How do you know tomorrow wont be a better day?

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Tau Anvil, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

    Joined:
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    This is a report of a trip I had wanted to do for a while in the North East of Namibia.

    Most of it is factual and some of it is based on the memories we had left after surviving the African heat in November.

    No Elephants, lions, or buffalo was hurt during the trip, only one unfortunate cow was struck by one of Mattinhof's finest. Both the orange beast and the cow survived the rider needed some mental support and pain killers. It is believed he still flinches to the left every time he walks past the Beef isle in a supermarket.

    The brand bashing undertone is for good fun and not aimed at being maliciousness.

    8 Days
    5600km
    1200km by car
    about 30 puctures
    6 bikes sometimes 5
    2 x Toyota Hilux bakkies sometimes 1.

    a mountain of ice water and cold beers.

    An most important a huge load fun, humor and laughs to last a lifetime.
    #1
  2. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

    Joined:
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    I love Namibia and my wife is from there so we return 3-4 times per year to visit family, look after some of our property and just travel and explore. In general Namibia is a spars and safe country to travel. In July I took my wife and kids camping in the Caprivi/Zambezi region of Namibia. Wild camping in fence less areas is the norm surrounded by abundant wild animals and stunning rivers running from Zambia and the Angolan highlands into the dry Namibian and Botswana Okavango delta.

    During our July holiday traveling with my 4x4 and trailer, I realized I wanted to explore the North eastern corner of Namibia by bike. The Kaudum National Park is located here and notorious for heavy sand driving. It is surrounded by the Botswana border on the east and communal ground on the western border.

    Attached Files:

    #2
  3. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

    Joined:
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    Two of us started from Tulbagh and Riebeeck- Wes near Cape Town in South Africa. We left on Friday 9 November at 15:00. We do this to “steal” a days riding by carting the bikes on the bakkie to the Namibia border 692km north. We also don’t ride at night because of animals on the road so the bakkie is safer.

    Bakkie = South African name for a truck, ute vehicle with a loadbin whick is a “ bak” in Afrikaans.

    We reach the border at 22:00 Friday night.
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    #3
  4. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

    Joined:
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    Day 2 was another slogger. We needed to get to the north of Namibia and considered these 2 days as transits.

    We hooked 560 km on the tar in 43 C heat to Mariental. Here we turned of the main highway in Namibia the B1 and onto some gravel at Stampriet. It was hot and my partners 990 started showing signs of a dirty fuel filter
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    We got hit by a massive headwind and I almost ran out of fuel between Keetmanshoop and Mariental. This is a 235 km section between 2 towns.
    The Africa Twin take 18 liters of fuel.... this is what I filled.
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    #4
  5. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    The rest of out crew was 2 brothers from Koës , Namibia on 2 x KTM 950 S and another set of brothers from Upington, South Africa supporting us with a Toyota bakkie.

    We hooked up with them 80 km after Stampriet on the gravel taking a needed refreshing drink.
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    At this stage my riding partners KTM was spluttering badly, but he had purchased a can of carb cleaner in Mariental to strip and clean the filter that evening, luckily I found a new filter for him under a tree....

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    I even attached it to his bike with a zipty, he wasn’t grateful at all..
    #5
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  6. LegoBrew

    LegoBrew n00b

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    Lekker!! I'm in for the trip.

    Thanks for sharing!
    #6
  7. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    We had about 240 km to go to our overnight stop and were we would meet the last of our group for the adventure.

    However Dewald’s bike was misfiring so bad he was scared of valve damage due to the bike running so lean. He stopped and started stripping the fuel tank to get to the fuel pump and clean or replace the teabag fuel filter. He had a new LARGE filter installed before the trip, but we got dirty fuel somewhere. The Honda was luckily not affected as they can survive a 13 mm spanner going thru the FI and still run.

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    The filter was super dirty. He had a standard small teabag filter, but as we where only on our way to the back roads he decided to rather clean and refit the big filter
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    We left them behind and raced towards Gobabis to get a campsite before dark.
    On the way Rickus had a rear flat. We had planned to swap our rear tyres that night so he waited for the back up vehicle to arrive with his new tyre instead of fixing the old one.
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    Me and Eugene arrived at the camp just in time to get a site.
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    #7
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  8. willibauer

    willibauer Adventurer

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    that's a dream man, thanks for sharing
    #8
  9. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    The bakkie with our two stricken-ed brothers arrived just as the sun was setting. For my it was just over 24 hrs since leaving home 1500km ago I was now in my happy place, the North of Namibia. We just got to a camp that was easily accessible and close to town as the next day would be our last for provisions for a couple of days. I don't complain, but we never realized we camped next to the Trans-Kalahari hi-way. So all loads from Johannesburg, Durban and northern areas of South Africa that goes to Namibia and Angola passes next to our campsite on trucks. I run my Dad's trucking company for a living, i had nightmares the entire night dreaming of trucks breaking down and crashing... we needed to get to the bush!!!



    The next morning we got up early and met our fellow adventurers that had come from Grootfontein, 430km north and left home 03:00 that morning towing their bikes to Gobabis. We met Duan (KTM 950 SE) and Attie (KTM 690 Enduro + Omega rallye kit) and Oom Steffi their back-up driver. These gents know the north of Namibia very well, but even they had not ridden 80% of the route we had planned. We realized we had the right team for the job at hand. Real hard men that enjoyed the bush and having a good laugh. Their back up vehicle was a BRAND NEW Toyota Hilux 2.8 Double cab Dakar edition. It had 3000km on...if they only knew.

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    We filled up on water and fuel and each bakkie carried extra petrol and diesel for the longer technical section in metal Jerry cans. We also had spare tubes and food and most important enough cold beer in the 5 fridges on the bakkies :) . These Namibian boys don't like hot beer it was clear.

    We Hit the tar north for 74km before we turned right towards the botswana border. It was about another 130km of semi technical gravel. You know the kind that has those sand/feshfesh pockets every couple of meters. Keeping the speed up helped, we where all running way to hot and corners was being slid in and out like some rallye was manifesting in our heads. The local cattle, donkeys, goats and horses ensured we got a proper scare every couple of kilometers.

    Attie decided to get a puncture at the little village of Kafumba. They fuel station was out of gas luckily we had brought the jerry cans, but now we had to start asking at every kukashop (bar/shop/shack with products) we passed.
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    We heading out towards Otjimanangombe where we found a Kukashop with cold beer and fuel for sale. We grabbed the opportunity to grab 10 liters of petrol for each bike and 20 liters of diesel. This would end up being our saving grace.
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    #9
  10. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    We reached the start of the Bushmanland 4x4 trail. It is marked on the GPS but info on the trail is very scarce. The area is all communal land divided up under the Herero people.

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    #10
  11. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    The 2000 km journey just to get here was hot and boring, but we had reached our happy place. As we were busy deflating tyres a old local walked up and in his broken Afrikaans said that

    ‘“you shouldn’t take the trail as its floor is broken”.

    It was the perfect description we would later realize.

    Not even 300 m into the trail the sand started, my favorite!!!

    I love riding sand and sand loves me. I hate mud, and mud hates me. This sand however is jeep track that is lined by Camel thorn trees and swarthak bush. They are made to stab, scratch and puncture you. The area is wooded dune vegetation with Dolomite rocks thrown in to insure punctures
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    #11
  12. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    It was hot and twisty roads, they where also badly overgrown and we realised why we couldn’t get any reports on people doing the trail.... nobody was doing it. At places the bush had overgrown the trail completely and we had to follow the GPS tracks we had. The locals had also placed fences across certain sections of the trail as they erected new camps. It was 43 C the sand was hot, the branches was trying to rip our clothes off our bodies, but it was brilliant. Hard but brilliant.
    We rode until 17:00 and then looked for a spot to put up camp.

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    Our camp out in the bush. No trucks to keep is awake.
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    We had waited months for this moment, we had an amazing braai and an unfortunate fines meeting for some..
    #12
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  13. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

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    Poor new Ute is going to get beat to hell by the slappy sticks but it sure is nice to have cold beer after good days riding:clap:beer It should be worth it.

    Always loving the Afrikan reports:lurk
    #13
  14. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    Day 4 started overgrown but very soon we reach a house where 4 brothers was living. They looked after their fathers cattle and he came to them from town every 3 weeks. So the road from here was driven more and less trees and bush to smack you.



    Video Eugene recorded.

    This is how the track was for most of the day.

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    We had to backtrack and find new routes as farmers had put up camps over the track at certain spots.

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    This is what acacia thorns think of handgaurds. Our arms was getting pounded. I took my thorn sleeves from racing in Botswana along.

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    We made it to the gravel road and had to stick to it to cross the 2 veterinary fences as there is no gates in the bush for these big double fences keeping cattle from coming from the foot & mouth disease areas to the clean areas.

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    Great shade cover ...
    #14
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  15. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    We turn into the Naye-Naye pans conservation area hoping to see some Elephants, but nothing. However the place is vast and beautiful. The 46 C heat was hitting some of the boys hard and hydration was critical. Riding a big andventure bike in technical terrain takes it out of you.

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    Lunch break under a big Baobab tree

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    Naye naye pans

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    Duan and Attie the boys from Namibia that knew this area well towards Tsumkwe and the Kaudum.
    #15
  16. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    We reached the village of Tsumkwe at 17:00 and got a campsite. I for once on the trip didn’t sweep and chased the 690 for the last 10 km into town. And lost my tyre levers. Luckily the bakkie picked them up.

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    There was trees for my hammock

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    After the crazy heat of the day we had a lekker swim.

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    The backup crew once again made us a feast of Mutton tjops and mielie pap (maize dish). We all crashed out at 21:30 sleeping outside under the stars. We where properly poked.
    #16
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  17. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    Day 5

    The name of the trip was:

    The Kaudum circumnavigation

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    The Kaudum is a wild place with no real game proof fences just cattle fences that are hardly maintained in places.

    The full loop was 720 km and we wanted to do it in 2 days.. jip we where optimistic.

    The road from Tsumkwe to Sikireti gate has been repaired and a nice surprise to be riding on gravel rather than jeep track sand.

    We reached the gates of the park quickly. No bikes are allowed in the park, but we wanted them to know that we would be riding along the border of the park and then ride out the park gate in the north. So we bought permits just for this. Also the north and south has no contact so we wanted proof wheb we arrived north that we didn’t just ride into a National park with bikes.

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    Paying for permits.

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    #17
  18. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    So now the real riding started. The Kayis now for the softest sand and crazy heat. And then the Elephants. You want to see them, but not ride into a heard in the deep sand sections, as doing a pivot turn in the deep sand with a 1000 cc bike is not really possible.

    We where riding these amazing tracks with a feeling of fear due to the elephant factor. A strange experience that is happy and scary at once.

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    The first 45 kilometers was very nice and not too much sand also great to settle into a pace where you would stay ontop of the sand and keep a lookout for the elephants.

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    Then we hit the soft sand.
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    And the punctures started

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    We had 6 punctures in 45 kilometers. Poor Rickus had 4 of those six.

    Each puncture would take 20-30 minutes and we ran out of tubes and had to patch the damage tubes.
    #18
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  19. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    The track was lined by a dilapidated stock fence on our left that had strands of its barbwire lying in the left jeep track and an easterly wind blowing the branches and grass into the right lane. So the middleman of the road was sometimes the only option.

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    It was hardwork, but great fun. Being the first bikes on this route ever was also a great feeling.
    #19
  20. Tau Anvil

    Tau Anvil African by trade

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    It was this day that changed much of how I view heat in tyres.I have always been of the opinion that a tyre on tar creates the most heat. However on this trip we got a hiding. I am used to my BMW HP2 with tubeliss and my racing bikes running mousses. I will admit my use of tubed tyres is limited to my practice wheels over the years I put on my YZ's I get a puncture every now and then, but it doesn't bother me. Last year on our trip in the Kaokoland I had many front punctures due to 1mm tubes that was supplied as HD tubes, so that didn't help much and my tyre had a damaged sidewall that caused my only puncture of this entire trip.

    HOWEVER we got given a hiding by patches on this trip. So Rickus lost his rear tube on the gravel on day 2. He wasn't too bothered as we all brought new tyres and HD tubes to be fitted on day 3 or in my case never as my Mitas E-09 just lasted forever. He then lost his new tube on a brand new tyre and tube combination due to a Acacia thorn penetration. For those that don't know they are up to 10cm long forked spikes and a bad luck angle will penetrate any tyre.

    SO he was down to my spare 1mm tube as I wanted to keep my HD tube for later. We had Kenda HD tubes, and some other lesser known brand also standard tubes and then we all tried to fit Michelin Ultra heavy duty 4.5mm tubes as from our combined experience they can be patch successfully and work great for penetration puncture resistance. We also removed the lock nut and valve cap so that if we had a puncture that the tube would be pulled into tyre instead of ripping the valve stem out of the tube. Most of our punctures was due to branches left in the jeep track by the government 4x4 Mercedes Benz truck that get stuck on these roads then they pack branches in the road to get out. So here comes 1000cc adv bike running 1.2 bar pressure and you either don't realize their is a branch in the sand as it is covered, or you cannot swap track as it is simply to deep or sudden. You then snake bite the tube and we patch it and put in a spare. As soon as we started using patched tubes the cycle just increased. Poor Rickus is also 150kg 2.01m bloke so he puts extreme stresses on a tyre we all agreed.

    Just to mention the two brothers in the one Hilus own 2 tyre stores in Upington. This is the gateway into the Kalahari desert in South Africa they deal with punctures from these conditions daily and patching a tube is something they have done a few thousand times in their lives........... they got shouted at at stages as they could patch according to some.

    The patches simply 'rolled of the tubes and disintegrated. We realized our stack of Rema TipTops was not up to the task and we even got some of the Blue tube of special cement as at a stage my solution was blamed for being "old"...

    We where getting punctures left right en center, well except for Dewald who is the lightest rider at 78kg's and me I had one and that would be my final Puncture on the 5600km journey. The undamaged tubes had no issues, but as soon as we reused a repaired patch we started worrying how long it would last. Later that day we got Duan who was now back home in Grootfontein to send us tubes with a truck on it's way to Zambia. We would get our new set of tubes the next morning. At this stage however most of us concurred that our patches and patching technique was wrong. The two brothers doing the patches blamed the patches.

    We battled the sand all the way to Kaudum Northern gate and as predicted the Game warden was not happy that we just rode thru his park. We explained and showed him our permit and GPS track on the border. He was happy and showed us his new tap that the elephants cannot destroy. It was cold sweet water. We washed our faces and drank liters. This is where the well documented "Kaudum - Tar road 40km" section begins. It is the main route in and out of the Kaudum so their is multiple track that become 1 or 3 at stages. You are at the mercy of the previous vehicle who use the track you were in at this stage. Sometimes the track was so deep you had to ride with your heels on the pegs as the belly plate and pegs was plowing. 2-3 gear and working hard and we had to stop every 10km to give the bakkies chance to cool down and the bikes. We where running 60-80km/h, but the extreme heat and thick sand still made the KTM twins boil. The Stainless bracket on Dewalds Akropovic also failed luckily he carries a roll of mildsteel wire for most repairs. and quickly he was going again. At a stage the new(ish after the previous 3 days) Hiluxs Auto gearbox was boiling. The track was last used by a 4x4 Mercedes truck and they cat a berm in your one track that the bakkies had to fight the entire time. On the bike you got caught in these if you where unlucky and it was had on the bikes to keep momentum in these deep bermed tracks.
    #20