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Author Topic: Namibia Tour Dune Riding  (Read 960 times)

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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2021, 01:32:36 pm »
My few pennies on the matter. 

I can relate to the concerns Greenshields mentioned in his post.  Namibia, especially the desert and in particular Kaokoland / Damaraland is an overly sensitive area. 
A major threat to the Namib Desert is the impact of off-road driving, more so on the gravel plains.  Depressions left by vehicles can remain for more than 40 years.  Some may say this is not true, but it is and the reason for this is because the rainfall is too episodic and sparse to erase these tracks. Over and above that the tracks (read off-road) are unsightly, they are also a threat to various protected endemic species such as the Namaqua chameleon, web-footed gecko’s, side-winding adders, sand snakes, wheel spiders to name a few.
I can carry on and on and debate the protection of this area for ages, but I think you get the idea.  So yes, it’s a no brainer to keep off-road riding in these areas to the bear minimum and to protect the area as much as possible. 

On the other side of the coin, I do not think that any reputable registered tour operator in his right mind will deliberately allow any off-road driving or will have the mindset to wreck an area he has concession to.  The odds are stacked against him in losing his concession and valuable income.  A phone call away to the right people and he is a has been in that area. 
In this case it is clear that Hardy is a knowledgeable tour leader who are very enthusiastic about the areas he operates in.  He will know where his clients are allowed to ride or not and I doubt he will allow anyone to wreck a place he so dearly loves. 

As a footnote to all that might visit this awesome area in the future, please take note and adhere to the following and all will be good.
Keep in mind that Kaokoland is mainly communal land that is divided into conservancies which in turn are managed by the local communities.  They own the land rights and are responsible for the wild game. Money spent at community camps stays in the communities.
The area is sparsely inhabited by nomadic Himba.  They are cattle herders, respect them and their culture. They have a number of sacred places and you need to ensure that you do not camp on or near them.
When you drive past a village, keep your speed down so as not to cover them in your dust and give them a polite wave.
Be aware of desert elephants, especially in the dry riverbeds. These elephants are not your normal Addo Ellies and are not used to humans.  The riverbeds belong to them. 
Do not disturb wildlife.
Do not litter, take your own litter with you when you leave.  The communities here live in a very natural way and do not have facilities for disposing your rubbish.
Do not drive off-road, only ride on designated roads/tracks.
Report any illegal activities.
Kaokoland / Damaraland is one of the last remaining wilderness areas in Africa, so it deserves your respect.  Be an eco-traveller and don’t create track pollution.  Stay on the beaten tracks/roads. 

Last Footnote:

I had the privilege to visit the area of Sossusvlei on several occasions in the years when there was nothing, just the dunes and wildlife roaming the area.  There were no buildings, gates what’s so ever.  We camped at Sossusvlei itself, between the dunes, 60km’s from where the entrance gate and camp are now. 
There were old signs erected asking visitors not to ride the dunes and to keep to the existing tracks.  This was not adhered to by many, and this resulted in fauna and flora to implement other means to stop this unruly behaviour.  They began with a controlled entrance, you were now only allowed a certain time in and out.  At first it was for free, then you had to pay.  All vehicles were allowed, bikes included.  The rules were clear, no dune riding was allowed.  The entrance of any bike is now prohibited, why? because of a few sods that went in on their bikes and had a ball of a time on the dunes.     
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Offline Kamanya

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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2021, 01:35:47 pm »
I stand by what I said in that thread. 

With all respect to the various tour operators on this forum who earn their living from trips to these erstwhile wilderness areas, the wilderness is being abused at an increasing rate. There are a number of threads on this forum of guys riding where they want, how they want.  If your livelihood depends on access to these areas, it stands to reason that you will justify the tours/access.

In a similar manner that the Amazon rainforest is open to logging, deforestation, westernisation, mining, hunting and the like due to roads being made and access improved, as soon as it becomes easier(and safer due to organised trips) for the man on the street to access an area, the wilderness is soon lost.

Thankfully I traveled large areas of Africa, particularly SWA, many years ago and got to experience true wilderness that already then was compromised. Reading the behaviour of bikers and 4WD overlanders in wilderness areas, I would not ruin the wonderful memories I have by visiting these once wild places now.

Loud music, breaking of trees for firewood, leaving your refuse there to be blown all over the veld, theft, poaching, assaults at supposedly wilderness campsites. Many examples of this all over the various forums.  A once good friend of mine is himself guilty of testing his 200 Series Cruiser's 4WD capabilities by driving up rockfaces at Brandberg, leaving rubber marks in his wake.  This is common behaviour.  The entitlement culture is everywhere.

I often ponder the effect this supposed support of remote communities has on those selfsame communities.  Where once they were limited in size due to the very nature of their remoteness and the limitations of their environment, tourism stimulates westernisation, promotes overpopulation, non-sustainable utilisation of natural resources and eventually destroys the very reason people were drawn to those places in the first place.

It seems to be the affliction of mankind; discover heaven on earth then develop it to resemble the city you just escaped from.  Rinse and repeat until there is nothing left.

I can't help thinking of men like Garth Owen-Smith whose very soul was part of Damaraland and contrasting his conservation ethic with that of the "everything that opens and closes" 4WD and biker groups purportedly promoting conservation and sustainable tourism in these and other areas.

Holy moly but you've got a jaundiced view of tourism! You paint with an exceptionally broad brush about how all tourism activities are either bad or their proponents are destructive self absorbed destroyers?

Some humans with some spare time and the means like to have their TV in person. It sounds like if you had your way, no one would be allowed go anywhere?

The vast majority of adventure tourists are mindful and appreciative of the places they visit.
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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2021, 01:40:13 pm »
Unfortunately eventually the few will wreck it for all, no matter how well the majority behave......that's just how life works and eventually everything will be run by concessions.
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Offline Dorsland

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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2021, 01:45:22 pm »

Holy moly but you've got a jaundiced view of tourism! You paint with an exceptionally broad brush about how all tourism activities are either bad or their proponents are destructive self absorbed destroyers?

Some humans with some spare time and the means like to have their TV in person. It sounds like if you had your way, no one would be allowed go anywhere?

The vast majority of adventure tourists are mindful and appreciative of the places they visit.

You earn an income from these trips occasionally right?  Try reading my post slowly and with comprehension before commenting.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2021, 01:46:49 pm by Dorsland »
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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2021, 02:30:48 pm »
Unfortunately eventually the few will wreck it for all, no matter how well the majority behave......that's just how life works and eventually everything will be run by concessions.

Exactly!  Pristine and magical places like the moon's surface, and that of Mars, is being spoiled as we speak, and space debris added onto each year. Out of sight, out of mind.

 

Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2021, 02:33:14 pm »

Holy moly but you've got a jaundiced view of tourism! You paint with an exceptionally broad brush about how all tourism activities are either bad or their proponents are destructive self absorbed destroyers?

Some humans with some spare time and the means like to have their TV in person. It sounds like if you had your way, no one would be allowed go anywhere?

The vast majority of adventure tourists are mindful and appreciative of the places they visit.

You earn an income from these trips occasionally right?  Try reading my post slowly and with comprehension before commenting.

With all respect, Johan, is your farm still pristine land as it was before human touch?  Of course not. Probably never found boerbokke there originally either?
 

Offline Dorsland

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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2021, 04:17:01 pm »
Is Stellenbosch?  That's a foolish argument Danie and you know it.  As a responsible farmer I manage my farm and all elements that contribute to its sustainable utilisation to the best of my abilities.  Ek is 'n rentmeester van dit wat in my sorg vertrou is.

Our misconception that the world is there for us to abuse and consume as we see fit is pushing the limits of what the earth's resources can carry.  In short, overpopulation is the core issue driving practically all other problems facing us today.

I'm not a bunny hugger by any means. But in much the same way that urban environments are zoned into high density, suburban, business, industrial, green areas, wilderness areas are there and should be protected and managed (not totally fenced off and off limits for sustainable and sensible appreciation).  Wilderness (and other areas) do not need validation from us for their existence.  They are there because they are there and for no other reason.

I see this same mindset with my neighbours and the free roaming game that is here.  They hunt everything until practically nothing remains.  Their reasoning?  If I don't hunt it someone else will.  It's the tragedy of the commons that you are familiar with I am sure.

Anyway, I have been pretty much always been a lone voice in the wilderness (excuse the pun) and don't really expect anything to change for the better because I posted a few items here on a forum.

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Offline Hardy de Kock

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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #27 on: July 09, 2021, 04:51:54 pm »
Is Stellenbosch?  That's a foolish argument Danie and you know it.  As a responsible farmer I manage my farm and all elements that contribute to its sustainable utilisation to the best of my abilities.  Ek is 'n rentmeester van dit wat in my sorg vertrou is.

Our misconception that the world is there for us to abuse and consume as we see fit is pushing the limits of what the earth's resources can carry.  In short, overpopulation is the core issue driving practically all other problems facing us today.

I'm not a bunny hugger by any means. But in much the same way that urban environments are zoned into high density, suburban, business, industrial, green areas, wilderness areas are there and should be protected and managed (not totally fenced off and off limits for sustainable and sensible appreciation).  Wilderness (and other areas) do not need validation from us for their existence.  They are there because they are there and for no other reason.

I see this same mindset with my neighbours and the free roaming game that is here.  They hunt everything until practically nothing remains.  Their reasoning?  If I don't hunt it someone else will.  It's the tragedy of the commons that you are familiar with I am sure.

Anyway, I have been pretty much always been a lone voice in the wilderness (excuse the pun) and don't really expect anything to change for the better because I posted a few items here on a forum.

Johan

Ek het te veel respek vir jou om met jou ‘n internet geveg op te sit, en vra dus dat jy my skrywe nie sien in daardie lig nie.
Wettige, geakrediteerde toer operateurs in Namibia word baie streng gekeur en gemonitor. Geen vorm van swak gedrag word geduld nie.
Ek probeer alles van my kant af doen om seker te maak dat ek die amper heilige respek wat ek vir Noord Namibie het kweek by ons gaste. Ek glo ook dat hierdie gebaar van my suksesvol is. Tydens ons vorige toer het ek op een van ons ryers afgekom wat besig was om klippe te pak om ‘n Welwitchia plant wat sy blare binne die tweespoorpad wat in gebruik is in te stoot. Die ryer wou dus met die klippe ander toekomstige ryers (twee en vier wiele) waarsku dat hul versigtig moet wees vir die plant. Dit was lekker om te sien en ek sou wou glo dat die oorgroote meerderheid van Noord Namibie besoekers hulself met die poging van die motorfietsryer sou kon vereenselwig.
Die duin wat daar vroeer na verwys is word “Hells Gate” genome end it is die enigste duin waar duinry toegelaat is in Puros.
Net soos alle boere nie eties is nie is alle operateurs seker ook nie eties nie, maar ek kan jou verseker dat ek baie gelukkig is met die optrede van die ryers op ons toere.
Ons almal wil die plek geniet – En ons almal probeer ons bes om dit te bewaar. Regtig
« Last Edit: July 09, 2021, 04:53:35 pm by Hardy de Kock »
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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #28 on: July 09, 2021, 08:32:49 pm »
Ai, hoe mis ek die dae voor internet toe niemand kon sien as ek die daisies uitspin nie. :biggrin:
 
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Offline BuRP

Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2021, 09:19:26 am »
Ai, hoe mis ek die dae voor internet toe niemand kon sien as ek die daisies uitspin nie

Bleddie laarnie bragging Kapenare ek se, ons hierbo moet maak doen met Kosmos!
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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2021, 07:45:31 pm »
Ai, hoe mis ek die dae voor internet toe niemand kon sien as ek die daisies uitspin nie

Bleddie laarnie bragging Kapenare ek se, ons hierbo moet maak doen met Kosmos!

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Offline Herkules

Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2021, 08:25:42 pm »
 :sip: Sover, se ek Johan 2, Danie 0, Hardy?, well, somewhere, not sure.  :pot: :3some:
 

Offline Hardy de Kock

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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2021, 09:00:59 pm »
Ook nul. Die by mors nie tyd om die brommer te oortuig heuning proe lekkerder as stront nie :thumleft:
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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2021, 09:13:51 pm »
:sip: Sover, se ek Johan 2, Danie 0, Hardy?, well, somewhere, not sure.  :pot: :3some:

As dit footup trials was , wen ek. :ricky: :ricky:
 

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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #34 on: July 14, 2021, 09:49:15 pm »
Greenshields - Thank you for your concern over an area that you seem to share my fondness for.
Here is my two cents.

Bennie (a South African) from Desert Magic is not a concession guide in the Puros Concervancy and only has tour rights in the south. By default through your post that would implicate him to have illegally operated in Damara or Kaokoland. Tour operators have it tough out there so let's leave that there...

Is dit Bennie Bom? Happy Days Bennie?


 

Offline Greenshields

Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #35 on: July 15, 2021, 07:14:24 am »
Bennie Bom indeed,looked after us very well,brought a drinking buddy along so things used to get interesting around the fire at night.
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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2021, 02:16:19 pm »
Dorsland

my comments inline (I have never done a tour, have no affiliation, travel either on my own or with 2 or so buddies)
I also "know" you from the forum and reading what you have to say, so with utmost respect as I have the same lament.

There are a number of threads on this forum of guys riding where they want, how they want.  If your livelihood depends on access to these areas, it stands to reason that you will justify the tours/access.

My observation is that the hooliganism is more prevalent under tourists not with a tour operator - the tour operator will not allow that as his concession depends on his conduct.
Apart from the pic you describe (that is open to debate),  I have yet to see evidence of this type of behavior on organized tours

as soon as it becomes easier(and safer due to organised trips) for the man on the street to access an area, the wilderness is soon lost.

As the infrastructure improves, access will increase, not because of tour operators - tour operators do play a vital role in introducing not only people to the area, but also educating them as to their conduct in the area.
It is only in appreciation of the sensitive nature of the area that people will conduct themselves accordingly - that,  they get from the tour operator's intimate knowledge of the area.

Keep in mind that we live in a consumer society that has access to virtually anything, including bikes and 4x4 that will turn you into a instant bushmaster/riding god, and like they see on TV, they can go anywhere and do anything.
The bottom line is there is a lot of self righteous arseholes with the necessary $$$ out there, guys with bikes (not bikers) guys with 4x4 (not travellers)

To a certain extent, I consider tour operators as part of the solution, catching the above mentioned, and "showing them how it is done"

Thankfully I traveled large areas of Africa, particularly SWA, many years ago and got to experience true wilderness that already then was compromised. Reading the behaviour of bikers and 4WD overlanders in wilderness areas, I would not ruin the wonderful memories I have by visiting these once wild places now.

In your comment - you got there because it was already "compromised", and it was compromised by mainly mining exploration, mining and commercial farming

The entitlement culture is everywhere.

Sadly, yes - and that is the real reason.

I often ponder the effect this supposed support of remote communities has on those selfsame communities.  Where once they were limited in size due to the very nature of their remoteness and the limitations of their environment, tourism stimulates westernisation, promotes overpopulation, non-sustainable utilisation of natural resources and eventually destroys the very reason people were drawn to those places in the first place.

It flows the other way - they are so limited in what they have, that they work and earn a living elsewhere, and import the culture so to speak - "trek arbeiders" was and is part of the landscape before the first tourist got there.
 
It seems to be the affliction of mankind; discover heaven on earth then develop it to resemble the city you just escaped from.  Rinse and repeat until there is nothing left.

I feel your pain.

I can't help thinking of men like Garth Owen-Smith whose very soul was part of Damaraland and contrasting his conservation ethic with that of the "everything that opens and closes" 4WD and biker groups purportedly promoting conservation and sustainable tourism in these and other areas.

Even he might have had the obnoxious client or two - the type of client that let loose on his own, will cause the havoc - and they will come 'cos the have just paid a fortune for their riding god/4x4x'er status.
His role was thus that of intervention, and that with Margaret, their main thrust was also the upliftment of the rural communities to a level where they could manage the conservancy in a sustainable way - it was a problem even before the first tourist arrived.

There are many aspects to the diminishing wilderness areas, tourism (far from the main culprit) can be the saving grace.
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Offline Beserker

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Re: Namibia Tour Dune Riding
« Reply #37 on: July 16, 2021, 02:38:38 pm »
There are many aspects to the diminishing wilderness areas, tourism (far from the main culprit) can be the saving grace.

To be complete - I read an article comparing the ecological footprint of a mine to be developed (speaking under correction, north of Swakopmund, in the NauKluft) to that of tourism in terms of revenue generating capability, revenue that not only flows into the country, but into local communities and government initiatives like conservation:  the joke we made was that the hippies with their sandals should not board a plane and do tourist, they should stay at home if they are serious about saving the earth.
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