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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #100 on: November 09, 2018, 04:15:31 pm »
Somehow the stupid GPS decided to take us through the scenic route, for whatever reason ( don’t get me started on artificial intelligence – the sheer uselessness and stupidity of a GPS is proof enough that no AI is going to steal my job, or most jobs, anytime soon!).

We ended up doing a total of 104 kms through smaller and smaller tracks.
By the time we found the BACK entrance to Erindi (Stupid GPS!), I was rather tired. The gate reminded me of Jurassic Park. It was huge.

(This is actually the main gate, taken when we left by the correct Main Gate the following day!)



And then you had the warning board: “ enter at your own risk”; “ do not stop”, “ do not leave your vehicle”, “do not step out of your car”, “open top cars are banned”…. but somehow the armed guard (carrying a huge shotgun!) at the gate, did not seem to think that stepping into Jurassic Park, I mean Erindi, on our motorbikes, was dangerous!

I asked him: “What about the lions?”.
He answered: “Ah, if you see lions, just drive through.”
“Great!” I thought, “I hope the lions got the memo!”.



 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #101 on: November 09, 2018, 04:19:00 pm »
As we arrived to the reserve through the back gate, we had to ride another 27kms to Camp Elephant! I was gutted! I was looking forward to get changed and have a cold beer!

We saw warthogs running around. We followed the guard’s instructions and the few road signs.

Riding ahead, I missed a junction at some point and had to do either a large u-turn or wing it through deep sand. I chose the deep sand doing a sharp turn and made a beginner mistake. The moment I started I knew it was a mistake!

I dropped the bike as a result. I thought I was getting really good at sand riding! Really! But it had been a long day and I was tired.

I stood next to my bike. Alistair had taken the correct turn and, thinking I would follow, did not worry about me. 

I couldn’t lift my bike!   :-\  I wondered how long it would take for the lions to find me!!!!  :eek7:

Funny enough, back in London after our trip, Alistair was watching some program on TV about big cats. They were showing a pride of lions. One of the female was even stalking the safari car were the filming crew was located! They were certainly very aggressive. When I asked Alistair where it was filmed, he said casually: “ oh that is in Erindi.”!

I just can’t believe they let us in and cross the entire reserve from the back gate to camp, on the motorbikes!  Maybe no publicity is bad publicity if a biker gets eaten by lions!?

Nevertheless, this was the most magical place to ride! I am so glad they let us in!

It was my lucky day as, after a few minutes, a car with friendly South Africans turned up.
They stopped and two young nice looking big lads came to the rescue!  :ricky:

Ha…. playing the (not so young!) Damsel in Distress always seems  to work!  :biggrin:

By the time the bike was lifted by the 2 big lads, Alistair had joined us, and we were able to get on our way.
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #102 on: November 09, 2018, 04:21:16 pm »
The campsite was luxury campsite.

From their website, I expected to pay 400 namibian rands per person (about 34 $).  However the receptionist quoted 1200 Namibian rands for the two of us. For camping! At the exchange rate at that time, it was almost 100 US$! My jaw dropped to the floor!  ???

So I pointed out to the website pricing (if my memory of their website was correct which I was not 100% sure!) saying “ - But your website quote 800 for 2. Why is it so different?”  :deal:

The bored and unsmiling girl at reception did not answer but after going to the back somewhere, came back and gave us a discount. We were charged 1000 rands for one night! That was about 85 USD. It was certainly the most expensive camping ever!

We were given a key! Our spot included, on the outside wall of a small building, a locked fridge next to the outside kitchen sink as well as an electric kettle.

There was also, on a grassy spot, a pick nick table and the ubiquitous BBQ (or Braii).

 Inside the small building was our private bathroom. It was big. On the right hand side was the toilet cubicle, and separated by a small low wall, the walk-in-shower.

On the left side a sink and built in bench. Between the sink area and the toilet and shower area, there was a very big space, big enough to fit two sleeping bags! It was the most luxurious campsite I have ever been to!

We decided not to bother with the tent and sleep in the bathroom instead!
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #103 on: November 09, 2018, 04:25:27 pm »
After a quick shower we walked to the lake. The camp had an electric fence all around. The lake was beyond the fence. There, we could see 2 huge elephants, some hippos and springboks.



Inflicting you a rare photo of the 2 of us together!










Some warthogs were running around as well as lots of birds that I could not identify.

After a good watch and lots of photos we went back for dinner. Our camp had also a small electric cooker  so there was no need to get our stove out.
 We ate a tin of curried vegetables and we added some instant noodles to it.

With another can of beer and some biscuits, as the sun went down, we went back to the lake. We could see 2 giraffes around but, although the lake was floodlit, it was too dark to take photos with my mini camera.

We were really happy to have seen giraffes! The 2 elephants were still there but one hippo in the lake was getting angry with them and wanted to get out of the water on that same spot the elephants were standing. Eventually, the elephants walked away, slowly, as if to say "This post belong to us, mates!".
The 2 hippos came out of the water with much noisy complaint and protest. Zebras faffed around while some Oryx and springboks were standing around.

No more wildlife came across so we went to bed. Alistair’s mattress seemed to have a small leak. Not great news! We looked everywhere for thorns.
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #104 on: November 09, 2018, 04:31:59 pm »
Day 21 –Namibia, back to Swakopmund – 320 kms (Monday 18th June)


We decided to get up before sunrise to check the lake. Not much was happening there, only few antelopes.

After a while we went back to our camp for breakfast: bread and peanut butter with coffee.

A very inquisitive bird, with an unusually large beak kept coming closer and closer, eyeing my bread, even landing into our picknick table. After the baboons in Ai - Ais, I was careful with my food! No one will steal it!

We then went back to the lake, a bit before 9am. Few Wildebeests and antelopes that I could not identify, as well as springboks, were around. Suddenly, they all got scared and ran away. On the opposite side, Alistair thought he saw something.

With nobody else around in the viewing platforms around the lake (some small kids had been having quite massive tantrums and screaming the day before which was not ideal to observe wildlife), we carefully and silently walked around toward whatever was “ over there “.

Something was coming, slowly, carefully, shuffling the bushes.

And then we saw it, hiding under the bushes, coming to drink: a cheetah! Very slowly she came out of undercover and came to drink before leaving quickly. She was beautiful!

Later on, I mentioned this at the reception desk and they told me that she came every morning to drink and had some cubs. It was a magical sight! I did not expect to see a cheetah in the wild, as they tend to be very shy!

It was a worthwhile visit!






Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #105 on: November 09, 2018, 04:36:05 pm »
After that, we finished packing and set off at 10. We were going back to Swakopmund to check out if our parts had arrived. And with Alistair’s mattress punctured, camping was out of the question until we fixed it.

The ride, once out of the game park, took us through some farms tracks. The public road crossed into gated parcels. One of them was a private hunting lodge.

At the entrance of the gate, a sign said “ Danger! Hippos and crocodiles! Do not stop!”. Hum…. I hoped that they, too, got the “memo” about us!

The tracks were very sandy and the many dry river crossings were deep sand.




By then I mastered it, at least for short sections.  I just accelerated through deep sand lifting easily the front wheel and the bike did the rest without a hiccup.

The road was merely a single lane farm track and we saw no one! It was great and we made good progress. We came across many cattle gates. It was a bit of pain, as we had to open and then close them behind us.

On one of those small tracks, we came across a large single Oryx, standing in the middle of the road. It stared at us for a while, wondering what the heck we were, before gracefully walking into the bush.





Eventually, we joined the tarmac road to Swakopmund. We stopped for fuel and some rest. We caught the Cross Kalahari Highway.
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #106 on: November 09, 2018, 04:38:05 pm »
We arrived at Swakop at 4 pm and found a backpacker place recommended by Jolein. She had to go to Windhoek that week, so her place was closed.

We settled at the Skeleton Coast Backpackers. It was a popular place. It included breakfast (bread, cheese, margerine, coffee, tea) and had all the facilities expected of a backpacker.
 
In the absence of a grill, we quickly came to toast our bread in the toaster provided and then fill it will cheese and put it in the microwave to melt it! Not bad at all!

The main living/dining room, next to the reception, was were the TV was and where everyone tended to hang out. It had a large table on one side, then 3 large sofas around the TV.
Despite many people there, no one spoke to anyone. Everyone was on his or her mobile phone or computer.

After a quick change, we walked to the Yamaha dealer. Our parts had arrived! That included not only the fork seals for both bikes but also the “cruise control”. So we dropped the bikes to get the fork seals replaced.
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #107 on: November 09, 2018, 04:40:14 pm »
Day 22 –Namibia, Swakopmund - 0km  (Tuesday 19th June)

We did not do much on that day. Just killing time by walking around and watching too much TV.

We picked up the bikes at the workshop later that day. All seemed good and we packed up in the evening, ready to leave early the next day.

Unfortunately the workshop had jet washed the bikes. My XT250 was not waterproof. The control casing was cracked (it was when I bought the bike – I suspect the bike had been crashed).

As a result, all my digital display was gone, and my bike was playing up when I tried to start it. With the horrendous humidity, the bike would  never dry, so I would have to wing it.

 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #108 on: November 09, 2018, 04:45:42 pm »
Day 23 – Back to Swakopmund, Again! - about 150kms (weds. 20th June)


The morning was incredibly foggy. It was often the case; after all it was winter down there.
We decided to wait until 9am, hoping that the fog would lift a bit. We aimed to get to Palmwag, 430 kms away, so it would be a long day, up the skeleton coast mainly.
We stopped for some fuel. My bike was playing up. Too much water somewhere. I will need to replace the meter when I am back home.

On the road, I could barely see through the visor of my helmet. It was very cold. By the time we arrived at Henties Bay, 70kms later, along the salt road, I was shaking because of the freezing weather.

Riding was hard as visibility was extremely poor through the visor, while at the same time I feared that if I rode too slowly, I could end up being smashed by a car from behind.

After buying fuel in Henties Bay, we went to the nearby café for tea and to warm up a bit.

We decided to leave the muddy salt road that runs north and, instead, pick up a gravel road going inland toward Uis. This was the same itinerary that we rode few days earlier. It would be much warmer and fog free once we got away from the sea. I could not face another 150kms or more of this along the skeleton coast.

After another 65kms riding inland, we stopped to drink some water and to stretch our legs. We were finally clear from the fog and it was warmer.





As Alistair walked around the bikes and checked our oil levels, he noticed a pool of oil on the rim of his front wheel. His trousers were covered in oil too!

The brand new fork seals were a spectacular failure on the CRF. So much oil was pouring out that, surely, there couldn’t be any oil left in the forks.

We had no choice but to go back to Swakopmund and straight to the Yamaha workshop. We were not happy.  :angry5:
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #109 on: November 09, 2018, 04:49:48 pm »

These "wonderful" little things are commonly known to us as "devil thorns". Particularly pleasant when they grew on our sportsfields at school......when we used to practice barefoot sports.

 :eek: Must have been excruciating!

Offline Fransw

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #110 on: November 09, 2018, 07:39:26 pm »
Hi Maria. Its called a Roan Antelope not a oryx! A scarce antelope not often seen.

We call it a 'Baster Gemsbok' , direct translation to English is something like 'Crossbreed Oryx'..

Nice report!...cheers!

Edit: I see Erindi is also for sale now. Only $160m and this piece of paradise is yours...  :thumleft:
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 08:13:06 pm by Fransw »
 

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #111 on: November 09, 2018, 08:40:07 pm »
Hi Maria. Its called a Roan Antelope not a oryx! A scarce antelope not often seen.

We call it a 'Baster Gemsbok' , direct translation to English is something like 'Crossbreed Oryx'..

Nice report!...cheers!

Edit: I see Erindi is also for sale now. Only $160m and this piece of paradise is yours...  :thumleft:

Wow so we saw a rare antelope? Fantastic. Shame it took me so long to get my camera out of my tank bag. The antelope just stood there for a while, looking at us sideway, it was amazing! And huge with massive horns, really amazingly long!

As for Erindi, I hope it will remain a private game reserve. Getting inside with the bikes was a privilege. Everywhere else we had to arrange for safari car drive in all the National parks.

Maybe I should start playing the euromillions lottery  :biggrin:
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 08:43:35 pm by maria41 »
 

Offline Fransw

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #112 on: November 09, 2018, 09:39:01 pm »
Hi Maria. Its called a Roan Antelope not a oryx! A scarce antelope not often seen.

We call it a 'Baster Gemsbok' , direct translation to English is something like 'Crossbreed Oryx'..

Nice report!...cheers!

Edit: I see Erindi is also for sale now. Only $160m and this piece of paradise is yours...  :thumleft:

Wow so we saw a rare antelope? Fantastic. Shame it took me so long to get my camera out of my tank bag. The antelope just stood there for a while, looking at us sideway, it was amazing! And huge with massive horns, really amazingly long!

As for Erindi, I hope it will remain a private game reserve. Getting inside with the bikes was a privilege. Everywhere else we had to arrange for safari car drive in all the National parks.

Maybe I should start playing the euromillions lottery  :biggrin:

Yes, both the Roan antelope and oryx are very beautiful animals! The Roan stands slightly taller and has a bigger frame, the horns are shorter but thicker than the oryx and also little bit sable in form. Hide  colour of the Roan is more light brown in colour. Almost no Roan antelope in natural habitat left. Most on private reserves like Erindi, etc. One of my favourite animals! :)
 

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #113 on: November 09, 2018, 11:12:59 pm »
Hi Maria. Its called a Roan Antelope not a oryx! A scarce antelope not often seen.

We call it a 'Baster Gemsbok' , direct translation to English is something like 'Crossbreed Oryx'..

Nice report!...cheers!

Edit: I see Erindi is also for sale now. Only $160m and this piece of paradise is yours...  :thumleft:

Wow so we saw a rare antelope? Fantastic. Shame it took me so long to get my camera out of my tank bag. The antelope just stood there for a while, looking at us sideway, it was amazing! And huge with massive horns, really amazingly long!

As for Erindi, I hope it will remain a private game reserve. Getting inside with the bikes was a privilege. Everywhere else we had to arrange for safari car drive in all the National parks.

Maybe I should start playing the euromillions lottery  :biggrin:

Yes, both the Roan antelope and oryx are very beautiful animals! The Roan stands slightly taller and has a bigger frame, the horns are shorter but thicker than the oryx and also little bit sable in form. Hide  colour of the Roan is more light brown in colour. Almost no Roan antelope in natural habitat left. Most on private reserves like Erindi, etc. One of my favourite animals! :)

Well there must be some of those antelopes around in the wild as we met that one about 20 or 30 miles outside of Erindi, on one of those various tracks that the GPS took us ( the “scenic “ route again)  We went  through many farm gates for a couple of hours. No idea where we were. Our GPs is quite imaginative when it comes to routing,
A usual, feeling like a complete idiot on a bike!  ::) no clue where we are,  no clue what is happening.... but yet, we had fun! Just shows that anyone can do this sort of trips!

Offline aka.Goliath

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #114 on: November 10, 2018, 06:30:43 pm »
What a great report! Keep it coming. Must make a note to go visit Erindi when I'm up there.
BMW 1150 GSA - 2004
KTM 690R - 2014
KTM 300 X-CW - 2012
KTM 530 EXC Rally - 2011 SOLD, KTM 690R - 2009 SOLD, BMW 1200GS 2009 SOLD
 

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #115 on: November 10, 2018, 06:53:09 pm »
What a great report! Keep it coming. Must make a note to go visit Erindi when I'm up there.
Definitely you must go... and keep an eye on those lions when riding around :biggrin:
 

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #116 on: November 10, 2018, 06:55:34 pm »
So following the spectacular new fork seals fail on the Honda, after only 160kms or so, we turned back. We were gutted. I took the lead and rode fast along the track.

As we came closer to the coast, we could see the layer of fog still hanging far away in front of us, along the coast, like some sort of giant grey caterpillar resting along the coast, following the line of electric pylons. It was quite surreal.

The weather turned colder and colder the closer we got to the fog.

 We hit the fog suddenly but we barely slowed down despite the poor visibility. It was all straight road anyway and we were in a hurry!

We rode to Yamaha and had a chat with the guys there.

After that we go back to the Skeleton Sea backpacker  and got a room again.

Shame, our previous room was big and airy on the 1st floor, while this one was on the ground floor and colder and humid. Nothing seemed to dry ever. We took the entire luggage off the Honda and rode to town to drop the bike to the workshop. We rode back 2 up on mine.

The shop was going to order genuine Honda parts from Cape Town. They fitted after market brand originally, although no after market can be that bad. We suspected either the seals were the wrong ones or they fitted them wrongly. Either way, they had to put it right.

 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #117 on: November 10, 2018, 06:57:39 pm »
Day 24 – Namibia, Swakopmund (Thursday 21st June)

After breakfast we walked back to Yamaha. They confirmed the parts would arrive on Monday (4 days later). With the Honda in the workshop, we could not go anywhere. We just had to wait.

We loaded on vegetables at the supermarket and made use of the communal kitchen to cook a big chicken curry with plenty of vegetable. That would last few days.



Day 25 to 28 – Namibia, Swakopmund - Friday 22d to Monday 25th June

We spent those few days waiting, with not much to do. We did some washing which took forever to dry, I read few books (I loaded few Anne Cleeves murder mysteries on my iPad) we watched too many repeats of Top Gear and too much football on TV. After all, it was the World Cup!

The weather was very cold, especially when the easterly wind was blowing. Sometimes, mid afternoon, if it was sunny and not windy, for about an hour, we could get warm.

The backpacker place was busy as it was very cheap.

We came across a young couple riding two up on a Yamaha DR650. Jordan (from Oz) and Malina from Germany.

Jordan rode from the UK. Somehow managing to get his bike through from Turkey to Israel and then to Egypt, using various transport companies and ferries.

I told him that we met an American, riding a BMW, in Springbok. He asked me “- Was that Clark?”.

Indeed it was! It is such a small world.

There were very few people riding around Africa at that time! Funny how we still managed to bump into each other! Jordan and Clark met somewhere in Sudan!

 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #118 on: November 10, 2018, 07:01:12 pm »
Jordan also followed on Clark with regard to Etosha, and camped at Onguma private game reserve. The campsite was cheap he told me, and they provided affordable drives into Etosha. Motorbikes are not allowed in these parks. So I took a mental note of the game reserve, and we would aim for it, once we were in the area.

The backpacker place was full of people coming and going.

We got to know the few who were hanging around a bit longer. Jordan and Malina eventually left, once Jordan had fixed few things on his bike. But then  we came across Twat Head and the Yah-Yah girls!

The aptly named (by Alistair) Twat head and The Yah-yah girls turned up, a day after us, and it just seemed like they would be there forever as they did not seem capable of taking any decisions.

At first, sitting at the table, reading a book, I thought there was a repeat of the comedy “The Windsors” on TV, and that we were hearing the parody of the british princesses Eugenie and Beatrice.

I turned my head to check out on the TV, but it was football again. Then I saw two girls of about 20, talking with exactly the same ultra posh upper class  British accent than in the TV series. (if you have not seen this program, make sure you do, it is a parody and is extremely funny!).

Initially, I thought they were having a laugh, but no, they really talked exactly like princess Bea and Eugenie in the series.

The Yah-Yah girls also seemed to have the same single neuron to share between the 2 of them, from what I gathered with their constant inane laugh and brainless comments. What a waste of a stupendously, no doubt, expensive private education. But I guess, as one of my friend put out, most of those girls are just educated so they marry into money and have the right accent and blend with the upper class. 

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #119 on: November 10, 2018, 07:04:55 pm »
Every comment the Yah-Yah Girls made seemed HI-LA-RIOUS to them. They were constantly laughing and giggling loudly. Very loudly. Irritatingly loudly! All. The. Time.

 :BLACK2:

Alistair nicknamed them the Yah-yah girls, based (for non English readers) on the very posh way some people say “Yes” but sounds like yaaaaaahhhh.

They hooked up with Twat Head. Again, nicknamed by Alistair.

Twat Head was about 25 year old lad from New York. Difficult not to know he was from New York as he took great pride in it and kept saying it to everyone who would listen (or not!).

He had a rented car, so he was very attractive to the other backpackers (including the Yah-yah girls) who were all without cars and had  to depend on public transport or taxis or tours to get to places. It is not easy to move around in Namibia if you do not have your own vehicle, or you have to get organized tours.

Twat Head was groomed and buffed to an inch of his life, like a cast out of Sex and the City or such rubbish - I am not much Au Fait of US TV series - , very carefully clothed to have just the right look as a 'cool backpacker in Africa'. Maybe it’s a New York thing?

Twat Head was loud. Very loud. In the communal living/ dining room and the kitchen, next door, you could only hear him. He loved the sound of his voice. He hold court in the communal TV / dining room, with The Yah-Yah girls, as well as two other girls, who I did not notice as much as they were more quiet.

As you may guess, they were a bit irritating.  :cussing:

There was no escape from them, and even putting the TV louder, they didn’t get the hint!

We tried to find peace in our room, but Internet only worked in the communal room and our room was very cold. So everyone tended to gather in the large communal room.
 
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