'Beer' is the operative word for the journey from Windhoek to Cape
Having teamed up with Rob and Mike in Vic Falls
driving a 'Landrover-Recovery-Vehicle' (a.k.a. a Toyota Landcruiser),
my nightly beer consumption multiplied itself 10 fold. The reason
a.) Rob's car had a fridge and
b.) we discovered some decent beer, namely 'Windhoek Lager', brewed
as per the Reinheitsgebot von 1516.
I'm sure you can imagine the dilemma we faced after
pounding hundreds of kilometres of gravel pistes and faced with
the choice between warm, filtered water from a dubious source or
an ice cold beer to admire the sunset by....
Windhoek was as wet as everywhere else. We were
very thankful for Bodo and Ela's hospitality. Bodo's workshop afforded
a pleasant and dry working area to give the wife a full seeing to,
as well as fixing a few bits and pieces. The route then led northwards
via Waterberg to the Etosha Game Park. The wife was left at the
gate and I hitched a lift in with the boys. Although I'd been there
before in 1992, it was most definitely worth another visit.
Like a theatre piece
On the first night at the Okaukuejo floodlit waterhole,
we saw 10 rhinos, both black and white, although they all looked
the same shade of grey to me! (Before anyone sends me a mail explaining
the true difference between the two, I do know it!) and 6 lions.
It was like a theatre piece. The actors entered stage left or right,
did their bit - drank water and tussled with each other to show
who was boss - and then left the stage again.
Getting woken by a lion's deep guttural roar and
having him tugging at my sleeping bag took a bit of getting used
to. The western part of the park was pretty wildlife free, as even
a blind, semi lucid goat (not that there are many goats in the park!)
would have spotted the 400km² waterhole (caused by my mate
Eline) in the western half of the park.
The days consisted of morning (very early... it's
great and there are no other tourists) and evening game drives.
In the heat of the midday sun we decline to do the Mad Dogs and
Englishman thing and twisted by the pool instead. (I made up the
bit about the lion being close to my sleeping bag!) Amazingly, it
had stopped raining. Shortly after leaving Etosha we hit the gravel
and the next time we saw tar was about 2000 clicks later. All the
north-western sights were visited, including the White Lady (neither
white, nor female...) and Twifelfontein.
At one campsite I modified the catapult I was carrying
to make it more efficient. I then tested its new found power and
accuracy. Very powerful and accurate. I broke a window (for which
I had to pay US$3!). You might be thinking...'it can't be that accurate
then...' It is... I was aiming at the window! Why, I'm not exactly
sure. Boys will be boys!
The route to the Skeleton Coast National Park involved
narrowly avoiding getting side-swiped by an Oryx and hearing Meinheer
Eugene van de Boerwors, the Park Warden, telling the pleasant chappie
on the gate that 'under no circumstance, I repeat... blah blah blah
etc.... are motorcycle permitted into the park'. The 250km detour
taught us to read the guidebook a little more closely. The highlight
of my day was a toothless old lady giving me a polo mint in front
of the SWAPO office. I must exude some sort of mystic masculine
charm, or something!?!!
Avent ad sex there since 1942
Lots more gravel and some nasty sand as well as
ploughing through a 40m wide dry river bed led to Swakopmund ('laaaaaaaavley
taaaaaawn Swaaakohhhh - I avent ad sex there since 1942 at the Atlantic
hatellllll, absolutely laaaaaaaavley, laaaaaaaavley' - say this
out loud in an Essex accent- an in-joke I'm afraid!). The highlight
of Swako by far was the Hansa Brewery, with its tour.
I was wondering why I carried a spare alternator
all the way from England. When the rotor in mine (and the regulator)
packed up I knew why Norbert of the Boxer Shop in Krefeld/ Germany
gave me one to take with me!
Bodo met us again at Soususvlei, the home of the huge dunes of
the Namib Desert. One thing I have learnt during my trip through
Africa: to get up early.... the 2 hours after dawn are the best
for riding and in this case for seeing the sun rise over the Namib.
Wave upon wave of sand changing from grey, to red, to gold, to yellow.
It will be one of the most vivid memories I'll treasure from my
trip through Africa. And as usual, we had the place to ourselves...
The other tourists obviously needed breakfast first and only pitched
up at 9am.
Driving to Fish River Canyon, we ignored a 'road
closed' sign. Shortly we worked out why. A previously non existent
river to be forded. It's always a bit scary driving through water,
but when you don't fall it's good fun. The bottom half of the wife
got a wash too. The crossing from Namibia into South Africa was
the usual formality. At Saldanha campsite in the Western Cape National
Park it not only smelled very badly of rotten seaweed, but there
was also a large sign saying: 'No Dogs/ Motorcycles'! This caused
a little chuckle from us and the usual photo call. I must admit
this was the first time that the wife has been compartmentalised
(nice word) in the same category as a dog. Mike Buddha sweet-talked
the body shape diversified woman at the reception and the wife/dog/motorcycle
was allowed entry.
The drive to the Cape of Good Hope (I know it isn't
the most southerly point in Africa... Cape Aghulas is... I went
there too, but it stinks of seaweed) was quite emotional for me.
At Melkbosstrand about 30 clicks north of Cape Town we stopped on
the beach for a photo with Table Mountain in the background... the
Boys had the 'pleasure' of pushing me out after I got stuck in the
sand! Champagne and Salmon and the usual pics were had at the Cape
of Good Hope sign. An unbelievable adventure stretching 28500km
from London to the southern tip of Africa had come to an end.
I do it again: Probably... with the exception of you-know-where.
On the same wife: Definitely! In Cape Town I encountered wonderful
hospitality from many people. If I omitted to thank you personally,
I apologise. Again: THANK YOU! I'll be back... The wife was then
packed up and sent on her merry way to New York, whence the journey
continues in May.