2014-09-24 to 26 - Day 12,13 & 14 of our Southern Namibia tour - Ai Ais/Augrabies/Calvinia/Cape Town

Day 12  Ai Ais to Augrabies - 380km

My bike's battery decided it had had enough and the first order of the day was to recharge using the Hilux.  Another good reason to bring a back-up vehicle with jumper cables. Eventually the bike fired, but ultimately both Angie's and my battery's had to be replaced when we got home.  I think all the water was shaken out!  One of our CT mates Ben did warn us as he suffered the same fate and it is a good idea to check the battery when you do the air filters!

The first stretch out of the canyon was in the hills and the road snaked slowly through. We saw lots of Kudu, Gemsbok and Springbok in the (still) early morning, managing to miss them all with deft and cunning.  The gravel road to Karasburg was in fair condition, and it is probably unrealistic to expect every road to be a graded gravel highway. Karasburg itself is not one for the bucket list, although we did find a little restaurant tucked away that served a pretty mean breakfast.  As rumours did the rounds about donkey meat, the strange tasting wors didn't have many takers.

The border post to check out at Ariamsvlei on the Namibia side is some 10km away from the SA one at Nakop - curious that.  My Garmin was playing up and devised an unsuitable shortcut to Augrabies for the next overnight stop.  On top of that it was re-starting every minute or two, and rapidly becoming useless.  With Rick's help, we found the light load and headed through to Kakamas for fuel and a breather at "The Pink Padstal".

On arrival at De Oude Stoor, some 20km out of town we settled into the excellently appointed self-catering accommodation and bundled into the bakkie for a trip to the falls. We went to the Ararat viewpoint and passed close to 6 giraffe who were feeding near the road.  What a privilege.  For a complete variation, we decided to braai that evening and ate the last of the supplies that Stuart had so diligently looked after.

Ang's angels appeared in the sky and safely guided us on our way to the border post

Social weaver nests in abundance on the South African side of the border 
Kakamas ahead

A interesting place to stop
Better than good it was.. it was GREAT! 
Amen to that sister!

Ai blommie...
an iron steed with a difference - always in search of more horsepower
we enjoyed the 'stories' these art pieces told

Caption above the pink scooter

Jorg couldn't find any bike mags
The rest of the boys exploring the pienk padstal
Ang does NOT pass a windmill without capturing it... whether in the field on on a shelf
does this colour suit my eyes Ang?
aaahhh come on Stu.. enough dressing up now, says Paul
Sign above the creative men's toilet
Who has time to think of these things.. only in Kakamas - love the sense of humour though!

De Oude Schuur Augrabies
On our drive through Augrabies we came upon 7 giraffes... who's your daddy?
The dad giving us a beady eye 
Mother and child - precious! 
Augrabies National Park - Canyon
Papparazzi at work again
The gang enjoying the majestic sights of the Canyon (minus Lick)
The Augrabies flat lizards are more correctly called Broadley’s flat lizards, orPlatysaurus broadleyi. They are endemic to South Africa, and in fact only occur in the remote and arid area between Augrabies and an area called Pella, to the west of Augrabies.
Lily (aka Paparrazzi) & Jorg 
Rolex and the missus Ang (aka Birdlady)
What a view!

I don't think ET went home..... (a piece of wood on the other side of the canyon strangely resembling ET)
Lots of dassies and miggies to  be seen close to the look out points

Day 13  Augrabies to Calvinia - 380kms

After rusks and coffee, we said our farewells to Rick who was not looking forward to the N12 highway back to Gauteng.  We had a "scenic" route planned to Calvinia. 

There were corrugations like you have never seen and the first 70 to 80km was pretty remote.  Eventually we got good at opening farm gates, however progress was slow and the only chance of breakfast was Loeriesfontein some 300km away.  Nobody complained though and the surrounds were scenic if not full of variation.

We persevered, hit the R355 and stopped to take some group riding photos (which we should have done the previous day when Rick was still with us - sorry Rick!).  There is a mine about 60km outside Loeriesfontein which is running 4 x trailer train-trucks.  You will not believe the dust that one of these generates - from a distance, it looks like a fire.  As we got closer, there were some green cultivated lands and Loeriesfontein eventually arrived at 12pm.  The lady at the hotel informed us that they will serve breakfast - even at 9 o'clock at night.  It was a welcome relief and we took a deserved breather.

Angela cannot resist a windmill and I am going to have a lot of pressure to not retire at Loeriesfontein with it's windmill museum.  After taking the obligatory pics and satisfying Ang's need for all things windmill, we headed on the R355 to Calvinia.  The veld looks greener and there are occasional veld flowers to brighten things up.  The 80km or so is very scenic and turned out to be a lovely stretch.

We checked into the Blou Naartjie Gastehuis and Restaurant.  After a walk about town, I would submit that the Blou Naartjie is the centre-point of the dorp as well.  We had a scrumptious meal in their restaurant that was once a synagogue. 

Ang started her day chasing windmills 
but only after she had done her chores... snackpacks - by now a firm favourite with the group
We eventually found out that this 'off the beaten track" was called Droegrond (droog indeed!)
We quite enjoyed the sandy patches and there were many on this long stretch of farm roads 
as well as many gates, fortunately all unlocked
the Nav & Eish up ahead 
off they go on route to Loeriesfontein 
Jorg closingthe last gate on the tour 

the Cape Town Adventure Riders 

Stu kicking up some dust
Trucks in the distance 
We stopped and waited for the trucks to pass 
Loeriesfontein to the left 
Loeriesfontein Hotel 

Ang in windmill heaven
There's no stopping her when it comes to windmills 
can you see the smile on her face?
Two heads are better than one when it comes to creative photography
just one more please Lily....  txs!
The Nav gives the thumbs up and cameras are put away as we continue our travels
Paul at Die Blou Naartjie in Calvinia - lovely guesthouse
View of our 'stoep'
Dutch Reformed Church
Designed by Gaysford, a Potchefstroom architect, the church is in neo-gothic style and cost 1 200 pounds to build.
We took a stroll down Church street

Sadly the 7 circuit classical Labyrinth in Calvinia is a bit unkempt but we still enjoyed walking it
Like motorcycling, labyrinths are about the journey, at least as much as the destination. They can be calming, as they slow you down while you wind your way through the path.
Now how do I get my letter to Megan into this letterbox? asks Paul

Day 14 - Calvinia to Cape Town - 404kms

The final day of our journey dawned in overcast and rainy conditions.  We headed towards Clanwilliam, opting to follow the dirt roads through Botterkloof and past the Doring river instead of the tar.  The roads are good and speedy progress was made.  We stopped for a cup of coffee and some cake at Calvinia and took the back-roads to Piketberg so as to avoid all the stop/go's and roadworks.

At times there was rain and fog and visibility was poor.  What a contrast to Namibia with the wide open spaces and endless views.  We said our good-bye's to Jorg and Lily at Piketberg and took the highways to our various homes.

What an awesome trip.  14 days with 2 rest days.  Some 4800km for us Capies.  Rick did over 5000km from Joburg.  No real incidents or mechanical faults which is partly a result of good planning.  We had a team that kept more or less to the same speed which is critical as you don't want to rush or wait.

Thanks to the crew...

Stuart - for making sure we had enough food and cold water, driving the bakkie, packing, unpacking and ensuring that the team was happy.
Paul - for just doing it.  NEVER a complaint, and always a smile or joke to ease the tension.
Rick - for fitting in with this Capie team, and not feeling bad for riding a KTM. We told you we don't discriminate.
Lily - for knooowwwwwing how to brighten up the days and getting everyone to pose.
Jorg - for showing that it is possible to ride a GS through Namibia and being the mechanical knowledge base.
Angie - for the rat packs, photo's and being the most wonderful wife a man can have!

Packing up 
Ang taking time to smell the roses before leaving for Cape Town
Lily packing up her camera
Doring river
Crossing the Doring river on route to Clanwilliam

Thanks Nav for writing the commentary for the blog and for planning an EPIC trip and leading our group safely through some of the most awesome and spectacular places in Southern Namibia.  

Lily, thank you very much for sharing your prized photographs that you so enthusiastically took of all of us.  You had us in stitches at times with your sayings...
Everything is nothing and nothing is everything (Lily waxing lyrical and always positive)
I knoooowwww (Lily, ever confident)

Lastly, a big thanks to everyone on the tour for making this tour so successful and for my angels who safely guided us through places and roads unknown.

For the rest of you who have been following us on the blog, I hope you have all enjoyed the visual journey with us through Southern Namibia.  This is most definitely a bucket list item which I can now tick off our list, although I sense that we will be drawn back to Namibia sometime in the future.   It is just one of those places that you want to go back to again and again.  So much to see and so little time!  I have always been an adventurous person at heart, but I am SO glad that I can now be adventurous on 2 wheels and this hot on the wheels of my awesome hubby.  

Life is Good!

Safe travels everyone 

- Ang -

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