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Author Topic: Christmas Safari 2 - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)  (Read 45235 times)

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Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2015, 10:08:16 pm »
Thanks, appreciate that.

Offline Roulof

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2015, 10:54:00 pm »
Xpat, I can only echo BFG's words.

Your reports always want to make me drop what I'm doing and head out on the bike, no destination, no time limit. Well done :thumleft:

Keep up the good work :thumleft:
 

Offline adamktm

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #42 on: February 23, 2015, 03:24:33 pm »
I noticed in one of the RR episodes that you mentioned you had WP forks. Please tell me more about this!!!!


Can't wait for the next installment  :thumleft:
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Offline zetman

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Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #43 on: February 23, 2015, 04:35:36 pm »
 :ricky:

Definition of middelmannetjie in English:
NOUN (plural middelmannetjies)

South African
A ridge between the wheel ruts of an unsurfaced road:
the car has a high clearance so is easy to drive on roads with high middelmannetjies

Love your Report Keep going you Crazy Guy
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Offline Saddle Up

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #44 on: February 23, 2015, 06:21:40 pm »
Xpat one spells middelmannetjies like this and yes there is no English word for it.
Keep up the good work. :thumleft:

Correction
Middelmannetjies gets preceded with the word Fokken as in - Fokken middelmannetjies

Well done, awsome thus far.
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Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #45 on: February 23, 2015, 07:29:33 pm »
Day 6

Next day, which was Saturday, I woke-up early, packed and set-off without breakfast at about 7:00. The objective was to get straight to Windhoek to have enought time to get the rear tyre sorted out before the shops close, and then find a nice comfy accomodation and take the rest of the weekend off to recharge the batteries.

The ride from Gobabis to Windhoek was a boring 200 km straight west on tar. At one point I stopped for a cigarette and took a picture of my face coming off for the second time on this trip:



IĒve made made it to Windhoek around 9:00 and stopped at a garage for quick breakfast and then went looking for the KTM shop first, because they are selling Mitas tyres and E09 Dakar is my prefered choice for long distance adventures (because itís good, not because its Czech like me). With the help of googlemaps and GPS I have found quickly the industrial office park, where they were supposed to be according to T4A website, but no KTM. A nice guy there told me that they moved and explained where they moved as well as where is Yamaha, for which I didnít have address. Windhoek being one of those reasonably small towns, everything seemed to be about three robots away.

Following the directions to KTM I found the Mannieís Bike Mecca - bicycle shop indicated as the KTM dealer on the KTM websites. I was sceptical as I called them a day before and the dude there seemed to have never heard those three letter put together. So I just checked around the corner and sure enough - there was the KTM shop, bingo! And it was closed on Saturdays, so that was that and I set-off again in my quest to find Yamaha. I really wonder, if it would be such a hassle to put up a basic webpage with KTM name on it, address, phone number and opening hours? Well, anywayÖ

Yamaha was further away from the area I was originally in, but I found it all right and they were open. And the manager there, Fakkie indeed had a TKC for me and even knew a gentleman with bike shop in Grootfontein, to whom he could ship it for me to pick-up on my return. I was a bit worried about them being open as I would be returning around New Year holidays, but it was not a problem - they also had a Puma garage there and they were open 24/7. Perfect! With that sorted a got ambitiuous and asked for a new rear 18 inch rim (I have replaced the standard 17íí with 18íí wheel on my Tenere). I was worried that the big smiley I caught in Bots may get worse in the rocks in Kaokoland to the point that the tyre may slip. But no luck - they didnít have one in Windhoek, nor in the other Yamaha dealer - Duneworx in Swakopmund.

Still, with tyres sorted by 10:30 in the morning, I was a happy chap. I planned initially to stay the rest of the weekend in Windhoek to unwind a bit before I hit the sticks up north. But I was done with the shopping mych earlier than expected and Windhoek is not exactly my kind of holiday destination. So I decided to push on further north to get to the really good parts of Namibia - Damaraland and Kaokoland, and rather take a rest day or two up there. I had specific place in mind - the Brandberg White Lady Campsite situated on the bank of the Ugab river at the foot of the Brandberg mountain. It is one of my favourite places, a green oasis with elephants roaming freely against the backdrop of the Brandberg mountain. There is a reason why David Attenborough made it part of his Planet Earth documentary. It was also the starting point for my next bush leg (OK more like desert leg) as I wanted to ride from there up the Ugab river to Twyvelfontein.

Normally I would be looking for a nice dirt road to get me there, but I was knackered so decided to take the easy option and ride tar on B1 and B2 to Usakos and then take D1930 past Spitzkopfe to Uis and Brandberg. So I jumped on B1 north, fell asleep and woke up again at a stopover in a farm padstal where I inhaled a coke and a pie, and then again at the D1930 turnoff.

D1930 is the standard Namibian dirt highway, that seem so popular here. Iím not a fan. To me these highways represent the improbable lose/lose combination of being boring (straight, wide), and at the same time dangerous (because of other vehicles mostly occupied by overexcited european dirt virgins jumping over the blind horizons). Sure some of them are quite scenic, but generally I almost prefer tar as at least I can sleep or indulge sexual fantasies or something on it. To be fair these highways are the only place where I can understand why somebody would need a  100+HP bike for dirt. Even I may find them a bit more enjoyable If I could keep upwards of 150 kmh, but that is not an option on the underpowered single.

I considered for a second visiting the Spitzkopfe I could see to the west, but Iíve been there twice already and I was really keen to get to White Lady for a proper poolside R&R - yes, it was bloody hot. So I just plodded on at sedate 100 - 140 kmh north towards Uis, where I re-fuelled and continued for another 30 km to the campsite. The ride up was uneventfull, except - as I found out to my immense annoyance when I arrived to the campsite - the glass on my helmet camera got shattered by a stone on that stupid D1930. This pissed me off properly as it was new camera and I was just about to hit the most scenic part of the trip. Luckily Drift people thought about this and the glass that got shatered was actually a removable protection glass placed in frot of the lens, not the lens itself. So I just took off the shattered glass clearly fully aware that the next incident will be the end of the lens itself. Hence poor quality of some of the pictures below:










Spitzkopfe:











Oh the joys of fast helmet cameras - watch the camera front glass being shattered real time (this footage gave me some consolation as originally I thought I cracked it myself in the garage in Uis when my helmet slipped from the mirror):









Approaching Brandberg and White Lady campsite:





Racing this dingy I overshot the turnoff to the campsite and had to backtrack a bit:



















The day's route:


To be continued ...


« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 12:39:18 pm by funacide »
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #46 on: February 23, 2015, 07:42:00 pm »
Day 6 - part 2

At the campsite reception I booked a challet for the next two nights. Iím not big on camping, especially solo, as itís just too much hassle to set-up and break, and does not provide for much of a comfort on a hot rest day. I do carry all the camping gear, but generally camp only if there isnít any other affordable alternative - for example in places like Marienfluss.

The challet was in the bush about 400 meters from reception and I moved in immediately, keen to get out of the stinking riding gear and into shower. With that done I went for a walk around the campsite - which in White Ladyís case means basically a riverbed oasis with individual challets/campsites spread over about 3 kilometers of bush. Elephants frequent the campsite, but they were not on station that day - Iíve seen just some spoor left from the prior day.

My villa:



Campsite - trees and stuff:







Ugab river:



















I planned to hit the pool after the walk, and stopped in the challet to take the swim gear. I laid down a bit to stretch my legs and woke up about 4 hours later exactly in the same position as I fell asleep. You know - one of those blackouts when you are soo tired that  you literally do not move a muscle throughout the sleep. So much for pool lounging, by now it was getting dark and I was late for dinner so rushed back to the lodge for a nice dinner of fillet steak and mash. I donít eat carbs in my civil life, and use these trips with their high energy outtake as an excuse to indulge. The restaurant was pretty full - a sign of things to come. While in SA middle of summer is not considered a good time for Nam visit (yes, itís bloody hot), it turns out its the favourite season for Euros and there were quite a few of them.

After the dinner I hydrated a bit at the bar and then walked through the dark bush back to the challet for a good night sleep.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 01:52:11 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #47 on: February 23, 2015, 07:53:06 pm »
Thanks for the middelmannetjie advice.

I noticed in one of the RR episodes that you mentioned you had WP forks. Please tell me more about this!!!!

Not sure what more to say - I have 690 Rally Replica forks that I've bought second hand off this forum bolted upfront. I think I may have explained the reasoning a bit more in the original Christmas Safari RR linked in my signature. If you have specific questions, let me know.

Offline funacide

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Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #48 on: February 24, 2015, 12:28:47 am »
Loving this report, looking forward to the next parts of this ride report.


Thanks for sharing, really enjoying it.

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Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #49 on: February 24, 2015, 07:35:12 am »
Thanks fungicide. Seeing that you are an administrator I wanted to ask - is there a way to display the embedded pictures bigger, especially as they do not take any space on this forum? I understand there needs to be some limit otherwise it breaks down whole page, but currently the pictures are showing way too small. I tried to increase the size in the HTML code, but it works on up to s1024, afterwards there is no more size increase.

Thank you

Offline ROOI

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Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #50 on: February 24, 2015, 12:22:54 pm »
Nice keep em coming  :thumleft:
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Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #51 on: February 24, 2015, 05:44:57 pm »
Xpat just an idea, next time you ride with an openface in summer use a thin ballaclava. Might keep your skin longer on your face.
I use one all the time and it keeps much of the sweat out of my helmet.
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Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #52 on: February 24, 2015, 05:48:52 pm »
Thanks for support. With much appreciated help from funacide I managed to resize the pictures in the post - the bigger pictures IMO help greatly to convey the scenery.

I would like to ask you all for a little help. Yesterday, for the 'Day 6' and 'Day 6 - part 2' installments I have moved the pictures to the Flickr website, as their color rendition/quality seems better than Picasaweb that I have used on all the prior installments. But today I cannot see the pictures from those last two installments on my work laptop (I tried both Explorer and Chrome, and no luck) - the prior installments where pics are embedded from Picasa are fine. On my iPhone and Mac at home all the pictures are displayed fine.

This may be related to the work security set-up that may allow embedded pictures from Picasa and not from Flickr, but just to be sure before I dive into the next installment - is there anybody else who cannot see pictures in Day 6 and Day 6 - part 2 installments?

Please let me know - if it is wider problem I may need to move back to Picasa and I'd rather do that before next installment. Thank you.


Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #53 on: February 24, 2015, 05:57:17 pm »
Xpat just an idea, next time you ride with an openface in summer use a thin ballaclava. Might keep your skin longer on your face.
I use one all the time and it keeps much of the sweat out of my helmet.

Chris, to be honest any sensible person would just apply a sunscreen on the exposed areas in the morning and be fine, it was purely my stupidity that I ended up burned. I kind of get burned initially at the beginning of each trip and once the first skin is off then do not need to use anything as the skin underneath is able to handle it. This time it was really hot and the sun was clearly too much.

One of the main reasons I wear open face is the much better ventilation - I really try to avoid heat stroke as I had it once and its not pretty. And even thin balaclava would IMO make the ventilation worse, especially when going gets slow. In my experience there is a huge difference between how well different body armors ventilate just based on the size of the openings of that pantyhose, that keeps the whole thing together - Acerbis Koerta that I use has big holes in that pantyhose (its' more a net than pantyhose - I hope you get my gist here) and that imo makes huge difference in ventilation.




Offline TinusBez

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #54 on: February 24, 2015, 06:15:38 pm »
I can see all your photos
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #55 on: February 24, 2015, 09:10:28 pm »
I can see all your photos

Yep, all good, nice and sharp too.

PS: in the US, the middlemannetjie would be known as a center divide.

 8)
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Offline Ace Venture

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #56 on: February 24, 2015, 09:36:35 pm »
Loving this ride report, thanks!
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #57 on: February 24, 2015, 10:30:09 pm »
Day 7

Day 7 - the first rest day. No packing the bike, no putting on stinky stifling hot gear, no ass clenching middelmannetjies hopping, nothing, nada. The plan for the day was to alternate pool lounging with napping and generous intake of foods and liquids. Correspondingly, this installments will be a relaxing one consisting mostly of pictures, many of them repetitive as there are only so many things to photograph in a day.

Rest day or not, my internal clock set on the trip time woke me up before sunrise. So I grabbed the camera and ventured out to get some of those kitsch early morning sunrise pictures. Like so:










My chalet on the bottom right:




Ugab river:







My inner artist satiated, next I answered call from my hunger and headed to the lodge restaurant to dive into the generous buffet spread. With all that done at about 7:30 (that is the time I usually wake up in Big Smoke only to realize that there is still good hour of sleep to be had) I walked back to my chalet to fetch my swimming gear. And as the day before I laid down to stretch a bit and blacked out almost immediately, again waking up in exactly the same position at about 13:00. Now I love my naps, but usually keep them for after lunch. That accumulated fatigue was clearly having much stronger hold than I expected. Before this trip I sometimes fantasized that with a bit of training I should be able to finish Dakar - most of it is just easy riding anyway, just long. But this trip proved this delusion conclusively wrong. Over the last 6 days Iíve done comparatively much shorter distance and on much easier surface, and I was f@$&ed.

Anyway, 5 hours late I proceeded to the lodge pool for a bit of beveraging, swimming among the bomb diving kids, and pretend reading while perving over the Uis young and restless day-visitor ladies. It was Sunday and the place was pretty full with the locals for whom the pool at the White Lady was probably the closest they will get to rub the shoulders with the sophisticated europoid crowd.











   





With my skinless lobster red extremities sticking out of a sickly cream white core stuck in the oversized running shorts, I clearly did not qualify, so after an hour of not a one stealthy look in my direction, I started to breathe through my abdomen again and retreated to the chalet to nap some more. When I woke up again for the third time on my rest day I grabbed camera and spent the rest of the day before dinner walking around and taking pictures. In no particular order:








Other guests seen in the campsite:




There seems to be an elephant in the garden:


Yep, there is one:


























As the dinner time approached I climbed the kopije above the lodge for some sunset pics and then headed for another dinner of steak, mash, desert and beers. The restaurant was even more full than the night before. The tranquil vibe was interrupted when someone announced that there is an elephant bull in the orchard next to lodge. Naturally excited people piled out to check the ellie, and it took the lodge staff quite some effort to keep people in the safe distance, especially as the orchard was in the enclosed area with people no more than 15 - 20 meters away and the elephant, despite being the size of two storey house was almost invisible among the dark trees. That is until somebody got too close and pissed him off for him to start growl in anger. That repeated few times causing a mild panic with people running for the safety of the lodge. The lodge staff tried to scare him off by shouting and clapping, but he could not care less and eventually entered the garden around the pool through a small opening in the solid 1,5 meter high fence (which lodge manager said they go over often anyway). There was nothing to it just wait in the lodge until the pachyderm moves on. The guest were of course quite excited by this unexpected visit.

I, on the other hand, felt strangely rattled by the whole experience. Next day I was to ride up the Ugab river frequented by this guy and his extended family. Iím scared of elephants, especially in the deep sand on heavy bike, but I always argue with myself that given sufficient advance warning (which my Leo Vince should provide for) they would move away from my route. Now, seeing how accustomed this one was to people, I wasnít so sure, which could provide for some nasty surprise.

As there were elephants around, the guests were not allowed (or rather not advised) to walk in the dark back to their chalets/tents, and the lodge has organized a bakkie with local guy to get everybody to their accommodation safely. Which I took gladly as I wasnít in the mood to try to outrun elephant in the dark.

It took me a while to fall asleep and when I did it was with heavy heart. I know I probably sound like a sissy, but I donít care. Iíve done the riverbeds with elephants up in Kaokoland before, but it was on a much lighter bike - Husky 630. And I knew well that fully loaded Tenere is way too heavy for me to be able to execute emergency turn in deep sand riverbed, should an ellie come for me. So I just had to hope that the Ugab riverbed is going to be wide and straight enough to enable quick emergency getaway without a need for elephant turn.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2015, 12:17:32 am by Xpat »
 

Offline zetman

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Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #58 on: February 24, 2015, 10:45:09 pm »
 :peepwall: BEFOK Love the report what camera did you use, and did the powercomander work this time in the bush?
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Offline Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari - 2014 Edition (Bots & Nam)
« Reply #59 on: February 24, 2015, 10:45:52 pm »
I can see all your photos

Yep, all good, nice and sharp too.

PS: in the US, the middlemannetjie would be known as a center divide.

 8)

Thank you for feedback TinusBez and Ian - I'll stick with Flickr then.

And thanks for the central divide Ian, I'll stick with middlemannetjie, sounds kind of poetic.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 10:53:49 pm by Xpat »