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 went 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 service 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/65535/50026727767_bbd1903886_z.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)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223834071_b4a3eba46a_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223833891_8bbee5ed29_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223890237_9470b760de_b.jpg)

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…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222124867_742a2efcda_b.jpg)

…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…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222181652_f9c3c9915b_b.jpg)

…and riding kit was stiff from sweat…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222181362_1d18b53ca9_b.jpg)

…but now we were here; at the beautiful Van Zyl’s Campsite.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222128221_c41a80c503_b.jpg)

We watched the last couple of riders arrive. Gordon’s entrance was the most spectacular, with his big earth-moving machinery.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48223832831_b42d691289_b.jpg)

Abel’s bike was a bit worse for wear after the day. It picked up some relatively serious damage and was leaking oil.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222127691_8fa797b37b_b.jpg)

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!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222181557_7d2078160a_b.jpg)

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:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222128236_331000ee34_b.jpg)

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:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48222181222_2014b5f89b_b.jpg)

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!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on October 06, 2019, 06:59:11 pm
I must humbly apologise to all those who are hanging out in this cobwebbed thread, hoping for something to happen. Lance and I got hit squarely by Murphy's Law as we returned from our trip.

I had taken my work laptop with to Croatia. Not to do "actual" work, but to work on this RR in the quiet periods. When we got back, I transferred all the files back onto our home laptop (a heavy monster of note, which was why I took my work laptop). Guess which file was the only one that got corrupted during that transfer...  :eek7:

All my choices of photos were preserved (they're stored in a separate folder), but the writing for the Van Zyl's day was gone. Two different types of file recovery software (Lance is a developer/programmer, so knows his stuff) and 4-5 days of recovery effort did not mediate the situation.

An even larger horror awaited: Lance's desktop would not switch on. All the work he had put towards a video for that day of the RR was at stake. Thankfully this situation was remedied. The PC death was "only" a dead motherboard. The hard drives were intact! So... one new PC later, and the video could still be completed from where he had left off.

The delay, therefore, has been on my side, as I had to rewrite day 6. I am happy to report that we are almost done (only some 200-odd photos to quick-edit, upload and link), so the next installment should be up within 2-3 days, barring (another) disaster.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on October 08, 2019, 11:41:40 pm
Day 6: Van Zyl's Camp to Marble Camp (63 km)

Video of day 6:

https://www.youtube.com/v/6E4hAsnPVCc

Today was D-Day; “D” for the “Dreaded” Van Zyl’s Pass. We only had 63km to cover, but it would take us back-markers 5.5 hours. We were to discover that “sand” was not the only four-letter swearword in biker speak. Today, we got acquainted with “rock”. We would have plentiful of both.

Contrary to what the photo below would have you believe, Henk was not checking for skid marks in his pants. Unlike some of us, his skill level meant that his nerves were minimally affected.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866422418_f8a615e7a5_b.jpg)

Oubone’s KLR took one look at the itinerary and decided to dig in.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866941651_56e7d7e67f_b.jpg)

Abel’s bike went one further and pleaded dysfunctionality. Its efforts were thwarted though, through the mechanical skill of the Specialised team, helped by Oubones.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866941596_d6396fe5ac_b.jpg)

The day started with a bang: riverbed sand!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866941131_e2240d732f_b.jpg)
[Photo credit: Jannie van der Merwe]

“I did not sign up for this!”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866421913_52de73410f_b.jpg)

Today’s track had an evil bipolar syndrome. Take your pick: sand or rocks. Actually, you don’t get to pick. You get both.

Sand:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866421888_3a6eac6301_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867139642_f651d30a03_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866940946_2fa7f980ff_b.jpg)

Rocks/marbles:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866940906_11358c049c_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867139552_cfd0ee349f_b.jpg)

We were only 10 minutes into the day, when we reached this:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867140012_99c2ab5a92_b.jpg)

Was this Van Zyl’s Pass? No, just the run-up. Yet Lance found this more challenging than the infamous pass.

Gordon getting assistance from Oubones and Duncan to shift the heavy Honda:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866940766_f72bd6e4bb_b.jpg)

Photos flatten the gradient…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867139452_1da913e466_b.jpg)

Lance: “You’ve got to be kidding, right?”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866941561_fbf8f586a4_b.jpg)

In the photo above, there are two routes down the steep, off-camber rocky section: to the right (as above), or to the left (as demonstrated by Bertie).

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866941201_9c58542e56_b.jpg)

Lance took the route to the right. You can get an idea of the slope, when looking at where Duncan is standing. If you fall to the left, you will fall hard.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866940661_e8c6de9df7_b.jpg)

Hence the three-person support structure, consisting of Duncan, Oubones and Pete. I guess it didn’t help that Lance was on my bike: extra pressure to do no damage.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866422208_8330ed59e4_b.jpg)

Check the fun angle…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866941376_7ab8a94668_b.jpg)

More fun angles, as demonstrated by Craig.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867139872_c402ebea17_b.jpg)

If you must lose your balance, better to do it to the right.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866941266_1aebf70d09_b.jpg)

Check where Kobus is standing in relation to Pete:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866940596_6333ca30ac_b.jpg)

Henk showing us mere mortals how it is done, sans support entourage.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866421533_a93b0bd5d0_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866421458_71b3160c88_b.jpg)

The best 4x4 by far:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867139207_8cc1e64b6f_b.jpg)

Obviously even the local 4x4s find the slope skid-mark inducing:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867139157_dc7c3ee288_b.jpg)

Duncan, with Hardy and Kobus in tow:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867139087_b6ec8157d1_b.jpg)

I received some guidance from the Namibia 4x4 sensei…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866940351_9526659046_b.jpg)

…before tackling the rocks, with plenty of help from Hardy and Kobus.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867139037_30a7c877d0_b.jpg)

You can see why I struggled: Kobus is helpfully pointing out the line, while I only have eyes for one thing – the nose of my bike.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867138997_4674e18dd1_b.jpg)

Oubones demonstrating the correct gaze; no pointing required.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866421133_491668ebe6_b.jpg)

We finally finished “extraordinary rock” and spent a while contending with “ordinary rock”.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867138892_7c73ab3dfe_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866420908_f916a6dffc_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867138772_e951526afc_b.jpg)

Make sure you don’t get bounced to the left here…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866940191_9f91a62351_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866940121_a8db608580_b.jpg)

Interesting downhill:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866940021_a800fa24d4_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867138642_c6b44c2fe7_b.jpg)

Again: It’s a lot steeper than it looks.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867138617_16d08ee4d7_b.jpg)

And bumpier.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866420723_9cfcfddef1_b.jpg)

So many rocks...

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866939871_e7344fdc80_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867138427_97cd1327d0_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867137387_b79d4ca056_b.jpg)

Bounce!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866938611_8c35e0faba_b.jpg)

An “easier” section:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866938561_eb6da410b3_b.jpg)

Engage skill: multitasking. Steep gradient plus corner.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867137247_aa30d39945_b.jpg)

Getting stuck behind a car was a drag. They move a lot slower on the technical bits and it is exactly here where the road usually narrows and it becomes tricky to pass. The awake ones would stop on a wider section and let you go past. Many were somewhere on the spectrum between somnambulant and comatose.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866938486_159b47e140_b.jpg)

Some more rocks:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866938446_feccbb74c9_b.jpg)

Momentum is your friend here. Pick a line. Any line. They are all equally bouncy.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867137112_82b3575fc8_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866419013_aea6f36af1_b.jpg)

Lance kept nagging me to put my feet on the pegs, but I’m not yet confident enough to face some of these obstacles minus foot-paddles.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866938201_4b35e25435_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866938171_76bb6504a0_b.jpg)

On our way to the Van Zyl’s view point:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866938121_ed0bf4c184_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867136887_8bdb4239b6_b.jpg)

We found the benevolent providers of cold Coke from the previous day.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866418838_486b27a6ce_b.jpg)

Along with a spectacular view:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866938036_d941d2480a_b.jpg)

Happiness is shade:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866418778_d1e3db0207_b.jpg)

Our happiness was short-lived, because an entire armada of rent-a-4x4 arrived. We did not want to get stuck behind them again, given the hard work in getting ahead of the zombie parade, so we set off.

We had a short respite from rocks, where I could actually look around and enjoy the scenery.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866937986_df819a1df1_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866937906_d8036680de_b.jpg)

It didn’t last long.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866937886_8874700704_b.jpg)

Rockiness reinstalled…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867136597_6576ba53be_b.jpg)

…with super-sized marbles as a non-optional extra.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866937816_5d99308582_b.jpg)

Some took it in their stride. Hennie “Hare” R passing the pink tortoise:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866418498_36842b35e5_b.jpg)

With guidance from my other bike sensei (Lance), I learnt the one-foot dab, rather than the double-foot paddle. In trying to get my feet on the pegs, every small improvement must be celebrated.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866418483_1a8fd839dc_b.jpg)

A dramatic back-drop for the drama to come:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866937701_dd2aafb62e_b.jpg)

When checking out the road ahead, you will notice a small group of bikers. They are waiting at the spot where the road simply drops away into space.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867136422_8b93252a90_b.jpg)

We had reached the step of Val Zyl’s Pass.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867136347_f6450c8ca1_b.jpg)

It doesn’t help the nerves any that there’s a rolled car on the slope to show you what could go wrong.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867136387_d7396cd017_b.jpg)

The slope is very steep, with a nasty right-hand bend. If you want to fly, carry a bit of speed here. That is, if you don’t mind the dying part. Of course, there will always be those that make it look easy. Henk and Hennie showed us how it should be done.

Henk:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867136212_89d365a397_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866418208_efba72deb7_b.jpg)

Hennie:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867136322_a71db00369_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867136257_048e7aaabd_b.jpg)

Ja, right! There’s a whole lot of “nope” going on here. We weren’t exactly clamouring to be next. Abel, as the newest off-road rider, drew the short straw. It was amazing that he was on his bike in the first instance on this day, but he was advised by Hardy that if he did not do Van Zyl’s, he (Abel) will regret it for the rest of his life. It was sound advice, especially given that he had a team to help him.

Abel at the start of the step:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866418058_a7c6ddeafa_b.jpg)

The XR650L is an incredibly tall bike, which means that tip-overs are almost guaranteed if you are trying to paddle down an uneven surface. This is where the Specialised team steps in.

Hardy preventing a tip-over to the right:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866937266_2a374ecb95_b.jpg)

Hardy and Kobus helping out:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867136047_324f74bbbb_b.jpg)

In this way, a bike can be walked safely down the scary section…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866417923_051d7bf81d_b.jpg)

…even if a rider’s feet cannot reach the ground.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866937166_2389712a43_b.jpg)

I had a much lower and lighter bike, with years more experience, yet I needed exactly the same assistance, so kudos to Abel for tackling Van Zyl’s.

My nerves were in overdrive here:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866937336_59dd245836_b.jpg)
[Photo credit: Henk Goedhart]

Paddles everywhere, but no ground to touch!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866418148_7d9b0ea553_b.jpg)

Unlike Abel and me, the rest generally only needed assistance at the top of the first section. “The rest” excludes Brian and Bertie, who were probably a million miles in front at this time.

Gordon on the big beast:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866939801_e099be3e90_b.jpg)

You had to use the berm on the right-hander bend to avoid space-flight.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866939776_bc111a08bc_b.jpg)

And a healthy dose of stopping power:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866937106_766aa1303f_b.jpg)
[Photo credit: Henk Goedhart]

Craig managing, despite the mismatch in bike height and leg length:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866939721_25460da2c7_b.jpg)

Put your left foot in…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867138252_80eea630a6_b.jpg)

…put your left foot out, and shake it all about.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867138192_e2f6bed0e8_b.jpg)

Ah, stuff it! I’ll just hang out here.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867138107_158e016091_b.jpg)

Hardy using his refrain for the day: “Use the berm.”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866939526_788c2fe5c5_b.jpg)

Pete almost having a front wash-out, because – of course – you need to stop for a photo/video!

“Wait!”
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866420188_f38ea99162_b.jpg)

The point of release:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866420148_52268a25f4_b.jpg)

Fly free, biker!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866420088_056032fd02_b.jpg)

Edge-avoidance engaged!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866420068_49daf0c886_b.jpg)

Duncan on his green machine:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866939176_6f771e8243_b.jpg)

A narrowly-avoided tip-over:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867137747_742b3a9381_b.jpg)

I wonder what would have happened to Ian if Duncan had not changed direction.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867137692_e09d2117f6_b.jpg)

Oubones:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867137657_406442d19d_b.jpg)

The next sequence was amazing due to the sheer speed of Ian’s response.

Ian still pointing in the desired direction of travel, while Oubones has ideas of his own:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866419728_2639f91e28_b.jpg)

Ian realizing Oubones is not taking his advice:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866938891_8216fbc165_b.jpg)

A pronto pick-up:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866938841_e4ba207754_b.jpg)

“As I was saying, go this way.”
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866419543_09e5a4e97e_b.jpg)

From start to finish of the above sequence: 9 seconds. The bike hadn’t even switched off!

“Now go that way. Please refrain from further rest stops”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867137432_915c5b4041_b.jpg)

If you want to know some inkling of the Van Zyl’s fear-inducing factor, you need to see it from a bike’s cockpit. So here it is, from Lance’s point of view.

A seemingly impossible slope, with people disappearing into tininess in the distance:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867135837_8bdf38238b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867135787_8255eedbc9_b.jpg)

Loose stuff on your right to add to the list of do-not-go-there options:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867135747_d9421cb077_b.jpg)

Advice from one side, while others with cameras are waiting for an interesting result:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866417593_60cbbb4dd9_b.jpg)

No interest was supplied, in this trouble-free run:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866939276_d7e9f4636c_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867137847_3c604e107d_b.jpg)

No direction indications or blocking motions from Ian. “This one seems to know where he’s going.”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866419983_6281e952f7_b.jpg)

We had tackled the worst of Van Zyl’s. Only ordinary-level scariness remained.

My bike, obviously traumatized, went into a deep sulk. “You take me on this crazy road?! Fine! I refuse!” At this point, with plenty pass still ahead, my bike died. It would start. It would roar if you pull on its ear. But it would not idle.

Lance’s advice: “Ride it like a mountain bike. You don’t need an accelerator here.” True that. The step is over, but the slope remains.

Note the road in the distance on the left…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866936931_2abe0f1d48_b.jpg)

Hardy and Lance kept an eye on me during my attempt at free-wheeling, using the clutch to move forward and the engine to brake:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866936896_c716f5f130_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866417463_049921da23_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866417393_bbc2222305_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866936736_5e9d2dd0a3_b.jpg)

I’m sure Henk had not bargained on a pink bike traffic jam in the middle of nowhere.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866936651_1318d28503_b.jpg)

We stopped on the first flat section, where Hardy took a look at the ailing patient. He showed me how to drain the carb float bowl, as well as to give it a couple of solid taps with the back of a screwdriver to dislodge whatever was blocking the flow of fuel.

It worked. At least, temporarily. From this point onwards, I carried a screwdriver, in order to do a tap-and-drain procedure when necessary, because the bumpy riding would reposition whatever was causing the blockage. I also had to remember to close the fuel tap while stationary, because it sometimes leaked fuel, thanks to an overflowing carb float bowl. I can only surmise that Van Zyl’s caused my bike to piss itself!

Impromptu bike repair workshop:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866417313_615308d221_b.jpg)

Diagnosis and repair done in less than 4 minutes, we were back on the beautiful road. Simple technology. Simple issues.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866417288_01ba03fffe_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866417253_2a88a9d79a_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on October 08, 2019, 11:43:02 pm
Day 6 continued

It wasn’t long before we were met with the next (road-related) obstacle: some off-camber goodness…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866936471_b08ffd343a_b.jpg)

…mixed with a bit of incredulity.

“You want me to ride down…where?!”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867135302_fc57903c63_b.jpg)

“But there’s no road here!” *Waves foot in air.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866936371_3964763b85_b.jpg)

Lance’s only guidance: “Just pick a line.” Repeated a couple of times for emphasis.

Doing the one-foot-on-brake and one-foot-as-paddle technique:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866936296_1b3e4f990b_b.jpg)

This slope is crazy steep, with some rocks and loose surface thrown in for good measure.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866417053_9941a33341_b.jpg)

Lance’s words when he finally reaches The Edge: “Oh, I see what you mean. It's rather bad here.” Ya right, it’s bad here!

I’m already a dot on a vanishing slope:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867135127_9691e3ef19_b.jpg)

“Just pick a line.”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867135077_3c0fd168fc_b.jpg)

Back on a slightly more sane level of slope:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867135017_740b0ba677_b.jpg)

What a stunning backdrop!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866936086_735f0a2f35_b.jpg)

If I recall correctly, Pete was taking a break due to cramping. This pass really takes it out of you.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866416888_ffa0d0172a_b.jpg)

The last stretch of the slope, with five rent-a-4x4s at the bottom (additional to the batch we left at the look-out point):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867134902_04f9a0d1f5_b.jpg)

Mercifully, there were shady trees for some rest and recuperation after the Van Zyl’s ordeal.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935881_d7886c915d_b.jpg)

High spirits after completing the pass:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866417828_7e28e61e40_b.jpg)

We witnessed some donkey abuse, as some local boys tried to get a donkey to move off the “path”. I’m sure it would have moved of its own accord eventually and I really wouldn’t have been able to ride over it. My suspension isn’t good enough…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867134727_b5ebf4c8bb_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866416618_b0f2a5b880_b.jpg)

The road from this spot couldn’t make up its mind whether it wanted to be rock or some weak semblance of sand, cycling between the two.

Rocks:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867134642_83a3bb5503_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866416413_3fd8914be9_b.jpg)

We saw a huge heard of running springbokkies after the cows pictured below, but the GoPro didn’t really capture it well; just an essence of movement rather than a clear picture.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867134482_19cfeb8cd6_b.jpg)

Sand (of the very tame variety):
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866416498_0cab18dd21_b.jpg)

Dust plume at low speed:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866416528_2ab86d406a_b.jpg)

Guess which one is faster:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866416458_c21b44a810_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935481_77fa5ee497_b.jpg)

The only time I saw most of the people: when they went flying past. To be seen again in the next episode of Shady Tree.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935421_450f0ef435_b.jpg)

By the time we reached Marienfluss, the road made up its mind: sand it is! In spades.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866416313_a4fb9106e5_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935386_f8520c6639_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935346_9e2bf63b35_b.jpg)

The landscape was of the stop-and-stare variety, so that is what we did.

Lance:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935911_27da374d48_b.jpg)

Pete drive-by:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935341_5784c9593b_b.jpg)

Hennie drive-by:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867134242_bb95ba943c_b.jpg)

We were faced with a seemingly endless plain of red sand.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867134207_0e2b3f55db_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935196_3092f31931_b.jpg)

The lighter the colour, the harder the work:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935181_5aec81cd2d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866934846_4065a31f6f_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935046_be7839d847_b.jpg)

Hmm. I think I’ll choose the left-hand lane.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935161_dc9e435c54_b.jpg)

And, yes, I know you have to try to stick to the track as much as possible, but that’s easier said than done when you’ve had a hard day’s riding and the path looks like this:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866415923_fb76c49899_b.jpg)

I had the smallest, lightest bike, so I could still cope up to a point. The others had fuel tankers or a disadvantageous power-to-weight ratio.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866416053_823141e8e5_b.jpg)

Even I had my limits.

Stuff this! I’m out.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867133812_83a7533ded_b.jpg)

Are we there yet?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867133782_94288f68d5_b.jpg)

Where’s there?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866934891_2ddc994b0d_b.jpg)

The heat and the sand was taking its toll. It created magnetic bushes.

Object fixation almost-collision with a small bush:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866934871_4356039cc2_b.jpg)

Seeking shade from the bigger bushes:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867133612_a1b1f53116_b.jpg)

I saw Lance stopped up ahead and slowed down. Deceleration plus sand plus lack of concentration from a cooked brain equals bike push-ups.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867133647_56af6fb769_b.jpg)

Shade would be a good idea right about now, but there’s no three-bike shade tree for miles.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866415698_4c01e4a6bb_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867133562_2aaf9b53bb_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866415553_bb1eea4ff4_b.jpg)

A note on these trees: they’re tough. Very tough. Don’t think that a branch or even a smallish-looking twig will give way when you brush it. In the case of these shrubs, if you are heading anywhere near one, you brake or else you break.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867133202_ca0793393a_b.jpg)

And then we found it: multiplayer shade trees! With everyone else.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866415338_40e02b8989_b.jpg)

The back-up vehicle arrived shortly. By this point, it had gained an extra passenger: Abel. Today’s sand was heavy for a newbie. At least he still got to ride his bike; only, it was strapped in the back of the vehicle and he was seated on it! Unfortunately no photos of this spectacle; only the trees-sprouting-bikers spectacle:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866415283_0fdc163642_b.jpg)

In the vast nothingness of northern Namibia, a red drum becomes a notable landmark. Actually, there’s quite a story attached to this red drum. The very first version was put there by Ben Van Zyl (the infamous pass’s namesake) to store fuel. I don’t blame him. We didn’t see a fuel station for 5 days straight on this trip and would have been in trouble if not for the fuel on the back-up vehicles.

The initial drum was stolen by a local tribe. Perhaps an attempt to make their donkeys run faster? Actually, no, it was to carry water for their cattle. Go figure. Chris Eyre replaced the drum; this time devoid of valuable commodities, riddled with holes and weighed down by sand. A prankster installed a non-functional telephone plus a take-away menu, but this was vandalised.

More recently, the drum is also serving as a memorial of Jan Joubert, a nature conservationist who mapped the 4x4 trails of Namibia and lends his name to Jan Joubert koppie and (it seems) two passes: Joubert (Rooidrom) Pass and Jan Joubert Pass near Opuwo.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866935146_80cdec7b5d_b.jpg)

Sand was over…for this day. We were back at Rock, starting with mini-marbles.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867133102_626c9ed3c9_b.jpg)

Less-than-stellar suspension meant I had to stand quite a bit. My legs were protesting towards the end of the day. Lance didn’t help, with his ravings about the Rally’s very plush cushioning.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867133037_cd257f7782_b.jpg)

Behold! The new pink jack-in-a-box!

Semi-up:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866934101_8166c8d523_b.jpg)

Down:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866934051_420f2f92bb_b.jpg)

Up:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867132822_22e922c5ce_b.jpg)

Down:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866933681_7a88fb9acb_b.jpg)

Up:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867132437_dca70b9470_b.jpg)

Ok, my legs can’t take these squats anymore. Better just to stay up.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866933881_73e02b43d4_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867132647_065bc3ffe1_b.jpg)

This landscape was so wow.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866933686_bb24f34711_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866933536_aa007b59c5_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867132387_7a293f330f_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866933356_7c413f3941_b.jpg)

About 15km from Rooidrom you reach the colloquially-named Rooidrom Pass (marked as Joubert Pass on Tracks4Africa). It is incredibly rocky.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867132237_9b52061c85_b.jpg)

I was going too fast for my skill level, not giving my brain enough time to compute all the dimensions in this 3D universe. In the photo below, a white dot near the top of the field of view is my helmet, with head and body attached, in a horizontal position.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867132137_5dd4f0a5c6_b.jpg)

My front wheel had climbed up the right-hand embankment and I was thrown to the left. “My front wheel.” I make it sound like it’s the bike’s fault, when it was my own!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866414273_d83cc75ae1_b.jpg)

I tried getting up, but it was one of those falls where you actually have to sit for a while and take inventory of the hurting bits.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867131992_362e253a44_b.jpg)

It was my hardest fall of the trip and, despite the ample padding we ladies have installed on our derrières, I developed a technicolour fist-sized bruise on my hip over the next couple of days. My left hand marks the spot of sizeable discomfort:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867131887_27d525ac65_b.jpg)

Pete hurried over to help, offering to give me a hand up, but I was still taking inventory, so I directed him to pick up my bike instead. If left horizontal, it will vomit fuel from its breather tube. As you can see, my bike’s got a bad case of petrol-gastro today: fuel from both ends if you’re not careful.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867131762_9f5ae5e574_b.jpg)

I told the guys I’d be ok. Therefore, while my ouch was transitioning to a more acceptable level, they could focus on another problem: Pete’s bike. It was rather stuck.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866932876_547b3c49ce_b.jpg)

Pete had managed to wedge his rear wheel between the only two smooth rocks on this pass, and his energy levels to shift the bike were at a low ebb.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866932831_f3d390feae_b.jpg)

Eventually Pete’s bike was extricated and he could be on his way. Unfortunately we didn’t get any footage of him tackling the last bit of pass. Lance switched off the GoPro when he thought he was switching it on. Sorry Pete!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866932676_5e948172a4_b.jpg)

By this time, I was ready to get back on my metal horse.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866932656_76b0f641af_b.jpg)

The remainder of the pass was perfectly manageable at a trundle.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866413683_73974d5dc3_b.jpg)

With assistance rendered and his pink charge in one piece, Lance set off, against an amazing landscape of stark, spikey beauty.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867133517_d40c2ed9ca_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867133462_d0f7374aee_b.jpg)

The last bit to the top:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866413863_3d4d2d8e64_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866413613_41b5c952a0_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867133342_e4a563057c_b.jpg)

The last stretch of riding was beautiful and bumpy. Thanks to the slower speed and aching legs, I just sat through it all. But it was truly lovely.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867131237_e25d22e65e_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867131127_d2e078f971_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866932151_3977ed20e0_b.jpg)

Involuntary direction change:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866931976_2d0a03f876_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866931831_d63a552be0_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866931736_9676e4786f_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866931606_2449abfa46_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866412783_49fb0cd9d4_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866412723_126db9ffe5_b.jpg)

Interesting spikey rocks:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866931466_f53a48104a_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866412473_305c092534_b.jpg)

So…my bike’s suspension cannot be that bad, if I can sit through this. Or maybe I was just going slow enough.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866412368_f3d24a0d58_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866412318_2bc1b41e0a_b.jpg)

Instead of marbles, we get slabs. Rock pancakes anyone?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867129907_93f91598f7_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866412048_edff6c02de_b.jpg)

So much view…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867129782_7562ff637a_b.jpg)

This bit was weird. It didn’t really look like a road; more like rock and compacted earth that has been worn down by tyres over time.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867129652_0538793656_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866930671_3664e13cbb_b.jpg)

The split to the left apparently heads to the old marble mine. At least, that was the general consensus from the guys. The mine is not active, because it is not financially viable to remove marble from the middle of nowhere.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866411673_24e02808bf_b.jpg)

It was sometime after 3pm when we rolled in to Marble Camp.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866411618_8bd805a236_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866411523_2b611734b8_b.jpg)

It had been a long day:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866930341_e56a1fd71f_b.jpg)

Yet the riding was incredibly rewarding. I cannot believe the places we got to see and ride and the type of terrain that our bikes can handle!

The Specialised team made sure that all their human charges survived the day. Whether all the bikes survived was another story. Abel’s Honda was the worst casualty, with a severely dented fuel tank that was also broken off its mountings. Little did we know at the time that Abel had some dents to match, which would develop into awe-inspiring bruises over the next couple of days.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866411063_8e7a561667_b.jpg)

Oubones’s KLR had lost its home-made bash-plate, fashioned from a bait board, and – as mentioned previously – mine had picked up a dirty carb issue. The final casualty, would you believe, was Hardy’s bike. The after-market foot-pegs’ quality left much to be desired.

Foot-peg number one:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866411273_af03163338_b.jpg)

Foot-peg number two:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867128682_b8fe5afde0_b.jpg)

Thankfully they had a spare pair, which was installed by Kobus:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866930076_759f21150f_b.jpg)

In general, most bikes were still functional and repairable. Abel’s Honda needed a bit more time and ingenuity to fix, which meant that Abel won’t ride tomorrow. I think he was glad at the idea of an enforced rest day.

Lance and I visited Camp Hennie and Brian, where I hoped to gain their riding skills through proximal aerial osmosis. No luck there, but at least we met a new furry friend.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48866410883_0abc4fcc44_b.jpg)

And so ended a monumental day; sharing war-stories around the campfire.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48867128862_a6b2e07793_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Monkey#13 on October 09, 2019, 05:26:11 am
Thanks for taking the time to write such a thorough report. The video really displays the difficulty of the terrain in a way photos never can! Awesome to have Specialized Adventures to "unlock" this experience for mere mortals. Most people will not get to experience such an adventure unsupported.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Plaasseun on October 09, 2019, 08:22:55 am
Awesome!!!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: P.K. on October 09, 2019, 11:27:29 am
Thanks Zanie
Lot of time and effort to put this together.
This should be recommended reading for anyone planning on doing this route on their own or unsupported: certainly doable, but not for the faint-hearted.

My second trip through Kaokoland, and certainly not my last.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Roxtar on October 09, 2019, 03:33:58 pm
Awesome read, thanks for the effort with all the pics  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Snafu on October 11, 2019, 09:23:36 am
Absolutely worth the wait!!!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: MRK Miller on October 27, 2019, 04:33:08 pm
Now we await the rest in agony :laughing4:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Straatkat on October 31, 2019, 11:52:52 am
Thanks Zanie, appreciate all the effort you put into this RR to document the fabulous adventure we had.
Title: Rje: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: MRK Miller on November 04, 2019, 11:47:47 am
Just wondering Zanie, are you guys ok, sins nothing has been added for a while now. Did not feel as if we reached the end of the ride. Really hope you and Lance are ok. Anybody got any news
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on November 04, 2019, 12:44:01 pm
Just wondering Zanie, are you guys ok, sins nothing has been added for a while now. Did not feel as if we reached the end of the ride. Really hope you and Lance are ok. Anybody got any news

We are still alive and well, despite the silence. ;) We're both forum lurkers (not really active outside of RRs and planning a ride) and life has been crazy-busy. We try to fit in ride report time in the late evening hours.

I decided to track time spent in compiling photos and writing for one day: it's running at about 14 hours already for day 7 and I have not yet started the writing (only created photos from to GoPro footage and currently working through them, deciding which ones to use out of the list of 1500-odd pics).

So, despite the silence, I will not abandon this RR. There are still a couple more epic days left! I promise it will get done, but it will take time.  :-[

Random: To my mind, day 7 was the most beautiful.

My second trip through Kaokoland, and certainly not my last.

If I could have my way, this trip will be institutionalised in my annual calendar!

Awesome to have Specialized Adventures to "unlock" this experience for mere mortals. Most people will not get to experience such an adventure unsupported.

This. The chance of doing such a trip on our own is miniscule, because you will either have to carry all required goodies and fuel (I don't think the pink bike's subframe will handle it) or find a friend willing to drive back-up and able to tackle those routes by car.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: MRK Miller on November 04, 2019, 07:03:58 pm
That is good news. Take your time, it will be worth the wait. Dit not want to push you, just a bit worried, because of the long silence. Will be on the look out for the contuniation of your report.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Bottelboer on November 06, 2019, 01:49:44 pm
Whata nice report, love the photos, excellente! When can we do it also this route? My brother was in the army at a base in Kaokoland, Sesriem, that was his backyard in a Buffel APC.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on January 02, 2020, 11:02:18 pm
Day 7: Marble Camp to Purros (107 km)

Video of day 7:

https://www.youtube.com/v/PoSVkUBcqbE
[Credit: Lance. These videos represent a huge amount of effort..]

The new day revealed classic bike trip scenes.

Wash-line tree and bike:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577822_321e8160d6_b.jpg)

Morning maintenance:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302879873_21ce34803c_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577747_e93deed90b_b.jpg)

Today’s ride will be longer in distance than yesterday’s, which counterintuitively means easier riding. Those of us who hadn’t done this ride before did not know that we were in for a feast for the eyeballs – mind-boggling vistas await. Speaking of feast, a hearty breakfast of toast, eggs and sausage ensured we were ready to conquer the day.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302879783_5e21ce0077_b.jpg)

Since we were in the middle of nowhere and there’d be no particular lunch stops, we were given lunch packs. We had these on a number of days on the trip. It may look like war rations, but I was never able to finish all of the energy-dense bites and built up a sizeable collection of snack options as the trip wore on.

Today’s snack pack:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365866_718547e225_b.jpg)

We left camp minus one biker. Abel was not riding due to his busted fuel tank mounts (a temporary fix was wangled later). Yet by the end of today, we’d be minus another biker.

Gordon heading out on one of the numerous road options:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365816_0752886ed0_b.jpg)

It’s fun to find these split-second bounces on the footage. Mini-wheelie!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365766_1b993e18c4_b.jpg)

The haze ahead is the faint remnant of the front-runners.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365796_0a4d4739b2_b.jpg)

A thumbs-up from Kobus as he checks on the slower section of his flock.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302879653_a7295f46f0_b.jpg)

White sand became red and the horizon jumped back into the far distance as the trees retreated.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302879528_0c7fb21300_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577502_fc460bf2f4_b.jpg)

Lance taking the route more travelled.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302879628_38d0493491_b.jpg)

The dot on the horizon to the left was obviously in search of flatter track.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577552_0aff6228de_b.jpg)

Two dots. Biker-ants in a red landscape.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577467_214aed3990_b.jpg)

Dots in detail.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302879573_bf7ed16d7a_b.jpg)

I prefer sand over this: corrugations!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365641_6e23932c4d_b.jpg)

The universe listened. You now have two options: sand or sand.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365616_b07f4114ba_b.jpg)

Or maybe you like pebbles?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365576_354d3721dc_b.jpg)

We met up with the rest of the group at the quintessential Namibia pit-stop spot: shady tree.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302879433_4351115b4c_b.jpg)

If you dared venture from the shade toward the nearby koppie, you could meet one of the mysterious locals.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365551_5ca77a1d47_b.jpg)

The story behind these stone people is that someone, no-one knows who, created a number of them, drawing from local materials. Each of these ‘lone men’ is numbered, which has led to the conclusion that at least 30-odd of them are around. Whether they have all been found is another mystery. People tend to upload pictures, but don’t spoil the ‘treasure hunt’ with GPS co-ordinates.

No reward is for free. Therefore, before we reached the land of Spectacular Views, we had to face the river of Spectacular Sand.

Henk plunging into “the river”:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302879388_ce8cf53d46_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365461_3da1686d5e_b.jpg)

You need to keep a reasonable speed to remain upright…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365441_84a53af151_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577172_6c29f77c48_b.jpg)

…and also a reasonable speed to be able to stop when you come across some tall, four-footed traffic.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365426_8416824637_b.jpg)

The problem then is how to get going in the sand!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302879273_422c223cb6_b.jpg)

Gordon has a lot of bike to get moving, but a lot of skill to match.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577217_2d02e183f0_b.jpg)

Giraffe ride-by:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365326_05e6a2f548_b.jpg)

We spent quite some time in the riverbed. Whether time was proportional to distance is another matter. I was very glad I was on the smaller, lighter bike. It made it more manageable.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577137_957ac05077_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302879073_ff187baa48_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302878768_f90b010ece_b.jpg)

We found small stretches of fesh-fesh, recognisable by its strange yellowish colour and puffy dust.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365091_b6cf55040d_b.jpg)

It wasn’t all sand. Sometimes we’d get some pebbles thrown in for fun.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577027_f6ce42f2e7_b.jpg)

The most difficult surface for me was a mix of sand and rock. How do you ride this stuff?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577162_f0d4b39b25_b.jpg)

Beware of focusing on the track too closely. There are also those pesky objects called trees.

Duncan fighting with foliage:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577012_f4c854b9f5_b.jpg)

The sand caught Lance unawares on one corner.

Beyond the point of no return:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365126_2c4de99cbe_b.jpg)

A riverbank rest:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576932_8dda5368bb_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365026_f78e2d4346_b.jpg)

Some riverbed ride-bys:

Duncan on the green machine:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303577102_93f1056600_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302878843_cd313ab1ea_b.jpg)

Ian:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576822_031f618cf1_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303365176_2e2153a175_b.jpg)

Me:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364976_2d8583f857_b.jpg)

Bertie:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302879013_593351155b_b.jpg)

I am very sad to report that the above is probably the last bit of photographic evidence of Bertie by bike. He decided to retire from riding after this trip.

Explanation after this intermission of scenery:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302878728_83a040a8a2_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576757_38c6531528_b.jpg)

In the picture below, you can see a ditch running from the tree to the road. The road curved slightly to the right just before the ditch. Bertie went straight. It did not end well.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302878703_37519ab864_b.jpg)

Bertie was car-bound for the rest of the trip, with a very sore shoulder. When he finally got to a doctor, 5 days later when back in South Africa, he found out that he had a bad spiral fracture and had to go for surgery. He runs the risk of losing the use of his arm if he crashes again, thanks to all the pins. His work requires full use of both arms/hands, hence the decision to retire from biking.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576692_4a80b7c6b9_b.jpg)

Everyone regrouped at the top of a hill with a view.

The dots are cars:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576732_e40ea0613f_b.jpg)

Summiting the hill:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364826_ec2538b27f_b.jpg)

Lone Honda with a view:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302878613_9df5ec3549_b.jpg)

Three versions of Honda, all equally cool (I’m biased, since two of them are mine):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364741_af40fcec30_b.jpg)

We got fuel and water from the crew vehicles.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364801_e5c4c309b4_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364711_a819cb9789_b.jpg)

It was the hottest day of the trip so far, with temperatures hovering above 38°C, so we did not tarry long on the treeless hill.

Heading onwards, down the hill:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364696_6d397447c3_b.jpg)

Back to the riverbed for a short while:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364666_4d31e271e2_b.jpg)

Riverbed highway:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576572_4f741a56c6_b.jpg)

And then we were out in the open, alongside a whole herd of giraffe. They look incredibly strange in such an open landscape. Why not hang out in the trees? Unless scary things are hiding there…?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364621_42a50415fd_b.jpg)

Skirting the (sinister?) trees on a sandy tweespoor:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302878473_0acc50a0b4_b.jpg)

When rain falls in Namibia, as demonstrated days earlier, it appears to be in the form of a single cloudburst on one extremely lucky patch of land. That would explain the random patches of green within a landscape of burnt brown.

Green!
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302878393_2cabbd90e4_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576477_82fd8e8b93_b.jpg)

Jump for joy at the colour:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576497_8d3eb46a5d_b.jpg)

The green ended as abruptly as it began, and we were left with brown again.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364536_16f325ec65_b.jpg)

Trees and shrubs still add green colour accents:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364521_612043dbcc_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364471_8582f6517a_b.jpg)

Disappearing accents:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576397_6c080c763c_b.jpg)

Note the little ball of dried leaves below. It hides an aardvark hole. Hit this at your peril.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364481_019b3528a6_b.jpg)

The hill below is a lot steeper than it looks. Lance warned me to keep up my speed.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364451_4f9307ff37_b.jpg)

Climb!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576262_5228d30e3c_b.jpg)

Spot the two biker-dots to the right:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302878253_fee92751b5_b.jpg)

Lance and the Hondas at a scenic view stop:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576212_f88cf99587_b.jpg)

Hardy, Kobus and Brian:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364401_52044dd1e7_b.jpg)

We continued riding along a ridge, with amazing views on either side.

I wonder if that is the "Horse with No Name" from our evening campfire ballads...

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302878173_05c15faca6_b.jpg)

The ridge:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302878143_2b4d1385af_b.jpg)

Back on the lowlands and back in sand:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364376_6bd15b1f0f_b.jpg)

This is an incredibly harsh landscape, as demonstrated by one of its victims.

Dead thing to the left:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364351_0d97b881fd_b.jpg)

All I can make out is that we were welcome:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302878088_3d2faf14f9_b.jpg)

The structure closest to the road may or may not have been a shop. The place looked desolate, regardless.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576082_536b84af4b_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on January 02, 2020, 11:04:20 pm
Day 7 continued

I’m not sure how to describe what followed next. “Stunning scenery” just doesn’t cut it. You crest the rise and it’s like a physical blow; an emotional sledgehammer to the chest that stops you in your tracks. I literally had tears in my eyes. No photos can do it justice. You need to be there; in the experience.

Duncan doing the stop-and-stare:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576057_5b7be8fe6a_b.jpg)

Lance taking it in:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303576027_7e71b92dc0_b.jpg)

A Lone Man on the top right, forever frozen in awe:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364206_4e4df2209c_b.jpg)

Red and yellow colour contrast:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364191_2d743fd8bf_b.jpg)

The road was as interesting as the scenery – lots of bouncy rocks.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364166_8175063493_b.jpg)

Bike dots up ahead, doing some more of the stop-and-stare pastime:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303575917_d66a05c057_b.jpg)

Absolute magnificence:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303364136_a03749d4de_b.jpg)

People were giving the landscape its due, through a more reverential pace. That may explain why we were riding with people I usually didn’t see outside of camp and the shady pit-stops!

Henk:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877828_927f58a0bb_b.jpg)

Brian:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877848_e2530aa32a_b.jpg)

A warm-hued pallet of yellows, brows and reds, topped by a bright blue sky:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877788_420b1dc29b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877758_787cb01c16_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303575772_8106b8c371_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303575752_5af2b8f4b1_b.jpg)

Zero pollution allows crisp visibility, from the red mountains nearby, to where the mountains take on the blue tint of the sky.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303575737_0ce48863ea_b.jpg)

So many colours:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363956_6e6a2c556d_b.jpg)

Henk with some interesting scenery textures:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877658_1cd38205ce_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363911_bf78587943_b.jpg)

So much awesomeness…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877593_2e36d2c8ce_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303575642_f4199d14e4_b.jpg)

Since we were stopped for scenery-viewing quite often, it made for good ride-by picture opportunities:

Oubones:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877568_b8bd18e898_b.jpg)

Craig:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363836_95641dd202_b.jpg)

Ian:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877513_cbcfe3761b_b.jpg)

Pete:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363791_cc4b4b50b3_b.jpg)

Me:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303575542_5037bf2cac_b.jpg)

The sensory overload was not yet over. Nature decided to sprinkle rain here at some point, adding a green wash over the red.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363756_463cf162e6_b.jpg)

I could count 7 biker-dots in the original-sized version of the photo below. The furthest two are lost in this one. The two white dust clouds on the left may give them away. Duncan is the nearest dot.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363716_b04113150c_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877438_b39a417379_b.jpg)

Dots Henk and Oubones:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877418_4cd8f2e93d_b.jpg)

Even something as big as a giraffe turns into a dot in this landscape. So there you have it: we spotted a spotted dot.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877378_8d19ed02fb_b.jpg)

Duncan:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363681_12620373f7_b.jpg)

Gordon:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877348_f3964ae453_b.jpg)

We took the appearance of trees as our usual cue to stop and shed some kit. It amazes me how quickly some can get dressed or undressed. Oubones transformed magically into full civvies, complete with shorts and slops.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363671_fd15af18b9_b.jpg)

We were either in or near a riverbed for the next while. The surfaces and scenery was varied and interesting.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877298_ca25b9b98f_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303575352_b71d3f6fce_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303575317_98e2d51d0c_b.jpg)

A steep hill with deep sand required speed to make it to the top.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363601_2939ced663_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303575277_e27670faa1_b.jpg)

Sandy nothingness:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877188_2de1fc1554_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363531_89052b9d3e_b.jpg)

A view-point hill:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303575227_b57abaf66f_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877153_05468ef2ce_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877128_d724c5932b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877108_3340cee9ef_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363406_a0d1afc4a7_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363391_21f9facfe2_b.jpg)

Even the cars looked small from here:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877053_fc4b54beb3_b.jpg)

Back down the hill…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302877033_c249ea4652_b.jpg)

…and to the river valley with its greenery.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363301_6908271391_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363281_7238c9f263_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302876973_035677b34a_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303575027_04d60358da_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363226_a67e75e2c6_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574727_9a1ceb48eb_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574697_cf54922a4f_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362976_431234dc06_b.jpg)

There were signs that we were not alone. It added food for thought as the road weaved in tight curves among the bushes.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574957_fe24d75a06_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574682_281b4c6467_b.jpg)

Where’s the damn road? Oh. To the left somewhere.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302876693_665cc3047a_b.jpg)

Craig in the dust:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302876923_d713473ae3_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574977_a0f43353cf_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574792_0ed2ef8509_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574912_9be59f3223_b.jpg)

I never stopped to think that it was strange that Craig, a.k.a. Mr Camelman (so dubbed by the group), was riding at the back with us. Hardy did notice however. I hope Craig doesn’t mind me writing about this, but it shows how aware your riding buddies or ride leader must be as to whether anything seems off. Our Mr Camelman started this trip with a monumental mission from the Cape. He hadn’t run out of skill; he simply “ran out of juice” – riding slower and more prone to making mistakes. The sandier surface was not helping. As a result, we stopped quite often; each bunch of bikes booking a shady tree.

Oubones and Pete, with cameo by Lance on foot:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574892_e46f1d1509_b.jpg)

Me and Craig:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574872_088387ca4a_b.jpg)

Hardy and Kobus, looking after the back-markers:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302876838_9fb040f4be_b.jpg)

There were more signs that ellies were near. Or, as some of the group believed, signs that Hardy was very busy with his imported elephant dung and footprint stamps! I guess if you’re blasting past in front, you might not have a chance to see the pachyderms and may well start to think that they are fictional.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574842_06cbeeaf13_b.jpg)

Oubones was also struggling in the sand, but for a different reason: he was trying to keep the KLR’s revs below 3000 in order to preserve oil. The bike started burning oil recently – suspected buggered piston rings.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303363071_7c9398cf60_b.jpg)

A rare sight: actual water in a riverbed!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574637_5029920ee5_b.jpg)

A lot of pointing and gesticulating alerted us that there was something interesting to the right. Sharp eyes had spotted two bigger-than-normal grey dots in the riverbed. Unfortunately a GoPro is not designed for zooming, so you’ll have to take our word for it that the elephants were indeed not fictional.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574607_db7fea31ff_b.jpg)

Heading off again, from our sunburnt tree viewing spot:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574592_be4d5d421d_b.jpg)

Modern plumbing is so rare here that if it does occur, it is broadcast via signboards. You could also be forgiven for thinking that the other commodity (shady tree) was also at hand, but it turns out it was “800m”, not “boom” (tree).

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302876483_1846bde3f7_b.jpg)

The riverbed threw everything it had at us: rocks, mud, sand, sand, sand…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362841_8498471e25_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574427_97b66d41fb_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302876443_d382dbdbc6_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362821_dc685b0f43_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574487_1b4a05f935_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574347_f9872babd5_b.jpg)

Choose the wrong line at your peril:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362816_46fd2718dc_b.jpg)

I did so, and it looked very ungraceful:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362776_b293e09eb3_b.jpg)

Pretend you did not see that…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362756_43be850733_b.jpg)

After consultation with Craig, Hardy directed us on a less sandy detour, in order to preserve remaining strength and decrease the chances of a sandy mishap.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362616_8a01624f1c_b.jpg)

Taking the high road:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302876393_59dda02749_b.jpg)

Once out of the riverbed, we were back in the land of vistas…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302876348_a934a320a7_b.jpg)

…complete with four giraffe-dots (not all visible below); three of them running.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362571_6b17d92a91_b.jpg)

The views as we neared Purros Community Campsite and Bush Lodge:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574182_9f1e373715_b.jpg)

Look carefully at the picture below. See anything interesting? There’s a line of huge spoor…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362476_bfdcfb4cf9_b.jpg)

Hardy pointing out the elephant tracks, just in case you miss them – which we usually did, when focusing on the further vistas.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574097_083c384b82_b.jpg)

You really hope you don’t bump into an ellie here:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362326_71a955ea05_b.jpg)

The campsite and lodge was situated at the edge of a sand field.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303574042_23fc6aa356_b.jpg)

There were some bungalows, but we would still be camping, although we were allowed to make use of the bungalow bathrooms – score! Bertie was upgraded to a bungalow, due to his bad shoulder.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302876068_71cd9e6d0a_b.jpg)

It was eerie knowing that elephants were not the only big game in the area – there were lions as well! Hence the parking of our bikes in a “wall” formation. Not that it would have made one iota of difference if a hungry lion happened by – it was all psychological.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362306_0162839cd7_b.jpg)

Due to being late arrivals, we had missed some other key moments of the day: Ian learning to ride sans clutch-lever after a fall at one of the mud crossings, and Gordon – sans fuel – abandoned unwittingly by his comrades to 1.5 hours of desert heat, before being rescued and treated to beer at a local tavern.

Abel and Bertie’s bikes were off-loaded from the Cruiser, in order to free up the vehicle for human transport:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362181_65e825658e_b.jpg)

Our last treat for the day was a ride/drive to Jan Joubert Koppie. Most of us piled into the back of the Land Cruiser, while a few die-hards went by bike: Brian, Duncan and Gordon (swapping his heavy Honda for Bertie’s light KTM).

This is what happens when you have a green KTM: it is such an unearthly aberration that it defies the laws of physics by creating a dust plume in front rather than behind.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362116_a768b506f6_b.jpg)

We stopped on the first koppie, rather than Jan Joubert Koppie proper. Bertie was riding shotgun in the Cruiser and his shoulder could not take any more rattling. The view was stunning nevertheless.

Lance with the view to one side:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303573792_b31018732a_b.jpg)

Me with the view to the other side:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303361956_903aa64b8e_b.jpg)

View minus people:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303362046_8a6b4119f8_b.jpg)

View with people (and bikes):
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303573737_bb2a3fd489_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303573662_c39957fc40_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302875678_fb9e779218_b.jpg)

Gordon enjoying the KTM:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303573572_f5b35b9d52_b.jpg)

It was magic. We may have missed the sunset, but we got to see an (almost) full moon rise!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303361801_c6ef976215_b.jpg)

The trails on the way back to the campsite were a criss-crossed labyrinth. A wrong turn and a ditch resulted in our ride wallowing on its belly.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303573432_998c9df7d7_b.jpg)

We disembarked and used the opportunity to enjoy the night sky, while heads were scratched and plans made.

Gordon with legendary lighting:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302875493_5bde131518_b.jpg)

Some trial and error highlighted that this vehicle was going nowhere on its own steam. Hilarious comments while earth was being moved by spinning tyres and we were enveloped by a dust cloud: “Why are we standing downwind?” “Have you guys showered?”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303361721_93f63ae967_b.jpg)

Help arrived in the form of the other Cruiser, and the stuck vehicle was promptly unstuck.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303361631_c095ece270_b.jpg)

Even more hilarious comments to round off the rescue episode: “Can we try again?” and “Kom ons gaan drink wyn!”

I concur with the latter! What better way to end the day than by a braai fire with a glass of wine.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49302875443_31bf5398b5_b.jpg)

The ghostly moon kept an eye over us, as we settled down in our night-sky-view beds.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49303361556_3c74e10dd7_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: dirt rat on January 03, 2020, 07:40:15 am
No offence Zanie .The fact is that the effect of Kaokoland is cumulative.
It is not so much any particular day's riding but the combination of successive  days.
Good place to leave your ego at home.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: chopperpilot on January 03, 2020, 07:53:41 am
Great keeping the memories alive Zanie and Lance!

I realise again what a privilege it was to ride Damara- and Kaokoland.

No need to rush the RR!

Sent from my FIG-LX1 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on January 03, 2020, 09:36:39 am
No offence Zanie .The fact is that the effect of Kaokoland is cumulative.
It is not so much any particular day's riding but the combination of successive  days.

I agree and I hoped that this was what came across in the telling. If not, my apologies. Many days riding can wear you down and you had more than most.

Good place to leave your ego at home.

Definitely! Kaokoland can catch out anyone for any reason. It wore down people and bikes - the people seemed to be more resilient than the bikes! I think the only reason I was still ok was because I was on a smaller bike. Any heavier and I'd start having problems relatively early in the ride (probably the day before Van Zyl's).

I realise again what a privilege it was to ride Damara- and Kaokoland.

It was truly amazing and I am hoping I have enough leave and convincing powers to go back.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Dwerg on January 03, 2020, 11:11:00 am
Not going to lie, I also had a bit of a helmet cry on that ride down to Puros. Simply amazing
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Offshore on January 03, 2020, 12:07:54 pm
A very comprehensive RR, thank you for sharing. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Rooies on January 03, 2020, 02:30:53 pm
Thanks for a great report, @Zanie :thumleft:
After stumbling on this report in December I promptly booked and paid deposit for the May episode, can't wait!  O0
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: MRK Miller on January 06, 2020, 07:13:16 am
So sorry that i pushed you to write on, but that is such a amazing place, having also experiencing it even if it was on a 4x4. If only i had known about adventure biking then. But that does not change the fact, that people like you, and all the others who do such excellent ride reports, with so many pictures and videos, allow me and people like me who for various reasons are not able to go there at this time, to experience this and other awesome destinations, eg Malawi Angola, Namibie ext. My excitement just got the best of me for a bit. Will try to not rush any one again :biggrin:. But thank you for awesome report.

Then just What action cams do you use
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on January 06, 2020, 10:16:23 am
Not going to lie, I also had a bit of a helmet cry on that ride down to Puros. Simply amazing
I understand why Kobus made a complete life and career change after experiencing this side of Namibia. I've never felt as I did after this holiday. It was hard to adapt back to 'normal' life.

After stumbling on this report in December I promptly booked and paid deposit for the May episode, can't wait!  O0
You won't regret it!

So sorry that i pushed you to write on
No worries. Actually it's good to have this motivation, or else the RR can so easily get relegated to the back-burner. It's also nice to know that people are still reading.

Then just What action cams do you use
Lance is better-suited to answer this question. I think it's the GoPro 7. The image stablisation on this camera is next-level. Lance recently switched video-editing software. Earlier videos were made with Hitfilm; the latest was made using DaVinci Resolve. The latest video was also colour-corrected, which means the colours should look less washed out than the previous videos.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Dustman on January 06, 2020, 03:43:21 pm
Dankie dat ons kon saamry. Dit was besonders.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: MRK Miller on January 06, 2020, 04:40:05 pm
It is nice to share memories and adventures with the family.. The idea is to inspire the young ones. Not much on tv anyway, and o i forgot our tv does not work, accept when plugged into labtop, or dvd player 8). Working on my own report at the moment, so i have a idea of  how it goes, although i only have a few pictures, and don't have to edit so many video
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on February 02, 2020, 07:46:14 pm
Day 8: Purros to Khowarib (181 km)

Behold! Our bike line-of-defence against the lions held. Or, more likely, the snorers kept the local pride at bay with their own roars.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477355667_e37cf37d65_b.jpg)

We live another day. And a glorious day it was.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476649348_807c399848_b.jpg)

We had not seen civilisation or shops for days now. The older bread was turned into yummy rusks, to compliment a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and leftover steak and onions.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476649373_83351ed572_b.jpg)

We were handed our lunch ration pack (picture on the left below). This supplemented a veritable stash from previously uneaten goodies (picture on the right). You won’t go hungry on the Specialised trips.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477355447_de1907e10f_b.jpg)

The camp was abuzz with activity.

An efficient packing production line:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477133606_9aec21edce_b.jpg)

Make every space count:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477355237_3e1ebd5403_b.jpg)

Ian switching to a tyre with more tread:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477355492_b603293b46_b.jpg)

The team managed a fix for Abel’s bike’s busted tank mounts. Yet he did not ride today, either because the bike still had gremlins or because we were going to face desert sand later in the day.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477133821_be5db92a81_b.jpg)

Abel did not feel like adding to his already-spectacular bruises. We were shown the damage today, and it was something to behold.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477355272_a1dd789e35_b.jpg)

All the bikes queued for a fuel breakfast; obtained from the Specialised Team’s storage tanks.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477355397_1ef9e740a5_b.jpg)

Bertie’s bike was drained of fuel, to supplement the available fuel for those still riding.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477133641_7aef011401_b.jpg)

Bertie still managing a smile, despite the circumstances:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477133451_7c338b50db_b.jpg)

The rest of us also had something to feel sad about: we were to skip the Purros Canyon section of today’s ride, due to the presence of a grumpy elephant called Jabu. “Jabu” means happiness, which is ironic, considering that this Jabu is not someone to be trifled with and gets highly pissed off if anyone shares his space too closely.

The day started with a bang: sand.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477355177_080752ed01_b.jpg)

Mmm. Chocolate flake.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477133376_f657481440_b.jpg)

A huge dust-puff indicated where Gordon came up short – at the point where the hard surface turned soft again.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476648908_e008163545_b.jpg)

A huge dust puff – this time voluntary:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477133296_95dbd09d2a_b.jpg)

In the photo above, you can see a steep sand bank we needed to climb. Gordon powered his huge beast up the sand wall. Lance almost didn’t make it on the Rally.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476648823_c246992439_b.jpg)

We regrouped before setting off again across plains of nothingness.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476648808_4fb10a34cd_b.jpg)

Henk treated us to a wheelie, which was brave, considering the potential for ego damage. As Lance pointed out, “If he wiped out there, it would have been on camera, in action.” Oubones’s bike was getting sicker by the day (see inset in photo below). At this point in time, it was being fed intermittent tots of oil.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477354907_0c7373e6bf_b.jpg)

Eye candy (I’m referring to the desert landscape, not whomever random biker happens to be in front of me!):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477133166_6007ea39e1_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476648688_5b74a006ae_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476648653_581c2070b7_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476648628_c3cc291ae1_b.jpg)

In many respects, today was like yesterday: hot (38°C and above) and beautiful.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477354707_ec101f1bb2_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476648518_9391981813_b.jpg)

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477354502_a559c1b234_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476648308_d384bc2e38_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477354447_4f0023175c_b.jpg)

There were some rougher sections to add interest:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477354307_ced1ab4d55_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477354577_7db02a069d_b.jpg)

Oubones in a landscape:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477132761_8f2e86ab6d_b.jpg)

Then there is the daily dose of ‘shady tree’. I still find these photos amusing: many bikes and people clumped together in the one shady spot.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477354372_20a8f3a07a_b.jpg)

The road shifted back and forth between gravel and sand, preparing us for the desert section ahead, all the while providing a stunning backdrop.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477132611_7c24b8c65f_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477132551_55d163162a_b.jpg)

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477132396_86f434b634_b.jpg)

Wherever the road ventured into an area that may have shade, you had to keep an eye open for livestock…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476647818_2fa88276bf_b.jpg)

…and sand…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353987_a5d8f51b50_b.jpg)

…or both.
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353947_88a055d785_b.jpg)

An eerie landscape:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353907_c1f8510a7f_b.jpg)

“Are you getting this on camera?”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476647683_f18193762f_b.jpg)

And then the landscape shifted to red desert.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476647643_fbb4e4086b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477132101_9103902a3b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477132066_45d72f6eb3_b.jpg)

Bikers look very small in such a place.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477132046_361fc8af0c_b.jpg)

I’m not sure what occurred here. My diary notes are not forthcoming. Ian looks a bit despondent. Whatever it was, it was resolved.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353672_0c85db5cbe_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353657_f7f1ba69e4_b.jpg)

The others didn’t seem too worried.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353617_9c0eae5cf4_b.jpg)

Let me never forget the terrors that sand used to induce in my being. The difference imparted through TITS (Time In The Saddle) and a smaller bike amazes me.

I still don’t get things right. I don’t know why, but I tend to “waltz” in the sand. I’ve learnt to ignore whatever the back of my bike gets up to. It doesn’t affect my nerves anymore. Lance’s rejoinder: “How do you know it’s not wrecking my nerves?”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353597_bf8662c7af_b.jpg)

His other quip of the moment: “This is Zanie cruising at 60 km/h in the sand. I wonder how it feels to fall off at 60...” I don’t want to know. Both of us were out of action for 4-5 months thanks to lower-speed falls.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353562_20ac64820d_b.jpg)

More desert shots:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476647388_c83d753261_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353472_cc9c22f96f_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476647308_bf255b8d9f_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476647343_0f05cf4e58_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476647248_4366edce3c_b.jpg)

We were soon back in “the land of the (sparse) tree”, which meant livestock. We spotted small groups of goats and sheep, which were followed by a dusty mass of sheep. Lion King stampede scene, eat your heart out.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477131726_d9d42f303b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353352_33541dabdb_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353322_cf2cbd94eb_b.jpg)

Like an animal Tour de France, they came past in large pelotons. This was peloton B:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353262_4c73face41_b.jpg)

Each race has its stragglers:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353212_587db813f9_b.jpg)

Hennie R plus landscape:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476647023_56a0ff7d8c_b.jpg)

Even the cattle took what shade they could get:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353142_bac6a22ff5_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476646943_4705668ab0_b.jpg)

The road kept changing colour, between red and grey.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476646903_14827dfe3d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477353027_9505db9e18_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477131356_7617706222_b.jpg)

There were texture changes as well.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477352922_fb65fe2f98_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477352852_ab3e27b077_b.jpg)

In the mountains:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476646728_72b8b1234c_b.jpg)

Bike to the front and rear:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477131176_7134cc8946_b.jpg)

My head was constantly on a swivel, checking out the scenery:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477131151_4e3e97cb87_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477352727_b508ea13a3_b.jpg)

I took most of today at a very chilled pace, to take it all in.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476646563_e4afd4acf1_b.jpg)

The two dots ahead were lonely cattle, heading who-knows-where.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477352602_855e415967_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477130921_1b2c28c24d_b.jpg)

Amazing:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477130891_7da68d046b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476646383_76064424cb_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476646323_b4d86c1662_b.jpg)

A green patch, evidence of fickle rains.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476646263_de3dffe94e_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477352272_223fae9023_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477352262_4151d437c6_b.jpg)

We stopped at Sesfontein to refuel. This was the first substantial town and the first fuel station we saw in 5 days! Our last fuel stop was in Opuwo, on day 3 of the trip.

Lance snuck into a turn-off without me noticing. He should know better, considering my sense of direction. I get these directions through the headset: “Go left and backwards”. That would be interesting to behold. Bikes don’t come with reverse gear, dear.

The red sign below, sandwiched between two buildings, is hard to make out, but it is advertising “selling tyres”, with “we” added as an afterthought, just in case you’re not sure who is selling tyres. It’s like the universal “they”.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477352157_f4020c7599_b.jpg)

On our way again:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477130551_8041f1b15c_b.jpg)

Gordon checking on us:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477130556_25c6fd49cf_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477352047_484e6fe78c_b.jpg)

The sky was gathering itself for a storm tonight. These clouds were the first recruits.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476645993_3c1b94f53d_b.jpg)

We were back at Khowarib Lodge; a place we visited briefly on the third day of our trip. Lance stationed himself at the causeway that caught out Ian last time, but everyone took it carefully and no further drama was captured.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477352032_6b42d4a259_b.jpg)

We would be in Khowarib campsite for the night. The lodge’s pool was at our disposal, thanks to Hardy’s arrangements. A couple of us were more interested in a nearby natural pool, complete with waterfall. Therefore, shortly after arrival at Khowarib, Hennie R, Brian, Pete, Duncan, Lance and I headed off again.

The road to the waterfall appeared to be of ordinary sand/dirt, but the yellowish colour and thick clouds of hanging dust after gave it away as fesh fesh.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476645903_35b68e2b3a_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477130161_67a86945a0_b.jpg)

Better to stick to the edges.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476645783_9602743899_b.jpg)

There are hidden holes, covered by fine dust. Pete hit one of them here:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476645688_3b48575c2d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477130021_aa1c60d755_b.jpg)

The road wasn’t the only hurdle. The local dogs here mean business. Lance’s chirp on the headset, concerning the dogs: “Have they got you? Did you kick it in its head?"

I think it’s possessed…
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477130291_6c437507df_b.jpg)

For some or other reason, the fan on Duncan’s bike decided to go on strike. He eventually turned back due to mechanical sympathy and the desire to keep the KTM’s innards at medium-rare rather than well-done.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477351597_ba635a0879_b.jpg)

The sky was looking ominous:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477129841_432f545d17_b.jpg)

The view from the parking spot:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477129806_daca4ea299_b.jpg)

It’s a bit of a slog walking down all these stairs while wearing 4kg of boots:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477351367_448ee00259_b.jpg)

The pool has a wooden deck (to your right) and a waterfall (out of view, on the left):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477129591_2b9184e217_b.jpg)

The water was crystal clear.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476645178_d740033f6b_b.jpg)

There would be a full moon tonight. The guys pre-empted this and gave us two for the price of one.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476645228_15ffae92de_b.jpg)

A local young lady and her toddler son arrived just before we left. As usual, the personable Brian starts a conversation. He always likes to learn more about whomever he bumps into.

At one point, he asks where all the other locals are – why don’t they use the pool? From the lady: foreigners won’t swim there if the locals use it. Brian asks why. The response, given in unemotional language, contained the word “ugly”, while she pointed matter-of-factly to her skin. That is a sad indictment of society. This lady truly believed she was ugly. Brian took pains to tell her she was indeed beautiful.

I cannot imagine what would happen if the tables were turned. For example, if the foreign kite-surfers flocking to Cape Town’s beaches right now for the Red Bull King of the Air competition wanted the beach and ocean unsullied by locals for the 3-4 weeks they are in the area…

It was getting late, so we bid farewell to the pool.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477129411_0f05ba388a_b.jpg)

Though we had to admire the view first, of course.

Lance and Hennie, looking timeless:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477129436_d68cda4d22_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476644858_8738bb4a76_b.jpg)

Brian setting off:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477350947_38299228bc_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477129336_7aa955f013_b.jpg)

Rainbow on the left, sunset on the right:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476644718_d3fe4b523c_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477129186_292985612c_b.jpg)

Sinking into the fesh fesh:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476644673_837ea343c4_b.jpg)

Brian, Hennie and Pete disappeared into the distance. Lance stuck with his snail.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477350612_ea788de2f6_b.jpg)

I’m glad I had my headlight fixed before the trip. A lone figure can be spotted in the distance below. I always wonder where such a person is heading, especially this time of night and in this seemingly middle-of-nowhere place.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477129021_1eedcde698_b.jpg)

A friendly fire eventually signalled our arrival at camp.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49476644503_ccf7d0d64c_b.jpg)

A couple of people were keen to ride the Khowarib Schlucht (gorge), a 4x4 trail. Hardy warned of the crazy fesh fesh that can be encountered on this route. I was intrigued, so I hopped on to the back of Hardy’s Cruiser, along with Lance, Hennie R, Pete, Brian and Gordon to have a look at this infamous track.

It seemed that the recent rains had an impact, because no soft stuff was to be found, though you could see the yellow-coloured earth that is its creator. In the photo of our night drive below, I included an insert of what the place can be like.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49477128946_75f74ca1a6_b.jpg)

Hennie R, Brian and Henk will tackle the Schlucht tomorrow. The rest of us bowed out. Gordon was worried about his bike’s ground clearance. Lance and I wanted to survive for an upcoming dirt bike trip through the Transkei.

Back at camp, we had a supper of mince curry and rice. I am really partial to curry! You could see a storm on the horizon, with the odd flash of lightning. Lance and I did not feel like being woken up by rain or mozzies, so we pitched a tent, with flysheet. It felt horribly muggy and confined, given that we’re now used to the under-the-stars arrangement. We needn’t have bothered, because the storm remained far away, turning a different patch of Namibia green.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: XRBradman on February 02, 2020, 08:03:03 pm
Stunning. Going in May.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Rooies on February 02, 2020, 08:31:26 pm
Stunning. Going in May.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

See you there :thumleft:


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: DRme on February 03, 2020, 08:41:12 pm
Very good quality photos, Zanie.
What camera did you use?
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: chopperpilot on February 03, 2020, 09:18:51 pm
Such wonderful memories! Thanks again for the ride report effort, Zanie and Lance. It's highly appreciated!

Sent from my FIG-LX1 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: sidetrack on February 04, 2020, 09:51:41 am
Fantastic riding terrain  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on April 20, 2020, 08:27:37 pm
Day 9: Khowarib to Twyfelfontein (251 km)

Video:
https://www.youtube.com/v/neln7Q5H1uE
Creator: Lance

The magical moment of moonset, just before the sunrise:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798766987_9b6a8e2f0e_b.jpg)

Our transport-cupboards waiting patiently outside the tent:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798766667_f520608226_b.jpg)

The fall on Rooidrom Pass three days ago had left its technicolour mark:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798461166_1b9d7df727_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798765672_47b76f5873_b.jpg)

The bikes were also slowly starting to exhibit their own aches and pains.

Duncan’s KTM no longer had a working fan, which meant he had to avoid slow riding and labouring of the engine – basically keep to gravel highway.

Oubones’s KLR’s oil consumption was getting progressively worse as the trip wore on. By now, it was chugging a whole litre of oil per 100km!

While the KLR was turning oil into blue vapour as fast as it could, Abel’s bike simply cut out the engine middleman; shedding oil directly into air via the leak it picked up during a day of crashes four days ago. By now it was a common sight in the mornings to see the crew try to improve the situation. Unfortunately bent metal just does not lend itself to the function of a perfect seal.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798461486_4f0ef0d94f_b.jpg)

Not to be outdone, my little Honda leaked petrol whenever stationary, unless the fuel tap was closed. I had taken to carrying a screwdriver with me, which I used to tap and/or drain the float bowl every now and then, in order to try to dislodge the impurity causing the blockage. Yet the roads were so bumpy that the offending speck (later found during a post-trip service) would just shift back. The best course of action was simply to shut the fuel tap whenever I wasn’t actually riding.

Breakfast was served in its usual prompt and scrumptious format, alongside military-precision cutlery.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797907203_d82ba1b881_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797906803_d40f21957f_b.jpg)

Brian, Hennie R and Henk had left early, as they were tackling the Khowarib Schlucht. The plan was to meet up with them at Palmwag Lodge. The rest of us had a far easier route, which meant that we could take our time during morning preparations. It was past 10am by the time we set off into the red landscape.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798459931_7aeba3459f_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797906133_6a1d9d236c_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798763642_d59d07b3a6_b.jpg)

A rather odd speed limit, considering the dead-straight road and open horizons:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798764587_60a306ec45_b.jpg)

We have left the absolute middle-of-nowhere behind, reaching slightly-left-of-centre-of-nowhere; evidenced through the availability of a miniature fuel station.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797905883_a689125a6c_b.jpg)

All of us regrouped at Palmwag Lodge, just past lunchtime. We met a die-hard foreign couple with an extraordinary tale to tell. They had bought two bikes (I think DRs?) and rode from Cape Town to Namibia. The girl got hit by a car; breaking her wrist and writing off the bike. Undeterred, she hopped on to the back of her partner’s bike and they continued their journey. At the slippery causeway near Khowarib Lodge, which had caused hilarity for us on day 3, the guy crashed, dislocating his shoulder. They sold the last bike to cover some medical expenses, but were continuing on their holiday!

Bertie with the crazy couple:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798763977_34d31cf540_b.jpg)

From Palmwag Hotel, you can take gravel highway all the way to Twyfelfontein. Lance, on the other hand, planned to join Hennie R, Henk and Brian on yet another off-the-beaten track escapade, following the Aba-Huab River.

I really wanted to join, but Hardy said my bike would not cope in the heavy river sand. Lance later mentioned he wished we had swapped bikes, since the CRF230’s power-to-weight ratio is far better than that of the 250L Rally. My bike can cope. Perhaps it was Hardy’s diplomatic way of saying I wouldn’t cope. Rather blame the bike!

Nevertheless, I would have slowed the guys down a lot. Lance didn’t have any worries about whether I’d make the sand and he has the patience of a saint. His reasoning for my taking the easier route was this: I cannot do an “elephant turn” and he was worried about elephants.

Therefore I had to bid Lance goodbye; watching him disappear down a really interesting-looking rougher track. I had a bit of a fear-of-missing-out helmet cry, but my sombre mood was lifted somewhat when the gravel highway showed that what it lacked in interesting surfacing it made up for in beautiful views. Lance and his GoPro was not around, so I stopped many times to take snaps of the scenery.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798762097_1b946b3a88_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797902593_1d1554df88_b.jpg)

The vast area lends itself to panoramas.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798761562_554d836ebe_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797899833_2f5939922a_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798757517_0658c99d20_b.jpg)

Oubones was my riding buddy and therefore became the bike-for-scale feature in quite a few of my pictures.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798760617_48904186c1_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797901508_9bbec9038b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797899438_0560d8f191_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798450681_fc5a9e83fd_b.jpg)

Henk, Hennie, Brian and Lance’s route took them past Namibia’s version of suburbia.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798763462_273962fcb0_b.jpg)

Complete with waving fans.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797904693_651fec6d03_b.jpg)

The route varied from rocks to sand to anything in between.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798762797_f69da636cd_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798457656_5e2d898e5a_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798758327_4aa22844d3_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797902323_99052f6f9d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798760302_8a96255305_b.jpg)

Portraits of Henk:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798456911_d1fe72eb2e_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798454846_6ea3f2f051_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797900833_3725cf00c2_b.jpg)

A red landscape:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798456426_937ed7727b_b.jpg)

Forever view:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797900478_88bdf55510_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798453866_811819f03f_b.jpg)

Rest stop:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798757812_454598fcb1_b.jpg)

While the start of the route tended towards stones, most of the remainder was sand. Lots of sand.

It started as sand with grass:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798452746_302a3346a3_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797898693_0a3e1189ef_b.jpg)

Then standard sand:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798452461_62933347e1_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798452286_4de99f8f76_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797898208_599c2a3e84_b.jpg)

Then riverbed sand:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798452151_7e1bcddb70_b.jpg)

25km of it…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798756527_e8a30853d7_b.jpg)

Sand highway anyone?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798755972_8c9e33423d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797897253_87730ffbdc_b.jpg)

Add signs of elephants, just to keep you on your toes:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797897868_6fc65132d2_b.jpg)

Then add multiple choice:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798451451_64bbebf6b2_b.jpg)

And some fesh fesh for good measure:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798448041_0022d54308_b.jpg)

It was interesting listening to Lance’s commentary as he ploughed through the sand, which included:
“Blinding white. Can’t see a thing.”
“I’m getting out of breath here.”
“Sjoe! This is hard work.”
And, towards the end: “I'm exhausted.”

No grey multi-tonne locals were seen, but there were locals of the smaller variety.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797897018_290cc70264_b.jpg)

Introductions were made, but I don’t think the kids believed Brian when he introduced himself as Rambo.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798450511_306b62f05b_b.jpg)

Local intel had it that 21 elephants were in the area the previous day! The kids asked: “Aren’t you scared of elephants?” Rambo’s response: “Elephant is scared of me!”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798754582_b6856e2ed5_b.jpg)

It pays to make friends, because the kids mentioned a dam where you can swim. They ran ahead, leading the way.

Lance was in such a rush that he forgot his neck brace, but one of the older kids (can you believe he is only 16?) brought it for him.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798753982_671f1c81ac_b.jpg)

Brian (a.k.a. Rambo) entertaining the kids:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798754182_b68884df35_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797895108_533deed40c_b.jpg)

Happiness on a hot day:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798448896_0cc16a58e6_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798753747_aefc5876db_b.jpg)

As a fair trade for the swim, the guys gifted their remaining snacks, before heading off once more.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797894963_8f6b1999b1_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798752867_ddef82f26d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798447571_50df76c733_b.jpg)

Henk obviously still had enough energy left to play around:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797894443_d3d92c0a5d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798751957_9a7002e744_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798751762_499c01385c_b.jpg)

Eventually the crazies joined us normal folk at Twyfelfontein Country Lodge for drinks.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797892993_3dd387876e_b.jpg)

It was still hot enough that even the birds were panting.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797893973_863764d109_b.jpg)

Bertie making friends with a feathered local:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798751042_85bcc2b3ec_b.jpg)

We won’t be staying here tonight, but we made use of the facilities and view.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797893318_da7da5c4ae_b.jpg)

Interesting staircase:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798750607_3c1674e40f_b.jpg)

Eventually it was time to head off:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798446006_9a75813bfd_b.jpg)

But not before a mini-safari:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798750327_930e84fc4b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797891798_b9ba2cd0d1_b.jpg)

We were heading to Twyfelfontein Community Camp.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798445001_43b0612cc5_b.jpg)

Same as yesterday, we ended up riding in the dark.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798749767_aca67d61bc_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797891323_fa0d85b01d_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798749562_cfea99aae2_b.jpg)

The reason you should not be speeding while riding in the dark:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798749407_e8e6b73e8e_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798749327_8fc28e7058_b.jpg)

Shortly after our arrival at camp, Hardy came to talk to us. I thought it may be due to our late arrival, but it was actually because Hardy felt bad that I could not join the afternoon ride with Lance and co., and he hoped I could see his reasoning behind it. I could – it was for the best. Hopefully one day I’ll be back and fast and skilled enough to join the crazies in the sand. Meanwhile, I have the perfect training ground in my backyard.

After our supper of ribs, pap and sous, Ian took centre stage and had us paralytic with laughter.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797890168_124dd3a3be_b.jpg)

Most of the hilarity will forever be tied to that moment in time, so any attempt at translation will be lacklustre in comparison, but here are some snippets:

On supper: “Best food you’re ever going to eat. You’ll be well-fed for the lion.”

On our lunch snack-packs: “You’re up in a tree, chased by a lion, and all you can do is throw jelly babies at it. Everybody should be issued with a weapon.”

When asked how he managed to obtain the blisters on his hand: “I fall, but I know the exhaust is nowhere near where I am now. But the whole weight of the motorcycle is on my left hand – it took about 4 seconds to pull it out. The exhaust was on the other side, but I forgot the engine’s been running most of the day… It’s like a double-plate gas cooker.”

On Hardy’s trips in general: “All you people that are watching this: don’t come here, he’s gonna kill you. Hardy likes this group. He’s decided not to have any of us taken out. I mean - all he says when you get back to the camp is ‘The guy hit a tree.’ Meanwhile he was paid to get rid of the chap. If you don’t have an XR there’s a good chance you won’t make it home.”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798443876_38340f99fe_b.jpg)

Eventually it was bed-time. There were no threatening thunderstorms, so we were under the stars again – my firm preference!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49798748322_dc24b6411e_b.jpg)

Oubones’s KLR survived this day, but a true test was to come tomorrow. We were going to push bikes far beyond the limits of possibility, the KLR in particular...

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49797890873_8c2f72d670_b.jpg)
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: dirt rat on April 22, 2020, 07:30:39 am
Surely one of the most detailed and comprehensive reports ever.
This report deserves to be moved to the Roll of Honour section.
Thank you Lance and Zanie.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Lem on April 22, 2020, 01:43:46 pm
Dit was nou werklik iets besonders  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: P.K. on April 22, 2020, 03:08:22 pm
Surely one of the most detailed and comprehensive reports ever.
This report deserves to be moved to the Roll of Honour section.
Thank you Lance and Zanie.

My sentiments exactly Craig.

I too am doing the lockdown Ride Report boogie.....getting some serious Kaokoland fever.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: weskus on April 22, 2020, 04:00:05 pm
Lekker Zanie & Lance, one of my top 5 special trips during 2006 on my Dakar as well. Definitely time to go back again.. well done on this detailed RR
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on April 22, 2020, 07:03:13 pm
Surely one of the most detailed and comprehensive reports ever.
This report deserves to be moved to the Roll of Honour section.
Thank you Lance and Zanie.
Thanks for your kind words. I assume Lance and I will need to finish it first to stand any chance! Plenty time now during lockdown for writing, so it shouldn't take months for the next installment ;)

I too am doing the lockdown Ride Report boogie.....getting some serious Kaokoland fever.
I noticed you were commenting on Chopperpilot's RR, because I was there too  ;D

Dit was nou werklik iets besonders  :thumleft:
Dankie Lem.

Lekker Zanie & Lance, one of my top 5 special trips during 2006 on my Dakar as well. Definitely time to go back again.. well done on this detailed RR
Sjoe. I'm glad I didn't have my old 650GS. I think I might have died! How did the Dakkie handle it?
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Oubones on April 22, 2020, 08:17:06 pm
Thanks Zanie and Lance, pity I lost all my photo's.
Was a nice trip and to think I have been all over Nam during the rest of the year but this trip was the best!
Waiting for the stress part of the RR!
Ironicly the last I rode the Klr, she used 5lt of oil on 70km but still ran. :peepwall:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: 2StrokeDan on April 22, 2020, 09:22:08 pm
Nice report, Zanie!

Just one point I want to embroider on. The "ugly" part of the native's story around the foreigners not wanting to swim with the locals I really believe not to be racism, but simple cultural differences.

Stand next to one of the local inhabitants on a hot day, with skin rubbed in with a mixture of oxblood and mud, and the atmosphere gets interesting.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Hardy de Kock on April 22, 2020, 10:04:23 pm
Nice report, Zanie!

Just one point I want to embroider on. The "ugly" part of the native's story around the foreigners not wanting to swim with the locals I really believe not to be racism, but simple cultural differences.

Stand next to one of the local inhabitants on a hot day, with skin rubbed in with a mixture of oxblood and mud, and the atmosphere gets interesting.

Fully agree - We saw this at the cattle dam on your way to VZ camp. The Himba's arrived at the dam as some of our guests were cooling off. The Himbas waited for them to finish before they went into the water.
We also unfortunately had the opposite. Some of our guests (females too) arrived at Odongo, close to Khuwarib for a swim. Two of the locals (Damara's) were swimming dressed in shorts. As soon as our guests (females included) got into the water, the locals got rid of their shorts and walked around naked. 
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: weskus on April 23, 2020, 11:25:03 am
Ek hoor jou Hardy en dis seker maar een van die goed wat mens "rondom" moet werk as ons hul deel van Namibië gaan verken nê? Beautifull area en dit lyk of jul 'n lekker trip gehad net. Net 'n vinnige vraag. In watter rigting doen jul die toer? In 2006 het ek Kaokoland gedoen vanaf Ruacana teen die grens af na Epupa (2 dae daai tyd met die ou pad) en ons is af (Wes) in die Hurasib vanaf Purros oor die grasvlak en weer op (Oos) in die Hoanib na Sesfontein. Op hierdie stadium sien ek nie lekker hoe jul roete geloop het nie?? Ek luister verder op die radio..
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Rexc-w on April 23, 2020, 12:02:51 pm
Thanks vir hierdie RR.  Glo my daar het ongelooflik baie man/vrou-ure hier ingegaan.
Dankie!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Vis Arend on April 23, 2020, 04:07:15 pm
Great rr your two.  Still disappointed that we could not make it.   :patch:

A little hi-jack and while we talking about the naked locals. 

We did a trip up north one year when Nam had more than their average rain.  All the driffies and rivers we crossed were flowing or had water in.  Close to Khowarib we crossed another "smallish" river and got stuck properly.
From no where these little Herero laaities came running along to "help".  The wife and I eventually got the bike out after all luggage were removed.  Here is some playboy phodies of the incident.     :biggrin: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on April 23, 2020, 06:58:06 pm
Thanks vir hierdie RR.  Glo my daar het ongelooflik baie man/vrou-ure hier ingegaan.
Dankie!
Ek het met die latere paar dae van die RR se skryf begin rekord hou van hoe lank dit neem. Dis mal: net kort van 15 ure vir dag 9, 18 ure vir dag 8 en 33 ure vir dag 7! En dis net my tyd: fotos skep van die videos (dit vat die langste), besluit watter fotos om te gebruik uit ten minste n duisend en dan skryf. Dit sluit nie Lance se tyd in nie: hy maak die videos en verbeter die fotos se kleure.

Here is some playboy phodies of the incident.     :biggrin: :thumleft:
Absolutely brilliant!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Hardy de Kock on April 23, 2020, 07:09:59 pm
Ek hoor jou Hardy en dis seker maar een van die goed wat mens "rondom" moet werk as ons hul deel van Namibië gaan verken nê? Beautifull area en dit lyk of jul 'n lekker trip gehad net. Net 'n vinnige vraag. In watter rigting doen jul die toer? In 2006 het ek Kaokoland gedoen vanaf Ruacana teen die grens af na Epupa (2 dae daai tyd met die ou pad) en ons is af (Wes) in die Hurasib vanaf Purros oor die grasvlak en weer op (Oos) in die Hoanib na Sesfontein. Op hierdie stadium sien ek nie lekker hoe jul roete geloop het nie?? Ek luister verder op die radio..

Jis Dewald - ek hoop dit gaan goed en jou nuwe besigheid bly staan deur die' gemors.

Stuur vir my jou email adres, dan kan ek 'n tipese roete wat ons doen (anti-kloksgewys) vir jou stuur. (11 dae toer)

Groete
Hardy
0827840729
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: weskus on April 29, 2020, 09:00:01 am
Got it, dankie..nou verstaan ek heelwat beter :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Dwerg on April 30, 2020, 11:23:45 am
Elke keer as die RR weer op pop wil ek net weer vir die trip bespreek!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: trevo on April 30, 2020, 12:38:42 pm
Elke keer as die RR weer op pop wil ek net weer vir die trip bespreek!

Oorweeg dit ook sterk, met die skool vakansie wat net n week lank gaan wees gooi dit alle planne uit, (vroutjie het n privaat skool), en het nou twee weke eie tyd beskikbaar, soos ek al genoem het, as jy kan MOET jy n Kaokoland toer doen gedurende jou "adventure biking" loopbaan

Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on April 30, 2020, 05:52:13 pm
Elke keer as die RR weer op pop wil ek net weer vir die trip bespreek!
Google stuur my nou "remember this day one year ago" fotos van Kaokoland.  :'( Ek wil so graag teruggaan.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 19, 2020, 09:54:32 pm
Day 10: Twyfelfontein to Brandberg (251 km)

Epic video of an epic day:
https://www.youtube.com/v/wLc0CiB2owU
Credit: Lance

This morning we were faced with the second-longest day of the trip. Remember the rule: longer distance equals easier riding? Today broke that rule.

There were three route options:
1) Long: Ride with the back-up vehicles on an easier / shorter route on gravel highway.
2) Longer: Ride via Doros crater.
3) Longest: Ride Doros and Messum crater.

No matter the option, it required an early-morning start.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129323613_58338a1638_b.jpg)

Duncan’s bike was still trying to self-immolate thanks to a non-functioning fan. Bertie was extremely kind by lending his KTM 500 to Duncan for the day. Duncan was joining Henk, Hennie R and Brian on route option 3: “longest”.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129323548_182f39cd71_b.jpg)

The fact that we were served a hearty bowl of oats should have been a warning sign.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130114042_9129f21167_b.jpg)

Abel, Ian and Craig took the back-up vehicle route option. Abel because he was already battered and bruised enough, Craig due to reaching the end of human endurance after accumulating a monstrous amount of kilometres thanks to his pre-Namibia leg, and Ian due to badly-blistered hands after trying to cook them on his bike’s engine yesterday.

Random biker (from another group) leaving in the dawn light:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129893721_827f4837a2_b.jpg)

Oubones, Gordon, Pete, Lance and I were also hoping to tackle the longest route, but the back-up vehicles left camp too late, which meant that they may not make it to White Lady campsite before dark. There was also the worry that our little group won’t make it before dark either.

We left camp only 30 minutes after the front-runners, but did not see them again throughout the day’s ride. Nevertheless, our little group stuck together. This “glue tactic” was crucial later in the day.

Gordon:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129323408_db157b387a_b.jpg)

The sky was beautiful:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129323333_908c81bc61_b.jpg)

Initially, I was frustrated that we wouldn’t be doing the Messum Crater route. I had bad fomo after missing out on the longer route option yesterday. This made me stupid and reckless, since I figured if we went fast enough, maybe we could still manage the longer option.

I should learn: fast is not my speed. After almost overshooting some corners at a speed that many riders will find laughable, I calmed down and decided to enjoy the current scenery. Once I switched into this frame of mind, it was bliss. I very quickly realised it didn’t matter if we didn’t do Messum. This was amazing and worth it in its own right.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129893516_5a44c24c1f_b.jpg)

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129893181_bd66c41fe0_b.jpg)

There were points when Hardy and Kobus joined our little group. They disappeared ahead, stopped for smoke breaks and then waited for the back-up vehicle.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129893276_8f23b0ddda_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129887216_bf54d0de38_b.jpg)

This meant that, for the most part, we were on our own.

Pete in a large landscape:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129893131_dc837c038e_b.jpg)

Early on, Pete said we should set our own pace; not worrying about the front-runners. “Our pace” meant “Zanie’s pace”. It was really nice of everyone to chill out at my snaily speed. Oubones also needed to take it easy, but it was in an attempt to keep his KLR’s revs low in order to reduce oil consumption from a frantic guzzle to a steady siphon.

If you’re wondering why there are not too many pictures of Oubones today, it is because – out of sympathy for our olfactory organs – he decided to ride right at the back. The alternative was us being caught in a blue miasma of burnt oil.

Pete imparting wisdom while I’m trying to look like I’m going at a sensible speed:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130113442_41ff7911f6_b.jpg)

Me followed by Pete and Gordon:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130113352_593baaffbe_b.jpg)

The riding was really enjoyable. It kept chopping and changing, serving up narrow, curvy roads, sometimes with a sprinkling of sand, sometimes with pebbles or rocks.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130113417_aabdb60a19_b.jpg)

One thing was constant: stunning views.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130113317_343e9703dc_b.jpg)

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130113107_5f3215c010_b.jpg)

Lance: “Who decided a road should come through here.”

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129316573_0c45722c5d_b.jpg)

My two beautiful bikes:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129322013_82abcc5b2e_b.jpg)

Me and Oubones:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129892176_b65318f120_b.jpg)

There were quite a few side-roads and splits. For navigation, Lance used his small Garmin; made for cycling, not biking. The level of zoom he set meant that he could sometimes not see whether we were on the correct road until we had gone about 100m down it. This conversation is typical: Me: “Which way?” Lance: “I don't know. Just go. I'll tell you later.”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130112717_d4d6ccdffe_b.jpg)

The road did one of its disappearing acts in this landscape:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130112362_53d90bb28d_b.jpg)

Now where?

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129321913_f299358d29_b.jpg)

Notice from Lance: “We should have gone straight back there, but this route joins up. It’s fine.”

Ya, right!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129892101_f2d6bb2bbd_b.jpg)

I did not sign up for steps!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129892051_ac74465ff0_b.jpg)

I heard the bang through the headset comms. Lance: “Ow. Your bash plate.” Good thing he installed a sheet of metal between the Rally’s “bash plate” and its belly.

The last step was rather intimidating.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129321843_a052346373_b.jpg)

But the little dirt bike is bomb-proof. After this test, Lance figured I may just survive our upcoming dirt bike trip to the Transkei.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129321813_352f3ac821_b.jpg)

Now it was Lance’s turn. He was not too sure about it: “Do you think this bike can get down there?”

He found an alternative route, edging around the left lip of the step:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129891991_bb76848bbc_b.jpg)

The others followed Lance’s lead. Unfortunately there’s no nice footage for snapshots, so the below was all I got:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129321773_480829343d_b.jpg)

Interesting note found on Gordon’s GPS at this point: It warned that people should not camp here, because it will kill the rhinos. “How?” you may ask. There’s apparently a nearby spot where they come to drink, but they will stay away if people are around.

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129321718_5a3c7d55d0_b.jpg)

I’m glad we took this route by accident. It looked like the main drag, but it was a side-road to a look-out point.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129321658_20732618d2_b.jpg)

Lance, as he was tackling the hill: “Oh my word. I'm in first gear. It sucks.”

Spectacular view:
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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130112007_11ea155b96_b.jpg)

It may look flat, but there’s a drop-off behind me.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129321593_602c3cfa63_b.jpg)

Back en route again.

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130111887_f92b7b7652_b.jpg)

The landscape switched to one of canyons. If you look at the satellite view of the area, you can see why the scenery became so interesting!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129887106_e6f23189d2_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129321408_63b7faa0bc_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130111782_cc75bedf27_b.jpg)

Gordon on his big earth-moving machine:

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129891526_44ae7c16a1_b.jpg)

Unfortunately Lance’s GoPro seemed to be pointing more towards the ground than the sky, which meant that the visual goodness was often cut off. While going through the footage, there was many a time I felt like saying “look up!”

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Some sand for variety.

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It gets a bit too complex when there’s sand and rocks.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129890621_120e49b886_b.jpg)

Lance: “What was that for?”
We should all be allowed our moments of ‘uncool’.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130110662_049bd70f00_b.jpg)

A beautiful pit-stop:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129322518_d6e3226d40_b.jpg)

I’m not sure where Oubones finds the energy, because (a) he hiked up the side of the kloof and (b) he spent a bit of time creating some of those conspiracy theory features that are usually blamed on Hardy: fake elephant tracks. I remember being too tired to even take photos of Oubones being energetic! Obviously the older generation is made of sterner stuff.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130110592_b31090bb0a_b.jpg)

It was shortly after our rest stop, after roughly 100 km since the last refuelling, that I hit reserve. The 230F does not have a fuel light. It simply dies, at which point you flip a switch to the reserve tank. No worries. Lance carried a 5 litre fuel bladder and the back-up vehicle was still behind us for additional top-up when required.

Up until this point I was running at 18 km/lit. My remaining reserve (1.5 lit) and the fuel bladder (5 lit) meant that, at the current rate of use, I could ride another 114 km, or a total of 204 km. We rode 10km yesterday after our last refuelling. Today’s route is a total of 250 km. Remember this.

Oubones also needed to rely on the back-up vehicle. The previous day his KLR was using 1 litre of oil per 100 km, but every day the situation got progressively worse, so who knows what it was today. The KLR’s oil capacity is 2.5 litres. Today’s distance was 250 km. Remember this.

It was also at this point that Gordon’s GPS either died or started playing up; one of the two. From now on, we were relying on Lance and his little bicycle-focused Garmin.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129890316_b9a2dab77b_b.jpg)

More stunning landscape:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129316423_aa32a3e8a0_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129319743_27aa809d55_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130110367_d72bb171e7_b.jpg)

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Check the folded rock up front:

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130110007_1f72926b71_b.jpg)

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It was just before noon when Hardy caught us yet again, to check on his slow flock. He dropped back to wait for the back-up vehicle. It was to be the last time we saw him on the day’s route.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129889681_b92c395890_b.jpg)

Some good old riverbed sand or, as Lance quipped, “paddle territory!”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129886971_71df4332c5_b.jpg)

There appears to be some earth-moving equipment up ahead.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129889556_5e273182d8_b.jpg)

The ‘dozer got stuck.

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129319163_de33da1b30_b.jpg)

Teamwork!

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Oubones waiting for the traffic to clear.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129319068_120cd47838_b.jpg)

Earthmoving on a smaller scale:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129319043_6aef521642_b.jpg)

No-problem-Pete:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130109507_854de4c2ee_b.jpg)

Lance left before Oubones and the blue cloud caught him, so – again – no pictures.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 19, 2020, 09:55:26 pm
Day 10 continued

Checking on the route:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129889276_2b5904d91b_b.jpg)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129889251_f189cb32be_b.jpg)

It looked like a dead-end”

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Spot the escape route:

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129889176_4285d538c2_b.jpg)

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An unplanned detour:

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“The actual road is that way!”

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“What did you say?”

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Back on route again:

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This canyon had its own version of hole-in-the-wall. It was the first spot of decent shade in a long while. Have shade = must stop / rest.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129318318_7d8d9231f0_b.jpg)

Hindsight is an exact science. We should have waited for the back-up to catch us here. The surroundings were far more conducive to pleasant patience.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129888731_e75a7b793e_b.jpg)

Nevertheless, onward we went, into the desert vastness, following the pre-loaded track on Lance’s Garmin.

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This is a landscape where bikes and people disappear.

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We stopped to take in the space, as well as the crazy welwitschia. The latter does not refer to a healthy broom-riding personage from the middle ages, but the plant.

Pete and the plants:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130108747_fe59dc6b4b_b.jpg)

The welwitschia really is an oddity. The only species in its genus, it consists of two slow-growing, stiff leaves, which split into strips, so that it appears to be a dry leaf jumble. I think its colloquial Afrikaans name is quite descriptive: tweeblaarkanniedood (two leaves cannot die). Apparently they may reach an age of over 2000 years.

A male welwitschia:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129888816_314cb18498_b.jpg)

A female welwitschia (see the cones):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130108647_1b60158328_b.jpg)

A mad witch, with muti:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130108662_31a6f1b5e0_b.jpg)

We finally reach the major decision-point in the road: to the right, Messum Crater; to the left, a more direct route to White Lady Camp, skirting Brandberg. Things start unravelling here.

Maybe we could still tackle the longer option? But we need fuel and oil. Actually, we need this regardless of the option, so we wait for the back-up vehicle.

There is not a speck of shade. Our faithful metal steeds try their best to remedy this oversight. There is not much else to do, but wait. And wait. And wait…

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129888671_9d0f164218_b.jpg)

Some people stop so see whether we are ok. A bunch of bikers lying on the hard ground in the middle of nowhere could mean one of two things: mechanical issues or mental issues. Assured of the latter, the kind Samaritans proceeded on their journey.

Concerned citizens:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130108592_b1b473a4df_b.jpg)

1.5 hours pass. We come to the conclusion that either something has happened to the back-up crew and vehicle, or they somehow managed to get past us. We hope it’s the second option, but worry about the first.

Either way, the clock was ticking and we needed to get to camp before dark. It was on this day of the tour that a previous group had a close encounter with lions. This is not suburbia!

Oubones was really worried about his oil situation. He wanted to stay to wait for the back-up crew. Thankfully the rest of the group overruled him. Whatever happens now, we stick together.

Left to right: Oubones, Gordon, Pete and Lance.
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I was on my last batch of fuel (the 5 litres from the bladder), with a bike that liked to pee fuel when stationary, thanks to some sort of mini-blockage causing an overflowing carb float bowl. The tap-and-drain approach only worked temporarily and I abandoned it in favour of saving fuel. I just had to remember to close my fuel tap whenever we were stationary. Meanwhile, the blue cloud from Oubones’s bike hung like a black cloud over our mechanical sympathy conscience. How long before all the oil is gone?

Given this, what route do we take? Lance, on his Garmin, had the route track Hardy had given us. Do we look for a shorter route, off the marked track? Can we make it, if we take the longer, marked route?

In the end, we decided to stay on the marked track, even if it meant running out of fuel or oil on our way to camp. The shorter options were not known to us. They were minor roads and, for all we knew, could be sandy, which will end up chowing even more fuel / oil than a longer, gravel highway route.

There was also the possibility that the crew will come looking for us. They will never find us in this huge landscape if we go for the route less travelled. We were already on the route less travelled anyway; better not make it the route hardly travelled at all.

We therefore tackled the longer, gravel highway option.

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Despite the good road, we were not zipping to camp at pronto speed. Nope. In order to keep the KLR’s revs down and stretch the last oil as far as it could possibly go, we stuck between 50 km/h and 60 km/h. This would also hopefully help with my bike’s fuel consumption.

It’s a long crawl to camp:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129317763_cfa495d741_b.jpg)

The road curves? Ya, right.

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Eventually the track we were meant to follow branched off the gravel highway and headed in the direction of Brandberg.

We spent a lot of time at this split mulling over the tracks. How many bikes came past here? Do you see the tracks of the back-up vehicle? No questions were answered definitively. It’s amazing how you start second-guessing yourself in these situations.

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At least our little group was still together and all the bikes were still working.

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We headed down the side-road, hoping that the terrain did not get too gnarly, for the sake of petroleum consumption.

Gordon spewing earth; Oubones spewing cloud:

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Another reason not to get caught riding in the dark: aardvark holes. Loads of them!

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Super-sized aardvark hole:

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A rare photo of Oubones in motion:

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It didn’t last long though. He soon waved Lance ahead, so as to avoid culpable homicide charges of toxic fumigation.

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Beautiful Brandberg:
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We rode through a riverbed in a semi-bushy area. Despite what the photo below may have you believe, there were plenty of places for large felines to hide. Lance’s odd questions did not help:
“Do you want to go find the lions?”
“Did you practice your lion turn?”
And his version of comfort: “The lions only go wherever the food is. Unless the food is hanging around here...”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129317463_4761f3f9f7_b.jpg)

Interesting black stone landscape:
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At this point, my bike sputtered and died again. I flipped the fuel switch a last time. This was the final reserve. I had 1.5 litres left.

Oubones, meanwhile, had worries of his own. As long as there was a blue cloud, there was life still to be had. If that cloud disappeared it meant trouble.

Oubones was stationary here, enjoying the scenery, so no blue cloud diagnostic data available:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130108087_f5ef4e3d34_b.jpg)

Funky two-tone landscape:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129887861_eed469284e_b.jpg)

Long shadows, signalling a dying day:

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130108042_dd9c1df75a_b.jpg)

6pm and heading into Brandberg’s shadow:

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We knew Hardy must be on the uncomfortable side of the worry spectrum. It was only after circling Brandberg that we picked up some signal for the first time.

Pete phoned Hardy to tell him (a) we were alive and, unbelievably, (b) we were still in motion.

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There was relief on both sides. The back-up vehicle and crew were indeed at camp, which meant that they had somehow passed us, rather than hit any mechanical or physical issues. The crew were amazed that we had not yet run out of fuel. They had been extremely worried, but where do you start searching for a bunch of lost bikers in Namibia?

We were on the last leg of our journey. Even Lance was now on reserve. Despite the fact that he was riding the bike with the smallest tank out of the group (a mere 10 litres), I told him to save his worry for Oubones and me. Once the Rally hits reserve, it still has a good 60km left, unless you wring its neck at highway speeds, then you only have 50km.

We had another worry to contend with: the landscape started shifting towards one of sand. This is the last thing you want to see when you are trying to keep the revs down.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129887706_93da3c2174_b.jpg)

The sun was low, the sand was increasing, and there were a couple of confusing route options.

Recalculating:
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The result of riding too close to earth-moving equipment:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130107877_7c9d7a30cd_b.jpg)

Rerouting:
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How far can an old carburetted bike go on 1.5 litres? I was counting the kilometres since I hit reserve. 30…31…32…33…

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129887621_6741a50dbf_b.jpg)

Gordon in a sand landscape:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130107792_be814d766c_b.jpg)

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We were now very close to camp. Yet there was one last sand obstacle.

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(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129887486_69b07f9dbc_b.jpg)

Oubones and I were not impressed. Every twist of the throttle was a gamble.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129887481_446cc4b3e9_b.jpg)

Oubones’s bike had reached the point of not sounding happy. The blue smoke was fading:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129887396_14da473143_b.jpg)

Pete and his faithful DR:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129316908_4407d0d0ae_b.jpg)

Lance: “I’m running out of fuel! I’m losing power.”
Me: “Your fuel is fine. The Rally doesn’t have any power!”

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129887371_c2b2cb4041_b.jpg)

Relief approached euphoric levels when we finally rode into White Lady Camp at 6:30pm. The KLR and CRF230F were both on fumes: oil and petrol respectively.

Our strategy of snail-pace riding was probably the saving grace. The KLR had gone beyond the call of duty to get Oubones to the end of the day. My little pink Honda had managed an astronomical 261km on 12.2 litres. That’s an average 21 km/lit!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129887281_e2fceaef79_b.jpg)

As mentioned previously, the crew had not even known where to start looking for us, since a lost group on a previous tour had travelled via Timbuktu. Hardy said he would have felt a lot better if he had known that Lance, before a 180-degree career shift to IT developer, used to work as a navigation cadet on container ships!

Safely in camp, we compared route notes. As suspected, the bugger-up happened at the Messum Crater route split. We followed the track up to the split like religious acolytes (and why not?), but if you were familiar with the landscape, you could take one of the two short-cut options and miss our dear sunbathing spot entirely.

In the picture below, our track is in red; first heading south and then doing a sharp hairpin back on itself. The blue track right at the bottom was the Messum Crater option; followed by Team Fast. The yellow tracks are the two short-cut options; one of which was followed by the crew.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50129886486_c33bdedd8b_b.jpg)

We caught up on the day’s news from the other groups. Within Team Fast, both KTMs suffered collapsed mousses. Perhaps they should have tried our 50 km/h approach!

We finished a very long day with a fortifying supper of kebabs, salad and roosterbroodjies.

Sadly, it was the last night of sleeping beneath the stars. Tomorrow night we will be in Windhoek.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 19, 2020, 09:56:03 pm
Day 11: Brandberg to Usakos (196 km)

The last day of riding dawns.

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It had been a cold night, but at least that meant no mosquitos!

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Lance not yet ready to get up:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130626726_c0ee795d5a_b.jpg)

It was the last day of riding, yet most bikes were still semi-functional, despite various hiccups. We were facing open roads, which meant that Duncan’s KTM could cope with its non-functioning fan. Its holiday on the back-up was over.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130626631_1e7ddabf09_b.jpg)

Bertie had loaned his KTM to Duncan yesterday, but it suffered a collapsed mousse.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130626556_e492e46c2b_b.jpg)

Miraculously, Oubones was still going! The KLR was ready to tackle the last leg, with a bellyful of new oil to vapourise.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130626516_0b36c29e87_b.jpg)

The new KLR 2-stroke:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130626496_62261b2555_b.jpg)

Ian followed Lance and I initially, but I think he got a bit fed-up when he realised we were not taking the most direct route to the gravel highway, but kept getting side-tracked by the faint, sandier options.

There are three tracks here:
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130626366_da3f1ba098_b.jpg)

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I have complete faith in Lance’s navigation abilities and wanted to stretch the day’s riding as much as possible, so I was happy to go wherever.

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Eventually we reached gravel highway. Sigh.

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Bounce:
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We refuelled in Uis. The Specialised crew were kept busy with (I think) only the second puncture of the entire trip: Pete’s DR.

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Ian queried why powder was placed inside Pete’s tyre. The tube was chafed to smithereens!

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The next stop was Spitzkoppe, to pick up Johan’s bike, which had been left there after his fall on day 1.

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Me to Lance: “Are you filming your pee-break?”

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Abel was still riding, despite all the battering received to person and bike. Big respect for tackling Kaokoland as a first multi-day gravel adventure!

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Lance: “Ow! You’re throwing rocks at me.”

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A sad sight was a little dog walking on his own on a very lonely stretch of road.

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Spitzkoppe in the distance:

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Most were waiting in the bar area while Johan’s bike was fetched and loaded. Lance, Gordon and I were not yet ready to stop riding, so we did a loop of the Spitzkoppe.

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We finally joined the others at the bar area, where Lance and I had a debate about fuel. I figured we needed to top up my bike. Lance argued otherwise, bolstered by the memory of yesterday’s once-off performance. Right. Scientific experiment 2 about to commence.

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Henk zipping past on the way to Usakos:

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A sad landmark of our trip: tar.

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Unfortunately we combined one experiment (fuel range) with another: let’s see how fast this pink bike can go. To the unbelievers: it can go faster than 100 km/h (GPS speed), but I started feeling too sorry for the bike to push any further. And then I ran out of fuel… This time the back-up was not far behind, so I was on my way again shortly.

We finally reached Usakos. One of my other theories was confirmed: the place where some of the vehicles were stored was the hottest spot of our entire trip! The temperature seemed no less bearable than when we left, despite many days of Namibia climate acclimatisation.

The bikes were loaded and all of us climbed into either a minibus or one of the towing vehicles. This meant we cut out quite a bit of tar riding between Usakos and Windhoek. It seems there are many game farms next to the road, since we saw more giraffes and other varied wildlife on this day than any other day of the entire trip!

Brian, Henk, Hennie (R) and Hennie (Oubones):
(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50130624071_30cd196423_b.jpg)

Safari Lodge in Windhoek represented our final night’s stay of the organised tour.

Serious alley-docking skills:
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The bikes were all loaded, but more work awaited. I suspect the sky-high temperature at the loading-spot in Usakos had cooked everyone’s brains, resulting in haphazard loading. All bikes were on trailers, but not all bikes were on the correct trailers!

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It took some careful choreography to extract the Green Machine. Chirp from Lance: “It’s just going down Van Zyl's Pass again.”

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Next up: fetching the Pink Panther.

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It was past 7pm when we finally had the three correct bikes on Duncan’s trailer: my two Hondas and Duncan’s KTM.

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It was the tour’s last night, but sadly everyone scattered to the four winds. Some went to Joe’s Beerhouse for supper. Others, including Lance and I, were too tired to mission there, so we had the buffet at the Lodge. The crew vanished. I suspect they wanted an early night. Actually, quite a few of us were facing monstrous drives on the morrow. Craig was hard core: he was going to ride all the way back to Cape Town!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 19, 2020, 09:56:38 pm
Day 12: Windhoek to Cape Town

Duncan, Lance and I left Windhoek at 5:30am; tackling the long road home to Cape Town.

You have to be awake and aware when driving down the B1 in the dark. We spotted a couple of cows and a donkey on the road verge. We even saw one large expired creature on the roadside; species to be determined – either a cow or a donkey.

There were other dangers too: the local drivers. There were numerous trucks between Windhoek and Rehoboth. The overtaking manoeuvres to get past them, in the dark, were absolutely hair-raising.

Eventually, just past 7am, the sun rose and the roads became more sane.

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Pit-stop:
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We had breakfast at a Wimpy in Mariental at 9am. Their service was incredibly slow, so we were only able to leave after an hour.

By 1pm we caught Craig, the Camelman. He must be made of strong mental stuff to tackle the B1 by bike. The road is dead-straight and excruciatingly boring for hundreds of kilometres. It is far worse than the N7, which actually just has one 100km stretch that I can’t stand.

Despite Lance and Duncan taking turns driving, there were still times when they’d start to drift. Thankfully the bakkie is of some new-age AI stock, beeping at you when you deviate from the straight and narrow, with beeps getting more numerous and insistent if you happen to drift too many times in a row. At that point, we’d stop for a break.

Meeting up with Craig:
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Aside from breakfast and the beep-stops, we hardly stopped. Lunch was just snacks on the road or quick bites at fuel stops. The border-crossing took a speedy 15 minutes. Yet we kept to the speed limit, like good citizens. We eventually reached home just past 10pm.

Reflections

Generally when I come back from a holiday, I’m on a high for a while afterwards. Yet there have been two trips in my life that were different; where adjusting back to normalcy was quite hard. This was one of them.

I’m not sure why it was so difficult to recalibrate. Maybe it is because life was just so much simpler on such a trip: ride, eat, chilled camaraderie, sleep, repeat. No electronics; just simple interaction with people or your bike. Exertion is physical rather than mental. Kaokoland was challenging, but not draining.

I find today’s working world exhausting. When weekends arrive, I just want to sleep or chill; not really something Lance allows! So it’s work-hard, play-hard until the point of burnout is reached. It’s telling that it took over a year to complete this ride report…

Speaking of which, I am three years behind on another Namibia ride report, this time of Damaraland. Namibia will always remain a special place to me; a place for rest and rejuvenation, with some added adventure!

Meanwhile, I am building my sand skills, so that next time (there must be a next time!) I will be able to tackle the longer / tougher routes.

I end on a video of the little pink bike in its natural territory. It was a long day: a 150 km funduro, with about 100 km of sand!

Sand starts at 30:58. The funduro version of Kaokoland’s Heartbreak Hill starts at 10:25.

https://www.youtube.com/v/EyHQIct3Uc4
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: dirt rat on July 20, 2020, 07:22:37 am
Job well done Zanie- brilliant ride report.
Thanks for the monstrous effort.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: dirt rat on July 20, 2020, 08:12:36 am
Sorry I forgot to mention Lance - Thank you.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 20, 2020, 08:32:58 am
And thank you to the die-hards like you, who are still following, more than a year later!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Rexc-w on July 20, 2020, 08:42:44 am
Fantastic!!!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: sidetrack on July 20, 2020, 08:51:41 am
Still enjoying this ride ! I must say I think Pete's DR650 is almost perfect for this trip if I had to pick a bike.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Samou on July 20, 2020, 10:19:29 pm
Thank you Zanie en kie I really enjoyed this RR :thumleft:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Oubones on July 21, 2020, 09:21:36 am
Thanks Zanie and Lance for this great RR! :thumleft:
The great spirit between the riders is once again manifested by the fact that we stayed together and made sure that all were save, but also enjoyed it!
I had 3 serious issues on that trip!
I could not ride sand with confidence and Craig mentored me so good on day 1 that I enjoyed sand from then on! :thumleft:
My gps would not load the tracks and Lance loaded the tracks and a program onto my phone and that went walkabout so I had to rely on riding with others to find my way.
My bike started drinking oil and smoking which made me slow and at the back, but every now and then somebody would be waiting to make sure that I am still good!
Many thanks to all of you who made it possible for me to have such a great trip and even now can keep my reliving it through this RR as I lost all my photo’s with my phone :'(
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: skydiver on July 21, 2020, 11:05:32 am
Great report Zanie.
I have a lot of respect for the CRF230F bikes.
I got one last year and every ride I do on the little bike puts a smile on my face.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: MRK Miller on July 23, 2020, 08:56:22 pm
This was also a truly awesome report, and absolutely worth the wait. Thank you so much for a splendid afford. I sincerely hope this also gets hopped unto the role of honor reports
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 25, 2020, 08:38:14 pm
The great spirit between the riders is once again manifested by the fact that we stayed together and made sure that all were save, but also enjoyed it!
You hit the nail on the head. It was a real help-mekaar trip, full of cameraderie.

Many thanks to all of you who made it possible for me to have such a great trip and even now can keep my reliving it through this RR as I lost all my photo’s with my phone :'(
Regardless, I'd still like to hear the rest of your story.

This was also a truly awesome report, and absolutely worth the wait. Thank you so much for a splendid afford
And thanks for hanging around all this time!

I have a lot of respect for the CRF230F bikes.
I got one last year and every ride I do on the little bike puts a smile on my face.

I adore both my bikes. The Rally is great for the rougher dual-sport, but the little pink bike has taken me to amazing places and mental limits! The 230 is basically indestructible. Not so the rider...
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Noneking on July 26, 2020, 06:54:18 am
Great report! I hope that someday I'll be able to do this trip again!  :deal:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: McSack on July 26, 2020, 09:44:28 am
What a great RR ! Thanks Zanie and of course all the models who posed for photos :)
Really hoping I get to ride up there some time soon in the future.

Sent from my BV9500 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: RrP on July 26, 2020, 11:28:34 am
What an epic report thank you.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: MRK Miller on July 26, 2020, 11:54:18 am
Cannot remember if someone asked this before. My wife is on a 250 tornado, which i believe is more that capable. i would like to know what your average speed was or should be so that we can do some practice runs, and get use to the pace. Tank you again. Voting this for role of honor section 
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Oubones on July 26, 2020, 01:28:01 pm
Cannot remember if someone asked this before. My wife is on a 250 tornado, which i believe is more that capable. i would like to know what your average speed was or should be so that we can do some practice runs, and get use to the pace. Tank you again. Voting this for role of honor section
Even when my Klr was running right, speeds were low so no problem with that.
Power in the sand is an bit of an issue but there are easier routes so do not stress!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 27, 2020, 05:23:20 pm
My wife is on a 250 tornado, which i believe is more that capable. i would like to know what your average speed was or should be so that we can do some practice runs, and get use to the pace.

No need to aim for a certain speed. Rather ride a speed that is comfortable for her, which will decrease any chance of mishap. A crash decreases your average speed a lot. ;) What made this tour nice is that the fast guys could go flying at the front and snails such as myself could check out the scenery at the back. If you want to get an idea of exactly how slow my slow is, I've pasted some stats from my tracks. I should probably go hide in shame now. :-[

Routekm/h (moving)km/h (incl. stops)
Usakos to Spitzkoppe3526
Palmwag to Opuwo5344
Opuwo to Epupa4433
Epupa to Van Zyls2921
Van Zyls to Marble Camp1911
Marble Camp to Purros2525
Purros to Khowarib4333
Khowarib to Twyfelfontein5142
Twyfelfontein to Brandberg3225
Brandberg to Usakos5444
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Crossed-up on July 27, 2020, 07:52:22 pm
No need for shame. You have so much to be proud of. There are the best part of 20 000 bikers on this forum (including me) who've never come close to what you've done.

Incidentally, we're lucky to average 12kph on a Sunday Quarry ride.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: MRK Miller on July 28, 2020, 05:17:31 am
No shame. In fact, you have given hope to people like me now, that there is a way for me to actually do something like this. On the video most of it looks around 60 or 70 km/h. So even if you where slow you still managed to have enough stop and rest time, and that makes it so much better. Thank you so much
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on July 30, 2020, 05:49:09 pm
No need for shame. You have so much to be proud of. There are the best part of 20 000 bikers on this forum (including me) who've never come close to what you've done.

I have Lance and you to thank for putting me on the path of bike enlightenment. You guys have taught me to give everything a try, even if it is tricky. Yet my skills level is nowhere near most of those 20,000 bikers mentioned! But you have shown me what's possible  :biggrin:

Incidentally, we're lucky to average 12kph on a Sunday Quarry ride.

I just had to go check, and you're right. 10 km/h, even including the tar sections to/from the bush!

No shame. In fact, you have given hope to people like me now, that there is a way for me to actually do something like this. On the video most of it looks around 60 or 70 km/h. So even if you where slow you still managed to have enough stop and rest time, and that makes it so much better. Thank you so much

Looks are very deceiving. Check the speedo on the video at 9:36. ;) Don't let the perception of speed hold you back, or feel that you must go the speed of everyone else. Tour organisers who allow people to set their own pace are the best. It's also safer, because accidents happen if you ride outside your limit. And if you don't push yourself, you end up feeling less tired by the end of the day than you would have otherwise. I am forever grateful that Lance is one of those rare guys that are ok with going a slower pace (as long as he can explore every little technical obstacle / side road / riverbed he sees!).
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: MRK Miller on August 02, 2020, 10:11:51 am
No need for shame. You have so much to be proud of. There are the best part of 20 000 bikers on this forum (including me) who've never come close to what you've done.

I have Lance and you to thank for putting me on the path of bike enlightenment. You guys have taught me to give everything a try, even if it is tricky. Yet my skills level is nowhere near most of those 20,000 bikers mentioned! But you have shown me what's possible  :biggrin:

Incidentally, we're lucky to average 12kph on a Sunday Quarry ride.

I just had to go check, and you're right. 10 km/h, even including the tar sections to/from the bush!

No shame. In fact, you have given hope to people like me now, that there is a way for me to actually do something like this. On the video most of it looks around 60 or 70 km/h. So even if you where slow you still managed to have enough stop and rest time, and that makes it so much better. Thank you so much

Looks are very deceiving. Check the speedo on the video at 9:36. ;) Don't let the perception of speed hold you back, or feel that you must go the speed of everyone else. Tour organisers who allow people to set their own pace are the best. It's also safer, because accidents happen if you ride outside your limit. And if you don't push yourself, you end up feeling less tired by the end of the day than you would have otherwise. I am forever grateful that Lance is one of those rare guys that are ok with going a slower pace (as long as he can explore every little technical obstacle / side road / riverbed he sees!).


That mindset of Lance is a good mind set and something i intend taking to heart and implementing.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on August 03, 2020, 08:28:00 pm
You may find your wife becomes a more-than-willing ride companion if the 'slow approach' is followed. :thumleft: It's also great if each has their own bike. Double the fun!

It was thanks to Lance's slow perseverance that I didn't get put off riding early on; given the traumatic experience of an off relatively early in my riding 'career'. Riding at my pace meant 40 km/h down gravel highway to Cederberg when I was new at riding! :imaposer:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: big oil on August 04, 2020, 05:00:56 am
Well done Zanie!  I can only keep dreaming of riding that area of the world someday.

Appears Hardy and crew run a top shelf tour.

And, how about that @Oubones whom seems to always be there to lend a helping hand.

@Zanie Out of curiosity, would you choose to purchase the CR250 Rally again, knowing that you likely couldn't ride it in off-road conditions, such as this trip, where it appears you rode your 230 the entire trip?
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on August 05, 2020, 10:34:02 pm
Will I buy the Rally again? A resounding yes. All-in-all I find it a good all-rounder: great commuter (before Covid, I used to commute 70km/day) and great lets-go-explore-that-random-single-track bike. No bike is perfect, but neither are my skills. Buying a different bike won't change that!

This is the only "dual-sport" tour where I haven't used the Rally. I haven't posted many ride reports lately, but that's not because I'm not riding!

As an example, here's a very short video of Lance and I messing around in the bush in our backyard.

https://www.youtube.com/v/hLC8Ij6WwOI

And some random pics from other rides:
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on August 05, 2020, 10:36:15 pm
Yet if I had to choose between riding in crazy terrain on a dual sport vs. a dirt bike, the dirt bike wins every time, since it can take someone who doesn't have Chris Birch skills to some amazing spots. And a dirt bike is just more fun!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Hardy de Kock on August 06, 2020, 04:14:57 pm
True adventurers - Lance and Zanie. Lance even learned to appreciate "pap" on the trip. (not sure if it was mentioned)
Taking it easy and soaking up the terrain, landscape and the different cultures in the areas you ride in, is key to the overall enjoyment of the trip.
This they do really well. Lance is also a navigation boffin and made it through the trails with only his cellphone as navigational aid.
Zanie used the right bike for the trip and the speed she was traveling at was never a problem for anyone. They also made a point of stopping regularly to rest, eat/drink, and to take pictures, which helps on a long trip like this.
Less people will fall and hurt themselves by applying the principles they did.

Do not use a bike that will tire you out when it gets technical. Smaller is better in every way
Rest regularly
Keep your energy levels up with consistent nourishment
Take it easy - there is no rush
Eat pap

Nice report Zanie - Thank you very much

Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Grootseun on August 08, 2020, 08:37:49 pm
Thanks for sharing.

Finished reading  the report in one sitting.

Truly amazing place. I need to make a plan to visit someday.

I really enjoyed the photo-heavy nature of the report. Its always a difficult balance between enjoying riding and sacrificing foto’s and vice-versa.

Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: Zanie on August 09, 2020, 10:01:17 pm
Lance even learned to appreciate "pap" on the trip. (not sure if it was mentioned)
I completely forgot about that!

Hardy hit the nail on the head about taking the time to enjoy your trip and choosing a bike that won't tire you. If I did not have my CRF230F, I would have taken my Rally. The initial plan was actually to take the Rally, with Lance on his 800GSA, but both of us decided that smaller would be more fun. No reason to half-kill yourself if you don't need to. I would have survived on the Rally, but I'm sure I would have reached camp an exhausted mess on the more technical days.

When we started riding, we often joined big group rides, but these are dangerous. You'd find youself riding outside your comfort zone in order to keep up. Now it's usually just Lance and I. Or else, a tour like this one, where everyone can go at their own speed. As long as Lance is navigating, I have full confidence that we will reach our destination. Even on that long day, where we had a 1.5-hour rest stop and kept speed down to 40-50 km/h thanks to low oil and fuel levels, we still got to camp shortly after sundown.

I've been on a tour where you can set your own pace, but people don't get the tracks. If an event happens where the backup and back-markers miss each other (which also happened on that tour), things can go south quickly. Hardy gave us the tracks, so I was never worried about whether we were going in the wrong direction!

Also, another tip we learnt from Hardy and crew: Rehidrat. I thought it was just a gimmick. Nope. We now take it on all our dirt bike trips. It's weird how it just takes that tired edge off. And I don't have a dehydration headache by the end of the day. ;D

I really enjoyed the photo-heavy nature of the report. Its always a difficult balance between enjoying riding and sacrificing foto’s and vice-versa.

I'm glad you like the photos. :thumleft: There's no real sacrifice during the trip, since most of the photos are snapshots from footage. Lance can switch his GoPro on/off while riding (it's attached to his helmet). The time sacrifice therefore doesn't happen during the trip, but after, which is preferable. As an example: The Brandberg riding day has 173 pictures; only 25 of those are photos, mostly from campsites or rest stops. Yet it took close to 19 hours to take snapshots from the footage and choose photos just for this day. That doesn't count Lance's time to run them all through Lightroom, so add probably another 3 hours.
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: dirt rat on August 19, 2020, 08:22:40 am
I really believe this report belongs in the Roll of Honor section.
Anybody agree ?
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: sackett on August 19, 2020, 11:37:48 am
Seconded!!!
Title: Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
Post by: MRK Miller on August 26, 2020, 04:17:38 pm
I am sure I mentioned it earlier, but yes, also second that