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Offline Xpat

Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« on: April 10, 2018, 10:35:28 am »
OK, Iím Czech actually, but most people here do not understand the difference (even though we provided one of the giants of the modern SA society - Radovan Krejcir) so I may as well stick with the Russian for better effect.

I have been on sabbatical for a while now focusing on what I like most - doing bugger-all intersped with riding. After spending some time riding Lesotho and Botswana last November and December, I had to choose where to next. I ride mostly solo, but surprisingly enjoyed  quite a bit the Botswanian stint with my mates from Europe - must be getting old or something. So I decided to give this group riding thingy another try and tested waters with my usual riding compadre - Bertie (Straatkat on WD). He was keen so I decided to show him the best Southern Africa has to offer - north-western Namibian combo of Damaraland and Kaokoland.

I have ridden there few times before so it wasnít the obvious choice, but after reading MaxThePandaís report from their ride there last September, I realized that I have missed some nice juicy areas in Damaraland on my prior trips, such as Little Serengeti and Valley of Desolation. Also Hardy de Kock gave me tips of some alternative routes that I havenít done before - like Robbieís pass. So I wanted to rectify that and also introduce Bertie to the area.

Bertie was so keen that he bought and kitted brand new second hand KTM 500 just for the trip (he may keep it now though). The only problem was that about half a year ago he fell off a table while making a phone call (cell coverage on his farms is not ideal) and hurt his knee. After trying the standard remedies - positive thinking, reiki, healing crystals and tarot cards reading without success, he resigned himself to a life of misery and pain.

Which I wasnít keen to deal with in Hoarusib river so I have put serious pressure on Bertie to look at some - admittedly far-fetched - alternatives, like going to see a knee doctor. Who confirmed after FMRI scan that his knee was indeed broken and needs an operation. Bertie was able to get the op scheduled only week before planned departure, so I thought the Nam trip is over and went for a ride to Lesotho. But Bertie is made of tougher stuff and to my surprise told me few days after the op that he is going.

While all this was happening, Justin (JustBendIt here on WD) contacted me for an advice on Kaokoland trip. Spurred by his mateís MaxThePandaís trip he wanted to organize a group of Capies for their own trip. I made a mistake of mentioning that we might be heading up there. So he dumped the idea of organizing his own group straight away (knowing full well that about 100 people would sign up in blood straight away, just for all of them to dump him day before departure using some superficial excuse like family or work or some such) and started selling himself as a pillar of society, beer loving Boy Scout, great cook and love connoisseur.

Iím a picky bastard and normally wouldnít agree to take someone I donít know on a trip of this magnitude. But I knew that Justin has finished Amageza couple of times indicating he could ride better than Bertie and me combined, and also seen somewhere that he is better with spanners than Bertie and I (Iím useless). And I remembered laughing a lot while reading some of his ride reports, so figured we might be just able to hang together for two weeks trip. In other words I agreed.

Pictures of the crew:

Bertie, the ladies man:



Justin, the babysnatcher:



And the dodgy Russian - as you can imagine he is not too keen to be photographed, but I managed to source through my channels this low quality selfie (you may want print it and hang in the nearby Pick'n'Pay to warn off his potential victims):



Oh yes, and all of us will be riding the new benchmark for adventure riding, basically the best bike out there full stop - KTM 500. You might disagree or argue with that, but that is all you can do about it.



With group settled, I have planned and distributed the route and everybody got their gear and themselves ready for departure. I choose Uis as the starting point and arranged with Basil - owner of the Brandberg Rest Camp - that we can leave our cars there for the next two weeks. We were to meet there on 4th of March and had to set-off day before as it is long 2 day commute - about 1800 km for Justin from Cape Town, and about 200 km less for Bertie and I from Joburg across Botswana. The commute went to plan and we met up at Spitzkoppe, from where we drove together last 100 km to Uis.

A-team packing and on the way:





The reserve team coming from the south (us Vaalies didn't know Mazda makes bakkie, as we actually care about what we drive in - Cape hippies clearly not so much  :pot:)



Here are few highlights to whet the appetite:

















This is going to be mostly a picture report. I have way too many pictures even after final cut so your bandwidth may take a strain. And I am lazy and short of time to comment too much (unless Justin or Bertie take overÖ) so I will try to let the pictures tell most of the story.

Also, I am leaving for another trip this week, so will start now, but finish only when Iím back sometimes in May, sorry about that.

Attached below, are the GPX tracks of the routes we have ridden on this trip.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 09:44:25 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 10:49:16 am »
 :happy1:

Oh ...you're Czech ...I thought you were just retarded
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 10:50:31 am by JustBendIt »
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Offline VaalBaas

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 10:54:48 am »
:happy1:

Oh ...you're Czech ...I thought you were just retarded

Not the best of days to find this report, but anyhow. Thanks. Shall enjoy immensely  :lol8:

Baie mooi fotos sover
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Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 11:00:19 am »
:happy1:

Oh ...you're Czech ...I thought you were just retarded

Not the best of days to find this report, but anyhow. Thanks. Shall enjoy immensely  :lol8:

Baie mooi fotos sover

My opening comments are very much tongue in cheek - I made a new friend for life in Xpat and we shared an amazing trip together  :thumleft:

I have not seen his photos yet ...and I can't wait

I will chip in here and there with my own ramblings and photos
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Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 11:02:00 am »
Cannot wait for the rest. :thumleft: :drif:
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 11:02:16 am »
:happy1:

Oh ...you're Czech ...I thought you were just retarded

Not the best of days to find this report, but anyhow. Thanks. Shall enjoy immensely  :lol8:

Baie mooi fotos sover

My opening comments are very much tongue in cheek - I made a new friend for life in Xpat and we shared an amazing trip together  :thumleft:

I have not seen his photos yet ...and I can't wait

I will chip in here and there with my own ramblings and photos

Yeah, don't worry, I will get back at you soon enough...  O0 >:D

Offline MonkeyNot

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 11:08:18 am »
 :sip:
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Offline Sputnik080

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 11:11:49 am »
This is going to be awesome!
Can't wait!
History:
1) 2008 Vuka XT125 (sold)     2) 2013 Motomia Java 170 (sold)     3) 2000 Honda XRV750 Africa Twin (sold)     4) 1994 Honda CBR600 F2 (sold)     5) 2004 Honda XL650V Transalp (sold)     6) 2004 BMW R1200GS (current)
 

Offline woody1

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 11:23:25 am »
 :ricky:

I WOULD RATHER BE AN HONEST ASSHOLE .... THAN A FLIPPEN LIAR !   


Ducati 100cc Mountaineer, Honda 550 K3, Suzuki Gs1000E, Suzuki Gs1000G, Suzuki 1100 Katana, BMW R1100RT, BMW R1150RT,,,,,All gone. Only 2014 ST in the garage at the moment... And Honda XL 600
 

Offline Breekbeen

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 11:27:06 am »
sub
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An Adventure is waiting.... just go look for it.
 

Offline RobLH

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 11:43:29 am »
Fuck, there goes my work week - sub.
 

Online Ri

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 11:47:41 am »
 :sip:
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
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Offline armpump

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 11:56:04 am »
sub
 

Offline Rexc-w

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2018, 11:56:45 am »
The picture quality is great.
Rex
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Offline Dorsland

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2018, 11:58:36 am »
I'm going to Czech this thread out.  :lol8:
Geleerdheid in die kop van 'n dwaas is soos 'n lemmetjie in die hand van 'n aap.

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Offline frankmac

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2018, 12:38:12 pm »
Already some great humour and counter-chirps.  :sip:
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2018, 12:40:12 pm »
Day 1 - part 1
(pictures in this episode can be viewed at better resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskyFq9p9)

The plan for the day was to make it up to Palmwag through some of the best scenery Damaraland has to offer north of Brandberg, including section of game rich Ugab river, Land Cruiser hill and tracks running past Doros crater and near Valley of Desolation:




The day before we settled into the Brandberg Rest Camp, off-loaded the bikes and packed up all the gear we will need for the next 12 days. Basil, the owner if the Rest Camp and avid biker, gave us advice about some of the routes we were planning to ride and we had the first dinner together.

In the morning we parked our cars in the Rest Camp carports, had breakfast, geared up and set-off. Bertie was very quiet so I checked whatís up and he admitted to being anxious about the riverbeds and sand we were going to hit soon. He is perfectly capable in dirt, but refuses to stand at any cost which can become a problem in the long sections of deep sand.

I probably didnít help much, informing them the night before that we are going to hit the most dangerous part of the whole trip - section of 10 - 15 km of Ugab river - straight away. Ugab north of Brandberg mountain can be quite dodgy as it is overgrown with dense vegetation and there are plenty of dangerous crickets living there, including the elephants and lions. Last time I tried to ride there I ended up abandoning bike in the middle of the riverbed and beating Usain Boltís best times up a rocky outcrop. In Sidi Crossfires.







So there was a good reason for concern and I pondered for a bit the chicken route running across a dune field away from the river. But I decided to stick with the plan for few reasons. First of all, Basil told us that elephants have moved upriver and are not in the area. Second, we were on lightweight 500s that are joy to ride in sand even sitting and agile enough (unlike Tenere above) to turn around in a hurry should be bump into grumpy elly. I would be the scout through the area and told the other two to stay way behind should I run into trouble.

With that little encouragement we set-off from Uis heading 30 km or so on the dirt highways to the White Lady Campsite, where we hit the Ugab river.







Soon enough we reached the dodgy narrow section of the river and as you can see yourself from the tracks, straightaway found out that Basils intel was outdated. There was plenty of fresh elephant spoor. And the place was greener than I have ever seen it (this will be common theme throughout the whole trip) so visibility was very limited. We proceeded with caution giving whatever was lurking out there enough time to move away.













Soon enough we came upon long flooded section running through dense reefs. I went to check it out while the other two waited behind and it got deep very quickly. Not keen to drown bike in this jungle where one can feel the eyes watching his back, we found an alternative tracks heading north away from the river. This detour brought us back to the river further downstream where the river was wider and water less.













I am a big believer in natural order of the things. While I was supposedly the leader of the group as I was there before and planned the route, by now it became pretty clear that Justin was by far the fastest one of the bunch and keen to ride fast not that bothered by the scenery. I on the other hand was the slowest, because I was stopping frequently for the pics. Justin had GPS and the tracks (I insisted that everybody must have GPS and the routes I have sent, so that if we split either by accident or by decision, each of us can find our way out), which is perfect for this kind of scenario so I send him ahead, with Bertie (who is not keen GPS user and thought he forgotten his at home - he found it few days back at the bottom of his day pack) riding between us. We have more or less stuck to this riding order for the rest of the trip, allowing each of us to enjoy the aspects of the trip each of us liked the most.

The track I plotted run unbeknownst to me away from the river on the Brandberg side. I havenít been there yet so I wasnít complaining and enjoyed the scenery only this part of Namibia can offer.
















At one point I caught up with Bertie who had a little mishap, being helped back to his feet by an Austrian guy in 4x4 whom I have met 3 months ago in Kasane, Botswana. He was very envious of my 500 in Kasane, and doubly so here (he used to work in KTM and as a bike guide in Alps). Small world.

We eventually reconnected to the river, at the point where we were going split from the river heading north up a T4A ĎNot Recommendedí track that will bring us up to the ĎLand Cruiser Hillí sitting at the top of a dunefield.










Track up to Land Cruiser Hill - not recommended by T4A, as far as I'm concerned - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED:













We have made it to the top of the dunefield and took a short break, before pushing onto the sandy plain ahead.







Location, location... would pay good money for this one:













Brandberg - highest mountain of Namibia delineating southern boundary of Damaraland (I think):












« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 03:53:43 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline KTMvan

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2018, 01:20:12 pm »
Now I am itching to return to that area :-) lovely pics!
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Offline Oupa Foe-rie

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Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2018, 01:46:12 pm »
Whuaaww .......... another great RR in progress ............ :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline Xpat

Re: Capie and Vaalie taken for a ride by dodgy Russian
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2018, 02:04:42 pm »
Day 1 - part 2
(pictures in this episode can be viewed at better resolution here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskyFq9p9)

Now on the high ground above Ugab, we continued across the sandy plains intersped by rocky sections west towards the Doros crater:


























We came upon an old abandoned settlement with car wreck nearby which brought out the boys hiding in Justin and Bertie:










Despite his morning anxiety, Bertie was doing fine. He took a tumble here and there, but all laughing matter and nothing serious. However after having to lift his bike for umpteenth time Justin had a good look at Bertieís luggage and spotted the problem. In his attempt to not put too much load on the subframe, Bertie had his Coyote back mounted too much to the front, which together with the tankbag that he foolishly brought with wedged him into fixed position without any possibility of movement so important while riding offroad. So we stopped at the most convenient shade and Justin helped Bertie to rectify the problem by moving Coyote further back (annoyingly though there was nothing we could do about the tankbag - it was going with us all the way).













Once done we pushed on soon hitting the rocky high plains near Doros crater:










Bertie with Doros crater in the background:










Within 10 - 15 km of the last stop we stopped again at little dry riverbed for lunch break. It took me a bit by surprise as I usually do not like to linger out in the sun in the middle of nowhere during the day depleting my water reserves and tend to focus on making it to the destination, or at least the place where there is water available. Also stopping in the middle of the ride gives body wrong signals - itís time to chill - and it came to bear when Bertie did and I almost did fall asleep. I would have much preferred to have eaten if necessary (I usually donít eat during ride - just morning and evening) during the last stop when we adjusted the luggage. But this was our first day and we didnít discuss any of this upfront as we were just getting to know each other, so no biggie - I just made a note to lobby later for minimizing number of stops (by which I mean real stops, when you climb off the bike and take your jacket off and generally get into chill mode - not quick stops to take picture or two, which is one of the objectives of these trips, at least for me) in order to get to the destination earlier and rather chill there. That all said, the scenery was quite alright:





« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 03:54:19 pm by Xpat »
 
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