Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => Topic started by: Minxy on September 25, 2019, 03:51:32 pm

Title: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 25, 2019, 03:51:32 pm
(https://i.postimg.cc/ZqGrpgs2/Edited-Into-the-desert.png)

HSK and I just returned from a spur of the moment, unexpected, but ohhhh sooooo epic trip to Namibia this Sunday past. Some of our forum friends have probably already seen a few of our photos on facebook, but not to worry there are many more I'll be sharing here :)
Also amazing video footage to come. :ricky:

I will be putting our experience into words soon, watch this space.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Grunder on September 25, 2019, 03:56:45 pm
Waiting in anticipation
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Offshore on September 25, 2019, 04:09:12 pm
 :sip: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Black_Hawk on September 25, 2019, 04:09:55 pm
I'm also keeping an eye on this thread  :sip:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on September 25, 2019, 06:23:09 pm
Sub!! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: skydiver on September 25, 2019, 08:09:38 pm
Some of the FB photos were awesome
Cannot wait to see more  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 25, 2019, 08:57:55 pm
(https://i.postimg.cc/44z7cCqH/where-is-france-where-is-brazil-here-here-where-is-23520312.png)

Namibia, and especially the Kaokoland have always intrigued me. I've sat up reading many a ride report about the brave and adventurous riders who have ventured there. I honestly didn't see myself going there any time soon as it all seemed too remote/dangerous/difficult to access, but then...

2017 - An amazing opportunity presented itself in the form of the Honda Quest and I was lucky enough to be picked as a contestant. It was an incredible experience and a privilege to visit the Kaokoland, everything was just like in the ride reports I've read! Surely this was a dream come true? Yet, something was missing... I needed to show this amazing part of the world to my other half.

I couldn't stop thinking about visiting the Kaokoland again. Staying up at night studying maps, putting together gps routes, trying to plan the perfect adventure.

And so it happened.

2018 - We decided to set off and tackle the trip by ourselves. Many hours of planning, getting things right, setting up bikes, gps's, sat phones, fuel, luggage, every detail meticulously tended to. Except... It all went wrong.

"Oh baby, oh baby
Then it fell apart, it fell apart
Oh baby, oh baby
Then it fell apart, it fell apart" - Moby




In a nutshell, my 701's fuel filter clogged up on the first day, and after we sorted that out, the key broke off in the fuelcap on our second day in Palmwag. We had two days of pure riding bliss before that yes, but it wasn't meant to be. I'm not even mad, at least we got to ride some epic terrain. And we also continued our trip, (with bikes on trailer) up to Epupa Falls, doing the Kunene river trail, seeing the Caprivi strip and Kasane in Botswana. I never had enough motivation to finish the ride report, but here it is:

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=226822.msg4098605#msg4098605 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=226822.msg4098605#msg4098605)

Anyway,

Back to the present ;)

Friday the 6th of September 2019

We are sitting around twiddling thumbs at work (which is very seasonal).

Discussion between me and Johan (HSK) -

Minxy - " You think we can take another week off work before we start getting busy again?"
HSK - "Urgh, maybe, why?"
Minxy - "It gives us enough time to go ride Namibia, but we should go on the 500s this time, it will be simpler".
HSK - "But, what about getting all our plans together etc?"
Minxy - "We already did that last year, lets just throw everything together again and go? :P "
HSK - "Ok" ;D

(https://i.postimg.cc/3xFmMk2B/Quote-If-not-now.jpg)

And so starts a new chapter.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on September 25, 2019, 09:12:56 pm
Now that's the way to plan a trip ...coolbananas!

 8)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Highsider on September 26, 2019, 03:46:28 am
Sub...


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Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: 8 min Mark on September 26, 2019, 05:41:14 am
Sub


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Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: woody1 on September 26, 2019, 07:37:21 am
 :ricky:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: m0lt3n on September 26, 2019, 08:15:49 am
You know for someone still where you were pre Honda Quest, you make it now sound very easy to do Namibia. Sommer just go!


Big subscribe
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on September 26, 2019, 09:40:53 am
Oh My.....

 :sip:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: mtr89 on September 26, 2019, 02:14:07 pm
Looking forward to this one!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: roxenz on September 26, 2019, 02:34:50 pm
F5 ad infinitum  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Komin on September 26, 2019, 02:51:49 pm
So if you give me the routes I can leave next week and you and Johan can watch the office?    >:D

Only at the speeds I travel I'll need 3 weeks.  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 26, 2019, 02:53:45 pm
So if you give me the routes I can leave next week and you and Johan can watch the office?    >:D

Only at the speeds I travel I'll need 3 weeks.  :biggrin:

 :peepwall:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: westfrogger on September 26, 2019, 02:59:18 pm
(https://i.postimg.cc/44z7cCqH/where-is-france-where-is-brazil-here-here-where-is-23520312.png)

I like this. Subscribed.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 26, 2019, 04:30:04 pm
Saturday the 7th of September 2019 - We make a frantic visit to @Runner at Offroad Cycles to purchase a few spares and most importantly, front fender bags. Seriously you cannot do a Motonomad type of adventure without front fender bags, we'd look like amateurs!

While getting our goodies we bumped into @Ri , things couldn't get more random haha! ;D Myself and Ri can't stop chatting away and we ended up inviting her to our place. The lunch we had in mind became dinner, and Ri also stays over for the night. The stay over then becomes a spur of the moment Sunday bike ride too haha 8) Oh what a wonderful weekend. Ri has done such a lovely ride report, please see link below and do have a read:

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=240811.0 (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=240811.0)

Sunday the 8th of September 2019 - We go for a leisurely bike ride to the Hartebeespoort dam with Ri (see RR above). Really we should be packing, we know :P :imaposer:

Come evening time we go through our bike bags and kit just to make sure everything fits on the bikes. The 500 doesn't work so well with the Giant Loop Great Basin bag, so we'll both have to fit everything into the smaller sized bag, the Coyote.

(https://i.postimg.cc/kXYvdzrB/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-25-at-20-31-53.jpg)
This is HSK's 2018 KTM 500, fitted with Giant Loop Coyote bag, airhawk pillow, Giant Loop Diablo tank bag, a handlebar baggie and last but definately not least, the Wolfman front fender bag >:D
Setup looks good. Our bikes were recently serviced as well, so we'd just clean the airfilters and take some pre-oiled ones as spares. Our bikes already have Michelin desert mousses and some half fresh tyres fitted, so we figured that would do fine for the trip.

Monday the 9th of September 2019

Work, work, work with some more packing in between. I go through some routes, I copy old ones from my planning last time, as well as some of @Xpat 's routes from their last trip.
I also needed a new pair of gloves, my Leatt gloves did two racing seasons already as well as a number of social rides and were starting to litrally fall apart. A visit to Bike Kings fixes that with some beautiful Alpine Stars on special for R350, score!!!

Tuesday the 10th of September 2019
Getting last of the paperwork sorted out, certified copies of bike and car papers, Insurance letters for the border, etc etc. Going to the bank to change some ZAR for Pula, it is really just easier to have when you do the border crossing. We'll be driving from Pretoria to Uis, which will take us 2 days via trans kalahari route Botswana. Anyway, we get more things ready and packed. Try to see if everything fits on the bikes. I blow up my air mattress. It deflates again... Shit. Dip it in the bath to see where puncture is. Find many punctures. Off I go to Cape Union Mart to get another air mattress. Dischem for some supplements, Checkers for some food and other goodies. I found last time that Opuwo didn't have the type of supplies I wanted, so would be packing a few "luxury items" beforehand.

Wednesday the 11th of September 2019

Just when you think everything is fine and dandy... A small disaster strikes! :eek7:

(https://i.postimg.cc/Hsk9RHhq/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-25-at-20-31-53-1.jpg)
And as quickly as we planned it, as quickly it could have ended... Johan had a small mishap with the drill while putting number plates on our bikes. Luckily the cut is not deep, and some Betadine, wipes and plaster fix everything.
We are now almost, almost good to go.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Hondsekierie on September 26, 2019, 08:58:53 pm
Schweet, I love it when you do the talking - after all - it's a girl thing :peepwall:

From my side I wish to add that most of the planning had already been done in 2018 so there was no need to do any major planning.  In short, the trip date was quite random but not much else.  Doing these remote trips unsupported requires that you have your shit sorted properly beforehand.  Last year's trip, which ended with a broken key, was very well planned - I just called it a day based on the information to my disposal (coded key) at the time.  I don't regret my decision one bit and this trip made up for the disappointment.

I just want to thank my beautiful partner Minxy for always being so enthusiastic, positive and full of life - how can one not want to go and ride the world - you are the best and I really love how you record our travels.  And boy, can she help herself on a bike - I think few people realize, that apart from her riding skill (and pretty looks ;)) she's also extremely tough.  She never had it easy since she started riding with the boys as she had to cope with all the hardships herself and it's been paying off ever since. No special treatment for being a girl.  I'll never forget Kilroy's amazement with Minxy when he followed in the backup vehicle to the Molopo National Bash in 2015, riding the thick Botswana border sand on her 950 Super Enduro.  He just couldn't believe how she rode that sand for hundreds of kms, just being one of the boys. OK, enough of that now..

Just a super big thanks to @Xpat  for the valuable input regarding routes (I actually hated you a bit at one stage on one of the sections  :lol8:) , @Straatkat  for the nice deals on the Coyote and Wolfman bags  :thumleft:.  Oh, and once again a huge thanks to Minxy for plotting routes far away from the horrible dirt highways  :ricky:

I will try and give some additional info as the RR goes along.  The video/s will be brilliant, as always!!

 
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: 1ougat on September 26, 2019, 09:02:45 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on September 26, 2019, 09:04:08 pm
Glad to be of service  :biggrin:

I wonder which section that might be. I will wait patiently for the story to develop   8) :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Amsterdam on September 27, 2019, 06:51:41 am
I like to use the setup of the GL bag and tank bag myself but have found that it often leaves little space for me to comfortably fit in between (especially in the soft sand).  Look forward to reading how you guys found it.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Straatkat on September 27, 2019, 07:28:47 am
You are welcome, glad I could help.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Hondsekierie on September 27, 2019, 08:01:44 am
Glad to be of service  :biggrin:

I wonder which section that might be. I will wait patiently for the story to develop   8) :thumleft:

Haha, something to do with endurance..

I like to use the setup of the GL bag and tank bag myself but have found that it often leaves little space for me to comfortably fit in between (especially in the soft sand).  Look forward to reading how you guys found it.

There is really ample space if you use the Coyote saddle bag combined with the Diablo tank bag. 

The Coyote was designed to be positioned on top of your rear fender according to the manual, unlike the Great Basin that requires the are where the pillion seat is.  I could never trust all the weight on the fender and opted to have a portion of the saddlebag rest on top of the seat.  For that I installed an anchor point (strap) approximately 100mm behind the seat and strapped the bag down properly (can show you with pics later).  This prevented any forward movement which normally causes space problems.

I replaced the lower sub frame bolts with button type ones and used the GL hooks - this basically gives you the anchoring from the front part of the bike.  If you tighten the straps over the saddle bag legs properly you won't have any problem with movement - usually why the space becomes problematic.

Lastly - we used the Diablo tankbag  because of it's size which is brilliant for the 500.  Anything bigger and you'll struggle with space.

I'm a particularly big specimen with proper girth not easily found elsewhere and I can promise you, I had huge space to move around on the seat -  except if you have puffed up child bearing hips  :imaposer:  We could still strap Minxy's full 6L Desert Fox on to the GL, behind her bum, and it didn't interfere with her movement.

The GL is a brilliant product for these bikes and I would recommend it to all.  I must say the MoskoMoto really attracted me more because of the modular design which makes organizing a bit better but beggars can't be choosers, so GL it had to be.. :ricky: 

Hope it helps a bit.  Shout if you need more info 
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 27, 2019, 08:33:56 am
Thursday the 12th of September 2019

So the actual plan was to leave, very very early the following (Friday) morning, this would give us enough time to sort out our last things at work, and to pack our personal clothing/toiletries etc, the only things we haven't packed yet. That is exactly what we did the last time we traveled to Namibia. Leave from Pretoria at 3am for Skilpadshek border post and then do the entire Botswana section in one day, up to Windhoek.
It is a really long way though, and Johan said, why don't we still leave this afternoon? We can be through the border and at Lobatse early in the evening.

We again frantically packed our last few personal belongings, loaded the trailer and bakkie and off we went. It felt almost surreal. I can't believe we are going to Namibia, to the Damaraland, to the Kaokoland! WOW! None of this was planned less than a week before. I hope we took all our things haha!?

We got to the Skildpadshek border post as it was getting dark, shot past the trucks, and the crossing and everything went smoothly. It's a good thing we got Pula from the bank earlier, just makes everything easier. We spend our first night at the Cumberland Hotel, Lobatse. Alarm clock is set for 5am, we'd be leaving early so we can get to Windhoek in good time.

Friday the 13th of September 2019

Is there such a thing as a "lucky" Friday the 13th? Yes, there is! Errrrr.... ???

(https://i.postimg.cc/kgDpLQtQ/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-27-at-08-03-43.jpg)
Somewhere on the Trans Kalahari Highway

(https://i.postimg.cc/GhXfM793/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-27-at-08-03-44.jpg)
We see many big land chickens. Huge convoys of grain trucks make their way across Botswana. Birds big and small feast on the grain spilled from the trucks next to the highway. I must say we notice less donkeys than before.

After many miles and lots of sing along karaoke on the long drive, we finally make it to the Buitepos border post near Gobabis, Namibia. Again everything goes smoothly.

(https://i.postimg.cc/7h6RLkhR/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-14-50-53-1.jpg)

EXCEPT, Friday the 13th happens and we get pulled over by a Namibian cop. Supposedly we are speeding, going over 130 in a 120 zone. The fines for this start at R1500! We need to pay! Shit... Johan opens his wallet, which we have cleverly emptied beforehand, just in case. You learn things like this when traveling through Africa... R400 is extracted. The cop says it is fine and send us on our way. Sigh. Corruption is everywhere, but technically we were in the wrong, so what can you do. We won't let this detract from our journey.

We get to Windhoek, and opt for camping at the Arebbusch Travel Lodge. We brought our big pop up tent and big sleeping bags/mattress extra to make camping easier. Our smaller camping kit is reserved for our bike trip.

(https://i.postimg.cc/nLJwD7MB/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-14-50-52.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/NjVztK1W/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-27-at-08-03-44-1.jpg)
Damm I need to get my white lily ass a tan. The winter has been too long :imaposer:

(https://i.postimg.cc/bN45q4h6/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-14-50-52-1.jpg)
Our neighbour at the campsite. One of these is worth around R 12 mil? Ons los dit maar vir die laanies :'(

Another Friday the 13th moment when we look through our things and realize we forgot to pack the little camping stove and gas cylinder... Good thing we are still in civilization and it is off the Outdoor Warehouse at the mall nearby to buy this. It feels good to still be in civilization and I insist on walking through the mall a bit to look at what shops they have. Sorry @Hondsekierie I just had to look at perfume prices and clothes while in Namibia lol!

(https://i.postimg.cc/7YHcn8HQ/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-27-at-08-03-43-1.jpg)
We made a cosy camp and retired for the night after a lovely meal at the restaurant. Camping here is noisy, I guess... It is in the middle of Windhoek :P But we are so tired we roll over and sleep. Excitement is really kicking in now!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 27, 2019, 05:46:56 pm
Saturday the 14th of September 2019

We travel from Windhoek to Uis. We'd be leaving our vehicle at Brandberg Restcamp with Namibian adv riding legend, Basil, who has ridden his classic Africa Twin all over the country in years past.

(https://i.postimg.cc/BbMmVbS7/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-27-at-08-05-36.jpg)
My "I've been waking up at 5am for the last couple of days face."

Quick coffee in the town of Omaruru. All the towns/cities in Namibia we went though were so neat and tidy, a nice change to what we are used to in SA.

We arrive in Uis and put up camp. The afternoon is spent carefully putting all the luggage onto our bikes, sorting out more things... making 100% sure gps routes are all there.

(https://i.postimg.cc/LXFQqGQD/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-27-at-08-05-33.jpg)
This is the last time we'll be seeing our bakkie and trailer for a couple of days. Honestly we have thought about getting a bigger group of friends together to do this trip (safety in numbers), then having someone drive a backup vehicle, but urgh, sooooooo much logistics. Just getting everyone to take leave at the same time is a nightmare lol :P And we enjoy each others company... A lot! :) So the decision was made a long time ago already, that if we do this, we'll do this alone. The bakkie is a little bubble of safety and it is quite scary to think we'd be at least a few days away from it if we were to suffer a break down, or worse, an injury. Traveling alone in the desert is dangerous no doubt, but we thought our odds were as good as they'd get and we decided to take the gamble.

(https://i.postimg.cc/XJ9T8m2H/comfort-zone.jpg)

Anyway... Now for the fun part...

(https://i.postimg.cc/PqQVzx8c/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-14-50-53.jpg)

Test ride our bikes in the parking lot, with all our luggage!

(https://i.postimg.cc/9f7NQcbz/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-27-at-08-05-33-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/gjD7b4DD/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-27-at-08-05-34-1.jpg)
Weeeee! Feels good! Luggage setup is perfect.

(https://i.postimg.cc/PJt6yYj8/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-27-at-08-05-36-1.jpg)
The sun sets over Brandberg Rest Camp. All our things are ready, as ready as we could get them in the short time we had. We are positive. The alarm is set for 5am again.

(https://i.postimg.cc/xdXQKsDh/epic.jpg)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: windswept on September 27, 2019, 07:22:57 pm
 >:D :sip:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Straatkat on September 27, 2019, 08:19:45 pm
Won't miss this RR for the world!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Buff on September 27, 2019, 08:29:35 pm
Sub  :ricky:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Highsider on September 28, 2019, 10:56:48 am
So keen to do this ride...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: zacapa on September 28, 2019, 05:27:52 pm
Nice RR and a great idea of how to spend quality time. When you get to Orupembe #1 send pitchars...That ride from Uis to the Ugab River lodge and then around Brandberg to Brandberg West is a very cool ride.Everything north from there is just so damned special. I left Nam in 2007 - I need to get back there sometime.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 28, 2019, 08:00:48 pm
Sunday the 15th of September 2019

Awaken, awaken, the time has come.

(https://i.postimg.cc/tTdSFDLj/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-27-at-08-05-34.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/05dFS2sw/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-27-at-08-05-31.jpg)

We set out in the dark, the sun comes up late in September and we have no time to waste. We are guided by headlamps tied to our helmets, and by the moon.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Z5pvQvHf/moon-2560x2560-stars-popular-quotes-inspirational-quotes-hd-1419.png)

(https://i.postimg.cc/GhQmTPMn/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-17-47-58-3.jpg)
The full moon over the Brandberg.

We are glad to be met with the rising light and we turn off from the main road not far from Uis.

(https://i.postimg.cc/SQcskbCs/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-17-47-59-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/JzY7PrVT/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-17-47-58-1.jpg)
The morning is cold, but don't be fooled, it is never cold for long...

(https://i.postimg.cc/W11bGDKF/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-17-47-58.jpg)
The mountain would be our marker for a while.

(https://i.postimg.cc/JhyrFfRR/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-17-47-59.jpg)
The roads lead us to Brandberg White Lady Lodge. This is where we stayed and left our vehicle the previous year.  We briefly stop to ask the guides working at the lodge about the elephant. On our last trip to the area we skipped riding in the Ugab riverbed all together as we were warned against the ellies. This time however the guide assures us it is fine, the elephant are much further down the river than we intend to go.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Jh9rCphZ/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-17-47-58-2.jpg)
From here on we will be following seasoned rider @Xpat 's route :) We both enjoyed the ride report where he, @Straatkat and @JustBendIt went on their own Namibian adventure and it is a privilege to follow in their tyre tracks.

"Take me down to the riverbed
Take me down to the fighting end
Wash the poison from off my skin
Show me how to be whole again" - Linkin Park


(https://i.postimg.cc/NFRc1XRX/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-19-54-03-2.jpg)
We follow the Ugab riverbed.

(https://i.postimg.cc/NM9YjSMp/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-19-54-03-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/sXkzQmGy/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-19-54-03.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/7YyDqByn/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-19-56-09.jpg)
There are so many beautiful landscapes. I wish we could photograph them all.

(https://i.postimg.cc/3rGYMszw/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-28-at-19-54-03-3.jpg)
I see the place where Xpat and co had gotten out of the river. We decide to ride on a bit further to see if we can get through. We quickly realize why they turned around. The wide riverbed we were riding suddenly becomes uncomfortably narrow. The thought of an elephant walking into the road suddenly becomes more and more real. The guide did tell us the elephant are further down, but that was yesterday, not today. We make a call to turn around and rather exit the riverbed as well. We don't want to take any silly risks on our first day. Sometimes you have to listen to your gut, this is one of those times.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on September 28, 2019, 08:29:54 pm
We bailed there, because the river was flooded at that point as far ahead as we could see and when I dived in it was quite deep and I bogged down almost immediately. So we took the detour.

Our approach to mitigate potential elephant danger was that as I have lived life to the fullest already (i.e. I have ridden Damaraland and Kaokoland before) I was deemed expendable by the other two and sent riding way ahead as a bait to flash out whatever may be lurking there (there are also lions there) so that the other two would have plenty of time to duck, should I get into trouble.

I wonder which one of you two was doing the baiting ...  :)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: BLK on September 28, 2019, 08:38:29 pm
Fantastic RR.I was following your pics on FB as you know.You both have great spirit and strength for life.Thks for sharing.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: geopat on September 29, 2019, 02:07:45 am
I have walked down the river for a few km after that bailout point and it gets worse before it gets better I recon it would only be passable in the driest years
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 29, 2019, 08:47:27 am
We bailed there, because the river was flooded at that point as far ahead as we could see and when I dived in it was quite deep and I bogged down almost immediately. So we took the detour.

Our approach to mitigate potential elephant danger was that as I have lived life to the fullest already (i.e. I have ridden Damaraland and Kaokoland before) I was deemed expendable by the other two and sent riding way ahead as a bait to flash out whatever may be lurking there (there are also lions there) so that the other two would have plenty of time to duck, should I get into trouble.

I wonder which one of you two was doing the baiting ...  :)

Oh dear, I ride in front most of the time, I guess I will be the entrée  :imaposer: :P

And I see I see, I thought it was the elephant that scared you guys away, but I understand. It was fairly muddy when we went through as well, even though they are experiencing drought.

I have walked down the river for a few km after that bailout point and it gets worse before it gets better I recon it would only be passable in the driest years

It should be doable now if you want to brave the ellies :) Only a little bit of mud and water. Deep muddy ruts from 4x4's though.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Straatkat on September 29, 2019, 09:15:43 am
We also saw very fresh elephant spoor that was on top of the vehicle tracks, so they were there not long ago. That is why we sent Xpat out in front :P
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Amsterdam on September 29, 2019, 10:38:35 am
Just remember that the first bike merely surprises, angers and annoys them.  By the the time the second one comes in view they are focused and ready to charge.

Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 29, 2019, 02:32:15 pm
Sunday the 15th of September 2019 (continued)

What I love about this part of the world is, just how quickly the scenery around you can change. We see many faces of the Damaraland today.

(https://i.postimg.cc/jdz2wPD6/1.jpg)
This track leads us further away from the Ugab river.

(https://i.postimg.cc/3wwxcqn9/2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/bwgvLPHs/3.jpg)
The abandoned cars let me think of a song.

Plain talking (Plain talking)
Take us so far (Take us so far)
Broken down cars (Broken down cars)
Like strung-out old stars (Like strung-out old stars)

Plain talking (Plain talking)
Served us so well (Served us so well)
We traveled through hell (We traveled through hell)
Oh how it felt (Oh how it felt) - Moby


(https://i.postimg.cc/qv4R8qKP/3-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/vT5YnwZ8/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-14-05-27.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/L6dh8N86/4.jpg)
You never know what you will find around the next corner.

(https://i.postimg.cc/B6LQqKWK/6.jpg)
A quick break under the trees of a riverbed we cross. We haven't eaten anything yet. I find I don't get hungry when I'm riding my bike. Afterwards is a different story though ::)

(https://i.postimg.cc/26sj3SmX/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-14-05-27-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/cJ5LyczW/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-14-05-26.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/SQHVNF92/7.jpg)
One of the abandoned mines we would pass on our trip.

(https://i.postimg.cc/zDHVN95c/5.jpg)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 29, 2019, 03:11:59 pm
Sunday the 15th of September 2019 (continued)

In the morning we rode towards a burning mountain, now we ride in the shadow of a black one.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Kj7K2ML5/9.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/63v2MSpg/8.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/65w2hMJb/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-14-05-27-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/7hrCdVC6/10.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/hvmYPSPs/1.jpg)
We move away from the black mountains.

(https://i.postimg.cc/qB6SGGXK/2.jpg)
And reach the place where the red sands meet the rocks.

(https://i.postimg.cc/xTKZwTZT/3.jpg)

Why does this all look so familiar? Ah yes, we've been here before. We followed another route then, but met at this same place.

Flashback of our trip last year.



-And after you had a look at how challenging some of the terrain looked in the video:

A quick note about bike weight and how much things add up when traveling unsupported.

HSK's loaded 690RFR with 36L fuel must have weighed around 225kg that time, my Husky 701 must have been near 175kg.

It is without question that riding this terrain is MUCH easier on the KTM 500s. Taking into consideration fuel and luggage, the weight of our bikes was closer to 130kg. We literally flew over the rocks and sand this time around. Oh what a pleasure! It allows you to not focus on survival and the next immediate obstacle on the way, but instead on the scenery. Your body also takes so much less strain. I'll put together another video of us riding here on the 500s soon.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 29, 2019, 04:28:06 pm
Sunday the 15th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/rpYZ1dDg/4.jpg)
HSK almost opted for another ride. If only the aircon wasn't broken :imaposer:

(https://i.postimg.cc/mrr613gt/5.jpg)
Keep on moving, don't stop, no.

(https://i.postimg.cc/3JM6fDnc/6.jpg)
The closest thing resembling a highway around here...

(https://i.postimg.cc/m2LH3m7Z/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-14-05-28.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Dw6MzpF9/7.jpg)
Moving further and further away from the majestic Brandberg.

(https://i.postimg.cc/8zqgGnHT/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-15-53-25-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/W1TyTcRm/8.jpg)
We reach the Goantagab riverbed.

Another flashback... I remember this section from our last day on the Honda Quest in 2017. We did the route a bit differently then, and from the other direction of course. This was really touch and go on the big Africa Twin. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the last day of the Honda Quest was by far the toughest. I remember watching @tau coming down this exact section of riverbed. He's riding the big Honda at Dakarian speed, the bike bucking and trying to throw him off in the thick, churned up sand, I remember he went sideways, I gasped, he saved it and landed back on track. Pheeewwwww! I grip my handlebars tighter at the thought, again I am glad we are on the lighter bikes.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Qt940X5D/9.jpg)
What stories would these walls tell if they could speak?

(https://i.postimg.cc/NG4tXDgx/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-15-53-25-1.jpg)
We ride the most beautiful tracks through the desert.

(https://i.postimg.cc/gktPS0LX/3.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Twx8LLFS/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-15-53-25.jpg)
I want to take nice photos for the ride report, so I stop every now and then. As I usually ride in front I just tell HSK it's cool, ride past me when I stop. Photos are often more interesting when there is a bike or person in them. I just catch up again and so it goes.

(https://i.postimg.cc/VvYcTrFM/1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/YSYKCfnY/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-15-53-25-3.jpg)
It started to get hot, really hot. I think today was the hottest day of our trip. The temperatures reached over 40 degrees. The fact that there was no greenery didn't help either. It felt like the heat just radiated off of the rocks and sand. I make a mental note to not miss taking our rehydrates, I packed quite a few. If there is one thing you cannot skimp on in the desert, it is rehydrate. They are a life saving elixir. So much so that we'd end up mixing an additional bottle each so we could drink rehydrate every other time we stopped.

(https://i.postimg.cc/g2wbfP3M/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-15-53-24-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/RVZBLthx/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-15-53-24.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/br3jjy65/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-15-53-24-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Qtg30kch/2.jpg)
This place also brought back memories, although I almost didn't recognize it. It is evident Namibia is suffering a severe drought. Below are the photos of just about the same area from our trip last year, See the difference?

(https://i.postimg.cc/VkDvfwhX/40389359-10156684098661972-2831006072293031936-o.jpg)
The same area in 2018.

(https://i.postimg.cc/43ydnMCq/40479117-10156684098711972-3478244393826123776-o-1.jpg)
2018
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Twister on September 29, 2019, 05:48:40 pm
(https://i.postimg.cc/W1TyTcRm/8.jpg)
We reach the Goantagab riverbed.

Another flashback... I remember this section from our last day on the Honda Quest in 2017. We did the route a bit differently then, and from the other direction of course. This was really touch and go on the big Africa Twin. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the last day of the Honda Quest was by far the toughest. I remember watching @tau coming down this exact section of riverbed. He's riding the big Honda at Dakarian speed, the bike bucking and trying to throw him off in the thick, churned up sand, I remember he went sideways, I gasped, he saved it and landed back on track. Pheeewwwww! I grip my handlebars tighter at the thought, again I am glad we are on the lighter bikes.


Awesome memories, thanks for the pictures. This picture immediately reminds me of Grant and his broken collar bone. One of the toughest guys I know.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 29, 2019, 06:03:42 pm

We reach the Goantagab riverbed.

Another flashback... I remember this section from our last day on the Honda Quest in 2017. We did the route a bit differently then, and from the other direction of course. This was really touch and go on the big Africa Twin. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the last day of the Honda Quest was by far the toughest. I remember watching @tau coming down this exact section of riverbed. He's riding the big Honda at Dakarian speed, the bike bucking and trying to throw him off in the thick, churned up sand, I remember he went sideways, I gasped, he saved it and landed back on track. Pheeewwwww! I grip my handlebars tighter at the thought, again I am glad we are on the lighter bikes.



Awesome memories, thanks for the pictures. This picture immediately reminds me of Grant and his broken collar bone. One of the toughest guys I know.

I still have no clue how he managed to ride this terrain with his broken collar bone!!! And the fact that none of us knew until after :o This last day was tough enough as it was. I tip my hat to you sir @McSack
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 29, 2019, 07:45:33 pm
Sunday the 15th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/RCYcmj83/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-18-20-38-4.jpg)
Enter the Huab river. More beautiful memories from last year here as well. Last time we turned right. That took us up the riverbed and out onto the main road (C39), from which we then reached Palmwag. This time we'd be turning left.

At this stage we are both getting pretty damm hot. It was now nearly 2pm and the heat has been absolutely unbearable. HSK asks if we shouldn't turn right up the riverbed again, like we did last year. It is a fairly short hop (about 15km) and pops out on the easy dirt highway. I say, well Xpat's route takes us left and gives us more time off the beaten track, I don't know what to expect though.

(https://i.postimg.cc/NfrRjdqd/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-18-20-39-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/gJkvcdmh/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-18-20-38-3.jpg)
The next part of the route we don't stop much, we just keep moving to try and stay cool. Almost pointless as the air feels like it's coming from an oven.

The sandy terrain becomes rocky again and is really not a pleasure to ride at all. It isn't that its challenging or anything, it's just rocky enough to slow you down and bounce you around a bit :P That with the added heat reflecting onto us from off all the rocks wasn't helping... Normally I wouldn't think much of this section of road at all, it could even be quite pleasant, but today has been quite long and the sun was beating down on us. We really should have gone down the Huab river I thought. HSK stops me, mmmmm :o He must have read my mind...

Basically it went something like this:

*Typical lovers quarrel ensues*.

HSK - "Why didn't we go down the Huab river!? This is kak! We could have been in Palmwag sipping a cold drink by now!"

*What is a quarrel without some added sarcasm?* ;)

Minxy - "OMG how could I have known the condition of the road, it's not like I was here to recce ride it last week now was I!!!???"

HSK - "And your distances are all messed up! We should have been done sooner, it is too hot!!!"

Minxy - "Oh, now it is all my fault this place turned out to be some red hell!? Next time you plan everything then, I won't even touch the computer, lets see if you can do it better!?"

This continues for a min or two.

Now we normally never ever fight haha ::) Actually as a couple, we've been through it all and have always come out on top. But the heat seemed to have gotten to both of us today... At least it was not far to the main road now and the only way we could go was forward anyway.

Then suddenly (just down the road), coming out from behind the bushes we see this:

(https://i.postimg.cc/mDX7tqg5/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-18-20-39-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Bn9HL2J4/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-18-20-39.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/4yYVt5KN/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-18-20-38-5.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/9f2dSZkJ/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-18-20-38-1.jpg)
Not one, or two, but about six desert elephant!!!

This is absolutely incredible!!! We are both at a loss for words.

(https://i.postimg.cc/N0x6wLqY/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-18-20-38-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/vTC9vV97/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-18-20-38.jpg)
Suddenly everything is forgotten, everything is forgiven. Why fight over something so silly, look at what opportunity going down this road has given us.

(https://i.postimg.cc/1XgPQgdj/ded9dde525b300e8567908b6ef9e3cc1.jpg)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on September 29, 2019, 09:04:28 pm
So I guess that is where you kept me in your thoughts...  :peepwall: :pot:

In the light of this I feel you might have looked at my recommendations later on with more then just a hint of suspicion  ;)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 29, 2019, 09:24:16 pm
So I guess that is where you kept me in your thoughts...  :peepwall: :pot:

In the light of this I feel you might have looked at my recommendations later on with more then just a hint of suspicion  ;)

:imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:

Hahaha, yip that was it :P

It's ok though, we still love you Xpat and your routes. The rest more than made up ;D
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 29, 2019, 09:32:19 pm
Sunday the 15th of September 2019 (continued)

The last bit of the ride up to Palmwag went quickly. It feels good to be back on the dirt highway after quite an eventful day of riding.

Just before Palmwag I mention to HSK, if the guard at the veterinary fence asks him if he has any red meat, don't dare tell him about our droëwors :imaposer:

There is an interesting article on the Vetrinary fences of Namibia and Botswana here:

https://blog.tracks4africa.co.za/veterinary-fences-in-namibia-and-botswana/ (https://blog.tracks4africa.co.za/veterinary-fences-in-namibia-and-botswana/)

The guard at the vet fence lets us off with no more than a quick nod of approval. We stop and get fuel at the Palmwag fuel station. The attendant tells us it is very busy at the lodge though. We are only camping, so we should be alright I guess?

We get to the Palmwag Lodge gate and the guy tells us they are full. Completely over capacity.

My heart sinks in my stomach, it feels like it's Friday the 13th again...

No way... We didn't think to book accommodation, as this was all last minute and we weren't certain how our progress would be. Shit... We tell the guy we want to eat at the restaurant anyway, and we'll hear from management if they can't squeeze us in somewhere.

We park in front of camping reception and the booking attendant tells us the same thing, no space. Mmmmm....

(https://i.postimg.cc/c4xYWd1B/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-14-05-26-1.jpg)

Bummed, we make our way to the restaurant and immediately order some rock shandy's. The drinks are so cold, nice we really needed this!
The head waiter, who is also part of management overhears our conversation. He says he'll see if he can get permission for us to stay somewhere from top management, but he can't promise anything.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Vk5CS4CS/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-13-57-50-1.jpg)
I am hot, red, sweaty, dusty, dirty and on top of that I'm starting to get a bit tired. I was really hoping I could have been through the shower already...

The waiter comes back. Management said no... They are indeed completely over capacity, even their overflow camping is full. He can however call and book us a campsite at another place, Khowarib Lodge. There is nothing else nearby, except a fancy lodge which is way out of our price range.

This is a bit of a low blow. Khowarib Lodge is 80km away. It is already 4pm. We haven't eaten anything but a energy bar today. Also, going to Khowarib Lodge means we will miss tomorrows route, the Khowarib Schlucht loop we have been meaning to do on our way to Opuwo. The turn off for the loop we wanted to ride is only about 40km away from Palmwag. We consider wild camping and still riding our route as intended, but replenishing all our water (we drank nearly 6 liters each today) would be a hassle if we are out in the sticks.

(https://i.postimg.cc/XJ5hnw8m/poo.png)

We bite the bullet and just book the camping at Khowarib Lodge. We have ordered some food as we weren't sure if any would be available later on. After quickly wolfing down our burgers, we get back on our bikes, grit our teeth together, and do the 80km to Khowarib.

It is just after 6pm when we finally arrive at our destination after a hell of a long day and we are all too happy to see it is actually a lovely place!

We get ourselves booked in and go put up our tent, take a shower and all those lovely things we've been looking forward to all day.

(https://i.postimg.cc/hP2mPNfW/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-29-at-14-05-29.jpg)
A tidy camp site with electricity, clean ablutions and a hot shower. Wonderful!

(https://i.postimg.cc/SNbXQkyv/bar-night.jpg)
We take a walk up the lit path to the bar to have more rock shandy's. What an adventure it has been, and it is only our first day. (photo borrowed from Khowarib website).
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on September 29, 2019, 09:37:43 pm
I don't recognize that elephant waterhole. Maybe it's just my memory, but are you sure you followed my Day 1 tracks from Hoab onwards or did you combine it with another route (possibly my Day 12)?
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 29, 2019, 09:45:54 pm
I don't recognize that elephant waterhole. Maybe it's just my memory, but are you sure you followed my Day 1 tracks from Hoab onwards or did you combine it with another route (possibly my Day 12)?

We definitely followed your route ;D it was near here somewhere, just a bit before the little village. I'll double check when I'm on Johan's laptop which has Tracks4Africa and your route tomorrow.

(https://i.postimg.cc/0jPq3Wsc/map1.png)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on September 29, 2019, 10:10:20 pm
OK I see.  :thumleft:

But then you were acually at the shortest route to C39 from Hoab river more or less. Even if you would have turned right at the river, it would be roughly the same distance to C39, plus you would have more distance to cover on C39 in that case. I think the route you took was actually the shortest way to Palmwag.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Bikerboer1973 on September 29, 2019, 10:43:33 pm
Nice RR, lekker jaloers!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: geopat on September 29, 2019, 11:51:36 pm
think thats gaias fountain in the desolation valley
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 30, 2019, 10:14:58 am
Monday the 16th of September 2019

The alarm goes off at the crack of dawn.

Minxy:

(https://i.postimg.cc/bJftKGRY/857d6cd69e9ac5f915ab859c0fe460ef.jpg)

We sleep another hour ::) Hey! This is supposed to be a holiday isn't it?

We pack up all our things, it takes a little bit longer than expected. We are still rusty haha! Over the next few days it would go much quicker/easier as we got into the knack of things.

Today we'd just be riding the dirt highway from Khowarib Lodge to Opuwo, as the accommodation problem at Palmwag messed us around a bit. Oh well, we could do the Khowarib Schlucht loop when we are on our way back I suppose.

(https://i.postimg.cc/ZqHmh289/mapopuwo.png)

The other option was to ride Robbie's Pass. Which is just to the west of the C43 - D3704 we were taking.

It is high up on my to do list, but we didn't want to risk it by ourselves. This looks way more difficult than Van Zyls Pass judging by the photos/footage I've seen.

Video of Robbie's Pass from 2010 which I found on youtube below. I don't think the condition would have improved since then either :P



We did have a lot of practice in the rocks not long ago with @JonW though, maybe we would have been ok? :ricky:



In a big way it feels like a lot of the riding we did this past year all built up to this trip. We've practiced riding rocks and hills on the 23 Rivers near Tzaneen and on the Darkest Africa route near Weenen. We've ridden many kilometers of deep sand in the Steelpoort riverbed. We did an extended trip down to the cape and back on our big bikes as well, where we did the Old Postal Route, Baviaans and some other interesting passes. It was good saddle time. As far as biking fitness went, we weren't doing too bad for weekend warriors I guess. :ricky:

Anyway, there was also another option I very briefly looked at when doing route planning (please see highlighted below in yellow). I didn't plot it though as I have no idea what conditions etc are like. I don't quite recall seeing anyone go that way in the ride reports that I've read before. It would actually be nice if somebody who knew this road, and could share more info on it. I see there is also an Aap river? Does that part of the track follow the riverbed? It could be nice to go explore on a next outing.

(https://i.postimg.cc/wjvLJy23/Map-to-edit-OPTIONS.png)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: McSack on September 30, 2019, 10:43:24 am
That adaption of John Muirs quote in your first post is so on point @Minxy   :thumleft:

Jeez I wish I could find some time to visit Nam right now. Oh well ...will just have to tag along vicariously on your trip

...sub
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Grunder on September 30, 2019, 11:37:01 am
That adaption of John Muirs quote in your first post is so on point @Minxy

Jeez I wish I could find some time to visit Nam right now. Oh well ...will just have to tag along vicariously on your trip

...sub
:biggrin:

Love this RR!!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: m0lt3n on September 30, 2019, 01:41:51 pm
When we did the car trip in Namibia we were not to impressed at Palmwag. Pity they couldn't help you. You couldn't just make a turn at the ablutions the night and morning and wild camp next door out of sight....?
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 30, 2019, 08:44:36 pm
When we did the car trip in Namibia we were not to impressed at Palmwag. Pity they couldn't help you. You couldn't just make a turn at the ablutions the night and morning and wild camp next door out of sight....?

We didn't want to push our luck, I'm happy it worked out the way it did though, otherwise we wouldn't have discovered Khowarib Lodge. It is actually very nice there, and at R150p/p camping is super affordable. It was R540 at Palmwag. Palmwag is nice and central though, so we'll probably stay there again. Will just have to remember to book next time :-[ The place was overrun with tourists! :o
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on September 30, 2019, 09:59:16 pm
Monday the 16th of September 2019 (continued)

We ride the big dirt road to Opuwo. We didn't stop to take too many photos as we wanted to keep moving and not die of boredom lol :laughing4:

(https://i.postimg.cc/sfGFSNW7/IMG-20190916-105947.jpg)
Beautiful baobab trees next to the road.

We booked into Abba guesthouse while in Opuwo. It was just easier as we could take things off the bikes while we go shopping. I could also get some washing etc done and we could get going really early the next day as we wouldn't have to pack up the tent etc.

We also needed to buy a couple more things while we were in the last bastion of civilization. We went shopping at the Opuwo Spar for some essential items, such as cookies, chips and other goodies. If you haven't been to Opuwo yet, it is the weirdest place. You'll walk around casually in the shop, then suddenly get passed by a bunch of beautiful, bare chested Himba ladies, who are going about their business like it's any o'l Monday. And then you have the Herero women, with their long Victorian inspired dresses, elegant and wearing the most colourful fabrics.

I don't feel comfortable snapping paparazzi photos of people walking around the shops, so I borrowed this photo from google to show as an example. It is mind blowing, they are just complete opposites.
(https://i.postimg.cc/YChyK4xg/6475853335-88f925b365-b.jpg)

Also, we just had to stop at the Kaokoland Restaurant. This is the last stop for pizza and other yummy food before you go properly off the beaten track.

(https://i.postimg.cc/KY37QBDq/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-30-at-21-21-13.jpg)
Having some ice cream in the Kaokoland. Life is good :biggrin: 8)

There is only one fuel station operating in Opuwo and it is EXTREMELY busy. The owner at the restaurant tells us it's better to go later when it's dark.

(https://i.postimg.cc/fyRfcF2X/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-30-at-21-53-34.jpg)
We leave after 8pm to get fuel. There are just about no people around and we get helped quickly. We full up with 17L in our bike tanks, and both take an additional 5L in our fuel bladders.

Ooooohhh, and I nearly forgot. There are kitties at the guesthouse!!! They are in alright condition as the owner feeds them in the evenings. I got to touchy all the kitties and give them extra snacks. This could only mean one thing, much good fortune for tomorrow :D

(https://i.postimg.cc/V6LCptqP/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-30-at-21-59-55.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/tgbPdw7T/Whats-App-Image-2019-09-30-at-21-59-55-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: ROOI on October 01, 2019, 07:47:11 am
 :peepwall: sub
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Damaraland on October 01, 2019, 07:48:42 am
When we did the car trip in Namibia we were not to impressed at Palmwag. Pity they couldn't help you. You couldn't just make a turn at the ablutions the night and morning and wild camp next door out of sight....?

We didn't want to push our luck, I'm happy it worked out the way it did though, otherwise we wouldn't have discovered Khowarib Lodge. It is actually very nice there, and at R150p/p camping is super affordable. It was R540 at Palmwag. Palmwag is nice and central though, so we'll probably stay there again. Will just have to remember to book next time :-[ The place was overrun with tourists! :o

Very good to hear that things have improved at Khowarib.  On our last Kaokoland ride we booked a camp place there.  We arrived at about 16:00 and they flat-out refused to serve us dinner, because we didn't book the dinner itself before 15:00.  This silly requirement wasn't pointed out to us when we booked nor on the website.  In the end we cornered and paid the cook directly to cook food for us.

Loving the RR, keep it going!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Grunder on October 01, 2019, 07:50:38 am


We ride the big dirt road to Opuwo. We didn't stop to take too many photos as we wanted to keep moving and not die of boredom lol :laughing4:

(https://i.postimg.cc/YChyK4xg/6475853335-88f925b365-b.jpg)


When I saw this comment and in the corner of my eye the picture I was smiling... :biggrin:

"We don't have time to take pictures but there is always time to take pics of .....  :peepwall:


Anyway, then I saw that you googled the pic for research purposes  :lol8: :lol8:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 01, 2019, 08:39:59 am




We ride the big dirt road to Opuwo. We didn't stop to take too many photos as we wanted to keep moving and not die of boredom lol :laughing4:

(https://i.postimg.cc/YChyK4xg/6475853335-88f925b365-b.jpg)


When I saw this comment and in the corner of my eye the picture I was smiling... :biggrin:

"We don't have time to take pictures but there is always time to take pics of .....  :peepwall:


Anyway, then I saw that you googled the pic for research purposes  :lol8: :lol8:

I have a photo of real himba coming up soon though! :D The etiquette around photo taking is not something I understand very well around here. I think you have to pay people if you want to take a picture of them? I don't want to be "that chick" that walks around like a Chinese tourist awkwardly taking photos of random people around town, that is just not my style haha! :P Especially since I only had my cellphone for photos on this trip, no real camera.

Anyway I'll have to come back with one of those paparazzi camera lenses when we have a back up vehicle at some stage, then I can sneak some good shots :biggrin:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 01, 2019, 08:43:04 am
When we did the car trip in Namibia we were not to impressed at Palmwag. Pity they couldn't help you. You couldn't just make a turn at the ablutions the night and morning and wild camp next door out of sight....?

We didn't want to push our luck, I'm happy it worked out the way it did though, otherwise we wouldn't have discovered Khowarib Lodge. It is actually very nice there, and at R150p/p camping is super affordable. It was R540 at Palmwag. Palmwag is nice and central though, so we'll probably stay there again. Will just have to remember to book next time :-[ The place was overrun with tourists! :o

Very good to hear that things have improved at Khowarib.  On our last Kaokoland ride we booked a camp place there.  We arrived at about 16:00 and they flat-out refused to serve us dinner, because we didn't book the dinner itself before 15:00.  This silly requirement wasn't pointed out to us when we booked nor on the website.  In the end we cornered and paid the cook directly to cook food for us.

Loving the RR, keep it going!

Glad you are enjoying it :D When you have a chance can you please look at the picture of the map I posted at the bottom of the previous page? :) You guys know this part of the world so well, maybe you know the road I'm asking about.

And mmmm, we didn't have dinner there as we ate at Palmwag, but I think booking may still be required. I know you have to book breakfast the previous night as well (R110 per person). This seems to be the norm with many of these places? I remember last year we had to book at Epupa Falls for dinner too and they couldn't help us the first night as we arrived late. We didn't have any breakfast when we stayed over this time though as we left quite early.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: BikerJan on October 01, 2019, 08:53:42 am
I am enjoying your ride report Minxy! I hope I will also be able to ride in that part of Nam soon
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Straatkat on October 01, 2019, 11:52:44 am
You guys went to a lot of places I have memories of, pity about missing out on Robbies pass, it is quite hectic with many rocks, but that depends how well you ride rocks and the length of your legs to save it if it goes wrong. Both myself and Justin battled with the rocks, but Xpat cruised over them, even coming back on occasion to see what is taking us so long, he just cruised those rocks like it was dirt highway, after spending some weeks riding Lesotho... You guys would have been just fine. Those 500's are just amazing bikes!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Noneking on October 01, 2019, 12:22:50 pm
Nice RR!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ri on October 01, 2019, 03:47:53 pm
... so little time to prepare, and still hosting me for the weekend?! Thanks, it was the best! :biggrin:

Loving the RR so far, please continue :sip:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: cloudgazer on October 01, 2019, 03:53:59 pm
What a trip!

But the pics of all the soft sand.... just looking at them makes my butt pucker.  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 01, 2019, 05:12:10 pm
... so little time to prepare, and still hosting me for the weekend?! Thanks, it was the best! :biggrin:

Loving the RR so far, please continue :sip:

If we had to do it all over again we wouldn't change a thing :P It was wonderful to have you!

What a trip!

But the pics of all the soft sand.... just looking at them makes my butt pucker.  :biggrin:

You've really got to put your best sand hat on when you decide to ride this part of the world. With a smaller bike, like the 500, the sand is an absolute pleasure to ride though, even with all the extras we carried :ricky:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Rough Rider on October 01, 2019, 05:47:29 pm
Awesome RR  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Mikie on October 01, 2019, 06:57:53 pm
Keep it coming, I love reading your reports, Minxy  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 01, 2019, 07:02:10 pm
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019

This time we leave early, really early. Today would be the big day.

(https://i.postimg.cc/TYktrzz9/VZP-Route.png)

We ride in darkness with dawn slowly breaking behind us. Opuwo to Okangwati.

(https://i.postimg.cc/cCRcgjQQ/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-40-42.jpg)
Petrol proved easy enough to find in Okangwati, and even though the lady selling it was still in her pyjamas, she was more than happy to help :) We put in about 5L each and took care to filter the fuel.

We follow the D3703. As you can see this is not your typical Namibian dirt highway.

(https://i.postimg.cc/xCkxCtxR/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-31-22.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/mg88y0Kj/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-33-48-1.jpg)
The landscape becomes more and more harsh, arrid and rocky.

We cross numerous riverbeds.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Y2WDBDm2/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-33-47.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/pdrkGsHH/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-33-49-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/5N5P6H3Z/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-33-47-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/BbHm5tGP/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-33-47-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/85r4DscX/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-33-50-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/wM8VBHsq/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-33-50.jpg)
The terrain keeps getting more menacing.

(https://i.postimg.cc/MKJP60y7/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-33-47-3.jpg)
But also more beautiful.

(https://i.postimg.cc/xdQNqC6F/d1de39ff19cb82b01f8301f8662545d5.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/tTLrVW8H/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-33-46.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Sxyg8y1j/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-33-48.jpg)

We hear another vehicle approach. An unexpected sound in this part of the world. It is the Namibian Red Cross. We have a quick chat with them. They say they are busy with an outreach programme where they take take medicine to the remote villages in the area. They are also looking for alternative water sources. Such a noble cause, at least the people here are not forgotten. They asked us if we know what to expect from the road up ahead. I say yes, I know it, I've been here before.

(https://i.postimg.cc/TPs0ZndW/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-17-33-49.jpg)

We exchange our goodbye's and continue towards the first big hurdle on our way to Van Zyls Pass, Heartbreak Hill.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Highsider on October 01, 2019, 08:06:47 pm
Keep it coming...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 01, 2019, 10:17:05 pm
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/zvzr4mXB/Shit-got-real.png)


(https://i.postimg.cc/SsGmVLbc/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-21-26-44.jpg)

The infamous Heartbreak Hill.

More flashbacks. This one was fairly tough on the Africa Twin back in 2017. It's one of the numerous places on route where we stopped to help each other. While riding today I looked at things from a fresh perspective. None of this was really difficult on the 500... When I was looking at the route during our planning phase, Xpat told me we should be fine to do the entire stretch from Opuwo, to Okangwati, over Van Zyls Pass, past Rooidrom, over Joubert's Pass and to Marble Mine Community Camp in a day. I was a little bit skeptical. During Honda Quest this took us two days, two LONG, full days! Guess we'll just have to see how our progress goes.

(https://i.postimg.cc/0NMKNyKL/21762329-10155730441121972-7649717905308373765-o.jpg)
Riding the big boy back in 2017.

(https://i.postimg.cc/hvrfYJN7/QUEST-6-4.jpg)
Lots of teamwork.

(https://i.postimg.cc/ryC0sbzF/QUEST-6-9.jpg)
And so we prevailed.

Present day,

(https://i.postimg.cc/NGpgHx4c/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-21-26-45-2.jpg)
Looking back to the path we came from.

(https://i.postimg.cc/X7P427m1/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-21-26-46.jpg)
Looking at the road ahead :)

(https://i.postimg.cc/VvGmPY66/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-21-26-44-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/NfFQ7rJr/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-21-26-45.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/PJrT7Ld9/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-01-at-21-26-45-1.jpg)
HSK is excited! Lets do this!. Yes, lets go! :ricky:


This video shows the approach to Heartbreak Hill, as well as us going up and over. Yes, we did make it alright 8) Forward to 5:10 for HB Hill.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Bikerboer1973 on October 01, 2019, 10:56:38 pm
Mooi man lekker vid dankie! You guys make it look easy!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: McSack on October 02, 2019, 06:26:20 am
Tuesday the 16th of September 2019 (continued)

]

The infamous Heartbreak Hill.

More flashbacks. This one was fairly tough on the Africa Twin back in 2017. It's one of the numerous places on route where we stopped to help each other. While riding today I looked at things from a fresh perspective. None of this was really difficult on the 500... When I was looking at the route during our planning phase, Xpat told me we should be fine to do the entire stretch from Opuwo, to Okangwati, over Van Zyls Pass, past Rooidrom, over Joubert's Pass and to Marble Mine Community Camp in a day. I was a little bit skeptical. During Honda Quest this took us two days, two LONG, full days! Guess we'll just have to see how our progress goes.

.

Present day,

..
Looking back to the path we came from.



This video shows the approach to Heartbreak Hill, as well as us going up and over. Yes, we did make it alright 8) Forward to 5:10 for HB Hill.
You guys make it look too easy.  I remember that ride to van Zyl's camp being a very long day

Sent from my BV9500 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Monkey#13 on October 02, 2019, 06:46:20 am
Thanks for the video! After seeing how it shakes you around on the bikes, I have no intention of taking the family on an overlanding trip there, ever! A couple of friends on bikes? For sure! 4x4 with wife and toddler? Not so much...
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: MonkeyNot on October 02, 2019, 11:20:38 am
SUB  :sip:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Straatkat on October 02, 2019, 08:11:23 pm
The last step of Heartbreak Hill is the killer. It is fairly rough going up and if your line is not perfect that last ledge will catch you out.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 02, 2019, 08:59:40 pm
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/VkXdzQPR/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-20-11-15-2.jpg)
I take HSK to the Van Zyls campsite to show him where we stayed on the Honda Quest in 2017.

(https://i.postimg.cc/vB04Crww/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-20-11-17-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/SNBn0Q3R/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-20-11-15-3.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/PrpCFv60/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-20-11-15-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/mkhP4PTz/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-20-11-17.jpg)
This was such an awesome place to stay. It really feels like you are miles away from civilization. I remember it was freezing cold that year too, oh it was sooooo cold. @Kamanya still put hot coals under our camping chairs to keep us warm! Coudn't believe the Kaokoland got that cold. This place is the reason I have been riding around with a thermal sleeping bag liner in my backpack all this time :P

(https://i.postimg.cc/KjVR8mY9/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-20-11-16.jpg)
Anyway, it is literally 10am. We have made ridiculously good time :ricky: We will not be staying here today. We'll push on to Marble Camp.

(https://i.postimg.cc/V6fS77TF/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-20-11-15.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/h43Jr109/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-20-11-16-1.jpg)
While we are here, let me share a good tip. If you don't have a sand foot on your bike, and there is nothing nearby you can use, just fold your glove and Bob's your uncle :biggrin:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 02, 2019, 09:03:45 pm
The last step of Heartbreak Hill is the killer. It is fairly rough going up and if your line is not perfect that last ledge will catch you out.

Especially if you are too lazy to walk it first haha! We just went for it :imaposer: When I saw those big rocks right up top (and I swear they got bigger...) I was like, oh crap, but the bike just went over them no problem :ricky: The 500s really made mince meat of Heartbreak Hill and all the other obstacles. I don't want to make this RR sound like an accolade to the 500, but damm I love that bike, I wouldn't want to be here on anything else.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Oubones on October 02, 2019, 09:21:20 pm
Yip that last piece of Heartbreak hill is not so easy. :peepwall:
I like your glove idea for a sidestand foot, I did the hillbilly thing and just spun my back wheel in as if I was parking on the beach. :peepwall:
Nice to see the familiar places again, thanks! :thumleft:
 :sip:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on October 02, 2019, 09:39:15 pm
...

Anyway, there was also another option I very briefly looked at when doing route planning (please see highlighted below in yellow). I didn't plot it though as I have no idea what conditions etc are like. I don't quite recall seeing anyone go that way in the ride reports that I've read before. It would actually be nice if somebody who knew this road, and could share more info on it. I see there is also an Aap river? Does that part of the track follow the riverbed? It could be nice to go explore on a next outing.

(https://i.postimg.cc/wjvLJy23/Map-to-edit-OPTIONS.png)

I have looked at that track when I was planning our trip with Bertie and Justin. But then I found out about the route running through Robbie pass, and that was it.

To be honest, that track was my only my third choice of getting to Opuwo from Sesfontein. Apart from Robbies pass route, I was seriously considering riding from Sesfontein to Puros on D3707 (the main road to Puros you did on the Quest) and then taking Huarusib river up all the way to Opuwo (i.e. not turning off west over to Khumib river about 25 km north of Puros, but rather continue in that riverbed that would eventually deliver you to the dirt road between Opuwo and Etanga dozen or so km west of Opuwo. Yes, in this route I would ride the same 25 km of Huarusib on the way up as well as later on on the way down, but to me that is probably the most attractive route as it runs in Huarusib riverbed for over 100 km or so, and those 25 km from Puros to Khumib turnoff are one of my favourite places in Kaokoland (together with Hoanib river), so I have no problem to ride them up and down - especially early in the morning or late in the evening.

So your route east of C43 would be my third choice - but of course still way preferrable to the C43 highway (at least on 500). But I would not connect to it in Ongongo (Warmquelle) as shown on your map, but rather ride from Khowarig lodge east through the Khowarib gorge (your last day) and at the end of the gorge where you turned right to another riverbed, I would turn left (north and follow riverbed up north toward those roads on your map).

Another option if you are starting from Palmwag and want to go all the way to Opuwo, would be to do the Little Serengeti loop (the one you did on your last day in oposite direction), but not turn into Khuwarig gorge west, but continue north as described above. Justin almost did that when he missed the turnoff to Khuwarib (Hoanib riverbed) and I had to chase him down to turn him back.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 02, 2019, 10:18:33 pm
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)

We continue to traverse the pass.

(https://i.postimg.cc/PJ1hDDz8/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-05.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/nLLHWCZ6/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-04-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/HkYHJVJV/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-07-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/d1bwD6dY/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-05-2.jpg)
The scenery and views are just spectacular, it is really something else.

And before we know it, we make it to the Van Zyls Pass viewpoint. It is just before 12am.

(https://i.postimg.cc/g2sz4v9V/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-05-3.jpg)
We are so happy to be here, it is almost surreal. It is not every Tuesday afternoon that you get to spend time on top of Van Zyls Pass with your other half.

(https://i.postimg.cc/jdzdwpZk/9671b72f10070dd62d677db9e0f161df.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/W4f2cT1t/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-04-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/MZBzgk2K/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-06-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/NM9QgSKD/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-04.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/3xYrgtqr/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-05-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/CKdgNXs0/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-08.jpg)
From here we look out over the Marienflus.

(https://i.postimg.cc/sD9sDpgk/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-06.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/K80btxLQ/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-07.jpg)
We also take the time to empty our fuel bladders into our tanks. As mentioned before, we started from Okangwati with a full 17L in our tanks, and extra 5L in our fuel bladders.

(https://i.postimg.cc/yYz7Hfsh/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-02-at-21-40-06-2.jpg)

The fun isn't over yet though, the hardest part is still to come.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 02, 2019, 10:23:49 pm
...

Anyway, there was also another option I very briefly looked at when doing route planning (please see highlighted below in yellow). I didn't plot it though as I have no idea what conditions etc are like. I don't quite recall seeing anyone go that way in the ride reports that I've read before. It would actually be nice if somebody who knew this road, and could share more info on it. I see there is also an Aap river? Does that part of the track follow the riverbed? It could be nice to go explore on a next outing.

(https://i.postimg.cc/wjvLJy23/Map-to-edit-OPTIONS.png)

I have looked at that track when I was planning our trip with Bertie and Justin. But then I found out about the route running through Robbie pass, and that was it.

To be honest, that track was my only my third choice of getting to Opuwo from Sesfontein. Apart from Robbies pass route, I was seriously considering riding from Sesfontein to Puros on D3707 (the main road to Puros you did on the Quest) and then taking Huarusib river up all the way to Opuwo (i.e. not turning off west over to Khumib river about 25 km north of Puros, but rather continue in that riverbed that would eventually deliver you to the dirt road between Opuwo and Etanga dozen or so km west of Opuwo. Yes, in this route I would ride the same 25 km of Huarusib on the way up as well as later on on the way down, but to me that is probably the most attractive route as it runs in Huarusib riverbed for over 100 km or so, and those 25 km from Puros to Khumib turnoff are one of my favourite places in Kaokoland (together with Hoanib river), so I have no problem to ride them up and down - especially early in the morning or late in the evening.

So your route east of C43 would be my third choice - but of course still way preferrable to the C43 highway (at least on 500). But I would not connect to it in Ongongo (Warmquelle) as shown on your map, but rather ride from Khowarig lodge east through the Khowarib gorge (your last day) and at the end of the gorge where you turned right to another riverbed, I would turn left (north and follow riverbed up north toward those roads on your map).

Another option if you are starting from Palmwag and want to go all the way to Opuwo, would be to do the Little Serengeti loop (the one you did on your last day in oposite direction), but not turn into Khuwarig gorge west, but continue north as described above. Justin almost did that when he missed the turnoff to Khuwarib (Hoanib riverbed) and I had to chase him down to turn him back.

Thanks for your insight Xpat, I will most definitely have a look at those options for next time :) :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ri on October 03, 2019, 11:07:26 am
I must admit I was just a little thankful to be in a 4x4 when we climbed Heartbreak Hill - it was hard to imagine having to conquer those boulders on a motorbike :eek:

My heartbreak on that trip was missing out on Van Zyl's Pass and the Marienfluss, rather than my broken ankle - I was sent around the long (but also beautiful) way with the back up vehicles, and just caught the butt-end of the fairy circles :'(
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Amsterdam on October 03, 2019, 01:51:59 pm
The last step of Heartbreak Hill is the killer. It is fairly rough going up and if your line is not perfect that last ledge will catch you out.

Especially if you are too lazy to walk it first haha! We just went for it :imaposer: When I saw those big rocks right up top (and I swear they got bigger...) I was like, oh crap, but the bike just went over them no problem :ricky: The 500s really made mince meat of Heartbreak Hill and all the other obstacles. I don't want to make this RR sound like an accolade to the 500, but damm I love that bike, I wouldn't want to be here on anything else.

And the video shows that.  That bike has such an amazing low rev tractor-like climbing ability.  This write up makes me want to go back again. 

I have seen others also strap the 5 litres around the front head light.  How does this affect the steering when trying to do manoeuvres over/around rocks etc?
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 03, 2019, 01:59:36 pm
The last step of Heartbreak Hill is the killer. It is fairly rough going up and if your line is not perfect that last ledge will catch you out.

Especially if you are too lazy to walk it first haha! We just went for it :imaposer: When I saw those big rocks right up top (and I swear they got bigger...) I was like, oh crap, but the bike just went over them no problem :ricky: The 500s really made mince meat of Heartbreak Hill and all the other obstacles. I don't want to make this RR sound like an accolade to the 500, but damm I love that bike, I wouldn't want to be here on anything else.

And the video shows that.  That bike has such an amazing low rev tractor-like climbing ability.  This write up makes me want to go back again. 

I have seen others also strap the 5 litres around the front head light.  How does this affect the steering when trying to do manoeuvres over/around rocks etc?

:D I thought the fuel strapped to the front would be more problematic, it wasn't. Everything handled fine. We had toolbags on our front fenders too, so quite a bit of weight there and everything was surprisingly good. We borrowed the idea from @Das Alpha Tier and @Damaraland . They had it strapped to their bikes the same way on their Angola trip.

I must admit I was just a little thankful to be in a 4x4 when we climbed Heartbreak Hill - it was hard to imagine having to conquer those boulders on a motorbike :eek:

My heartbreak on that trip was missing out on Van Zyl's Pass and the Marienfluss, rather than my broken ankle - I was sent around the long (but also beautiful) way with the back up vehicles, and just caught the butt-end of the fairy circles :'(


Ri, you will have to go back again! Our trip in 2018 also didn't work out, we didn't even get that far. You must not give up. And... I thought you fit quite lekker on that 500 when you were here, and mine isn't even lowered. Just a thought ;)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ri on October 03, 2019, 03:29:20 pm
Ri, you will have to go back again! Our trip in 2018 also didn't work out, we didn't even get that far. You must not give up. And... I thought you fit quite lekker on that 500 when you were here, and mine isn't even lowered. Just a thought ;)

I know, I have been thinking too :ricky:
But unless I can swap one for a few DR650s it will have to remain a thought - my finances are kaput for now. Maybe Xpat can lend me his... :imaposer:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: adamktm on October 03, 2019, 04:45:25 pm
I see HSK has his fuel bladder strapped onto the tank bag later in the trip, why did he do that and you kept yours on the front?

Loving the RR, I really wish I could ride as often as you 2  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Grunder on October 03, 2019, 04:49:27 pm
I see HSK has his fuel bladder strapped onto the tank bag later in the trip, why did he do that and you kept yours on the front?

Loving the RR, I really wish I could ride as often as you 2 
I saw that too. Wonder if it was not empty at that time.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: schalk vd merwe on October 03, 2019, 04:49:55 pm
Hi Minxy how lekker is all this.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: schalk vd merwe on October 03, 2019, 04:55:30 pm
Hi Minxy I also move some of my luggage onto my front fender when I was in Livingstonia in Malawi. I had to ride out a very steep hill from the camp and the bike would just wheelie due to the weight at the back. Moving luggage on to the front fender solved the problem.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: schalk vd merwe on October 03, 2019, 05:11:00 pm
Looking at your videos, you guys and girls can ride.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: adamktm on October 03, 2019, 05:16:01 pm
I see HSK has his fuel bladder strapped onto the tank bag later in the trip, why did he do that and you kept yours on the front?

Loving the RR, I really wish I could ride as often as you 2 
I saw that too. Wonder if it was not empty at that time.

It definitely looks full, unless HSK has it filled with air so he can have a lay down when they stop cos keeping up with Minxy is tiring him out  :imaposer:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Grunder on October 03, 2019, 05:25:34 pm
I see HSK has his fuel bladder strapped onto the tank bag later in the trip, why did he do that and you kept yours on the front?

Loving the RR, I really wish I could ride as often as you 2 
I saw that too. Wonder if it was not empty at that time.

It definitely looks full, unless HSK has it filled with air so he can have a lay down when they stop cos keeping up with Minxy is tiring him out  :imaposer:
Haha
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Hondsekierie on October 03, 2019, 05:47:48 pm
I see HSK has his fuel bladder strapped onto the tank bag later in the trip, why did he do that and you kept yours on the front?

Loving the RR, I really wish I could ride as often as you 2 
I saw that too. Wonder if it was not empty at that time.

It definitely looks full, unless HSK has it filled with air so he can have a lay down when they stop cos keeping up with Minxy is tiring him out  :imaposer:

Haha, to be honest - I was just too lazy to strap it on the front. 

You have to be quite careful when attaching it to the front as you don't want it to interfere with the break line's movement.  I thought I'll just strap it to my tank bag and see how it goes and it actually worked out perfect.  I barely noticed it and almost worked better as one could see the front fender for a change which makes for a bit more accurate riding in the more technical stuff.  It does however have other advantages like Schalk said, not that we ever had problems with misbehaving bikes.

Can I also say it - I really love my 500 :ricky:


Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: punisher on October 03, 2019, 06:41:32 pm
fantastic RR im loooooooving itttttttttttttttt  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: adamktm on October 04, 2019, 07:59:02 am
I see HSK has his fuel bladder strapped onto the tank bag later in the trip, why did he do that and you kept yours on the front?

Loving the RR, I really wish I could ride as often as you 2 
I saw that too. Wonder if it was not empty at that time.

It definitely looks full, unless HSK has it filled with air so he can have a lay down when they stop cos keeping up with Minxy is tiring him out  :imaposer:

Haha, to be honest - I was just too lazy to strap it on the front. 

You have to be quite careful when attaching it to the front as you don't want it to interfere with the break line's movement.  I thought I'll just strap it to my tank bag and see how it goes and it actually worked out perfect.  I barely noticed it and almost worked better as one could see the front fender for a change which makes for a bit more accurate riding in the more technical stuff.  It does however have other advantages like Schalk said, not that we ever had problems with misbehaving bikes.

Can I also say it - I really love my 500 :ricky:

I'd be too scared the fuel leaked onto my knackers  :imaposer: :dousing:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: JonW on October 04, 2019, 09:01:25 am
Well done Minxy and HSK

Loving your Ride Report.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Grunder on October 04, 2019, 09:02:32 am
Hond se kierie ons moet lank wag tussen posts!!!!

 :lol8: :ricky:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: wildside on October 05, 2019, 02:59:37 am
Enjoying your report....well done. Great photos of a dry, hot and beautiful country.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 05, 2019, 12:21:53 pm
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)

The notorious "Step". The crux of Van Zyls pass. Trust me when I say, it is MUCH steeper than it looks...

(https://i.postimg.cc/rwbGZ9fB/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-10-58-36.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/W3cGT1LS/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-10-58-41-1.jpg)

There will be no heroics today. A decision is made to just go down slowly, if there's anywhere you are going to break your leg, chances are good it will be here.

"And all the kids they say
Live to fight another day
Live to fight again, again, again, again" - Kasabian


HSK says he'll go first.

(https://i.postimg.cc/qMv8kFSf/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-07.jpg)
In this moment I cannot help but hold my breath.

(https://i.postimg.cc/fbmd2Qtd/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-08.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/BbMHT58w/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-07-1.jpg)
Yes, all clear! I can breath again ;D Not for long though, cause I'm up next :P

(https://i.postimg.cc/fywYSqb9/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-10-58-41.jpg)
I stare down at the one who didn't make it. A grim reminder of how it can all go wrong. Ok, no pressure.

(https://i.postimg.cc/mkz882Ms/SAKQobf-P01-OQ-4wr.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/L5TByKWD/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-10-58-39.jpg)
Let's do this. HSK gives me a good line to follow, and I just need to focus on the task at hand.

(https://i.postimg.cc/s2hYkZ8v/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-10-58-40.jpg)
Looking over the abyss... Easy does it now.

(https://i.postimg.cc/L8hBVW3k/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-10-58-38-1.jpg)
"Why are you staring at all the big rocks you dummy, just go over them!" :laughing4:

(https://i.postimg.cc/Qx8qFCBy/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-10-58-38.jpg)
Ok, now I can really breath again... It was not as bad as it looked :)

Flashback to our descent down the step in 2017, what an awesome trip down memory lane this has been.

(https://i.postimg.cc/vBZzmRrC/21752800-10155734022116972-3240704025524771333-o.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/1RcHRwzF/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-10-58-40-1.jpg)
Minxy - 2, HSK - 1, Van Zyls Pass - 0. Take that you Van Zyls Pass Bastardo, we will not be thwarted that easily! 8)

(https://i.postimg.cc/CLcsk0kL/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-10-58-37.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/rFsr6rRM/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-10-3.jpg)
Oh and you can't go down VZP without a selfie :D

(https://i.postimg.cc/MGp41wsW/2ee789888b0d11e38b200eef6c047a8d-8.jpg)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ri on October 05, 2019, 01:15:56 pm
So cool and well done! :hello2:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: m0lt3n on October 05, 2019, 01:25:35 pm
Well done!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 05, 2019, 01:43:05 pm
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/wT4D3VY1/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-08-1.jpg)
The last bit of the pass. Loose rocks and steep descents. You can't lose focus even for a second!

(https://i.postimg.cc/MZD7Jwsb/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-07-2.jpg)
That smile says it all.

(https://i.postimg.cc/26nxZBFP/46e34da53db237d20b3be06152820c5f.jpg)

I have made pretty much a full length video of our ride through Van Zyls Pass. I am not 100% sure where it officially starts (recording started where things got interesting, not too far from VZP camp). I figured it would be nice and educational for those who plan to go ride it at some stage, just to see what it is all about. I cut out our stops and photo moments to keep it slightly shorter:


The part with the step is at about 25:00. There are plenty of other challenging bits on the way though, it's a nice video to skip through if you don't want to watch the full 33min.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 05, 2019, 02:59:15 pm
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/GhfsbmvY/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-10.jpg)
The bottom of Van Zyls Pass, how good it feels to be here :)

(https://i.postimg.cc/VvG0rYTx/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-10-1.jpg)
Time to take a short break.

(https://i.postimg.cc/vTH6Z1P7/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-09.jpg)
We are not alone for very long.

(https://i.postimg.cc/RFTHm1TV/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-09-2.jpg)
Real Himba, these women barely spoke a word of English. We exchanged some friendly gestures and smiles. We must look so alien to them with our armored suits and steel horses.

(https://i.postimg.cc/nhsBmDn0/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-08-2.jpg)
The Himba gather and watch as I write a short message on a rock as per the age old VZP tradition.

(https://i.postimg.cc/bwKb9wJ8/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-08-3.jpg)
 I go to put the rock down under the message tree. I am not sure when the tradition started, or how it came about, but I do know that it is has to do with safe passage through the pass.

More flashbacks, and some happy memories of our time here in 2017 @KarooKid

(https://i.postimg.cc/tJG7sBXH/21462416-10154725800917413-2289597704824385570-n.jpg)
I had a very quick look to see if I could find our rock from 2017, most of the older ones on the pile seem to have faded though, and only a few of the newer messages remained.

(https://i.postimg.cc/kMfbhc4T/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-10-2.jpg)
I put down our rock, a tribute to the trip and ride report we could not complete in 2018.

*Just a note and some thoughts*

Later on our trip, when I eventually had enough signal to update facebook that we had ridden Van Zyls Pass, there were two or so people who left crude remarks about the VZP rock writing tradition. The signal in this part of the world is very limited, so when I did eventually manage to log in again a day or so later, and saw these remarks, I got a lovely reminder as to how messed up our society can be... Instead of saying something nice, like "Well done", or "Oh that is cool!", I get crucified by this random woman (who doesn't even ride bike) and some bicycle Piet (who also doesn't seem to ride a real bike, hhhmmmm), I guess that alone should have ascribed to the fact that they have no clue as to what they are talking about, but either way it was still unpleasant.

When politely writing back that it is a tradition to do this on VZP, and we don't exactly go about doing this every five minutes just for the hell of it, the lovely lady answered that stoning woman in Afghanistan is a tradition too. Wow, ok that escalated quickly :o I was going to say, ok eco nazi lady, I'd like to know what you did for your environment/community today, cause you know, other than writing on a rock (and trust me there is NO shortage of these at VZP...) and putting it on a tidy o'l rock pile, I think we've been at least 100x greener than you. Even the Himba at the bottom of the pass were happy to see me put the rock on the pile... So yes I can rant forever and go on how we've been supporting local communities by using their facilities, how I gave some money to a himba lady with a sick child to source medicine, how our motorbikes leave a much smaller footprint than her fancy airconditioned SUV, but you know what... I just blocked the haters on my facebook instead. We don't need that kind of negativity in our lives :)

It did make me wonder, have people lost focus on real things? Is it too easy to voice your opinion on matters you have no knowledge about on the internet these days? Do people not get the true spirit of adventure thing anymore? Instead of going out on a journey of discovery and seeing for themselves what this incredible place is about, they'd rather just leave sly comments on social media rather than trying to understand?

I wonder what people would say if Thierry Sabine was to set out on his desert journey and plan the first Dakar rally today? Would they only be able to remark about how his efforts are not eco friendly enough, about how new tracks in the dunes would surely kill everyone and how spilling a drop of oil would mean the end of the world? I give up, sigh...


(https://i.postimg.cc/RFmH2pKD/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-09-1.jpg)
It's time to go. The day is not over yet.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ri on October 05, 2019, 05:05:01 pm
The thinking, it hurts. Easier just to follow the popular line without doing one's own research :(

Anyway very well done and what an awesome moment! Can't wait to follow in (some of) your tracks!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 05, 2019, 07:14:59 pm
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)

Once we leave the pass the landscape changes again.

(https://i.postimg.cc/MZLVJfv7/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-04-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/QdG7HLgV/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-03.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/qRc8RHpr/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-10-58-42.jpg)
We go have a look at this burnt out vehicle. Supposedly the grass (when there actually is any) is a huge fire hazard for the 4x4 fellows.

(https://i.postimg.cc/mgyS42xT/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-05-4.jpg)
The sandy roads are lovely on the 500s. It is so dry though, almost no grass at all.

(https://i.postimg.cc/gjdHqkgr/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-10-58-39-1.jpg)
Yay we get to Red Drum, it has become quite a landmark around here.

Some history behind this random drum:

The original drum was a red Caltex 44 gallon drum that Mr Ben Van Zyl (Van Zyl's Pass) put down there after using it as a petrol stash. In those years you could actually leave petrol like this there without being stolen!! In the end he used it as a marker and called it Rooidrom. The original drum at Rooidrom was taken by Herero's penetrating from the south in their bakkies. They would fill it with river water and take it to their cattle in the Marienfluss. This is one reason why the area about 20km from Otjinungwa is so badly overgrazed.

Chris Eyre, who was the nature conservator there, replaced it with a new drum that he painted red and it was immediately taken again. The last and third drum, he made full of holes and put gravel inside. A joker came by in about 1997 and installed a neat telephone on the drum plus the little metal extension where he put a neat menu with all types of food that you could order by phoning. This was destroyed by vandals.


(https://i.postimg.cc/P5jM0vR6/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-05-3.jpg)

Flashback - What a team this was. Honda Quest 2017.

(https://i.postimg.cc/GtB6HTP0/QUEST-6-8.jpg)
It was an incredible experience riding here with this team, so much camaraderie. It is also a completely different, and in my opinion, even more magical experience riding here alone :)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: billy-joe on October 05, 2019, 10:13:40 pm
More pls!  Shit i have to do this one day.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 06, 2019, 05:25:37 pm
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/JhKH6GfB/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-02.jpg)
In the distance we spot two vehicles. When traveling in the Kaokoland, seeing people sitting in the scorching sun next to the road working on their vehicle usually means there's trouble.

These two Toyota's had been traveling down from Camp Syncro (I so wish we had more time so we could visit that place) when the u-bolt which keeps the suspension in place went missing... They asked us if we happened to see it. Ermmm no we haven't seen it... And unfortunately we don't have a spare or anything they can use either. We tell them, what we can do is ask around for help at Marble camp and the small village of Otjimenje nearby, to see if there is anything they can use to repair the vehicle. Cool, they say if they don't come right they'll come looking for us at Marble Camp.

(https://i.postimg.cc/SQnV9h9G/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-04.jpg)
We head out again. First we have to navigate some more rocky landscapes and go through Joubert's Pass.

(https://i.postimg.cc/k4p6CLXJ/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-02-2.jpg)

A short video showing Joubert's Pass, Van Zyls baby brother ;D



(https://i.postimg.cc/C5nZxJzj/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-04-3.jpg)
We also take the opportunity to stop at the old abandoned Marble Mine.

(https://i.postimg.cc/tTTZL9bv/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-03-1.jpg)
Nope, no u-bolt here, hmmmm.

(https://i.postimg.cc/mrTFyQ5s/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-04-1.jpg)
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I wish I could bring some of this marble home.  I also wonder what the history of this place is, when did they open it and when did they abandon operations? It must have been a daunting process to transport marble from here back to civilization.

(https://i.postimg.cc/vH69Y8Vp/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-02-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/3xXvGL91/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-03-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/jdNX84Zw/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-16-34-05-2.jpg)
So far today has been the most amazing day, we have done and seen so many epic things, it is almost too much to process!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Rynet on October 06, 2019, 06:27:41 pm
WELL Done Minxy and HSK .  :thumleft: :thumleft:

Great report , love the inspirational quotes and the videos and snippets from the Africa Twin Trip.

Love the details and the photos :biggrin:

And thanks for sharing the planning bit and the luggage used, good information.

I am in for the ride and enjoying every minute .  :ricky: :ricky:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 06, 2019, 07:14:01 pm
Tuesday the 17th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/1RMTV63k/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-15-1.jpg)
Finally, we reach Marble Camp. What an epic day this has been!

*A quick detour*
Before we unpack we decide to quickly go to the village and stop past their little shop. We also want to ask around and see if there's anyone/anything which the people stranded in the 4x4 could use to fix the u-bolt issue. They said they'd come past Marble Camp (at least the vehicle that is fine) if they don't come right.

We go down the riverbed and into the "town". We speak to the first local people we meet driving past in a landcruiser. The lady speaks english well enough as she's working at one of the lodges in the area. They say if the people don't come right, there is a mechanic that can go out to help them, it might cost them a bit though. We tell them it's fine, and we'll look for them and get the mechanic if the 4x4 people don't come right. Great, at least there is help out here in the middle of nowhere, and a plan can be devised if you get "stuck".

We get to the little store and buy some cold cokes. Anything cold is delicious out here! I think it must have been around 40 degrees again most of the day. This is sooooo rewarding! We get a coke for the older himba gentleman at the Marble community camp as well, he was very helpful and also recommended some things the 4x4 people's could do if they were still stuck.

(https://i.postimg.cc/q7nSN5Nw/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-12.jpg)
We return to camp. Now it is finally time to kick up our boots and pat ourselves on the back.

(https://i.postimg.cc/wBKbYQwm/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-18-05-35.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/sDXLYXBv/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-16-1.jpg)
There's never much time to rest and we start putting up camp, there's also a few chores that need to be done every evening.

Things that need doing:

Unpacking necessary things from bikes, putting up the tent, blowing up air pillows/mattresses. Unrolling sleeping bags etc, putting all our electronics on charge using the powerbank. Getting our little gas stove and foodie things together so we can make coffee and nom noms. Washing socks, clothes (if needed) and riding shirts. We packed two riding shirts and three pairs of socks each. Next time we'll take one riding shirt and two pairs of socks each to save even more space. Taking camp down also takes a bit of time as you have to roll everything up again, wash up dishes etc that were used in the morning and pack everything back on your bike. If you don't do it properly then you struggle to get everything back in your bag again :P

(https://i.postimg.cc/DZTDLPsT/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-13-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/mg16n5y4/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-16.jpg)
Oh, we even have a visitor :) Shame I always feel sorry for the animals we encounter and give them our leftovers, which normally isn't much, but at least it is something.

(https://i.postimg.cc/FHwws4H1/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-10.jpg)
It is so lovely out here. It was good to shower after a long days ride and we decide to go for a little walk.

Gettin' a message? A message for me
I'm caught up in love, and I'm in ecstasy
What can I do now, when nothing's the same?
And all that I know, I wanna do it again!

Life is so simple when you are with me
'Cause when we're together, I'm in ecstasy
I'm in ecstasy - Kasabian


(https://i.postimg.cc/ncR6g784/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-12-1.jpg)
#NoMakeup #NoFilter ;D

We notice the two Toyota's which we saw stuck in a pickle earlier today drive past. I guess they must have fixed the u-bolt problem. They said they would camp here too, but they just drive past without stopping. Guess they made another plan? They knew we were camping here though so we did think they'd at least stop past and tell us they are ok, oh well, hope they'll be alright for the rest of their trip.

We walk along some more...

(https://i.postimg.cc/dVhzY1vz/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-11.jpg)
Nothing weird is happening here, moving along now.

(https://i.postimg.cc/4NSSBgtw/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-17.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/J072d7PY/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-15.jpg)
Another beautiful sunset over the Kaokoland.

(https://i.postimg.cc/3JJst1qr/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-10-1.jpg)
Did somebody say it's dinner time!? :biggrin:

(https://i.postimg.cc/W3wynq6J/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-14.jpg)
The masterchef at work :laughing4:

On the menu for tonight:
Starter - Tuna snacks and Spicy tomato soup for HSK and Hearty Beef soup for me, also Pringles chips that miraculously survived the ride.
Main Course - Couscous with black peppered shredded chicken.
Dessert - Oreo Cookies and a Cappuccino

It's not exactly Michelin star restaurant food, but out here, for us, this was a feast fit for kings!

(https://i.postimg.cc/brLKzSZj/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-14-1.jpg)
After dinner, packing away some things and getting as much as we can ready for the following day so we can have an early start again.

(https://i.postimg.cc/vTPNRRKY/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-06-at-17-48-17-1.jpg)
Time to hit the hay. The riverbeds await us tomorrow.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 06, 2019, 07:33:45 pm
WELL Done Minxy and HSK .  :thumleft: :thumleft:

Great report , love the inspirational quotes and the videos and snippets from the Africa Twin Trip.

Love the details and the photos :biggrin:

And thanks for sharing the planning bit and the luggage used, good information.

I am in for the ride and enjoying every minute .  :ricky: :ricky:

Always glad when people enjoy reading my reports as much as I enjoy writing them :) I'll post some more details about the exact stuff we packed later on. Every time we think we did well packing light, we notice we could have actually packed even lighter :P
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Straatkat on October 06, 2019, 11:21:20 pm
Really enjoying the report Barbara, you guys had a great trip this time.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: m0lt3n on October 07, 2019, 07:31:58 am
how did those foldable kettle and cups work for you?
seems to be the perfect solution for packing light. they are expensive to just buy unproven
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 07, 2019, 08:14:05 am
how did those foldable kettle and cups work for you?
seems to be the perfect solution for packing light. they are expensive to just buy unproven

The fold-able kettle was one of our best buys ever! Saves so much space. The fold-able cups I think you can get at major plastic shops for cheaper than outdoor warehouse. We didn't take pots/pans either. The food I made only required boiling water (oats for breakfast, couscous), tins you can heat up directly on the gas stove. I planned it all so we have pretty decent food with little effort and carrying minimum cooking utensils.

The only thing that we did kinda miss when camping was chairs haha! But most of the places we camped had a log or some surface where we could sit so all good :D
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: KarooKid on October 07, 2019, 09:30:05 pm
Tuesday the 16th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/GhfsbmvY/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-10.jpg)
The bottom of Van Zyls Pass, how good it feels to be here :)

(https://i.postimg.cc/VvG0rYTx/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-10-1.jpg)
Time to take a short break.

(https://i.postimg.cc/vTH6Z1P7/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-09.jpg)
We are not alone for very long.

(https://i.postimg.cc/RFTHm1TV/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-09-2.jpg)
Real Himba, these women barely spoke a word of English. We exchanged some friendly gestures and smiles. We must look so alien to them with our armored suits and steel horses.

(https://i.postimg.cc/nhsBmDn0/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-08-2.jpg)
The Himba gather and watch as I write a short message on a rock as per the age old VZP tradition.

(https://i.postimg.cc/bwKb9wJ8/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-08-3.jpg)
 I go to put the rock down under the message tree. I am not sure when the tradition started, or how it came about, but I do know that it is has to do with safe passage through the pass.

More flashbacks, and some happy memories of our time here in 2017 @KarooKid

(https://i.postimg.cc/tJG7sBXH/21462416-10154725800917413-2289597704824385570-n.jpg)
I had a very quick look to see if I could find our rock from 2017, most of the older ones on the pile seem to have faded though, and only a few of the newer messages remained.

(https://i.postimg.cc/kMfbhc4T/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-10-2.jpg)
I put down our rock, a tribute to the trip and ride report we could not complete in 2018.

*Just a note and some thoughts*

Later on our trip, when I eventually had enough signal to update facebook that we had ridden Van Zyls Pass, there were two or so people who left crude remarks about the VZP rock writing tradition. The signal in this part of the world is very limited, so when I did eventually manage to log in again a day or so later, and saw these remarks, I got a lovely reminder as to how messed up our society can be... Instead of saying something nice, like "Well done", or "Oh that is cool!", I get crucified by this random woman (who doesn't even ride bike) and some bicycle Piet (who also doesn't seem to ride a real bike, hhhmmmm), I guess that alone should have ascribed to the fact that they have no clue as to what they are talking about, but either way it was still unpleasant.

When politely writing back that it is a tradition to do this on VZP, and we don't exactly go about doing this every five minutes just for the hell of it, the lovely lady answered that stoning woman in Afghanistan is a tradition too. Wow, ok that escalated quickly :o I was going to say, ok eco nazi lady, I'd like to know what you did for your environment/community today, cause you know, other than writing on a rock (and trust me there is NO shortage of these at VZP...) and putting it on a tidy o'l rock pile, I think we've been at least 100x greener than you. Even the Himba at the bottom of the pass were happy to see me put the rock on the pile... So yes I can rant forever and go on how we've been supporting local communities by using their facilities, how I gave some money to a himba lady with a sick child to source medicine, how our motorbikes leave a much smaller footprint than her fancy airconditioned SUV, but you know what... I just blocked the haters on my facebook instead. We don't need that kind of negativity in our lives :)

It did make me wonder, have people lost focus on real things? Is it too easy to voice your opinion on matters you have no knowledge about on the internet these days? Do people not get the true spirit of adventure thing anymore? Instead of going out on a journey of discovery and seeing for themselves what this incredible place is about, they'd rather just leave sly comments on social media rather than trying to understand?

I wonder what people would say if Thierry Sabine was to set out on his desert journey and plan the first Dakar rally today? Would they only be able to remark about how his efforts are not eco friendly enough, about how new tracks in the dunes would surely kill everyone and how spilling a drop of oil would mean the end of the world? I give up, sigh...


(https://i.postimg.cc/RFmH2pKD/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-05-at-11-08-09-1.jpg)
It's time to go. The day is not over yet.

Such great memories.

Great report. Glad you got to go back there with Johan!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Clockwork Orange on October 08, 2019, 06:14:57 pm
Fantastic trip and I am really enjoying this report. Then again all your ride reports are special
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Offshore on October 08, 2019, 08:11:06 pm
Great RR, I admire your Appetite for Adventure and Zest for Life.  :ricky:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 09, 2019, 07:45:28 am
Just want to thank everyone again for their lovely comments on this thread :)

HSK and myself are preparing our things again to go ride off the beaten track in Lesotho with @Losper and friends this weekend. Will be continuing asap when we return. Many more epic things to come :)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: MRK Miller on October 15, 2019, 09:59:15 pm
Awesome Brings back great memories. Visited their in 4x4 many moons ago. If only then i knew about adventure riding. Came into it very late so my ability to ride the sand and rocks lack extennsively, but we try. As for the negative comments. People despirate for attenttion. Unfortunately ,most of our sosiety have fallen into the trap of negativety gets you attention. You like the others like you, help people like myself and some others i suppose, who won't really ever get to ride these places,for verious reasons, live the dream in your reports and pictures, and in that way God uses you to let others live the adventure. Thank you for that, and God bless on all your adventures to come.
I still feel someone should take and combine these rr and make some movies. It would really inspire a lot of people to start living
Regards
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: big oil on October 17, 2019, 05:35:07 am
Per the norm, excellent RR HSK and Minxy.  I have a long ways to go to compete with yous RR's.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your adventures with us.

I have dreamt of riding Van Zyl's and or Kaokoland since I viewed an Australian couple venturing around the world on DR650's,
I can't recall their names.  Mick and Tan is ringing in my brain, but that doesn't sound correct.





"Take me down to the riverbed
Take me down to the fighting end
Wash the poison from off my skin
Show me how to be whole again" - Linkin Park




  :headbang:   r.i.p. C.C.B.   :headbang:





The fold-able kettle was one of our best buys ever! Saves so much space. The fold-able cups I think you can get at major plastic shops for cheaper than outdoor warehouse. We didn't take pots/pans either. The food I made only required boiling water (oats for breakfast, couscous), tins you can heat up directly on the gas stove. I planned it all so we have pretty decent food with little effort and carrying minimum cooking utensils.

The only thing that we did kinda miss when camping was chairs haha! But most of the places we camped had a log or some surface where we could sit so all good :D



The smallest and lightest while robust enough to hold my arse is a chair by Helinox, not sure if you've access to their products.



Thanks again for another fabulous report.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 17, 2019, 08:55:32 am
Awesome Brings back great memories. Visited their in 4x4 many moons ago. If only then i knew about adventure riding. Came into it very late so my ability to ride the sand and rocks lack extennsively, but we try. As for the negative comments. People despirate for attenttion. Unfortunately ,most of our sosiety have fallen into the trap of negativety gets you attention. You like the others like you, help people like myself and some others i suppose, who won't really ever get to ride these places,for verious reasons, live the dream in your reports and pictures, and in that way God uses you to let others live the adventure. Thank you for that, and God bless on all your adventures to come.
I still feel someone should take and combine these rr and make some movies. It would really inspire a lot of people to start living
Regards

Thank  you, thank you! I am glad you agree. And about sharing the adventure. Yes it does take lots of time to sort out video's/photo's and write the story, but I feel it is worth all the time spent in the end. Especially when people enjoy "riding along" by reading and living themselves into the story, enjoy watching the videos or looking at the photos, or if people feel inspired, informed, motivated to go on their own adventure after going through the report. I myself have been inspired by many others on the forum so it is great to keep sharing :)

Per the norm, excellent RR HSK and Minxy.  I have a long ways to go to compete with yous RR's.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your adventures with us.

I have dreamt of riding Van Zyl's and or Kaokoland since I viewed an Australian couple venturing around the world on DR650's,
I can't recall their names.  Mick and Tan is ringing in my brain, but that doesn't sound correct.


The fold-able kettle was one of our best buys ever! Saves so much space. The fold-able cups I think you can get at major plastic shops for cheaper than outdoor warehouse. We didn't take pots/pans either. The food I made only required boiling water (oats for breakfast, couscous), tins you can heat up directly on the gas stove. I planned it all so we have pretty decent food with little effort and carrying minimum cooking utensils.

The only thing that we did kinda miss when camping was chairs haha! But most of the places we camped had a log or some surface where we could sit so all good :D



The smallest and lightest while robust enough to hold my arse is a chair by Helinox, not sure if you've access to their products.



Thanks again for another fabulous report.

I am curious about this other couple now. Would be great if you could find their report. I remember something very very vaguely, I think there was a blog post somewhere... Now I need to find it and read properly! I know Metaljockey them went to the Kaokoland as well some years ago. It is wonderful seeing other couple's enjoying going off the beaten track together like this, love it :D

And I saw the Helinox chairs at GPS4Africa. Though they are quite small, it is still a tad too much for a lightweight trip like this. We literally didn't take stretchers or anything, no luxury here hehe. I would consider one maybe when we do a longer trip on the 950's though.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on October 17, 2019, 09:45:12 am
Mick & Tan's report: https://advrider.com/f/threads/earths-ends-riding-dr650s-from-end-to-end.1037908/ (https://advrider.com/f/threads/earths-ends-riding-dr650s-from-end-to-end.1037908/)

In WC they stayed with 2SD if I remember correctly. Unfortunately they were using probably Photobucket for their SA leg of trip and those pictures are now not showing. But the latest episodes further up the Africa (they did it properly, including crossing Congo east to west) have pictures showing.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: big oil on October 17, 2019, 04:38:22 pm
Yes, one of the best RR’s I’ve ever read, it is Tan, short for Tanya.  Tanya is studying for a degree in geology while they are navigating the globe on a couple of what appears, tired DR650’s!

Captivating tales and pics of her hubby rebuilding his clutch in the DRC while swarms of tribes people swarmed him, looking over his shoulder while he repaired his mount.  As a northerner, I cannot imagine how hot and uncomfortable it must’ve been for him to complete the task in that heat, without much air circulation from the droves of people around him.

Magical reading!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 17, 2019, 05:08:17 pm
Wednesday the 18th of September 2019

(https://i.postimg.cc/qMGK8Q7T/1745248-Bob-Marley-Quote-I-woke-up-this-morning-smiled-at-the-ri.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/3rS1TS3w/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-38-4.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/jSGkr8Qf/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-35-2.jpg)

We don't rush too much this morning, today would be a fairly short day, with only about 112km to traverse. The catch though is that most of it is in the riverbeds :ricky:

Shortly after leaving Marble Camp, we ride through the vast Otjiha plains. Lovely, except quite corrugated. It's strange to think that so much traffic goes through a place like this.

(https://i.postimg.cc/BQJp9jLJ/map-puros.jpg)
Today's route.

(https://i.postimg.cc/bw23Lxcw/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-37-3.jpg)
We stop to visit one of the many stone men of the Kaokoland. A mysterious artist placed a number of these around the place. Supposedly there's quite a few, but some of them have already started disappearing. People taking them home as souvenirs perhaps?

(https://i.postimg.cc/pdzcVDq6/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-35.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/xdXY6Fjb/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-51.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/MKgYcnM2/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-38-6.jpg)
We soon get into the first riverbed we'd be riding for the day, the Khumib. The photos never do the sand justice, but trust me it keeps you busy. The 4x4s have churned this place up proper and the riverbed winds and twists so you've really got to keep your wits about you. Thick sand suddenly turns to rock and shale and then back to sand again.

Flashback - On the Honda Quest back in 2017 we navigated a section of this riverbed, it was tough going back then on the big bikes. You have to ride SO much faster in the thick sand to stay afloat. And the faster you ride the big bike in sand, the scarier it is of course :o I remember falling literally right in front of the camera crew going around a sandy bend. I also remember holding my breath a few times when jumping the big bike down the sandy ledges. It was a challenging day for all the riders.

(https://i.postimg.cc/j5JFSc7p/QUEST-7-9.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/dV1K0SyS/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-22-00-1.jpg)
As soon as we enter the riverbeds we see Namibia come to life.

(https://i.postimg.cc/rpXgHDMC/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-38-1.jpg)
We see so much wildlife, giraffe being the most prevalent. A few of the giraffe even run out right in front of us, crossing the riverbed, when the helmet camera was off of course...

(https://i.postimg.cc/xCV7LsXQ/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-33-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/DwsP17LW/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-38.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/c4CDtqFY/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-37-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Sheepman on October 17, 2019, 06:43:27 pm
I really enjoy your RR a lot - thanks for sharing  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: roxenz on October 19, 2019, 01:46:19 pm
Great, great RR! Thanks for taking the trouble Minxy - we know these things take a lot of time!

We (wife, son 3.5 years old, daughter 16 months, myself) did a 3 week Nam trip in 1997 in an Isuzu KB. One week in Kaoko. No GPS yet, navigating from topo maps. At one stretch we didn't see another vehicle for 5 days. Ran out of tracks and navigated by map and sun for 3 days. Your RR made the memories alive again. Thinking that a repeat with my son, now 25, would be great. Now where would I be able to get 2 500s for decent money?!  ;D
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on October 19, 2019, 05:09:36 pm
I am curious about this other couple now. Would be great if you could find their report.

I once saw a german couple going down Van Zyls on two 1150's. The husband rode both bikes down. I could not find a RR anywhere,
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on October 19, 2019, 06:12:28 pm
I am curious about this other couple now. Would be great if you could find their report.

I once saw a german couple going down Van Zyls on two 1150's. The husband rode both bikes down. I could not find a RR anywhere,

I linked it few posts above.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 19, 2019, 06:50:00 pm
Great, great RR! Thanks for taking the trouble Minxy - we know these things take a lot of time!

We (wife, son 3.5 years old, daughter 16 months, myself) did a 3 week Nam trip in 1997 in an Isuzu KB. One week in Kaoko. No GPS yet, navigating from topo maps. At one stretch we didn't see another vehicle for 5 days. Ran out of tracks and navigated by map and sun for 3 days. Your RR made the memories alive again. Thinking that a repeat with my son, now 25, would be great. Now where would I be able to get 2 500s for decent money?!  ;D

Now that sounds like it was one incredible adventure! I think it will be awesome for you to revisit. I'll be waiting on your ride report that is for sure :D

I am curious about this other couple now. Would be great if you could find their report.

I once saw a german couple going down Van Zyls on two 1150's. The husband rode both bikes down. I could not find a RR anywhere,

Could it perhaps be this? https://www.touratech.co.th/webshop/product-detail/661-13/Video-DVD-Through-The-Wild-North-of-Namibia (https://www.touratech.co.th/webshop/product-detail/661-13/Video-DVD-Through-The-Wild-North-of-Namibia)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 19, 2019, 08:19:50 pm
Wednesday the 18th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/RZ3byrf9/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-35-1.jpg)

We climb out of the Khumib river after what felt like ages. The sand in the Khumib reminds me a little of some of the sections in the Steelpoort riverbed which we rode earlier this year. We honestly didn't know we'd be visiting the Kaokoland again so soon, and somehow all the riding we did earlier this year helped us to be riding fit and ready for this trip. The Kaokoland is not a place for a beginner to come and pick up on skills, it is just too far away from help if anything goes wrong. You don't need to be some riding god to visit the Kaokoland, but you do NEED to be comfy on your bike, comfy in the sand and comfy in the rocks if you want to ride here and actually enjoy your experience. The right bike and setup helps a lot of course and HSK and I agreed that we would not have enjoyed this trip as much if we'd been riding here on the loaded 690RFR and 701 as planned in 2018. It made me think, maybe, just maybe, my bike's key breaking in two that year was actually a blessing in disguise? Hmmmm...

(https://i.postimg.cc/sgt81BvH/The-Alchemist-Quotes-When-you-want-something-all-the-universe-c.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/PqxyMT0s/67355041-2379432575629689-7102329152421756928-n.jpg)
Flashback - Earlier this year and nearer to home, we rode just over 100km in the sands of the Steelpoort river.

(https://i.postimg.cc/J0255npX/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-38-2.jpg)
The landscape drastically changes from sand to rock.

(https://i.postimg.cc/ncW3vdWW/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-37-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/cCBNvphP/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-58.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/m2Pw2Yry/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-38-5.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/pdJQ1k0R/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-39.jpg)
Riding along the red rocky roads.

(https://i.postimg.cc/0QG4npSw/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-33-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/j2dMhBKp/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-36-3.jpg)
As we come around the corner, a desert oasis welcomes us in the distance.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Highsider on October 19, 2019, 08:34:42 pm
Thanks for the gripping RR.  I think I read in this RR that you use a mousse front and rear.  If so, which brand and model do you use, and which tyres?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 19, 2019, 09:00:43 pm
Thanks for the gripping RR.  I think I read in this RR that you use a mousse front and rear.  If so, which brand and model do you use, and which tyres?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Yes, we used mousses and they made things so much easier. It was great not to carry any spare tubes etc, which can add so much weight.

I am using the Mitas E13 front tyre and the Mitas E 12 rallystar rear. HSK had some enduro front tyre which the bike came out with, and a Michelin Desert Race rear. We both used Michelin BIB mousses front M15 (90/90/21) and rear (MO2 Desert) (140/80/18)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 19, 2019, 10:53:24 pm
Wednesday the 18th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/4yVTPrmZ/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-52.jpg)
“This wasn’t a strange place; it was a new one…” - Paulo Coelho

(https://i.postimg.cc/xCHQ2Jzf/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-53.jpg)
There is something about seeing some green in the ever changing landscape that immediately ups our spirits and draws us closer. In the distance we catch glimpses of the mighty Hoarusib riverbed.

(https://i.postimg.cc/QtjmXvBF/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-37-5.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/fWf4fh7r/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-22-06-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/gktTgcxN/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-34.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/9F1hCjr7/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-59.jpg)
I stop frequently today to take photos. It almost feels like nobody will ever believe what we have experienced and seen here today. This place is for lack of a better word, just magical.

(https://i.postimg.cc/6pTDK2kk/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-22-06.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/0QvWzb42/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-36-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/TPVQvTP8/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-37-4.jpg)
There are a few hills which offer amazing views over the vast riverbed. Even amidst the terrible drought there is so much beautiful lush greenery here.

(https://i.postimg.cc/8zhLjtgM/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-37-01-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/59RBGXmY/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-36-59.jpg)
I look out over the riverbed in complete amazement. This must be how the explorers of old felt like, not knowing what wonders they would come across on their travels.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Vv6FtMW1/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-38-3.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/B6hTJb9z/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-37-00-1.jpg)
And far in the distance, a Himba woman walks through the desert carrying water.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Kv3Pym99/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-37-01.jpg)
It is hard to believe that people can survive in an environment like this, and that so little has changed over the years. It's almost as if time stands still here.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 20, 2019, 01:08:14 am
Wednesday the 18th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/L5Hbbnk0/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-33.jpg)
We enter the Hoarusib Riverbed. We didn't quite follow this route back when I was here and this was all new and exciting to me.
"I am not lost, I am exploring" - Jana Stanfield

(https://i.postimg.cc/V6yyDfH3/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-22-02-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/SRDvFkDQ/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-34-1.jpg)
OMG!!!

(https://i.postimg.cc/2y6zxHnS/free-keep-calm-and-love-giraffes-vector-poster.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/4d18VXCv/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-36-2.jpg)
There are sooooo many tall horses!!!

(https://i.postimg.cc/Y267DF78/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-54.jpg)
We follow the beautiful riverbed and keep looking around in awe. Everything about this place is magical. Even just looking at these photos while writing the ride report immediately makes me want to pack my bike and visit this special place again. This has been such a highlight for us.

(https://i.postimg.cc/SQDTKQfk/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-36.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/zBpj3pW0/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-30-37.jpg)
While riding along we stare into the greenery past all the palm trees hoping to see more elephant. We are not so lucky this time though.

(https://i.postimg.cc/d0gFpmDN/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-52-1.jpg)
We ride further into the unknown.

We'll never know,
We'll never know,
What stands behind the door
But I got a feeling, it's a feeling that's worth dying for.

Just close your eyes and hold your breath because it feels right
We'll keep it moving till we make it to the other side
And let's enjoy the ride
- David Guetta ft Sam Martin
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ri on October 20, 2019, 08:02:29 am
Your sense of wonder comes across so well. Thanks for taking me there too :deal:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: roxenz on October 20, 2019, 09:11:31 am
I'm loving this RR! Coz you guys get it: here it is not about the roads or the riding or whatever, it's the overwhelming "majestic-ness" of the place that talks directly with your soul.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: big oil on October 20, 2019, 06:11:06 pm
As some cannot understand how people such as the Himba, choose to live the lifestyle they lead, I’m curious if Himba have the same outlook on our lifestyle?

Just how much dialogue occurs during these short interactions, a few words, complete sentences in English, or simply smiling at one another with hand gestures?
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 20, 2019, 08:02:07 pm
As some cannot understand how people such as the Himba, choose to live the lifestyle they lead, I’m curious if Himba have the same outlook on our lifestyle?

Just how much dialogue occurs during these short interactions, a few words, complete sentences in English, or simply smiling at one another with hand gestures?

I think for many it's the only life they know. The Himba women we met at the bottom of VZP could barely speak a word of English, and judging by how they looked at us and our bikes, they must have thought we were quite the oddity :P We communicated with a bit of sign language, single words and some hand gestures. The one lady pointed at her little baby whose eyes were very watery and looked swollen. I told her we don't have medicine for that and left her a small amount of cash. Whether they can buy/trade something somewhere, maybe via somebody passing through, I don't know. All I know is that life must be very hard out there. An old Afrikaans proverb comes to mind though; "Wat die oog nie sien nie... Maak die hart nie seer nie".

At the Kaokoland Restaurant in Opuwo we saw a prime example of how modernization is slowly taking place. There were a few Himba waitresses with tidy western clothes and near perfect English, but they still retained their traditional headdresses, just with a modern twist. In the more rural areas we also noticed it was often the men who have started wearing western clothes, not so much the women. Who knows what changes time will bring though?
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 20, 2019, 11:18:16 pm
Wednesday the 18th of September 2019 (continued)

Our ride down the beautiful Hoarusib riverbed is nearly at an end.

(https://i.postimg.cc/1XQQ5mGp/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-56.jpg)

We decide to stay at the Community Camp just outside of Purros, but before we settle down and unpack our things, we'll first go past Collin's house to get some petrol.

(https://i.postimg.cc/0yWPdqvs/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-54-1.jpg)
We go down the last stretch of riverbed and are greeted by a field of sand dunes as we make our way into the rural town. Our gps route even has the location of Collin's green house marked on the map. When we arrive two friendly men immediately come running along and offer to help us refuel. I am overjoyed that everything is going to plan!

Our bikes weren't quite empty yet, but out here securing fuel was the most important thing we had to do right now. If for whatever reason there was a fuel shortage it would mean we'd have to go straight to Sesfontein and forfeit going through the Purros Canyon, which would be a tragedy! HSK did phone Collin when we got to Opuwo a few days prior (the last place with cellphone signal) to confirm availability, and he said don't worry, there is always fuel available in Purros. Collin said he wouldn't be there to welcome us, but there would be people to help. Cool!

(https://i.postimg.cc/QxZMVDFm/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-37-00-1.jpg)

Our bikes both take about 10L each. To summarize, our tanks take 17L which we fueled up in Okangwati. We then refilled from our 5L fuel bladders when we got to Van Zyls Pass Viewpoint over the Marienfluss. That meant we had 7L ish left when arriving in Purros. I had wondered whether we'd have needed more fuel if we wanted to visit Camp Syncro which is on the Cunene river near the Angolan border, but I think we would have been alright. The consumption on the 500s had been very good. We filtered all the fuel from containers using a Guglatech fuel filter which we carry with us just to be safe. What makes the Guglatech filter nice is it doesn't only catch dirt, but water too, so it gives you pretty good peace of mind.

(https://i.postimg.cc/fW9LwyRk/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-36-59-4.jpg)
We asked the guys assisting us where we could get something cold to drink. They said the owner of the local shop in town was away today, so we'd have to go to the Okahirongo Lodge if we wanted to get something. It's not too far away so we ride down to the lodge.

When we walk through the doors it feels like we have just entered into a picture cut out from a luxury magazine. A five star hotel for the rich and famous. I almost expect to see Angelina Jolie relaxing in a deck chair somewhere. Wow, just wow!

(https://i.postimg.cc/448bFMkb/okahirongo-elephant-lodge-skeleton-coast-namibia-timbuktu-travel.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/qBSkSTc0/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-55-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/PJYrK3R1/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-37-00.jpg)
We order some rock shandies from the waitress (which are sooooo good! They are just to die for in this heat). She informs us that they can make some toasted sandwiches for lunch too. I lower my voice and whisper to HSK that I think this is going to cost us an arm and a leg... He says, you know what it's fine, we've had such a spectacular time the last few days, we'll spoil ourselves a bit to celebrate :D

If I had it all, I'd be dead in a week
If I had my way, be king for a day
- Kasabian :king:

Even though everything appears to be very nice here, I shift around uncomfortably on the designer imported couch. My dirty biking clothes will probably stain it... I haven't even looked at my face in the mirror today. We must be so sweaty and dusty, it feels almost awkward to be here. But hey, at least there is some cellphone reception and I can quickly update everyone that we have successfully navigated Van Zyls Pass and that we are still in one piece. There are other guests sitting at a table across from us near the pool speaking French. I see the one woman eyeing us. I give her a friendly wave and smile, I get nothing in return... "Hmpfh!" I miss the simplicity of our journey already, being off the beaten track, interacting with locals and like minded travelers, camping, eating food from a can, rotating the few clothes that we have brought with us, I miss things being "real"... No fancy people around judging and looking down on you just because you don't have a Christian Dior handbag or a Tom Ford dress! I don't think they would even begin to understand what we have been through just to get here, and you know what, that is ok. Here we are in the same place, yet we are worlds apart.

We finish our drinks and our meal, the bill arrives. R700, they even take credit card, how convenient. Oh well, it was nice enough while it lasted I guess. Anyway, let's get out of here. Our adventure is still far from over, and I miss the comfort of our little tent ;D
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Oubones on October 21, 2019, 10:26:28 am
"and I miss the comfort of our little tent"
So glad that I am not the only one preferring to rather experience the adventure than sit in "home" luxury and just see it.
Thanks for taking me back to those places my heart longs for again! :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on October 21, 2019, 10:32:18 am
Strange that both shops in the village were closed, they are right next to each other and you had to pass them both on the way to the lodge (one is pink/orange clearly visible from the main road and the other green (called "Manchester") right behind the orange one. I suspect they just didn't want to sent you to competition...

That luxury lodge - while beautiful, has a bad vibe. They just don't like walk-in traffic (especially of dirty biking variety) and prefer clientele with their own private jet.

And it looks like you headed to community campsite for overnight - which is a fine establishment, but I prefer the community lodge about 200 meters away as the chalets are very affordable (R300 per chalet if I remember correctly) and I'm a gastro tourist who camps only in self defense anyway  ;)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Hondsekierie on October 21, 2019, 04:41:34 pm
Strange that both shops in the village were closed, they are right next to each other and you had to pass them both on the way to the lodge (one is pink/orange clearly visible from the main road and the other green (called "Manchester") right behind the orange one. I suspect they just didn't want to sent you to competition...

That luxury lodge - while beautiful, has a bad vibe. They just don't like walk-in traffic (especially of dirty biking variety) and prefer clientele with their own private jet.

And it looks like you headed to community campsite for overnight - which is a fine establishment, but I prefer the community lodge about 200 meters away as the chalets are very affordable (R300 per chalet if I remember correctly) and I'm a gastro tourist who camps only in self defense anyway  ;)

That community lodge closed down, even the signs were taken off.  Was quite a weird experience to see it in it's abandoned state - still a lot of content left but very clearly not operational anymore.  If it was in SA nothing would've been left of it, luckily property is still respected there.  Would've been super to stay in the chalets (even though we really loved our little tent) as the flies (1,000,000+) early the next morning really bugged us.  Guess it's also the severe drought they're experiencing, the flies looking for any moisture they can get.

Regarding the other open shops - I guess you're right, most likely competition.   I guess we also pulled a "gastro tourist" move by shooting straight to the fancy lodge  :lol8:

Regarding the frogs that didn't greet - I've rarely met friendly ones and I guess that's their thing - maybe that's their way of hiding their insecurities.  They did look soft and weak, unlike us rough and hardened travellers  :ricky:

@Xpat  - did you come right with Frankie and that riverbed ride in Limpopo?  We are super keen to go do it ourselves - maybe even together
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on October 21, 2019, 05:20:16 pm
Strange that both shops in the village were closed, they are right next to each other and you had to pass them both on the way to the lodge (one is pink/orange clearly visible from the main road and the other green (called "Manchester") right behind the orange one. I suspect they just didn't want to sent you to competition...

That luxury lodge - while beautiful, has a bad vibe. They just don't like walk-in traffic (especially of dirty biking variety) and prefer clientele with their own private jet.

And it looks like you headed to community campsite for overnight - which is a fine establishment, but I prefer the community lodge about 200 meters away as the chalets are very affordable (R300 per chalet if I remember correctly) and I'm a gastro tourist who camps only in self defense anyway  ;)

That community lodge closed down, even the signs were taken off.  Was quite a weird experience to see it in it's abandoned state - still a lot of content left but very clearly not operational anymore.  If it was in SA nothing would've been left of it, luckily property is still respected there.  Would've been super to stay in the chalets (even though we really loved our little tent) as the flies (1,000,000+) early the next morning really bugged us.  Guess it's also the severe drought they're experiencing, the flies looking for any moisture they can get.

Regarding the other open shops - I guess you're right, most likely competition.   I guess we also pulled a "gastro tourist" move by shooting straight to the fancy lodge  :lol8:

Regarding the frogs that didn't greet - I've rarely met friendly ones and I guess that's their thing - maybe that's their way of hiding their insecurities.  They did look soft and weak, unlike us rough and hardened travellers  :ricky:

@Xpat  - did you come right with Frankie and that riverbed ride in Limpopo?  We are super keen to go do it ourselves - maybe even together

That lodge - that is a bummer.   >:(

I loved that place, the simplicity of it frequent elephant visits and attention to detail like little zigzag ornaments left on the ground around each chalet by resident spitting cobras reminding you to keep the door closed at all times  O0. And it's a shame that when locals for once did show some entrepreneurial spirit, it did came to nothing. But hey, that is life - at least the campsite is still there.

Regarding the river - I didn't go up this weekend, got lazy in the heat. I will head up again next weekend (if work doesn't get in the way), but probably will focus on the bush between Jericho and Rooiberg, as there seem to be plenty of communal bush riding if I read the satellite images correctly (may come to nothing if it turns out to be private land). Will let you know what I find and then we can string together a nice route up to Ellisras and explore that river from there. You are welcome to join me on the weekend, but it will be very exploratory - i.e. I have no idea if the tracks I see are on the public land and I might just end up riding into the fences whole day. And the sand / thorns combo is going to be brutal from what I have seen two weeks ago - especially if I get lost, which I will. Let me know if you are still keen and we can arrange something via Whatsapp. Ta
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 21, 2019, 09:16:00 pm
Strange that both shops in the village were closed, they are right next to each other and you had to pass them both on the way to the lodge (one is pink/orange clearly visible from the main road and the other green (called "Manchester") right behind the orange one. I suspect they just didn't want to sent you to competition...

That luxury lodge - while beautiful, has a bad vibe. They just don't like walk-in traffic (especially of dirty biking variety) and prefer clientele with their own private jet.

And it looks like you headed to community campsite for overnight - which is a fine establishment, but I prefer the community lodge about 200 meters away as the chalets are very affordable (R300 per chalet if I remember correctly) and I'm a gastro tourist who camps only in self defense anyway  ;)



That community lodge closed down, even the signs were taken off.  Was quite a weird experience to see it in it's abandoned state - still a lot of content left but very clearly not operational anymore.  If it was in SA nothing would've been left of it, luckily property is still respected there.  Would've been super to stay in the chalets (even though we really loved our little tent) as the flies (1,000,000+) early the next morning really bugged us.  Guess it's also the severe drought they're experiencing, the flies looking for any moisture they can get.

Regarding the other open shops - I guess you're right, most likely competition.   I guess we also pulled a "gastro tourist" move by shooting straight to the fancy lodge  :lol8:

Regarding the frogs that didn't greet - I've rarely met friendly ones and I guess that's their thing - maybe that's their way of hiding their insecurities.  They did look soft and weak, unlike us rough and hardened travellers  :ricky:

@Xpat  - did you come right with Frankie and that riverbed ride in Limpopo?  We are super keen to go do it ourselves - maybe even together

That lodge - that is a bummer.   >:(

I loved that place, the simplicity of it frequent elephant visits and attention to detail like little zigzag ornaments left on the ground around each chalet by resident spitting cobras reminding you to keep the door closed at all times  O0. And it's a shame that when locals for once did show some entrepreneurial spirit, it did came to nothing. But hey, that is life - at least the campsite is still there.

Regarding the river - I didn't go up this weekend, got lazy in the heat. I will head up again next weekend (if work doesn't get in the way), but probably will focus on the bush between Jericho and Rooiberg, as there seem to be plenty of communal bush riding if I read the satellite images correctly (may come to nothing if it turns out to be private land). Will let you know what I find and then we can string together a nice route up to Ellisras and explore that river from there. You are welcome to join me on the weekend, but it will be very exploratory - i.e. I have no idea if the tracks I see are on the public land and I might just end up riding into the fences whole day. And the sand / thorns combo is going to be brutal from what I have seen two weeks ago - especially if I get lost, which I will. Let me know if you are still keen and we can arrange something via Whatsapp. Ta

There is so much in those trust lands in Limpopo that is unexplored, yes fences are a problem, but lets see. I'll send you some other routes I've got for that area too, maybe it can help. Will be in touch :)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 21, 2019, 11:15:27 pm
Wednesday the 18th of September 2019 (continued)

We ride back to the Purros Community Campsite. I just have to stop and take photos of the road winding through the trees. There is so much beauty in this place.

(https://i.postimg.cc/1tDkdkk4/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-22-03-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/sgFpjbq3/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-37-00-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/MTZ0kR4R/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-36-59-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/vmYMfHy7/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-22-04.jpg)
Ah, much better! Now I feel at home :) We start putting up camp. It goes quite quickly, we are starting to get good at this :P The Himba lady at reception asked me when she must light the fire for our shower, I tell her 6pm should be fine. What I found quite random about this part of the world was, even though you are doing pretty "extreme" riding at what appears to be the ends of the earth, there is always a warm shower at the end of the day. Suits me just fine :D

(https://i.postimg.cc/nL3xkbVy/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-55.jpg)
It's good to finally get out of all the riding kit at the end of an eventful day.

(https://i.postimg.cc/MpbqnfCK/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-53-1.jpg)
Awwwww, I just want to rest for 5min, promise!

(https://i.postimg.cc/63SNkrvz/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-22-05-1.jpg)
It's still a bit early for our shower so we decide to go for a walk.

(https://i.postimg.cc/BQFqGVNF/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-21-57.jpg)
It's nice to explore the place on foot and see some of the fauna and flora up close.

(https://i.postimg.cc/GtWdyF39/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-22-03.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/15vLbcj0/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-23-26-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/90Kyqkft/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-36-59-3.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/K8Hh3r7c/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-22-00.jpg)
We both agree, there is some seriously lekker sand here :P

(https://i.postimg.cc/YCkjD7k0/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-23-25.jpg)
I spot some buildings in the distance. This is it! The Purros Community Lodge where we stayed during Honda Quest in 2017.

(https://i.postimg.cc/wvtBRT5f/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-23-27.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/YSc4KM8g/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-21-at-22-35-25-1.jpg)
We push open a closed gate which leads us into the camp. It's strangely quiet, not a soul in sight. I say to HSK that this is where we stayed, I even point out the spot where I pitched my tent back in 2017.

Flashback - The camp was alive with the big Honda expedition visiting, all of us working away like busy bees on our rest day. We washed our clothes and bikes, arranged and repacked our things. We also did the 1000km services on the Africa Twins.

(https://i.postimg.cc/LsTmCpWm/21740586-10154725821737413-8210432064146101147-n.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/yNBVydvf/21761661-10154725821707413-5758057296220552718-n.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/RFjZ75XM/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-23-28-1.jpg)
I tell HSK this place has changed. It was much nicer when we were here, things were more tidy. Something just seems off this time around. It looks completely run down and neglected. Abandoned even?

(https://i.postimg.cc/2jbqVT2k/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-23-24.jpg)
We don't hang around for too long, this place is really starting to give me the creeps. It is not the vibrant happy place I remember. It would be interesting to know if it is still in operation?

(https://i.postimg.cc/J0Gb08Rz/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-36-59-2.jpg)
We start the walk back to our campsite.

(https://i.postimg.cc/qvkMXGXC/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-37-01-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/85sSXKjj/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-23-22-1.jpg)
A lonely road marker shows us the way.

(https://i.postimg.cc/QN2F55yp/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-23-26.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/zvg18ywN/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-23-24-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/SKxRqGnp/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-23-26-1.jpg)
It's good to get back to our camp. The bush shower is so refreshing. I make us some food. Another three course meal, there are even smoked oysters on the menu tonight, take that fancy Okahirongo Lodge! :laughing4:

(https://i.postimg.cc/CxVwMs6Q/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-22-01.jpg)

The sun sets over Purros. Today has been a great day, no doubt tomorrow will be as well.

(https://i.postimg.cc/L6jnVXcG/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-09-23-27-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/TYj3Dsm6/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-17-at-12-37-01.jpg)

If you believe the Western Sun
is falling down on everyone
And you feel it burn, don't try to run
And you feel it burn, your time has come.
- The Prodigy
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Hondsekierie on October 22, 2019, 07:28:31 am
Awe, the pictures bring back so many awesome memories, how I would have loved to be on the bike this morning......

Our next day is going towards the coastline, magical

 
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ri on October 22, 2019, 02:01:18 pm
Beautiful photo's! So sad about Purros community lodge, we stayed there for 2 nights last year June  :-\

For some arbitrary reason, the Yr app on my phone gives me an update of the weather in Purros every morning.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: P.K. on October 23, 2019, 08:23:30 am
Great report and Minxy your thoughts and reflections on the simplicity of a small tent and tinned food really strikes a chord.

Purros is a special place and sitting on those dunes outside camp as the sun is rising or setting is something I would not trade easily.


Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Highsider on October 24, 2019, 07:11:35 am
Thanks for sharing your info on mousses.  I’m keen to give them a try on my 525.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 27, 2019, 01:03:50 am
Thursday the 19th of September 2019

(https://i.postimg.cc/SRKNZshh/MAP.png)

Today's expected route would be fairly long (in Kaokoland terms), leaving behind the small community of Purros and making our way down the Purros River Canyon, Ganias Plains, to the Amspoort Gorge and through the Hoanib riverbed to Sesfontein to get fuel. We'd then ride to the Khowarib Lodge where we stayed earlier on our trip, as it would be the perfect starting location for our next days ride.

Today would be another journey into the unknown for me as well, as we only did a very, very short part of the Purros Canyon when I was here in 2017, having to turn around when we were met with a temperamental young elephant bull.

But first things first... What is the best way to start a day like this? By following a short track through the dunes of course :)

(https://i.postimg.cc/D0ZFFMmk/vlcsnap-2019-10-26-21h32m49s749.jpg)
We are met once again by the rising Namibian sun.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Hx3HqgY9/vlcsnap-2019-10-26-21h33m57s354.jpg)
Traversing the dunes is exhilarating, I have never ridden dunes like this before. I could honestly do this all day... Time is a concern though, and we have to leave the dune fields after riding along only for a very short distance, heading past Purros and onward to the lower Hoarusib riverbed, better known as the Purros Canyon.

(https://i.postimg.cc/y8XVm9MG/gg-14lifebelowwater-quote2-640x861.png)

(https://i.postimg.cc/BvVRHnny/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-35-00-1.jpg)
The world as we had come to know it over the past few days turned upside down when we entered the majestic canyon.

(https://i.postimg.cc/sDm65gnc/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-3117-46.jpg)
The scenery has changed, the air has changed, our mood has changed. An amazing energy radiates from this special place.

(https://i.postimg.cc/YShsrBzx/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-48.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/yxzQyg4f/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-49-3.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/8PS9h3T1/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-47-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/bwY55tGW/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-46.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/3NgqsjF5/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-45-1.jpg)

As we are riding along, crossing the river numerous times, I suddenly spot a huge hyena running away into the brush. Wow, that is not a common sighting around here I'm sure. I even stop HSK and ask him if he saw it too just to make sure my eyes were not playing tricks on me. Then, just a stone throw down the road we spot two 4x4 vehicles with their tents still pitched, the people sitting around their breakfast table. The hyena must have come around to scavenge on some of last nights braai meat no doubt.

I must say, we are finding quite a number of people out here in the "middle of nowhere". So far we have seen people driving along, as well as camping in some of the remote places of the Damaraland on our first day. Then we had a Red Cross bakkie coming past us in the opposite direction not far from Heartbreak Hill. After that we met the people who were repairing their vehicle close to Jouberts Pass. I am led to believe that the Kaokoland is getting more accessible to adventure travelers these days, especially with all the information to visiting this area being freely available online. It is also quite evident there is a lot more traffic coming through by just judging how corrugated some of the roads have become. I am just too happy we can still explore this incredible place before it loses its "magic" and god forbid becomes another tourist trap, as many of the more commercialized places in the south of Namibia have become.

The people get up from their breakfast table as we come along, they seem all too happy to see us :) We stop and strike up some conversation. They are quite surprised we are riding here alone of course and tell us we must be careful, some of the water crossings up ahead are fairly deep. I also ask them if they have seen any elephant, and they say no. We thank them for their advice and get on our way again.

(https://i.postimg.cc/KcnsvNBC/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-50-2.jpg)
The campers were right. The water does get deeper as we ride further into the canyon. Now the last thing we want to do is drown our bikes in the "desert" eh :P

(https://i.postimg.cc/hvFwZZx1/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-35-02.jpg)
A few times we have to look carefully before we find the best place to cross.

(https://i.postimg.cc/JnXYX3gD/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-49-2.jpg)
The scenery in this place doesn't stop getting better.

(https://i.postimg.cc/nhdWfhBz/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-47.jpg)
It feels like we criss cross the river a hundred times.

(https://i.postimg.cc/NfBCyHxF/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-148.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/mZMK1RfX/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-46-1.jpg)

And suddenly we get there. I don't know if "there" has a name, but it is a landmark I have yearned to see. It is an honour to ride through these narrow cliffs, following in the footsteps of some of our most seasoned adventurers.

(https://i.postimg.cc/k54k2bqK/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-56.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/FHGMFZ5h/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-59-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/90tx8mcc/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-49.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/8Pd89GZJ/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-55.jpg)
It feels like the narrow cliffs we ride through are a gateway into a completely different part of the canyon. Things start to change again, the water crossings get less frequent, more shallow and then the river just seems to dry up altogether. We ride on, following the cool sea breeze which beckons us closer to the mysterious Skeleton Coast. We are so close yet so far! How I wish bikes were permitted to travel there. I think about how we could ride where the river meets the great sand dunes and then the sea, but enough daydreaming for now, we have to focus on the task at hand.

(https://i.postimg.cc/4xJCT008/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-56-1.jpg)
Cut me off from the rest of the world
It's my addiction
It turns me on
- Nothing But Thieves
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Tom van Brits on October 27, 2019, 03:26:25 am
Sub, I only see this now and mark for later read.....and I know its gonna be good!!  :laughing4: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: McSack on October 27, 2019, 06:22:53 am
Incredible RR.
Thanks for sharing Minxy & HSK

Sent from my BV9500 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 27, 2019, 08:13:08 pm
Thursday the 19th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/rFNbgJp5/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-47-2.jpg)
We are nearly at the turning point where we will climb out of the Purros Canyon.

(https://i.postimg.cc/2jBfWPRX/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-45-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/KY1VtM3h/vlcsnap-2019-10-27-18h06m19s793.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/HkTGfnJf/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-48.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/VLw32vpX/vlcsnap-2019-10-27-18h07m09s144.jpg)
Ever heard of fesh fesh? This is it.

(https://i.postimg.cc/8kM2yMK1/vlcsnap-2019-10-27-18h07m14s700.jpg)
Just to show how much dust gets kicked up.

(https://i.postimg.cc/0yWF6fQC/vlcsnap-2019-10-27-18h07m30s593.jpg)
Luckily it is just a short section. Fesh fesh is not too bad on a bike, but quite mind boggling if you haven't ridden anything like it before. It's literally like baby powder, it feels like your wheel just falls into the rut, it's not like riding normal sand at all. I just felt sorry for the air filters...

(https://i.postimg.cc/0Nh4ny7M/vlcsnap-2019-10-27-18h07m44s581.jpg)
At this point we also went round the bottom of some lodge. It seems to be a "fly in" place only? Laanie ek sê https://www.timbuktutravel.com/lodge/leylandsdrift-camp (https://www.timbuktutravel.com/lodge/leylandsdrift-camp)

(https://i.postimg.cc/sxMq4GNh/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-39.jpg)
As we move away from the river, there are no more signs of anything green for a while.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Jh6W38zS/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-44.jpg)
Some corrugated hardpack gravel gives us a break from the riverbed sands.

(https://i.postimg.cc/D0bFyNFH/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-05-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/NjtyS6kB/w143544-29761-ganias-plains-ganias-plains.jpg)
We ride the wide open Ganias plains for what feels like forever. It truly is beautiful, but the corrugations are killing us a little bit. I start thinking I'd rather take the riverbed sand again over this :P

(https://i.postimg.cc/sgJzX7dj/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-35-00.jpg)
We find a single tree and decide that this is the place to stop and have a protein bar.

(https://i.postimg.cc/k5wHryrS/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-51.jpg)
Shortly afterwards we bump into some 4x4s standing in the distance, three vehicles. It's always comforting to see other travelers in such remote places and we stop and chat to them. They say they are making their way up to the Purros Canyon, they also tell us they saw at least thirteen elephants when they camped in the Hoanib river. So exciting!!!

(https://i.postimg.cc/WpDsndr8/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-44-1.jpg)
The scenery starts getting more interesting again and there are some beautiful sand dunes.

(https://i.postimg.cc/G26wNjYQ/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-48-1.jpg)
This lovely area is called the Amspoort Gorge I believe?

(https://i.postimg.cc/50XWnrHy/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-44-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/5yvdMFSM/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-50-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/sDdC4w3f/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-45.jpg)
At this point we hop into the Hoanib riverbed. Truly stunning, and quite different from the other ones we rode in. There are so many beautiful old trees. We ride along cautiously as we don't want to unknowingly bump into those lucky number thirteen elephants.

(https://i.postimg.cc/bNxcCkvx/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-37-46.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/CLkY39cf/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-58-1.jpg)
A big thumbs up for this beautiful place. :thumleft:

(https://i.postimg.cc/J4BSyJJw/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-52.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/jC0WsPV6/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-04.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/BQ0HffJr/vlcsnap-2019-10-27-19h21m21s061.jpg)
A view screenshots from the video footage HSK took.

(https://i.postimg.cc/RZPHt3wm/vlcsnap-2019-10-27-19h22m29s907.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/KYw39d9s/vlcsnap-2019-10-27-19h23m01s161.jpg)
Truly beautiful and laid back riverbed riding.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Tww4TWG4/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-55-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/T15NDMKj/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-57.jpg)
Again we see a lot of different game, but no elephants for us today. We also pass more 4x4s coming from the opposite direction. I honestly didn't think we'd get so much "traffic" around here. It isn't a bad thing I guess, at least it is comforting to know that enough people do come through here, so help would be around if anything was to happen.

(https://i.postimg.cc/rwvq7MkW/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-04-3.jpg)
It started to get quite hot, and the thick riverbed sand was feeling like slightly more hard work with the sun beating down on us.

(https://i.postimg.cc/s273rqjL/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-06.jpg)
I didn't stop too much to take photos of this last bit. At this stage we were following Xpat's route and there was a slight bit of confusion on this part of the track. I studied the gps and we got back on the correct path again.

Eventually we got to a place with a little building and a chain blocking the road. A guy popped out and told us we've got to pay R100p/p. Ah, the famous Haonib tollgate. I didn't mind paying at all. There are almost no park fees whatsoever in this part of Namibia, and this was the only place we ever had to pay anything to ride in the area.

We are so close to Sesfontein now I can almost taste lunch, ooooohhhhh real mouth watering food awaits us!!! Now I can't wait! Lets go, lets go! As we ride through the tollgate though, the wind starts to pick up...
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: MRK Miller on October 28, 2019, 04:43:30 pm
And the smell of elephant dung fills your senses :laughing4:. Awesome stuff. Eagerly awaiting the next chapter :pot: :sip:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 28, 2019, 09:21:07 pm
Thursday the 19th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/y8JVfWws/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-06-2.jpg)
It's not far to go to Sesfontein from here, but there's trouble in the air.

(https://i.postimg.cc/qB94ZpxT/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-58.jpg)
The sand storm starts to pick up all around us. We should probably stop taking photos and be on our way...

(https://i.postimg.cc/C59tPM36/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-49-1.jpg)
We ride on, but it's getting worse.

(https://i.postimg.cc/s1F6P6Wk/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-59.jpg)
Even the giraffes try to run away.

(https://i.postimg.cc/vH2YL520/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-05-4.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/FsHFLTpf/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-03.jpg)
It's here, the unrelenting wind in full blast.

In the eye of the storm

It hits us hard! We ride on slowly, no taking pictures for now. The sand blasts down on us. It is so bad that we have to stop, we cannot see in front of us! We sit on our bikes shielding ourselves as best we can. I cannot even see HSK and he is right next to me. This is hectic, but what can we do, we need to wait it out. I think of some advice I saw on the internet;

(https://i.postimg.cc/63BZcGf3/Depressed-song2.jpg)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 28, 2019, 09:23:26 pm
Bumping this to next page :)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on October 29, 2019, 07:23:59 am
Stunning pics - thanks for making us part of the trip!!   :thumleft:

Sand storms are nothing to trifle with - we got caught in one in November 2015 between Luderitz & Aus in a 4x4 - when we eventually got back to SA, we claimed on insurance - R165k damage to the vehicle (Suzuki Grand Vitara) - the whole vehicle had to be re-sprayed and EVERY piece of glass in car was trashed and had to be replaced - windscreen was opaque.....

Got pics somewhere.....
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 31, 2019, 11:47:26 am
Thursday the 19th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/jjTgVn0n/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-05.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/RCpD30f2/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-39-24.jpg)
Things finally start calming down, and we can see well enough to ride on to Sesfontein. We only sat waiting for the storm to clear up for several minutes, it felt like it could have been hours though.

The sandstorm has covered most of the 4x4 tracks and it wasn't always quite clear if we were staying on the right path or not. I tried to follow the gps as closely as possible here though. There was another batch or two of fesh fesh as well.
Finally we make it to the D3707, it feels weird being on a "normal dirtroad" again. The storm has completely settled now and we have a short uneventful ride to the "fuel station" at Sesfontein, which is just a lonely fuel pump near the Sesfontein Fort. We only put fuel in our bikes, leaving our fuel bladders empty, petrol wouldn't be a problem from here on wards.

Flashback - We all wait in line to get fuel on our second last riding day on the Honda Quest in 2017.
(https://i.postimg.cc/rm9yMrPd/21752950-10155734197471972-2956853558151621421-o.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Xvg2nN4H/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-05-1.jpg)
I have been looking forward to this all day!!!

(https://i.postimg.cc/LX6x5dsH/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-04.jpg)
Look at the big smile on HSK's face! We both can't wait to grab some lekker nom noms and an ice cold drink :D

(https://i.postimg.cc/4yYwvztq/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-07.jpg)
We enter through the old forts gates. I am pleasantly surprised, this place is really a gem considering it is kind off in the middle of nowhere. Since I can be a gigantic nerd at times... I just had to read up on the history:

"Fort Sesfontein Lodge is situated in the centre of Sesfontein in the old German fort that was abandoned in 1914. It is now restored as a lodge from where visitors can explore an ephemeral river bed, recently discovered rock engravings and the nomadic Himba people.

A gap in the mountains gives access to the valley basin of Sesfontein, (six fountains) where green gardens give the landscape its special character. In 1896 the government of what was then German South-West Africa, built the Fort of Sesfontein as a control point for keeping in check cattle disease, arms smuggling and illegal hunting.

Today, more than 100 years after the original establishment of the Sesfontein Station, the Fort has acquired a second lease of life after being tastefully restored as a tourist lodge. Use of building materials, characteristic for the region, such as clay walls, stone floors and reed linings, convey a very special and original atmosphere.

The former officers mess has been refurbished as a restaurant with integrated lounge and bar."


There are also some old German graves that you can go visit. Unfortunately we just didn't have time to explore this interesting place further today. Next time!

(https://i.postimg.cc/ZqJQDMQZ/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-41.jpg)
I ate my delicious goulash so quickly that there wasn't even time for a photograph of the food :P We also had some ice cold rock shandies, mmmmm yummy! There is even wifi, yay!

We bump into the campers from the Purros Canyon as we were on our way out, wow it's a small world out here! They asked us which route we followed to get here, and couldn't believe how quickly we managed to navigate the tracks on our bikes. It takes them so much longer with the 4x4s. They almost didn't believe us when we told them all about our day :laughing4:

We get going, it's only 35km to Khowarib Lodge where we will be camping again, but we still want to stop at the little Sesfontein shop to get an extra snack or two for the evening, as we were now quite low on supplies.

At the little Sesfontein spaza shop we suffer the first unpleasant experience of our trip. Some local drunk kept harassing us for cash, slurring the same story about needing cash for a sick child or something over and over while he was so drunk he was literally falling over his own feet. The only thing that guy was going to use the money for was more beer, we had no doubt about that. He kept getting into HSK's face while we were trying to load stuff into our saddlebags. The more we say no, not today, the more the guy gets aggressive. When we do longer trips I always carry pepperspray in a separate little bag on my handlebars. I was already reaching for the pepperspray as a precaution, as HSK had to physically push past the guy so he could just climb onto his bike. I really thought this was going to get ugly, luckily some of the other locals also came out to see what the commotion was about, and his buddies seemed to hold him back. We got out of there as quickly as we could.

We stop a couple of km's out of town. "Can you believe it?" asks HSK. What a bad taste this leaves in our mouths. I say, let's just shrug it off. We've had such an amazing experience so far, today has been again an incredible day. Let's not let some drunk ruin it for us :)

We ride the last 35km to the Khowarib Lodge, where we put up our tent in the same campsite.

(https://i.postimg.cc/N0fcrFB1/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-35-01.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Y9nbmX4Q/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-04-1.jpg)
HSK says he'd like to change the airfilters, as we've been through quite a bit of fesh fesh and dusty conditions the last few days.

(https://i.postimg.cc/BQd7gwmg/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-06.jpg)
I sort out our things and put up our little tent.

(https://i.postimg.cc/L8LC0B7M/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-27-at-19-34-05-2.jpg)
HSK's pants looking a bit worse for wear already.

(https://i.postimg.cc/qMtZ2dxq/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-26-at-20-39-23.jpg)
I am also not sure how much longer my kitty cat ears are going to hold out :imaposer:

(https://i.postimg.cc/NjtYBbnC/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-35-01-1.jpg)
It feels good being here, just kicking up our feet and having a good rest.

Not long after our camp is put up, a local guy comes along and hands me a multi plug. It is the one I forgot here when we first came through! I still had to buy another one when we were in Opuwo or we wouldn't have been able to charge our electronics there. I am so happy! What a good gesture to return it to us. On the one hand we have a bad experience with a local drunk, and on the other hand another local shows us just how honest and kind people around here still are. What a way to conclude another special day in Namibia.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on October 31, 2019, 12:07:14 pm
Another campsite for the list for next trip.....
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Hondsekierie on October 31, 2019, 02:01:23 pm
I just want to add that the drunk posed no real danger to us, rather to himself as he was stumbling all over -  it was just seriously annoying as he desperately pleaded for money for another drink.  It's unfortunate that I had to be aggressive towards him (bumping him out of my way) as we were super chilled, having at that stage integrated so well into the land and it's people.  Unfortunately these things happen a lot, and more so in South Africa. 

Riding through the Western and Northern Cape has become especially annoying - if it's not the begging grownups it's the small children that get's pushed into your face.  On our recent trip through the Karoo we had so many unpleasant encounters with drunks and begging kids that you rather avoid stopping if its not essential.  I know there's a serious drought throughout those parts and many workers have lost their jobs, so the struggle could be quite real - the question is, how do you distinguish what's real and how do you deal with it?  It's almost like the people on the street corners of the cities and towns - as a rule we don't give anyone a cent.  Maybe someone else can also share their views????

I'll add some more positive input later in this report.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on October 31, 2019, 02:05:38 pm
I just want to add that the drunk posed no real danger to us, rather to himself as he was stumbling all over -  it was just seriously annoying as he desperately pleaded for money for another drink.  It's unfortunate that I had to be aggressive towards him (bumping him out of my way) as we were super chilled, having at that stage integrated so well into the land and it's people.  Unfortunately these things happen a lot, and more so in South Africa. 

Riding through the Western and Northern Cape has become especially annoying - if it's not the begging grownups it's the small children that get's pushed into your face.  On our recent trip through the Karoo we had so many unpleasant encounters with drunks and begging kids that you rather avoid stopping if its not essential.  I know there's a serious drought throughout those parts and many workers have lost their jobs, so the struggle could be quite real - the question is, how do you distinguish what's real and how do you deal with it?  It's almost like the people on the street corners of the cities and towns - as a rule we don't give anyone a cent.  Maybe someone else can also share their views????

I'll add some more positive input later in this report.  :thumleft:

Sad but true....
My 2 worst places are Kuruman & Keetmanshoop for this.....
You did well not to lose your cool, pretty easy to do....
 :thumleft:
Now, back to the RR.....
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on October 31, 2019, 02:35:08 pm
I dearly hope you didn't create any new tracks after that sandstorm! Those will be there for 1000 years! (or maybe till the next sandstorm?)

 :peepwall: :pot: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: YoungGSer on October 31, 2019, 06:44:19 pm
I hope fort sesfontein has removed the “lion” off the menu. I’m sure it wasn’t lion they were serving but what ever it was it proved to be largely inedible.

The trip looks like it was amazing, very jealous.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on October 31, 2019, 08:52:57 pm
I dearly hope you didn't create any new tracks after that sandstorm! Those will be there for 1000 years! (or maybe till the next sandstorm?)

 :peepwall: :pot: :imaposer:

 :peepwall: :peepwall: :peepwall:

I hope fort sesfontein has removed the “lion” off the menu. I’m sure it wasn’t lion they were serving but what ever it was it proved to be largely inedible.

The trip looks like it was amazing, very jealous.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Lion!? Eeeewwwww!!! No luckily that was not on the menu :P
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: 2StrokeDan on October 31, 2019, 09:07:31 pm
I just want to add that the drunk posed no real danger to us, rather to himself as he was stumbling all over -  it was just seriously annoying as he desperately pleaded for money for another drink.  It's unfortunate that I had to be aggressive towards him (bumping him out of my way) as we were super chilled, having at that stage integrated so well into the land and it's people.  Unfortunately these things happen a lot, and more so in South Africa. 

Riding through the Western and Northern Cape has become especially annoying - if it's not the begging grownups it's the small children that get's pushed into your face.  On our recent trip through the Karoo we had so many unpleasant encounters with drunks and begging kids that you rather avoid stopping if its not essential.  I know there's a serious drought throughout those parts and many workers have lost their jobs, so the struggle could be quite real - the question is, how do you distinguish what's real and how do you deal with it?  It's almost like the people on the street corners of the cities and towns - as a rule we don't give anyone a cent.  Maybe someone else can also share their views????

I'll add some more positive input later in this report.  :thumleft:

I never give ANY money, and I try my best to avoid Opuwo.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Straatkat on November 02, 2019, 05:46:56 pm
I hope fort sesfontein has removed the “lion” off the menu. I’m sure it wasn’t lion they were serving but what ever it was it proved to be largely inedible.

The trip looks like it was amazing, very jealous.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

You actually ordered it???
Fort Sesfontein is an oasis in the desert, we stayed there one night, very nice pool as well as good food. And the cost is also quite reasonable for Namibia considering its location, think it was something like R1400 per night for a very nice spacious room. Unlike Palmwag, which is just a rip-off.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on November 03, 2019, 09:28:03 pm
Friday the 20th of September 2019

(https://i.postimg.cc/bwxMgh33/Whats-App-Image-2019-10-24-at-20-34-54.jpg)
Good morning! Today we get to eat breakfast at a real table, mmmm! Yummy coffee, yogurt and even an omelette! We feel like kings all over again.

The original plan was to ride the Khowarib Schlucht route (which we missed earlier on our trip), heading through the Klein Serengeti and then down the C34 to Palmwag where we thought to camp for the night. This would change slightly :P

We pack up our little tent for the last time ;) and head from our campsite, just down the road and right into the start of the Khowarib Schlucht. This is uncharted territory for us yet again, the only things I know are from what I've seen in ride reports.

(https://i.postimg.cc/WpwrD4HT/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-14-11-52-2.jpg)
Today's ride starts on an epic note.

(https://i.postimg.cc/zBSLRdp0/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-49.jpg)
With the most incredible view over the Schlucht.

(https://i.postimg.cc/85VJc8d7/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-49-3.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Tw8mb5xY/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-14-11-49.jpg)
Gps says this is the way. We follow blindly.

(https://i.postimg.cc/7h5kyhC0/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-421-38.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/rwrwrnwx/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-52-4.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/rmQVk7fX/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-53-3.jpg)
The rising sun guides our way again.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Wp5zLqyF/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-52-1.jpg)
Did somebody say fesh fesh? This is by far the worst we've experienced so far.

(https://i.postimg.cc/K8Bmz105/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-42-39-1.jpg)
We navigate the fesh fesh carefully, riding with caution as you never know what your front wheel will hit underneath all that dust.

(https://i.postimg.cc/xTszR4QZ/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-48-2.jpg)
Many tracks in different directions all over from 4x4s trying to dodge the fesh fesh. There's no escape though, you have to go through it.

(https://i.postimg.cc/9FX9yj6T/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-48-1.jpg)
After getting through the fesh fesh we follow the road between the mountains.

(https://i.postimg.cc/d36TgWyL/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-14-11-52.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Y9k0k6kg/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-51-3.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/3JwydFGF/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-50-3.jpg)
Oh how I love exploring Namibia off the beaten track. You will never see any of Namibia's true beauty by only staying on the main roads. What a beautiful oasis, for a moment I think we never left the Purros Canyon.

(https://i.postimg.cc/7YGfDY0x/Earth-has-Music-994-X1286-994x1286.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/PrcqNsTd/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-52-3.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/XqqV7xPZ/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-53-4.jpg)
I got gas in the tank
I got money in the bank
I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man
- The Killers

(https://i.postimg.cc/J4y1f6Jv/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-42-38-1.jpg)
I spend way too much time contemplating how I can get permanent Namibian residence so I can stay in this amazing place forever.

(https://i.postimg.cc/bwDsRY3G/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-50.jpg)
Why must all good things always come to an end I think as we leave behind the lush oasis.

(https://i.postimg.cc/bJTJvZN5/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-51-4.jpg)
And enter the last riverbed on our journey.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on November 03, 2019, 11:05:54 pm
Friday the 20th of September 2019 (continued)

Flashback - On our last real riding day of the Honda Quest 2017, we all expected things to be easy, just laid back riding on the dirt highways back to White Lady... WRONG, we had the most extreme day in the thickest sand I've ever ridden on a big bike (except for maybe that one time in Mozambique on the 950, hmmmm). I remember falling over when riding the thick sand up on a tricky dune. The bike fell on my leg and trapped it at an awful angle. I let out a very loud f*ck ::) I honestly thought that was it, my leg/ankle or something must be damaged. Luckily I fell right in front of Ockert, the Medic, who quickly helped to pick the heavy bike off my trapped leg. It is a terrible feeling to think your ride is over, pretty much on the last day. I could get to my feet and moved my leg and all was good. I couldn't believe I was ok. Anyway, I took it as a gentle reminder to be even more careful.

(https://i.postimg.cc/J48mGrB3/21687013-10155734239606972-4862598182267875802-o.jpg)
These were the sand tracks we followed towards the Brandberg on our return trip. This was extremely challenging on the bigger bikes.

(https://i.postimg.cc/zDK8zb3X/21743874-10155734241636972-4052425762936094642-o.jpg)

Today we are riding into the unknown again, it can be quite scary not knowing what to expect. I can't help but think, will today also be one of the toughest days for us? Namibia is always full of surprises.

(https://i.postimg.cc/rFYDWRCX/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-50-4.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/R0tJvCtr/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-49-2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/FFpdrBYK/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-50-2.jpg)
I'm not sure what it is, but for me this riverbed has been the most intimidating to ride so far. I ride along alright, but don't quite get into the flow as nicely as I did the last couple of days. Maybe I'm just a bit tired? We haven't exactly had a rest day. I think this is what the Dakar riders must be feeling like after a number of difficult days in the saddle. I think of a quote from a book I read, Para to Dakar.

"I didn't come this far, to only come this far." - Joey Evans

Can't afford to lose focus now.

(https://i.postimg.cc/1X3zVy83/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-51-5.jpg)
The 4x4s churned this riverbed up quite nicely for us. It is clear there hasn't been any water coming down here for a while.

(https://i.postimg.cc/PJTw3GNg/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-14-11-50.jpg)
"Is he gonna be ok?" The effects of the drought are evident everywhere.

(https://i.postimg.cc/2j9kXRqn/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-54.jpg)
The sand is just unrelenting today.

(https://i.postimg.cc/mgJFx1tN/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-49-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/90LrLr69/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-50-1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/6Qx5Lr8S/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-52.jpg)
It feels like this just goes on and on and on. I've ridden over dry tree branches, severe sandy ruts, jumped over drop offs and a number of holes from animals that were digging for water. There were definitely a few more "oh sh*t moments" today compared to the other riding days we had.

Finally the gps indicates where we need to climb out of the riverbed. I must say this is the first time on our trip that I actually feel glad to be climbing out of a riverbed... We saw a lot of game yes, it was quite scenic yes, but it felt a bit more dangerous than the other riverbeds we'd ridden.

(https://i.postimg.cc/4xmhFQNx/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-48.jpg)
We leave the riverbed behind, and ride into the Klein Serengeti.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on November 04, 2019, 07:22:03 am
I hope fort sesfontein has removed the “lion” off the menu. I’m sure it wasn’t lion they were serving but what ever it was it proved to be largely inedible.

The trip looks like it was amazing, very jealous.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

You actually ordered it???
Fort Sesfontein is an oasis in the desert, we stayed there one night, very nice pool as well as good food. And the cost is also quite reasonable for Namibia considering its location, think it was something like R1400 per night for a very nice spacious room. Unlike Palmwag, which is just a rip-off.

In his absence, they did not order it - they had the burgers from the lunch menu and watched people eating something inedible....  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: OomD on November 04, 2019, 10:10:27 am
Wow, only saw this RR now. How'd I miss it for so long? Anyways, great report of a clearly great trip! Thanks for sharing!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: MRK Miller on November 04, 2019, 12:07:27 pm
So awesome this. Cannot wait for the next chapter every time. Your riding ability, abillity to adapt, navigatianal  skills, and story telling. The nerd in you that does the homework, so you can really experience where you are. I envy and respect you, and cannot thank you enough
Included is a picture of the marienfluss with the fairy circles and all when we were there, many moons ago. Amazing to see the diffrence. We also visited a point called blou drum as per picture, but have not herd anyone mentioned it in any of the ride reports. Also in the same area as rooidrum. Maybe someone knows. My biggist wish would be to go back and do the route we did those many years back, but on bikes. It also included robbies pass and van zyls. So many memories. Thank you and all the others for taking me back down memory lane
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: MRK Miller on November 04, 2019, 01:17:38 pm
So awesome this. Cannot wait for the next chapter every time. Your riding ability, abillity to adapt, navigatianal  skills, and story telling. The nerd in you that does the homework, so you can really experience where you are. I envy and respect you, and cannot thank you enough
Included is a picture of the marienfluss with the fairy circles and all when we were there, many moons ago. Amazing to see the diffrence. We also visited a point called blou drum as per picture, but have not herd anyone mentioned it in any of the ride reports. Also in the same area as rooidrum. Maybe someone knows. My biggist wish would be to go back and do the route we did those many years back, but on bikes. It also included robbies pass and van zyls. So many memories. Thank you and all the others for taking me back down memory lane
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on November 04, 2019, 01:46:43 pm
So awesome this. Cannot wait for the next chapter every time. Your riding ability, abillity to adapt, navigatianal  skills, and story telling. The nerd in you that does the homework, so you can really experience where you are. I envy and respect you, and cannot thank you enough
Included is a picture of the marienfluss with the fairy circles and all when we were there, many moons ago. Amazing to see the diffrence. We also visited a point called blou drum as per picture, but have not herd anyone mentioned it in any of the ride reports. Also in the same area as rooidrum. Maybe someone knows. My biggist wish would be to go back and do the route we did those many years back, but on bikes. It also included robbies pass and van zyls. So many memories. Thank you and all the others for taking me back down memory lane

:) :) :)

Thank you for taking the time to share your photos with us MRK Miller. Just look at that sea of grass! I think next time we do a trip to the Kaokoland (which will hopefully be sooner than later as HSK has completely fallen in love with this part of the world as well :P), we'll have to go after there have been some rains.

And you guys must have followed a slightly different route. If you are going through the Hartmannberge after doing Van Zyls pass you will go past Bloudrom. It is just to the west of Rooidrom. There is also an orange and a green drum further west. The more popular route seems to go past Rooidrom, as it is the quickest way if you are heading south towards Purros. The Hartmannberge and Camp Syncro are definitely on our agenda for a future trip though, also Robbie's Pass which you mentioned. There is soooooo much to explore up there, I cannot wait to go back to this incredible part of the world again!

https://tracks4africa.co.za/listings/item/w137885/bloudrom/ (https://tracks4africa.co.za/listings/item/w137885/bloudrom/)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: EssBee on November 04, 2019, 03:28:26 pm
Absolutely stunning RR, guys, what more can I say!? Thanks so much for sharing and taking the trouble to make it all so presentable/interesting/informative. Just awesome.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ri on November 04, 2019, 05:12:06 pm
 :sip: :sip: :sip:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: MRK Miller on November 04, 2019, 06:43:24 pm
So awesome this. Cannot wait for the next chapter every time. Your riding ability, abillity to adapt, navigatianal  skills, and story telling. The nerd in you that does the homework, so you can really experience where you are. I envy and respect you, and cannot thank you enough
Included is a picture of the marienfluss with the fairy circles and all when we were there, many moons ago. Amazing to see the diffrence. We also visited a point called blou drum as per picture, but have not herd anyone mentioned it in any of the ride reports. Also in the same area as rooidrum. Maybe someone knows. My biggist wish would be to go back and do the route we did those many years back, but on bikes. It also included robbies pass and van zyls. So many memories. Thank you and all the others for taking me back down memory lane

:) :) :)

Thank you for taking the time to share your photos with us MRK Miller. Just look at that sea of grass! I think next time we do a trip to the Kaokoland (which will hopefully be sooner than later as HSK has completely fallen in love with this part of the world as well :P), we'll have to go after there have been some rains.

And you guys must have followed a slightly different route. If you are going through the Hartmannberge after doing Van Zyls pass you will go past Bloudrom. It is just to the west of Rooidrom. There is also an orange and a green drum further west. The more popular route seems to go past Rooidrom, as it is the quickest way if you are heading south towards Purros. The Hartmannberge and Camp Syncro are definitely on our agenda for a future trip though, also Robbie's Pass which you mentioned. There is soooooo much to explore up there, I cannot wait to go back to this incredible part of the world again!

https://tracks4africa.co.za/listings/item/w137885/bloudrom/ (https://tracks4africa.co.za/listings/item/w137885/bloudrom/)


I still have the map, and a lot of info, around the trip we did back then. You are welcome to it, for planning. We are in Springs eastrand. We can meet somewhere, if you want to borrow it. Thank you also for the link info on the drums
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on November 04, 2019, 08:02:48 pm
So awesome this. Cannot wait for the next chapter every time. Your riding ability, abillity to adapt, navigatianal  skills, and story telling. The nerd in you that does the homework, so you can really experience where you are. I envy and respect you, and cannot thank you enough
Included is a picture of the marienfluss with the fairy circles and all when we were there, many moons ago. Amazing to see the diffrence. We also visited a point called blou drum as per picture, but have not herd anyone mentioned it in any of the ride reports. Also in the same area as rooidrum. Maybe someone knows. My biggist wish would be to go back and do the route we did those many years back, but on bikes. It also included robbies pass and van zyls. So many memories. Thank you and all the others for taking me back down memory lane

:) :) :)

Thank you for taking the time to share your photos with us MRK Miller. Just look at that sea of grass! I think next time we do a trip to the Kaokoland (which will hopefully be sooner than later as HSK has completely fallen in love with this part of the world as well :P), we'll have to go after there have been some rains.

And you guys must have followed a slightly different route. If you are going through the Hartmannberge after doing Van Zyls pass you will go past Bloudrom. It is just to the west of Rooidrom. There is also an orange and a green drum further west. The more popular route seems to go past Rooidrom, as it is the quickest way if you are heading south towards Purros. The Hartmannberge and Camp Syncro are definitely on our agenda for a future trip though, also Robbie's Pass which you mentioned. There is soooooo much to explore up there, I cannot wait to go back to this incredible part of the world again!

https://tracks4africa.co.za/listings/item/w137885/bloudrom/ (https://tracks4africa.co.za/listings/item/w137885/bloudrom/)


I still have the map, and a lot of info, around the trip we did back then. You are welcome to it, for planning. We are in Springs eastrand. We can meet somewhere, if you want to borrow it. Thank you also for the link info on the drums

Thank you! I will let you know if we are in that area again. We stay in Pta. Will pm you soon :)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on November 05, 2019, 08:20:13 pm
10 pages of pure magic ...thanks to both of you!

 8)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on November 07, 2019, 09:44:51 pm
Friday the 20th of September 2019 (continued)

(https://i.postimg.cc/0yQp1qZx/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-14-11-54.jpg)
I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand
- Sting

(https://i.postimg.cc/wM4jhnNc/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-51.jpg)
We ride the wide open expanse of the Klein Serengeti. Not a single blade of grass in sight, only dust and sand.

(https://i.postimg.cc/d3fJ7rM5/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-53.jpg)
The terrain gets more rocky and harsh as we start moving away from the Klein Serengeti and slowly in the direction towards the main road.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Pqbf6CZq/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-53-1.jpg)
More surprises on the way. A fairly steep rocky climb going over a hill. Lots of loose white rocks to make things even more interesting. The KTM 500 makes mince meat out of every obstacle though, and we get over the hill in a jiffy.

(https://i.postimg.cc/QMDhWjPZ/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-42-39-2.jpg)
We follow the rocky road to the most spectacular view. I'm not sure if this pass has a name?

(https://i.postimg.cc/vBQYCGLt/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-53-2.jpg)
We ride down this steep hill, the fall I had on our last difficult day on the Honda Quest 2017 still fresh in my mind. We haven't had a single incident yet this whole trip, I didn't want to have one now. All goes well though, we are so comfortable on our bikes after numerous days of riding.

(https://i.postimg.cc/2836z8pH/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-52-2.jpg)
Alien plants and an alien landscape. We could be on Mars?

(https://i.postimg.cc/htkhZF52/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-51-1.jpg)
The colours change from red to grey. We follow the road a while longer.

Finally, the little two track pops out on the C43, the main road between Palmwag and Opuwo.

And just like that, the last epic bit of our adventure comes to an end. It is all easy dirt road riding from here. That's it? It all seems so surreal all of a sudden. Did we really just finish everything we set out to do?
HSK and I glance at each other and I start screaming I am overjoyed ;D OMG, OMG, WE DID IT!!! There are congratulations, hugs, helmet kisses, and high fives! We just finished the last challenging part of our journey. I can't believe it!!! The last canyon trail, the last sandy riverbed, the last rocky pass, all behind us.

The victor earns the title "The Great"
All the mysteries get unlearned
All the history just becomes a string of dates
- The Kongos

It feels SO GOOD! But, it's not over until it's over though, and we still need to get to Palmwag. We set off again, both of us with ridiculously big grins on our faces. I don't think I stopped smiling all the way.

When we get to the Palmwag petrol station it is still pretty early. We full up with fuel. The petrol attendant on duty today remembers us when I tell him that we are the couple who had the bad luck with the broken key in 2018. He is all too happy that we could come back and finish our journey. There's still lots of daylight left and we figure sleeping over in Palmwag will be a waste. We decide to push on to Uis.

Today would then in effect, be our longest day.

(https://i.postimg.cc/QNK8PYcP/MAP2.png)

(https://i.postimg.cc/Z5M6TDDN/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-14-11-51-1.jpg)
In the field of the lords
I forget myself, with you
Forever with you
- The Cult

(https://i.postimg.cc/rp5svn6M/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-40-51-2.jpg)
We soldier on, and on and on, down the C43 dirt highway. We stop here and there to take a photo and just stretch our legs. At this point even the airhawk isn't doing us any favours anymore :P

(https://i.postimg.cc/tgzy3LQZ/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-42-39.jpg)
Our last little roadside snack break, the only shade next to the road being in one of the riverbeds near Twyfelfontein. We ride on and see the signboard for Uis, and then for the Brandberg Restcamp.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Bt9bRPJw/journeyhemingway1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/L8kgKDYk/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-42-38-1.jpg)
Yes, yes, yes! We did it, we actually pulled this off! A tremendous achievement, an epic adventure and an unforgettable journey, all spurred on by a random last minute idea. So many feelings! All I know is this is a moment I will never forget!!!

Basil hears us arrive and runs up to us to congratulate us. Hugs are exchanged and we cannot wait to tell everyone about our adventure!

Flashback - This photo was taken just before we reached the end of our journey on the Honda Quest 2017. Riding Northern Namibia on the Honda Quest had made me fall in love with this beautiful and mysterious country. It lit a flame that will never be extinguished. When we arrived in Windhoek and handed in our bikes, I remember being so emotional, yet super happy at the same time. I was jumping up and down cheering with tears running down my cheeks, a few of my friends joined in chanting "Minxy, Queen of the Desert". These moments I will cherish my whole life!

(https://i.postimg.cc/Kv0BRJvZ/21433031-10154725862367413-918452535230662940-n.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/zGYHc6BX/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-14-11-53.jpg)

The sun sets over Uis and the Brandberg. Our kit is packed, our bikes are loaded onto the trailer. They have served us so well! All the little things, like taking a bath and getting into some nice clean clothes feel so good. And now it's time to have a proper meal, I've been craving for a yummy steak for days, mmmm! There are two other adventure bikers who have arrived and want to hear all about our trip, we end up chatting away into the night. What an incredible experience.

And so we end our last night in Namibia.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: MRK Miller on November 07, 2019, 10:11:16 pm
Glad to be of service  :biggrin:

I wonder which section that might be. I will wait patiently for the story to develop   8) :thumleft:

Haha, something to do with endurance..

I like to use the setup of the GL bag and tank bag myself but have found that it often leaves little space for me to comfortably fit in between (especially in the soft sand).  Look forward to reading how you guys found it.

There is really ample space if you use the Coyote saddle bag combined with the Diablo tank bag. 

The Coyote was designed to be positioned on top of your rear fender according to the manual, unlike the Great Basin that requires the are where the pillion seat is.  I could never trust all the weight on the fender and opted to have a portion of the saddlebag rest on top of the seat.  For that I installed an anchor point (strap) approximately 100mm behind the seat and strapped the bag down properly (can show you with pics later).  This prevented any forward movement which normally causes space problems.

[color=red]I replaced the lower sub frame bolts with button type ones and used the GL hooks - this basically gives you the anchoring from the front part of the bike.  If you tighten the straps over the saddle bag legs properly you won't have any problem with movement - usually why the space becomes problematic[/color].

Lastly - we used the Diablo tankbag  because of it's size which is brilliant for the 500.  Anything bigger and you'll struggle with space.

I'm a particularly big specimen with proper girth not easily found elsewhere and I can promise you, I had huge space to move around on the seat -  except if you have puffed up child bearing hips  :imaposer:  We could still strap Minxy's full 6L Desert Fox on to the GL, behind her bum, and it didn't interfere with her movement.

The GL is a brilliant product for these bikes and I would recommend it to all.  I must say the MoskoMoto really attracted me more because of the modular design which makes organizing a bit better but beggars can't be choosers, so GL it had to be.. :ricky: 

Hope it helps a bit.  Shout if you need more info


Could you tell me if you did anything to strengthen up the sub frame or was it not needed. A friend of mine has the older version 450 ktm, still carb, and he is worried that the sub frame won't hold the weight of his bag, and is their any bracket besides the fender holding the fender bag
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: windswept on November 07, 2019, 11:16:06 pm
Thanks for a great report. The two of you do some awesome riding. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: big oil on November 08, 2019, 02:12:50 am
Dis report Poppin'

You two off the hizzy  :thumleft:

Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on November 08, 2019, 07:30:20 am
Glad to be of service  :biggrin:

I wonder which section that might be. I will wait patiently for the story to develop   8) :thumleft:

Haha, something to do with endurance..

I like to use the setup of the GL bag and tank bag myself but have found that it often leaves little space for me to comfortably fit in between (especially in the soft sand).  Look forward to reading how you guys found it.

There is really ample space if you use the Coyote saddle bag combined with the Diablo tank bag. 

The Coyote was designed to be positioned on top of your rear fender according to the manual, unlike the Great Basin that requires the are where the pillion seat is.  I could never trust all the weight on the fender and opted to have a portion of the saddlebag rest on top of the seat.  For that I installed an anchor point (strap) approximately 100mm behind the seat and strapped the bag down properly (can show you with pics later).  This prevented any forward movement which normally causes space problems.

[color=red]I replaced the lower sub frame bolts with button type ones and used the GL hooks - this basically gives you the anchoring from the front part of the bike.  If you tighten the straps over the saddle bag legs properly you won't have any problem with movement - usually why the space becomes problematic[/color].

Lastly - we used the Diablo tankbag  because of it's size which is brilliant for the 500.  Anything bigger and you'll struggle with space.

I'm a particularly big specimen with proper girth not easily found elsewhere and I can promise you, I had huge space to move around on the seat -  except if you have puffed up child bearing hips  :imaposer:  We could still strap Minxy's full 6L Desert Fox on to the GL, behind her bum, and it didn't interfere with her movement.

The GL is a brilliant product for these bikes and I would recommend it to all.  I must say the MoskoMoto really attracted me more because of the modular design which makes organizing a bit better but beggars can't be choosers, so GL it had to be.. :ricky: 

Hope it helps a bit.  Shout if you need more info


Could you tell me if you did anything to strengthen up the sub frame or was it not needed. A friend of mine has the older version 450 ktm, still carb, and he is worried that the sub frame won't hold the weight of his bag, and is their any bracket besides the fender holding the fender bag

No strengthening of sub frame needed. Just make sure the bag sits where the seat ends, then it is ok. You can't exactly put it over the flimsy plastic bit at the end. We carried about 13kg each (incl 3L extra water) in our Giant Loop bags, some of our tools etc were put in the front fender bags to spread the weight. We rode some hectic conditions with all the luggage and it didn't bother us once. Having the fuel tied to the front by the headlight makes quite a difference as well. :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: JonW on November 08, 2019, 07:35:26 am
Thanks for the effort Minxy, great Ride Report
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on November 08, 2019, 08:21:00 am
Thanks for the effort Minxy, great Ride Report

Dis report Poppin'

You two off the hizzy  :thumleft:

Thanks for a great report. The two of you do some awesome riding. :thumleft:

Thank you, thank you! I am still going to write a short afterward and then I'll finally be done  :P
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: OomD on November 08, 2019, 09:05:59 am
You write reports in such a way that I long for places I don't know, want to pack my bags and head on to yonder. Just reading them already puts one's head in a space that is far far away from the mundane office. Thank you!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ri on November 08, 2019, 09:43:45 am
Cannot wait to get back there myself :biggrin:

Very well done on this inspiring adventure, and then this fantastic ride report to take us back there along with you.... THANK YOU!! So sad it's finished now :'(

And soooooooon the next one!! :deal:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: MRK Miller on November 08, 2019, 11:13:52 am
You write reports in such a way that I long for places I don't know, want to pack my bags and head on to yonder. Just reading them already puts one's head in a space that is far far away from the mundane office. Thank you!

I agree
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Hondsekierie on November 09, 2019, 01:48:18 pm
@MRK Miller  - sorry for the late reply to your question regarding the luggage - I think Minxy has summed it up quite well though. If I had to go on a RTW trip I will definitely look into welding some gussets, but that would only be precautionary.  A guy like @Xpat can give much better feedback as he's done like 20 x more distance with the 500 but I doubt he's done any upgrades/strengthening.  A very helpful sight could be www.therollinghobo.com

I just heard yesterday from @Hardy de Kock  that an Australian tourist this week got trampled to death by an elephant whilst camping in the Huab river close to the entrance to the Desolation Valley.  Although not much detail is known it has been reported that they were camping in the riverbed which is not allowed in that area.  It once again highlights the reality that you travel in the wild and shit can get real very quickly.  In our case we decided upfront that we would stick to designated camping areas and only wild camp if there's no alternative.  Apart from a possible nice shower I think your exposure to elephant, hyena and the likes are far less at the designated areas - not even mentioning possible flash floods.  Still very sad though and really hope it doesn't change anything.

Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: 2StrokeDan on November 09, 2019, 05:44:22 pm
@MRK Miller  - sorry for the late reply to your question regarding the luggage - I think Minxy has summed it up quite well though. If I had to go on a RTW trip I will definitely look into welding some gussets, but that would only be precautionary.  A guy like @Xpat can give much better feedback as he's done like 20 x more distance with the 500 but I doubt he's done any upgrades/strengthening.  A very helpful sight could be www.therollinghobo.com

I just heard yesterday from @Hardy de Kock  that an Australian tourist this week got trampled to death by an elephant whilst camping in the Huab river close to the entrance to the Desolation Valley.  Although not much detail is known it has been reported that they were camping in the riverbed which is not allowed in that area.  It once again highlights the reality that you travel in the wild and shit can get real very quickly.  In our case we decided upfront that we would stick to designated camping areas and only wild camp if there's no alternative.  Apart from a possible nice shower I think your exposure to elephant, hyena and the likes are far less at the designated areas - not even mentioning possible flash floods.  Still very sad though and really hope it doesn't change anything.

Bit vague now, but somewhere in the early 2000's we were at Purros and aFrench photographer got trampled. It's the wild west out there.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Dacquiri on November 09, 2019, 10:15:15 pm
Great ride report Minxy! Thanks for the effort and all the detail.  Definitely a bucket list ride that I hope to do soon.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: MRK Miller on November 10, 2019, 01:42:17 pm
@MRK Miller  - sorry for the late reply to your question regarding the luggage - I think Minxy has summed it up quite well though. If I had to go on a RTW trip I will definitely look into welding some gussets, but that would only be precautionary.  A guy like @Xpat can give much better feedback as he's done like 20 x more distance with the 500 but I doubt he's done any upgrades/strengthening.  A very helpful sight could be www.therollinghobo.com

I just heard yesterday from @Hardy de Kock  that an Australian tourist this week got trampled to death by an elephant whilst camping in the Huab river close to the entrance to the Desolation Valley.  Although not much detail is known it has been reported that they were camping in the riverbed which is not allowed in that area.  It once again highlights the reality that you travel in the wild and shit can get real very quickly.  In our case we decided upfront that we would stick to designated camping areas and only wild camp if there's no alternative.  Apart from a possible nice shower I think your exposure to elephant, hyena and the likes are far less at the designated areas - not even mentioning possible flash floods.  Still very sad though and really hope it doesn't change anything.

Bit vague now, but somewhere in the early 2000's we were at Purros and aFrench photographer got trampled. It's the wild west out there.

Thank you for the info and the website. Very nice reading there
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Xpat on November 10, 2019, 08:26:36 pm
@MRK Miller  - sorry for the late reply to your question regarding the luggage - I think Minxy has summed it up quite well though. If I had to go on a RTW trip I will definitely look into welding some gussets, but that would only be precautionary.  A guy like @Xpat can give much better feedback as he's done like 20 x more distance with the 500 but I doubt he's done any upgrades/strengthening.  A very helpful sight could be www.therollinghobo.com

I just heard yesterday from @Hardy de Kock  that an Australian tourist this week got trampled to death by an elephant whilst camping in the Huab river close to the entrance to the Desolation Valley.  Although not much detail is known it has been reported that they were camping in the riverbed which is not allowed in that area.  It once again highlights the reality that you travel in the wild and shit can get real very quickly.  In our case we decided upfront that we would stick to designated camping areas and only wild camp if there's no alternative.  Apart from a possible nice shower I think your exposure to elephant, hyena and the likes are far less at the designated areas - not even mentioning possible flash floods.  Still very sad though and really hope it doesn't change anything.

I didn't strenghten my subframe in any way. So far after 17000 km of hard riding, no worries. There are two people currently going RTW on 500 (highly unrecommended as far as I'm concerned) - haven't followed them closely, but I don't believe they did much in terms of subframe strenghtening. Here is one of them with over 100k km on it: https://advrider.com/f/threads/new-zealand-rtw-and-back-on-a-ktm500exc.1181912/ (https://advrider.com/f/threads/new-zealand-rtw-and-back-on-a-ktm500exc.1181912/).

As long as you pack clever - ideally use one of those u shape luggages keeping the weight up to the front and limited, you should be fine. I have ridden with plenty of luggage quite hard and so far so good.

HSK: they guy who got killed in Huab was Austrian, not Australian. And there are official campsites next to Huab river - I slept in one with my father and from the description it seems exaclty the one where he got killed (it is where Crowther 4x4 trail starts south from Huab river - there is no Valley of Desolation starting at Huab, that is much more south) and it is campsite 4 I believe on Crowther trail.

Edit: but there definitely aren't any shower or ablutions in camp 4. However there is luxury stationary campsite on the oposite side of Huab close to place where you connected to it after crossing the desert from Purros canyon.

And don't fool yourself believing that you were significantly safer in Purros community campsite - I believe few years back a guy got killed there as well by elephant when he got too close trying to take picture. The fact is those elephants have relatively limited space to operate in - you have seen how narrow those green riverbeds are in the surrounding desert, and conflict form time to time is inevitable. The bull elephant in Huab has particularly bad reputation - when we slept there (there is artificial waterhole close by) the lonely guard there told us that he hurt badly local policemen throwing him into the bushes, which saved him as he then couldn't find him there to finish him off. IMO best there is keeping the distance, and if I would have to camp out there, I would probably find a spot up on the hill.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on November 10, 2019, 10:25:46 pm
Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd of September 2019 (Let's go home)

We thank Basil at Brandberg Rest Camp for his hospitality and letting us leave the vehicle behind while we journeyed up North. With a heavy heart it is time to leave Namibia behind. We have just successfully completed one hell of a trip. Everything went so well, no falls, no mechanical break downs, just about everything was perfect. We are still on such a high... but then...

(https://i.postimg.cc/5jd8Q7ht/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-14-11-53-1.jpg)
We get the only puncture of the trip... The tyre is a gonner, luckily we brought two spare wheels with us as precaution. The bakkie quickly gets jacked up, wheel changed and we continue to the small town of Omaruru.

(https://i.postimg.cc/DZNrny5L/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-14-11-52.jpg)
Real cappuccino and a lovely breakfast is had, we are so officially back in civilization.

(https://i.postimg.cc/2SYXP21m/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-42-138-1.jpg)
In Windhoek we stop at the iconic "Joe's Beerhouse". HSK says he is not missing the Springbok vs NZ game for anything! A true fan.

(https://i.postimg.cc/3JmcSPJn/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-42-39-4.jpg)
Unfortunately the game doesn't go too well for the Springboks, and it turns out to be the only game they lose this world cup. Guess you can't have it all heh.

We slip away in the second half of the game, heading through Gobabis for the trans Kalahari highway in Botswana. Border crossings have been easy so far and our papers were never even checked at any of the border gates. Our timing hasn't been so great today and we have to do what everyone has warned us about, driving in the dark through Botswana. We end up driving behind a local car that is confident in their speed and follow safely behind them, dodging only a few cows (not many donkeys around anymore) on the lonely road to Kang. We get to the Trans Kalahari rest camp at around 8pm, where we pitch our comfy pop up tent. We have done a whopping 1008km for the day.

(https://i.postimg.cc/v8vWDNnK/map.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/zDLMWLmm/Whats-App-Image-2019-11-03-at-18-42-39-3.jpg)
It is Sunday the 22nd of September. We wake up early, leaving Botswana and heading back home to Gauteng, getting back later that afternoon ater a pretty uneventful 700+km. Perfect, at least we won't be late for work on Monday :P

I immediately start missing Namibia, our small tent, and our epic journey all over again...

(https://i.postimg.cc/T1QmSKGx/original.jpg)

Anyway, this officially concludes our Namibia adventure. I still need to finish editing an epic video with all the highlights from our trip, it is going to take me a little while though.

A lot of people also expressed interest and mentioned they too would love to visit Northern Namibia themselves. I'll still write an afterward with a bit more info on what it takes to visit this last frontier.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! :D

I also want to take the time to thank all the adventure riders on this forum who have ventured into the vast Namibian wilderness and taken the time to write about this incredible place in their ride reports, I have read just about all of them and they have been a huge source of inspiration for us to take on this adventure. It however all seemed so impossible, extreme, remote and difficult to access until I had the good fortune to be part of the Honda Quest 2017.

My gratitude forever goes out to all the parties involved with Honda Quest 2017, having the opportunity to ride in Northern Namibia with such a fantastic and organized group of people lifted the veil on this mysterious part of the world for me, and left me with an even bigger desire to go back and show my partner HSK this special place.

A big thank you again to @Xpat for giving me all the last minute info and details about routes and other precious info before we set off on our trip, couldn't have done it without you.

Everyone reading this report and posting moral support along the way. I am always glad when you guys and gals enjoy sharing in on our crazy adventuress :)

And saving the best for last... A big thank you to my partner HSK for letting me share this place I fell in love with, with you. There is nothing better than sharing the same passion and both having an endless sense of adventure. Together we make an incredible team and I am sure we will still travel to the ends of the earth together. This has been our most epic trip so far, and has proved that together we can do anything!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Firesquirrel on November 11, 2019, 10:36:09 am
I have not been on WD in many moons and the 1st thing I read was this EPIC RR on an amazing trip...  thank you for sharing in such detail a report of an area that not many of us will travel to during our lives.  Just spectacular....
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Ri on November 11, 2019, 11:58:39 am
Wonderful RR Minxy, I really enjoyed it. I loved the quotes, lyrics and literature in between - all deftly and beautifully done.

Thank you so much for the effort, and looking forward to the video.
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: roxenz on November 11, 2019, 12:18:03 pm
 :notworthy: :hello2: and Thank You for a really good read, Minxy!
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: MRK Miller on November 11, 2019, 04:27:08 pm
How I share your feeling off sadness for having to leave that awesome place. Tears were close as I ventured back in time to a awesome trip all be it in 4x4. If only I had known about bike adventure riding then. But I ventured there and through ride reports like these, I am able to go back there smell the air, feel the warmth and the chill of the evening air companied by the sounds, as I experienced it then. It is something so special that it sticks to you. So thank you to you and all who go to the effort of doing these reports. Your efforts leave deep tracks and are a inspiration.

Update with another few questions. 1) The fender bag. Is it only carried by the fender or is there an aditional bracket that helps carry the bag.
2) Then at the first camp still with the bakkie it looks like a pop up tent you slept in, but in all the other pic's you use like what seems a little dome tent with pole's. So the question is why did you opped to take the second mentioned tent on the bikes, as i would think the pop up tent would be lighter in weight and more compact. Thank you in advance

Ok modify again. See on you tube the pop up tent is not that compact, so that answers that question. Will probably find the answer to num 1 on you tube as well ::) :lol8:, but will appriciate your input on that
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on November 12, 2019, 05:02:14 pm
How I share your feeling off sadness for having to leave that awesome place. Tears were close as I ventured back in time to a awesome trip all be it in 4x4. If only I had known about bike adventure riding then. But I ventured there and through ride reports like these, I am able to go back there smell the air, feel the warmth and the chill of the evening air companied by the sounds, as I experienced it then. It is something so special that it sticks to you. So thank you to you and all who go to the effort of doing these reports. Your efforts leave deep tracks and are a inspiration.

Update with another few questions. 1) The fender bag. Is it only carried by the fender or is there an aditional bracket that helps carry the bag.
2) Then at the first camp still with the bakkie it looks like a pop up tent you slept in, but in all the other pic's you use like what seems a little dome tent with pole's. So the question is why did you opped to take the second mentioned tent on the bikes, as i would think the pop up tent would be lighter in weight and more compact. Thank you in advance

Ok modify again. See on you tube the pop up tent is not that compact, so that answers that question. Will probably find the answer to num 1 on you tube as well ::) :lol8:, but will appriciate your input on that

1)  My front fender bag has straps attaching it to the forks, then other straps just pulling it down onto the fender (got it from Offroad Cycles). HSK's baggie is different and uses special little brackets which are drilled into the fender, no other support. Both worked like a charm and carried a fair amount of weight.

2) We took a spare pop up tent and extra sleeping bags etc which we left in the bakkie, a nice big tent so we could be comfortable. There is physically no way you can put that big tent on a bike though, so we used a tiny hiking tent for the bike trip to save on weight yes :)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: RrP on November 17, 2019, 02:33:48 pm
Finaly managed to read this from begining to end and your style of report has left me physicaly and mentally
drained , thank you  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Minxy on November 17, 2019, 07:46:41 pm
Finaly managed to read this from begining to end and your style of report has left me physicaly and mentally
drained , thank you  :thumleft:

Hahahaha, hard work just "riding along" with us? :P Glad you made it, I take it you enjoyed ;)
Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: MiniDan on November 17, 2019, 09:02:32 pm
@Minxy this was just lekker!!!


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Title: Re: Hearts in the Desert
Post by: Epilot on November 24, 2019, 03:21:16 pm
Thanks for for the RR minxy, brings back so many memories. The only problem with the Koakaveld is that once you have been there you have to go back. Nice to have met you and Johan in Natal.