Namibian Sand Monsters: Part 4 – The Last Bite

| September 23, 2010 | 1 Reply

We head for Swakop for a two day rest and to do some maintenance on our bikes. My 1200adventure is spluttering and coughing at anything over 4000 revs. I am worried about the electronics which I know I can’t repair. I start however with the air filter….. as I open it about two handfuls of sand fall out…. I cannot believe it is still starting!

After a good rest and a few restaurants, (yay now more Bully!) we head off to Sossusvlei and the stunning red dunes.

After Sossusvlei the group splits and Seamus and I head off to Aus, then the Richtersveldt across the newly opened Sendelings Drift border post.

Its absurd riding onto the pont which serves as the crossing into the RS of A. You ride onto this raft and get a lifejacket thrown at you. Who has ever ridden a bike with a lifejacket on?

We cross and enter the diamond mining area, signs and road blocks warning us everywhere not to steal De Beers diamonds.

The Richtersveldt Park rises on our right and its 3 pm and boiling. We search for a camping ground (with beer of course). On the GPS I see a little town called Koeboes, we head for this, not so much for camping but maybe we can find a little shebeen with shade and beer and sit out the fiery afternoon before searching for a campsite. We enter koeboes a tiny little dorp of shacks and pondokkies. We find the Paradise Café, half broken down the rest looking alluringly like the provider of beer. A lady stands at the counter, I enter and greet her. She looks over my shoulder into the distance. I look where she is looking….space. I greet her again and ask in Afrikaans now “have you got beer?” She stares over my shoulder and gives a tiny shake of her head. A granny in the corner suddenly says something. We had not noticed her, her face is like a yellow dried up raison, high cheekbones and the tiny frame of a bushman (or bushlady I guess). “Skies” we say. She beckons us closer, “da’s geen beer in hierie dorp nie. Maar die mense smokkel it”. Skies? Ja if you want beer you need to find the beer smugglers, she confirms! We believe it’s a diamond town and beer is not allowed. Incredible! We order Cokes and head out looking for camp.

Camp that night is a gorge indicated as Tieroog on the GPS. It’s our last night out before Springbok where I meet Sue and my kids. I’ve had pics of them gazing at me from the tank bag but I ache to hug, feel and smell them all. Seamus is wrapped in his own thoughts also meeting his bokkie, Ren. But for now any hugs he gets are from me!

There’s no water but the sand is soft the setting is incredible and our jerry cans are full.

Seamus the kitchen bitch that night has stolen Mitch’s spices from the cruiser so tonight our bully beef tastes better than the best meal in JHB’s elite restaurants.

It’s a week before Christmas and here we are near the dorp of Lekkersing surrounded by the diamond fields, we sip our warm Jameson’s in the moonlight, the sky full of stars. On our portable ipod speakers David Kramer sings Matchbox full of Diamonds and it all makes sense…

Oh vanaand stap ek alleen (tonight I walk alone)
Oppie pad na Lekkersing (on the road to Lekkersing nicely –sing)
Daar’s a wind wat jou kan mal maak (there’s a wind which can make you mad)
En a wind wat die reen kan bring (a wind which can bring the rain)
I’m carrying a Kardbord suitcase
And a plastic krismas tree
I bought a tin of canned peaches
And a jacket that fits me,

Oh oh oh matchbox full of Diamonds
Pocket full of rain
I’m as heppy as a hotel in the springtime
When the flowers bloom again…

The next morning we cross the plains to the tiny, tiny town of Lekkersing, there are carpets of little vygies in flower all around, their fragrance filling our helmets.

W ride into Lekkersing and realise why in the same song, David Kramer also sang..

Miskien, vir jou is die plek lelik (maybe you think this place is ugly)
Maar vir my is die plek mooi (but for me this place is beautiful)
Hoekom sal ons hier bly (why do we stay here)
Want die hiere het ons hiergegooi (cause the lord threw us down here)

We get to the Port Nolloth / Springbok tar road and reluctant to head onto tar just yet, we choose instead a little road marked Wolfsberg. Bad move!

Marked “gravel” the road turns into a red sand track where the only relief from fighting the soft sand is bouncing over corrugations. We are confident and on the last few k’s to civilization after 4300 km’s in 11 days, probably almost 3000 on dirt, sand and rock. The temperature is the hottest so early in the day, its 11 am and its already 42 degrees. We have noticed how the hotter it gets the softer the sand gets and the harder the riding…but we forget all of this cause we are nearly “home”!

Seamus comes off first, going fast over soft sand and suddenly veering right into a hard bank. I ride back when I can’t see him and he’s up looking winded but ok. A pannier is loose and there are more (if possible) scrapes down the side of the bike. He was lucky, it was a hard fast sore fall.

Its amazing what losing confidence does, I go down next, the landing mercifully soft.

There’s 60 k’s of this to go and we are starting to get gatfol of sand, maybe we should have taken the tar! We each fall a few more times. We stop and chat. We are hot, in a hurry to get over this now and not riding the way we have learnt. We rest, then start up, stand up, look up and sail over the sand, away from Lekkersing and a reluctant end to an epic ride.

Category: Namibia, TRIP REPORTS

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  1. Just looking at this again! So cool!

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