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Offline shanti

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Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« on: May 30, 2011, 11:20:49 pm »
                                         Namibia on the cheap

A year ago I made a promise to myself, to spend my birthday under the stars in a foreign country. I have just returned from Namibia having fulfilled that promise a happy, relaxed and contented man, this is my story..
May was approaching and my promise to myself was looking very far in the distance, finances had not been so good and Lotto is just poverty tax. I had spent the previous year slowly buying second hand DS equipment for my journeys , my bikes shocks where upgraded and I had made myself a bash plate and pannier rack – ready to go just needing some cash . Just before Easter my luck came in and I sold a sculpture so now I could go – my budget would be low so I planned to self sufficient as much as possible and free camp where I could
The ride up to Springbok was a pleasure ( as is any outward bound journey ) – I had managed to secure some work for when I came back , my dogs had a house sitter and I had the first of many full tanks of petrol and a heading of north . Full moon was approaching and the journey was on to see it rise in the desert

I planned to free camp somewhere near Springbok but when I arrived there I was tired and I couldn’t see anywhere that I could hide my bike and tent and camp freely so I stayed at the Koekerboom ? Guest house in the campsite. That night was bitterly cold and there was ice on my seat in the morning. I got up the next morning very early, packed my bike and headed off to the border post.
My plan for the day was to cross the border and head towards Ai Ais – I had heard about the hot springs and after my cold night in Springbok that seemed like a heavenly place to go. The border crossing was easy and no fuss – have your passport and bike papers and through you go .
I filled up with fuel just past the border post and took the D212 towards Aussenkehr – this is a reasonably good tar road with no painted lines and quite a few signs telling you this fact. Very soon you are in a desert environment and I couldn’t resist following some tracks off the road heading towards some mountains in the distance – the tracks disappeared in a dry river bed  , must have flooded recently with all the rain ,

I followed the river like path for a while and it too ended, I was in the middle of nowhere with no sign of human existence – bliss

As it was still early I decided to remember this place for a campsite on the way out and with the warm thought of a hot spring I followed my tracks back out – I rode in the river bed with the thinking that when more rain came all trace of my tracks would disappear leaving the area ‘ untouched ‘ .
Ai Ais campsite and hot springs is a great place – A little expensive for me – tried to buy some meat to braai but two chops at the campsite shop where $60 ( Namibian ) – Buy before if you plan on cooking . After talking to the security guard I found that I could buy meat at the back of the kitchen for much cheaper - $25 for a ‘ braai pack ‘. The hot spring indoors was a bit sterile but it was good to warm up there. After supper I went to the big outdoor round pool – this was great if you found where the hot water was coming in through a pipe and a perfect place to hang out in the evening with some ‘ herbs ‘

The next day was my birthday so I planned to be ‘free under the stars’ further north. I rode past the Fish River Canyon and paid the $60 to go to the viewpoint – the canyon is incredible and the Fish River was in flood – earlier that week some hikers had to be rescued from the canyon because of floods and it was presently closed for hiking – I think it’s true beauty could be found hiking along the river course.
Further along the road ( the C 37 ) I came across the canyon roadhouse and stopped for some beer , I had one and left – somehow the stops I made away from people in the middle of nowhere where more pleasurable – solitude in open spaces was my quest . I took the C12 up to seeheim and then followed a windy path of D roads towards Helmeringhausen – namely the D432, D431, D430 and the D417. It was on the D417 that I found a place out of the way to camp and spent my first free night under the stars.  A crazy thing had happened earlier in the day – I got stuck and fell down in heavy mud – I was riding happily along and ahead was a ‘shiny ‘30m section – I looked up and accelerated only to have the rear wheel drift right as if it was tired of being last and now was determined to overtake – After various weird sounds in my helmet the bike and I went down. It became almost impossible to stand so slippery it was and my boots where getting larger and larger in a straw bale kinda way – The bike was over and I was struggling to stand so picking it up eventually left me laughing and slipping all over the place . Sometimes things just must get done so after a while I did eventually succeed.

The night was beautiful and I was up early determined to see full moon rising over the Dunes at Sossusasvlei. I rode up the C14 to see Duwisib Castle on the D826. Had a small walk around and the place was beautiful in a sad kind of way – maybe I just wasn’t wanting a ‘people ‘experience. At Betta I joined the C27 and was in heaven, the road through the Namibrand National reserve is one of the most beautiful roads I have been on – here are some images

There is lots of buck next to the road so if you turn your engine off and coast near to them you can get quite close

The road is beautiful and you should give yourself the whole day to ride along it

The above images where taken on my outward and homeward journey. On this road I found the best sign – hopefully one day we can learn to live in peace and share our beautiful planet

I am a big fan of rest stops and have a huge collection of images of them

I got to the sesriem campsite only to be told that there would be NO way I could ride out to the dunes and would have to hitch so see them – apparently bikers in the past had wrecked areas and ridden all over the dunes – nice one idiots ! . The campsite is beautiful and the parks people took pity on my plight and organized a great place for me to camp – amazing how far a smile gets you in life.

The next morning I wandered round the campsite looking for a lift – I managed to find one with two amazing people – Amanda and Brian. We headed out to the dunes in the afternoon – here are some images – just surreal

At Sunset I got what I wanted and more – A moonrise over the dunes

Later on with the aid of some herbs I encountered many moonrises, over my bike seat, over my wheel etc

Next day I was determined again to keep it real and keep it cheap so I headed out looking for free camping . The first place I came across was Solitaire – for a person like me with my love of herbs to come across a bakery in the middle of nowhere was a budget wrecker – I left there with chocolate brownies, chocolate cake. apple tart – in fact almost my whole tank bag was packed with various munchies – they say never shop with an empty stomach, well...

I had taken the C19 to reach Solitaire – very good road and now was on the C14 heading to Walvis Bay. Along this road you will encounter the Kuiseb Pass

It was in this pass I found a beautiful place to camp for free – you cross the Kuiseb River twice , on the second crossing – a bridge after a weird tar bit you will notice a small road off to the left , this goes down to the river and if you continue up the river on the banks you will find a campsite – probably used by locals there is a fire pit there and lots of wood – the river was flowing fast and you could walk upriver 200m jump in , lie on your back and be back to your campsite in seconds – amazing .

I made a fire and settled in for the night. Later on that night I heard strange high pitched noises and to be honest I thought they were a weird bird so ignored them. After putting my fire out I climbed into my tent and went to sleep – I was woken hours later by more of those noises – only closer – then I heard paw steps and strange breathing noises – I unzipped my tent and was looking at a hyena about 2m away – in fact a few of them where skulking around . Quickly I zipped my tent up and sat in fear for a while – then the not knowing got to me so I decided to try and scare them away, don’t ask me why (It made sense that night) but I strapped my head torch on and made the light red, grabbed my axe and burst out of my tent shouting – they all ran away. I relit my fire and even though I didn’t see them again I stayed awake just in case , I listened to baboon and bird noises till the sun came up . After a morning swim and breakfast (I had a small cooler bag so was able to transport eggs and meat safely – it folds up when not in use) I headed out again – destination Swakopmund.
After the Kuiseb Pass the world opens up, the skies become big and if you stop and look you will notice life happens on a very small scale

I got into Swakopmund in the afternoon and checked into the desert sky hostel – there a group of Germans where making an abortion of a fire so I helped them and we had a braai, we all chipped in with something – mine was baby potatoes with herbs and butter wrapped in tinfoil and placed in the fire – they had never seen this done which struck me as strange – you learn something everyday I guess.
I Didn’t want to hang in Swakop so I left early and headed up to Henties Bay and took the C35 to Uis – on this road I had unexplainable problems with my bike – my bike had been running fine but now was displaying signs of petrol issues – it would suddenly start to misfire and loose power, I checked everything I could but couldn’t locate the problem – still don’t know what it is. Figuring it was something to do with the carb I pulled into Uis – there while talking to the petrol attendant he mentioned a guy in the township that could possibly help. He did help – he helped me drink lots of beer and have a good laugh – on bike matters I quickly understood that he didn’t know too much and would do the same thing I was planning to do – clean the carb.

I decided to give it a day and see if the problem manifested again so that afternoon I left town and headed for the Brandberg to camp – I rode back towards Henties for a bit and took the D2342 towards the Brandberg – It’s a deeply spiritual place and in the back of my mind was a strange quest – find the elephants. I made camp near the foot of the berg and decided to scout around (essentially to find wood)

It’s a beautiful place and if you camp there – LEAVE NO TRACE, respect where you are at and tread gently.
Spent two nights there but didn’t find the elephants – on bike issues – bike seemed fine even after lots of deep sand slow hot engine riding. Seems my bike doesn’t like to go consistently at 5500rpm on hot days??????? And I have to keep on stopping to let it cool down?? It loves cold days riding at 5500rpm all day and hot slow technical sections??? I don’t know maybe one of you guys have a word of wisdom in this matter. Anyways on with my journey.

Offline shanti

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2011, 11:21:26 pm »
Left the Brandberg headed up to Uis and took the D1930 to Spitzkop – along the way came across another great campsite (the road was closed to traffic with a big sign so I could camp near the road – under the trees at the other end of the river crossing I had my campsite for the night.
Next morning I headed a very short ride to Spitzkop – another very spiritual place for me, camped in two different places over two nights and spent an incredible day walking and climbing the rocks around me, felt very connected to the planet and in harmony.


Wood collecting

In a good space in a good place!

I woke up on my last morning there a bit sad – I was now turning round and heading back – it took me a while to shake the melancholy and the short tar section from Usakos to Karibib was hard for me – I felt displaced and had no destination in mind – the first time in my journey that I didn’t have a vague plan.

 This feeling soon passed as I hit dirt again on the C32 to Witwatersberg – a word of warning – don’t travel on tar if you are feeling down and watch out for the cattle crossings on the C32 – some of them the approach ramp is worn away and a block is left that can potentially bend your wheel – luckily the KLR wheel is made of titanium and adamantine alloy so no damage .Along the way where a few ‘river crossings ‘, some sandy bits ...

A traffic jam

And my favourite people – the road warriors

These guys travel with everything – water, wood, food and a place to sleep. Rode while the sun was going down

This day saw me again at the Kuiseb pass campsite. I loved that place and if you find it – LEAVE NO TRACE!!!

Next day I headed to Betta for the night and had a beautiful sunset near there

Woke up to a very cold morning – seems the further South I was headed the colder it was getting – ominous for an exposed being. This feeling was amplified by a strange fog – had memories of a horror movie I had watched called ‘the fog’ in my mind when I rode into this bank of fog / clouds

It proved to be harmless if not just a bit wet and cold and strange as I was on the D707 – a scenically beautiful route of which I was seeing nothing of – when it lifted I was welcomed to paradise – I will let the pictures do the talking

Namibia is full of big and small –

I then Headed to Aus but didn’t come across any wild horses – then a freezing ride on tar – wet and windy all the way to Rosh Pinah where the sun came out. Past RP the scenery reminds me of Mordor from the Lord of the Rings somehow – possibly the weather was in my being .decided to head to the Fish River crossing as I heard it might be closed so my logic was to get there and at least know what was happening – people where vague about its state and the road said closed

Played around a bit getting there

And found it was open but night was coming

At this point my time was running out , I hadn’t washed clothes for some time and I could feel things where coming to an end so I headed straight to Springbok – riding on a windy rainy night from the border post to springbok was unpleasant – luckily an angel overtook me then slowed down so that I could stick behind him/her and see using the bakkies lights – this angel stayed with me all the way to Springbok and then as quickly as she/he appeared disappeared onto a turn off – I was deeply moved by this experience in the night . Namibia is amazing I made some friends who where sad to see me leave

And left there in Great Spirit and happiness – I will definitely return
Hope you enjoyed my Ride Report

Offline Kawasefi

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2011, 11:55:45 pm »
Great report and your pics are just awesome!!  :thumleft:

It made me realise something I knew all along, I need to see Namibia by bike!!  :ricky:

Thanks for sharing  :)

Offline Skipskop

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 12:07:16 am »
Something about bush camping on a solo trip that`s just special. Tanks for sharing your experience and some nice pics.
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Offline Vis Arend

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 05:20:16 am »
Very nice RR, brought so many memories back, we did a similar trip during May to Epupa. See my RR here
We will go back soon.

Thanks for sharing, your pics are awesome. :thumleft:
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Offline goingnowherequickly

Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2011, 07:13:00 am »
Great RR!!
Pics are awesome
Makes me want to go tomorrow

Offline edgy

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2011, 07:33:00 am »
Brilliant pics and story! :thumleft:

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Offline alwyn_gs

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2011, 07:40:47 am »
Dankie vir die RR...  :biggrin:

Daai KLR is kannie dood fietse...  :thumleft:
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Offline Redline1

Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2011, 07:50:11 am »
Im sitting at work now, about to start another day of difficult customers and bad attaitude staff!! This ride report makes me want to tell everyone to go @#$%&%$ themselves, go home, get on my bike and disappear for a few weeks!!!! Well done on the ride and the great pics.
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Offline Beserker

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2011, 07:55:27 am »
Nice one Shanti...you tapped into the essence of a bike trip, a trip to Namibia.

It is addictive.
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Offline DJ

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2011, 07:56:11 am »
Great RR Shanti...enjoyed every bit...thanks for sharing.  :thumleft:
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Offline DRAZIL

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2011, 08:40:40 am »
Awesome soul searching ride and great pics. :thumleft:
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Offline Billbob

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2011, 08:50:16 am »
Fantastic, thank you :thumleft: Pictures are great. My kind of trip :mwink:

Offline punisher

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2011, 08:59:46 am »
W O W ........................just ................  W O W      :thumleft:
just wanna have fun , and ride ... and ....... ride

Offline JonW

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2011, 09:00:38 am »
Fantastic Ride Report Shanti, well done on a great trip.

I am sure your Ride Report will result in quite a few trips to namibia in the near future.
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Offline Oupa Foe-rie

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2011, 09:07:31 am »
Shanti .................. you made my day with this report.  :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline Adventurer

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2011, 09:15:44 am »
What an inspiring and lekker RR, well done! :thumleft:
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Offline RobC

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2011, 09:20:03 am »
Lekker RR Shanti! :thumleft:

Offline DirtyHarry

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2011, 09:29:50 am »
Great stuff Shanti. Thanks for sharing. I also wanted to head North soon and now I am sure, I have to go.

Offline Gat Slag

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Re: Namibia on the cheap on a KLR
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2011, 09:30:51 am »
10 out of ten!! Good stuff  :thumleft: