The first 8km or so from the Desert Camp was against the tourist traffic heading to Sossusvlei. Fortunately, we turned left at the T junction towards Solitaire on a good road with quite a lot of traffic, although this is all relative. Solitaire is another oasis, famous for Moose MacGregor and his pastries. Moose himself apparently passed away a few months prior however, the tea room and pastries remain.
After a light breakfast and a refuel, we headed up the C14 towards Walvis Bay. It is unbelievable how much dust a tourist bus can kick up and we had to watch our following distances so as not to drown in the dust. We stopped at the tropic of Capricorn for a picture break, and navigated through the picturesque Gaub and Kuiseb passes and Kuseb Canyon, stopping for a breather at the cave a few km further on.
At this stage, some of the group were having second thoughts about the planned "smiley" route via Gobabeb in preference to the direct road on the C14. Ultimately, we decided to take the longer route which turned-out to be the right decision. The road passes through the Namib Naukluft national park, and we had purchased permits for our transit the previous day. This despite the sign that says no motorbikes.
About 20km after the turnoff, you pass a rocky outcrop called Mirabib which has to be the Namibian equivalent of Ayres rock in Australia. There is a track that goes to the rock and you are able to camp overnight at Mirabeb. On the list for the next trip.
Gobabeb is a research and weather station located at the junction of 3 different environments, which I'm told is called a triosphere. From Gobabeb the road follows the Kuiseb river with the red dunes on one side, and the white desert on the other. It is difficult to describe this road. It consists of 60km of short, sharp hills and dips. My front wheel picked-up on one or two occasions and given that it is a KLR, this is more of a reflection on the road than the bike.
Around 35km outside Walvis we hit a sand storm from hell and had to grit our teeth to make it to the Lagoon chalets which we eventually did at around 2.30pm. The weather was cold and miserable, and we hooked up with Stuarts' brother Ernest, who lives in Swakopmund and who showed us a couple of watering holes and took us to the yacht club for dinner. They set the wind-powered world record on a uni-directional catamaran here - no surprise given the wind - some 65-odd knots. I'm no expert, but that is well over 100km/hr.
After dinner it was straight to bed with Stu's famous hot chocholate. We couldn't wait to see the back of Walvis the next day!
|Sesriem / Solitaire / Walvis / Windhoek|
|At Sesriem, an angelic sunrise silently ushered in the day|
|Ang feeding her flock|
|very frienldy social weavers|
|Tented camp at Sesriem Desert Camp|
|communal pool area|
|hundreds of white butterflies on the lawn - can't remember when last we saw so many butterflies in one place|
|An oasis in the desert|
|Welcome to Solitaire Ang|
|Somehow Ang's feathered friends always find her|
|A BIG smile from Jorg when he spots his friend Radioman's sticker on the wall|
|so we decided to join Radioman and put our stickers up alongside his|
|Mr Miyagi rides a KTM?|
|for those who don't know, Solitaire has a tyre repair shop|
|a brave Rick on his KTM|
|Namibian roads are very well maintained|
|The group at the Tropic of Capricorn... see if you can spot our 'stickers' on the sign|
|Rolex checked out the spot where 2 German soldiers hid from capture during the 1st World War|
|should we? shouldn't we? so glad we did!|
|Gobabeb Weather Station up ahead|
|Arid & remote best describes this D road|
|Donkeys in the desert - note the white sand with the red dunes|
|Ang's pic of the day|
|Rolex and Rick taking a breather|
|at times, we could hardly make out what was road or desert|
|Ang speeding along|
|The battleship not far behind|
|about 40kms outside of Windhoek, this church seems isolated in the middle of nowhere|
|Stuart trying to get in some overtime|
|photo-bombed again! Nice one Rick...|
|Riding into a sand storm near Walvis|
|Rick braving the sand storm|
|Lagoon Chalets in Walvis|
|The sandman got to Rick|
|Dinner on the Lagoon|
|Paul, Rick and Jorg in the captain's cabin at the Yacht Club in Walvis|
|Lily's Crab claws|
Day 7 - Walvisbay / Windhoek (386kms)
The following morning the wind had thankfully dropped and after taking some pictures at the Walvis Bay lagoon, the team got going towards Swakopmund for breakfast some 35km away. I have not been this way for 10 years and was amazed at the development between the towns which is basically built-up with seaside apartments. We had breakfast in Swakopmund, refuelled and spent a little time admiring the Super Ten at the Yamaha dealer while stocking up on chain lube and other consumables.
We decided to take the direct route to Windhoek on the C28 and the first 70km or so was tar, followed by another 70km of straight, gravel road. We saw our only welwitschia on the way. The mountains arrived and the road started twisting and turning through the hills and valleys. This is a seriously long stretch which goes over the steep Boshua pass and climbs the 1700metres up to Windhoek. This is big game territory, and we saw Kudu, springbok and other small antelope along the way.
The vegetation was still having its winter rest and so looked fairly dull and lifeless. The upside is that it was still relatively cool, and the mercury only touched 36deg along the way. I do not want to think what it must be like to do this road in summer - ouch! The road is long and we were all a little tired towards Windhoek. Rick went off up front to find a KTM dealer to fix his pannier racks which the 640 had shaken apart.
After a welcome stop for Nando's and fuel in Windhoek, we headed to our accommodation at the Heja game lodge, some 20km on the other side of Windhoek. We had a huge dinner at the lodge which was excellent, and it seemed that nobody quite believed that we would order an Oryx steak to be cooked rare. Over supper we sang happy birthday to Jorg who turned 50. Can't think of a better way to spend a birthday. Seems most people have their meat either medium or well done. With full tummies, we headed off to a comfortable bed.
This was the farthest north that we would go in Namibia, and the next day would see the group turn south for home!
|Walvis lagoon - breeding place of the flamingos|
|Paul staying well behind the group to avoid the dust on the C28|
|time for a break and snack|
|Photo bombed again!|
|highest point on Boshua Pass|
|so much dust but SUCH fun!|
|Stuart kicking up some dust|
|Group arriving at Heja Lodge|
|Very tame wild animals at Heja Lodge|
|such big.... cheeckbones|