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Author Topic: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition  (Read 5343 times)

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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2019, 11:44:36 am »
As the inmate from Kathu....
SUB!

Lets see if I can be convinced to rather get a 500 than a 2T!
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Offline Crossed-up

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Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2019, 01:12:14 pm »
That's an amazing area! Spent time there with Alexander Nel scouting for the 2015 Amageza. The area west of Khawa is a paradise for adventurous riding. To the east the country is becoming fenced off which is a great pity. It was quite a mission getting through from Khawa to Tsabong but it could be done, as you probably have also found.
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2019, 01:17:41 pm »
That's an amazing area! Spent time there with Alexander Nel scouting for the 2015 Amageza. The area west of Khawa is a paradise for adventurous riding. To the east the country is becoming fenced off which is a great pity. It was quite a mission getting through from Khawa to Tsabong but it could be done, as you probably have also found.

Yes, there are ranches and fences closer to Tsabong, but i have found a way through. Did you guys also explore east of Tsabong?
That will be my next focus - already started plotting tracks on sat images. Just not sure about fences there, cannot be seen on sat images...

Offline Grunder

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Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2019, 01:21:07 pm »
Thanks  :thumleft:

I will get to it in the evening - back at work unfortunately...

I was about to ask you what the hell it is you do because you are forever out and about on your bike and writing RR's while I am sitting at my office desk

Pi$$es me off!!  :lol8:
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Offline Crossed-up

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Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2019, 05:35:39 pm »
That's an amazing area! Spent time there with Alexander Nel scouting for the 2015 Amageza. The area west of Khawa is a paradise for adventurous riding. To the east the country is becoming fenced off which is a great pity. It was quite a mission getting through from Khawa to Tsabong but it could be done, as you probably have also found.

Yes, there are ranches and fences closer to Tsabong, but i have found a way through. Did you guys also explore east of Tsabong?
That will be my next focus - already started plotting tracks on sat images. Just not sure about fences there, cannot be seen on sat images...

East of Tsabong there were several possibilities, but from there the rally went north.
 

Offline ernies

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2019, 06:15:15 pm »
Subscribed :ricky:
 

Offline Highsider

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Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2019, 06:23:07 pm »
Subscribed!


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Offline Xpat

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2019, 06:57:40 pm »
Day 1 - Middelpits - Two Rivers - Molopo Lodge
(240km, 180 km of sand)

I woke up feeling better and finally fully keen to hit the desert. During the night there was a heavy storm, which I took as a good sign as the sand would be compacted and easier to ride.

I settled the bill, jumped into the car and drove 30 or so km to Middelputs border post, where I arrived just as they opened for business at about 7:30 am. I crossed the border without too much hassle and drove into the Middleputs town looking for the police station which I found after an enquiry or two. Police chief kindly agreed that I can leave my car there for the next few days and I parked under awning in the fenced police parking lot. The reason I took the car into Bots was the lack of petrol available in the area west of Tsabong (if you get lucky you might get petrol in Middelputs - but it's not guaranteed, so I decided to leave my car with two ful jerry cans positioned roughly in the center of my area of interest, which gave me convenient temporary base for the exploration.

Cops helped me to unload the bike and I geared up and set-off. I was quite chuffed with my progress so far as it was still before 9:00 am, and in all mu chuffness forgot to take my bike documents, which I realized withing first 10 km just as I was to turn off tar and into dunes. Grudgingly I turned back - I needed the papers with me in case I may need to cross back to SA to get petrol in Askham or Two Rivers - gunned it back, grabed the papers and was on my way again about 20 minutes later.

The objective for the day was Two Rivers, which is a big camp at the entrance of the Kgalagadi NP, about 180 - 200 km away over the dunes. The camp is part of the NP so off limits to bikes, but I hoped to be able to sweet talk my way in for an overnight, and more importantly to fill up at the petrol station they have there. It was a long shot, but worth a try.

Here is the route I ended up riding - the blue line in the map:




Here is it again on satellite image:




First 10 - 15 km from Middelpits was on tar until I came to village named Khuis, where I turned off tar and onto a dirt road, that very quickly morphed into sandy double track. I settled very quickly into the swing of things and cruised comfortably heading west. The track run across  low dunes and flat plains, and the sandy landscape alternated between light red and yellow/white, with scrub bush providing spatterings of green:


































About 20 km in I came upon cattle post, which I diligently marked in my GPS for an emergency - the guy there had water available. For some reason all the cattle posts I found were situated on big sandy plains - I suspect that for some reason that is where the water is easily available.






Offline Xpat

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2019, 07:21:26 pm »
At the cattle post I have to decide on direction. When I plotted the routes I could only see track running north from the post eventually taking me to Khawa, which is a village in the center of this area. I have been to Khawa before and was going to ride through it next day, so for now I was keen to rather push west. I couldn't see any track heading west on the sattelite images - most of the tracks here head north/south, because the dunes are situated in the north/south direction and the tracks usually run in the valleys between the dunes. But I knew that sooner or later I will hit one of the north-south tracks I have seen further west, and suspected that there is double track going that way anyway.

You see, this satellite image plotting business is not that straighforward. On some colour of the sand - lide deep red - it is very easy to follow the tracks, while lighter sand hides them really well and one has to more or less just intuit them. On top of it some of the areas have very high level of resoltion while all of a sudden the adjacent tile is very low definition. Here two examples - first of highly visible track in red sand (which actually wasn't there when I arrived there next day  :)), and second of contrast between high definition and low definition tiles in the images:







Anyway, I decided to push west off-piste if necessary. And while I floated over the plains free form for first few km, sure enough eventually I bumped into double track heading west and took it for another 10 - 15 km until I hit the north/south track I wanted to connect to:


















Offline Xpat

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2019, 07:44:30 pm »
Eventually I came upon the path I was after and turned north. Further north the dunes gradually grew with vegetation became more sparse and the sand more pronounced. It was amazing how the scenery changed every few kilometers:





































The riding was just sublime, I was smiling like the happy idiot I was all the way:









Offline Xpat

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2019, 07:57:43 pm »
The dune sections were alternating with flat areas where I often went bundu bashing just for the heck of it. It was great fun except for one thing - the dugouts, some of which would easily swallow whole wheel. Especially in vegetation these weren't easy to spot and I had to gas it through one or two just to make it to the other side with clenched butt-cheeks.

Here is an example of porcupine dugout waiting in hiding to break my leg:





















Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #31 on: April 29, 2019, 08:57:10 pm »
I am amazed at the time you make to do these trip ... and most gratefull that you do.

 8)
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 Xpat

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2019, 09:29:56 pm »
When the track I was turned decisively north east towards Khawa, I just turned left and sailed across increasingly higher waves of dunes off-piste for the next 20 or so km. The freedom of riding this place gives you is unparalleled anywhere I know of. Yes, one can ride freely in Lesotho as well, but the terrain there will very quickly limit one to very few options, which is fun in its own way as one has to solve the puzzle of terrain to get wherever he wants to go.

Here, one can ride in whichever direction he wants, without any limitation (apart from strategically concealed hyena dugout of course  8).

The off-piste dune section:














After dozen or few dozen km of that I have arrived at yet another completely different set of dunes and at that point connected to the main track between Khawa and Two Rivers. There was another cattle post with water there, where I greeted the two herboys there and marked the spot in GPS to know where to head to should I run into trouble.


























« Last Edit: April 29, 2019, 10:07:44 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Buff

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2019, 10:36:59 pm »
Wow, that looks incredible  :thumleft: I spent 2 weeks in the Kalagadi last year and all I could think about driving up there was how cool it would be to ride a bike in those dunes... and here you are, making it happen   :ricky:

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Offline IanTheTooth

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Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #34 on: April 30, 2019, 12:53:46 am »
Does this mean we're doing the Simpson?

PS WimC wants to come too!
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 01:33:48 am by IanTheTooth »
The dog that caught the car. What now?
 

Offline MRK Miller

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #35 on: April 30, 2019, 04:47:36 am »
You must be a really good rider. I won't do 10km a day in that sand.  Awesome pic though. Thank you for sharing
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Offline Amsterdam

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Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #36 on: April 30, 2019, 08:00:19 am »
I am looking forward to read how you end up satisfying your "inner gourmet" in a place like this.  It looks somewhat limiting in the catering options.
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Offline Xpat

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #37 on: April 30, 2019, 08:55:26 am »
Oh dont worry, i will manage my way to medium rare fillet just fine - you will see... 😁

Offline Xpat

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #38 on: April 30, 2019, 09:56:19 am »
Does this mean we're doing the Simpson?

PS WimC wants to come too!

Well if I would be living where you are, I would be already planning for that!  ;)

Offline Xpat

Re: Simpson Desert - Kalahari Edition
« Reply #39 on: April 30, 2019, 09:59:42 am »
You must be a really good rider. I won't do 10km a day in that sand.  Awesome pic though. Thank you for sharing

Just get light DS bike (KLR does not fit that) and your problems in sand will go away. Either one of the modern 450/500s or old school thumpers like XT500/600 or XR650R. It is simple, the lighter, the better. Just ask people like Straatkat who was also terrified of sand before, and now, once he switched to light-weight DS, cannot get enough of it  8)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 10:01:23 am by Xpat »