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Author Topic: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done  (Read 4608 times)

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Offline m0lt3n

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I never knew of this route, a pity as it was very nice and should get more airtime. I wouldnt rate it very difficult and most of the route would be possible with a 4x2. (Not the Road to hell though)
On the other hand, if there was more traffic it would take away a large chunk of what makes this route so special, the remoteness.

So, myself and Philip loaded the bikes on a trailer and set of from Kathu on Friday after work to spend the first night at Pofadder Hotel. Except for one flat on the trailer we reached Pofadder in time to still have a good nights rest. They were also very kind to allow us to leave the FJ and trailer there for the weekend at no extra charge.

The next morning we did not have the earliest of starts, the breakfast was just to good. The town is doing well with loads of new mining activity in the area. We set of to Pella where we went straight to the river on the circle route going to Klein Pella. Uneventful but nice route. We did end up taking a wrong turn and ended up on the 'beach' of the river. Loads of very thick sand and some big moments but we managed it well and kept going. A nice starter to the trip.

We passed Klein Pella and soon set into a rhythm. The roads was fairly rocky but in a good condition. The remoteness gave us some excellent scenery and the bikes was behaving themselves very well. We were enjoying ourselves and making good time.

Getting hungry we decided to have a quick swim and jaffle at the 'Groot Melkhoutboom'

In the pics: Philip's FJ is huge inside. Nice car.
Bikes sleeping at the Hotel, ready for the trip.
Nice scenery shots and then Philip doing what he does best. I have still not managed a donut with the 1190 while I found it managageable with the GSA. Mind block, afraid of bike falling on my ankle.
Random guesthouse cottages in middle of nowhere
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 09:14:21 am by m0lt3n »
Dooie visse gaan saam met die stroom...
 
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Offline Vis Arend

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2018, 07:56:40 am »
 :happy1:
No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the the couch
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Offline ClemS

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2018, 07:59:53 am »
 :drif:
 

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2018, 08:24:35 am »
Jis ma al die fotos vreet my bandwith!!! :peepwall: ;) :lol8:
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Offline TinusBez

Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2018, 08:36:18 am »
Jis ma al die fotos vreet my bandwith!!! :peepwall: ;) :lol8:

 :laughing4: :imaposer:

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Offline DJLSteenkamp

Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2018, 09:08:12 am »
 :sip:
When in doubt, flat out!!!
 

Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2018, 09:26:19 am »
Jis ma al die fotos vreet my bandwith!!! :peepwall: ;) :lol8:

haha ai ja. Het bietjie drama wat later sal uit kom so updates kom maar stadig.
Ek tik op rekenaar, post, modify dan op die foon om fotos te laai
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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2018, 09:30:30 am »
Sub

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Offline Oupa Foe-rie

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2018, 09:45:14 am »
 :sip:
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2018, 10:00:26 am »
I was expecting a bit more of the 'Groot Melkboom'. We must have missed it as we found no big trees.
We were lucky to not have a particularly hot day, it was the perfect day for riding, but that being said, the little swim we had was awesome.

We continued to make good progress. Actually found it a little of a let down, other than the early morning excursion on the 'beach' it wasnt much of a challenging ride. But the scenery varied a lot as did the road surface. There was loads of 2spoor and some slow speed good gravel roads, 3rd gear stuff. Not so much sand at that time. We tried to spend as much as possible time on the roads next to the river which was awesome. Made me think of the eastern cape roads, without the green fields though.

We started to push a little harder as confidence grew and ended up going straight where the road made a little S. No biggy but Philip's side stand switch connected with a rock and we were stopped dead in our tracks. Multitool out and wires were mix and mached to bridge the sensor. Of course it had to be the last combination that worked but nevertheless, we did not lose to much time.

So this brings me to the road to hell...
It was not part of the plan to do this road. There has been a lot of feedback on the forum on how tough it is, even on lighter bikes. With recent reports stating that it has been washed away completely and is now even worse. I am not aware of anyone having done it after the rains, big or small bikes. On the approach to the assent the road actually also got a bit better, more sand and more rocky, a nice buildup to the big show. It was around 2o'clock and we did not have far to go to Vioolsdrift, which was how we found ourselves at The road to hell...
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 10:09:39 am by m0lt3n »
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Offline VaalBaas

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2018, 10:42:42 am »
Merk vir later se lees :thumleft:
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Offline armpump

Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2018, 11:23:11 am »
Bring it !

That river sure looks good .
 

Offline Edgar

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2018, 11:30:07 am »
Looks awesome! What was the air temperature about  there on the bike?
 

Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2018, 11:32:27 am »
So, in the last pic, previous post, I dropped whatever I could right there, 2l of petrol and some clothing and such in an attempt to make the bike as light as possible.
We then set off on that assent on the left of the photo. It was a fairly difficult climb. One of those where you just keep momentum and amaze yourself at what the bike can take and do. Got to the top with a nice adrenaline rush and found the rocks as in the first pic in current update. Problem is that this little climb was just a starter as to what was coming and we completely misjudged it. Expecting the same if you were to continue. We were on top, thinking that we have time and could just as well tick this pass of as done.

If Tracks for Africa state a road unrideable and dangerous. Listen! If there is some rocks stacked with words 'TURN BACK". Heed the warning!

So we went on, and it did not take long to realize we are making shit for ourselves. I had my first off, took a pic and continued. Next time I am taking some testosterone suppressant before a trip, we really should have stopped there, but the reasoning was- how much worse can it get- turn around now and we had failed. SO we continued. And this tough time we had was on the descent. We took our helmets of and left them there so we could cool off better. still descending. I will add some videos later....
The helmets would end up being a good checkpoint later with the assent again.

After the worse of the descent was done, we had a quick check on our situation. We did not have a lot of petrol left, but the biggest risk was our low stocks of water. So we looked at the GPS and saw the river at the end of the one-way aptly called The road to hell. We went on, descent done but we found a new challenge. Suddenly there was thick sand, but a lot worse than previous sand we had on the trip and it was hard work. Coupled with this was some big rock step ups inbetween all the sand so you could not just gun it and get up to speed. It got worse until eventually the riverbed was overgrown and we had to stop. From there it was an almost 2km walk to get water while the extend of our predicament started to sink in.

We walked in our riding boots in thick sand to have a quick swim and collect whatever water we could carry. Praying for no sickness as we did not have any purification tablets or any such things. We could only carry about 7l of water between the two of us so that was also not much. Especially as Philip had started getting cramps. And once you start, there is not much that will help. Fortunately I was okay, using a combo in my bladder coming from the swazi riders gang, Rehidate+slowmag+berocca. Works like a bomb but was to late now to save Philip, although I do think it helped.

Back at the bikes we had a hard time in the sand, guessing the sand got looser as the day got hotter. Eventually we started the climb back up. Taking turns with the bikes. First pushing one and then the other. Hard work and we had a lot of resting to do as Philips arms also started cramping while his legs was in bad shape. I was also tired but could continue. It was starting to get dark and we had long discussions on how to get help, leaving the bikes there and walking out. But that would not have helped as we have not seen any people in the last 30km. And 30km is a long way to go without water. We had to help ourselves, while running out of water and petrol.

As the sun started to go down we decided to leave the 950, transfer the petrol from it to my 1190 and focus on getting it out. we never got into any rythm but the process was rocking the bike twice and then gunning it as the other one was pushing for all he is worth. Slow progress and we were happy with every 2metres gained. We were both extremely tired and was very happy to eventually got to the helmets next to the road.

We continued pushing and reached the top at around 11:30pm. knackered, But getting to the top was a HUGE relief. But waiting here or recovering would not help, we had a quick discussion on whether Philip should pillion and we go spend the night somewhere and get the bikes the next afternoon or not. Fortunately we decided against this, I had a very hard time to get to Vioolsdrift. It was an additional 40km of the Namakwa 4x4 route and then 20km tar to the border post. The sand was tougher on this stretch than the previous, I think the guys at the border post nearly called an ambulance, my eyes was red and I ws a deadman walking. Anyhow. I got my passport stamped and filled up on the Namibia side,  also bought about 10l of water and started the route back after a 10min break to eat some hiking snacks for energy.

The road back was intense. I had an additional 20kg on the back which was not there previously and I was beyond tired. Had about 2 offs in the sand with it taking a lot of effort to pick up the loaded bike. But eventually I made it, stopped before the initial assent to get my extra and warm clothes for the cold night ahead and did the first tough stretch to the top as in the first picture. Got to the top and found the clothes fell of the bike. Depressing stuff, I walked back down to get it. Philip was not there, having walked back to his bike to get warm clothes. I slept right there for 1.5hrs next to those signed rocks, very cold.

With the sun coming up I walked down with the petrol and water and we started the recovery of the 950. Its the lighter bike with philip a more aggressive rider so it was easier to get out. We were done at around 8am. Very relieved. This was truely a close call and one of the worse decisions we had ever made. I think it is a big achievement and I am not proud of it at all. Think of me as cured of any intense adventure thoughts in future.

in the pictures:
Picture with my distorted face on the 1190 at an incline, that is the actual incline, I was thrown off track and ended up like that. Had loads of such moments.
The bag with the 950 in the background. that smooth spot next to the backpack was Philips bed for the night.
my orange shirt = actually a GS trophy shirt! Hahahaha
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 12:05:41 pm by m0lt3n »
Dooie visse gaan saam met die stroom...
 

Offline armpump

Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2018, 11:42:04 am »
I can see a 500 in your future   :imaposer:
 

Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2018, 12:07:47 pm »
I can see a 500 in your future   :imaposer:

Actually now less than ever. But more on that later.
(also, keep in mind the trip wasnt that challenging, cant go buy a 500 for one pass/5km road and then not enjoy the rest of the 800km trip)
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Offline Matewis

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2018, 12:11:14 pm »
Nou lees ek lekker
“Don’t go where the path my lead…  Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail…” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Offline chicco

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2018, 12:20:06 pm »
Nice report, :thumleft:
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Offline armpump

Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2018, 12:53:33 pm »
Eish............... that kak loose rock needs LONG STRONG legs.

 

Offline weskus

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Re: Namakwa 4x4 and the Road to hell! Some things should not be done
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2018, 01:03:34 pm »
Ek ken daai k@k, en daai pad, dis sy ding daai...
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