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Offline Zanie

Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« on: May 03, 2019, 10:06:05 pm »
The motivation

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

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

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

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

Lance in the sand on his 800GSA:
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/0AfEqtSecMQ&amp;t=33s" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/0AfEqtSecMQ&amp;t=33s</a>

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

I didn’t quite make it here:

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

The bike also appears unbreakable; unlike its rider!

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

Lance adventures on the Rally:

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

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

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

Kaokoland survival kit bought for the trip:

FYI: The steel putty was already in our inventory.

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

My two bikes shared a trailer with this imposing specimen:

On the way!

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

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

Duncan fielding some last work calls:

Extinguishing road-side fires:

The middle of nowhere claimed its first victim:

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

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

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

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

Savannah Guest Farm:

There is a swimming pool to the right of the grassy area:

An intriguing local:

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

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

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

Synchronised fire extinguishing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much bike porn:

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

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

There was time for light banter nevertheless:

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

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

« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 08:47:57 am by Zanie »
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Offline Zanie

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2019, 10:13:09 pm »
Day 1: Usakos to Spitzkoppe (89 km)

Video of day 1:
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/mNo-GtsiV-8" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/mNo-GtsiV-8</a>

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

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

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

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

I felt very small and vulnerable on my little bike:

The good stuff:

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

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

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

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

Abel on his Honda:

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

Spitzkoppe in the distance:

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

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

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

Duncan and Lance:

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

Lance and I:

Lance and Oubones:

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

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

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

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

He doesn’t seem worried about heights.

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

Back on the bikes:

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

From left to right: Ian, Craig, Abel and Lance.

Lance exploring a rock:

Rock arch:

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

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

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

A view from one of the tall, surrounding rocks (note the small bike far below):

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

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

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

The paramedics:

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

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

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

Our new abode:

Spectacular view, plus bike:

The communal and kitchen area:

Supper consisted of kebabs and braaibroodjies. We slept under the stars that night. A beanie was necessary, to pull over your eyes to block out the spotlight-like light from an almost-full moon.
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Offline Zanie

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2019, 10:26:07 pm »
Day 2: Spitzkoppe to Palmwag (335 km)

Video of day 2:
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/AEvCWBhxJLM" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/AEvCWBhxJLM</a>

Morning in Spitzkoppe:

Diesel had his own designated matrass:

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

Bye, bye Spitzkoppe:

Abel and I:

Gordon on his Africa Twin:

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

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

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

Graded surfaces didn’t interest Lance:

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

Getting Abel upright (Oubones looking on):

Craig in a vast landscape…

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

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

I suspect rain-enhanced aardvark holes:

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

Janco assisting with detanglement:

Kobus took his chances and charged across:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We saw our first elephant after the lunch stop.



Stunning scenery:

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

The sky turned distinctly ominous.

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

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

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

Angry skies to the front:

Bright blue sky to the back:

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

Signs of life on the sand:

Heading onwards:

Check the sun rays:

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

One of the ten rain drops:

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

First giraffe sighting of the trip:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rest were dotted everywhere.

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

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

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

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

This bike was to cause a couple more headaches for Kobus:

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

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

Brian, Pete and Hennie R having sundowners:
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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2019, 10:33:22 pm »
Sub :thumleft: :thumleft:

Offline Noneking

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 10:34:06 pm »
Looking forward to the rest!
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Offline exkdx

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2019, 03:20:53 am »
I am enjoying your perspective of this trip :biggrin:
Ready for more :thumleft:
KDX200 gone
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KTM 500 XC-W latest addition

Offline Mev Vis Arend

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2019, 05:59:17 am »
Ek kan nie wag vir nog nie, Zanie. Ek is nogsteeds bitter vies dat ons nie die trip kon doen nie. 
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Offline Oubones

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2019, 06:39:42 am »
Lekker om dit uit oë te sien!
Een korreksie, ek het net tot op Colesberg gery en van daar getrailer tot Windhoek.
Hehe, ek en Craig het lekker nat gereën by jul 10druppels.
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Offline Edgar

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2019, 07:14:20 am »
It looks amazing!! Thanks for sharing!! :drif:
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Offline chopperpilot

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2019, 07:57:22 am »
Lekker Zanie!  ;)

Not an easy feat riding the Kaokoland.

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

Looking forward to your angle of our trip. ;
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Offline Zanie

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2019, 08:48:52 am »
Lekker om dit uit oë te sien!
Een korreksie, ek het net tot op Colesberg gery en van daar getrailer tot Windhoek.
Hehe, ek en Craig het lekker nat gereën by jul 10druppels.

Dankie Oubones. Dis nou reggestel. Ek volg jou RR lekker en het gedink ek moet daai fout in myne regmaak, maar toe heeltemal vergeet!
Ek's eintlik spyt ons het net die 10 druppels gehad. Dit sou nogal 'n belewenis gewees het om so nat te reën in Namibië!

Offline Vis Arend

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2019, 09:33:02 am »
Well, I can't get enough of Kaokoland, so will be watching here as well.   :biggrin:

Well done so far Zanie, was a real pity we were not with on the April trip, but our turn is around the corner.   :thumleft:
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Online BullSmit

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2019, 09:48:16 am »
Subscribe for sure!!!
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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2019, 09:52:54 am »
Great so far. Love the detail
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Offline AdventureBoy

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2019, 10:00:12 am »
Lekker report. looking forward to reading the next update

Offline JannievandieVaaldam

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2019, 04:03:11 pm »

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2019, 04:06:20 pm »
Lekker other perspective of the trip, Thanks Zanie.

1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2019, 05:33:47 pm »
Brings back lotsa memories. Love it. "Gooi nog"  :ricky: :ricky: ;D
Biking since the age of 11 nothing beats the freedom when u out there on u baby. Been doing it over 40 years now  (that's life)
Born a Biker, Live like a Biker, Die a Biker

Offline Zanie

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2019, 05:35:51 pm »
Brings back lotsa memories. Love it. "Gooi nog"  :ricky: :ricky: ;D

Ja baas! Ek gooi!

Offline Zanie

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2019, 05:36:05 pm »
Day 3: Palmwag to Opuwo (242 km)

Video of day 3:
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/7DepewnAJNo" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/7DepewnAJNo</a>

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

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

Bikes used as washing lines:

Trees used as washing lines:

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

Morning at the social circle:

Breakfast was scrambled eggs, mushrooms, toast and wors.

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

On the road:

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

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

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

These calves appeared to be plotting an across-road run:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Khowarib Lodge bar:

Lance on the deck:


Brian (trying to show his good side!), Henk and Gordon:

There was more than shade to be found at the lodge:

Bertie, Craig and Henk:

Brian, Hennie R, Lance and Pete:

Interesting tree… Shrub? Plant?

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

Kobus and Pete:

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

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

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

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

Ian rewarded the awaiting spectators with a spectacular slide.

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

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

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

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

They were a merry bunch:

Mini rest / snack stop:

What makes you think Hardy often wears a cap?

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

There were beautiful baobabs:

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

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

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

Lance found another riverbed to explore while I had a pee break:

A shady tree!

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


Henk (Bertie is hidden behind):





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

Himba walking past while we wait:

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

We settled in at the campsite:

Diesel also settling in!

Lance and Oubones – one of our usual neighbours:

Other neighbouring ‘homes’:

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

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

Hennie and Brian lubing and primping a bike:

Local wildlife came to visit, in the form of a small (fe)lion:

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

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

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

Lance and Oubones trying to solve the mysteries of a KLR’s innards:

Supper was steak and potatoes, followed by fruit salad. Good food was never in short supply!
« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 05:37:49 pm by Zanie »
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