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Author Topic: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)  (Read 20592 times)

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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #200 on: December 06, 2020, 11:06:44 pm »
Carefull there Bruce! At least two of them are already spoken for by Justin and he might not look at your attempts there kindly! 

He is a vindictive  fella and left pissed off cobra waiting for me after we met these ladies just to get me as potential rival out of the way - and I didn't as much as sqeek at the ladies...

LOL! Perhaps you can let Justin know that I'm spoken for and will gracefull bow out of his race to accumulate a harem. :-)
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Ride Reports: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure) | The Long Way To Moab
 

Offline Xpat

Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #201 on: December 06, 2020, 11:10:52 pm »
Carefull there Bruce! At least two of them are already spoken for by Justin and he might not look at your attempts there kindly! 

He is a vindictive  fella and left pissed off cobra waiting for me after we met these ladies just to get me as potential rival out of the way - and I didn't as much as sqeek at the ladies...

LOL! Perhaps you can let Justin know that I'm spoken for and will gracefull bow out of his race to accumulate a harem. :-)

And what makes you think that he isn't?  >:D

Offline funacide

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #202 on: December 07, 2020, 08:52:11 am »
Wow, that is amazing. I first off cant believe you guys found cold beer all the way there and also the camp site looks amazing.

Wild camping in places like that is just FANTASTIC. I really need to go to Namibia again soon!



Will watch the videos later today when I am done working with a whiskey!!!

Thanks for sharing
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Offline briv

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #203 on: December 07, 2020, 11:11:20 am »
Thanks for a lekker read Bruce  :thumleft: Brings back memories from our trip 2007.
oor B..erge en RIV..iere sal ons ry,
mag dit altyd tog so bly....
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is jy moeg,,,,, of vaak groot gemaak?  (2StrokeDan)
 

Offline @offroad

Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #204 on: December 07, 2020, 05:09:43 pm »
Awesome - what an experience  :sip:.

Also love your writing style, entertaining and amusing at times - you and Minxy do a great job.

Thanks for sharing - keep it coming!
Colin

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Offline exkdx

Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #205 on: December 07, 2020, 09:58:57 pm »
 Stunning report Bruce O0
Keep it going!
KDX200 gone
YZ 250 gone
Husky TE610 one left
KTM 500 XC-W latest addition
 

Offline BoskakBruce

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DAY 8 – HARTMANNBERGE TO MARBLE CAMP
« Reply #206 on: December 07, 2020, 11:12:49 pm »
I woke up feeling sticky. Sleeping last night was difficult because the desert sand beneath my tent stayed warm all night. The only way I can think to describe it is like an electric blanket.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m sticky, I’m uncomfortable. And there’s only one cure for that when wild camping – baby wipes (or wipeys as my wife calls them).

I slowly sit up in my one-man tent groaning like an old man. It’s a little cramped inside. I reach for the baby wipes and have a “wipey shower”. Four baby wipes later and I feel almost as if I’ve had a real shower.

I crawl out of my tent and make coffee for Jan Lucas and I. Marc’s a tea guy.

Today is our big dune day. We’ve been waiting for this day the whole trip, because none of us have ever been across the Hartmannberge and into the dunes beyond.

We’ve put so much planning into having enough petrol, food, water, safety, sat phone – all for this one day.

Why?

Because is the most remote we’re going to be on the entire trip. I doubt we’ll see anyone once we enter the dunes. If something happens, we need to be prepared – and I feel that we are.

Except, after I fill my two 3-liter hydration bags, we notice that we’re running low on water.

“Why don’t I ride back to Ben’s shop and see if I can buy water?

They guys look at me as if I’m crazy to volunteer to ride back the way we came, but unanimously agree that it’s a good idea.

I just want to ride more sand. I mean, how often am I going to get the opportunity to be here – and not only here, but here post lockdown after nobody has been here for almost a year. This is once-in-a-lifetime stuff.

I blast off to the shop. The air is crisp and I open up my bike, straying from yesterdays tracks to enjoy the virgin sand.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2020, 12:45:33 am by Overland Bruce »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #207 on: December 07, 2020, 11:13:45 pm »
I arrive at 7:30am and Ben is standing outside his shop with a bunch of guys.
 
I greet him with a smile and handshake and he seems curious to see us again.
“Are you guys OK? He asks.
“Yes. We just need some water. Do you sell 5-liter bottles?”
“Nooooo. We don’t sell water. Only Beer!”

“Beer might work…” I think to myself, but then decide that putting beer in my Camelbak and getting hammered in the dunes is probably a stupid idea. Jan Lucas might go for it, though. 😊

“So, what water do you drink?”

Ben points behind me in the distance. “Borehole…”

“Can I use your borehole, please?”

“Sure”, he says. “You need a bottle?”

“Yes! Thank you!”

Ben rattles off something in Otjiherero to his buddy Columbigo. Columbigo starts sprinting across the desert towards the borehole and Ben beckons me to follow him.
There’s no way I’m sprinting across the desert in my bike gear, so I hop on the bike and follow Columbigo.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #208 on: December 07, 2020, 11:15:26 pm »
We arrive at the water-well /  borehole thingy.
 
Columbigo looks around for a rope, then winds it around the starter of the big diesel water pump and yanks the rope as hard as he can.

The pump roars to life and water begins gushing from the pipe attached to it into a trough.

Comumbigo washes out the 5-liter water bottle and fills it up for me. Here's a video of it:



I thank him, give him a tip and beckon him to get on the back of my 500. He looks excited and nervous. I imagine that he’s never been on a motorcycle before – let alone a KTM 500.

He climbs on behind me, grips onto me tight and I give him the ride of his life. We kick up a cloud of sand as I blast off from the water well. I’m sure I’m waking the dead, but it’s worth it to see Columbigo’s face.

We screeched to a halt outside Ben’s shop with a rear wheel slide, impressing all Columbigo’s friends. He hops off grinning and I bet all the other boys were envious. It made me feel good to be able to do that for him.

Nobody wanted to charge me for the water, and I zoomed back to camp.

On the way, I couldn’t resist this photo of a Himba hut near Ben’s shop.
 
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #209 on: December 07, 2020, 11:16:53 pm »
By the time I get back to camp, the boys are ready to leave. We decant the water into Marc’s 6-litre bladder and set off to explore the track over the Hartmannberge.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #210 on: December 07, 2020, 11:19:47 pm »
The track turns into a rocky hill climb and I'm loving the challenge of trying to ride it without dabbing a foot. I make it.

Here's a video of part of the climb.

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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #211 on: December 07, 2020, 11:22:02 pm »
As we work our way up to higher ground, the track opens up into a fast sandy riverbed.

And then I almost crash.

Not through any fault of my own, but because two enormous giraffes run right out of the bushes and in front of me. We stop and take in the moment as the giraffe just stand 50 meters away from us staring silently as if to say, “What???”
 
Eventually, the mountain track descends and we can see the Hartmannberge sand dunes in the distance.
 
My heart starts beating a little faster in anticipation of what lies ahead.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #212 on: December 07, 2020, 11:23:33 pm »
A few minutes later we go from riding rocks to being surrounded by an ocean of sand...

This video may help you get a sense of it.



Words cannot describe the feeling of isolation out here. It’s magical.

The boys blast off into the distance, but I can’t stop taking photos, so I lag behind. I’m also enjoying the silence not having Marc’s Akro blasting in my ears.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #213 on: December 07, 2020, 11:24:35 pm »
What follows is hard to describe. The sand is Virgin. It looks like nobody has driven this road in a long, long time. It’s not even a road. It’s a fine outline of what used to be a sandy 4x4 track and has now been blown over with sand.

It feels other-worldly.
 
The sand is soft and my Mitas C-02 rear tire is loving it. The 500 is made for desert riding. It floats over the sand at speed.



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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #214 on: December 07, 2020, 11:26:00 pm »
I catch up with the boys and we’re all exhilarated.

“Fuuuuck, this is amazing.” says Jan Lucas in a rare display of colorful language.
 
We all agree. This is fucking amazing. Like ridiculously fucking amazing.

We race down a hill and arrive at some really big sand dunes.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #215 on: December 07, 2020, 11:27:32 pm »
Marc almost rides over the crest of the dune, not seeing the enormous drop on the other side.

I’m able to flag him down and make him stop. He later thanks me for saving his life.

This is not for sissies. We ride a little more conservatively, realizing that one accident out here could mean the end of our trip, or the end of our life.

Marc tries to crest the dune, but gets stuck. I walk up and help him drag his bike over. We’re laughing a lot.
 
But after a while, Jan Lucas gets stuck in some sand and is spinning his wheels going nowhere. I can tell that he’s getting frustrated, and it concerns me. The last thing I want is to cut this section short because one of us can’t continue due to exhaustion or the heebie-jeebies.



I push his bike out of the deep sand so that he can get going.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #216 on: December 07, 2020, 11:28:41 pm »
We push on towards Serra Cafema – an exclusive lodge on the Kunene River.

Now, Sera Cafema is known to be super expensive. You can’t get there by car – only by plane. I’ve heard that they charge R20000 ($1300)/night. Rumor also has it that they do not welcome strangers.

But we want to check it out and see if we can buy more fuel and water. We’re having a ball, but using up a lot of fuel playing in the sand.

As we arrive at the Kunene River, the sand turns into a gravel mountain pass that leads us down towards the river (and the Angolan border).
 
We see some buildings in the distance and head over to check out what’s there.

It’s a ghost town. Totally deserted.

It feels like a scene from a post-apocalyptic zombie movie.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2020, 11:29:12 pm by Overland Bruce »
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #217 on: December 07, 2020, 11:30:33 pm »
We find a building with a toilet and a sink with running water, so we replenish our water bladders.

Marc and I walk around to see if there’s any fuel.

Sure enough, there’s a fuel drum, but it’s completely empty.
 
We find 12 quad bikes – each of them covered with and with all the fuel drained from the tanks.
 
Where is everyone. The safari trucks all look like they have not been used in ages.
 
The accommodations are all locked up.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #218 on: December 07, 2020, 11:31:28 pm »
It feels eerie and I can see that Jan Lucas is getting uncomfortable. He suggests that we start heading south instead of exploring more. He tells me that he feels anxious here.

So do I actually. But that’s not enough for me to bail on the opportunity to ride the dunes. But I can’t ride alone either.

Marc agrees with Jan Lucas, so the plans change. We’re going to cut the route short by 50km and hightail it outta here.

I’m a bit disappointed. I feel like the fun has only just begun. But at the same time, I don’t feel like trying to convince two people to do something that they don’t want to do.

This is the price of riding in a group. You sacrifice freedom of choice for safety in numbers and company.

But I don’t regret it. Jan Lucas and Marc are great travel companions, and without them, I doubt I’d be out here alone.

I see the main reception for the hotel in the distance, so I get on my bike and ride there to see if anyone can help us out with more fuel. We’re not low. I’ve got maybe a half tank left.

Normally, that’s 200km, but in these dunes, it’s 120km – and we need to get all the way back to Marble Camp.

I pull up at the reception to the hotel and everything is overgrown. I see a lady with a freshly baked loaf of bread in her hand. She looks shocked to see me – as if I’m an alien.

She calls the manager, Michael. Michael is a young guy with dreadlocks who runs the place. He’s happy to see a new face and cannot stop asking questions about how we managed to get here.

At least he wasn’t trying to kick us out.

He doesn’t have fuel and tells me that they have been closed since January – 11 months now. He and his skeleton crew just keep the lights on. It’s kind of sad and I feel for them.

I quickly wave goodbye, not wanting to get caught up in a conversation and keep the others waiting. I ride back to the guys who are waiting for me at the guest camp area.
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Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure)
« Reply #219 on: December 07, 2020, 11:33:58 pm »
We saddle up and head back south through the sand.

The tracks are almost non-existent in places.
 
Jan Lucas wants to take the same way we came in – the safe way.

I have other plans.

If I’m going to cut my trip 50km short because my friends are nervous, then I’m going to make sure that the way south is something we haven’t seen yet.

I take the lead, forcing the other two to follow me.
 
I’m pretty good at navigating while riding, but this is going to be a test because it’s hard to ride in deep sand and look at your GPS at the same time.

If I stop, I suspect that the guys will catch up with me and question me as to where the hell I’m taking them. Then a debate will ensue. I don’t want that.

I know where I’m going. I’ve secretly researched an alternative route south that doesn’t retrace our steps, nor use up too much of our precious fuel, nor take us too far off the beaten track either.

Trusting my gut, I keep blasting and they keep following.
 
Fortunately, the track is sublime. Fresh sand. Gorgeous views. An abandoned Himba village.
 
The guys are loving it. So am I.

Later on that day, Jan Lucas thanks me for navigating us safely out of the dunes and I’m relieved that he’s not mad at me.

Even if he was mad at me, it was worth it.
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Ride Reports: Virgin Sand In Kaokoland (a post lockdown adventure) | The Long Way To Moab