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Offline Osadabwa

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Back at it!
« Reply #40 on: June 29, 2017, 10:57:13 am »
Hey Xpat, glad to see you back on 2 wheels. You're envy-laden comments to my glorious year of riding in Kenya has made me pity you a bit, but no more! Those tracks look great, and even though you got schooled by the heat, you had a better few days out that most of us mopes!

So much of your skewed view of riding/Africa/navigating sounds like my own internal monologue on these kinds of rides, especially this comment: "Despite the fact that he was drunk and two other sources contravened what he was saying (and some other stuff he said was clearly bullshit), I trusted Gustav, because what he was saying was what I wanted to hear." I laughed my ass off on that one. Sometimes I ask half a dozen people before somebody tells me what I want to hear and therefore justifies my decision!

Anyway, fun RR!

Cheers
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #41 on: June 29, 2017, 04:16:57 pm »
Neva Evva a dull moment following along in your RR dust.

Excellent read as usual, thanks!

 8)
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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Offline Fransw

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #42 on: June 29, 2017, 06:43:32 pm »
Neva Evva a dull moment following along in your RR dust.

Excellent read as usual, thanks!

 8)

Ian, sal jy daardie paaie met jou AT kan doen?

Nice RR Xpat, I'm glad your leg is fine!
 

Offline onderbroek

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #43 on: June 29, 2017, 08:30:28 pm »
Always a joy to read your reports
hak vrystaat
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #44 on: June 29, 2017, 09:06:19 pm »
Day 5

The moment border opened at 8:00 am the gastro tourist was there impatient to make it the full English breakfast at Molopo lodge couple of km down the road. There were only two cars waiting, but for some reason it took quite a while to get through.

Once through I gunned it to the lodge, where I filled up the petrol first and then settled for the breakfast where I annihilated all pigs in blanket on the display followed by a bowl of yoghurt and whatever fruits they had on display. Then I had a breakfast. After that I relaxed a bit drinking all the fruit juice on display to recover from the dehydration day before. Eventually, at almost 11:00 am I reached the point of saturation and it was time to move on.

The objective for the day was Riemvasmaak. It was kind of liaison, but to make it bearable the plan was to get there on the double tracks heading south-west across the dunes and salt lakes and then continue on the little farm dirt roads Iíve spotted on Googlemaps.

From the lodge I took what was the signs called ĎRed Dune Routeí, which is a dirt/sand highway heading south west towards place called Noenieput.










Red Dune highway is nice and scenic and all that, but not what I came for. Few km down that route I wanted to turn west on a track Iíve seen on Googlemaps and cross the sand and salt lakes south of Hakskeen pan all the way to the main dirt road heading from Rietfontein to Noenieput along the Nam border. To my annoyance when I arrived to the turnoff point, it was a locked farm gate with no-one in sight. Grudgingly I continued down the Dune route, until I spotted on T4A few km ahead a nice loop of about 50 km heading deep into the pans.

When I arrived to the turn-off, it was an entrance to another farm, but this one was open. I rode up to the farmhouse to ask if it is OK to ride there and the nice lady of the house said sure and even provided me with printed map of the track with designated main highlight. Score.

First 10 km was a sand double track running in the valley between two long dunes. At the end of the valley was a sizeable red sand dune with a covered seating area for sundowners (I think the farm had campsite and rooms for rent). I rode up and took a lunch break in the shade.


Sundowner viewpoint:

























I then continued to a small salt pan I could see in the west, which I crossed and run up the dunes again.











From there I continued through the dune fields until I eventually arrived to another high red dune, which the map called ĎThe best viewpoint of Kalaharií, or some such.



















The 'Best view of Kalahari' dune - I didn't make it all the way on the first try and as knew I will be turning back, I didn't bother trying again:




















The Ďbest viewpointí was about two thirds of the loop and I could see on the map that the remainder of the loop just follows farm boundary and crosses many gates, so I just turned back and re-traced back the the farm the way I came.

Back at the farm I asked the nice lady for some water and drink, assuming they have a bar as part of the lodge. They didnít have a bar, but she gave me 5 litres of water and bottle of some soft drink, which she refused money for. I felt like a true asshole for unwittingly abusing her hospitality - though to my defence I really thought they were selling drinks for the guests in the campsite and rooms.

By that time it was way past 3 pm and I still had about 180 km of dirt to cover, so I gunned it down the Red Dune route trying to outrun the slowly setting sun. The route was pretty corrugated at places and riding mostly upwards of 120 kmh, I have noticed horrible racked from the fairing of the bike. I stopped and inspected everything I could, but couldnít find any fault, so just pushed on.




In Noenieput I filled up and turned off onto a small very sandy farm road heading south, which I found on Googlemaps as a very convenient shortcut to Riemvasmaak about 100 km south as the crow flies. By now very comfortable in sand I was racing the setting sun as fast as I could, but I got quickly frustrated as I was running into closed gates every km or two.


Eventually it was obvious that I had not a remote chance to make it through all those gates with any light left, so I took another dirt road east which after about 30 km connected back to the main dirt road heading from  Noenieput to Upington.
















After few dozen km I turned off the main road south and rode down to Lutzputs. There I turned west straight into the very low sun and rode completely blinded ( sunshield on my trial helmet is too short and completely useless) few km until I came to the right turn-off towards Kakamas 50 km south. Completely blinded and trying to focus on the road sign at the crossing I turned left and next thing found myself on the ground. Some bloody illuminati has graded 5 - 10 cm of new gravel on that connecting road, which ended at the edge of the road I was coming from and blinded I missed the edge I tried to get on at way too shallow angle.

Properly pissed off, I picked up the bike and gunned it down south - it was clear Iím not going to make it with any daylight left, but I wanted to ride as little as possible in the dark - especially as I noticed that my short beam wasnít working.

The turn-off to Riemvasmaak another 40 km away was at the outskirts of Kakamas and as I closed in in the darkness I  was met with a gale force wind caused by electric storm brewing ahead. So it was a no-brainer to call it a day in Kakamas. Especially as my inner gastro tourist was lobbying for this all the way from Lutzputs, as I didnít know if there is any restaurant in Riemvasmaak (there isnít), but I knew great - albeit expensive - one in Kakamas. Vergelegen Country Gueshouse where I made it just before the storm caught up.

Route for the day:


« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 09:15:11 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2017, 09:10:39 pm »
I am focusing, catching some tips. Good info that petrol is available before Bokspits. I am trying to figure out how far I can go and be back home on a day trip.
(excuse is browny points, they are few and far in between!)

The petrol availability in MIddlepits and Bokspits is unreliable - I just got lucky. Do not rely on it - but maybe you can call them and ask on the day you are heading there.

As a day trip this is nonsense IMO. If you cannot do at least two days, rather do something else. I saw somewhere that you might have few days for Lesotho. This is fully on par with Lesotho in terms of technicality - especially on a big heavy bike like yours. I think your chances of expiring in those dunes if you screw up are significantly higher than in Lesotho (where you have higher chance to break a limb).

Offline Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2017, 09:19:41 pm »
Here are few more screenscraps from video of that dune loop:

























« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 09:20:50 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #47 on: June 29, 2017, 09:28:41 pm »
Neva Evva a dull moment following along in your RR dust.

Excellent read as usual, thanks!

 8)

Ian, sal jy daardie paaie met jou AT kan doen?

Nice RR Xpat, I'm glad your leg is fine!

Natuurlik ... die AT ... geen problem ... Eke? haaikonna.    ;)
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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Offline Kaboef

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #48 on: June 30, 2017, 08:45:05 am »
Jeesh Expat, the photos of the dune loop are stunning!

The Kalahari is beautiful after the rain! Just look at the green grass!

I was born in the Kalahari and seeing those red dunes and camelthorns always brings a lump to my throat.

Excellent, please continue.

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Offline Slim Jim

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #49 on: June 30, 2017, 10:53:08 am »
Loving this RR , awsome ,That sand doesn't look like it's for sissies, especialy solo! , Dude you must of sweated propper!
 

Offline 0012

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #50 on: June 30, 2017, 11:19:12 am »
awesome RR so far, as always, thanks Xpat   :thumleft:  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
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Offline Maganything

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #51 on: June 30, 2017, 11:59:55 am »
great report, really enjoying it!
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Offline Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #52 on: June 30, 2017, 01:22:08 pm »
Thanks for following and comments  :thumleft:

Offline frankmac

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #53 on: June 30, 2017, 03:39:16 pm »
You have a way with words  :thumleft:

What camera were you using?
 

Offline Buff

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #54 on: June 30, 2017, 04:35:44 pm »
Reading your RR's always makes me wish I lived closer so I could join you on some of your trips, they look absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing  :thumleft:
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Offline Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #55 on: June 30, 2017, 09:54:41 pm »
Day 6
 
Day 6 was supposed to be a liaison - getting to Klein Pella, start of the Namaqua 4x4 Eco trail. Technically from Kakamas it is 120 km west on N14 past Pofadder and then about 30 km north on easy-peasy dirt highway to Klein Pella. All in all about hour and a half of easy work. But of course that is not what I had in mind.
 
I wanted to see if I can follow Orange river ideally all the way to Onseepkans border crossing on the little dirt road/tracks I have plotted on Googlemaps. From Onseepkans I would then divert down to Pofadder as there wasnít any connection directly west to Klein Pella. Initial part of the route would take me through Riemvasmaak for a little flower smelling pretty scenery gig, and then - after crossing Orange river - I hoped to follow along the river as far as possible, first along the wine farms in the area and then continuing on one of the dry riverbed dirt tracks I could see on Googlemaps. Runner told that the farm road is a dead end, but I thought I will give it a shot to see if I may get lucky.
 
I set-off after relaxed breakfast, retraced back to the turn-off to Riemvasmaak I have passed day before and off I went. The scenery was the usual Namibia desert highway framed by rocky outcrops on all sides. If you want to experience Namibia without having to cross the border, Namaqualand is the place to go.
 
 














For some reason I expected Riemvasmaak to be tourist town with souvenir shops and such (kind of like Clarens), but it turned out to be small local village inhabited mostly by San people. There werenít any hotels or any other tourist paraphernalia - the only accommodation on offer was the campsite next to hot springs on the outskirt of the town. The scenery is very nice and well worth the visit, but come prepared for self-catering.
 
In town I turned west on the dirt road towards Orange river, passed the hot springs and entered the main scenic attraction here - beautiful valley surrounded by colorful rocky outcrops all around:
 
 





















































Further down the valley towards Orange river:
















I descended down to Orange river and crossed the bridge to the other side. The whole valley was occupied by vineyards and orchards as far as I could see. After bridge I turned right and took the main dirt road following the edge of the green belt along the river.
 































I rode slowly along the vineyards - there was a strict speed limit to prevent too much dust affecting the crops - looking for a turnoff to one of the number of riverbeds branching inland. To my annoyance, for some reason there was an electric fence following the along the whole valley. Not sure what for - they have probably some T-Rexes crazy about wine living in those wadiís as it was a proper heavy duty fence and must have taken quite an effort and expense to build as it had to frequently bypass or run up and down the rocky outcrops. I made it all the way to the end of the road about 30 km away from the bridge and sadly had to turn back.
 
On the way back I spotted one dry riverbed with no fence in sight which I must have missed on the way up. I jumped into the riverbed full of hope and rode about km up the river, but sure enough the bloody fence did stop me eventually.
 
 








Defeated, I retraced back to the bridge and then took one of the D roads heading west towards Pofadder. On the way I passed this sign - sadly behind a fence so I couldnít go to explore. I suspect this is the reason why the whole area is off limits for the normal riding, which is quite frankly unfortunate, as this place would provide some of the best riding in SA.
 



I continued on the D roads with annoying unhealthy rattle coming from the front end on the fast corrugations. I suspected revenge of the acacia, but for some reason just couldnít figure out lose part causing the rattle.
 






 
I arrived to Pofadder at 3 pm with time to spare to make it leisurely to Klein Pella. I filled up and had a sandwich at the garage. That is when the inner gastro tourist called in again. I knew there is a guesthouse and campsite in Klein Pella, but I didnít know if there is any restaurant. The garage believed there isnít one. Of course I could have just take the food with like a real man, but the gastro tourist argued it is better to save up as much food as possible for the 4x4 trail as I didnít know how long it will take me to navigate the whole trail (the estimates varied from 9 hours Kamanya took, to 4 days it took Michnus and Metaljockey - with their wifes and a kid at the back). Gastro tourist also used the Khawa fiasco to emphasize need for proper breakfast in the morning.
 
Well as Iím sure you figured out by now, the gastro tourist won and I headed around the corner into the Pofadder hotel for the overnighter highlighted by copious dinner and full English breakfast in the hotel restaurant.
 
Route for the day:

 
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 10:32:18 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #56 on: June 30, 2017, 10:01:35 pm »
You have a way with words  :thumleft:

What camera were you using?

Thank you Frank. Main camera was Fujifilm X100F, and I had also Olympus OMD EM1 with WA and telephoto lens. ANd of course the crappy quality images are screenshots from video from my Drift HD Ghost.

Offline frankmac

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Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #57 on: July 01, 2017, 07:46:26 am »

Thank you Frank. Main camera was Fujifilm X100F, and I had also Olympus OMD EM1 with WA and telephoto lens. ANd of course the crappy quality images are screenshots from video from my Drift HD Ghost.

 :thumleft: Now to go and read up on them

Edit; Just gone through your latest stunning pics and they emphasise the advantage of carrying a decent camera (and of course getting the right composition)

This one stood out for me 
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 07:58:54 am by frankmac »
 

Offline aka.Goliath

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #58 on: July 01, 2017, 10:47:11 pm »
:sip: this brings back some awesome memories of my Amageza in 2014. Particularly looking at that large sand dune and remembering this

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wyZpNL3bvF0
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Offline Xpat

Re: Why is all the good riding so far away from Kathu...
« Reply #59 on: July 01, 2017, 11:10:47 pm »
:sip: this brings back some awesome memories of my Amageza in 2014. Particularly looking at that large sand dune and remembering this

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wyZpNL3bvF0

Yes I remembered that dune from few videos I've watched. To be fair, none of the dunes I've done on this trip were anywhere close to the size of the one in the video.