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Offline Rooies

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #100 on: January 03, 2020, 02:30:53 pm »
Thanks for a great report, @Zanie :thumleft:
After stumbling on this report in December I promptly booked and paid deposit for the May episode, can't wait!  O0
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Offline MRK Miller

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #101 on: January 06, 2020, 07:13:16 am »
So sorry that i pushed you to write on, but that is such a amazing place, having also experiencing it even if it was on a 4x4. If only i had known about adventure biking then. But that does not change the fact, that people like you, and all the others who do such excellent ride reports, with so many pictures and videos, allow me and people like me who for various reasons are not able to go there at this time, to experience this and other awesome destinations, eg Malawi Angola, Namibie ext. My excitement just got the best of me for a bit. Will try to not rush any one again :biggrin:. But thank you for awesome report.

Then just What action cams do you use
I would rather fall a thousand times, and keep riding, than to stop riding and never fall
 

Offline Zanie

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #102 on: January 06, 2020, 10:16:23 am »
Not going to lie, I also had a bit of a helmet cry on that ride down to Puros. Simply amazing
I understand why Kobus made a complete life and career change after experiencing this side of Namibia. I've never felt as I did after this holiday. It was hard to adapt back to 'normal' life.

After stumbling on this report in December I promptly booked and paid deposit for the May episode, can't wait!  O0
You won't regret it!

So sorry that i pushed you to write on
No worries. Actually it's good to have this motivation, or else the RR can so easily get relegated to the back-burner. It's also nice to know that people are still reading.

Then just What action cams do you use
Lance is better-suited to answer this question. I think it's the GoPro 7. The image stablisation on this camera is next-level. Lance recently switched video-editing software. Earlier videos were made with Hitfilm; the latest was made using DaVinci Resolve. The latest video was also colour-corrected, which means the colours should look less washed out than the previous videos.
 
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Offline Dustman

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #103 on: January 06, 2020, 03:43:21 pm »
Dankie dat ons kon saamry. Dit was besonders.   :thumleft:
"Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."
 

Offline MRK Miller

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #104 on: January 06, 2020, 04:40:05 pm »
It is nice to share memories and adventures with the family.. The idea is to inspire the young ones. Not much on tv anyway, and o i forgot our tv does not work, accept when plugged into labtop, or dvd player 8). Working on my own report at the moment, so i have a idea of  how it goes, although i only have a few pictures, and don't have to edit so many video
I would rather fall a thousand times, and keep riding, than to stop riding and never fall
 

Offline Zanie

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #105 on: February 02, 2020, 07:46:14 pm »
Day 8: Purros to Khowarib (181 km)

Behold! Our bike line-of-defence against the lions held. Or, more likely, the snorers kept the local pride at bay with their own roars.



We live another day. And a glorious day it was.



We had not seen civilisation or shops for days now. The older bread was turned into yummy rusks, to compliment a breakfast of eggs, bacon, and leftover steak and onions.



We were handed our lunch ration pack (picture on the left below). This supplemented a veritable stash from previously uneaten goodies (picture on the right). You won’t go hungry on the Specialised trips.



The camp was abuzz with activity.

An efficient packing production line:



Make every space count:



Ian switching to a tyre with more tread:



The team managed a fix for Abel’s bike’s busted tank mounts. Yet he did not ride today, either because the bike still had gremlins or because we were going to face desert sand later in the day.



Abel did not feel like adding to his already-spectacular bruises. We were shown the damage today, and it was something to behold.



All the bikes queued for a fuel breakfast; obtained from the Specialised Team’s storage tanks.



Bertie’s bike was drained of fuel, to supplement the available fuel for those still riding.



Bertie still managing a smile, despite the circumstances:



The rest of us also had something to feel sad about: we were to skip the Purros Canyon section of today’s ride, due to the presence of a grumpy elephant called Jabu. “Jabu” means happiness, which is ironic, considering that this Jabu is not someone to be trifled with and gets highly pissed off if anyone shares his space too closely.

The day started with a bang: sand.



Mmm. Chocolate flake.



A huge dust-puff indicated where Gordon came up short – at the point where the hard surface turned soft again.



A huge dust puff – this time voluntary:



In the photo above, you can see a steep sand bank we needed to climb. Gordon powered his huge beast up the sand wall. Lance almost didn’t make it on the Rally.



We regrouped before setting off again across plains of nothingness.



Henk treated us to a wheelie, which was brave, considering the potential for ego damage. As Lance pointed out, “If he wiped out there, it would have been on camera, in action.” Oubones’s bike was getting sicker by the day (see inset in photo below). At this point in time, it was being fed intermittent tots of oil.



Eye candy (I’m referring to the desert landscape, not whomever random biker happens to be in front of me!):









In many respects, today was like yesterday: hot (38°C and above) and beautiful.













There were some rougher sections to add interest:





Oubones in a landscape:


Then there is the daily dose of ‘shady tree’. I still find these photos amusing: many bikes and people clumped together in the one shady spot.



The road shifted back and forth between gravel and sand, preparing us for the desert section ahead, all the while providing a stunning backdrop.













Wherever the road ventured into an area that may have shade, you had to keep an eye open for livestock…



…and sand…


…or both.


An eerie landscape:


“Are you getting this on camera?”



And then the landscape shifted to red desert.







Bikers look very small in such a place.



I’m not sure what occurred here. My diary notes are not forthcoming. Ian looks a bit despondent. Whatever it was, it was resolved.





The others didn’t seem too worried.



Let me never forget the terrors that sand used to induce in my being. The difference imparted through TITS (Time In The Saddle) and a smaller bike amazes me.

I still don’t get things right. I don’t know why, but I tend to “waltz” in the sand. I’ve learnt to ignore whatever the back of my bike gets up to. It doesn’t affect my nerves anymore. Lance’s rejoinder: “How do you know it’s not wrecking my nerves?”



His other quip of the moment: “This is Zanie cruising at 60 km/h in the sand. I wonder how it feels to fall off at 60...” I don’t want to know. Both of us were out of action for 4-5 months thanks to lower-speed falls.



More desert shots:











We were soon back in “the land of the (sparse) tree”, which meant livestock. We spotted small groups of goats and sheep, which were followed by a dusty mass of sheep. Lion King stampede scene, eat your heart out.







Like an animal Tour de France, they came past in large pelotons. This was peloton B:



Each race has its stragglers:



Hennie R plus landscape:



Even the cattle took what shade they could get:





The road kept changing colour, between red and grey.







There were texture changes as well.





In the mountains:



Bike to the front and rear:



My head was constantly on a swivel, checking out the scenery:





I took most of today at a very chilled pace, to take it all in.



The two dots ahead were lonely cattle, heading who-knows-where.





Amazing:







A green patch, evidence of fickle rains.







We stopped at Sesfontein to refuel. This was the first substantial town and the first fuel station we saw in 5 days! Our last fuel stop was in Opuwo, on day 3 of the trip.

Lance snuck into a turn-off without me noticing. He should know better, considering my sense of direction. I get these directions through the headset: “Go left and backwards”. That would be interesting to behold. Bikes don’t come with reverse gear, dear.

The red sign below, sandwiched between two buildings, is hard to make out, but it is advertising “selling tyres”, with “we” added as an afterthought, just in case you’re not sure who is selling tyres. It’s like the universal “they”.



On our way again:



Gordon checking on us:




The sky was gathering itself for a storm tonight. These clouds were the first recruits.



We were back at Khowarib Lodge; a place we visited briefly on the third day of our trip. Lance stationed himself at the causeway that caught out Ian last time, but everyone took it carefully and no further drama was captured.



We would be in Khowarib campsite for the night. The lodge’s pool was at our disposal, thanks to Hardy’s arrangements. A couple of us were more interested in a nearby natural pool, complete with waterfall. Therefore, shortly after arrival at Khowarib, Hennie R, Brian, Pete, Duncan, Lance and I headed off again.

The road to the waterfall appeared to be of ordinary sand/dirt, but the yellowish colour and thick clouds of hanging dust after gave it away as fesh fesh.





Better to stick to the edges.



There are hidden holes, covered by fine dust. Pete hit one of them here:





The road wasn’t the only hurdle. The local dogs here mean business. Lance’s chirp on the headset, concerning the dogs: “Have they got you? Did you kick it in its head?"

I think it’s possessed…


For some or other reason, the fan on Duncan’s bike decided to go on strike. He eventually turned back due to mechanical sympathy and the desire to keep the KTM’s innards at medium-rare rather than well-done.



The sky was looking ominous:



The view from the parking spot:



It’s a bit of a slog walking down all these stairs while wearing 4kg of boots:



The pool has a wooden deck (to your right) and a waterfall (out of view, on the left):



The water was crystal clear.



There would be a full moon tonight. The guys pre-empted this and gave us two for the price of one.



A local young lady and her toddler son arrived just before we left. As usual, the personable Brian starts a conversation. He always likes to learn more about whomever he bumps into.

At one point, he asks where all the other locals are – why don’t they use the pool? From the lady: foreigners won’t swim there if the locals use it. Brian asks why. The response, given in unemotional language, contained the word “ugly”, while she pointed matter-of-factly to her skin. That is a sad indictment of society. This lady truly believed she was ugly. Brian took pains to tell her she was indeed beautiful.

I cannot imagine what would happen if the tables were turned. For example, if the foreign kite-surfers flocking to Cape Town’s beaches right now for the Red Bull King of the Air competition wanted the beach and ocean unsullied by locals for the 3-4 weeks they are in the area…

It was getting late, so we bid farewell to the pool.



Though we had to admire the view first, of course.

Lance and Hennie, looking timeless:




Brian setting off:





Rainbow on the left, sunset on the right:





Sinking into the fesh fesh:


Brian, Hennie and Pete disappeared into the distance. Lance stuck with his snail.



I’m glad I had my headlight fixed before the trip. A lone figure can be spotted in the distance below. I always wonder where such a person is heading, especially this time of night and in this seemingly middle-of-nowhere place.



A friendly fire eventually signalled our arrival at camp.



A couple of people were keen to ride the Khowarib Schlucht (gorge), a 4x4 trail. Hardy warned of the crazy fesh fesh that can be encountered on this route. I was intrigued, so I hopped on to the back of Hardy’s Cruiser, along with Lance, Hennie R, Pete, Brian and Gordon to have a look at this infamous track.

It seemed that the recent rains had an impact, because no soft stuff was to be found, though you could see the yellow-coloured earth that is its creator. In the photo of our night drive below, I included an insert of what the place can be like.



Hennie R, Brian and Henk will tackle the Schlucht tomorrow. The rest of us bowed out. Gordon was worried about his bike’s ground clearance. Lance and I wanted to survive for an upcoming dirt bike trip through the Transkei.

Back at camp, we had a supper of mince curry and rice. I am really partial to curry! You could see a storm on the horizon, with the odd flash of lightning. Lance and I did not feel like being woken up by rain or mozzies, so we pitched a tent, with flysheet. It felt horribly muggy and confined, given that we’re now used to the under-the-stars arrangement. We needn’t have bothered, because the storm remained far away, turning a different patch of Namibia green.
 

Offline XRBradman

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #106 on: February 02, 2020, 08:03:03 pm »
Stunning. Going in May.


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Offline Rooies

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #107 on: February 02, 2020, 08:31:26 pm »
Stunning. Going in May.


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See you there :thumleft:


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Offline DRme

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #108 on: February 03, 2020, 08:41:12 pm »
Very good quality photos, Zanie.
What camera did you use?
 

Offline chopperpilot

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #109 on: February 03, 2020, 09:18:51 pm »
Such wonderful memories! Thanks again for the ride report effort, Zanie and Lance. It's highly appreciated!

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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #110 on: February 04, 2020, 09:51:41 am »
Fantastic riding terrain  :thumleft:
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Offline Zanie

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #111 on: April 20, 2020, 08:27:37 pm »
Day 9: Khowarib to Twyfelfontein (251 km)

Video:
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/neln7Q5H1uE" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/neln7Q5H1uE</a>
Creator: Lance

The magical moment of moonset, just before the sunrise:



Our transport-cupboards waiting patiently outside the tent:



The fall on Rooidrom Pass three days ago had left its technicolour mark:





The bikes were also slowly starting to exhibit their own aches and pains.

Duncan’s KTM no longer had a working fan, which meant he had to avoid slow riding and labouring of the engine – basically keep to gravel highway.

Oubones’s KLR’s oil consumption was getting progressively worse as the trip wore on. By now, it was chugging a whole litre of oil per 100km!

While the KLR was turning oil into blue vapour as fast as it could, Abel’s bike simply cut out the engine middleman; shedding oil directly into air via the leak it picked up during a day of crashes four days ago. By now it was a common sight in the mornings to see the crew try to improve the situation. Unfortunately bent metal just does not lend itself to the function of a perfect seal.



Not to be outdone, my little Honda leaked petrol whenever stationary, unless the fuel tap was closed. I had taken to carrying a screwdriver with me, which I used to tap and/or drain the float bowl every now and then, in order to try to dislodge the impurity causing the blockage. Yet the roads were so bumpy that the offending speck (later found during a post-trip service) would just shift back. The best course of action was simply to shut the fuel tap whenever I wasn’t actually riding.

Breakfast was served in its usual prompt and scrumptious format, alongside military-precision cutlery.





Brian, Hennie R and Henk had left early, as they were tackling the Khowarib Schlucht. The plan was to meet up with them at Palmwag Lodge. The rest of us had a far easier route, which meant that we could take our time during morning preparations. It was past 10am by the time we set off into the red landscape.







A rather odd speed limit, considering the dead-straight road and open horizons:



We have left the absolute middle-of-nowhere behind, reaching slightly-left-of-centre-of-nowhere; evidenced through the availability of a miniature fuel station.



All of us regrouped at Palmwag Lodge, just past lunchtime. We met a die-hard foreign couple with an extraordinary tale to tell. They had bought two bikes (I think DRs?) and rode from Cape Town to Namibia. The girl got hit by a car; breaking her wrist and writing off the bike. Undeterred, she hopped on to the back of her partner’s bike and they continued their journey. At the slippery causeway near Khowarib Lodge, which had caused hilarity for us on day 3, the guy crashed, dislocating his shoulder. They sold the last bike to cover some medical expenses, but were continuing on their holiday!

Bertie with the crazy couple:


From Palmwag Hotel, you can take gravel highway all the way to Twyfelfontein. Lance, on the other hand, planned to join Hennie R, Henk and Brian on yet another off-the-beaten track escapade, following the Aba-Huab River.

I really wanted to join, but Hardy said my bike would not cope in the heavy river sand. Lance later mentioned he wished we had swapped bikes, since the CRF230’s power-to-weight ratio is far better than that of the 250L Rally. My bike can cope. Perhaps it was Hardy’s diplomatic way of saying I wouldn’t cope. Rather blame the bike!

Nevertheless, I would have slowed the guys down a lot. Lance didn’t have any worries about whether I’d make the sand and he has the patience of a saint. His reasoning for my taking the easier route was this: I cannot do an “elephant turn” and he was worried about elephants.

Therefore I had to bid Lance goodbye; watching him disappear down a really interesting-looking rougher track. I had a bit of a fear-of-missing-out helmet cry, but my sombre mood was lifted somewhat when the gravel highway showed that what it lacked in interesting surfacing it made up for in beautiful views. Lance and his GoPro was not around, so I stopped many times to take snaps of the scenery.





The vast area lends itself to panoramas.







Oubones was my riding buddy and therefore became the bike-for-scale feature in quite a few of my pictures.









Henk, Hennie, Brian and Lance’s route took them past Namibia’s version of suburbia.



Complete with waving fans.



The route varied from rocks to sand to anything in between.











Portraits of Henk:







A red landscape:



Forever view:





Rest stop:



While the start of the route tended towards stones, most of the remainder was sand. Lots of sand.

It started as sand with grass:





Then standard sand:







Then riverbed sand:



25km of it…



Sand highway anyone?





Add signs of elephants, just to keep you on your toes:



Then add multiple choice:



And some fesh fesh for good measure:



It was interesting listening to Lance’s commentary as he ploughed through the sand, which included:
“Blinding white. Can’t see a thing.”
“I’m getting out of breath here.”
“Sjoe! This is hard work.”
And, towards the end: “I'm exhausted.”

No grey multi-tonne locals were seen, but there were locals of the smaller variety.



Introductions were made, but I don’t think the kids believed Brian when he introduced himself as Rambo.



Local intel had it that 21 elephants were in the area the previous day! The kids asked: “Aren’t you scared of elephants?” Rambo’s response: “Elephant is scared of me!”



It pays to make friends, because the kids mentioned a dam where you can swim. They ran ahead, leading the way.

Lance was in such a rush that he forgot his neck brace, but one of the older kids (can you believe he is only 16?) brought it for him.



Brian (a.k.a. Rambo) entertaining the kids:





Happiness on a hot day:





As a fair trade for the swim, the guys gifted their remaining snacks, before heading off once more.







Henk obviously still had enough energy left to play around:







Eventually the crazies joined us normal folk at Twyfelfontein Country Lodge for drinks.



It was still hot enough that even the birds were panting.



Bertie making friends with a feathered local:



We won’t be staying here tonight, but we made use of the facilities and view.



Interesting staircase:



Eventually it was time to head off:


But not before a mini-safari:





We were heading to Twyfelfontein Community Camp.



Same as yesterday, we ended up riding in the dark.







The reason you should not be speeding while riding in the dark:





Shortly after our arrival at camp, Hardy came to talk to us. I thought it may be due to our late arrival, but it was actually because Hardy felt bad that I could not join the afternoon ride with Lance and co., and he hoped I could see his reasoning behind it. I could – it was for the best. Hopefully one day I’ll be back and fast and skilled enough to join the crazies in the sand. Meanwhile, I have the perfect training ground in my backyard.

After our supper of ribs, pap and sous, Ian took centre stage and had us paralytic with laughter.



Most of the hilarity will forever be tied to that moment in time, so any attempt at translation will be lacklustre in comparison, but here are some snippets:

On supper: “Best food you’re ever going to eat. You’ll be well-fed for the lion.”

On our lunch snack-packs: “You’re up in a tree, chased by a lion, and all you can do is throw jelly babies at it. Everybody should be issued with a weapon.”

When asked how he managed to obtain the blisters on his hand: “I fall, but I know the exhaust is nowhere near where I am now. But the whole weight of the motorcycle is on my left hand – it took about 4 seconds to pull it out. The exhaust was on the other side, but I forgot the engine’s been running most of the day… It’s like a double-plate gas cooker.”

On Hardy’s trips in general: “All you people that are watching this: don’t come here, he’s gonna kill you. Hardy likes this group. He’s decided not to have any of us taken out. I mean - all he says when you get back to the camp is ‘The guy hit a tree.’ Meanwhile he was paid to get rid of the chap. If you don’t have an XR there’s a good chance you won’t make it home.”



Eventually it was bed-time. There were no threatening thunderstorms, so we were under the stars again – my firm preference!



Oubones’s KLR survived this day, but a true test was to come tomorrow. We were going to push bikes far beyond the limits of possibility, the KLR in particular...

 
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Offline dirt rat

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #112 on: April 22, 2020, 07:30:39 am »
Surely one of the most detailed and comprehensive reports ever.
This report deserves to be moved to the Roll of Honour section.
Thank you Lance and Zanie.
 
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Offline Lem

Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #113 on: April 22, 2020, 01:43:46 pm »
Dit was nou werklik iets besonders  :thumleft:
Faith is not knowing what the future holds, it's knowing who holds the future
 

Offline P.K.

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #114 on: April 22, 2020, 03:08:22 pm »
Surely one of the most detailed and comprehensive reports ever.
This report deserves to be moved to the Roll of Honour section.
Thank you Lance and Zanie.

My sentiments exactly Craig.

I too am doing the lockdown Ride Report boogie.....getting some serious Kaokoland fever.
 

Offline weskus

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #115 on: April 22, 2020, 04:00:05 pm »
Lekker Zanie & Lance, one of my top 5 special trips during 2006 on my Dakar as well. Definitely time to go back again.. well done on this detailed RR
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Offline Zanie

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #116 on: April 22, 2020, 07:03:13 pm »
Surely one of the most detailed and comprehensive reports ever.
This report deserves to be moved to the Roll of Honour section.
Thank you Lance and Zanie.
Thanks for your kind words. I assume Lance and I will need to finish it first to stand any chance! Plenty time now during lockdown for writing, so it shouldn't take months for the next installment ;)

I too am doing the lockdown Ride Report boogie.....getting some serious Kaokoland fever.
I noticed you were commenting on Chopperpilot's RR, because I was there too  ;D

Dit was nou werklik iets besonders  :thumleft:
Dankie Lem.

Lekker Zanie & Lance, one of my top 5 special trips during 2006 on my Dakar as well. Definitely time to go back again.. well done on this detailed RR
Sjoe. I'm glad I didn't have my old 650GS. I think I might have died! How did the Dakkie handle it?
 

Offline Oubones

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #117 on: April 22, 2020, 08:17:06 pm »
Thanks Zanie and Lance, pity I lost all my photo's.
Was a nice trip and to think I have been all over Nam during the rest of the year but this trip was the best!
Waiting for the stress part of the RR!
Ironicly the last I rode the Klr, she used 5lt of oil on 70km but still ran. :peepwall:
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Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #118 on: April 22, 2020, 09:22:08 pm »
Nice report, Zanie!

Just one point I want to embroider on. The "ugly" part of the native's story around the foreigners not wanting to swim with the locals I really believe not to be racism, but simple cultural differences.

Stand next to one of the local inhabitants on a hot day, with skin rubbed in with a mixture of oxblood and mud, and the atmosphere gets interesting.
 

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Re: Kaokoland: a perspective from a pink bike
« Reply #119 on: April 22, 2020, 10:04:23 pm »
Nice report, Zanie!

Just one point I want to embroider on. The "ugly" part of the native's story around the foreigners not wanting to swim with the locals I really believe not to be racism, but simple cultural differences.

Stand next to one of the local inhabitants on a hot day, with skin rubbed in with a mixture of oxblood and mud, and the atmosphere gets interesting.

Fully agree - We saw this at the cattle dam on your way to VZ camp. The Himba's arrived at the dam as some of our guests were cooling off. The Himbas waited for them to finish before they went into the water.
We also unfortunately had the opposite. Some of our guests (females too) arrived at Odongo, close to Khuwarib for a swim. Two of the locals (Damara's) were swimming dressed in shorts. As soon as our guests (females included) got into the water, the locals got rid of their shorts and walked around naked. 
« Last Edit: April 23, 2020, 07:01:21 pm by Hardy de Kock »