Swakopmund – Kuiseb pass - Solitaire
|Sand dunes lit up by a bit of sunlight|
We woke to a light drizzle and chill in the air. Since I did
not bother to look out the window before I packed all my stuff (well, to my
defence it was 5.30 and still dark outside), I was totally underdressed for the
occasion! I asked if we could do the salt road again, as I hoped to get nice
pics with the rising sun on the dunes.
|One of the reasons I fell in love with this country|
Unfortunately the light drizzle did not only NOT
light up the dunes as I had hoped, but also got my helmet camera wet –
resulting in even worse pics once we hit the dusty desert! I am sure by the
end of the trip I shall remember to clean the lens regularly!
|Sand as far as the eye can see|
After refuelling in Walvis again, we hit a wide,
lovely gravel road. Almost 4 lanes wide, although the extreme sides were loose
sand. Most South Africans can only dream of such a freeway!
|Dust as far as the eye cannot see!|
The rain cleared up and we continued riding in overcast but dry
conditions. Except for some trucks in the beginning and a few cars/bakkies as
we went along, the road was relatively vehicle free. A big relief, as every
passing thing leaves a cloud of dust. Cough, cough, splutter, splutter! We got
into the rhythm with Toni riding alongside me – thus saving us both gulping
down loads of each other’s dust.
|More sand, front and back|
|Almost no difference between the road and surroundings|
This was an amazing experience – the never ending sand and
dunes as far as the eye could see! I don’t believe I have ever been in a
dessert before – the beauty and vastness captured my spirit of freedom and even
solitude in some ways. There was grandeur in the simplistic surroundings that
surpassed of the most magnificent mountains and scenery I had ever seen before.
It was in these moments I realized I loved this vast country and have to come
back to see more of the hidden treasures one can only see by taking the roads
less travelled. How fortunate am I to have a wonderful steed and companions to
help me experience these untamed wide open spaces!
|Refueling along the way|
We had been travelling for hours and only stopped to take
off the extra clothes, Toni to fill up his (super) thirsty KTM and munch down a
few peanuts and raisins. While riding I would often gulp down loads of water
from my backpack and cannot fathom how I did so many hot, dusty roads in the
past without it?
|In the Kuiseb pass|
The road started winding between mountainous outcrops and
later we found ourselves in the Kuiseb pass. This absolutely stunning pass, took
us down into the valley, though most of the way the road nestled in between the
mountains. Rounding a bend, I noticed a dry riverbed with some trees in it. The
place looked so welcoming that we decided to have our lunch right there.
As I turned off onto the sandy track, Brutus could not make
the turn (let’s not blame the rider here!) and as he bucked and rebelled against
the loose sand and round river stones, I knew we were going down! We came to a
standstill a few metres off the little track, still upright and in one piece.
Once again I had to take a few moments for my heartbeat to normalize and was
thankful we were not picking up dented pieces of Brutus along the sandy path.
Where I almost bought some costly property
|The view from under the tree|
After struggling back, we parked the bikes in the shade of
the huge Thorn trees and enjoyed a nice lunch of Game energy drink, Salticax
and Oysters. (And Toni had his Espresso of course!). Please tell me how many
people enjoy Oysters in the middle of a Dessert, brought in by bike?! My first
taste of smoked Oysters, and to be honest, it tasted very similar to the smoked
mussels! Then again, I am sure a little sophistication on my part would have
helped identify the magnificent difference!
|The bridge in the background|
|The only green trees we saw for miles and miles|
|Toni preparing to make his Espresso|
|Pouring the well brewed cuppa|
After lunch we went for a short walk in both
directions of the dry riverbed and then hit the road.
|On our way back to the bikes after a walk|
Once again my helmet cam had had enough and the battery was flat by the time we were ready to leave. What a pity, as the views were stunning from there!
|What a view?|
|Every twist brings something new|
Still winding through the pass, Toni indicated
something was wrong with my bike. We discovered the back mudguard had been torn
in one place, was loose somewhere else and gone at a 3rd place. The
chain guard was also badly ripped.
|The broken mudguard|
|Assessing the damage |
|Finding the only bit of shade around to work in|
Thanks to my riding buddy, who managed to take it off, reassemble
a few pieces and then decide most of it should come home on the bike. So now
more time wasted in the mornings having to add all these loose parts to the
million straps and cords I am already using! Sighhhh….
|The end result - for now|
Note to self: Invest in hard panniers when you get the money
And while you're at it: There MUST be alternatives to pasta
|Views of what's to come|
|Toni busy fixing again|
By the time we came to the Tropic of Capricorn, my number
plate had almost rattled off due to the bad road. It required some more of
Toni’s genius to make a washer (thank goodness for our – empty - tinned
Oysters!) and get it fixed – and thanks to the trusty Leatherman!
|A toktokkie coming to inspect Toni's handiwork |
|At last a pic of me!|
Everyday we have been arriving at our destinations just as
the sun was setting. Due to the extra time it took to fix my bike, today was no
exception. The area had slowly changed to a little more vegetation, farms and
hills. All in a soft glow thanks to the late time of the day.
|This must be one of my favourite pics of the entire trip. Look at those mountains!|
We arrived at Solitaire dirty and tired, but happy. I was in
time to get the famous apple pie everyone told us to try. Not a great apple pie
lover as such, I must admit it was pretty good. The cutest little bakery out in
the middle of nowhere?! Now THAT was a lovely surprise! I was actually ogling
the chocolate éclairs, donuts and every other sugar-overloaded-fat-induced sin
I could see. (I guess?) It was fortunately closing time and I did not have time
to choose any sinful delight. In any case, Toni was getting apple pie for me.
|Entrance at Solitaire|
After refuelling we found a nice camping spot and set up
tents in the setting sun. Beautiful!
|A mongoose close to our camp|
|Toni helping me to get my tent up in the fading light|
|And trying to salvage some of Brutus|
We were sharing our power outlet with some other campers and it was fairly late before we could start charging our magnitude of electrical paraphernalia. Little did we know the power (a generator) was switched off at 10pm and most of our “megafters” went uncharged for the next day! But who cares … Apple pie and cuppa soup for supper. Crashing early once again after a long, hard day, I started loving the feeling of being tired because of what and how I had experienced the day. What a wonderful life?!