2014-09-20 to 21 - Day 8 & 9 of our Southern Namibia tour - Windhoek/Maltahohe/Aus/Luderitz

Day 8 - Windhoek to Maltahohe (Namseb Game Lodge) 400km

Much credit must go to Ang for putting the most ridiculous songs into our heads each morning.  Bother Louis, Louis, Louis (for Stuart) and "Leaving on a Jet Plane" are but 2 examples.  Rick was particularly appreciative.

On leaving the Heja Lodge, we literally dodged the Wildebeest and Springbok on our way back to the airport road.  We opted to take the secondary roads east of the B1 south from Windhoek through Dordabis and  Uhlenhorst, before crossing the B1 at Kalkrand, and taking the direct route to Maltahohe. This is cattle country, interspersed with game lodges.

After the first 100km or so of tar, we settled in to some sandy gravel travel!  Although this was thick in places, it was not soft, so the bikes passed through without hassles.  We stopped briefly at the Old Fort along the way - it is virtually inconceivable why someone would build a free-standing fort here - but there you go.

Tracks 4 Africa shows a visit-worthy spot of social weaver nests which we thought may be worth a visit.  This turned-out to be a glider flying club.  People from all over the world migrate here over Nov/Dec/Jan and have built a proper 3-star establishment.  It is devoid of guests for the rest of the year, although supports a full staff complement.  The coffee and brief rest on the beautiful lawns were most welcome.  There are no social weavers in the vicinity!

The road towards Kalkrand was up and down following the dune contours of the surrounds. At Kalkrand we stopped for fuel and to clean the air filters of the KLR's.  Angie's bike was losing power and blowing black smoke - a sure sign that too little air getting through.

On the road to Maltahohe, Rick and I swapped bikes.  The KLR is as refined and smooth as an electric motor when compared to the KTM, and I was very happy to get my bike back after 13kms.  Horses for courses as Rick loves his bike and it does have more power.

Namseb Lodge was one of the best stays on the trip some 17km outside of Maltahohe on a gravel track.  The weather was perfect and the stars were amazing.  Run by a young german couple, we went on a game drive, stayed and dined in luxury - truly an amazing place.  Lily spent most of the night taking long exposure pictures of the stars.

Route from Windhoek to Maltahohe (Day 8) / Maltahohe to Luderitz (Day 9)
where's the gravel?
Finally off the tar...
Rick & Rolex waiting up ahead.. does anyone know the history behind this old fort?
So NOT a weaver's nest but an oasis in the middle of nowhere and friendly staff at the lodge opened up and made us coffee - Namibian hospitality at its best!
landing strip for gliders
more hills

boys will be boys... this wild squash didn't last very long after RoboRic got hold of it...
Quite like the visibility factor of  Ricks KTM jacket
My DMD's zip finally gave in and I had to macgyver it for the rest of the trip  
Rolex and Rick swopped out bikes for a few kms... lets just say that Rolex prefers his gomma gomma
off they go

Rolex attending to the KLRs airfilters

Rick enjoying his snack pack and looking on as Paul cleans Thalullah's air filter

Namseb Lodge tucked away high up on a hill near Maltahohe
some pics of the Lodge and surrounds

our rooms (behind bikes in pic) were very comfortable and tastefully decorated

social weaver nests everywhere you look - this one was particularly large and hosted a large community of birds. Note the acacia in bloom.
Steep uphill incline to get to the Lodge - SUCH fun
Rolex, Stu, Lily and myself opted for a game drive and according to the owner, the best viewing point to find game is from his windmill

Lily enjoying a sundowner on our game drive
Rolex and Lily gives a thumbs up for a perfect ending to a perfect day
what's for dinner mom? 
Lily mastering the art of photographing the milky way and stars - I was fortunate enough to get my KLR in the frame.  Awesome pic Lily THANKS!  

Day 9 - Maltahohe/Aus to Luderitz

The following morning Paul noticed that his radiator had spilled some fluid.  He topped-up and the group had breakfast before heading off to Maltahohe.  At the garage, there was no "Stop Leak" available so we started looking for alternatives.  After some serious discussion and then having established immediate unavailability of egg whites, it was decided to administer half a packet of Tumeric (Borrie) to Pauls radiator.  This not only worked, but lasted all the way to Cape Town some 1800km later.

The route took us on what was reported to be a sandy road to Aus and then on tar to Luderitz.  The road to Aus was good despite the warnings with short stretches of mild sand.  We passed some cyclists on the way, and the tourist traffic was back.  The landscape changes from white to red earth and back again which makes for some picturesque scenery.

Aus is the town where they grew vegetables for the seaside town of Ludertiz and is also famous for its' "wild" horses which were abandoned by the German soldiers during WWI. The hotel at Aus makes a mean toasted sandwich and we stopped for lunch.  The road to Ludertiz is 130km on tar, and was the most boring of the entire trip.  We arrived at at the town through the customary sand storm from 30km out.

Luderitz itself is somewhat untidy and unkempt and is not exactly a thriving town - not by a long chalk.  They are rebuilding the railway line in the hope of becoming the export port for the table grapes from the Orange River irrigation farmers at Keetmanshoop. Time will tell whether this is successful or not.  Coming into town we passed the deserted town of Kolmanskop which again, failed to impress.  Look at the pictures, it is enough - no need to visit.

We did take a tour through one of the stately homes (Haus Goerke) build in 1908 or thereabouts.  The house was built as an engagement present and only lived in for 2 years before being sold to the mining house who still use it today.  After a quiet sight-seeing stroll, we braaied in the courtyard of our clean and comfortable self-catering accommodations (Sandrose House).  Nobody was looking forward to the 130km back to Aus the next day.

Paul's KLR's readiator started to leak..
Stu suggested using 'borrie compound' and it worked!  (ye of little faith...)  Paul rode the next 2000kms through Namibia and SA with no further complaints from Talulah

it looks like a windmill.....

A crazy group of cyclists touring through Namibia...
All ok?  next stop Aus
this sign might be quite dated but serious penalities still do apply apparently

we imagined that this ambulance must have hit an animal crossing the road... didn't he see the signs? 
¯I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes ¯
¯Wildhorses could not drag me away from you ¯

fought to keep bikes upright along this stretch into Luderitz 

the wind blows so much here that even the signage gets sandblasted
Kolmanskop to the left - we opted out of doing the tour and took pics instead
Ghost town of Kolmanskop
Houses abandoned as the desert sand reclaimed the land

Cold and misty welcome to Luderitz
We didn't get to visit Diaz Coffee shop as the town is closed on Sundays but apparently one should not miss a visit to this historic coffee shop when in Luderitz

this building reminds me of a very well known and famous buidling in America (always in movies) 
the entre of Luderitz

an old abandoned jetty

a few of us walked around the town after our arrival
Goerkehaus, the residence of Hans Goerke, manager and co-owner of the early diamond umbrella company, erected 1909-1911 - now a national monument
most doors in Luderitz are bolted up like this one at Haus Goerke

staircase to 2nd floor of House Goerke 
Panoramic view of Luderitz from the 2nd floor balcony
the group stretching legs after a long and tedious ride into Luderitz on tar 
The rehabilitation of the Aus-Luderitz railway line is expected to be complete before Dec 2015
Rick walking the line

A sad picture as many of the coastal houses seem to be falling into disrepair
fishing seems good in Luderitz

Ludertiz' waterfront
Titanic moment for David
The Nest Hotel looks out of place in Luderitz
Stuart on the balcony of the old church
beautiful stained glass window
Felsenkirche (English: Rock Church) on Diamond Hill, a church in vertical gothic style consecrated in 1912. After the diamond rush of 1908 and the completion of the railway line to Keetmanshoop L├╝deritz became permanently home to a significant white population. As a result a number of churches were built. Felsenkirche, one of the oldest Lutheran churches in Namibia, is a national monument since 1978.

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