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Offline scarycat

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Van Zyl's pass
« on: January 27, 2012, 07:56:39 pm »
We planned to ride north Namibia with GS's and would like to know if Van Zyl's pass is safe for bikes during the dry season.
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Offline weskus

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Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2012, 07:49:30 am »
Strongs Boet, will you be riding with back-up or not?? Van Zyls is not a joke..
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Offline edgy

Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2012, 08:32:50 am »
Dont be a scardeycat....just do it! :laughing4:
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 BEER..."I drink it when I`m happy or when I`m sad. I drink it when I`m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. Trifle with it if I`m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I`m thirsty"
 

Offline Dirtrider69

Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2012, 10:05:16 am »
We also planned to do Van Zyls Pass in April and here is a few responces I got when asking around.

"Hi Eswee,

first of all we need to mention that to drive the pass from west to east is illegal, either by bike or by car.
There are of course always guys who couldnt care less and do it anyway but with sometimes very annoying
consequences. One of them would be the fine one has to pay if catched by a  ranger (dont know how much though).
The other one is that there are two very narrow sections who are just wide enough for a car. So if you guys are on
your way up and a car is on its way down, one of the two has to turn back and if I was the one in the car it would be you
guys since Im driving in the legal direction (extremely annoying for both).

Apart from that: You really have to have very good driving skills to negotiate the pass in either direction but especially
up hills (west to east). If you carry luggage be prepared to offload the bike several times to carry the luggage a few
hundred meters further, than drive the bike up and load again. Not really funny in 35C or more (April).
But even without luggage its a mission and very exhausting. You will most probably fall at least once and since the pass
is extremely rocky all the way, the damages on the bikes you mentioned will be quite costly Im afraid, not to mention
any injuries you might suffer.
We do the Van Zyls Pass on one of our tours but then only with very experienced riders and from east to west.

To wrap things up: It is possible to do the pass (nothing is impossible), even from west to east but keep in mind that it can break you.

Good luck

Klaus   

Also check out this artical:
http://www.driveout.co.za/destinations/van-zyls-pass-pass-too-far

And maybee PM Hermit who did van Zyls. Ride Report here:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=82724.0

"Ride it like you stole it!"
 

Offline espresso

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Namibia has a dry season?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2012, 11:39:03 am »
When are you planning to go?
This was in May.
 

Offline scarycat

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Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2012, 04:04:55 pm »
Thanks for the info. Plan is to do it the first two weeks in June. We will have a backup and if we do it we will do it from the top, east to west.
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Offline frabans

Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2012, 04:22:00 pm »
Wow, I am jealous!! Haven't done it on a bike yet, but in a Nissan Sani. In the car it wasn't that bad going down and if you have enough to drink (water during day and cold beers at night) in the back-up vehicle and take it slowly you'll be fine.

Damnit, I', jealous!!!
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Offline scarycat

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Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2012, 08:49:15 am »
No need to be jealous, come join us.
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Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2012, 02:20:40 pm »
Scareycat, van Zyl's pass is really not difficult, even on a loaded bike, IF that bike is something manageable. If you have to take off luggage, then you are definitely doing something very wrong. I did it on a XT600E, which is not exactly a plastic bike, but handled van Zyl's with ease.
Alternatively, PM GJ on this forum, he could take you there on one of his rented DR650's.
 

Offline zacapa

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Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2012, 07:16:05 pm »
Van Zyl's a must do in any Namibian Kaokoland trip, and its not difficult provided common semse prevails. Important to remember that you have to be totally self-sufficient wrt bike repairs, punctures etc. and have proper maps or GPS and plenty of water with you. Was there in 2002 with a buddy riding his MZ Bhagira and me on a GS650 Dakar. There is only one short semi hectic section, it looks worse in the attached pics than what it really is, the rest is much easier with one or two steep loose gravel downhill sections. Bike size 650 or smaller would be a bonus i guess, a Honda CRF 230 would do the Pass without ever stopping or breaking a sweat.
Espresso's pic refers, if i remember correctly we also did the trip in May or thereabouts - Hoarusib pics attached. June is guaranteed to be no rain at all, for the seven years i've lived in Nam we mostly had the last heavy rains of the season in the first two weeks of May. Ride as light as possible, no heavy weight high and far behind and you should be fine. If you are planning to ride GS 1200's the difficult section will require you to "walk" the bike with buddy support over the rocks, it's a short section but just be carefull.
Do not take any pillion passengers on this trip!
So go out and have that Adventure!

Cheers,
Thorsten

« Last Edit: March 11, 2012, 08:05:20 pm by zacapa »
 

Offline White Rhino

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Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2012, 09:52:27 am »
Easy is a term that's relative to a person's skills. Don't underestimate the gradient and the damage that a fall can do over the steepest part. It's doable with caution and not a walk in the park for everyone. Handle with care  :mwink:
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Offline espresso

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Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2012, 10:16:44 am »
From my experience (only once down on a R80 G/S = heavy), the main problems are the few really big rock steps that there were and the incredibly loose stones on the descent (imagine riding down a staircase filled with marbles)...........................and the worry that if you had to hurt yourself over there you are really really far away from any help.
We landed up doing most of the ascent to the lookout point in the rain and at night  :o :o :o this was interesting to say the least!
 

Offline capeklr

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Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2012, 10:24:31 am »
We landed up doing most of the ascent to the lookout point in the rain and at night  :o :o :o this was interesting to say the least!

That certainly was very interesting, will never forget that evening.
The reward was waking up to the stunning view the next morning. :thumleft:
 

Offline scarycat

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Re: Van Zyl's pass
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2012, 01:15:10 pm »
Thanks for all the feedback and foties. So excited we are already counting the days.
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