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Author Topic: Motorcycle trips in Northern Namibia – what is important, and what is not?  (Read 1744 times)

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Offline Hardy de Kock

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I am typing this as we are planning our calendar for 2020, whilst reviewing the feedback we received from the 2019 trips so far.
Hosting a trip for a group of individuals is not an easy task as every single person does have different views on what makes a trip epic, and therefor different expectancies.
Under normal circumstances we collect the bikes in SA and trailer it to Windhoek and back. Our tours last for about 12 days, and most of our customers fly to Hosea Kutako airport in Windhoek from SA, from where we collect them and shuttle them to Windhoek, for a briefing evening as well as a final bike check. During this evening we also upload the planned routes onto the guest’s gps’s.
We camp in community project camps and in most cases, there are warm water and electricity available. Our riders leave at their own leisure in the morning, and one of our team rides back up, to assist with any technical issues along the day’s route
We usually offer a warm breakfast and supper, whilst providing riders with a lunch pack. On the days where it is possible for the kitchen crew to intercept the front riders we will braai or provide a hot lunch along the route.
We supply tents (usually only used on the first night) together with stretchers, comfortable chairs, mattresses, and fuel and technical back up for the entire trip. We arrange medical evacuation prior to the trip for each individual in conjunction with their respective medical aid institutions.
Keep in mind that a tour to Northern Namibia is a costly affair, and that there is no point in suggesting we try to do the tours in three days. It takes time to get to the good places and if you visit this spectacular place, it is worth doing it well.
Can I ask that those who feel they can contribute, copy and paste the questions in their post and answer it where possible?

1 Would you rather fly in, and have your bike trailered by us to Windhoek, or is it something you would prefer to do yourself?. Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra three days into your available leave time:

2. Would you prefer traveling with the crew (and your bike)? Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra days into your available leave time.

3. Are you happy with camping or would you prefer a mix of camping and lodging? Keep in mind that lodging is relatively expensive in Damara and Kaokoland.

4.What is the longest day (hours riding) that you would want to do per day? (Understand that we depart from Windhoek, and need to get to the North West from where we enter the desert via Van Zyl’s Pass). This means the first three days means longer hours in the saddle, and distances varying between 200 and 320 km.

5. Would you expect to braai every night, or are you happy with a braai every second night?

6. Are you interested in getting daily information on the places we visit, the culture, fauna, flora and other interesting info, or would you prefer to focus on the riding only?

Thanks for your time, and your contribution.
Cheers
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 06:24:38 am by Hardy de Kock »
 

Offline katana

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1 Would you rather fly in, and have your bike trailered by us to Windhoek, or is it something you would prefer to do yourself?. Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra three days into your available leave time:
I would prefer you guys dealing with the red tape as you obviously have a lot of experience.

2. Would you prefer traveling with the crew (and your bike)? Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra days into your available leave time.
I would actually prefer going up with the crew instead of getting off of a plane and just being 'there'.

3. Are you happy with camping or would you prefer a mix of camping and lodging? Keep in mind that lodging is relatively expensive in Damara and Kaokoland.
As long as the bed is comfy, I like the photos of your trips where people sleep under the stars.

4.What is the longest day (hours riding) that you would want to do per day? (Understand that we depart from Windhoek, and need to get to the North West from where we enter the desert via Van Zyl’s Pass). This means the first three days means longer hours in the saddle, and distances varying between 200 and 320 km.
Doesn't matter, as long as it is practical using the available daylight.  I would prefer a 'relaxed' ride rather than a 'race'.

5. Would you expect to braai every night, or are you happy with a braai every second night?
Trick question...  Every second night would be OK.  An early night might be required sometimes.

6. Are you interested in getting daily information on the places we visit, the culture, fauna, flora and other interesting info, or would you prefer to focus on the riding only?
Riding 90%.  Getting some info in the evening on what I saw is sufficient.  Lekker camp fire chat.
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Offline stcomza

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I've not done a trip like yours, but it is definitely on the bucket list.

My feedback, for what it's worth...

1 Would you rather fly in, and have your bike trailered by us to Windhoek, or is it something you would prefer to do yourself?. Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra three days into your available leave time:

Simple  - I fly and you drive. Having to drive all the way from Cape Town to Windhoek and then still do the trip with the bike will be overkill.

2. Would you prefer traveling with the crew (and your bike)? Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra days into your available leave time.

No. I'd rather fly in a day earlier and explore Windhoek on my own.

3. Are you happy with camping or would you prefer a mix of camping and lodging? Keep in mind that lodging is relatively expensive in Damara and Kaokoland.

This is an adventure, right? Maybe have someplace nice to sleep the first and last night, but for the rest, camping all the way.

4.What is the longest day (hours riding) that you would want to do per day? (Understand that we depart from Windhoek, and need to get to the North West from where we enter the desert via Van Zyl’s Pass). This means the first three days means longer hours in the saddle, and distances varying between 200 and 320 km.

Probably depends on the group and level of experience - in 1 hour you can go far or nowhere at all. Why race to your next destination anyway? I think the time spent in the saddle should be determined with what you want to see or where you want to go.   

5. Would you expect to braai every night, or are you happy with a braai every second night?

What about braaing for breakfast, lunch, and supper?  JOKING!!!  :biggrin:
I'd prefer you mix it up. Even if you only braai 2 or 3 times on the trip it would be fine with me. But, there has to be a fire every single night!


6. Are you interested in getting daily information on the places we visit, the culture, fauna, flora and other interesting info, or would you prefer to focus on the riding only?

Obviously, the trip is about riding. I think however it would be nice when you ride and take in the surroundings that you at least know what you are looking at, riding over, riding into etc etc.  I say, bring on the information - it will make the trip more interesting. This shouldn't be a case of rushing from point A to point B - then you might as well stay at home.


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I am going to offer my opinionated opinion, having never participated in a "Mass Holiday Ride"

1.Would you rather fly in, and have your bike trailered by us to Windhoek, or is it something you would prefer to do yourself?. Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra three days into your available leave time: This would depend on the amount of time I have available - I really enjoy the "getting to the start" bit of the trip, this helps me iron out my own issues, mentally relaxing and getting in the game, as well as fine-tuning the packing/unpacking and all the finding/losing/finding of stuff - HOWEVER, I do see the advantage of flying in - but for me its too much of a "rush" if you will....

2. Would you prefer traveling with the crew (and your bike)? Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra days into your available leave time. I would enjoy that, it gives a bit of an opportunity to get to know some people before you are loaded with the entire group

3. Are you happy with camping or would you prefer a mix of camping and lodging? Keep in mind that lodging is relatively expensive in Damara and Kaokoland. Camoing. No Question.

4.What is the longest day (hours riding) that you would want to do per day? (Understand that we depart from Windhoek, and need to get to the North West from where we enter the desert via Van Zyl’s Pass). This means the first three days means longer hours in the saddle, and distances varying between 200 and 320 km. Now here I think lies the rub..... I can ride for 14 hours a day, if required, doesnt mean I want to, BUT IF I KNOW IN ADVANCE that its required, to get ahead or catch up, no problem - pretty sure most will agree that its OK providing you are aware in advance

5. Would you expect to braai every night, or are you happy with a braai every second night? For me, either is perfectly fine - I would rather lose the choice and be provded with a hot meal, than have to cook myself after a long day in the saddle - but a fire is a must, as mentioned

6. Are you interested in getting daily information on the places we visit, the culture, fauna, flora and other interesting info, or would you prefer to focus on the riding only? Info about the day coming up would be ideal, I like to know what I am riding in, what to expect in terms of terrain, towns, culture etc

At the end of the day, I avoid riding in large groups where possible, but based on the RR's, other peoples obvious enjoyment and you and your companies willingness to get all the "red tape" and daily grind out of the trip, I am looking forward to booking with you as soon as time/finance permits - I would not join a group lightly, but your tours......  :thumleft:
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Offline teebag

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Here you go Hardy...

1 Would you rather fly in, and have your bike trailered by us to Windhoek, or is it something you would prefer to do yourself?. Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra three days into your available leave time:
With leave and family time at a premium, better to fly in and leave the logistics to you

2. Would you prefer traveling with the crew (and your bike)? Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra days into your available leave time.
as above

3. Are you happy with camping or would you prefer a mix of camping and lodging? Keep in mind that lodging is relatively expensive in Damara and Kaokoland.
mainly camping, but with maybe one lodge night in a special loication

4.What is the longest day (hours riding) that you would want to do per day? (Understand that we depart from Windhoek, and need to get to the North West from where we enter the desert via Van Zyl’s Pass). This means the first three days means longer hours in the saddle, and distances varying between 200 and 320 km.
6-8 hours

5. Would you expect to braai every night, or are you happy with a braai every second night?
not fussed, every 2nd night is good

6. Are you interested in getting daily information on the places we visit, the culture, fauna, flora and other interesting info, or would you prefer to focus on the riding only?
local information is good

Suggestion: offer 2 packages:

  • fly in and SA takes care of all the logistics
  • start and end in Windhoek

Keep the rest the same for all participants[/b]

Good luck
 
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Offline Kamanya

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Sorry, my fault, when viewing posts on an iPhone, the "return" button on the browser is right where the Mod button to lock the topic are.

Apologies.

Carry on.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 11:01:04 am by Kamanya »
I wonder where that road goes? And that, has usually made all the difference. Appologies to Mr Frost

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Offline m0lt3n

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Sorry, my fault, when viewing posts on an iPhone, the "return" button on the browser is right where the Mod button to lock the topic are.

Apologies.

Carry on.
Had me scratching my head there for a second!  :patch:
refreshed


Adding my opinion as I would really like to do this some day.

 Would you rather fly in, and have your bike trailered by us to Windhoek, or is it something you would prefer to do yourself?. Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra three days into your available leave time:
I am a cheapskate, will depend on costs

2. Would you prefer traveling with the crew (and your bike)? Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra days into your available leave time.
Not bothered

3. Are you happy with camping or would you prefer a mix of camping and lodging? Keep in mind that lodging is relatively expensive in Damara and Kaokoland.
Camping is fine, maybe not the last night. All adds to the camaraderie and sense of occasion

4.What is the longest day (hours riding) that you would want to do per day? (Understand that we depart from Windhoek, and need to get to the North West from where we enter the desert via Van Zyl’s Pass). This means the first three days means longer hours in the saddle, and distances varying between 200 and 320 km.
I would prefer it to the edge of gatvol. You paid good money and leave to ride, so ride. 8 to 4 at least

5. Would you expect to braai every night, or are you happy with a braai every second night?
good food is good, braai or not. sounds like you already have this sorted

6. Are you interested in getting daily information on the places we visit, the culture, fauna, flora and other interesting info, or would you prefer to focus on the riding only?
Definitely some information before the time. Get the benefit of your guide's local knowledge
Dooie visse gaan saam met die stroom...
 
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Offline Hardy de Kock

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Sorry, my fault, when viewing posts on an iPhone, the "return" button on the browser is right where the Mod button to lock the topic are.

Apologies.

Carry on.
Had me scratching my head there for a second!  :patch:
refreshed


Adding my opinion as I would really like to do this some day.

 Would you rather fly in, and have your bike trailered by us to Windhoek, or is it something you would prefer to do yourself?. Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra three days into your available leave time:
I am a cheapskate, will depend on costs

2. Would you prefer traveling with the crew (and your bike)? Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra days into your available leave time.
Not bothered

3. Are you happy with camping or would you prefer a mix of camping and lodging? Keep in mind that lodging is relatively expensive in Damara and Kaokoland.
Camping is fine, maybe not the last night. All adds to the camaraderie and sense of occasion

4.What is the longest day (hours riding) that you would want to do per day? (Understand that we depart from Windhoek, and need to get to the North West from where we enter the desert via Van Zyl’s Pass). This means the first three days means longer hours in the saddle, and distances varying between 200 and 320 km.
I would prefer it to the edge of gatvol. You paid good money and leave to ride, so ride. 8 to 4 at least

5. Would you expect to braai every night, or are you happy with a braai every second night?
good food is good, braai or not. sounds like you already have this sorted

6. Are you interested in getting daily information on the places we visit, the culture, fauna, flora and other interesting info, or would you prefer to focus on the riding only?
Definitely some information before the time. Get the benefit of your guide's local knowledge

Molten

I fully understand that costs plays a pivotal part in pulling the trigger on a trip like this, and therefor the questions.
We transport extra fridges for excessive meat supply, and we normaly use three vehicles on a trip like this. I guess I am trying to find out where we can save and what we need to improve on.

The Iveco or Unimog to carry luggage and supplies.
The DC Cruiser as a kitchen car
The SC Cruiser to carry spare bike, fuel, spares and if required, a rider that can not continue.
Believe me if I say that the fuel bill for these three vehicles (including the collection and delivery of bikes in SA) amounts to 50k easily.
Times are tough, and we need to figure out how to keep the costs low enough to get you guys there, without dropping in service quality.

PS - I followed your Southern Namibia thread with keen interest, and I can guarantee you that you will fall in love with North Western Namibia.
Hopefully, the day will soon come when you join us up there.

Cheers
Hardy
« Last Edit: August 16, 2019, 11:35:51 am by Hardy de Kock »
 
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Offline Hardy de Kock

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Sorry, my fault, when viewing posts on an iPhone, the "return" button on the browser is right where the Mod button to lock the topic are.

Apologies.

Carry on.

Eye - hand coordination slipping?
 

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Offline Fransw

I am typing this as we are planning our calendar for 2020, whilst reviewing the feedback we received from the 2019 trips so far.
Hosting a trip for a group of individuals is not an easy task as every single person does have different views on what makes a trip epic, and therefor different expectancies.
Under normal circumstances we collect the bikes in SA and trailer it to Windhoek and back. Our tours last for about 12 days, and most of our customers fly to Hosea Kutako airport in Windhoek from SA, from where we collect them and shuttle them to Windhoek, for a briefing evening as well as a final bike check. During this evening we also upload the planned routes onto the guest’s gps’s.
We camp in community project camps and in most cases, there are warm water and electricity available. Our riders leave at their own leisure in the morning, and one of our team rides back up, to assist with any technical issues along the day’s route
We usually offer a warm breakfast and supper, whilst providing riders with a lunch pack. On the days where it is possible for the kitchen crew to intercept the front riders we will braai or provide a hot lunch along the route.
We supply tents (usually only used on the first night) together with stretchers, comfortable chairs, mattresses, and fuel and technical back up for the entire trip. We arrange medical evacuation prior to the trip for each individual in conjunction with their respective medical aid institutions.
Keep in mind that a tour to Northern Namibia is a costly affair, and that there is no point in suggesting we try to do the tours in three days. It takes time to get to the good places and if you visit this spectacular place, it is worth doing it well.
Can I ask that those who feel they can contribute, copy and paste the questions in their post and answer it where possible?

1 Would you rather fly in, and have your bike trailered by us to Windhoek, or is it something you would prefer to do yourself?. Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra three days into your available leave time
 ### Fly&trailered

2. Would you prefer traveling with the crew (and your bike)? Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra days into your available leave time.
## Nada

3. Are you happy with camping or would you prefer a mix of camping and lodging? Keep in mind that lodging is relatively expensive in Damara and Kaokoland.
## Camping

4.What is the longest day (hours riding) that you would want to do per day? (Understand that we depart from Windhoek, and need to get to the North West from where we enter the desert via Van Zyl’s Pass). This means the first three days means longer hours in the saddle, and distances varying between 200 and 320 km.
## ±6

5. Would you expect to braai every night, or are you happy with a braai every second night?
## Every 2nd.. But cold beer every night :snorting:

6. Are you interested in getting daily information on the places we visit, the culture, fauna, flora and other interesting info, or would you prefer to focus on the riding only?
## YES! For daily and interesting info!

Thanks for your time, and your contribution.
## You are welcome! :thumleft:
Cheers
 
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Offline dirt rat

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I am typing this as we are planning our calendar for 2020, whilst reviewing the feedback we received from the 2019 trips so far.
Hosting a trip for a group of individuals is not an easy task as every single person does have different views on what makes a trip epic, and therefor different expectancies.
Under normal circumstances we collect the bikes in SA and trailer it to Windhoek and back. Our tours last for about 12 days, and most of our customers fly to Hosea Kutako airport in Windhoek from SA, from where we collect them and shuttle them to Windhoek, for a briefing evening as well as a final bike check. During this evening we also upload the planned routes onto the guest’s gps’s.
We camp in community project camps and in most cases, there are warm water and electricity available. Our riders leave at their own leisure in the morning, and one of our team rides back up, to assist with any technical issues along the day’s route
We usually offer a warm breakfast and supper, whilst providing riders with a lunch pack. On the days where it is possible for the kitchen crew to intercept the front riders we will braai or provide a hot lunch along the route.
We supply tents (usually only used on the first night) together with stretchers, comfortable chairs, mattresses, and fuel and technical back up for the entire trip. We arrange medical evacuation prior to the trip for each individual in conjunction with their respective medical aid institutions.
Keep in mind that a tour to Northern Namibia is a costly affair, and that there is no point in suggesting we try to do the tours in three days. It takes time to get to the good places and if you visit this spectacular place, it is worth doing it well.
Can I ask that those who feel they can contribute, copy and paste the questions in their post and answer it where possible?

1 Would you rather fly in, and have your bike trailered by us to Windhoek, or is it something you would prefer to do yourself?. Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra three days into your available leave time:
The options as they stand are perfect.Gauteng fly- Cape Town trailer.
2. Would you prefer traveling with the crew (and your bike)? Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra days into your available leave time.
See above.
3. Are you happy with camping or would you prefer a mix of camping and lodging? Keep in mind that lodging is relatively expensive in Damara and Kaokoland.
Camping all the way especially in Kaoko Land
4.What is the longest day (hours riding) that you would want to do per day? (Understand that we depart from Windhoek, and need to get to the North West from where we enter the desert via Van Zyl’s Pass). This means the first three days means longer hours in the saddle, and distances varying between 200 and 320 km.
As you have it now.
5. Would you expect to braai every night, or are you happy with a braai every second night?
Every night is nice but not critical.
6. Are you interested in getting daily information on the places we visit, the culture, fauna, flora and other interesting info, or would you prefer to focus on the riding only?
Yes.
Thanks for your time, and your contribution.
Cheers
 

Offline dirt rat

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Just to ad to my reply above I would like to ad to above observations.
Normally I avoid group rides and highly planned trips but riding with Specialised Adventures was an absolute pleasure.
You have the route on your gps and there is no pressure on riding pace or amount of stops - obviously within reason.
Doing Kaokoland on your own would take a lot of planning and logistics and I doubt it would cost much less.
 
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Offline KaTooMatt

I reply as s0omebody who would love to join one of your Damaraland trips having read the various ride reports.

1 Would you rather fly in, and have your bike trailered by us to Windhoek, or is it something you would prefer to do yourself?. Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra three days into your available leave time.Personally I would prefer to fly in as currently I don't have the extra leave time available. It seems you are flexible enough for the customers to date with guys having done both. My alternative would be to take a few days traversing Botswana by bike if I had the time. That would clearly require more than 3 days.

2. Would you prefer traveling with the crew (and your bike)? Keep in mind that this will eat at least an extra days into your available leave time. As mentoined abov3e probably not.

3. Are you happy with camping or would you prefer a mix of camping and lodging? Keep in mind that lodging is relatively expensive in Damara and Kaokoland. A mix as the odd lodge night can help restore a broken sleep cycle  when you get realy exhausted

4.What is the longest day (hours riding) that you would want to do per day? (Understand that we depart from Windhoek, and need to get to the North West from where we enter the desert via Van Zyl’s Pass). This means the first three days means longer hours in the saddle, and distances varying between 200 and 320 km. Distances vary depending on the conditions. A long day would be 7 hours saddle time as an exception with preferred days being below 4 hours saddle time. This is obviously excluding stop times.

5. Would you expect to braai every night, or are you happy with a braai every second night?
I would not have to braai every night. It would be easier for the caterers on the long days to be able to just heat up a Bolognaise or Lasagna. It would be quicker and also probably easier than hanging around waiting for the fie to be ready.

6. Are you interested in getting daily information on the places we visit, the culture, fauna, flora and other interesting info, or would you prefer to focus on the riding only?Definitely. A pre-ride briefing pack and possibly a highlights daily briefing at breakfast. Knowing to look out for the stone men for instance would be useful.
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Offline Dwerg

Fly in and out for sure. It’s a hard trip as is and I was spent at the end. No way I could’ve done a ride or drive home after that.

Only complaint with the arrival and first days logistics was that by that time you’re so excited for the ride that the first day felt too short. It is however good for a bike shakedown and getting settled in so I am on the fence about that one.

First night lodge, last night lodge, the rest camping was perfect. Or if someone wants to lodge midway, the option can be made available.

Riding days and distances were good. Some would like more, some would like less. Can’t please everyone in a diverse group.

Braai not required but bush camping isn’t bush camping without a fire. The food on the trip did add a lot of enjoyment to the whole experience. I wouldn’t have complained about beans on toast but having already had it that good, I am now spoilt

Area info and route briefing is essential. Let’s leave it at that
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Offline katana

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Actually Hardy, don't complicate life with more choices.  The point has been made by others that have toured with your team, that you have a winning formula.   :ricky:
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Honda XR250 - Given to daughter.  BMW 1200 GSA met Karretjie  -  Suzuki 125 Scoota with a KTM topbox - sold.  Honda CRF 250 L
 

Offline WildWood

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Hardy, from the outside it appears you have a winning formula. My advise would be to stick to your plan and and continue giving what your clients obviously enjoy. When I bumped into you guys in Palmwag in July there seemed to be great spirit in the camp and reading reports on social media I've only noted positive feedback.

Obviously I play in the same market but our offerings are very different and appeal to a different audience. I have chosen to take small tight groups (6 riders max), keep the group together at all times and have a mix of lodges and camping. That way the support team are always on hand to help and repairs, punctures , snacks, cold drinks etc are readily available. But the personal experience option increases the already substantial costs and I have to be more decerning when vetting clients. Sadly I have to turn away to ensure a good fit in the group. With your model like minded personalities and riding skill levels can more easily fit into a sub group on the tour.

Considering tour length I agree 12 days is about ideal to do justice to Kaokoland /Damaraland . Most guys and girls have limited leave and flying is the only option. Spouses already take strain for a 12 day stint.

I trailer my clients bikes up and down at no extra cost because my crew  have to drive up anyway and about 70% of my clients rent our KTM690"s anyway.

 
 

Offline Hardy de Kock

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Hi John
Thanks for you comments
The problem is the very real decline of willing and able customers in the market.  I have spoken to a lot of guys this year specifically, that would really love to ride Northern Namibia, but simply could not afford it.  I am trying to figure out what it is that is absolutely necessary, and what we can save on, thus keeping the costs involved as low as possible. Fuel, border crossings, food, drinks, flights, camping (and lodging) costs are skyrocketing at the moment, which necessitates a price increase. I unfortunately realise that there is a limit to what people can pay to play.
I don’t think our customer base is that different.  We both just cover opposite ends of the spectrum, in terms of the experience.
Cheers
 

Offline Hardy de Kock

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Fly in and out for sure. It’s a hard trip as is and I was spent at the end. No way I could’ve done a ride or drive home after that.

Only complaint with the arrival and first days logistics was that by that time you’re so excited for the ride that the first day felt too short. It is however good for a bike shakedown and getting settled in so I am on the fence about that one.

First night lodge, last night lodge, the rest camping was perfect. Or if someone wants to lodge midway, the option can be made available.

Riding days and distances were good. Some would like more, some would like less. Can’t please everyone in a diverse group.

Braai not required but bush camping isn’t bush camping without a fire. The food on the trip did add a lot of enjoyment to the whole experience. I wouldn’t have complained about beans on toast but having already had it that good, I am now spoilt

Area info and route briefing is essential. Let’s leave it at that

Dis 'n bietjie van a Freudian slip - Ek dink jy was net vies oor jou bene "too short" was toe jy moes stop :imaposer: