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Offline Damaraland

Serra Cafema
« on: March 24, 2021, 08:53:29 pm »
It was independence weekend in Namibia, and what better way to celebrate it than by experiencing beautiful Namibia by motorbike.  A while back I was chatting to @BoskakBruce while he was planning his epic ride and after reading his report on going to Serra Cafema our minds were made up.  Seeing as that's the one remote corner of Kaokoland we have not explored yet that was exactly where we'll be headed.  Adding to the intrigue was all the negative reports we've heard about the place, people being turned away, Bruce and co feeling very bad vibes there. Only thing left was to go check it out!

The plan was to head off early on Thursday morning and since work was very hectic for all of us we only started packing and loading Wednesday evening, but at this point we're pretty well oiled so that went quick.  Heiko just bought a nifty VW Transporter for his factory, and as it turns out this vehicle is the perfect KTM 500 carrying machine.  He had a wooden frame made which fits on the bed and keeps the wheels in place and then we just tie it down with chains and shackles, easy as you like.  The rest of our kit just gets chucked in between the bikes and that's the packing done.



We set off early Thursday morning, with the first traditional shebeen stop being Sun City just in front of Opuwo.



We arrived at Opuwo country lodge in pretty high spirits and had another beer or two there while we waited for Heiko to finish some last-minute maintenance on his bike.

We then set off in a westerly direction on the D3703 and were cooled down by a slight drizzle.  On this road you cross the Hoarusib, and it is by the rivers that I always know and feel that I am now in Kaokoland.  Seeing as we wasted a bit of time at the lodge the sun was catching us.  We reached Etanga just as it turned dark and since night riding is a big no-no for us we decided to stop at the shebeen, have a beer then arrange a place to sleep.  We stopped here a previous time when I dislocated fingers falling just in front of Van Zyl's and spent an afternoon chatting politics and economy to the owner Zee.  Notice the sophisticated bandaging on my finger:



Anyhow the party got lekker with the locals and seeing as it was really pissing down by now Zee agreed that we could sleep inside his shebeen.  And by we, I mean us and the bikes.  Our digs for the night:



Having properly kicked off the trip the night before, we certainly felt a bit grim the next morning, but nothing for it, over van Zyl's we go.  We packed the bikes, had an energy bar to settle the tummy, filled up water at the local police station and set off.  As always, the approach to van Zyl's was trickier than the actual pass, and going was perhaps harder than what was necessary due to pounding heads and queasy tummies but we made it without incident.



By that time, we were also feeling a bit better so we decided to go check out the shebeen that Bruce mentioned and where they also got fuel.  An awesome ride from the foot of Van Zyl's through the flat desert followed.  I really love this riding a lot more than the rocky bits as you can just open up and let the machine go and just appreciate the beauty and awesomeness of it all.  Rocks are also awesome I guess but it's much harder work. 



We stopped at Ben's, he was out of fuel, which was not a problem.  Not knowing how dune-ey the approach to Serra Cafema was going to be we took our full Angola fuel load-out, which means 40L fuel per bike, comfortably enough to take us up and then down again to Purros should we want to go there.  Ben had some lukewarm Black Labels and seeing as it was lunchtime we had a bit of a rest and a couple of quarts:



To make the bikes lighter we calculated the max fuel we'll need to get to Serra and stored the rest by Ben.  We then set off north through the Marienfluss, again amazing Desert scenes:



We then came to another pass and I think at this point the full effect of the last day or so's excesses caught up with us.  Probably the same difficulty as the approach to van Zyl's but boy did it feel like hard work in the afternoon heat.  Lots of rocky steps, lots of resting. 





We managed to push through unscathed and was rewarded with scenes like these:



Bruce mentioned some dunes in his report and let me tell you he was not exaggerating.  The last big one as you descend down is a monster and I almost saw my ass there.  It was getting late-ish now and we've had a full day on the bikes doing lot of fun riding but also some hard work in the passes and we were feeling it a bit.  We pulled into Serra Cafema fully intending to make a nuisance of ourselves until they agree to at least let us camp somewhere out of sight of rich tourists.  One or two surprised staff members came up to us and proceeded to call the Manager.

DISCLAIMER:  What follows is the result of a Black Label & sunstroke exhaustion induced dream, nothing is true and if anyone from Serra Cafema upper management reads this, what actually happened is we were chased away with sticks and very stern words to never show our dirty faces here ever again.

So, with that out of the way, let's continue.  We started chatting to the manager, a really cool and chill guy.  We explained that Serra was something we've always wanted to see and that we basically just want to camp somewhere out of sight and we'll be off the next morning without a trace.  End result, he offered us a room on the house, use of the kitchen and the bar with us just needing to pay for beer.  As if that was not enough, we got a sunset cruise, how's this:





We even had the world's shortest ever visit to Angola:



Nice view on the river:



For dinner we had the use of their kitchen and we cooked up a storm.  Pasta with bully beef and chilli flakes.  Proper 5-star meal if there ever was one.  We slept like kings that night, in the absolute lap of luxury.  I am not exaggerating when I say that the actions of the manager that night was some of the most generous to a group of people that I've seen in a long time and as a result of that I'm now encouraging all my more well-heeled foreign friends to go visit Serra Cafema.  I do not have the emotional range to wax philosophical about things, I tend to take the good with the bad, but what struck me like a hammer blow was the generosity offered to us by Zee, letting us sleep in his shebeen and then here.  I do not know what it means but I know that for all the bad in the world, there is some real good people out there and goodness to experience if only we put ourselves in the position to experience this goodness.  But enough of that.

Next morning we had a lekker coffee, I took a couple more pics and then we set off through the dunes.  Holy shit and what a couple of climbs.  The pic does not do justice to the slope and the height but that little spec is me beginning my charge up - Check this out:



We all made it up and through the duney bits and then set our sights on Ben's shebeen again.  Firstly, we needed to get our fuel and secondly, he promised to have ice cold black labels waiting.  Through the pass we went, today was a lot easier as it was mostly downhill and it was still nice and crisp.  We arrived at Ben's in no time at all and filled up the tanks (bikes and ours):



We were going to go down to Purros but because they had Wi-Fi at Serra Cafema word came through from my brother-in-law (who was guiding a group of Germans) that he was stuck in Purros with the river being impassable.  There were reports of more rain on the way so if it truly was impassable for the bikes then we would not have enough fuel to turn around, thus the decision was made to go up van Zyl's pass.  This is a big no-no for cars and rightly so, as anything less than an experienced and skilled driver will do damage to the trial spinning his or her way up.  The 500's are like mountain goats so that is why we did not have an issue with going up.

So up we went and I was fortunate enough to spot the lesser-known Van Zyl's monkey hiding behind a tree.  A harmless enough creature but it will drink all your beer if you leave him alone:



Van Zyl's pass went fine, but with temperatures in the 40's the pass just after van Zyls was lekker hard work.  This was the first time that I saw fuel boil in a 500's tank, my radiator was also boiling pushing water through the overflow.  Gave me a little fright at first, always a bit of a shock being in the passes and seeing liquid running down the side of your engine.  As we headed further east weather immediately got cooler and we rode in rain again, it was also evident that a fair bit of water fell in the area - beautiful to see:



We reached our watering hole in Etanga and Adrian promptly fell in love.



Unfortunately, we had to break his innocent little heart, because Opuwo country lodge was calling, so off we went.  We arrived in a very rainy Opuwo and were treated to some spectacular views out over Etanga valley - not often you see it so green:



We had an epic dinner that night, slept in our tents for the first time on the trip and the next morning it was packing time again.  Remember at the beginning I mentioned the little wooden contraption that Heiko had made, here it is in action:



And with that we said our goodbyes to Kaokoland - until next time!





« Last Edit: March 24, 2021, 09:30:52 pm by Damaraland »
RR - Angola (https://goo.gl/BzFy7Y) / Video RR - Kaokoland (https://youtu.be/-c-Zespa2No)
Video RR - Messum & Ugab (https://goo.gl/Uhd1vb)  / Video RR - Southern Namibia (http://goo.gl/WpRdRE)
Video RR - Ugab (http://goo.gl/dr57i9) / Video RR - Omaruru River (http://goo.gl/RCTajv)
 
The following users thanked this post: Leo, GeelKameel

Offline Vintage_Mania

Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2021, 09:13:54 pm »
Dankie  :thumleft:

Eendag is eendag dan gaan ek ook daar ry. En net so "by the by the" Tafel is ook my huis wyn hier in Pretoria.
People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day. And doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something.
 

Offline hartebees

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Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2021, 09:16:10 pm »
Wow, those dunes look amazing. Thanks for sharing.
 

Offline Damaraland

Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2021, 09:37:38 pm »
Dankie  :thumleft:

Eendag is eendag dan gaan ek ook daar ry. En net so "by the by the" Tafel is ook my huis wyn hier in Pretoria.

Tafel is vir my die beste bier in die wereld, maar daar hoe verder noord jy gaan hoe meer uitsluitlik kry jy Black Label.  En so louwarm Black Label quart skiet kopskote jong :imaposer:
RR - Angola (https://goo.gl/BzFy7Y) / Video RR - Kaokoland (https://youtu.be/-c-Zespa2No)
Video RR - Messum & Ugab (https://goo.gl/Uhd1vb)  / Video RR - Southern Namibia (http://goo.gl/WpRdRE)
Video RR - Ugab (http://goo.gl/dr57i9) / Video RR - Omaruru River (http://goo.gl/RCTajv)
 

Offline Damaraland

Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2021, 09:38:59 pm »
Wow, those dunes look amazing. Thanks for sharing.

If you haven't yet you should go read @BoskakBruce ride report - he describes it much more eloquently than what I can, also linked a bunch of videos and pics in there. His report inspired me to want to go there.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2021, 09:45:52 pm by Damaraland »
RR - Angola (https://goo.gl/BzFy7Y) / Video RR - Kaokoland (https://youtu.be/-c-Zespa2No)
Video RR - Messum & Ugab (https://goo.gl/Uhd1vb)  / Video RR - Southern Namibia (http://goo.gl/WpRdRE)
Video RR - Ugab (http://goo.gl/dr57i9) / Video RR - Omaruru River (http://goo.gl/RCTajv)
 

Offline Ri

Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2021, 10:34:59 pm »
Mond oophang goed - those dunes  :eek7: :eek7:

Very beautiful photo's... what a lekker RR, thank you very much .
 

Online Tom van Brits

Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2021, 10:40:24 pm »
Lekker man  :thumleft:
 

Offline BoskakBruce

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Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2021, 05:27:02 am »
What a lekker trip down memory lane. I'm so happy to hear that you were welcomed by the hotel staff. Cool story.  Well done @Damaraland.

For anyone interested, here is the link to our ride report with many pics of endless sand dunes...

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=253677.180



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Offline Aprilian

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Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2021, 07:08:25 am »
Great write up. Super adventure, for sure,
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Offline Noneking

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Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2021, 07:29:32 am »
Dankie  :thumleft:

Eendag is eendag dan gaan ek ook daar ry. En net so "by the by the" Tafel is ook my huis wyn hier in Pretoria.
Great pics!
Thank you!
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Offline skydiver

Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2021, 07:48:05 am »
Beautiful part of Nam.
Thanks for sharing.  :thumleft:
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Offline JustBendIt

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Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2021, 09:27:17 am »
Excellent - thanks so much for sharing

You guys are lucky to live so "close" that you can make this a weekend trip
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Offline m0lt3n

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Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2021, 09:45:00 am »
Was also just thinking....different level of weekend trip this!

Great RR, thanks for sharing
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Offline DUSTRIDERS

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Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2021, 10:12:00 am »
Wow stunning thanks for posting Dland!! :thumleft: :drif: :drif: :drif:
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Offline Rooies

Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2021, 10:34:57 am »
Great report, and looks like an incredible experience!  Will be seeing parts of that world in June, can't wait.

Thanks for sharing :thumleft:
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Offline the ruffian

Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2021, 10:41:44 am »
‘Bru, your philosophical range is not as limited as you would think - and there are many of us on this forum who would concur with your observations on the goodness in this world...

Thanks for reminding us.
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2021, 02:45:17 pm »
Aai ... as only Nam can!
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Offline Vintage_Mania

Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2021, 12:25:08 pm »
Dankie  :thumleft:

Eendag is eendag dan gaan ek ook daar ry. En net so "by the by the" Tafel is ook my huis wyn hier in Pretoria.

Tafel is vir my die beste bier in die wereld, maar daar hoe verder noord jy gaan hoe meer uitsluitlik kry jy Black Label.  En so louwarm Black Label quart skiet kopskote jong :imaposer:

Cheers, meneer  :thumleft:
People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day. And doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something.
 

Offline Amsterdam

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Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2021, 03:46:31 pm »
Nice to read this write up.  By doing it as a few days ride, like you did you, get an enormous amount of riding in during a short time.  And a good idea to leave some excess stuff at Ben's to keep it light. 

Is the pass that you mention the one just beyond Ben's to cross from the Marienfluss to the West side of the mountains?
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Offline THROTTLE JOCKEY

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Re: Serra Cafema
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2021, 04:36:42 pm »
Awesome Ride report. Your back yard is riding heaven.
Ride it like you stole it!

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