Namibia, more particularly Kaokoland, has been gnawing at me since I first read about it on this website in 2005. This year the stars aligned and it finally all came together when I found a riding partner for the trip. This is the land of the Namib desert, the Epupa waterfalls and Spitzkoppe, interconnected by gravel highways, sandy washes and rocky passes. I bit the bullet, packed an SLR and booked my leave before the sweltering heat of summer: by mid-September it was all systems GO. Since we dont like trailering or backup vehicles, we need to ride wherever we want to be. In this case, thats quite a long way: Namibia only begins about 1600km from home, near Rundu, a good three days riding. The good stuff starts 1000km further still, near the Angolan border post at Ruacana. Things start badly: to get to our rendezvous point, my riding partner, Errol, has ridden ahead from the Free State to Ellisras near the Botswana border. On Friday night whilst clearing my desk I receive a worrying SMS: his bikes handling is terrible, hes sure the steering head has had it. After a fruitless search for a new headstock bearing set the next morning, I get an update that its actually a tyre problem with the request for a new Heidenau K60 to replace the newly fitted Michelin Desert. September is the start of spring in the southern hemisphere. Traditionally, the veld gets set alight at the end of winter to burn off the old grass and make way for the new. Heres what it looks like before the new grass sprouts up as I eventually get going: Along the way, the ubiquitous South African potholes are being replaced by endless roadworks. Theres a great biltong shop after Vaalwater, with advertising boards a kilometer on either side of the entrance. The shop is built like a fort. I use the good opportunity to stock up on some dried kudu meat and wors for the road. Theres a long bridge across the Mokolo river just before Ellisras (Lephalale) where Errol is waiting for me. Its a quad playground of note. After trying in vain to exchange some Rands for Pulas, we set off on the gravel road through Stockpoort where there is a small kiosk selling odds, ends and Pula (BWP- Botswana currency). Across the Limpopo and hey presto, were in a new country! Clearly the summer rains have not arrived yet. More maintenance on the other side of the border. The roads through Botswana are rather boring as the country is pretty flat, with sparse vegetation due to the hot and dry climate. The only fences in Botswana are the veterinary fences put across the road to control the spread of foot and mouth disease, so herds of goats, cows and donkeys graze all the way right up to the verge of the road, where they will somnambulate in the way of passing vehicles. At least some of these mobile road hazards are put to good use and some of the locals have made an attempt to keep their livestock fenced in. By late afternoon we reach the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, more than 500 km from home. Not a bad start. The campsites are spaced quite far apart around a few ablution blocks, and we spend the evening shooting stars (with the camera) after preparing some steaks over the fire. The wide open space is relaxing. Our next goal is Maun, the gateway to the Okavango delta, a similar distance to the previous day. The road skirts the southern edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans before climbing northwards. It looks like the dried out lake that it is. This satellite photo shows the Makgadikgadi Pans in the lower right hand corner, the netwrok of the Okavango delta in the centre and the Caprivi strip where we are heading on top (dark lines are the international borders). The water running into the delta actually comes from the Angolan highlands, but instead of draining into the Atlantic ocean, it all ends up inland- Maun in Botswana is 500 ft lower than Rundu in Namibia- from where most of it evaporates. The lakes, Canals, and swamps between the islands support a wide variety of game and are a spectacular sight from the air as well as the water.