Our border crossing from Botswana into Namibia was the easiest and quickest of our entire journey so far. All 16 bikes, 4WD truck, trailer and 20 people passed through within an hour. It was such a contrast to the start of our ride two and a half months ago where border crossings could take all day. We didn’t immediately notice a significant difference between Botswana and Namibia, but the more we rode away from Botswana, the more the topography changed. The landscape started to become much more desert like. It was also getting much hotter, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees.
Our first night in Namibia was at Ngepi Camp, a lodge situated on the riverbank. But first we needed to ride through about 5 kilometres of soft sand. It was an extremely difficult task for even the best of riders. After one of the guys had a heavy fall, we decided to get a lift with a 4WD and leave the bikes in a secure lock up at the beginning of the track. Better safe than sorry.
Ngepi camp is an oasis in the desert. A meshed swimming enclosure kept us safe from crocodiles and hippos as we washed away the day in the river to a backdrop of yet another beautiful African sunset. It was a nice spot to try a cold Windhoek beer, which we have nominated as the best beer in Africa so far.
The following day we left early for the longest ride of the entire tour. Almost 650 kilometres to Etosha game reserve. Fortunately, the roads were mostly very good, so it wasn’t so bad and we arrived at Etosha well before nightfall.
Etosha is THE premium game reserve in Namibia and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Within minutes of entering the park we were met by a massive herd of elephants. There were at least 25 individuals, from old male bulls with magnificent tusks, to nursing mothers and their tiny baby elephants.
It was a real study in Elephant behavior as they passed in front of our vehicle. All the males formed a semi circle around the herd to protect the females and babies, then started to mock charge us aggressively in warning. Even the young male elephants got to practice their trumpeting and intimidation skills. The rest of the game drive was equally rewarding, a recently killed giraffe was being devoured by black back jackals as a pride of lions, content with their feed of giraffe, basked by a waterhole nearby. Etosha was a classic African experience for us.
The following day we made our way to the Skeleton Coast to check out the famous shipwrecks littering the rugged coastline and after 11 weeks it felt good to finally make it to the Atlantic Ocean and jump into the ice-cold water. Having started our journey by the Mediterranean Sea, then following along the Suez Canal, before zig zagging the Nile, then riding along the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and of course Lake Malawi, it felt like a long wait to get here.
We had a rest day at Swokopmund. At least it was supposed to be a rest day, although between the skydiving, the Go Kart racing, sand dune boarding and quad biking, it felt like we still needed a break
The following morning we were met by around 50 local bike riders who had heard we were in town. It was such an amazing experience to be escorted out of town by so many bikes. They were a fantastic bunch of people. They led us about 40kms to Walvis Bay where we all had coffee on the waterfront. Motorbike riders all share a common bond, no matter where you come from, what you do or what you look like, we all have that one thing in common; a love for riding motorbikes.
The rest of that day we rode a further 350klms to the famous sand dune of Sossusvlei. This morning we woke up at 500am and travelled into the Sosussvlei National Park to watch the sunrise break over the magnificent sand dunes up close and to climb to the top of the famous Dune 45, which we’ve learnt may well be the most trekked sand dune in Africa.
But for all the good times, we as motorbike riders are often reminded that riding a bike can be dangerous. Late this afternoon, 2 of our group had heavy falls in the soft sand on our way to Helmeringhausen. Both are OK, but will probably need to travel in the truck for the next few days as a precaution.
Within minutes of hitting the ground, a beautiful angel got out of a passing car and administered medical assistance to both of them. We had barely seen a car for days, and then suddenly on cue, when needed, out jumps a doctor an Australian doctor on holiday in Namibia. And who said Angels don’t exist?