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Offline YoungGSer

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The NALI Ride
« on: September 25, 2018, 12:05:56 pm »
Hello fellow Dawgz, this is my first time writing a proper ride report, so I hope you will forgive me if it is a bit messy compared to some of the other fantastic RR that are on this forum.

A few months ago while being subjected to the coldest winter I have experienced in the UK, I decided it was time to get away from the grind and do a long(ish) ride through southern Africa. I had a few academic commitments keeping me busy until the end of June, but I decided that after that I would take off July and get some wind through the hair.

The route took on many variations over the following months, but I had the goal in mind of riding to lake Malawi from my family home in the Eastern Cape via Namibia and Zambia and returning through Moz and Zim. I figured that this would be easily rideable in 5 weeks without straining myself to much. So, I set about pouring through the T4A book on interesting routes to take through the various countries.

I have previously ridden through Nam from South to North along the Usual western route a few years ago with my uncle @ClimbingTurtle so I wasnít too keen on repeating that exact route as I only allocated a limited time to getting through Nam with the idea of spending more time in Malawi. That was until my father heard about my trip and immediately jumped on the idea that he would be coming along for a portion of the trip and that he wanted to do north west Nam in the 4x4. So back to the drawing board to decide on the route for the first week.

We decided that we would try tow the bike (Betsy) my beloved 2017 R1200GS adventure up to the Outjo on the most direct tar route as I wanted to keep the mileage off the rear tyre and most of all to keep myself from going insane from the dull route through the heart of the Karoo and central Nam that I have also ridden before. Donít get me wrong, The Karoo and Nam are spectacularly beautiful places but the N10 and B1 highway are placed in the rather dull bits.

Trying to hire a bike trailer in EC for cross boarder travel proved a lot more difficult than first thought. No one seems to do it in the PE area or companies donít reply to requests. So, after a frustrating few weeks I decided that short of buying a trailer, it would be easier just to ride the bike up and leave it in Outjo while we explored in the 4x4.

Now I think thatís enough with the pre-waffling, letís get to the interesting stuff.

P.S The name of the ride report came from the what I believe to be one of the best chilli sauces (Nali) in the world. Itís made in Malawi and you used to be able to get it in SA but I havenít seen it on shelves for years.


Day 1 to 4: St Francis bay to Outjo
Distance: Ī 2300 KM

Flying out of London on the Sunday night with the idea of leaving on the Wednesday morning, I knew left with me a mad 2-day rush to get everything packed and sorted on the bike and 4x4. Fortunately my dad had managed to do a bit of it before I arrived, but being the typical GS rider I saw it necessary to add a few farkles to the bike for the trip like a new steering damper (the standard one is very average). For most normal people this would take 30 min as all you have to do is drop the front wheel and bolt the new one, however for those born with 10 thumbs like me it will take at least 2 hours, especially when you put the front tyre back on only to realise that you left the front mud guard off. But after many colourful words and few beers, everything was packed and ready to go.

Bike ready to go


Fitting the F%£king steering damper


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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2018, 12:15:13 pm »
Day 1: St Francis to Prieska

One of my many crazy aunts comes from the bustling metropolis of Prieska so we decided to spend our first night there. Leaving St Francis bay in the early hours of the morning, we hit the small Karoo outside Uitenhage just after sunrise, treated to a Karoo sunrise is always special but I you have to keep a look out for the ever-present danger of Kudu in the road at this time of day. The day went by smoothly with a rider change in Graaff Reinet, making it to Prieska by mid-afternoon for a cold drink. Itís really sad to hear from locals how the town has decade over the years due to unemployment, day time drinking seems to be the order of the day.

Day 2: Prieska to Savanna Guest farm (Grunau)

Leaving Prieska at sunrise in winter you really do appreciate heated grips with the temp on the bike thermo not going above -2C for the first hour of the ride. Once again, the day was filled with getting miles under the belt through NC and into Nambia, heading for the guest farm in Grunau.

Savanna guest farm is charming little place 40km north of the town with the typical Nambian hospitality. I would recommend it for anyone travelling along the B1 the doesnít want to stay in Keetmanshoop.

Sunset drinks



Day 3: Grunau to Windhoek

One of the reasons for the rushed initial departure was that I wanted to get my bike tyre changed over the BMW Windhoek on Friday afternoon before heading further north. The K60 rear had done 4500KM and was completely trashed, Im not sure if they have changed the compound on the K60 but it seemed to wear a lot quicker than on my previous gen 1200 that did over 10k km including rough Namibian Gravel, so I thought it was time to try something new in the form of Mitas E07+.

After completing the final bit of shopping it was time to hit Joeís Beerhouse for the standard beer and meat induced sweats.


Day 4: Windhoek to Outjo

We Left Windhoek on a typical sunny and chilly winter morning for a relatively short ride up to Outjo. The scenery started to change to the familiar bushveld of northern Namibia that surrounds the Etosha area. Arriving at Ombinda country lodge around lunch time for a much needed Cane and Fanta.

The GnT after the Cane and Fanta(disappeared before I could switch the camera on)


The lovely owners had agreed to let me leave the bike there for the week. The routes I had planned included VanZyls, Robbies pass and lots of riverbed mileage which I was not overly keen on doing on the big bike, itís just the wrong the tool for the job. On reflection, Iím really glad I left the bike behind for this bit, it would have been seriously hard work on a GS and I consider myself to be a fairly competent rider off-road.

Pic: Patrol ready for the next few days



I know that this is a bike forum so I better state the below. The next few days involved us mucking about in the 4x4 so it doesnít technically classify as a bike RR but I thought I would type it up and post pics anyway as Iím sure most of us donít ever get bored of looking at pics of Koakoland/ Damaraland and info on the area may be useful for those that have never been. For those that would prefer to skip to the continuation of the bike trip, it starts again on day 12. 

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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2018, 12:19:25 pm »
Sub. :thumleft:
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 0012

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2018, 12:55:02 pm »
sub    :sip:


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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2018, 01:07:00 pm »
Day 5: Outjo to Ongongo Hotsprings
Distance: 317km, travel time Ī 6 hours

We left Outjo on the C35 towards Kamanjab, turning off onto the Kamdescha dirt road that leads to the Khowarib trail. We passed through a small vet fetch just before the start of the trail and had to go looking for someone to open the gate, they clearly donít get many people through this way. After the Vet fence it was time for the first bush breakfast, Bully beef rolls were the order of the day.

Pic: Bully Beef rolls require a bit out of every camping box we have.


Unfortunately I seem to have lost most the pics I took in the Khowarib. The trail predominetly follow along the river bed with the occasional diversion onto tracks on the bank. The sand is course and not to soft so you can maintain decent speed along the river.

The Khowarib Schlucht near the C43 is a real highlight of the trail. There was evidence of Elephant in the area but sadly we did not see any. The fesh-fesh tracks near Khowarib lodge provide perfect opportunity to make an unholy of amount of dust, if your bike or car isnít dirty yet it will be by the end of this section.

After joining the C43 we had a short drive up to the hot-springs. I was really looking forward to staying here as I have found memories of the place from the bike trip I did with @ClimbingTurtle in 2012. What I wasnít expecting what to see how much the place has changed. It used to be a tiny community campsite with basic infrastructure but a wonderful feel of seclusion. Now it seems to be packed with overlanders enjoying the vastly upgraded facilities.

Pic: Hotsprings in 2012


P.S shortly before this pic was taken @ClimbingTurtle had a close call with heat stroke, it gets seriously hot here in October/Nov.



Pic: Hotspring 2018


Pic: The campsites and ablutions are top notch now.


Pic: Not bothering to offload the tent, stretcher under the camp cover will do just fine.


Pic:




We spent the rest of the day lounging in the spring and watching bush TV that night. The trip was finally starting to feel like I was hoping it would, with commitments and deadlines of daily life not registering in our minds anymore.

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Offline ClimbingTurtle

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2018, 01:12:59 pm »
Oh Awright then.....

Sub.....

 :biggrin:
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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2018, 11:06:24 am »
Day 6: Ongongo to Marble Camp
Distance: 395km, time 11 hours

Leaving the hot-springs in the early morning light, we knew had a long day ahead with the idea to try reach Marble camp site that evening after crossing Van Zylís. We decided that would camp at Van Zyls if we got there to late, not really knowing how long it would it take as the total distance vs travel time is deceptive.

After stocking up on fuel and toasted sandwiches in the shithole town that is Opuwo, we hit the C43 north towards Okangwati and the turnoff to the road leading to the pass. The C43 was generally in good condition but the last few days of corrugations had taken its toll on the brackets that holds our awning on. The bracket managed to shear at the 90 deg bend due to it not being welded completely when they fitted it, nothing a few zip ties couldnít sort out though.

Shortly after the turn onto the D3703 we encountered our first convoy of off-road caravans and trailers, this would become the theme of the day unfortunately. Progress was slowed a lot behind these vehicles as we had to wait for them to find a space to pull over to let us past which is not easy in a lot of places.

The drive to the base of the pass took approximately 4 hours of slow going weaving through the trees. All of which was very enjoyable, especially heart break hill which I would say is more challenging than the majority of the pass itself. Our Nissan Patrol took it easily in its stride though, just crawling up without a hint of wheelspin. It always amazes me how capable these vehicles are. We ran pressures of 2 bar and where in high range for most of the time and the car barely broke a sweat.

We past the community campsite around 3pm and decided to push on through to Marble camp as there was plenty daylight left. Starting the pass was really exciting, I have been wanting to come here ever since I heard of it. Luckily we only came across two vehicles on route and where able to get passed just before the initial step downs.

Pic: First steps



We stopped at the viewpoint for a much needed Tafel and obligatory pics. The pics really donít do the views over the Marienfluss justice, its breath taking.

Pic: Beers at Viewpoint


Pic: Marienfluss


The famous steps of the pass are just after the viewpoint, unfortunately the sun was directly behind me going down the steps so the pics didnít come out well. There is a lot of shale on the decents so caution needs to be taken not to damage tires (fortunately not one puncture on the trip). Once down onto the valley floor we were treated to amazing savannah like scenery of the Marienfluss in the late afternoon sun. We had about 40km to go till camp with Jouberts pass in between, we were now chasing daylight as we didnít want to be on the road at night.

We made it to camp just as the sun set and the place to ourselves bar one vehicle belonging to a Dutch couple heading back home. Not bothering to set up the tent, it was time for another night sleeping under the starsÖabsolute bliss.

Pic: Arriving at camp


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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2018, 11:13:16 am »
Day 7: Marble camp to Fort Sesfontein
Distance: Ī350km Time: 7 Hours

After a few beverages the night before, we decided against doing the route through Robbies pass. The lack of info on the state of the pass and the fact that we didnít have another vehicle travelling with us, we decided to use caution over mild stupidity and leave Robbies for another trip. I have no doubt the Patrol would have made it through with no issues, it still wasnít wasnít worth the risk considering we still had many days ahead of us.

Heading south towards Purros, we were treated to dessert waking up in the early light, the scenery in this place is beyond comprehension and as I have said before photos just donít do it justice.

Pic: Heading south to Purros


Just before the D3703 we spotted three silhouettes that we struggled to ID initially, moving closer the three got up and started running towards the bush. By now they transpired to be the unmistakable figures of three cheetah. Needless to say, my day/trip was made seeing them in a completely wild habitat. We were not able to get very close to them before they moved into the bush but I was able to get a few pics through the windscreen.

Pic: Cheetah


Pic: Cheetah


Further south we came across our first sighting the lonely men of the Koakoland. These figures are wonderful pieces of art work.

Pic: Lonely man



Just before our brunch stop we came across another.

Pic: Lonely man no.2


Pic: Bullybeef for breakfast again.


The various routed down to Purros make of great driving, everything from river beds to flat plains.

Pic: Scenery


Pic: Patrol in the river

After a few hours me made it to the settlement of Purros and went looking for a cold beverage at the Manchester United tavern.

Pic: Beers at the tavern


The next 3 hours were spent tackling the badly corrugated road to Fort Sesfontein. This piece of the D3707 is feeling the effects of vehicles travelling in two-wheel drive over it. I really wish someone would educate people driving off road vehicles to the benefit of using 4x4 on gravel, it drastically reduces road degradation.

Arriving at Fort Sesfontein in the mid afternoon we were told that the meat on the menu would be Lion. Of course we initially laughed this off as it must have been a joke or a spelling mistake as one doesnít eat lion really, but after a while the expression on the faces of the staff members indicated that it wasnít a joke! We decided that we would order off the lunch menu instead as I have absolutely no desire to try carnivore.

Iím pleased to say we made the right choice as whatever was served up to the other guests looked as tough as nails and unappetising. Fort Sesfontein is in desperate need of a revamp, the rooms are tired and the price is to high for what you get.
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Offline woody1

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2018, 12:11:40 pm »
 :ricky:

I WOULD RATHER BE AN HONEST ASSHOLE .... THAN A FLIPPEN LIAR !   


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Offline ClimbingTurtle

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2018, 03:16:43 pm »
You clowns really need to learn how to pack.....

Better yet, I will do the packing next trip - we wont need to dismantle Daisy the Datsun every time you decide you need a BullyBeef Zonk.....

Really.....

 >:D
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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2018, 10:13:34 am »
You clowns really need to learn how to pack.....

Better yet, I will do the packing next trip - we wont need to dismantle Daisy the Datsun every time you decide you need a BullyBeef Zonk.....

Really.....

 >:D
It looked a lot more complicated than it actually was.... But yes next time you should come with, hopefully by then we will have a useful draw system in the back.
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Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2018, 10:32:39 am »
Day 8: Sesfontein to Twyfelfontein
Distance:Ī240km, Time: 5hours

We used the main gravel C43 down to Palmwag vet fech where we unfortunately got our meat confiscated as we didnít do a very good job of eating it all by this stage. They were doing very thorough searches of vehicles for a change.

We turned off the C39 to do the tracks leaving to Desolation Valley. Once again, the views were incredible with multiple stops for pics.

Pic: Heading to desolation valley


Pic: Desolation




We started to see a few Welwitchia plants poking through the rocks, these plants are incredibly weird and really do have a prehistoric look about them.

Pic: Welwitchia


Approaching Twyfelfontein lodge we started to see fresh signs of elephants which was very exciting but still the pachyderms eluded us,,,, not for long though. We settled into the lodge after a few laced cold drinks and a swim.

Pic: Lodge


Pic:Lodge


Later in the day we decided to try find these elusive beasts of the desert, Luckily not far from the lodge we came across a herd of 25 individuals. We spent a magical hour just watching the family moving along the river bed.










Day 9: Twyfelfontein to Mt Brandberg
Distance: 110Km, Time: 5 hours

Heading out of the lodge we made our way towards the Organ Pipes which are interesting rock features formed of lava that has been exposed over time. The next stop was burnt mountain which is just a short drive from the pipes. It really did look out of place in the landscape, taking on the appearance of burnt veld.

Pic: Organ Pipes


Pic: Burnt Mountain


The Next stop would be Dorros crater. Not knowing what to expect, I thought it would be the typical rim top crater view but we later found out that you have to walk into the crater. We saw no other cars for hours and the sense of isolation was fantastic.


Pic: Doros crater


Pic walking into the crater


Pic: Car in Crater


We continued the drive towards Mt Brandberg that was now starting to occupy most of the view in front of us. Words cannot describe the size of it from a far, itís truly massive. The road leading from Doros to White lady lodge passes through the grass and shrub land that looks like the Serengeti.

Pic: Mt Brandberg in the distance


Pic: Serengeti Landscape


The soft sand road leading through it was badly corrugated, but we made it to the White Lady lodge in good time but needing a laced Fanta Orange. We booked into one of their safari tents that are sent among the trees on an island in the dry riverbed. They often get elephants and the occasional lion passing through camp but unfortunately not while we were there. The lodge also offers good looking spacious campsites and I will definitely be visiting again.

Pic: White Lady Lodge



The sunset views from the koppie next to the restaurant are fantastic and before you can wipe the shit out of your eyes you have drunk many Fantaís and starting to solve the problems of the world.

Pic: Sunset


Day 10: White Lady Painting
Distance, 30km or so

We decided to have a rest day as we had done some serious driving distance over the last week and a bit. The white Lady rock paintings provided an opportunity to use our legs again. They are situated in gorge deep in the Brandberg and showcase a time when life was just a bit less complicated.

Pic: Paintings


Pic: Paintings


Pic: Gorge


We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the lodge and enjoying yet another typical Namibian sunset.

Pic: sunset




Day 11: White Lady Lodge to Outjo
Distance: 230km, time: 3Hours

We got on the road early the next day so we could get back to Outjo and start the packing of the bike for the next few weeks. The road to Outjo is pretty uneventful through the game farm lands. Arriving back at the lodge it was nice to see the bike was still safe and sound, a massive thank you to the owners of Ombinda lodge for looking after her. After a few beers, the bike and 4x4 were re-packed and we spent the afternoon lounging by the pool.

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Offline Sheepman

Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2018, 01:36:30 pm »
Great report - thanks for sharing.
 

Offline WNaude

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2018, 02:07:03 pm »
Very nice report.

Keep it coming.
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Offline ButtSlider

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2018, 04:09:47 pm »
sub  :sip: :sip:
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Offline BEN TAP

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2018, 04:27:59 pm »
 :sip:

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Offline THROTTLE JOCKEY

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2018, 04:38:51 pm »
 :sip:
Ride it like you stole it!

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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2018, 04:07:31 am »
Great stuff, more please ... even if just photos.

 :thumleft:
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 Slim Jim

Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2018, 06:54:03 am »
 :sip:
 

Offline YoungGSer

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Re: The NALI Ride
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2018, 10:50:24 am »
Alright time to get this back to a proper RR

Day 12: Outjo to Ngepi camp
Distance: 725km, Time: 8.30hrs

Hitting the road early the next morning, it was nice to be back on the bike after a week in the car, even though it was bloody freezing. The B1 is pretty dull leading up to Grootfontein but at least the sun was starting to warm up. Either it was my bad luck or stupidity but there seems to be nowhere nice to get breakfast in Grootfontein. I was directed to the Spar by a local who said they have a few tables inside the store and you can order from the Deli, so sausage rolls for breakfast it was.

I expected the B8 leading to Rundu to be boring as itís just a straight line on the map but I was pleasantly surprised, the villages and landscape started to get more populated with lots of smiling and waving kids on the side of the road. I havenít experienced this before in Nam as you usually donít see anyone.

I stopped in Rundu for a quick fuel stop. The place has the usual frontier town feel about it with the usual gaggle of misfits hanging around, all the more reason to get out of town quick.

The last stretch to Ngepi was uneventful with no sightings of animals sadly. The last 5km to the camp from the main road had a few sections of soft sand which was a bit unwelcome after a long day in the saddle already, predictably my concentration wasnít at its best and I had to play everyoneís favourite game ďpick-up the 300kg adventure bikeĒ.

Ngepi camp is a quirky place with campsites and treehouses scattered along the riverbank. Most of the infrastructure seems to have been made with a low enviro impact in mind. After a few beers in the pub I set about getting my camp set up for the night. Hippos were making their evening noises and the strain of the days ride evaporated.

Pic: Camp at Ngepi




Pic: Okavango river





Day 13: Ngepi Camp to Livingston
Distance: 472km, Time: 7hours

Heading out of camp early the next morning, it was obvious to see how a bit of tiredness from the day before effected my riding in the soft sand. After a good nights sleep I was enjoing the ride through the sand to the road. I made good progress to the border at Katima Mullilo. The Namibian side of the border was done with in under 10min but the Zambian side is another story. I have yet to understand why African borders are designed so badly. The process of filling in the same info 4/5 times is completely unnecessary and not only that, it has to be the most expensive border I have ever crossed. After the TIP, road tax, local municipality tax etc etc, you are out of pocket the better part of R600 if I remember correctly. 1.30hrs later I was back on the road and on the final stretch to Livingston, it was nice to take in the sights and sounds of a new country.

The road from KM to Kasane is horrific, I would like to congratulate the Zambian military on what must have been a successful bombing campaign judging by the size of some of the holes. In some stretches the road or holes have been covered with white sand which make depth perception very hard in the mid day sun, as well as kicking up huge dust clouds. From Kasane to the Falls the road was a lot better so it was time to pick up the pace as a beer Oíclock was fast approaching.

I spent the rest of the afternoon watching the river go by with the mist of the falls in the distance.

Pic: Tent at Vic Falls Waterfront

Pic: Falls mist

Pic: Vic Falls Waterfront





Day 14: Vic Falls to Lake Kariba
Distance: 300km Time: 4hrs

I headed to the falls early in the morning to have a look around and take a few pics. Nothing really prepares you for the sight of the falls in full flow. The amount of water falling is pretty incredible and was defiantly worth getting a bit wet for.

Pic: Vic Falls





Pic: Bridge into Zim


Pic: Me at the falls


Pic: Mist over bridge


After an hour or so wondering around taking pics I hit the road out of Livingston towards Lake Kariba. Todays distance was not very long in comparison to the previous few days so I decided to take it easy and enjoy the sights and smells of people staring their day. After 220km on the main T1 road I took the turnoff for the lake near Botaka. The road starts off at 1200m above sea level and steeply winds its way down to the lake at 500m. The road had some serious potholes in it caused by lots of heavy truck use but most of the stretches consisted of swooping bends that were great fun to ride.

The final 10 km to Sinazongwe was good quality dirt and in no time I was at Lakeview lodge. The lodge consists of a few rondavels and main restaurant/bar area. Arriving just after lunchtime meant there was lots of time to sink a few Mosi lagers and chill by the pool.





Pic: Mosi Lager


Pic: Pool


The Room was very clean and comfortable and reasonably priced at 900 Kwatcha including dinner and breakfast.

Pic: Room




In the evening the kapenta fisherman started making their way onto the lake. Once it was dark it was easy to see the extent of the fishing operation going on the lake, I had to question the sustainability of the fish stocks with that many boats out there. 

Pic: fisherman


The Original Barstool Prophet

R1200 GS Adventure 2017
 
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