Southern Africa on a Honda CTX 200

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TechnomadicJim, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. TechnomadicJim

    TechnomadicJim Adventurer

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    Some extra photo's from fish river canyon. Here's inside the Canyon Roadhouse bar :

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    Some of the old trucks outside :

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    An old Honda :

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    This is Derek. He's cycling the same route I'm doing :

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    Gotta do my laundry! :

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    #21
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  2. Mustang28027

    Mustang28027 Been here awhile

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    What a great report. Love that you are on a small bike and doing a minimalist/camping route. The pics are super, and you had to take time riding alone to set up for some of those stills of you riding by. Well done!

    Dave
    #22
  3. TechnomadicJim

    TechnomadicJim Adventurer

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    Thanks Dave :) I'm camping some of the time and doing dorm rooms when I find a hostel. Its also nice to meet other travellers as the road can be a lonesome place sometimes.

    On with today's report :

    I drove 388 km's from Fish River Canyon to Ludertiz yesterday and the bike was a bit sluggish and not giving me a very good fuel economy like I was getting before . I think the air filter needed a good clean. I had been doing mostly gravel since the last service when it was last cleaned so makes sense. Because of this I also managed to nearly run out of fuel on the way to Aus. I kept my speed at 80 km's an hour and my head down and fortunately made it.

    I changed the oil today. It was black so certainly looked like it needed to be changed. The local mechanic here helped me and only charged me the 40 NAB$ for the oil. What a nice guy! I will be leaving 100 NAB$ behind his local bar (where I met him yesterday) for his beers. I also took a look at the air filter and blew it through with an air compressor. Not much dust came out but I didn't have the solvents required to clean it properly. I have heard petrol could be used... Not sure on this though and would like to see it done by a professional before I attempt it myself. I'm very much learning as I go here and the last few days have been great for bettering my understanding.

    The bike is performing great again after the new oil and air filter cleaning so I went to visit Kolmanscop today.

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    Sitting in another bath of course! Couldn't help myself ;)

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    This place is so photogenic!

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    Hello ? Hello ? Yes Jim here. I would like to order some more sand...

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    #23
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  4. TechnomadicJim

    TechnomadicJim Adventurer

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    On the way into Ludertiz I came across a road block just outside Kolmanscop. It turns out that a veichle transporting a boat had bought down the 22,000 volt power lines that were now just lying in the road. I saw a Honda Transalp 700 so pulled up along side and met Stefan who had also bought his bike in South Africa. We drove round a few poles down in sand to get by. I dread to think how long the non 4x4 cars were waiting.

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    Stefan follwed me to the hostel and the day after Kolmanscop we drove a loop round to Diaz point :

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    This place is so desolate. The wind was also incredible.

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    #24
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  5. TechnomadicJim

    TechnomadicJim Adventurer

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    I spent a few more days in Lüderitz‎ staying at Element Riders hostel. Its run by an all round sound guy called Rainer. Its actually the premises of the old Lüderitz‎ Backpackers.

    I took a drive down to Agate beach and tried to find some Agate's. I didn't find any, probably because I have no idea what to do apart from picking up random stones. I later found out you should hunt at sunset / rise and low tide. The low tide exposes fresh Agate's and the sunset / rise makes them appear reddish and more easy to spot.

    There's loads of flamingo's in the area too so I snapped a couple of nice pics :

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    I also came across this dead shark on the beach. He doesn't look too happy :

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    Next I drove to Betta and stayed at the camp site there. Its really good value at only 250 Nab$ per person for a chalet. I met Werner who is managing the farm and had a few beers with him in the evening. Nice chap! Hopefully will meet him in Swakopmund for Christmas.

    I stayed 3 nights in Betta and did some day trips. On the first day I went to Duswib castle which to be honest was a bit crap. It isn't that well looked after and unfortunately they saw me as I was about to leave without paying so I had to pony up 65 N$ (i think). Not worth it really.

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    Fortunately on my way back round I drove through the Zarishoogte Pass which was awesome and made even more spectacular when it started raining!

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    On the second day I backtracked down the D707 until I hit some sand and got a bit stuck. My sand skills are still a bit rough so I headed back after about 85 km's down the road. I got to see the dunes on the side which was the main thing. Werner said that the sand only lasted a couple of km's so I would have been fine to push on through.

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    After Betta I headed the 150 or so km's to Sesriem. Came across this burned out car on the way. Had to grab a picture. Hope nobody was hurt!

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    In Sesreim I camped at the national park camp site which is cheaper than the other two and you can get entrance to the dunes 1 hour before everyone else (5am instead of 6am). It costs 140 N$ per person to camp plus 80 N$ dune permit.

    Unfortunately no bikes allowed :(. Fortunately my neighbours were a friendly South African family from Knysna who offered to let me join them. We had a great morning hanging out and visiting the dunes.

    Here's the famous dune right next to Sossusvlei. (vlei = Swamp)

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    Here's a picture from the top taken with the GoPro's wide angle lens. I was pretty knackered after I got to the top. The two boys must have run up and down it at least 4 times!

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    Next we walked over to Dead Vlei which was my favourite :

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    Had to get in the picture for one at least. (photo taken by Brian, 8 years old) :

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    On the way back some oryx took shelter under one of the few still ive tree's :

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    At about 11 it was too hot to do any more so we drove back and chilled by the pool. At about 6 pm I went to check out the Sesriem canyon which was pretty cool as you can walk down in to it. Worth an hours exploring.

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    This morning I packed up and drove to Solitaire where I'm currently camped for 2 or 3 nights. Going to explore the local area tomorrow and if it's worth it stay a 3rd night and do some more.

    Currently KM's : 6269.
    #25
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  6. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great trip so far, love the photo’s of the country. Thanks for taking the time for a report like this, looking forward to more!
    #26
  7. chrispan

    chrispan Adventurer

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    Hi Jim,
    I just bought a Ctx 200 for our farm , great bike for farm work, I never would have thought it would travel around South Africa like your doing.
    You sure have some balls man. I love the low gearing on the Honda, did you gear it up or is it stock?
    Great report , look forward to more
    #27
  8. capeklr

    capeklr Been here awhile

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    Jim I don't know what your planned route is, but you are in the area so I would recommend that you ride Spreedtshoogte Pass, Gamsberg Pass and Kuiseb Pass.
    Cheers Jorg.
    #28
  9. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

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    There is some quality in people such you, Radioman, and the bicycler Derek that fascinates me. You each take the time to acknowledge each other's feats of travel and exploration in your personal realm and the geographical sense. You as individuals each seem in awe of the other. It is a distinct pleasure to read your journal. The photo requesting more sand is a great example of that healthy perspective that combines humor with adversity. Both are essential for balance.
    #29
  10. TechnomadicJim

    TechnomadicJim Adventurer

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    Thanks! This was advised by another wild dog rider too. I will probably drive the Gamsberg Pass on my way Windhoek for the 8k service.

    Spectacular. One of the bends caught me off guard and I nearly came off which was quite a sobering experience. I calmed my riding down a bit after that. heh. I also hit a few small rivers unexpectedly. Those signs that indicate a river I had been ignoring as they never have water. I also spotted a Jackal whilst taking a rest. The first I've seen in the wild. Cool!

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    Coming over the top and seeing the panorama of Streetshoogte pass was amazing. The descent was surprisingly steep too!

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    On the way back I popped into camp Gecko for some lunch and had a nice chat with the farm manager.

    I'm probably going to drive to Swakopmund tomorrow and use it as a base until after Christmas and the new year. I'm due my 8k service soon so will be popping in to Windhoek at some point for a day or two.

    I'm pretty excited to drive Keiseb pass on the C14 as I'm reading The Sheltering Desert and thats the area where they were hiding out. Pretty cool!

    Thanks for coming along :) Enjoy!

    Nice! Always cool to hear from fellow CTX riders. Thanks for stopping by :) I'm interested to see how far I can go on this cool little bike. Its currently stock apart from Mitas E07 tyres. I'm considering changing one of the sprockets as I've had it recommended to me by a couple of other CTX riders. Will report back on how I get on with it.

    Thanks Rutabaga. Kind messages like your's stay in my mind on this trip and give me a boost just when I need it. Thanks for taking the time to write it. :D
    #30
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  11. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Very cool report !
    #31
  12. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    nice.
    thanks.
    #32
  13. TechnomadicJim

    TechnomadicJim Adventurer

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    Thanks for the messages :)

    Here's today's report :

    50 km's on the C14 after leaving Solitaire I came to the Tropic of Capricorn for the obligatory photo :

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    I spotted a cave (called "The Grotto") and decided to go investigate. It was pretty steep and with all my luggage and yet to be acquired off road skills I came off. I chose the wrong line and started using the brakes which wasn't a good combination. heh.

    Bike was fine. I am fine. Lesson learned!

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    The Kuiseb Pass was break taking. It was made even more spectacular for me as I'm most of the way through "The Sheltering Desert" by Henno Martin which took place in this same area.

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    Solitaire to Swakupmond was around 270 km's which was out of range for the meagre 8.5 litre tank on the CTX. This is only the second time I have had to use my 10L. I never have it full but fill it with an 5-8L's depending on what I think I will need. There's no point in lugging 10L's around all the time if it's not needed.

    Its nice the amount of people who enquired whether I was OK when I stop for photo's or refuelling etc.. Gives me confidence that if I did have a problem someone would be there to help. I met an Italian guy (who lives in Nairobi) on holiday with his family at this stop. He had a blow out and rolled his 4x4 a couple weeks earlier. He even showed me his scars! Nice guy... He rides a Honda XR125 back at home.

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    After the Kuiseb Pass there's over 100 km's of plains before you get to the coast.

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    I'm currently staying at Villa Wiese Backpackers. It looked pretty nice from the website but now I'm here you can tell its been neglected for a while. The kitchen is filthy. I'm going to try a different backpackers the day after tomorrow. Find somewhere cool to hole up.
    #33
  14. HoJoOkie

    HoJoOkie Adventurer

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    What a great ride and interesting report. Your ability to share the experience is outstanding.

    It seems everyone I know is talking smaller bikes now days. I'm riding a 650KLR and may try one of the smaller rides. They've got to be a lot easier to pickup once they fall over.

    Joe
    #34
  15. TechnomadicJim

    TechnomadicJim Adventurer

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    I've dropped the CTX a fair few times now in the sand and even loaded with my gear its easy to pick it up. Thanks for the message Joe :)

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    I moved hostels to Desert Sky Backpackers which is much nicer. I plan on spending Christmas and the New Year in Swakopmund as I have heard its the place to be with plenty of parties and people. I booked a bed from the 23rd to 3rd so will have 10 nights of a proper bed and a break from the bike which is a good idea on this sort of long trip. I also met some cool people there including someone I met in Cape Town and Mat and Jaap on two KTM 990's :

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    I haven't been feeling too well since Luderitz. I suspect that the fresh oysters I ate at the Oyster bar there were bad. I was getting stomach cramps and a pain down my right side especially when I took a deep breath. I thought it was getting better slowly but it had been nearly 2 weeks so I decided to go to the doctors to be sure. I got prescribed some anti-biotics which sorted it out straight away. The doctor reckoned it was some kind of colon infection.

    I was looking for a 10 day mini trip before Christmas and decided to head up to the Brandberg (burnt) mountains. A Malaysian guy I met at the hostel called Yien was planning on a few days up there too. He was also a biker and decided to hire a Yamaha XT 250 from the local dealership. They have a pretty funny "wall of shame" in there :

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    So we both set off around 10:30 and drove through Henties Bay and soon came across one of the ship wrecks that the Skeleton coast is famous for :

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    Wanna buy some salt ?

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    We carried on as far as Cape Cross which has a massive seal colony. There must have been 10,000's there and loads of seal pups.

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    One of them wanted to use my bike as shade :)

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    After Cape Cross we headed inland taking a 4x4 dirt track towards Messum crater. It was quite easy going at first with fairly solid rocky ground and we make it to the crater without seeing any vehicles. We didn't see anyone else for the rest of the day.

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    After a while though we hit some increaing longer stretches of sand and both Yien and I fell off but fortunately only at low speeds without injury.

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    We didn't quite know where we were going and the lack of any other vehicles did have me slightly worried at times but we eventually made it to a not much better "D" road where we came across this burned out bakkie. Pretty mad max!

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    I also spotted my first wild Zebra. They were running quite near us beside the road :

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    With the Brandberg mountain on our left side we made our way into Uis where we set up camp at the Brandberg rest camp.
    #35
  16. TechnomadicJim

    TechnomadicJim Adventurer

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    Here's our camp :

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    The next day Yien and I headed up to Twyfelfontein to see some of the bushman art. Before heading in we stopped for lunch at the lodge. This little fellow was scrambling about on the rocks :

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    For 50 NAB$ each we got a guide called Dion who showed us around the bushman art for an hour.

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    The circles represent water holes and their location relative to each other.

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    After our tour we visited the "Organ Pipes" :

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    Next the not so impressive "Burn't Mountain" :

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    We were relying on filling up to get back to Uis but unfortunately the new owner of the pumps decided he didn't want to operate them any more. It looked like we had enough fuel to get to Khorixas but it would mean a 70 km detour :(

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    Fortunately after hanging around for 10 minutes debating what to do and trying to gauge how much fuel we actually had a worked there took pity on us and offered to sell us 5 litres each. Result!

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    We didn't see any but I do love this sign. Beats road works!

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    A bump in the road provided a nice opportunity for some air :)

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    #36
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  17. TechnomadicJim

    TechnomadicJim Adventurer

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    I met Basil the owner of Brandberg Rest Camp who rides a Honda Africa Twin and also gives discounts to bikers who stay at his place (50 N$ for camping). He had just returned from a trip down to Langebaan and introduced himself as soon as he clocked my bike. Next thing I know he announces another biker has arrived so we went to introduce ourselves to Vian who also recognised me from my planning a ride post on here and even remembered my name. I'm famous now apparently! hehe

    Later that evening we were having dinner and Basil kindly offered to take us on a loop around the Brandberg so naturally Vian and I jumped at the chance. The next morning we set out. I found it quite a technical ride with lots of varying terrain from loose rocks to sand. Probably one of the most challenging days of my trip. I'm definitely getting better!

    Quick rest stop :
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    I'm getting better at sand riding and this stretch of sand was quite tough. Keep the power on and let the bike do its thing. Turning was tough whilst trying to maintain your speed.

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    We all made it through without stopping which was great :

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    We stopped for a spot of lunch :

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    Onwards!

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    Basil pointed out this rock which is used my the Rhino's as a kind of rubbing stone :

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    Another rest before we went fo visit the waterfall which was unfortunately not flowing.

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    We were running low on water so we stopped at this small farm and topped up.
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    We came across the native Namibian meat tree. No wonder they eat so much meat here!

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    You can download the GPS Trace of the trip (in GPX format) here :
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    Thanks again to Basil for an awesome day out. I really recommend you stay with him if you are in the area.

    Here's a short video I edited too : https://vimeo.com/82489136
    #37
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  18. billmags

    billmags Scoot Jockey

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    Cool Ride Report- Happy New Year!
    #38
  19. Gobby

    Gobby Trust Me!

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    Enjoying your RR - Excellent pics and great story with it - enjoy.

    And Happy New Year to you. :freaky
    #39
  20. TechnomadicJim

    TechnomadicJim Adventurer

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    Thanks! Happy new year to you too :)

    I had a funny image posted on the wild dog forum by a guy who's not far behind me :

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    I've just been chilling in Swakopmund for Christmas and the new year. I'm heading into Windhoek on the 3rd for a service on the 6th then north to Outjo and then Etosha. Afterwards I reckon I will head head to Ondangwa and then east on the C45 to the Caprivi. My visa expires on the 21st January so I need to be in Botswana by then. I need to get a move on!

    I'm driving 350 km's to Windhoek tomorrow via the C28. Looks like some real nice mountain passes. Should be a great drive. Looking forward to getting on the road again.
    #40