Photo Album

Prologue

The trip was born out of a seemingly crazy idea from Mark Cutter to travel through Namibia to the Kunene River and back on the last Karroo trip.   It did not take long to engage a couple of crazies and there we were, the Namibian trip recce team.

 Let’s be clear, to do this trip again would need some redesign of the fuel carriers. You need to expect long days of driving and little else, good tar roads, good wide dirt roads, kak dirt roads, and endless kilometres of corrugations, stones and thick sand.   And when I say kilometres 30kms is a short distance.  Expect to get to a place to find there is no fuel and everywhere is hundred and plenty kilometres to the next place. Also expect areas where 70kms an hour is on the edge and lots of technical driving.   As the Tee shirt says- “Namibia is not for sissies”.

The routing was to start from the Canyon Road House campsite, followed the west coast to the Kunene River Lodge and then follow the eastern side of the Etosha National Park down the centre of the country back to where we started.

Friday 12th:  Day 1; Johannesburg to Uppington

Let’s start with the surprises.   After having done 300 odd kilometres I got told I was the trip scribe.   So bookless and pen less I made a plan.  

And isn’t it nice to travel with people that understand what 4:20 and 5am mean.   Jude arrived to drop off Lala at the right time, so I could drive her to Namibia as Jude didn’t trust himself after the trip backwards and forwards to the eastern Transvaal in the days before. So we kissed and hugged my suffering wife in her onesie, shawl and my slippers and left.   Hmmm, I suppose that is better than her standing in just my slippers or she would have looked like a three of spades. 

Ryno sat waiting on the highway so he could roll into the Krugersdorp Fourways garage at exactly 5am.  With Ryno leading we soon had left the Jo’burg smog behind and travelled towards Kuruman gazing at the savanna woodland expanses dotted with acacia, camel doering and boere bean trees.  

Did we stop at the Wimpy in Kuruman for breakfast? – Nooo we just drove right through.   Kuruman according to Ryno is a cesspit of thieves and vagabonds having had (he says), his knee guards stolen off his Zimmer frame a couple of weeks before on his trip back with Grant Pitt.   Kak I thought and checked with the all-knowing and all omnipotent wives to find that they, the wives had pawned them off for Vodka and sleeping pills so they did not have to listen to these two old farts mumbling and grumbling for the next 600kms.

We bypassed the town of Kathu.   As I passed the large excavator and tipper truck I had to reflect that I had been there last week by air and it only took one hour 20 mins and here were at the same place again several hours later.

 The three GP-onians made their way by car and trailer to Uppington for the first night stop at the Kalahari Monate Lodge we heard that the Cape Town-ians were also on their way.   Fanie trailering to the border but our special child for the trip Mark, decided to ride the whole way.   He told us he was working on his piles which got big when it was hot and disappeared when it was cold.   His assertion was that he preferred the heat as they gave him that “full feeling”.

Upington saw us arrive at 12:30ish and we did the obligatory visit to the policeman on the Camel and I might say to a pleasant if not unexpected 28 degrees.

We arrived at the lodge to find we were in a lodge so no unpacking.   Jude was understandably shagged out from driving with Ryno, but after some TLC was feeling better.

After a great deal of discussion it was agreed that discression is the better part of valour and we went to Upington Spur for steak and potatoes.  We thought we should start with some veggies. 

 Day 2 : Saturday Uppington to Canyon Road House

We woke bright and early. The night before had given us a clue us that we should not sleep together.   Jude snored like a saw mill and Ryno kept on getting up to cuddle with someone.

We left exactly when we said we would at 8am. Well maybe not exactly at 8am as we had to wait for Jude to pack his cosmetics bag.   The day started off over cast and cool and we were happy that we had not tossed our warm clothing.  We started the uphill section of the trip. (Up the Map)  The road to the border was long, boring and straight and our progress was measured by the sociable weaver nests which proliferated the Telkom poles.   Funny there was never any on the Eskom pole lines that ran next door.

 At the Ariamsvlei border we checked the weather and the weather station told us it was dry and cool.  

Thankfully we had not wind like the day before and soon were through the formalities, without Jude being arrested or detained for any reason at all and we breakfasted on newly baked rolls on the Namibian side.   The first impression was destroyed when we got to Karasburg where everyman and his dog came to beg.   Our road trip was only punctuated by the usual passing car who had not perfected the iPhone camera shot that usually ends up in you being driven off the road.

 We stopped for a photo opportunity at the first German block house.  These were erected as a defence tower (Block House) by the German Settlers against feared uprisings by the Rehoboth Basters.

Deciding not to repeat the exercise in Ganau we by-passed the town, stopped so Jude could pee and turned onto the dirt road to the Canyon Road House and realized why we had driven 1000kms.  

The C12 road was sublime, wide and the sharp turn signs are probably only tight if you are doing over 200kms and hour.   So our stately 90kms it was a breeze.

 We arrived to find the southern component had arrived.  Selfishly they had put up only their tents, had not made a fire, and did not have any drinks ready or anything.  But that is fine as our memories are elephantine

The best is yet to come.

 Day 3 Sunday: Canyon Road House to Little Sossus Camp

So we woke up to 2 degrees with frost and ice on our seats and hack tarpaulins. The old farts could not contain their bladders and had been up 2 hours before the sun pottering around.

We left the Canyon Road House before our allotted time after putting in the necessary sustenance for the bikes.

There is no doubt that the jet fuel and sugar combo Mark dished out the night before was the key ingredient that was responsible for my headache which persisted all day. A day that could be described in two words. 513 kms Long and corrugated.

Apart from a short stretch to the breakfast pozzie at Naute Kristall Distillery which proved at definite hit, including an invitation from a local farmer to camp at his place on the way back.   Breakfast and the best cup of coffee for a hundred miles in any direction was the order.  The distillery distils liquor from the vast Date plantations nearby.

We stopped to drop off and say goodbye to Jude’s Mom in Law on the 223Km mark to Lüderitz and then headed off on what was a very long corrugated road. Jude got a horse fly bite on his balls and took off like a stallion leaving the rest of us a long way behind in his dust.

 I thought that my carefully prepared modern tale of the Ziziphus mucronata - the buffalo thorn which the Zulu tradition holds is used to carry the spirit of the newly departed back to their homes must have been particularly poor as no one said anything but all stood separate. But later in the evening everyone consoled me by saying they had to move away because they WERE ALL CRYING. 

We said an Alan Payton prayer for her, which goes like this….

“LORD GIVE ME THE GRACE TO DIE IN THY WILL.
PREPARE ME FOR WHATEVER PLACE OR CONDITION AWAITS ME.
LET ME DIE TRUE TO THOSE THINGS I BELIEVE TO BE TRUE
AND SUFFER ME NOT THROUGH ANY FEAR OF DEATH TO FALL FROM THEE LORD.
GIVE ME GRACE TO LIVE IN THY WILL ALSO
HELP ME TO MASTER ANY FEAR, ANY DESIRE, THAT PREVENTS ME FROM LIVING IN THY WILL
MAKE ME O LORD, THE INSTRUMENT OF THY PEACE THAT I MAY KNOW ETERNAL LIFE
INTO THY HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT”


and left her with 228kms to travel and enjoy on her own back to her home town of Lüderitz.  

Mark of course thought the corrugations, thick sand, headwind and uphill was just the business and was identified by his broad grin and shining white teeth. Everything else was a dull tan colour. But then he is now Australian and likes sheep so that I suppose explains it.

We came across a burnt out bakkie with the cooler box full of broken beers, gas canister and strangely enough a burnt camera partially melted on the bonnet which was a stark reminder to us that the road and country could be unforgiving if we messed up.

  We had good sightings of a large herd of Gemsbok not far off the fence and Fanie spent some time chasing a poor lone Gemsbok on the road reserve. We also passed Zebra and a small herd of bachelor springbok.

The temperature was surprisingly cool and once again we were happy we had not tossed out all the warm jerseys et al. Double gloves were the order of the day.
We arrived at Little Sossus Camp at 5:00ish which meant we had just enough time for a beer to wet our throats and drain the dust and to set up our tents before we had to stop to admire the reds and blues of the dusk light.  Bed tonight will be better than last night as we acclimatize to sleeping on the ground again. We scored a luck with the lodge providing beer, ice and braai packs which went down the way they were meant to.

News is that the next day is only 344kms. We can sleep until 12:00!!

Day 4 Monday : Little Sossus Camp to Alte Bruecke campsite, Swakopmund

What can we say of the night other than the wind started up and howled all night? We slept huddled in not so cold but dusty air while our tents sounded like checkers packets being held out the car.  The old farts were up early again and after breakfast of oats so easy and coffee, we stopped at the entrance for a proper photo opportunity and then left on our way.

The word for the day is wind. We drove into it for half an hour at a time. The road from Sossusvlei to Walvis Bay is like a proverbial highway, with the promised twisty turny, up and down roads. We passed evidence of the treachery of the road as we came across a pair of young men sitting waiting next to their bakkie that had rolled and was standing forlornly down the bank of road waiting for a recovery truck to relieve them of their hard earned cash and troubles.

We got to Solitaire to find that Ryno and Fanie had bought all the petrol and the rest of us got there to find that the cupboard was bare. Luckily the planning for such an eventuality paid off and we were able to fill up with our cans.

This could have got worse as Ryno's fuel can decided that it had had enough of Ryno's company and parted company. Fortunately Ryno was waker and caught it just as it came off so all the fuel can got was a few dents for its troubles.

My wing mirror however couldn't take the corrugations anymore and jumped off the stalk hoping for better pastures. Fortunately I saw her escape and quickly stopped and she is now back in the fold with plastic steel. We are all eager to see how long she stays a party girl.

There were a couple of photo opportunities along the way and there are plenty of Captain Morgan pictures.

We stopped in Walvis Bay for fuel and immediately were in deep conversation with a chap who had seen the sidecars and needed to do some Ural speak.  The lady at the garage phoned her husband and soon we were properly engaged in the UDF.

The short answer was look at sidecarafrica.co.za all the answers are there.

 Did I forget to mention the two blondes that Ryno picked up in Karasburg and when he was finished with them passed them on to Jude and me? Can I tell you they are the most companionable people? They do not have to stop every 40kms for a wee or stop every 45 minutes for food and never complain about the speed, driving skill or the lack of it.

 Day 5 : Tuesday : Alte Bruecke to St Nowhere Camp site

We woke to a miserable soggy and drizzly Swakopmund winter's morning. Alles was nat.  

Mark and I went to the Butcher’s to buy meat for the next part of our journey and we bought 5 of braai pack No 1 and a similar amount of No 5. 

Breakfast was a sumptuous buffet where the bikers showed the rest of the tourists how to eat breakfast.

We collected our vacuum packed braai packs and left for St Nowhere Spa and campsite. Let me tell you it is nowhere. Other than a bit of seashore facie nothing grows here other than the salt.   The Spa consists of a hole of salty water in the mud flats and not what you had in mind.

We drove through the Dorob Nature Reserve up the coast to Mile 100 proved to be a disappointment however and on a scale of 1 to 10 for sophistication, Mile 108 is a 1 and St Nowhere a 10. Due to issues with water the showers have set times and a set amount of one bucket full each. Perhaps today is the day to skip the shower.

Along the salt road the landscape is stark and littered every so many miles with fishing spots. The one that stuck in my mind was the Predekant se Gat - in English directly the “preacher’s hole”. But we get what they meant.

On the continent side of the road the sand is covered with what looks like Crater debris, rusty brown shiny stones. So many of them that the surface looks chocolate brown.   Could this be the Meteor hit that everyone is looking for that brought the dinosaurs to their end?

We saw two silver backed jackals and lots of jackal and brown hyena spoor. We were keen to see who our night visitors are and perhaps a photo or two.

Supper was cooked by Ryno as we used one of the braai packs bought earlier in the day.   The one had an unpronounceable German delicacy which we decided to test and it proved to be delicious.


There were at least 7 seal carcasses on a 200m stretch of beach so this is either the place they come to die or get into trouble and come ashore only to be pounced upon by brown hyenas. Lots of spoor all over almost like a school ground there were so many but not one was up for a viewing.

Tough life this having to go to sleep with the sound of the breaking waves. The trick is not to have the tent door facing the sea or the damp sea breeze slowly dry freezes you into pelican biltong.

Day 6 Wednesday : St Nowhere Camp to Fort Sesfontein

Today was a day of change. 387kms for the day from St Nowhere to Fort Sesfontein.

We rode up the salt road intending to breakfast at Torre Bay only to be told when we got to the Skeleton Nature Reserve Gate that is was closed.  

D I S A P PO I N T E D !

After a bit of the old UDF at the gate for the picture stops for the National Parks ladies we left on our way.

On the way we inspected the old oil rig.   Can you imagine the amount of effort and man-hours it took to get this thing to this part of the work, only to have the environment eat it bit by bit.   This salty dry atmosphere is really not great with anything mechanical.  It turned the oil rig into brookie lace.

 Having no point in going to Torre Bay we turned east to drive out of the Park. At the turn we stopped and had a bite at the turnoff.

 The salt road is just to die for but when you get into the park there are kilometres and kilometres of teenage corrugations.


The Landscape of course is something to behold. On the one side the wild ocean with the periodic wrecks and on the other side sand field covered with small dark brown stones with sand dunes every now and then peeking out. It looks like someone sprinkled too much cinnamon on the custard, so yellow is the sand when it manages to peak out from the gravel.

Into the Torra Conservancy and there we found the famous Welwitschia Mirabilis.  It is estimated their lifespan is up to 2000 years old, consist of only two leaves, a stem base and roots.  The leaves often split to look like many but they are the self-same leaves they start life with. The Welwitschia is ecologically highly specialized, and is adapted to grow under arid conditions receiving regular moisture from the morning fog. This regular, dense fog is formed when the cold north-flowing Benguela Current meets the hot air coming off the Namib Desert. The fog develops during the night and usually subsides by about 10 am. The leaves are broad and large and droop downwards. This is an ideal way for it to water its own roots from water collected by condensation.  So the roots are often close to the water and they should not be closely approached as this hardens the soils and prevents the water draining before it evaporates in the sun.


Then we got into the Korikas hills. White Etosha type road and valleys of just stones with the odd tree here and there. Against one tree we found the spoor of a very large giraffe and spotted a lonely springbok, some horses and a donkey but otherwise not much.

The scenery changed again as we got into the conservancy with hills covered in stones and olive green mesquite bushes. Quite bizarre.   Refuelling stop at Palmwag and we were on our way again.

With Mark zooming too far ahead and losing his direction on the GPS – I suspect the girl directions from inside the unit were the cause, I arrived arranged the rooms and was greeted with an ice cold iced tea cocktail and a cold wet lappie. It went down a treat.

Once the rest had found their way back, bike maintenance was the order of the day until sundown when we went for supper in the fort.

But is it hot, dusty and dry.

 Day 7 Thursday : Fort Sesfontein to House on the Hill

This proved to be a bike breaking road.  Short kilometres but a long day. The route was only 240kms but we took 7,5 hours including pit stops for lunch and rescues.

The road could be described as everything but mud and snow. Rocky, corrugated, zig zaggy, bumpy, dips, lots of sand, stones, loose boulders etc. You get the picture……

The previous days we had seen a road sign which was an exclamation mark. Today however the road did not justify that just a squiggly sign for 5 kms and after that,  another sign.

We all got caught in the sand except Jude, who last night confessed that he had brought Sheila’s panties and could not get them on.

Mark however takes the prize for the most riding and longest day. He went straight when the road went sharp right and down and rolled his Leserena ending up with a broken rib or two and a dented but drivable bike. His story of course will be something along the line that an elephant jumped out onto the road, he got such a fright he swerved to the left and bliksemmed over the edge of a 40m cliff and it is lucky that he is still breathing. Lucky his tee shirt said, “if found on the side of the road send back to wife”.

The road through the plains of the Korikas mountain plateau reminded one of a Mad Max set. Vast areas of nothing but red stones, sparse grass, the odd mopane tree and the ubiquitous blue mountain range on either side.

We had a good sighting of several desert giraffe and a triangle of youngsters.

We came across some rock boulder Zen like figures who were contemplating the vast emptiness of the desert. They almost had a Yoda feel to them they were so zoned out. Fanie and Mark waved and did not even get a wink. Mark confessed he even hid behind a bush so the guy wouldn't see his less than impressive equipment.

Imagine our laughter when Ryno showed them a picture of the boulder men on his camera zoomed in for the detail. Someone has a very good sense of humour.


We arrived at the House on the Hill and the picture is the best way of describing the place. There is nothing better than a hot shower after a long day of driving, which reminds me that the last 23kms of the lodge’s driveway was worse than the 230kms of the rest of the trip!!

 

Jude got under Layla’s skirts for a second day in a row to fix the hole in his exhaust.

Tomorrow we have a long day, we are told, so we probably will be up at sparrow fart to get as much daylight as possible.

The journey continues......

Day 8 Friday: House on the Hill to Kunene River Lodge

We started the day with the cry of the Pearl Spotted Owl and ended the day with the noise of the same bird. We packed up and left the comfort of the House on the Hill and spent the next 5 hours doing maybe 60kms.

Mark still remains with the most riding trophy with his loss of exhaust (twice) and every sandy river crossing his rig seemed to dive into the thickest part and come to a sudden halt.


We came across two horses in very good condition in the middle of nowhere. The girls will emphatically tell you this cannot be without a gazillion Rands in stabling, hay, oats supplements and vets fees a month. What these are eating is a mystery but there was not a rib to be seen. You have got to think that the stabling and mootie and hay and wheat additives is making someone else very rich?

We started the day with 30kms of extremely technical driving doing thick sand, out of thick sand up the banks, dodging sump rupturing rocks and cylinder head cracking side rocks and every other combination in between.

I got to see a Scarlet breasted shrike which was a bird to tick off the list of birds to see in the wild.

The word for today is dust puddles you came across the these puddles of talcum powder dust which explode when you enter and send a cloud into the air and you have no vision other than the feeling of the dust coming over your legs.

After hitting a section of these, we stopped to dust off and spent our lunch in the company of the dead elephant hunters and then left for the next stop at Kaoke Otavi where we bought almost the whole supply of cokes. No matter about the sugar, they were cold liquid and wet.

The day today was a 9,5 hour day. We took almost 6 hours to do the 150kms until the road improved.

On the same road which passed Outjiu there was a spinster and bachelor party where a groom was resplendent in his hairdo and the lucky lady in close attention from all the other Himba maidens. The locals were driving one or two beasts towards this groot ontmoot and one wonders if this is for the bride, the groom or to buy brides.

The scenery had me thinking of Agatha Christies book “Death on the Nile” with the occasional Lala palm grove.

On the way from Ouupo to the Kunene River Lodge I was distressed so see the number of Himba women in their traditional bare breasted attire waving down non Namibian car for the photo opportunity. Left a sour taste of prostitution.   

 

But we had reached or target destination,   The Kunene River Lodge.  Now we have to turn around and go all the way back!

 Day 9 Saturday: Kunene River Lodge to Porcupine Camp Site

As I sit in camp at Porcupine Camp watching Mark collect fire wood I reflect that I have been carrying a bag of wood for 700 kms.

Today was also a wake up from the pearl spotted owls on the Kunene River. There were so many birds in the bamboo grove behind our camp that it sounded like rain but I could not understand why there was no drips, nothing on my tent.

The trip today was 347kms from Kunene River Lodge to Porcupine Camp in Kamanjab.

The first 60 odd kms was along the Kunene river to Ruacana which was windy with a couple of really serious hills if you were coming from the other side, and one river crossing which was wet but no drama.

We spotted the yellow and the black billed hornbills and once on the tar road got set for a 240km drive along the tar road. With only tea sip stops for a bite and a sip of water we ballegaed along the tar road which runs past the Etosha National Park where we only spotted one giraffe and a zebra on the road reserve.

The highlight of the day was filling up in Ruacana when the underground petrol tank overflowed and everyone scattered waiting for the boom. The Workers were unconcerned until we told them of the likelihood of a very large bang and thereafter copious amounts of water were poured onto the spill.


The EFI bikes only gave us 200kms on a tanks, probably because of the speed and the oncoming wind.  Hope tomorrow bring more interesting riding, but no doubt another hard days riding.
At porcupine Camp the dog was welcoming and came to welcome everyone to a higgledy piggildy house with a room as a curio store and a cage full of Guinea Pigs which were whistling for the chance of some food.

The camp is proper in die bos with minimal facilities.    A lot of the trees showed signs of porcupine ringbarking.  The google map description is very accurate. “Good place, especially for the porcupines feeding every evening. That's quite an experience! The campsites are just ok, no amazing view like you can find in other places in Namibia but you are in the bush. Communal ablution bloc with toilet, shower and sink for dishes”.


The day's journal is not complete without the tale of the porcupine visit. We had a large male who seemed very indifferent to us, a smaller female, two teenagers and two little ones.

 Mark in his wisdom decided to leave the rest of the pasta salad for the porcupine in my pot. It was left on the concrete slab made for the campfire. Once it was on the ground it was not long before the big male came for it, very unconcerned with the people around. Mark believed that it would be frightened as it scoffelled its way through the remains when the pot fell off the slab and kept on pushing it back on, much to the annoyance of the porcupine who, on the forth push from Mark simply picked up the pot and left camp with it never to be seem again. He was obviously Gat vol of Mark's smelly foot in his dinner.


There was some excitement as a truckload of Italians came and were soon encamped probably 100m from us and now starting to use the ablutions. Mark and I snuck up and played a hyena noises from my phone. The man on the toilet promptly broke off in mid push and seemed like he stood on the lid so high was his torch. Mark later called whilst some more were coming to brush their teeth and they all turned tail and skedaddled.

They pay back was they all got up at 3;30am to get to the Etosha Game Park Gate for a 6am start!! Not so funny now Peter.

Day 10 Sunday: Porcupine Camp Site to Kashana B&B

The road was a bike breaker.   As I rode listening to my mudguard beating itself to death I heard a tank, tank, tank, noise.   I thought to myself, this sounds like my chair has got loose and if this is the case, it is fighting with my tablet which is not good. Only to look down and watch my spot light ripping it’s self-loose from the hack and now she looks like she has also been in the war.

 

Fanie and I pushed to the junction whilst Jude went back to find out what had gone wrong with the others. After waiting in the sun for more than an hour the two of us decided bugger Mark and left for the B&B thinking at the back of our minds that Mark's bike had found another soft sand puddle,

However, Ryno's final drive decided it had enough of the ball breaking road and had to be rebuilt on the road side. As Jude drove back to find the stragglers expecting the worst, two men still trying to push Marks rig out of the sand only to find Ryno starting his road side repairs.

 We had only just got to our rooms when the familiar sound of large motorcycles approaching told us the wandering minstrels had arrived and a beer was quaffed to rinse away the dust. Funny how stiff a beard gets full of dust.

We now sit at Kashana B & B which is real comfy, thank the Lord. Water remains a problem so Ryno went another day with no hot water and Jude only got a trickle.

It is worth noting that the town of Omaruru was a surprisingly clean town with no litter after a Friday and Saturday night, but then only few people and lots of B&Bs obviously catching the passing trade.

Now for the promised shower.

Day 11 Monday: Kashana B&B to Chameleon Back Packers

Today was a short easy day on tar with very little vibrating dirt road Thank Allah, the all mighty. After almost rebuilding my bike and re-fixing the hack bolts which was about to come undone from my bike and then having to remove, re-fix, then remove and re-fix again my seat because the first time I disconnected the starter motor relay by mistake.

We heard the Scops Owl once more last night and the second time as we went to bed it started again but this time we knew it was an owl and not Fannie’s tyre pressure monitor.

At the Kunene river lodge we thought that it was his heart lung monitor and came running to see if he was alright.

The road from Omarur to Windhoek was mostly tar and reasonably painless. The Chameleon Back packers was easy to find and we look forward to the Joes Beer house tonight.

Hope the rig stays together.

Day 12 Tuesday: Chameleon Back Packers to Namseb Lodge

As I lay me down to sleep i forgot the daily diatribe. So herewith.

Isn't karma quick? The last couple of days I have been sitting very smug after reflecting that since my first experience with a dust puddle I was able to get across all the thick sand crossings where others had to dive into thick sand and get a push, climb up go down go over and round things but today was a constant repair day for me. All the rigs are showing their battle scars.

Monday side car bolts keep on coming loose, my hack transfer connection bolt came loose yesterday and we managed to tighten it in the morning but during the course of the day that went AWOL again. Fannie’s rig, the lights cannot make up their mind if they are supposed to be on or off or on when you switch off or all on bright when you switch on.

Lots of little niggles. Medusa is busy shaking herself to pieces. We stopped in Solitaire to get some welding done of the sidecar wheel arch supports and a fuel bracket where a fuel tank had tried to escape. Only to have the wheel arch weld crack within 100kms.

But.... the real story of the day is we did a 240km detour on arguably some of the kakest roads so we could do the Gams pass and have a slice of apple pie!! And also to see a grader lying on its side. Fortunately no dead or wounded but that will be an exercise to get that back on the road.

And of course everywhere we go the UDF, someone either has one or knows someone who has one.

The rest of the boys, I am afraid, are quite jealous even though they will not admit it, as I was the only one to have delicious monsters sit on my sidecar for a photo opp. Twice. They keep on coming to feel the seat…..

We are all thankful that we have a bed tonight and are not tenting in the nasty cool breeze that has followed us all day. Namseb lodge also proves to be a repeat performance place that is, if Mark can get his Ural up the road.

The main excitement, I suppose certainly from my point of view was my sidecar wheel bearing collapsed and fortunately Ryno noticed it at the garage and we were able to make a change of wheels. It would not have been the type of thing you want happening at 80 or 100kms an hour!! So 436kms driven today and a 9,5 hour day. Tomorrow will prove a challenge as it is another 420kms plus all on dirt.

Day 13 Wednesday: Namseb Lodge to Canyon Road House

The ride today was 420kms which was either on very good wide dirt roads that everyone will tell you about (what a pleasure) or tar, with a short section of bad corrugations that beat the bikes again to death. This self-same section had Fanie turn around and follow the sign to Cairo and so he has to get the prize for the most riding. By the time he arrived we had already had refuelled, had two beers and done the requisite shopping for the favoured few at home.

Now here I sit in the place where we joined the Cape Contingent, at the Fish River Canyon Roadhouse and contemplate the last two weeks journey. 

The days now meld together in a blur of movement, brief stops and sleeps, of laughter, exhaustion, grit and determination and I thank the Pope that I religiously wrote something of the day's activities every day or it would be a monolog based on picture memories which often tell another story.

We are quietly fiercely protective of our achievement. 3928kms to the top of Namibia and back, damaged and bruised it is clear, but then again we are not as fit and fabulous that we thought we were but greying and aging men with a mission.

And the mission was to join Mark the Mad Hatter Cutter, with his quest to reach the Kunene.

 We did not find Livingstone, nor did we find the Holy Gail but we did find the friendship, comradery and fellowship for a special group of men who I am sure call each other Friend.

 I just have one request. Please Sheila, show Jude how to put on makeup, he takes too long to get ready in the morning, his cosmetics bag has got to be such a mess.

We thank Mark for the organizing, Jude for the routing, and Ryno for the detours, Fanie for his pessimism and for the opening of Pandora’s Box and of course our safe return.