Sunday, April 24, 2011

Riding into Real Africa

Daryll writes:

We spent four wonderful evenings with our couchsurf hosts (Marlies & Chris) in Cape Town.  There were so generous and hospitable to us and it was a sad farewell as we rode off to try to catch up with our friends who where waiting for us in Luderitz, Namibia.  We hadn’t planned to see much of South Africa as we would always come back.  South Africa for us was a stop over point to visit family, get some R&R in and have a few things looked at on the bikes.  We had two long riding days and headed for Springbok in the Northern Cape about 550km from Cape Town.  It was an uneventful ride, but the ride reminded us so much of the harsh Patagonia conditions with the fierce wind beating on us.  For some reason, we failed to fill up in Springbok thinking that there would be a gas station at the South African border town of Voolsdrift, but with the wind, Angela’s bike went into reserve 50km before the border.  Not wanting to take any chances, we stopped off on the side of the road and transferred 2,5 liters from my bike into her bike and kept our fingers crossed that the gas station would be close. 

As we rode up to the South African side and no gas station in sight, Angela’s bike went into reserve for the 2nd time that morning.  We quickly learnt that the gas station was about 3 km into the Namibian side.  Lesson learnt and we have been filling up whenever we see a gas station.  It is going to be a long road ahead.  Our passports were stamped out of South Africa and the Immigration guy questioned why I was entered into the country as a citizen vs. a tourist, so had to explain about the problem I had arriving in Johannesburg.  Once that was taken care off, we went over to the tax refund office to see if we could get our VAT back on some of our purchases.  We hope that once we arrive back in Vancouver, we will have a cheque waiting for us.  We crossed the border into Namibia and it now seemed that our Africa trip was really starting.

Crossing into Namibia was a relatively easy process, but we did have to pay US$20 each for a road tax.  After a few miles into the barren landscape, we started coming across the most gigantic bugs on the road and at first I tried to avoid them, but after a while got tired and just ran right over them as the road was littered with these bugs.

Giant Bug
After the border, we headed for a small non-descript town called Keetmanshoop where we camped at a Municipal Campground where we where the only ones in the campground.  It was a little unnerving as the entire campground was surrounded with barbed wire, but a security guard had come by to let us know that he will be around the campground that night and keep an eye on us.  Some service.  We set up our tent on a grassy bit and after dinner, as the clouds rolled in, had a spectacular lightening display. 

We left Keetmanshoop the next morning and headed west to Luderitz to meet up with Tom, Pat, Chris and Dom who had arranged for us to stay with Brad, another couchsurfer.  Brad was with the US peace Corp and was assisting at the local school by teaching English. 

Pat (Africa Twin); Dom (BMW 1200GS); Tom (V-Strom 650)
Luderitz is a small town stuck on the edge of nothingness and was developed to sustain the diamond mines close by.  Nothing much happens here, but the church overlooking the town gave some spectacular views.

On the way into Luderitz, we stopped at a ghost town, Kolmanskop.  This town was abandoned when the mining companies pulled out and now sand fills in the homes.  There are a few mines still in operation and there are several signs all over the dunes warning people not to enter.

Tom, had a fall the day before leaving Cape Town and had visited a doctor in Luderitz who had suggested that he needed a few more days of rest before riding, so he decided to head towards Windhoek and the rest of us towards Soussesvlei.  The others had stopped off for breakfast while Ang & I stopped off at the bank and upon our return I found I had a flat.  Upon inspection, I found a 2 inch metal spike embedded into my new tire.  Pat noticed it from the restaurant and came to help change the tube.  30mins later and with several onlookers, the tire was removed, tube replaced and tire re-fitted and we were all hitting the road.

Tire repair on the streets of Luderitz

New photos added to the Namibia photo album.
Digg this

No comments:

Post a Comment