Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country  (Read 28000 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,139
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #60 on: September 28, 2017, 10:03:50 am »
I saw your swanky new Ranger turning up off Settlers Way onto De Waal drive a Sunday or two ago - very dusty and dirty bikes on the loadbay and trailer! I still commented on your 500 thread that I though one of them was a pitbike at first glance, but then figured that it must have been the Midget's Buttercup......

Well spotted! Midge makes a pit bike look like a penny farthing.

Quote
Still trying to figure out what that accessory is that he bought for it (couple of pics back)? Looks like a valve cap?

Not just you... he still has no idea what it does, but he was feeling left out and wanted to buy something, and it was the cheapest item in the shop.

Quote
Must have been traumatic to spend so much time away from Caprice.....?

You have no idea.

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,139
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #61 on: September 28, 2017, 12:43:25 pm »
Day 2: Byebyebye civilisation - Windhoek to Spitzkoppe




I was awoken at 5am by Thomas babbling sweet nothings to his baby over whatsapp. And when I say baby I donít mean the lascivious, blonde-locked bedfellow he calls Ďhoneyí. I mean baby. As in can-I-sleep-train-you-before-I-kill-you future commander of the oceans, breaker of hearts and motorcycle-adventurer-of-excellence Caspian. My godson. What a name! He only has himself to blame if the boy grows up to be a real life pirate. Two weeks away from home was going to be a test!

We were staying at the Urban Camp in Windhoek, just to get into the spirit of things, but it was time to shake off the civilisation and get cracking. Five strapping men, all their luggage, and five motorcycles on one vehicle is a bit of a challenge, especially since the Midget was constantly complaining about his splayed labrador hips and insisted on languishing in the front passenger seat with the seat-back down at 45 degrees. Nobody complained - weíre all a little terrified of him.

Destination no. 1 for the day was Usakos, an Engen petrol station with a small town attached where Hardy had told me we could safely leave the vehicle. Leaving Windhoek we filled up with gas and the first edition of a hallowed trip ritual took place: Kitty Bitch.



The Kitty Bitch, for the uninitiated, is the sorry fellow who has to carry the cash and make all arrangements for the day. Itís a terrible job because the rest of the goons delight in making his job as miserable as possible - hence the second part of the name. Kitty Bitch - the game by the same name - occurs before leaving camp each morning (forget to convene the crew and you keep it) and has only one rule: the incumbent gets to decide the rules. Kitty Bitch has no winner and only one very sore loser.

To make the professor feel one of us he was bestowed the honour of presenting the first edition of Kitty Bitch, and frankly it was a ridiculous affair: pick up a match box off the tarmac without any part of your body except your hands touching the ground.

He then proceeded to amaze us with a controlled, but somewhat girly yoga pose:



Camel went with a surprisingly successful cartwheel:



Midget tried the one handed handstand:



He failed badly, but none of us were that happy entrusting the kitty to him. Iím not accusing him of being a filthy, thieving pikey or anything, but letís just say accounting isnít his strong point. By the way, he looks quite large in this photo, but thatís an extreme wide angle lens which makes objects in the background look smaller than they really are.

Next stop Usakos, which was just as Hardy had said. They gallantly allowed us to spill our nuclear waste of a packing situation across the tarmac, and took our vehicle and trailer to a locked up parking. Iím sure they were relieved just to be rid of us.



Next: the last 20km of tarmac weíd see for nearly 3000km. Passed in a blur, and with some strange looking mountains in the background, we undertook the time honoured celebratory tradition of letting tyres down for the adventure ahead.



Beautiful, isnít it?



The Professor is an observant fellow, and it was around this time that he made a truly horrible discovery. It was the dark blotches on my front tyre that gave it away. Glistening around my lower right fork stanchion, like a distant haze on a desert salt pan, was a fine, slippery, utterly disgusting sheen of fresh oil.



Faaaaaaarrrrrrkkkkkkkkk?

Let me repeat that: FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAARRRRRRRCCCKKKKK!!!!!!

Day One of a momentous two week offroad ride through some of the most inhospitable and remote territory on the planet and my fork is leaking oil like a rotten old Peruvian tanker. God damn bitch spit hate crap bugger shit aaarggghghghghghghhhhhh!!!

The worst part of this was that I had intended to get the forks serviced and fit some neoprene boots for the trip. The bike had only done 800km since new, but it was four years old, and new to me, and it was certainly a good idea. However, I only had five days between returning from Greece and leaving for Windhoek, Iíd already dumped thousands of rands into the beast and I had just decided to take a chance.

ďIím sure it will be fine.Ē

ďAnd how do you feel right now, fine sir??Ē

This was an ominous start. And there was nothing for it but to ride on and see what happened. Fork oil ainít available anywhere in Namibia outside Windhoek, Iím pretty sure of that, and it was already Saturday afternoon. Returning to get the fork seen to would put me 3 days behind my crew. I decided to forge ahead and see what happened.

In a ferocious bad mood, I might add. Hating on myself for not prepping properly. Now willing to pay 5x what it would have cost to get the fork serviced in the first place to make the problem go away, I could only think of Justinís hallowed six Pís repeated ad-nauseum during Team 525ís 2015 Amageza Campaign: ďProper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor PerformanceĒ.

Well, Spitzkoppe is spectacular.



And as we circled it in the dusk and left it to starboard, the track turned to sand:





The Professor may have been hating on his Ďnewí 690, but suddenly he felt happy to turn his back on my grumbling beast and look with new favour on his handsome mount:



And Camel didnít hold back in expressing his disgust.



God, sheís lovely though, isnít she?

We pulled over in a flattish riverbed just as the sun set for our first night of bush camping. I canít say the stress and head noise of civilisation had drained out of us just yet, but a few kms in the bush were at least having a positive impact. What would the new day bring? For me, it would be one day at a time. I was gritting my teeth and hoping I wouldnít be taking a lengthy and utterly depressing detour back to Windhoek.


Offline Sam

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 613
  • Thanked: 57 times
Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #62 on: September 28, 2017, 12:50:47 pm »

Quote
Must have been traumatic to spend so much time away from Caprice.....?

You have no idea.

Could have been worse - you could have said that you missed Schekter's RAW.......an admission from which there could be no recovery.....
 

Offline armpump

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #63 on: September 28, 2017, 01:51:45 pm »
Awesome read so far
 

Offline Orangeswifty

  • Please proceed to suck my
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: KTM 950 SE
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 3,575
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • Ousted Rebel Alpha Male
Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #64 on: September 29, 2017, 09:09:59 am »
I like the way you write MTP.
Awesome use of adjectives and spicy words thrown together
Please carry on regailing us with your tale to tell
We are blessed to share the biking fraternity together!
Do it now - tomorrow you are dead!
Real friends value loyalty regardless!
 

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,139
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Travels through God’s own motorcycle country
« Reply #65 on: September 29, 2017, 12:41:47 pm »
Day 3: Elephants everywhere. EVERYWHERE!!! - Spitzkoppe to Rocky Mountain High



There’s something special about the first morning waking up in the wilderness. It’s when you know the trip has really begun. We tend to bush camp where we can, so I awoke before sunrise to a huge sky, endless vistas and silence.



We’d celebrated a bit last night and burnt half the veld, so the fire burst back into life with a dry twig.





Tom is our movie maker on this trip, and started reviewing his footage and making noises like an excitable chicken. If he gets his shit together hopefully you’ll see some of his wondrous creations start appearing here.



And then the sun was up. Morning Namibia!!



As you’ll see from the day’s map, today was going to be a veritable flood of elephants. Huge, angry, ear flapping pachyderms in river beds, herds of the bloody things sauntering across the plains, trunk to tail. Babies, big ones, grumpy ones, muddy ones, old ones. I was exceedingly excited for the day, and happy because today would be the day I get vindicated for my enthusiasm in offering to take a free Kitty Bitch on day 4 if we hadn’t seen an elephant by then. Safe as houses.

Route planning for these trips has evolved into a fine art. It sounds highly technical and complicated, but actually any fool can do it. Which always seems to mean me. First - spread the word about where you’re going and start looking for suckers, I mean willing and enthusiastic strangers on Wilddogs, to share their secrets on the best routes. Then stick those into Basecamp and plot the best looking routes on Tracks for Africa. The aim is not just to avoid tar, but if possible all dirt roads too. This fussy bunch start whining like a poodle locked in a cupboard if you put them on dirt roads for too long. Tweespoor = better. Barely visible goat tracks through the bush = best. Compass point for 246degrees and an empty sea of sand dunes? Nirvana.

So then you export the tracks, stick them into Google Earth, and that’s where the fun starts. Any river bed is fair game. Barely visible goat tracks and footpaths are awesome, and if it’s open enough just draw a line between two points. The idea is to take short cuts, draw squiggly lines away from the routes you’ve just plotted in T4A, and generally try and sniff out some new ways to get from A to B. And avoid the roads.

So we got going slowly and ambled along the trail until we hit the Omaruru river. A massive open sand highway turned right, and yes, Siree, off we blasted. The riding was bloody sensational.





And before long we started happening upon very fresh elephant dung.



Wouldn’t be long now. We took turns riding at the front - it was full gas 3/4/5/6 gear stuff. Open, flowing and fantastic. Not exactly virgin terrain - there were quite a few vehicle tracks - and the best strategy was to hammer it across the tracks at about 45 degrees, and carve around the outside of the bends on untouched sand. Occasional drop-offs up to about half a metre kept it exciting. Everyone was handling the conditions and excitement was high.

After a while the river bed started to narrow and there was lots of standing water and tall reeds to the side of the trail. I haven’t got pictures for some reason - mostly because I was a bit wary about the angry male elephant we were about to bump into. He was huge, beastly and wouldn’t take kindly to me sitting there faffing with my camera.

And the lions. I didn’t want to be Kentucky Licken Chicken.

We did about 25km in the river bed, emerging sopping wet from the numerous dunkings. English was blabbering excitedly about how his DRZ could walk on water, and how incredible these machines were to take on any terrain and come back begging for more. He was riding like a rally god, leaving Midget flapping his little legs uselessly against Buttercup’s ample thighs in his wake.

Our trip had at long last really begun! And in what style!

We arrived at Uis for petrol and found a late breakfast at a lodge with two grumpy parrots. We even washed off our filth in their huge, delicious swimming pool. Can anyone explain to me why Namibian pools are all icy freezing despite the 40 degree weather?

Dust was hanging heavy in the sky, which made visibility less than we’d like. We were riding past the legendary Brandberg, and you could hardly see her through the haze.





In the lead up to this trip there had been a bit of a frenzy of excitement about wild animals, what we’d be seeing, who would be visiting our campsites during the night, and whether all of us would be returning to loved ones and lives otherwise put on hold. We discussed at length what we’d do if a face-eating hyena removed one of our said faces during the night (leave him out for the crows, set his bike on fire, video everything). As the trip drew closer, excitement twisted towards a slight tinge of fear laced with a side dish of paranoia.

Hardy had warned me that there were a few river beds one needed to be especially cautious of due to the high density of game and lack of sufficient visibility. Three of them he warned me off as being outright dangerous, and one of those three now lay directly in front of us: The Ugab.



How about if we were to just peel off our track and instead of crossing it directly, take the last five km down the river bed, just to get a taste of what we were in for and to get the juices flowing.



No problem, right?

The very, and when I say very, I mean literally right as we entered the river bed, first thing we saw was this:



Now, I don’t know about you, but to me that looks like an exceptionally fresh, and very, very large elephant footprint.

I whipped out my camera, started snapping away, and looked up.

So much for friends. Strength in numbers and everything. Gone! Woosh.



I was all alone.

Offline armpump

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #66 on: September 29, 2017, 01:25:28 pm »
Awesome!
 

Offline TinusBez

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #67 on: September 29, 2017, 01:51:07 pm »
More please. I'm starting to re-read old ride reports whilst at work home
KTM: 500 EXC-F current
KTM: 1190 Adv R Sold
Sweat dries, blood clots and bones heal, Suck it up princess
 

Offline Ri

  • Stray DR Collector
  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Suzuki DR650
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,738
  • Thanked: 432 times
  • DR650 Admirer
Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #68 on: September 29, 2017, 04:42:59 pm »
Excellent writing - engaging and addictive!!  :sip:
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
PROJECT SAS WILDEHOND III Contributions: R Snyman Capitec Savings Account 1545860511 Balance (2017/12/07): R3,190.23 - R1,600 for steel purchase
 

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,139
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #69 on: September 29, 2017, 05:32:23 pm »
Day 3 continued...

This is something utterly unique about riding in northern NamibiaÖ and it starts only a few hours north of Windhoek. Where else can you expect to see large (dangerous) wildlife around any turn?

I certainly wasnít asleep as I blasted up the river bed. It was wide and open initially, but soon turned and twisted between gnarled, hammered and destroyed trees (wonder who did that) and thickets of dense bush.

Itís this green stuff, snaking its way through the brown palette of plains and mountains:



If youíve been there you know exactly what Iím talking about. We were all invigorated and Iím sure I heard at least one of our party giggling in a slightly high pitched manner as we took our helmets off, where the track crossed the main river bed.

There was a steep shale-covered hill in front of us, and, well, the 500 is an enduro bike afterall, so I blasted up it:









The views from the top were sensational. From there we turned north on a twee spoor track that soon became extremely sandy, and there were a few tumbles as the heavily laden bikes made themselves felt.





Hot, it certainly was, but you hardly noticed cause the riding was absolutely stunning. I was riding shotgun at the back here, and after an hour or so I found everyone pulled over for a rest.





Thing is, pulling over for a rest in this country isnít quite like pulling over for a rest just anywhere. For one, we werenít the only ones resting. Take a little look at this fellow:



Thatís what I call taking a rest. The loneliness and isolation here can make a guy lose his head:



Wait! What in Godís name at that thing???? Bloody hell. Africa is not for sissies. I mean, weíre just pottering through some random wilderness and a large horse in pyjamas just got eaten!!!

There was a bit of a consult:



Mostly about the face eaters and where weíd be sleeping tonight. Tom looked just a touch concerned, and even forgot to get the video camera out:



The little fella just offered his 1000 yard stare. Nothing phases the Midget.



Radical riding smoothed itself into even more incredible riding as the afternoon wore on. River beds, dust, sand and more wonderful motorycling beautifuliciousness. Iím going to let the pictures talk for a bit.












Offline MaxThePanda

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,139
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #70 on: September 29, 2017, 05:34:22 pm »
And then just when you thought youíd used to the sandy bushveld, it fell away like the darkness at morning, and a blast across a sandy plain led to this radical rocky wilderness. At this stage I was feeling pretty gobsmacked by the sheer variety of the desert. I really had no idea what was headed our way over the next two weeks. But check this out:









It was starting to get latish in the afternoon when we turned off the Ďmainí track onto Gavís sneaky little Google Earth discovery through the mountains. How fantastic is it when you see a sign like this??





We began riding up into some hills and the track narrowed and became more rocky. We were tired at this point, the first long day in the saddle, and it became clear that it was time to start looking for somewhere to bed down for the night.



I found a perch on top of a tricky little climb and settled in for the show. First, English on the little yellow hornet came racing up, easy as you like, sliding and hopping up the rocks.





And then things took a turn to ohdearfuckedland.





Our war correspondent was on the jobÖ loads of useless advice, taunting and goading. Come oooonnnn Midget!!!









And then Camel, unflappable and easy as always.





Sometimes you just got to set yourself down and take it all in.



There were some super weary bodies and we took the first campsite option that came our way. Itís a shit, shit life in the river beds of Damaraland.

But somebodyís got to do it.










Offline Goingnowherekwickly

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #71 on: September 29, 2017, 06:46:48 pm »
Lovely stuff!! &  :drif: pics.. how was your fork behaving at this point?
still leaking badly? sometimes a piece of grit gets in there, & prevents it sealing..
can occasionally be fixed by dislodging it with thin blade / plastic etc
 

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,139
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #72 on: September 30, 2017, 06:53:39 am »
Yeah fork was working fine but still leaking. I was hoping it was going to hold out, or even knock any dirt out itself and settle down, and reluctant to stick anything in there for fear of damaging the seal further.

Probably too conservative but I decided to let sleeping dogs lie.

Offline isiTututu

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #73 on: September 30, 2017, 11:36:34 am »
Lovely stuff!! &  :drif: pics.. how was your fork behaving at this point?
still leaking badly? sometimes a piece of grit gets in there, & prevents it sealing..
can occasionally be fixed by dislodging it with thin blade / plastic etc

The rest of us were secretly hoping that the porous fork seal might slow the Rock-Star down a little. In spite of the fact that he wasn't riding his usual mount,



he was clearly much more nimble than the rest of us.

Camel-man even tried another trick, thinking that he could flash a bit of leg at critical moments to try and dazzle the Rocker

« Last Edit: September 30, 2017, 11:40:41 am by isiTututu »
 

Offline armpump

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #74 on: September 30, 2017, 12:10:17 pm »
Hahaha

Keep it coming chaps........awesome read.
 

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,139
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Travels through God’s own motorcycle country
« Reply #75 on: October 01, 2017, 08:15:07 am »


R.I.P. Glorious creature! I shall never forget her!

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,139
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #76 on: October 01, 2017, 12:06:38 pm »
Day 4: Desert Proper - Twyfelfontein to Little Serengeti lion country




Some of us were up again before dawn.



Others less convinced.



The sun slowly started peeking over the mountains - another absolutely stunning campsite.





Apparently getting out of it was another matter altogether.





Turns out we had camped out in the mountains just a few short kilometres from the rock paintings at Twyfelfontein, which we arrived at through the back door. We had a brief wander around, but to be honest they werenít all that, and the charm of clomping around in heavy motorcycle gear lost its appeal pretty quickly. It was only about 9am, but already pretty beastly hot.

We said our fondest farewells and somehow landed ourselves on a brief detour via the Twyfelfontein Country Lodge. I think I was too hot and forgot my camera in the parking lot, but itís a pretty charming place, set amongst the rocks with a stunning view across the plains, and cheerful bar staff who brought us sandwiches and poured a few cold ones for the filthy bikers.

Thereís always a bit of an ambivalent relationship with luxury on these trips. Weíre supposed to be getting rid of civilisation in much the same way you would bed bugs, or a nasty wart. Things is, weíre all really soft. And who wouldnít want to be drinking ice cold beer under a cold, shady boma while arguing about the top speed of cheetahs and elephants.

Good Lord! For a moment there Iíd completely forgotten about that. English is bound to be reading this sooner or later, and perhaps a little gentle reminder is due: Thomas: you owe me a bottle of very fine quality whisky.

Single malt, my boy! SINGLE MALT!!

From looking at the map, you may imagine Twyfelfontein to be a charming little village in the Namibian hinterland, but itís nothing more than a dodgy looking single petrol pump in the dust. The penny should have dropped about what this would mean for the rest of our trip, but alas. More on this later.

Like seemingly every part of the terrain we were travelling through, Twyvelfontein is actually a proper game area, and we passed a few landrovers from the lodge full of guests.



The tweespoor heading north was extreme sandy and required quite a bit of concentration, so spotting game from the bikes was unlikely. At one point I saw a huge heard of gemsbok and veered off into the veld to get a closer look. Nope. Cows. Since none of this is registered game park, local populations seem to live in harmony with the wildlife and safari enterprises.

The terrain varied spectacularly from sand bushveld-type tracks to hilly, rocky terrain and open sandy desert.











After a few dozen kilometres we approached a small hamlet called De Riet - people living in utter remoteness, despite all the odds. I donít know what it takes to deal with the desolation, lack of water and constant threat from wild animals, but letís just say these are not your average city slickers.

Turning to the left, huge dunes started to rise up on both sides of the track, followed by a massive sandy plain. I rode up one of the dunes to get these pictures:







Utterly, spellbindingly beautiful Damaraland wilderness.

Offline MaxThePanda

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Vespa (all models)
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,139
  • Thanked: 18 times
  • As in 'Even more Panda'. Also likes sharks.
    • Team 525
Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #77 on: October 01, 2017, 12:08:03 pm »
Another couple of hours passed in a hot haze. The rocky valleys were retaining heat and booming it back at us like a furnace. It was the fieriest day of the trip yet, and I remember at one point refusing to stop and take a break - it was just to beastly. No more photos - I guess the temperature got the better of me, but before long we hooked up with the C39 for the last few km into Palmwag.

All thoughts of boycotting luxury forgotten, we piled into the Palmwag Lodge like a bunch of thirsty polar bears at the only bar between Anchorage and the North Pole.









Only one of us still looked as fresh as a daisy. Guess who?



There may have been a very brief contest over where we would be spending the night, but team luxury lost a close game of fingers so we loaded up again, gassed the tanks and exited the vet fence (again).

There may not be a supermarket in Palmwag, but what there is, is an essential Ďsuppliesí store. A quick whiskey stop and we were on our way.



A quick reminder, in case you arenít reading this in one go and had forgotten what I told you just two day agoÖ I had somehow - now unbelievably - backed myself into a horrible corner entirely of my own making. Like an overconfident moronic idiot, I had promised to take a free Kitty Bitch day if we hadnít seen elephants by the end of day 3. Which was today.

I had this horrible, sinking sense of dread that I was going to be on the losing end of a kitty bitch hiding, which is something no gown man will take lightly. In fact, one is required to use every last shred of deviousness, cunning and intelligence to escape becoming the kitty bitch, even if it means cheating. And let the gods witness, I was NOT going to be kitty bitch. Not without a fight.

I was anyway completely flummoxed that we hadnít seen elephant yet. The signs had been everywhere. Dung, tracks, broken trees, more tracks. It was absurd. How on earth had we not spotted one??

But then I saw this, only 5km out of Palmwag:



Hope, glorious hope! It was about 4pm and only three hours of daylight remained, but I was clinging to my chances like a drowning man on a blowup doll. Stopping on every rise to scan the valleys below, barely watching the road so I could keep my eyes on the bush. In the rising gloom, every second distant tree looked like a hulking grey animal form.

To make matters worse, Iíd left the bottlestore first and charged off in such a rush on my elephant hunt, that Iíd completely missed two extremely large giraffe swanning about right next to the road. Our first large game spot, these things were worth a dayís immunity and could have saved my ass. The Midget scooped that up gleefully.

We were still on the C40, but would soon be turning off onto a much smaller trail.



The sun was slowly dribbling towards the horizon and it was clear weíd need to stop soon. Exhaustion was also high after a long, hot day, and we decided to skip my short cut to the next vet gate - in retrospect probably a good decision as it may have been a touch enduro over the final 5km.

For some unknown reason the vet gate leading into the Otjitheka Trail is an extremely grand affair. I canít believe many people come this way - the road was a shambles (as we like it) and there was an instant feeling of remoteness. Nobody was manning the gate, and for a moment we thought we were stuck, but then a friendly guide popped out of the buildings and sauntered over.



ďWhere are you going?Ē he asked. ďDo you know there are lots of lion?? Do you have a gun?Ē

He wasnít joking either. Another guard arrived and they stared at us incredulously.

ďAre you really going to sleep out there?Ē

Oops. We all swallowed hard and chuckled awkwardly, pretending to feel brave.

The gate was at a small village, and along the side of the road we passed some big sculptures of lion, elephant and rhino. Great. Iíd like to say that we were a little nervous, but if I must be frank I was shitting myself. And I donít think I was alone.

Dark was falling and we had no idea where we were sleeping as we left the village and headed into the wilderness.



Did I mention that between the five of us we had three functioning one-man tents (mosquito inners only, no fly sheets), and one half-broken one. None of which youíd exactly consider to be lion proof. The trail started hugging a river and it was now getting dark, and thus urgent that we stopped el pronto. Each site we looked at was worse than the one before. As usual English was just proposing we ride into the dark and that something would materialise. Heís all about being scared witless. I was trying to make sense prevail. When our last option turned out to be right next to a huge watering hole I decided it was time for some leadership, and turned tail to drag the pack back to a semi-reasonable sandy site Iíd seen about 2km from the village.

You know youíve found an eminently suitable place to sleep for the night in lion and hyena country when you set up camp right next to this:



Offline Saddle Up

Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #78 on: October 01, 2017, 01:31:03 pm »
A wonderful read as expected. Thanks for the effort in tagging us along on your adventures, whilst getting the gears in my head oiled.
n Skaap is nie n scrambler
 

Offline Big Harriet

  • Newbie
  • Bike: BMW R1150GS
    Location: Limpopo
  • Posts: 2
Re: Travels through Godís own motorcycle country
« Reply #79 on: October 01, 2017, 04:25:09 pm »
Hiya guys! Loving this writeup ,but why arent we hearing nothing from Midget. He's such a shy boy!