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Author Topic: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes  (Read 11450 times)

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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #120 on: November 10, 2018, 07:07:34 pm »
Some other characters we met were more interesting though. Like an 18-year-old lad from Oz, who was travelling around the world, working here and there to fund his travels. I was very impressed. When I was18 I could barely get round the corner without getting lost! He was a pleasant and very intelligent and competent chap. He used to disappear some afternoons to skateboard into town with a Brazilian mate. What a contrast between him and the loud crew!

On Monday 25th, we finally picked up the bike and we were ready to go.

We were happy to leave behind Twat Head and the Yah-Yah girls! They may still be there, incapable of taking a single decision!

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #121 on: November 10, 2018, 07:09:51 pm »
We saw many Himba women in town, as well as on the road, riding north. Sorry lads, I did not take any photo.  :biggrin:

I find that a bit creepy to take photos of semi naked women. You can always Google them and there are plenty in this forum anyway! They were beautiful. But seeing topless women reminds me of the recent debate in the newspapers.

There was that girl working at a McDonalds, making a huge fuss about being told to wear a bra at work and how it was her human right blah blah blah… Then lots of women coming out in support saying how it is so much better without a bra, blah blah patriarchy blah blah… You get the picture!

Anyhow, I guess none of those women has ever seen a Himba woman beyond 25 year of age.  They probably never heard of gravity either.  I guess by the time these women get 30, they will need to get a boob job as their sack full of fat will then be hanging down by their stomach, if they permanently ditch their bras!  Each to their own. I just think there are more important things in life than making a huge fuss about dress code. I don’t see men doing a massive fuss about wearing a tie.

Anyhow, back to the RR!

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #122 on: November 10, 2018, 07:11:06 pm »

Day 29 – Namibia, Uis 240 kms (Tuesday 26th June)

 
From a chat with Yamaha, we realised that the mud from the salt road was pure salt, which is not good!

To be fair, the 1st time we rode through it, it was dry, and looked like tarmac. We did not think much of it. So on the way back from Yamaha, We stopped at a car wash facility to give a rinse to my bike, as it was covered in salty mud.

My electrics took a hit again though, I found out later!

As we left Swakopmund (at last!) the digital display, which shows my speed, mileage, clock etc… was blank. Again. When we stopped for fuel, before leaving town, at first the bike would not start. Eventually I caught up with Alistair.

Once we hit the little D1930 shortcut to Uis, we stopped few miles later. The road was badly corrugated and sandy.




Alistair left ahead, and I could not start my bike. I made a mental note never to jet-wash my bike again. Ever!


The last small wash, where I directed the lad to avoid the controls and remove the salt just from the lower section of the bike only, still seemed to have played havoc with the electrics.

After 5 minutes, I finally got a response when I pressed the start button. Still, I was worried.
60kms from Uis we stopped again and the problem repeated. The bike started eventually and I hoped it was just water and the humidity causing this.
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #123 on: November 10, 2018, 07:12:23 pm »
All this did not help my paranoia about my bike dying!

We arrived early afternoon at Uis, and after refuel, we rode to the Cactus Cafe and campsite.
The facilities were amazing. Each campsite had its own shaded plot, with individual toilet/ shower, as well as a sink, Braai and tables ad chairs.



 
Once we had the tent up, Alistair put WD40 around my controls and electrics. Leaving the bike drying in the sun helped. I still had nothing on the digital display. This was very annoying. But at least the bike seemed to start when I was on neutral only.

We revised our itinerary. We had wasted 10 days on and off in Swakopmund and the gravel road I intended via Palmwag to Epupa falls was the main tourist trail. It was now full tourist season!

The recent heavy rains had also caused heavy damage to the trail joining Epupa to Ruacana, which was impassable, at latest news, so we would need to do a detour south via the main road.

We decided to ride straight north instead, to Ruacana falls. Going straight there would save us few days. Also, we did not fancy busy gravel roads and breathing dust and sand raised by the constant traffic. It was exhausting.
 
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Offline Noneking

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #124 on: November 11, 2018, 04:46:36 am »
Great RR Maria.
Nice to meet up with you guys in Nelspruit.
Looking forward to reading the rest! :thumleft:
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Offline Tonteldoos

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #125 on: November 11, 2018, 06:43:51 am »
Nice RR keep it coming!
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Offline Sardine

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #126 on: November 11, 2018, 10:33:04 am »
So glad I decide to open this thread!

This is what travel is about and I regret blasting through Namibia in 1.5 days.
Thank you for an amazing write-up with fantastic photos.
 :thumleft:

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #127 on: November 11, 2018, 05:17:14 pm »
Great RR Maria.
Nice to meet up with you guys in Nelspruit.
Looking forward to reading the rest! :thumleft:

Thanks Canzius, it was great to meet you and your advice about Swaziland was spot on. We had a great time there. It was beautiful.  :)

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #128 on: November 11, 2018, 05:19:41 pm »
So glad I decide to open this thread!

This is what travel is about and I regret blasting through Namibia in 1.5 days.
Thank you for an amazing write-up with fantastic photos.
 :thumleft:

You are lucky to be located in Botswana. Namibia is literally in your back yard! And with a DR650 you wouldl be unstoppable there!   :thumleft:

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #129 on: November 11, 2018, 05:21:22 pm »
Day 30 – Namibia, Kamanjab – 240kms – weds 27th June

After packing up, we had breakfast at the Cactus Cafe, attached to the campsite. They had nice pancakes. Have I mentioned the pancakes?!!!  :biggrin:




The staff was friendly, the café had wifi, and the wifi even worked! It was definitely a nice place for a night.
 
After that we rode straight north, through yet more bad gravel roads. We did not see any wildlife. Just cars. We stopped in a small town for fuel. Lots of touts around, trying to sell us tat that we didn’t need. We saw plenty of rented SUVs and tourists. The town was on the turn East to Palmwag. We rode north.  The track was much more quiet.

By early afternoon we arrived at Kamanjab. There was no other spot on my map until Ruacana falls, over 300kms away.

After stopping at the fuel station/ coffee/ shop, buying fuel and getting some tea, we tried to find accommodation. The GPS charger was dead from water and humidity, badly corroded. So we could not use it to find a campsite.

Alistair was told about a B&B few hundred metres away. He walked there while I kept an eye on the bikes and finished my tea.  They wanted about 100 USD for one night! How can accommodation be so bloody expensive in Namibia?

It never ceased to amaze me. Even camping cost a good 15 to 25 dollars per person, in average! And they would not drop the price, even if the place were deserted. Surely, if you have a business, you would offer a discount to get customers over?

The owner of the cafe recommended her campsite and cabins, a mile out of town. It was half the price and we had a nice big chalet for it. The place was deserted.

It was very hot, so I decided to make the most of the facilities (outside tap, garden chairs and table) to rinse my motorcycle gear, covered in sand. It would dry very quickly, hanging in the chairs outside.

We cooked a tin of curry vegetables with instant noodles, in the small kitchen, for dinner.



 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #130 on: November 11, 2018, 05:28:19 pm »
Day 31 – Namibia,  Ruacana, ‘okapita ‘ campsite – 300kms - Thursday 28th June


After breakfast of toasted bread and cheese, as well as banana with yogurt, we were ready for a long ride. We started taking our anti-malaria tablets then. We were not sure where the Risk zone could start precisely. We used Doxycycline, considerably cheaper that Malerone and less risky than Larium. 

We got back to town for fuel. We filled the 5l fuel canister as well, as the next fuel station was about 320kms away. Too far to make it with our fuel tanks alone.

Then we hit the road. It was all sweet nice tarmac, with hardly any traffic. Unfortunately it was also a very boring long straight road.  :-\

About midday, we stopped on a rest area to have a rest and chomp on some peanuts. Then we saw a motorbike passing going south. I waved. It was a large bike with panniers and top box. We had not met any bikers since the unlikely meeting with Jordan in Swakopmund, and Clark in Springbok.

The biker saw us and did a U-turn. We met Bruno, riding a huge new Africa Twin.

We spoke bike stuff for a while. He mentioned he had a campsite near Ruacana falls, and told us we should stop there. He was on his way to Windhoek and would be away for few days, but he would phone is wife to expect us.

HE offered us to get the luxury Safari tent for the price of camping. Nice! He mentioned that some time ago he had had a Deutsche couple on two bikes like Alistair (CRF250) staying at his campsite.  :scratch:

It could only be Leonie and her husband. We met them in Wales last year. I checked with Bruno and he confirmed.

What are the chances? There are so few people over-landing by motorbike in Africa, and yet we either seem to follow on their steps, or bump into them!

So we kept riding, and a couple of hours later we reached the T junction. We could go not further North, as beyond the river was Angola. We did not try to get a visa for it as it is very complicated. We found Bruno’s campsite, up a long very deep twisty sand track. Not fun on two wheels. We had a reception committee, with wet towels offered to clean our hands and a glass of apple juice. All very friendly and nice.
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #131 on: November 11, 2018, 05:31:18 pm »
We settled in the Safari tent, which, as its name suggests, is a very large tent, with a double bed, and a nice shaded vestibule. We were the only guests in the entire site, so we were the centre of attention of all the staff.




After a beer at the small bar, we were asked if we wanted the set menu for dinner. As they kept asking we settled for the set menu. It was huge, enough to feed an army.

The dinner had been set in a large dining room, just for us as were the only guests. The lad serving with the help of another girl, were just standing next to us throughout, watching us, which made it a little bit awkward for us.
 
I mean, they were all lovely but their 100% attention on us all the time was a bit too much for me. Maybe British royalty is used to this but not poor old plain me!

Then we were invited to watch the staff singing and dancing. Including all the staff's children. I am never comfortable with that sort of display. It seems a bit like us lording over the peasants. But it was difficult to refuse.

After a long day on the bikes, we went to bed early. The night was very cold. Very cold!

 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #132 on: November 11, 2018, 05:33:06 pm »
Day 32 – Namibia, Etosha gate – 460kms – Friday 29th June

We left camp early and rode to Ruacana falls. Before, we wasted some time, due to the stupid GPS, which somehow had revived, trying to get us through non-existent tracks to the fuel station.

After finally finding the fuel station, we rode to the falls. They were at the border with Angola and we needed to actually get through the Namibian post border (without stamping anything, they wave us through!). Unfortunately, this was the dry season and the falls were dry! The dam controls the flow of water.

But it was a beautiful ride there anyway.




After that, we went back on the road. It was all tarmac but the stretch of road riding East was very busy with lots of towns and villages. The area was very green and there was a lot of water with plenty of shallow lakes and flooded land as well as a long narrow river or canal along the road.

There were also plenty of donkeys, goats and cows grazing by the side of the road! After crashing into a charging cow in Kyrgyzstan, I am cautious around cows!
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #133 on: November 11, 2018, 05:40:07 pm »
Initially, I was thinking to find a camp on the way, but we found nothing obvious, and in the end, we decided to make it to Onguma camp, which was near the East entrance of Etosha National Park.

We could not get into Etosha park with our motorbikes, but we could organise a drive inside from the campsite (Set outside Etosha) at reasonable price in a safari car with a driver (about 45 USD if I remember).

So we pushed on with the bikes, for most of the day and arrived at the gate of Onguma Game reserve and Lodge (just next to Etosha National Park gates) rather late. It was nearly 6 pm and it was starting to get dark.

The guard asked us if we had reservations! This is never a good question to hear! Of course we didn’t. The camp was full!

We were on a bit of a pickle as the nearest campsite was about 100km away! The various lodges near the Gate to Etosha were way beyond our budget. We could not ride at night, as it would be too dangerous.
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #134 on: November 11, 2018, 05:54:19 pm »
The guard phoned someone, and after some wait, he let us in. We were able to set camp next to the gate, on the inside.

There was a small construction, a square concrete block, behind the guard's lodgings and next to our dirt patch, with a toilet, a sink, and a cold shower. This was designed for the guard, but we could use them. It would do for the night. We had no water left but we could drink from the tap. Tap water is drinkable pretty much everywhere in Namibia, although sometimes it does not always taste very nice. We had very little food left too.

We managed to cook a weird looking packet of dry vegetarian chilli which had been on our panniers for a while, which had to be cooked with water. We added some instant noodles. It was…. spicy. That is all I can say nice about it!

After that, with nothing much to do and the night being cold, it was an early night.

We had arranged, with the guard, to get into an early morning drive to Etosha, for about 45 or 50 USD per person. We had to pay the driver in cash  :angel4:.


We also paid the guard in cash for the night camping. I don’t think the campsite will ever get any of that! But this is Africa, and we were in a bit of a trouble, so we were grateful we found a safe place for the night.

With such a long ride we drank lots of water with a rehydration tablet. The consequences were predictable.


Day 33- Namibia, Onguma campsite – Saturday 30th June – 3 kms


I woke up around 3:30am…. the night was bitterly cold. I could hear lions roaring not too far. Obviously, I needed to go the toilet! I could not hold my bladder until daylight.  :eek:
 
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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #135 on: November 11, 2018, 06:08:25 pm »
Is your bike a XT Serow ? They are highly rated on ADVrider, rear wheel looks like it could be a tubeliss rim ? Enjoying the RR  :thumleft:
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Offline Fransw

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #136 on: November 11, 2018, 06:34:56 pm »
Nice picture! Which one is Alistair?... :lol8:
 

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #137 on: November 11, 2018, 07:09:49 pm »
Is your bike a XT Serow ? They are highly rated on ADVrider, rear wheel looks like it could be a tubeliss rim ? Enjoying the RR  :thumleft:

Hi Sidetrack,

Yes it is an XT250 Serow. They were never sold in Europe but I found one on eBay. A London company goes regularly to Japan and import a full container of second hand quicrky bikes. They had 2 serows. The better one was gone immediately but I secured the second ugly looking one!  :biggrin:

. In the Japanese model it has indeed a tubeless tyre at the back. Not the front! Weird but why not.
However, with our travels,  Alistair decided to fit a heavy duty inner tube. We also fill the inner tubes with green “slime”. So far it may work as we did not have any puncture in our two last overland trips since using this.

Offline hedleyj

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #138 on: November 11, 2018, 09:50:55 pm »
Hi Maria and Alistair

Your trip and report are remarkably inspiring. One always tends to think a tour of this nature needs a great big 1200 or similar.

I am loving your writing. Excuse the ignorance but have you published a book about your travels?

Cheers for now. Hedley
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Offline CUZZY

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #139 on: November 12, 2018, 11:45:38 am »
 Wicked pommy sense of humour Maria !!
 Fantastic ride report and proof you don't need an expensive heavy behemoth to do a long trip like yours.
Keep us entertained.
Cheers.