Cape Town

Trip report: Namibia 2010. Having a last Belgian Chimay at Den Anker - Motomorgana, nomads riding around the world on a motorbike adventure.
Having a last Belgian Chimay at Den Anker
From Cape Town, through Namibia up to the Angolan border and back. Caro on her KTM 640 Adventure and me on my KTM 990 Adventure. That is the outline of the plan for next month. Our first challenge? Getting our wheels rolling! The bikes have been shipped quite some time upfront, but nevertheless they arrive two days late. This is Africa, you know, everything relaaaaax. We aren’t too disappointed as in stead of quickly hopping on the bike and opening up the gas, we enjoy the 30+ degrees in the middle of the winter on the Southern hemisphere, stroll a bit through Cape Town and find ourselves back in a typical Afro-Belgian setting as we nip from our Blue Chimay beer with the table mountain in the background. We chill out a bit before starting this big adventure…
The next day we can already pick up the bikes. Customs inspection and other paperwork in the morning and then we put the bikes back together and do the final preparation. A quick stop at KTM Cape Town for a new chain and then we get ourselves through rush hour in Cape Town. It isn’t until we have our first on the road basic breakfast that it feels like the trip really started. Our brain switches to traveler mode… Lovely!

About 10 degrees?

We’re here to explore Namibia and we don’t want to spend too much time in South Africa. Hence the first couple of hundred kilometres on sealed road. But it doesn’t take long before I am getting a tad impatient and I cannot resist to opt for an alternative, albeit a bit longer, gravel route to the Namibian border after having passed all those nice pistes along the road. It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon already and we still have about 150 kms of piste ahead. According to my ‘calculations’, that should be more than feasible before dark so we should be camping somewhere near the border. But I don’t pay attention to the fact that darknes falls at 6 already and I mean it really kind of falls: within a couple of minutes everything is plain black here. It’s wintertime and I have been fooled by the 30+ C degrees at noontime and the full sunshine. Furthermore Caro has to get used to the piste. Every now and then there is a more unstable stretch which makes the bike feel pretty loose which makes her panic sometimes. 60 km/h is not exactly what I had in mind, but she did a great job knowing she has only a year of motorbiking experience. So no worries here, things will get better soon…
We end up somewhere in the middle of the piste right before dark, but nothing to worry about: the map shows plenty of named dots in the neighbourhood. So we decide to look for a place to sleep. But euh… well euh… there should have been something here already. We cannot be that wrong now can we? Not that we would have expected a shopping mall but there isn’t even a small shed in sight. Or is there? Yes well indeed there’s a gate, allbeit a bit ruinous looking. Great! We hope some friendly local people live here where we can spend the night and I start dreaming about a big African mama serving hot soup with thick slices of bread. Yummie!!!… Or not… As we arrive at a house it seems completely deserted and although it looks like a decent villa, there isn’t a living soul around and that is, as I am told later on, the case for all the dots on the map. The place is completely deserted here…

Trip report: Namibia 2010. A bloody cold morning it was - Motomorgana, nomads riding around the world on a motorbike adventure.
A bloody cold morning it was
We quickly decide to pitch our tent and spend the night there. Another quick chocolate bar to ease the feeling of hunger and then a good nights rest. It’s pretty cosy in our tent, until after an hour or so I decide to put on my thermal underwear. Pretty exceptional for me as I am more of the warm blooded type in bed. Caro comes lying close to me and wonders about my idea of the outside temperature. Bwaaah, about 10 °C? Definitely not less! We didn’t close an eye for the rest of the night and I was more than surprised to find everything covered in white early in the morning as I open the tent. Talking about a little change in temperature: at noon we were enjoying the 30+ °C and now my bikes dash is showing a mere -5! We suffer terribly as we try to pack our stuff. Luckily the Akra’s get hot pretty quickly after starting the engine. What a relief for my poor frozen fingers! It must have been a weird sight though: dancing around with nothing but our underwear and boots on with our hands around the pipes.
It doesn’t take long before Geert, a friendly black shepard, shows up from behind a hill. The scenery makes him laugh and he offers us a hot bonfire and some freshly brewn coffee. Now that’s a warm welcome! He waves us goodbye and we set off towards the Namibian border. Our first emergency camping is a fact!
Caro’s riding is improving quickly and we reach nice speeds of 80, later 100 km/h on the lovely pistes of Namibia. But I need my shot of adrenaline every now and then and she knows it. I select a lower gear, the throttle goes wide open and I drift myself through the amazing landscapes. She just joins me a bit further up the road as I stop over for a couple of nice pics. We’re doing great and we truely enjoy the impressive Fish River Canyon and the piste towards the magnificent Sossusvlei with its massive sand dunes. We usually spend the night in our tent on one of the many quiet campsites in Namibian nature. Every now and then we spot some common game such as ostrich, baboon, loads of springbok, something that looks like some kind of panter and a lot of small game.

Look at me! Or not…

Trip report: Namibia 2010. Doodvlei - Motomorgana, nomads riding around the world on a motorbike adventure.
The final 60 kms to the Sossusvlei are tar road but it doesn’t do any harm to the beauty of the scenery. The enormous dunes are truly overwhelming! But the final 2 kms are sand. Soft and deep sand. A traffic sign warns me this part is only accessible for 4X4 vehicles. The parking guard stops me and tries to explain I need to hire a seat in one of those tourist shuttles. Oh no, I don’t think so! After a bit of discussion I can make him understand that I am used to a lot more than that and he agrees to let me pass if I prove I can stay upright for at least 100 meters. He grins and it is obvious he expects some nice embarrassing tumbles. But I manage to ride a good 200 meters through the soft stuff in a pretty self confident way. It needs to be said it was far from obvious, especially with all the tricky ruts from other vehicles, but I made it! Hahahaha!
My self confidence level is topping out and the crowd and the parking guard seem pretty impressed. It is with a little reluctance though that the park guard lets me ride the last 2 km stretch. But hey, a deal is a deal. Caro’s taking the jeep. Just one more self assured look behind me and then my front wheel cuts through the sandy ruts… Well… In fact…Almost… It must be destiny, as after a mere 50 meters, my front wheel gets trapped in a deep rut and one can already guess the consequences. With an enthusiastic crowd in the background, me and my entire ego fall flat on their face. A hilarious laugh is what follows and I am lucky to hide my red face behind my helmet and goggles. It must have taken about half a second before the bike and luggage are back upright and I’m riding again and I haven’t dropped the bike since. But nonetheless embarrassment is al mine… already…

Further up north

We are heading further north and we don’t see any tar from here anymore. It seems that better views go along with lower levels of comfort, but prices also drop accordingly. Near the Spitzkoppe, a group of pointed rocks that magnificently contrast against the clear blue sky, I manage to seduce Caro for a nice yet challenging stretch of off road. Despite the fact she is exhausted by the end of the day, I must admit that her off road capabilities have improved a whole lot. I am confident she will be fine for the remainder of the trip.