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Author Topic: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days  (Read 5740 times)

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Offline Vaalseun

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Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« on: March 13, 2013, 08:01:10 pm »
The idea of doing a solo trip to Namibia was conceived about two years ago, but had to be postponed a number of times due to critical projects at work. Eventually the planets lined up for me, the boss signed my leave form and it was all systems go.

My dear wife was very keen for me to go, although deep down I could detect that she loathed the idea of being alone for such a long time. For some weeks before I’ve been liberally using words such as burnout, stress and chronic fatigue. As a desperate measure, I even told her that I heard of a guy that collapsed during a meeting due to fatigue. The next day she said maybe I should go after all. Now, I’m not an un-intelligent person, and when my wife says I should go I don’t ask stupid questions such as “are you sure” or “will you be OK”. No, I give her a hug and a kiss and tell her she’s the best wife in the world (this bit is true).

Having been such a long time coming, the planning was done in tiny bits over many months. I know it’s fun to plan on the fly and take things as they come, but I was very enthusiastic and the detailed planning was somehow a way to “live the trip” in advance. Also, I would be on my own and I had to think of every little detail or eventuality that could potentially go wrong. Previous ride reports were an invaluable source of information, and I also relied heavily on Google Earth and Basecamp.

The basic plan was to slab it as far as possible on day one, a bit less the following two days and thereafter limit the daily distances to allow as much time as possible for relaxation, taking of photos and generally enjoying the fantastic scenery and country. I only had 12 days and therefore decided not to venture further north than Gamsberg (near Rehoboth). I know the north is equally beautiful, but I did not want to make the mistake of racing from one overnight spot to the next just for the sake of covering as large an area as possible.

Weather-wise I would have preferred to do it later in the year when the temperatures are more tolerable, but other commitments only allowed a short window of opportunity in March.

The route

The route would take me through the Green Kalahari and into Namibia at Rietfontein from where I would go north towards Rehoboth, then west through Gamsberg to the Kuiseb pass and then work my way south to the Orange river, Fish River Canyon and eventually out again at Velloorsdrif.
   
 

D-day minus 2
Driving to work I heard on the weather forecast that the south of Namibia is “bloedig warm”. I didn’t quite know how warm “bloedig warm” is, and I had visions of blood boiling out of my pores. In the office I immediately checked the weather website, and my fears were more or less confirmed.



From time to time my mind wanders while sitting behind my desk, and I’m having difficulty to concentrate on my work.

D-day minus 1
I’m finding it almost impossible to work, and it feels like the longest day in my life.

Packing completed, my socks and underpants laid out alongside the rest of my gear for quick “assembly” the next day, the donkey filled up and saddled, and that feeling of anticipation stars to kick in. Tomorrow will be an early start.


« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 08:49:44 am by Vaalseun »
 

Offline Bokveld

Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2013, 09:42:59 pm »
        Vaalseun jy maak nie mooi nie.Ons ander ouens sit hier onder in die soutmyn en kyk vir jou.Geniet dit!!!!
 

Offline Vaalseun

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2013, 08:11:51 am »
Day 1: Gauteng, Kuruman, Van Zylsrus, Ashkam, Molopo Kalahari lodge (860km)



I managed to get away at 05:00 as planned on quite a cold and overcast day. I battled to find a descent breakfast spot in Vryburg and eventually had a terrible breakfast at the Spur. About 40km’s after the town I discovered a beautiful restaurant cum filling station. I guess this is also where Subie bought his famous biltong. Had a light lunch at Kuruman, and was keen to get going towards Van Zylsrus.

It was already getting hot, and the only place to stop without getting cooked was under a descent shade tree.



About 20km’s before Vanzylsrus, the gravel starts. Actually, to put it in perspective, this 20 km’s is more sand than gravel and one has to concentrate all the time. I was getting a bit worried, as the temperature was about 38 degrees, and I still had another 200km’s of this to go before my overnight spot at the Molopo River Lodge.



It was a hot Saturday afternoon, and nobody moved in Van Zylsrus. People were sitting under trees or in the shade of their houses. I managed to lure the petrol attendant out of his hiding, and filled up.



The next 200km’s was hard work. Although the road is generally good, there were many sand patches which could catch you anawares if you didn’t concentrate all the time. I got my rhythm fairly quickly, and the rest of the road became quite pleasant. I was also now getting into dune country, although it became clear that it was very dry. The road from Van Zylsrus follows the (dry) Kuruman river.







The Molopo lodge is about 14kms after Askham. At the lodge a managed to get ice, braai wood and a cold beer. I quickly pitched the tent, and in no time I could relax. The end of quite a tough day one, the ice was broken, and I looked forward to the rest of the trip. My evening meal consisted of Gemsbok wors and Cous-cous. The world is a happy place!


« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 08:25:50 am by Vaalseun »
 

Offline HB 9

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 08:29:10 am »
Subscribed -  :thumleft:
Tread lightly
 

Offline Dwerg

Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 08:32:52 am »
Lekker vaalseun. Sien uit na die res  :thumleft:


Moet net nie dat jou vrou die deel lees nie  :lol8:

Now, I’m not an un-intelligent person, and when my wide says I should go I don’t ask stupid questions such as “are you sure” or “will you be OK”.
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Offline Vaalseun

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2013, 08:51:00 am »
Moet net nie dat jou vrou die deel lees nie  :lol8:

Now, I’m not an un-intelligent person, and when my wide says I should go I don’t ask stupid questions such as “are you sure” or “will you be OK”.
[/quote]

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Offline Jakkals

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2013, 08:51:38 am »
Hier gaan dit lekker raak.  :thumleft:
Remember that hapiness is a way of travel - not a destination.
 

Offline heti

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2013, 08:53:08 am »
Keep it coming !!!!!  :sip:
 

Offline Oupa Foe-rie

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2013, 09:00:26 am »
Lekker Vaalseun ................... skryf hom sodat ons kan lees ...............  :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2013, 09:12:40 am »
Dit lyk asof jy die trip "stap vir stap gaan verduidelik" ek like dit! :thumleft:
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Offline Werdus Smith

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2013, 09:31:16 am »
Give us a shout when you get to Koes. Me and Rickus will give you a "proper" welcome to Namibia. 8)
 

Offline Vaalseun

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2013, 09:50:04 am »
Thanks Werdus, but I'm already back at home. As I will explain in the next episode, I was in Koes last Sunday around midday and, knowing you guys by reputation already, I was avoiding you on purpose as I did not bring a spare liver along. In fact, I stopped in the bushes and sneaked to the petrol station with a little plastic can to fill up clandestinely. Next time, fore sure. Thanks gain for the invite!
 

Offline HB 9

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2013, 09:53:40 am »
Thanks Werdus, but I'm already back at home. As I will explain in the next episode, I was in Koes last Sunday around midday and, knowing you guys by reputation already, I was avoiding you on purpose as I did not bring a spare liver along. In fact, I stopped in the bushes and sneaked to the petrol station with a little plastic can to fill up clandestinely. Next time, fore sure. Thanks gain for the invite!

 :imaposer:  :imaposer:   :imaposer:  :imaposer:
Tread lightly
 

Offline Onetime

Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2013, 09:57:29 am »
 :thumleft:
Onetime to live your life. No time to wait for someday or you will find that someday was yesterday.

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Offline Offshore

Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2013, 10:17:38 am »
Thanks Werdus, but I'm already back at home. As I will explain in the next episode, I was in Koes last Sunday around midday and, knowing you guys by reputation already, I was avoiding you on purpose as I did not bring a spare liver along. In fact, I stopped in the bushes and sneaked to the petrol station with a little plastic can to fill up clandestinely. Next time, fore sure. Thanks gain for the invite!
:spitcoffee:
 

Offline Vaalseun

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2013, 10:21:13 am »
Day 2: Molopo lodge, Rietfontein border post, Aroab, Koes, Red Dune campsite (379km)



I got going at around 8:30 after getting a bag of ice from reception to put into my 3 litre hydration bag. I have a bag with a wide mouth, and a good quantity of ice in the morning can keep the water cold for most of the day. I also wrap an emergency blanket around the bladder, which also helps to retain the temperature.

My first sight of the morning did not disappoint. I just love the place-names in this part of the world.



The road runs practically over Hakskeenpan, where, as we all know by know, the bloodhound project will attempt to break the land speed record later this year by doing over 1,600kph over a 20km’s stretch on this pan.



I could not resist the temptation, and wanted to feel what it’s like to ride at high speed on the pan. I chose a route away from the “prepared route” and managed to get up to 180kph before the back of my bike started swaying dangerously. I still have a long trip ahead of me, and decided to rather cool it. It was a wonderful feeling though. The first pic below is the "prepared route". You will notice the little heaps of pebbles in a row on the left. The preparation process consist basically of employing locals to pick up these pepples from the track, as a throw-up pebble hitting a vehicle travelling at 1,600 kph will practically go right through it like a bullet. 







The formalities at both sides of the border post went smoothly, and I was really feeling welcome in Namibia. At Aroab I paid for my road tax, filled up with petrol and got going again towards Koes. The road here is long but quite good, and I managed to maintain a steady speed of between 100 and 120 kph. The road surface is quite bright though, and I had to put my sunglasses on. I also had the rest of the previous night’s Gemsbok wors for breakfast on the side of the road.







I arrived at Koes around midday, and again I could see that everybody is trying to get some rest and in some way escape the heat. There was no-one to be seen, except for the petrol attendand who was at his post. Being a Sunday, I also decided to give Rickus and Werdus a well-deserved rest and did not look them up. I was also keen to get to my overnight spot for some rest, as I now had two days of hard riding. Next time brothers….

And so I pushed on, almost riding from one shade tree to another. It was really hot. This is the same road that LMG rode a week or so before, and he already described conditions very well.

 

These weaver birds are busy little fellows, and it’s quite hard to get one to pose long enough for a photo.

   

A short distance away from Koes the road goes diagonally across the dunes with nice up’s and down’s. It’s quite scary to ride up a steep hill, not being able to see the the other side, and at the top just find a deep valley ahead of you which you almost fall into. This was quite fun, and I enjoyed myself.



The road basically now follows the Auob river all the way past Stampriet.



The temperature was now quite unbearable, and my hydration bladder was getting empty.



My overnight possy was halfway between Koes and Gochas on a red dune on the farm Tranendal. The friendly owner is Pieter Liebenberg, and he supplied me with more ice, Gemsbok fillets, firewood and some cold ones. Pieter junior offered to drive the 5km’s to the campsite with the bakkie ahead of me to open the gates.

The sand was very thick, and it was with difficulty that I arrived at the bottom of the dune. I only made one attempt to ride up, but immediately realised this is only for the hardcore sand-guys. I was quite happy to leave the bike at the bottom of the dune and walk the rest of the way up. There was no-one else at the campsite that evening.







I now deserved a shower, which was taken under a tree, more or less in the open. Man, this is life!



I settled in, and soon got the fire going for the start of a beautiful night night under the stars, knowing there is not a soul within 5km’s from me.





The meal for tonight consisted of Gemsbok fillet with mieliepap, rounded off by some moer-koffie. I realised again that life was what you made of it, and tonight I considered myself the luckiest person in the world. No 5-star establishment would have coming even close to giving me the satisfaction that this simple campsite has given me. The stars were so bright, it feels as if you could almost touch it.


« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 10:26:20 am by Vaalseun »
 

Offline Werdus Smith

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2013, 11:03:04 am »
Sorry I missed you for sure, I thought you were so fancy you did on-the-fly ride reporting.
Me and Rickus will have to  apoint some spies at the filling station to sound the alarm when stray, clandestine dogs try to sneak through on our Sunday afternoon" middagslapie" so we can activate our very affective ambush strategy on said unsuspecting victim!
Catch you next time!
 

Offline alwyn_gs

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2013, 12:43:39 pm »
 :happy1:

NOG! NOG!!!
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Offline Andre.Bike

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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2013, 01:09:49 pm »
Dit klink baie nice, ek voel sommer relaxed....
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Re: Gauteng to Gamsberg in 12 days
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2013, 01:59:40 pm »
Gooi nog vir n honger hond asseblief!