: boggy conditions or elephants! Oubones and Duncan decided to keep to the ‘main road’.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584982_c8d63fcdfe_b.jpg)

Pete and I continued to follow Lance, and found neither grey mammals nor green marshes.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578878_3bb64e18bd_b.jpg)

What we found instead was a last remnant of the old Kunene road!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584912_44a20482f9_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578818_0802b378b2_b.jpg)

Lance was bounced off the road to the left here:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584822_d9eecd3e6a_b.jpg)

A check-in by Lance at a split: “You ok with following this old road?” A unanimous: “Yes!”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578713_cfc81733c6_b.jpg)

It used to take people one to two days to traverse this road. My parents did it by 4x4 and needed a stiff brandy to calm the nerves.

If you dig on this forum, you will find some RRs featuring the old road. Sadly, hardly any of it is left. The new road mostly follows the old road’s route, obliterating the older track in its wake. This section was a rare gem.

Photos don’t do the gradient justice:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578663_e917dba0a5_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578633_cd81808e20_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584682_b77be1970f_b.jpg)

The Kunene River to the right:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980631041_e271775bf1_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584372_5ccb5277f1_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578363_cdbbbaf37a_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578293_a34bf8041d_b.jpg)

The “wow” response!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980584132_5219ac7d89_b.jpg)

Hardy meant for us to take this route. We were soon joined by Craig, Abel, Hardy, Kobus and the air-con boxes. I assume that most of the rest missed out.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578023_6c8ebf6724_b.jpg)

Both Lance and Ian went down to the river, but were called back due to the very real threat of crocodiles. These sneaky logs have a deadly burst of speed and have nabbed some people before.

Continuing on the old road:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980578043_6fff9c7bb2_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980577913_abc24d3d54_b.jpg)

We were advised to head to the new road when we could, because today would be a long day. We found the split…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583832_e5ec790614_b.jpg)

…but decided to stick on the old road as long for as long as we could.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583727_9b06a9810b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980630296_5ef55799dc_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980577663_e75ff70035_b.jpg)

It didn’t take long before the old road was swallowed up by the new one.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583612_4f3e69099d_b.jpg)

But we kept looking for the old road, taking random turn-offs during the search.

Seems legit?
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583562_55965d8209_b.jpg)

Pete was with us and in a similar frame of mind. He and Lance had a short sand excursion.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583557_01d763d3c3_b.jpg)

And so it went, good / new road, followed by bits of old road…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980577513_c44e238e5a_b.jpg)

…back to the new road, etc.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980630066_2281dcb90e_b.jpg)

My closest call to a fall on this day actually happened on the new road. It still had some unexpected dongas, dips and rocks to throw at you when you least expect it. The road is like a roller-coaster, with very steep hills and dips. The gradient hides the wash-aways until the last moment.

I hit a good-sized rock on a mini-step and was flung forward over the handlebars. Lance said I was on my front wheel for a bit. I don’t know how, but I managed to hang on, with only some sore fingers to show for it (I ride with two fingers on each hand resting on my levers, as a rule).

The new road is obviously a health hazard! Time to find pieces of the old one again.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980576638_394917654d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980637111_94b5746da8_b.jpg)

Back on the new one. Bugger!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980629116_c4254a954d_b.jpg)

Friendly locals:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980583352_26f225fc1b_b.jpg)

At least the new road still had water crossing obstacles.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980628966_1cee4974df_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980576203_26508df375_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980576088_2181306793_b.jpg)

The bank on the other side was steep and had a donga to the right. Some local kids were gesticulating wildly. We took it as a wave or the usual “make-your-bike-go-vroom!” action, but when considering the footage, it looked more like a “slow down!” wave. Later that day we found out why: a biker had hit earth hard in that donga.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980575948_cd876f274a_b.jpg)

Another piece of old road:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980576003_ff8b6021f6_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980628536_2b6ec6c4e3_b.jpg)

Back on the new one:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980628326_ecb459b7e0_b.jpg)

Still pretty:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980575548_3fd662e608_b.jpg)

We were less than 40 km from our destination of Epupa Falls when we spotted a sign that is surely irresistible to most bikers. It said “cold beer”. Sure enough, we spotted some of our crowd.

Gordon, Brian, Hennie R, Pete and Lance:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980576793_509ce1e116_b.jpg)

Oubones had a prime spot:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980637306_644d94cb28_b.jpg)

We decided to try some cold juice. In Kaokoland, this can cost upwards of R30 for one! This particular spot (owned by someone called Corrie, I think) was more reasonably priced.

Refreshment bliss:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980575408_a379113342_b.jpg)

Don’t turn your back on the water for too long:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980629366_9947e3df52_h.jpg)

There were interesting objects, both of the natural variety (such as this big tree)…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980581527_e4e2f026bb_b.jpg)

…and man-made.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980575248_c64be9d3fb_b.jpg)

It was here that we bumped into the riders of the Triumph and new Africa Twin. The guy on the Triumph was obviously having a bad day. He was the biker who had come short on the donga by the waving kids. The front end of his bike looked a bit sickly.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980637226_65912fe363_b.jpg)

Back on the road again, all refreshed:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980581317_74f8323d59_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980627791_a3954a3b91_b.jpg)

Excuse the lens flare from the GoPro lens protector:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980574938_da011d9e26_b.jpg)

Still hugging the Kunene:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980627521_ba258b89e2_z.jpg)

Beautiful scenery:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980627496_d1f4405197_b.jpg)

With a beautiful baobab:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980574598_502f050042_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580642_1d75749787_b.jpg)

And then we arrived!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580602_fde106e990_b.jpg)

Epupa Falls Lodge and Campsite:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980627081_980f515b25_b.jpg)

Pool and beer available at the end of the magical stairs:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980574228_e2d45439a1_b.jpg)

The Epupa Falls are visible from the deck of the camp restaurant / bar.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980574153_c2c5bd7a42_b.jpg)

But the best view is out the main gate…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580162_b83ddba3cd_b.jpg)

…and around the back.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980580112_57a5bf5c20_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980626721_ddc64eed85_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579917_528a6c3198_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579762_170d39d420_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980626431_10b0efc80b_z.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579462_c5820f9d45_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980573373_8bce69714e_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579562_e4c954eb27_b.jpg)

Given the good facilities at the campsite, it was time for some bike TLC. I was worried about my air filter, given the state of the air filters I’ve seen from Duncan, Oubones and Kobus’s bikes. I needn’t have worried. Mine was still good to go.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579327_ed92a1e39f_b.jpg)

Next was an oil change. I like doing my own, because that means that no washers go missing (looking at you, Lance!) and all bolts / nuts are tightened to Zanie-strength, i.e. I can loosen them again without stripping a bolt or my moer.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980626096_e681a5c0e8_b.jpg)

Lance got called in to be the official oil-container-holder (pic by Kobus):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980572793_e0c7f9bc2a_b.jpg)

The humidity was high next to the river, which meant uncomfortable heat. I did not touch the hot water tap of the shower.

Supper was a carboload smorgasbord: pasta bolognaise, served with bread. We were being prepped for survival. Tomorrow is our first shorter-distance day. Remember what I said about short-distance days?

The high humidity and heat also meant mozzies! Craig’s tent set-up seemed like a plan. For some reason he brought his own tent (Mr. Camel Man?).

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47980579087_4896d51ba0_b.jpg)

We used one of the Specialised Adventures tents, minus fly-sheet, for maximum possible air-condition.

Fantastic photos Zanie and Lance. Makes me tired once again just looking them.  Can't we repeat the trip?
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on June 19, 2019, 09:27:49 am
I'd love to go on a trip like this again. If you got tired from day 4's photos, wait until day 5. That's when the fun started! And when you started your collection of bruises.  :o
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Sardine on June 19, 2019, 09:38:09 am
I’m on page 2 now. Wow! Wow! WOW!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Tr0jan on June 19, 2019, 11:14:11 am
Lekker report! Dankie
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Just Blip It! on June 23, 2019, 08:39:10 pm
We leave on the same trip early July.........please post more!   :ricky:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Dustman on June 25, 2019, 01:45:35 pm
Wow !!             :sip: :deal:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: onderbroek on June 25, 2019, 03:20:33 pm
Awesome RR keep it coming
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: DRme on June 25, 2019, 07:28:02 pm
Hi Zanie, we are all waiting in great anticipation for the rest !!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on June 25, 2019, 10:21:45 pm
Sorry all. You will have to bear with me here. Lance and I have recently tried to set aside an hour on week-night evenings to work on this. Weekend is bike time though. >:D So it is progressing slowly, but it is progressing at least.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 06, 2019, 11:27:10 pm
Day 5: Epupa Falls to Van Zyl's Camp (145 km)

Video of day 5:
https://www.youtube.com/v/8MBw9aJPD58

Today’s route distance was the shortest yet of the trip (but not the shortest overall). When applying the law of shorter distance = more technical, it was an indication that today the fun starts!

Waking up to a view of bikes and Ian. Let’s hope Lance was wearing underwear or else there’s a whole new meaning to Ian’s smile.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222130561_551b7326b2_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222130376_02317ea302_b.jpg)

The 690 getting a loving lubing:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222130171_c7d48f41ef_b.jpg)

Breakfast was the egg-and-bacon jaffles we did not have time to munch yesterday.

Lance looked like he suspected Kobus of mass murder. Maybe of jaffles…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222183742_f6029c2aa6_b.jpg)

Everyone happily partaking off the mass jaffle murder:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222129726_ae9310576f_b.jpg)

Lance and I decided to risk going to the Epupa Falls view point before we commenced with the day’s journey. I guess you cannot sneak into a place on motorbikes. Despite the early-ish hour, the collector-of-the-R40-per-person fee was on the ball. Thanks to a lack of change, we coughed up R100 in total. The light was also not great. Oh well. You only live once.

The place is great for sundowners, with chairs stationed beneath a shady structure.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223853011_af3ea430ca_b.jpg)

The falls span a huge area:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223909192_9230e6071d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222129786_3de615c632_b.jpg)

Heading back down the viewing hill:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223909092_3750504e05_b.jpg)

Pretty scenery:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223908932_bb525a6e5a_b.jpg)

From the photos above and below, you can see our luggage set-up: the bare minimum on our backs (water, snacks, soft-brim hat and slops), a handlebar bag for a wallet and cell phone (a.k.a. camera – it was in flight mode to extend battery life), and spare fuel and basic repair tools, including tubes for both bikes and a mini compressor, on the back of the Rally.

My aquapack could carry 3 litres, but that weight hurt my back, so I kept it to 2 litres. I’m able to survive on quite little water. The most I drank during riding on any day was 3 litres (I had to fill up again halfway through the day).

Hardy told everyone to take a sachet of Rehidrat every morning and evening. I thought it was a gimmick, but it really does work. I sometimes get a dehydration headache after a day out riding. I never got one during this trip and felt super throughout.

Rally with back-up tools and fuel:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223908857_69eb8741fd_b.jpg)

A local young cattle herder on his steed, no back-up fuel required:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223852616_03fc428755_b.jpg)

According to custom, a shady tree sprouted bikers.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222129481_8375e9c441_b.jpg)

Tired bikers.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222183152_4dbdd250d2_b.jpg)

At least, most rested. It didn’t take long for a couple of the crazies, Lance included, to head off down the nearby riverbed just for kicks and giggles.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223908717_4fa9b59858_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223852476_508c45cd19_b.jpg)

The group dispersed from this point onwards. Actually, let me rephrase that. The fast okes f***d off! Lance resigned himself to a sedate trundle with me and whoever else happened to be hanging around at the back. Today it Ian, largely because he had lost touch with the middle-to-front runners and trusted Lance’s navigation skills more than his own. Abel, the brand-new-to-multi-day-off-road-trips-guy, rounded out our little back-markers group.

Chilling at 44 in the 80 zone:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223908557_3a79988d5b_b.jpg)

Ian awaiting guidance below. Lance had already communicated to me via the comms that right was right, despite the road sign.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223852071_5d968a24bf_b.jpg)

Funky tree with “spaghetti arms”:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223908512_94a65c951b_b.jpg)

Ian ride-by:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223852241_e5c16cfe41_b.jpg)

The road became interesting.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223852151_5a35eb60c6_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223908167_b13c87a925_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223851926_a5dcfa20bb_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223851856_146dfa0a91_b.jpg)

Very interesting!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223907822_e3cd8ec980_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223907722_295f1269d7_b.jpg)

This may have precipitated the hand-signals we saw from Ian.

WTF?
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223907617_b7b02459ee_b.jpg)

Rocky step-up.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223907527_aef82bf537_b.jpg)

Lance figured we could do with a rest in the shade. The temperature was hot and we needed a rest after “interesting”. A patch of deep shade beckoned back where we came from; a bit off the track down a river bed.

See it?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223851296_d65933e2ba_b.jpg)

Ian had to extricate himself from an awkward parking spot. I suspect he was there in the first place due to the close proximity of dappled shade.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223851206_86a16b3e1e_b.jpg)

Lance couldn’t resist a recce of the riverbed; shooting past the shade. I knew what he was doing, so I didn’t follow. My mission was shade, not madness.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223907237_11229e7fa0_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223851051_bc4ffbc3ec_b.jpg)

Ian followed trustingly and got sand for his faith.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223907012_d6304c9048_b.jpg)

Shady bliss!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222129311_beb586cf8f_b.jpg)

We rested until Abel caught up, along with the sweepers: Hardy, Kobus and the back-up vehicle.

Kobus in the zone:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223906922_f3d9f389f1_b.jpg)

Trying to find the zone:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223850761_4865438bcb_b.jpg)

From the above pic you can see I stupidly forgot to tie the aqua-pack straps to my waist. It was annoying and scary when I forgot, because it would eventually hook onto the bike and jerk me downwards.

Fun riding:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223850651_1423c1c346_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223906597_72db04d7f6_b.jpg)

The back-up vehicle waiting for us to pass:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223906517_1ca19af32d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223850401_3affa3e5b7_b.jpg)

It was on this day that I realized I made the right choice of bike. Scary dual-sport riding was turned into something resembling a marathon funduro.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223906337_98cb69dee1_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223850281_acfed84a85_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223906017_8b2095c030_b.jpg)

Abel was facing the worst conditions he ever had to tackle in his newly-fledged dual-sport riding hobby. This was a very extreme introduction! And it was going to get much worse…

Abel resting, with Kobus offering moral support (or riding tips):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223850156_e42399d803_b.jpg)

Not that we didn’t rest!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223849746_3027dea31a_b.jpg)

Hardy watching over all the ‘laatlammetjies’ and ‘agterosse’.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223905882_376dfd4d66_b.jpg)

Lance and I were commenting to each other that we were glad Ian was stuck with us. He had more experience than Abel and was gaining confidence at breakneck pace. He was at that dangerous point in the learning curve where confidence overtakes skill. We’ve all been there. Lance and I both have busted bones to show for it. We were scared Ian was going to write himself off! Campfire banter would not be the same without our lead joker.

As mentioned previously (I think) Abel and Ian seemed to compete on the number of falls. Abel’s falls did more damage to bike and person. Ian seems to be made of rubber or some other bouncy substance.

‘Spot the difference’, with Abel and Ian:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223849666_af1e096937_b.jpg)

Soon we were on our way again, and Lance was fighting with the local flora:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223905617_ca6056ba35_b.jpg)

The road gave us a scenic reprieve…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223905527_dc7fbbb214_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223905417_5715a884d9_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223849281_edc303ccd0_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223905272_21ee293761_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223905202_9b0c28c79d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223905132_2653dfb528_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223904977_4ccbcd14ae_b.jpg)

…before it turned into sand!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223905027_e10c60e6d6_b.jpg)

Hardy zoomed past us, exclaiming “We have problems here!”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223848706_73b76ff578_b.jpg)

He knew what was going to happen:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223848616_8c970f8923_b.jpg)

Sure enough, Abel was down, with his foot pinned beneath the bike.

Hardy trying to park his bike in a preferably upright position, with Abel patiently awaiting rescue in the background:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223904742_0421595f13_b.jpg)

Thankfully no serious damage.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223848396_fa58e2c8b9_b.jpg)

Ian styling some ‘sand-snakes’ before joining us:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223904592_27e62e3316_b.jpg)

“Was that me?”
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223904532_82537a514f_b.jpg)

A recuperating rest-stop was just what the doctor ordered.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222182822_16b76645f1_b.jpg)

It wasn’t just the people that needed doctoring. Kobus’s KTM was misbehaving. It was a mystery issue that caused it to run like a sick cheetah – still fast, but a bit out of breath. The symptoms were blamed at various points in time on the air filter, the air box, and the universe. The universe hit back with a flat tyre.

When everything else has been tried, sometimes all you can do is sit and stare:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223907872_45fa3097ff_b.jpg)

All good things must come to an end, so we headed out onto the sand again.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223904467_114278c19d_b.jpg)

Actually everything must come to an end, even sand.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223904397_3cbcf93054_b.jpg)

Though the sand still enjoyed cameo appearances throughout the day.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223904302_fea7ac38d7_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223904202_c9dcd52283_b.jpg)

There were many, many 4x4s out today. Some were awake and observant. Others bloody clueless. The latter insult is levelled at those bright sparks who did not make room for the faster bikes to go past.

We passed these two relatively painlessly:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223904077_3f5d571c3d_b.jpg)

A rare sight in Namibia: multiple water crossings!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223904007_5771579571_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223847596_d8e7f81bda_b.jpg)

A non-rare sight for the next couple of days: rocky roads.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223847521_279fea159a_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223903732_dbd1db4398_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223847326_574b7002ac_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223903567_8f20214dcd_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223847146_19a4c3efea_b.jpg)

Another herd of 4x4s, at least stationary:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223847046_70df0cf4ec_b.jpg)

Fighting with a bush or sand (either are equally likely):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223903177_dc47b581bb_b.jpg)

It was just Lance and I for this stretch. I think Ian had those wings Red Bull gives you.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223846716_7881e81875_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223903302_71d0c56157_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223846466_c53838ea03_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223846576_d1b366c040_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223902862_4a488c6584_b.jpg)

We did catch up with Ian; only because he stopped at a shady bush. Ian was fantasizing about a cold drink, along the lines of: “I could murder a Coke now.” The universe heard him and provided, in the form of two kind gents in a bestickered 4x4.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223846296_74d93295a9_b.jpg)

Coke was not the only beverage on offer, but we had a day to conquer. Anyway, the way Mr Moustache pours drinks could probably kill you. Or make you a sand-riding god, since you’ll be astral-planing in an alternate dimension with no sand.

That glass only had the tiniest smidgeon of Coke…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223902702_5d1b2efb85_b.jpg)

Refreshed, we headed off again. Ian disappeared into the distance. Apparently Coke can give you wings too.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223846196_b2a37149b1_b.jpg)

The terrain kept switching from rocks to sand and back. Either way, it was equally beautiful and kept you on your toes! Or more like it kept you off your seat. My legs were burning from all the sit-stand-sit squats.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223902547_d6be19c0e6_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223845971_27846b687a_b.jpg)

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223901542_5771039c0e_b.jpg)

One of Lance’s few falls happened here, on rock-hard-concrete sand. One of the panels cracked. Lance did offer to replace it after the trip, but I’ve heard rumours that the panels are pricy and if the damage doesn’t affect the functioning of the bike, I’m not too worried.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223845741_ddce365454_b.jpg)

Mini-crack:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48215287406_a1ce99bf88_k.jpg)

I always wonder what people do in these small middle-of-nowhere villages.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223901912_6f0831c70d_b.jpg)

Farm sheep…?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223845456_52eb2600e6_b.jpg)

Either that or farm rocks.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223901697_95474d4b7e_b.jpg)

We caught up with Abel, who had passed us while we were having our Coke break.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223845066_36af5962a8_b.jpg)

We had also been passed by the herd of 4x4s.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223844956_97225cc179_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223844846_f5d904ffb6_b.jpg)

Most of the drivers were oblivious; making it rather difficult to pass them on the narrow track.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223901127_ba82bbbff1_b.jpg)

Engage skill: dodgem.

Weave right!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223844596_8983c11788_b.jpg)

Weave left!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223844521_afccfb615b_b.jpg)

Weave right again!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223844411_3ca48f9aa2_b.jpg)

Engage emotion: frustration.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223844316_f3f8e24b88_b.jpg)

We eventually managed to squeeze past, because the cars slowed down to a crawl with the ever-deteriorating road conditions. They can’t go as fast as the bikes over this:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223900707_6f903e6439_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223844176_b462a70f9e_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223900502_a5dc5939ca_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 06, 2019, 11:31:38 pm
Day 5 continued

The group was starting to bunch together again, and we spotted some almost-forgotten faces. Today I gained new respect for Gordon and it only grew as the road conditions worsened. He was on the heaviest bike of the group, a 230-odd kg 750 Africa Twin, but he could ride!

Gordon disappearing into the distance:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223843996_4b1f55df86_b.jpg)

The road was bad no matter if you picked the left or right line:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223843926_39d0955305_b.jpg)

And it just got worse…

A moment of pause, to think about life and why the hell I’m here:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223843856_5b3c3f7eea_b.jpg)

Once you hit the rocky slope, there’s no stopping until you get to the bottom, unless you want to risk a fall. I placed my trust in my bike and just clung on for dear life. I’m not good at choosing the best lines, but commitment seems to matter more than the line.

Obviously the strategy worked. I heard a worried Lance over the comms: “Hey! Why are you running away? Don’t go so fast!”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223843756_7a4dcb9e43_b.jpg)

There was a scary, steep and rocky jumbled mess. I executed the whatever-line-goes-commitment strategy and survived. Next it was Lance’s turn.

Lance: “What the hell’s going on here?”
Me: “Any line!”
Lance: “Pick one? I don’t like these lines!”

It seems that guys have commitment issues.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223900107_4dfb6b517a_b.jpg)

A lot of three-dimensional data is lost on footage or photos…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223843576_336cddabba_b.jpg)

Lance found his line:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223843486_7a2d194865_b.jpg)

The slightly-less-grand canyon:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223899862_0b4b26a138_b.jpg)

Which side looks better? Left?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223899712_13b68a6d21_b.jpg)

Nope. Left is bad too.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223843161_9016eb3069_b.jpg)

Most of us regrouped for a last breather before the big challenge of the day. You heard right. All the riding so far was a taster. We had this enigma dubbed “Heartbreak Hill” to look forward to. Most of the day Lance and I kept wondering “Is this Heartbreak Hill?” whenever we hit a particularly rough patch.

The fast guys (Henk, Hennie R, Brian and Duncan) were long gone. They’d arrived about two years earlier, with Brian riding up-and-down laps of Heartbreak Hill just for kicks and giggles….

Bertie was usually racing up-front with Henk, so that may be why he looks a bit awkward in the presence of the middle-to-back-group.

Left to right: Gordon, Craig, Lance, Bertie and Hardy. It looks like a Bikers Anonymous meeting.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222182602_d1e58ee4e1_b.jpg)

Oubones (Hennie D) and Pete. Obviously no need for larger group counselling.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222182382_f8fcd06ee2_b.jpg)

Abel joined us eventually; slow but steady.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223899547_84a871ba17_b.jpg)

I can only imagine what was going through his head. When you’ve had the most technical day’s riding ever, you don’t want to see this…Heartbreak Hill.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223842941_a5fff84463_b.jpg)

Abel is a triathlon athlete though, so he is used to switching between disciples. Mountain climbing and weight-lifting were also part of the skill-set. Translation: walking up Heartbreak Hill with all your biker kit. Lance, the eternal nutter, took Abel’s bike up the hill.

On a bike he’s never ridden before, tackling a hill he hasn’t scoped:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223897192_af1965f6f8_b.jpg)

Apparently the larger Honda was also a lot taller than the Rally he was now used to.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223897092_72c70c15a7_b.jpg)

The rocks appear to coalesce and grow the further you go:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223842866_cd9082d7a5_b.jpg)

The middle section looked bad…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223842781_b98bd8f4f2_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223899157_c245d3cfea_b.jpg)

…but it was the top that was the most problematic.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223898732_acc6405fc9_b.jpg)

A last rocky ridge presented a final fall-inducing barrier.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223899077_d2ce425242_b.jpg)

Lance was not exempt from gravity.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223898967_3e591bc879_b.jpg)

Neither was Bertie.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223898842_26bd9873a7_b.jpg)

Back up and ready to go, on the bump that caused many a mishap.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223842371_9e6c073ed1_b.jpg)

I stationed myself midway, yelling when the coast was clear for the next bike. You wanted an unobstructed run-up here!

Lance made his way down to offer assistance and to capture the moments of mishap by GoPro (the real reason of course).

Next up was Pete.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223897007_223a2fa851_b.jpg)

He made an impressive start, with dust flying.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223898652_2c5b87bbe7_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223898587_d7bcbab0dd_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223898482_e0bda265a4_b.jpg)

Things unraveled at the three-quarter mark.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223841876_f31c7b9185_b.jpg)

It looked like quite a hard fall!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223841776_90a08bf36c_b.jpg)

It was a hard fall. Hard enough to wedge the front brake lever beneath the handguard. In this position, it could not be pulled in entirely. Pete had to tackle the rest of the hill minus a front brake…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223841651_1b7a76d114_b.jpg)

It makes it extremely difficult, because your front brake is your “handbrake”, needed to keep you in one spot while you build up revs and nerves to tackle the next obstacle.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223898107_410fbacb29_b.jpg)

Pete made it near the top, before he bought the next plot.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223841446_36135b7b44_b.jpg)

How to get on without the bike rolling back?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223897912_b197be64fa_b.jpg)

Lance held the bike stationary while Pete got back on his steed. Note that all a biker needs to fix anything (in this case, a boot) is some cable ties and/or duct tape.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223841276_17c8053d12_b.jpg)

A rock blocked Pete’s back wheel…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223841211_6dcaebc938_b.jpg)

…and the bike rolled the moment he left off the gas. (Note Abel making his way up the hard way!)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223841126_280b62f191_b.jpg)

Anyone will be tired of falling at this point in time. There’s only so much punishment a human body and spirit can take. Lance tried his hand at moving the brakeless bike forward. He also had to sacrifice a bit of body/soul to the earth!

The lack of front brake really catches you unaware. I’ve ridden a bike with a snapped-off front brake and no matter how many times you try to remind yourself that you have no front brake, you’ll only really remember when you reach for it.

Case in point: Lance finally reaching the top on the DR and then trying to hit non-existent brakes before he hit Abel’s Honda! He had just enough time to change tack to the back. It was close.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223897607_0782e9f198_b.jpg)

Craig the Camelman was next. He stayed upright and threw rocks at anyone who dared to get close.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223840846_5ebbfbd6fa_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223840761_ea770002ea_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223897317_b69c8cabb9_b.jpg)

Then it was Gordon; the big guy on the big bike.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223840316_07813ea692_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223840236_10ca3b4049_b.jpg)

He got distracted by a rock.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223840211_07bc3ca0a2_b.jpg)

Such a beautiful rock…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223840066_d7d61a12df_b.jpg)

…from any angle.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223896492_ee252b02da_b.jpg)

No-nonsense pose reinstalled and back in business.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223896422_3522908ce9_b.jpg)

He rode this bike as if it was a much smaller object.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223896332_6c15fd11ed_b.jpg)

Nope. Not small. It also moved rocks.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223839751_4d1065fdeb_b.jpg)

Gordon got caught out at the top, as many did, but he was a dot on the footage, so there’s no picture. I think he planned it that way.

Hardy zipped past. I now know the secret to the ease of his riding. He doesn’t ride. He floats on a bike hovercraft. I kid you not. Do you see any tyres on the ground?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223896147_db35dd297c_b.jpg)

Oubones chugged past on the old KLR. No fanfare. No drama. That’s the older generation for you.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223895987_a266ca0dd8_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223839491_508d806771_b.jpg)

A vehicle not from our group headed through. Watching its tortuous journey reminded me just why I’d never want to drive a car here.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223895812_c2dbbed0bc_b.jpg)

The clock was ticking. That 4x4 was one of a group – a group that was getting restless. We needed to move. Lance abandoned his filming post and rode the Rally up.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223894867_0c5587706a_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223839301_c1c60609b4_b.jpg)

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223895437_445fd65dce_b.jpg)

Ian was in such a hurry…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223895372_e241f2aaac_b.jpg)

…that he almost went into a tree! He charted a completely new path to the top.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223838831_715c735372_b.jpg)

Now how to get out of this precarious situation?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223895002_aef7585f37_b.jpg)

Ian was there to undo all the grey hairs the rest of us gave Hardy, through comedic relief.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223895097_7c2623681b_b.jpg)

It was my turn. This is going to start sounding like a stuck record: but I was so very grateful I was on a miniature bike! I would have struggled even on the little Rally.

I even look like I may have skill if the video is paused at very strategic moments:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223894347_947d1f1a6a_b.jpg)

The same strategic pause strategy does reveal some epic failures, but (again) not as epic as the snapshot may have you believe!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223837776_46c157b36a_b.jpg)

I obviously don’t subscribe to Monopoly. No plots were bought, by miracle or fluke. I did need help though on that last stubborn rock bump.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223894167_c9a4ef8a23_b.jpg)

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Bounce:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223894132_ae991cc045_b.jpg)

Stall:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223837291_7940f41f76_b.jpg)

Kobus has a very tall bike, but his super-spidey long legs prevented a tip-over.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223893922_e70076c157_b.jpg)

Is that smoke?
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223893622_a247ece7b6_b.jpg)

There was a last rocky section…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223836956_acf4659df7_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223893167_76674791d8_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223836441_eb70fe2f46_b.jpg)

…before things turned sandy again. Did you know that sand can look welcoming?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223835586_cf44e9a5f7_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223892162_9b040293de_b.jpg)

Whenever the ground turned hard, it was easy to miss the main track, especially since there were a couple of tracks crisscrossing the landscape.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223836161_99e78b54f3_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223892672_78b1283e87_b.jpg)

I’m sure these people know exactly where they are.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223835771_bd4bc6cf73_b.jpg)

This is not working out. Lance instructs us to try another direction.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223891892_fe91483074_b.jpg)

Now where is that road?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223891717_2dc2ac6a49_b.jpg)

Bingo!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223835071_19a5198212_z.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223834876_0fdae39b7c_b.jpg)

The last bit of variegated riding of the day:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223891417_5449524bb3_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223834461_97c907e0d3_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223891057_23d36f7f58_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223834356_4d462a1a90_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223834186_dfbee3691d_b.jpg)

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The grand finale was a sandy riverbed crossing...

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223890037_aca7571213_b.jpg)

…that Lance was more than happy to extend…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223833071_db7fac7377_b.jpg)

…before ending at the big campsite tree…

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…where the front-runners were waiting in their half-naked manliness.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222182217_92aa86b9f9_b.jpg)

Note an object of jealousy during this trip: Lance’s riding shorts. He bought them as mountain bike shorts, but they are made of tough biker-material stuff. He wore them along with soft knee guards and MX boots.

Lance was quick to de-kit. The men get all the perks. If you’re wondering why the men are trying to “cool down” at the fire: they were trying to hide from the muggies in the smoke.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222128401_ba4b869f8d_b.jpg)

It had been a long day…

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…and riding kit was stiff from sweat…

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…but now we were here; at the beautiful Van Zyl’s Campsite.

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We watched the last couple of riders arrive. Gordon’s entrance was the most spectacular, with his big earth-moving machinery.

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Abel’s bike was a bit worse for wear after the day. It picked up some relatively serious damage and was leaking oil.

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The damage to the oil filter cover warped the metal in such a way that it did not seal properly. Hardy and Kobus did their best to wangle a temporary fix.

Aside: Sincere apologies to Abel if the damage was caused by Lance’s fall while taking the bike up Heartbreak Hill!

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There were ablution facilities, but the toilets were no longer functional. You had to go for a bit of a hike to find a private spot for a veldtie. At least the “bathroom” had a beautiful setting!

The showers and taps were functional on arrival. I had a cold-water shower after the long hot day to refresh. Hot water was available though…until later that night, when all the water ran out. We suspect the water pumps were solar powered. No sun = no water.

Lance heading to the semi-functional ablution facilities:
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Despite the lack of ablution facilities, this was still a gem of a spot. I really enjoyed these middle-of-nowhere places.

We feared mozzies, due to the earlier muggie invasion, so we pitched a tent. It turns out we needn’t have bothered. Unlike the muggies, the mozzies weren’t wild out here.

Our digs for the night:
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Supper consisted of good old braai food: wors, chops and salad.

It had been a tough day: 7 hours to cover just over 140 km. Tomorrow’s distance was only 60-odd km. Using the distance-difficulty inverse law, tomorrow will be even harder…

If we thought today was difficult, we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Highsider on July 07, 2019, 03:34:54 am
Wonderful RR.  Look forward to the next chapter.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: dirt rat on July 07, 2019, 06:22:29 am
Zanie and Lance - Thank you for this amazing ride report.I can imagine the time it must take to compile.
It is also one of the few ride reports that actually captures the essence of the technicality of the conditions.
As a footnote I would like to ad that Zanie is the first girl to do Van Zyls and Kaokoland with Specialised Adventures without once handing her bike to someone else to overcome any obstacles.
I think this record may stand for a long time.
Even though only on day five of eleven I think this ride report is heading towards the roll of honour.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 07, 2019, 06:20:45 pm
Thanks for the kind words dirt rat. I hoped to do the road conditions and the area justice. It is a stunning, but treacherous place. We have Lance and his GoPro to thank. Almost all of the 'photos' are from his footage. He also spent a couple of hours doing a quick "prettify" of all 214 photos used for day 5 in Lightroom.

On Van Zyl's Pass, it must be noted that I had a distinct advantage: a 115 kg bike! I also needed plenty of assistance. I don't think I would have survived this trip on a heavier bike.  :o
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Tom van Brits on July 07, 2019, 09:35:34 pm
Awesome RR, I enjoy every bit of it  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 07, 2019, 09:55:25 pm
Thanks TVB.

General comment: It seems that I forgot to reduce the size of the photos before uploading to Flickr. I've resized and relinked all the photos, so the page should load faster now (47 MB of photos, rather than 159 MB).  :o

Two hours of labour later. I won't do that again in a hurry...
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Minxy on July 08, 2019, 08:38:28 am
Thank you for sharing all the photos Zanie, this really brings back great memories. The road looks just as I remembered! My camera bombed out when we were on the Honda Quest and I couldn't get any recording done. I can't wait to show your photos to HSK @Hondsekierie . We really want to go back and do it again soon (on the 500s this time :P ). This is one of the most incredible adventure routes I've ever done at least. It is great to see more people sharing in this magical (and life changing) experience. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: DRme on July 08, 2019, 10:02:19 pm
Thank you Zanie and Lance for a really fascinating ride report. Excellent footage and descriptions. We enjoy sharing your adventurous experience.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Frannarossi on July 10, 2019, 10:09:12 am
Loving this ride report :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: exkdx on July 10, 2019, 08:33:45 pm
 :sip: Fantastic stuff...
Respect to do this tough route (even on a miniature bike :biggrin:)
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Sandvreter on July 11, 2019, 04:02:37 pm
Wow what a great report!
Thanks so much! Am very impressed those photos can be grabbed from the gopro. Hours of footage and you guys made it look amazing.
I have looked at this trip and all the  previous ride reports and the fantastic setup..... for a while and sadly today, after watching the video and looking through the photos again I have to ask, again....everyone EVERYONE is ATGATT.  No helmet?
Van zyls with a cap? Eish
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 14, 2019, 01:58:48 pm
We really want to go back and do it again soon (on the 500s this time :P ).

Respect for tackling the routes on a 1000cc bike. :o I wouldn't have survived. You handle the big beasts in sand way better than I can. I need an enduro bike to make it to the end.  :-\

Thanks so much! Am very impressed those photos can be grabbed from the gopro.

It actually works quite well and, thanks to the ability of choosing any split-second, you can get really fun caught-in-the-act snaps. Lance does some small touching-up in Lightroom, largely to correct the exposure, and then they're ready to go.

I have looked at this trip and all the  previous ride reports and the fantastic setup..... for a while and sadly today, after watching the video and looking through the photos again I have to ask, again....everyone EVERYONE is ATGATT.  No helmet?
Van zyls with a cap? Eish

Each to his own I suppose. This wasn't a fast day and the helmet appeared when the speed went up. I get more cheesed off at the crazies riding at speed on tar, putting others' lives in danger. If your choice only affects you, then I'm pretty mellow about it. My choice, of course, is to ATGATT it up all the time. I've done my time in plaster/splints and on crutches. It's no fun.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: dirt rat on September 04, 2019, 08:26:13 am
Zanie - what's up ? It has been a while.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: stcomza on September 04, 2019, 10:31:32 am

This is truly an awesome RR  :thumleft:

Can we get some more, please  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: LanC on September 06, 2019, 10:56:18 am
Zanie is busy exploring Croatia from a yellow bike perspective. Its amazing where a 50cc 2stroke scooter can take you, everywhere except a steep uphill.

We were almost done with the Van Zyls pass day story and video but then got distracted  by Croatia so will post it later in September when we get back.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: roxenz on September 06, 2019, 02:05:12 pm
Thanks for the outstanding Kaoko RR so far - and enjoy Croatia!