Biking for softies in Africa – Noordoewer to Rosh Pinah

Wed 16th March

The day started well.  Way before sunrise I was having a breakfast at the local Wimpy bar and stocking up with energy bars (why oh why does everything here have to be covered in chocolate which turns into gooey mass by 10am).

Grape Vines
Grape Vines

I turned on the light and pedalled of in the cool through all the vines. Apparently virtually all European eating grapes in November come from these fields. after a while I bumped into Alice & Oliver a young French couple cycling down to Cape Town it had taken them 4 weeks to get down from Victoria Falls on the A11 Elephant road to Nata in Botswana, sounded amazing. I continued down the dirt road  aiming for the Spar shop but lost in my dreams I overshot it by a mile 🙁 so then had to pedal back 🙁 Stocking up on stuff for a planned overnight camp added at least 4kgs 🙁 Now I could barely lift the bike 🙁  onwards I went down the Orange River Valley.

Alice & Oliver
Alice & Oliver

All was well to begin with although the gravel rapidly became a sand road – total murder with a laden bike. I stopped at a shady building with toilet etc. at the National Park border and devoured some lunch a litre of water followed by a nap. I set off again in the afternoon heat the going was very tough. Eventually I came to the start of the big hill, and started having to push the bike through the wretched sand, A big guy in a pick up truck stopped and asked if I wanted a lift 🙂 It took both of us to lift the bike into the truck!

The day in detail
The day in detail

Thank goodness I did the hill turned into a monster followed by a huge sandy descent it would have taken days for me to do it on the bike. We reached the farm, my prospective campsite, but I decided to stay with my good samaritan all the way to Rosh Pinah just counting myself extremely fortunate as the  truck climbed up and down severe hills and round narrow bends. I kept thinking what super heroes these guys like Thomas Anderson are.

We pulled into the service station where I thanked my guy profusely and pedalled off to find a hotel. Fortunately the Amica had a cancellation due to the morning fog stopping flights here. A good ending to a very tiring day.

I did 53.2 miles and 1434 feet on the bike. and another 52 miles in the truck with an additional 4000 feet of climbing!

The pictures are on Smugmug today

Biking Africa – 2016-03-15 Steinkopf to Noordoewer (Namibia

Tues 15 March 2016

Sunrise
Sunrise

An early start I was out on the road at half past six, sans breakfast apart from a handful of grapes. After going up the inevitable hill it was a long steady downhill on an empty road and gorgeous watching the landscape change colour with the rising sun. Even getting a cracking image of my shadow.

The long beautiful downhill stretch was somewhat marred by the facewind but still a great way to leave South Africa. I managed a drink at the aptly named Fiddlers Inn at the border with it’s associated shop. The border crossing was very easy apart from the lady forgetting to return my precious white slip at Desk 1 so that Desk 3 could stamp it 🙁 The Namibian office thought it was a bit weird having a bike and wondered where I was going to stay and how long I was going to be there but no problems at all.

By the time I left the border posts someone had turned the heating up to 42 degrees plus 🙁 So as I soon I spied the sign Orange River Lodge River Camp a few hundred meters away I disappeared inside and into an room with AC at 11.15am 🙂

I made it to Namibia
I made it to Namibia

After a long nap I found the Engen store down the road, it’s 4 franchises run by one excellent guy: Petrol, Wimpy, Bakery, Shop all operating 24X7 now if only every place at something like that! They sorted a SIM for me at $10 plus $50 credit. No passport or bureaucracy needed at all pity its only an Edge connection so it’s bye bye Facetime for a while. The Lodges WiFi didn’t work either.

I’ve now decided to follow the route described by Thomas Anderson in his excellent blog that he rode 3 months ago. Unfortunately it does mean camping at least a couple of nights.

Strava says I rode 37.6mi and even with all the downhill I went up 1,242ft

The pictures are here

Todays photos