Namibian Sand Monsters: Part 2 – Meeting the Sand Monsters

| September 23, 2010 | Comments (1)

Then we find the powder dust. It looks innocuous until you stamp your boot in it and disappear coughing in a cloud. Its like chalk dust, in between the tracks the middle man is about half a metre high. Tracks drift left and right across each other, parallel all over drivers desperately trying to escape. We walk the first patch, we’re on bikes surely there is a foot track around… no its through – no around here! We decide the technique is to follow one track, one at a time, the person walking can push if the other gets stuck. Seamus goes….

He stops on the other side, its seems so far away! I jump on my monster bike, stare at the sand monster and gun it. We both make it. That was nothing we laugh, we are now just a large powder ball with a helmet on top!

But little did we know, there are kilometers of this stuff, respite of about a k or two and another and another patch. We get stuck, we push and we shove each other out. We endlessly walk through looking for the easiest route. Its 11am and we are fucked and little do we know this is the easy part!

We clear the powder dust (we think). The route now becomes indistinct, a hundred cow tracks split this way and that, I weave from one track to the next, Seamus hangs back to escape the dust and loses me. He strays this way and that, he does not have a GPS and relies on mine, now I’ve disappeared. I stop get off my bike and take off my helmet. Except for the persistent wine of Christmas beetles its silent. Where is Seamus. I wait staining my ears. I am desperate for shade and literally ride into a tree, no Seamus!

Then I hear a familiar engine and Seamus emerges clearly relieved he has found me. He is now really covered in dust. “I lost you for a while” he says wiping dust out his eyes,” then I was so busy looking for tracks I came off and something’s fucked in my bike”.

I hear a buzzing. “it’s a relay” I confidently claim. We switch the bike on and off, take out the keys, the buzzing remains. We discuss it, we will have to open up the bike and find the relay. Not here tho its too hot, we must find shade. I start off for my bike and hear a triumphant shout. Seamus is scrabbling in his tank bag like a mad thing. He emerges with…….his electric toothbrush buzzing away! We giggle like mad things, he takes the battery out the toothbrush and we head on into the heat.

We pass an empty nomadic himba kraal, empty..what do they know which we don’t?

In the riverbed we stop for tea and a rest in the shade but only last forty minutes, the miggies descending on our heads like clouds, desperate for our moisture. The burrow into our hair, ears, eyes, we break branches off the trees and swat like mad. Its useless we agree that we’d rather face the heat than the miggies. Its 12.30 we have 30 k’s to go..an hour or two at most!!!!!!!!!!!!

The track now enters the valley, high walls of amazing twisted tortured rock on all sides of us. The Christmas beetles now reach a crescendo echoing off the walls of the canyon. The heat is like a muggy soup and suddenly we meet the sand monster! The track enters the riverbed, km after km of sand, soft, deep and murderous sand. I forget how many times I just got so tired I let my bike flop down, how many times I got stuck and Seamus pushed. I forget how many times I rode across the sand with my feet out like training wheels, so tired that all technique goes to the winds, just desperate to cross that sand! All the while the dead animals we came across reminded us of the price of failure!

Then like a miracle the track became a jeep track, rocks beautiful hard rocks, just no more sand please. I had run out of water in my camel back, its 2 pm and we find some kids selling dolls, they are more dusty than we are. Children of the Sand Monster.

I fill up my camel back from my jerry can, its boiling but its water. We ride on rock, another patch of powder dust and now more rock. My Tracks4Africa map on my GPS shows an extreme rocky section….it never showed the previous stuff so we slow down and look, my heart is in my throat. I’m tired, I’m thirsty and fuck I have never been so hot in my life, I don’t need more of this I need a road, not a tar road or a dirt road, just not a goat track! Seamus is ahead and rides forward, he looks over his shoulder at me and laughs and rides on… It’s a rock shelf about 10 cm’s high!

From here is improves, we even find water. I stop and drink the cool lovely stuff. A local kid appears from nowhere. No he says don’t drink the water go to the camp.

We take a deep breath, CAMP? He points over the rise. Do they sell beer says Seamus. Yes says our new buddy! Without a word we leap on our bikes and roar over the rise, and there it is a beautiful camp, palm trees, we ride in a guard appears from the shade. Welcome seh! “Do you sell beer”, blubbers Seamus. “Eyi no seh usually but we are out but camping is 20 dollars”! I’m still considering it when Seamus disappears in a cloud of dust.. we need beer.

We clear the track and come onto the Sesfontein road and 60 odd k’s on we find a beer. We burst into a shebeen like madmen buy and gulp our beers down like Pondo’s on Payday!

We consider the fresh meat but bully beef seems so much more humane! We follow the GPS to the old German Fort and find the swimming pool. We camp in an oasis and dream of sand monsters!

Next – Valley of Desolation and Real Real Heat!

Category: Namibia, TRIP REPORTS

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  1. Awesome! Where is this? Could we see a map some how?

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