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The Solo Scooterist

Documenting my travels on a Vespa

Category: Namibia (page 2 of 3)

Solitaire and then the sea

Today took me from  the stopover in Solitaire , the tiny town that has slightly more inhabitants than letters in its name , through two magnificent passes –  the Guab and Kuiseb . Over the tropic of Capricorn,  through the widest of nothingness , then blown through Walvis,  only to deliver  me to a very beautiful , very civilised Swakopmund .

 

My view while scootering

My view while scootering

My stressing over the road conditions was more than what was warranted as the road was far better than many of my previous tracks. So the scooter  and I covered the 280 odd kilometres by mid afternoon . The ride took me through many different landscapes  – almost as many as a woman deciding what to wear to an important gala event , but it did keep my eyes interested .

 

Guab Pass

Guab Pass

It was just a little further and we came across a fantastic photo opportunity , and had to pull over to cross over .

 

No caption required

No caption required

 

The Solo stickers I had made have come in handy.

The Solo stickers I had made have come in handy.

The landscape changed again for the fourth or fifth time that morning as we entered the Kuiseb pass. Really lush and green in comparison to  where I had come from, there were beautiful weathered rock formations , and a serpent- like road to navigate through. It was loads of fun .

 

Kuiseb Pass

Kuiseb Pass

The landscape changed again and this time just the vastness and nothingness of the desert as far as the eye could see. This was the chosen outfit that would see me through to Walvis Bay.

 

Yip not a curve to enjoy

Yip not a curve to enjoy

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Suddenly the gravel is gone and  smooth asphalt guides you into Walvis . The wind here was very strong and I decided while riding this section , that the reason this area is called the skeleton coast is because if you stand out here long enough you will be lucky to be left with a skeleton .

From here it is a quick ride up to Swakopmund. This is the part of my trip I have been looking very forward to for some rest and relaxation with time off the bike .  As luck would have it,  a lovely couple I met way down South , Steven and Nicky  offered me their amazing holiday apartment in Swakopmund . Just a spectacular place and position. I walk everywhere.

When one takes on a trip like this , there is one big issue that plays havoc with your emotions. It is road fatigue. You are just not able to find peace in one place for a while,  to wash the road from you.

When I walked into the apartment I was overcome by emotion.  I had seen many beautiful sights , met interesting people , but the most spectacular gift was the kindness and generosity that Nicky and Steven bestowed on this very exhausted traveller. I will forever cherish what you guys have done by allowing me the use of your home – a stranger you met just 10 days ago at  Felix,  sipping wine next to the Orange river. Your gift of kindness is so appreciated. A thousand thanks from my heart.

 

Home from Home

Home from Home

I am going to enjoy Swakop for all she has to offer and on Monday Victoria is off for some TLC. I found found a car wash and a motorcycle dealership , so a clean filter and new oil  shall be!

For now I am off to stroll the promenade , sip a coffee in a café and reflect on the days gone and those to come.

Until we meet again.

 

 

 

 

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Strolling Swakop

Caught between the soft desert sand and the harsh Atlantic lies a gem cut from the past,  but still contemporary  in lifestyle . This colourful , clean and serene town , quaint and quirky,  plays host to the travelling world.

 

just delightful architecture , all that is missing is a little snow.

just delightful architecture , all that is missing is a little snow.

 

Swakopmund oozes  seaside charm and she lures her travellers from far and wide. Words from around the globe brush past you as you stroll her streets. She does not discriminate, she accepts all who arrive to be touched by her charms . From the weathered  overlander with her scruffy boots and hair,  to the lens- laden ” Kaiser  ” in his well-pressed  lightly travelled safari garb…we all flock to enjoy  what she offers.

 

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Spending time strolling the streets with the fresh aroma of coffee and cake transforms you. It lets your mind enjoy a simpler pleasure that touches your heart through your tummy.

 

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Promenade

Promenade

It is late Sunday afternoon. The sun is setting over the sea. Cheerful families pour out on to the streets to enjoy  window shopping in town,  or  a long walk next to the ocean to catch the last bit of warmth before the sun drops below the horizon . The promenade is the collection point for families , friends or just your thoughts . I am so enjoying my time here. I love the fact you can’t buy alcohol after midday on Saturday.  Most of the shops close  and people walk everywhere . Yes, she has charmed me. So a day longer  I will stay.

 

 

Yes it does work , it has to.

Yes it does work , it has to.

 

 

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TLC and some statistics

Busy day all in all. I rose to the sun moving in on town, had a great breakfast and then it all started. First,  off to the local motorbike shop to try and get a mirror,  sort out some fresh oil and do the air- filter. Unfortunately they could not help me with anything on my list. So, off to the local car wash  to have Vic cleaned.

 

Vic's engine bay

Vic’s engine bay

Well travelled luggage no LV here.

Well travelled luggage no LV here.

Seeing this picture reminded me to warn fellow riders. Don’t buy the desert fox fuel bags! They leak terribly. I have resorted to plastic Coke bottles. They do the trick just fine – don’t break and don’t leak .

 

Well deserved wash

Well deserved wash

While Vic was been washed I went off to town,  did a few chores and bumped into Grant,  a Canadian,  doing  a similar trip to me just on a bike. He really is a Veteran,  having done numerous trips of this kind. he gave me some useful tips on gravel and sand- scootering. Whilst  at the car wash, I topped up the oil and cleaned the Namib out of my air- filter. Once done I found I was sitting next to a baby Dune 45! Luckily the filter had held true and really worked hard . I literally peeled the caked sand off the filter, washed it , re -oiled it and now Vic is almost ready to roll!.

I thought I would throw in a few facts and figures to date.

I have scootered 2670 kilometres  of which around 1000 Km required no tar

Vic has used 80 litres of fuel and some oil – not sure how much.

I have not had one bad nights’ accommodation and always a hot shower.

I have always been able to have a glass of red with dinner if required .

Always had enough fuel.

There is a very good reason Namibian’ s don’t calculate distance in kilometres but rather hours driven.

The only thing short in Namibia is the name.

On occasion a town is bigger on the map than in real life.

Being free takes adjusting .

Namibia should be on every persons To Do list .

Do this route once –  it will leave you speechless.

No Vespa No life.

I am planning to enjoy tomorrow re- packing and doing a few last  odds and ends before we hit the road to enjoy more of Namibia. Steven has put together a very comprehensive list for me to explore, so I will keep you all posted . I have been receiving fantastic emails full of inspiration. Thank you so much.  I do appreciate them , one and all.

Until we meet again.

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Burnt Orange followed by liquorice and lime .

The last couple of days in Swakopmund were a real treat. Her farewell to me  a glorious sunset  and my  toast to her a glass of  robust red to take the chill out of the sea breeze. All the while I watched the last rays of light jump off the edge of the world.

 

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What is it with us travellers and sunsets or sunrises?  Does it define the beginning of something special and unknown,  or is it in the significance of a day coming to and end and with it , our time in a new place?  We were all out there on the pier armed with our capturing devices trying to take a little piece of mother nature home with us .

 

Just before she jumped

Just before she jumped

I met up with Grant for dinner at a restaurant called Tugs at the pier. I have to correct my post from a few days ago – Grant is an Australian living in Canada and not from Canada . Sorry Grant for relocating your birthright . We chatted over a delicious meal of fresh calamari and Kabeljou while tour bus after tour bus ferried  in the patrons. It is a very popular place and for good reason .

From here it was our goodbyes and off to bed – for tomorrow was my ride up towards Etosha and a early start was the order of the day. I had altered my original route of going up the coast and then cutting across from Henties bay due to bad road reports . So it was liquorice lane all the way up for me. No gravel, no sand just the black line to ride.

I have purchased a very bright lime reflective construction workers vest to wear over my  black jacket to improve my visibility while on tar. It seems to work well, for here I write safe and sound from Otjiwarongo .

The first 200 km where very busy and windy so the riding was a little stressful but soon I was out in the forever changing Namibia , starting in the sand…and ending with Vic in the bushveld.

 

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Unfortunatley you lose a lot of the countries natural beauty when taking the main roads. It is far easier riding but far less rewarding.  I am going to have to find the balance as I would hate to not see more of the lesser explored .

 

 

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Just add water

Just add water

The ride up took me from Swakop through Usakos , Karibib and then up the C33 ending my day on just over 370 km in Otjiwarongo where I am spending the night in a small hotel on the outskirts of town  called C ‘Est Si Bon. A busy little place with very conversational parrots about.

I had a thought while riding today.  I think I am going to open a page on the site called ” Vic of the Day ” where it is a picture of the scooter in a place or with an enquiring person.  It will keep my eye engaged so here is the first one!

 

Vic of the day

Vic of the day

 

Tomorrow I head up to Etosha for a night or two of camping and safari. I am looking forward to spending time close to nature with her smells and sounds all about.

Until we meet again.

 

 

 

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Tsumeb Twice and time in Otavi

My plan was going so well that I slowed the scooter down and took in the scenery while pottering along at 65km. I had left Otjiwarongo at seven sharp and it was my plan to get up to Onguma  Game Lodge  just outside Etosha National Park by lunchtime , set up camp , relax , do a night drive and enjoy the bush.

I arrived in Tsumeb with only 100km to go for a quick cup of chino and some petrol at the Engen , realising at this point my phone was no longer with me. Oh no, what had I done with it ? So my new day started in the Wimpy with some really helpful staff. We tracked down the hotel number and called them. No phone in the room.  Whilst all this was happening,  I was trying to get on-line to find the phone with the very handy app that Steve gave me.  Trying to get WiFi then 3G,  I was enjoying the company and cappuccinos with my new found friends at Wimpy.

Finally there it was! Blinking next to the Highway just outside Otavi about 60 km back! Operation recovery was set in motion and off Vic and I flew to get our own back.

 

Searching for signal and shade.

Searching for signal and shade.

At this point the phone had moved in to Otavi , so off we sped into town to the police station and explained all and could they help recover the phone?  Absolutely!  was the resounding response. So we tried to get signal again  and could not. We drove up the road to the Municipal Offices. Still nothing. Then to the local telecoms shop. Still no luck with the signal . Now please bear in mind I have the undivided attention and help of three police officers and the company car helping out this soloscooterist find his phone.

We eventually end up at Michael’s house in town. he owns the telecoms shop and finally we get signal! The phone has moved again. We give the police the location they fly off in a ball of dust..Oh no! and it moves again, oh and again. After about 10 minutes we realise the location is about 800m out . So  after a couple of hours of hot pursuit the phone goes dark and the operation ceases. Damn it was fun.

I was so impressed by the Otavi police. They were absolutely fantastic. Nothing was too much and they joined in on the hunt for Green October.  To all of you who put in so much effort to try and put the apple back on the cart, thank you so very much.

 

My very helpful team of detectives

My very helpful team of detectives

Many thanks for your effort

Many thanks for your effort

If the phone comes back on line, Michael from the phone shop has kindly  offered to get the police involved to track it. To the very kind citizens of Otavi,  my thanks.

 

Back to Tsumeb and then on to Onguma , Two and a half hours later I was riding down the game viewing paths on my way to Tamboti campsite, hoping not to see any big game on the way for obvious reasons.

 

Game farm entrance

Game farm entrance

 

luckily not to far down the track

luckily not to far down the track

On arrival I was warmly greeted by Samuel and shown around this rare find in the bush. It is really a great recommendation from Steven and Nicky. The facilities are beyond fault , the attention to detail is unbelievable , and don’t forget it is a campsite. it felt fantastic being in this place.

 

My campsite with own ablutions.

My campsite with own ablutions.

 

 

To keep the predators out.

To keep the predators out.

 

Home up in 10 min

Home up in 10 min

I had a great shower , booked my morning drive into Etosha  and settled down to a scrumptious steak prepared to perfection by the resident master chef Isak –  medium rare perfection overlooking the waterhole thinking of a cosy night in the bush.

This place is the heat. The fantastic facilities and the most wonderful , helpful staff.  I have invited Samuel for some morning French press coffee at five fifteen a.m before I head off into Etosha .

Today was one of my most enjoyable of the trip. I had a ball all round, met fantastic people… so off to bed with a full heart and smile.

Until we meet again

 

Dinner for one

Dinner for one

 

 

 

 

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