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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #80 on: November 07, 2018, 03:07:42 pm »
Day 16 and 17 – Namibia, Swakopmund – weds 13th and Thursday 14th June

Swakopmund seafront. We could see dolphins swimming and playing in the bay.




We spent the following 2 days sorting things out. The backpacker place was great (Sea view backpackers – on booking.com).

It had a massive kitchen, various sitting areas and large upstairs bar, a snooker table, terrace, garden etc… all we needed and more! With a young German (I think) couple, arriving the day after us, we were the only guests.

The hotel manager was a bright young lady called Jolien Els. We talked to her and her boyfriend a lot. They suggested great places to stay and visit.

You may be familiar with Jolien, as she is world champion for field archery! Wow! They were a very interesting and lovely couple. That’s the thing with travels; we meet so many amazing people along the way!

We found a Yamaha dealer in town and we managed to order fork seals for both bikes. For my bike it was easy, but for the CRF, it either had to come from Cape Town or get aftermarket parts which could be source locally. So we were advised to take the after market stuff.
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #81 on: November 07, 2018, 03:09:01 pm »
It would take about 5 days to get the parts, so we decided to go on a few days excursion with the bikes.

I also asked the girl at the Yamaha shop to order a “cruise control” tool. It is a very simple piece of plastic that you fit at the throttle and I can keep my hand flat to accelerate rather than constantly gripping the throttle. I had one for my previous trips around Central Asia and Mongolia and it was an amazing little thing.
My right hand was painful. It has never been the same since my crash in Samarkand (Uzbekistan), 4 years before. So the cruise control would make a hell of a difference to me.

After everything ordered, we were ready to go on our round trip for few days. We had supplies (food!) and GPS coordinates of some interesting campsites!

The next few days were to be some of the highlights of our trip!

 
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Online woody1

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #82 on: November 07, 2018, 03:11:56 pm »

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


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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #83 on: November 07, 2018, 03:38:47 pm »

Offline Buff

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #84 on: November 07, 2018, 04:10:37 pm »
They need to be prepared in a very specific way and are often best when baked in a pie  :thumleft:

Loving your ride report, thanks for sharing your trip  :thumleft:
Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

If you're dumb you gotta be tough !!!
 

Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #85 on: November 07, 2018, 04:18:14 pm »
lekker reading.. always nice to read a local report.. we have so much right on our doorstep. :thumleft:
Africa trip, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania & Moz rr http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=61231.0
 

Offline wilfwalk

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #86 on: November 07, 2018, 08:26:44 pm »
 Thanks Maria for your trip report and the amazing photos. Namibia is a great destination even for us South Africans, I never tire of seeing photos of Namibia. Look forward to the remainder of your trip and photos. Much appreciated  :thumleft:
 

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #87 on: November 08, 2018, 04:52:30 pm »
Day 18 Namibia, Brandberg White Lady Lodge – 250kms (Friday 15th June)


We left the backpacker place and rode north toward the Skeleton last for about 70kms. Then, after refueling and stopping for brunch in a cafe in Henties Bay, we turned east, riding inland toward Uis. The road was badly corrugated.


Wild donkeys?????


As we got closer to Uis we could see Brandberg slowing growing in the horizon.

Brandberg is like Uluru in Australia, a massive circular mountain sticking out of the desert like some ancient fortress. Seeing it from a satellite photo is very impressive.

By the time we get to Uis it was already lunchtime and we needed a rest. We bought more fuel and stopped at the Cactus Cafe and campsite for some tea and pancakes!  :biggrin:




We were then back on the road. Our destination was in the Brandberg nature reserve, the Brandberg White Lady lodge and campsite.

Apparently, David Attenborough spent time there while filming one of his most recent series.

The campsite was not fenced. So far no campsite had been fenced and wild animals were free to roam. So we tackled a good 40 kms of gravel road to get there and then a long stretch of sandy track.

The main office and reception also contained the main facilities: bar, restaurant and swimming pools.

For high paying guests, lodges were dotted around the bush, while the campsite was about a mile away from the main building.





 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #88 on: November 08, 2018, 04:53:28 pm »
We had been told that, often, desert elephants and lions would be walking across the campsite. A sign at reception said so. And the staff at the lodge warned us to have a fire at night and not walk around after dark.




So, as instructed by the receptionist, who told us we had to have a fire going at night to keep the lions away,  we duly ordered some wood then rode to the campsite.

It was widespread. The camping spots had only a built up place to make a fire, but nothing else. Certainly nowhere to sit.

As there was one of those huge tourist truck which include cook, driver and guide, I walked over to see it we could borrow a couple of chairs for the evening. They had piles of those. My request was flatly refused. I guess if something happens to the chairs, the staff would be charged for them? Oh well, no bad feelings.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2018, 11:47:26 pm by maria41 »
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #89 on: November 08, 2018, 04:56:43 pm »
The bushes and low grass around had thorns (like 4 faced dice with thorns on each end) that caught on the shoes and got everywhere.

We were paranoid about getting those in or under the tent, as we had inflatable mattresses. One puncture and it would be a very miserable night! I had that problem in Mongolia and I didn’t want a repeat.  :-\

After clearing under the tent I put my sheepskin and gel seat under my mattress for protection!

Then it was time for dinner. We heated a can of baked beans and ate them with some bread.

It was then time to get our fire going as it was getting very dark. We were certainly hapless at this. The wood was as hard as rock and we did not have any small branches or cardboard to get it started.

We tried using part of my lonely planet guide (very good use of a lonely planet!) and pouring some petrol, but the wood was too hard to catch fire. So setting fire to Swaziland pages had been for nothing!

We were a bit concerned about the lions. They had killed 40 goats and a donkey few days before, only 20kms from camp! It even made the local news! Rather concerning, especially after the lecture given at reception about them!

So I looked around for help.
 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #90 on: November 08, 2018, 05:00:58 pm »
I could see another set of campers, with big 4x4s and trailers and all the modern comfort that South Africans seem to bring with them when camping (everything including the kitchen sink!). They had just set camp few hundreds meters form us, across a wide path.

I walked over to them and explained our predicament. They were very kind about this and gave me some fire lighter block (or whatever it is called!). Which shows that looking hapless and pathetic always gets you results! Lucky that South Africans are usually very friendly and helpful!

As I walked back to camp with my precious load, a big group of local people was walking across the path.

By then, it was pitch dark and I couldn’t really see much. They were walking in complete darkness, without lights, and not bothered by the lions. 3 young ladies from the group stopped to ask if I was ok. I explained my stupid problem (I can’t make the fire!) and they followed me and started the fire for us, using the fire starter.

 To be fair, with the fire starter , it is very easy. That thing seemed to burn forever, long enough that our wood finally caught fire!


The girls then left and the group stopped at the large organised tour camp (those of the large truck and plenty of chairs!) to sing A Capella. They had beautiful voices, rising in the dark. It was the best feeling in the world to hear those voices rising in the dark, under the magnificent night sky.

With no chairs, table or anywhere to sit, with Alistair we just stood around our little fire.

I just couldn’t stop looking at the stars, so may of  them!

 As my friend Naila told me once (she worked for the UN in refugee camps for over 20 years all over the Sahara) “in the desert the night sky feels  so close that you could almost touch the stars”.

With the moon only a thin crescent, it was spectacular.

As I have no camera good and expensive enough to take night photos of the sky, I just leave you with the day views from our campsite.




 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #91 on: November 08, 2018, 05:02:28 pm »

Day 19 –Namibia, Brandberg White Lady Lodge (Saturday 16th June)


We got up early and were at reception at 8am. We had booked an elephant drive. With two other tourists we got in one of the Safari cars in search of elephants.

Considering how big elephants are, they seemed to be very elusive.

The ride was usually 3 hours, but it took our guide a good 3 1/2 hours to find a family of about 16 elephants. But when we finally got to see them, it was great. Desert elephants are the same species than savannah elephants but smaller due to their very harsh environment.














After many photos we went back to the lodge. We relaxed in the afternoon by the pool, beer in hand, and got some toasted sandwiches for late lunch. Sadly nothing will ever match the toasted steak sandwich I had at Rostick Ritz Lodge! Ever!

 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #92 on: November 08, 2018, 05:05:29 pm »
After the previous night problem starting the fire, we asked the staff if they could provide some fire starter for the night, when delivering the wood.

After some investigation they could not find any, but the guys setting the donkeys on fire ( you remember, that is the fire to heat water for the showers’ blocks, not real donkeys!  ;D ) got our fire going. It was easy when you knew where the cardboard and little branches were stored! (By the donkeys, behind the shower blocks, in a container, if you need to know!  >:D).


So with a fire going, we knew we could survive another night!

I took time to thank again the guys who gave me fire starter the previous night. They were now back to camp. One of them was actually competing in some motocross competition nearby (his bike broke down!).

We got some instant noodle bag in the little pot, over our fuel stove, for dinner. The night sky once again gave us a magnificent display.

The night singers were going around again with many more campers and organised tours. The camp had filled up a bit. So they had more work. Once again, the mix of this beautiful night with such a spectacular sky, combined with the voices of this Choir, sometime mixing gospel songs with traditional songs, was amazing. I was loving Namibia!  :sunny:

 
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #93 on: November 08, 2018, 05:14:56 pm »
Day 20 –Namibia, Erindi private game reserve – 280kms (Sunday 17th June)

The following morning we packed camp after a quick coffee and some peanut butter with bread.

It took a while to pack as we got the tweezers out to remove those horrid thorns from our shoes, our tyres and everything they got into. Some were so large they could cause a puncture on our tyres!

We were finally on the way. Our 1st stop, 40 kms away was Uis again. We bought fuel and stopped at the Cactus Cafe again, for 2d breakfast! Another tea with their great cinnamon pancakes while Alistair preferred an omelette!


Herero women, with their 19th century style dresses near the fuel station in Uis:



It seems the Hereros were almost exterminated by the Germans late 19th century to 1904, following a large rebellion. Their numbers went down to as little at 15,000. It is estimated than in a period of 4 years, 65,000 died.  Survivors were robbed of their land, segregated and forced to work in near slave conditions.

German rule ended in 1915, when the Germans were defeated by South Africa. Herero men began dressing as the German oppressors while the women took the style of the missionary wives.

Anthropologists think this is linked to the belief that wearing the enemy’s uniform will diminish their power and transfer some of their strength into the new wearer. Herero women still wear this style of clothing today and they look majestic and graceful walking around dressed in those 19th century style colourful dresses.


So we left Uis. We stopped at the closest town to Erindi: Amaruru. After buying more fuel we set the GPS with the coordinates of Erindi private game park campsite : Camp Elephant. I had found the coordinate on their website.

Erindi is the biggest private game reserve in Namibia. It should be easy to find you would think!

My paper map showed nothing! No game reserve, no campsite, nothing!

 To start with, the GPS calculated about 70kms from Amaruru to Camp Elephant. It took us on smaller and smaller tracks.


 
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Offline Sam

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #94 on: November 09, 2018, 01:41:45 pm »


It took a while to pack as we got the tweezers out to remove those horrid thorns from our shoes, our tyres and everything they got into. Some were so large they could cause a puncture on our tyres!


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.
 
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Offline Sam

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #95 on: November 09, 2018, 01:44:43 pm »

We got some instant noodle bag in the little pot, over our fuel stove, for dinner.


Next time you must ask the South Africans (or the Namibians) to show you how to braai (barbeque in other languages.....but not quite the same.). You have wood fire......in Namibia, the land of meat......under a starry night desert sky.

 

Offline Sam

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #96 on: November 09, 2018, 01:45:39 pm »
Thanks for sharing your trip and experiences here. Lots of stuff mentioned, commented on that we just take for granted.
 

Offline ruger1

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #97 on: November 09, 2018, 03:36:38 pm »
Awesome ride report and love your 250 bikes :ricky:
 

Offline Black_Hawk

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #98 on: November 09, 2018, 03:52:38 pm »
Very nice ride report and thank you for sharing it with us  :thumleft:

Keep it coming  :sip:
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #99 on: November 09, 2018, 04:12:59 pm »

We got some instant noodle bag in the little pot, over our fuel stove, for dinner.


Next time you must ask the South Africans (or the Namibians) to show you how to braai (barbeque in other languages.....but not quite the same.). You have wood fire......in Namibia, the land of meat......under a starry night desert sky.

Carrying meat without a fridge is not ideal.... tins are perfect as it keeps forever and no risk of contamination. Our last adventure in central Asia in 2016, Alistair was in and out of hospitals quite  a lot.

He contracted such a severe food poisoning he had to be hospitalised, in Kyrgyzstan, put on a drip and get his stomach pumped! Not a pleasant experience he wishes  to renew  :biggrin:
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 04:13:37 pm by maria41 »