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Namib Desert Run
WHEN: Meet at Kuruman on 7 April 2017
WHERE: From Red Sands, Kuruman To Swakopmund
COST: R1000 per entry.
PLEASE NOTE! Pre-entries are now closed. Late Entry can be done on the Friday at Kuruman –  011 782 5521
40th Commemorative Namib Desert Run
Almost Final Newsletter, Friday March 31
Tel Bike SA 011 782 5521This is the newsletter that contains details of everyone entered thus far (nearly 100 happy souls – it’s going to be a good one) and we will update the list in the next few days as more entries come in.
We have included phone numbers and, where available, town of abode so that we can communicate with each other beforehand, especially people in the same area or with similar bikes and vehicles or long-lost cousins.
Please note that we accept last minute entries, right up to the Friday at Kuruman, so bring along that unexpected guest or previously recalcitrant girlfriend. But there will be some extra caps but not extra T-Shirts or clothing.

Remember Friday night’s Red Sands 8,30 briefing, party, get-together, debauchery, Stroh raisins…
There will be at least one birthday (and the feeding of raisins) on this trip – Nelspruit’s Adriaan van Aarde’s 16th birthday.
There are many characters  on this trip, and some veterans of the run from as far back as around 1980. Linda Strauss was there in 1980 with her late husband Arrie and this year with daughter Karen and Karen’s madly fast-riding husband Thomas Brown.
There are many more veteran stalwarts escaping mention but to be identified and fed Stroh Raisins on Friday night. I see Deon and Lize De Beer, who, with the Hartbeespoort lot, used to stop for a Braai every time they saw a tree, Renier Redelinghuis, the Field family, they who also did the African Friendship Safari to Zanzibar, George Christian who will be with the likes of Mike Hamilton and Geoffrey (nickname “Joffrey”) Ochse (pronounced “Ooosh”), the Wolff brothers, also Zanzibar veterans…
I also see some delectable bikes, the 450 motocross-type ones and the sportier quads will have much fun on the dunes on Wednesday – Adriaan (happy birthday) van Aarde’s and Jan-Daniel Van Staden’s Honda CRF450s, Gerhard Maritz’s Yamaha WR450 and I will, as usual be on Yamaha’s YZ450.
And there are some potent adventure bikes for the long road – big KTMs from Craig Luck, Michael Field, Tavio Roxo, Hennie Blignaut, and I see that my BMW HP2 will have a mate with Rico De Jager also on one. There could be some very good news with Donovan Fourie eyeing the new not-yet-released KTM 1290. If so, he will try to beat my KTM 1190’s 239km/hr on dirt speed. See BikeSAMag “Why we need 150HP in the dirt on Youtube.
But firstly, remember that this is a fun trip and not a race. Ride at a pace with which you feel comfortable, and enjoy the holiday, and let the few hooligans do their own thing. To help you relax and turn to sober thoughts, I attach an MRI scan of my back showing four crushed vertebras (vertebrae in Latin), three of them achieved on the Desert Run – number 1 was crushed 18 years ago at the old Wall Of Death on the dunes, number 2 a scooter accident (don’t ask) 8 years ago and numbers 3 and 4 last year when I hit a washaway at 180, after leaving Rietfontein border post in the dip just before the uphill. I am still riding and not in a wheelchair but things could have been very different.

See you in Kuruman. We (Donovan, Ian the Medic and I) will be there from Thursday night in time for supper and will set up the office outside one of the chalets below the swimming-pool the whole day on Friday. There is no rush to get there.

Simon

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About the Run

Namib Desert Run 40th Commemoration
Friday 7 April 2017
Big re-union of wandering desert souls

This year will be the 40th running of the Namib Desert Run, that institution that has given excitement and adventure and camaraderie and happiness to so many people since its inception in the late 1970s.
Everyone we have mentioned it to have shown a great interest in participating and the word is spreading fast amongst the regulars and also veterans like Stan Harris, Geoff Ochse, Mike Hamilton, the Strausses… and will no doubt spread faster exponentially amongst the others.
We will be doing regular updates every month in Bike SA magazine right up to the April 2017 issue.
We will also be digging up photos from the past.
Anyone thinking of coming, or with any comments or remarks or knowing about others, or just wanting to see their name in Bike SA, email us at simon@bikesa.net

History:

The Desert Run started after the December 1976 scientific exploration to the Namib Desert with Prof Eric Holm (Dept entomology, Univ Pretoria), Clark Scholz (then a student, later taking over from Eric as Professor),  Frikkie Kirsten (student) and Bike SA’s Simon Fourie.
Simon was enamoured with the dunes and the fun to be had on them with bikes and set about doing a recce with the idea of organising a run from South Africa.
His recce started when he met locals from Namibia at Pappas Honda in Windhoek Thursday 15th December 1977 and left Friday 16th December to travel through the Khomas Hochland to Swakopmund to ride the dunes.
Subsequent runs from 1978 went through Botswana for many years before the route was changed to the present Kuruman, Van Zylsrus one into Namibia at Rietfontein.

The Trip:

We meet at Red Sands ( 053 712 0039 ), outside Kuruman, on Friday 7 April and return from Swakop from Friday, 14 April, to be back before schools open. This 37 year old venture is a social, non-competitive fun trip requiring no special riding or driving skills or special vehicles.All types of people of all ages have been taking part over the years with their own vehicles like motorcycles, 4X4’s, bakkies, kombis, cars, micro lights and sidecars. Please note that quads and unlicensed bikes must be loaded up on public roads. We will be at Kuruman the whole day Friday to answer questions and will have an 8,30pm briefing in the bar/dining room to clarify last minute things and there is also plenty of time to find out everything en route.

Accommodation:

At overnight stops accommodation consists of camping and chalets. There is usually plenty of space for camping at all stops but enquire if booking is required, especially at busy times like Easter and especially at Arrebusch in Windhoek. They will be very busy over this period.

Stopover Details – Checked correct January 2016:

Friday: Kuruman’s Red Sands, 053 712-0033, 082 801-4414

Saturday: Askham’s Molopo Kalahari Lodge (Formerly Molopo Motel) Tel. 054 5110008, 073 825-8704 
Sunday: Gochas’s Auob Lodge 00264 61 374750
Monday: Windhoek’s Arrebusch (00264-61) 252255.
Tuesday: Swakopmund  Tel 0026464 410-4618/19/21 has no camping at the resort so please will everyone book chalets. Tell them you are on the Desert Run and they will try to keep us all together. Swakop Municipal Restcamp

More Adventure-Friendly Route:

For the last few years the route has changed so that the terrain is not as sandy and is more Adventure Bike friendly. There is still one sandyish section – the Molopo section on the Saturday – that could be daunting for the big bikes or non-4x4s, but only a small part thereof. If it is dry the adventure bikes will make it easily with an experienced rider, but rather not do it if it is wet. The locals at Van Zylsrus will give us a wetness report. There is a corresponding alternate route with the two sections meeting up at the tar road near our overnight stop at Molopo Motel.

Route Summary:

Saturday we go from Kuruman in the Northern Cape via Vanzylsrus to overnight at Molopo Motel in Andriesvale. Sunday’s route is tar to the border 80km away and we go past Hakskeen Pan where, if the gate off the main road is open, we can pop in to visit. Then 20km to Rietfontein border, then Aroab, Koes and 4km past Gochas overnight at Auob Lodge. Monday to Stampriet, Mariental to overnight at Windhoek. Tuesday via Khomas Hochland gravel mountain passes to Swakopmund in Namibia where we stay for three days before returning.

Cost:

R1000 per person entry fee. This hasn’t changed in 5 years. Accommodation en route and at Swakop, food, petrol for own account.

The Route In More Detail:

Friday: Meet at Red Sands Lodge, 15km past Kuruman.

There will be documentation and allocation of numbers to place on vehicles, armbands, instructions, foddering on raisins soaked in Strough Rum for 2 years, and attending the 8,30pm briefing and fun in the bar area at Red Sands on Friday.

We will here have for sale extra clothing like T-Shirts, ladies’ tops, caps, beanies and things and smart long-sleeved T-shirt sweaters and whatever Sharon’s latest designs are.

Saturday:

Hotazel, Vanzylsrus, Middelpits, Andriesvale, overnight at Molopo. Two routes – sandy/adventurous for experts and easier gravel for the rest. Distances From Kuruman to Molopo: 407km on sandy route, 360km on normal route.

Sunday:

The route will be more adventure bike friendly, with the notorious sandy section Molopo to Rietfontein being left out altogether. Molopo to Hakskeen Pan to Rietfontein, Aroab, Koes, Gochas, to overnight at Auob Lodge, distance 433km of mostly fast gravel roads. We have substituted the usual Koes stopover with Auob Lodge, outside Gochas, and will thus have a shorter run to Windhoek on Monday.

After the Rietfontein border there is a nice restaurant at Aroab, 40km past the Rietfontein border, that serves nice sosaties and things. Then on to Koes (pronounced “COYs”), 140km past Aroab, where we overnighted for many years in the past and the hotel and bar and restaurant is well worth a visit. Then 168km to Auob Lodge.

Monday:

Stampriet, Mariental, to overnight Windhoek – 378km, of which 303km is tar. The road is 75km national gravel up to Stampriet, much like the Free State highways, and then 303km tar to Windhoek. Arebbusch chalets and camping has full facilities available. Chalets have shower, toilet, stove, fridge, TV, telephone, cutlery, aircon etc. Camping, no booking needed. Book chalets individually (book early). Also shop and restaurant, swimming pool, garden bar, trampoline. A popular evening dining and drinking place is Joe’s Beerhouse, Nelson Mandela Drive. Arebbusch Tel. (00264-61) 252255.

Tuesday:

Khomas Hochland, Swakopmund. Go 320km along this famous Khomas Hochland road to Swakop. The gravel road goes through everything from mountain passes to long, flat plains and becomes tar for the last 80km into Swakop. Tuesday afternoon/evening is usually spent settling in to chalets, renewing acquaintances and having supper in one of the many good restaurants. Wednesday is the main fun day in the Dune 7 area, with Dune 2 at the back of Dune 7 the main playing area.Participants do their own booking at Swakop as well as the usual en route lodge/hotel bookings. Ask Swakop to put you near the rest of the Desert Run bunch – Petrus is the booking man who knows us best.

Swakopmund

Swakopmund. Our stayover, with most leaving on Friday April 4th, some on Thursday and some stay on longer. Please make your own bookings. They have 2-bed and 4-bed chalets, 6-bed A-Frames and houses with two bedrooms, lounge, kitchen, bathroom, toilet, scullery and, ideal for those who work on their bikes a lot, a lock-up garage. Previously Bike SA block booked and did the allocations, but it had too many complications. Petrus knows the Desert Run well – ask him to book you near the others.

Tel 00264 64 410 4618/9/20

ikaufilwa@swkmun.com.na

prutz@swkmun.com.na

Petrol availability:

Friday:

Several petrol garages in Kuruman.

Saturday:

180km from Kuruman to Vanzylsrus, where there is petrol.

203km to the next petrol station at Molopo Motel, Andriesvale, on the Adventurous Molopo River route.

180km on the normal route so the bikes/quads should have a back-up with spare petrol on both routes. 14km before Molopo Motel there is petrol at Askham.

Sunday:

Molopo to Rietfontein, Aroab, Koes, Gochas, to overnight at Auob Lodge, distance 368km of fast gravel roads.

Petrol at:

Molopo to Aroab – 120km

Aroab to Koes (pronounced “COYs”) – 140km

Koes (pronounced “Coys”) to Auob near Gochas – 163km

We overnight at Auob Lodge 4km past Gochas.

Monday:

Petrol is plentiful up to Windhoek.

Gochas to Stampriet – 73km

Stampriet to Mariental – 68km

Mariental to Windhoek – lots of petrol stations. This is the main Windhoek to Cape highway.

Tuesday:

Windhoek to Swakopmund – 326km of brilliant country but no petrol.

This is the famous Khomas Hochland road. Distances summary: The tar ends 28km outside Windhoek.The Spookhuis is 18km from the end of the tar, 43km from Windhoek. From Windhoek to the farmer’s braai (if they are there) on Boshia Pass – 146km. From here the road stays interesting and winds through hills and mountains for 64km (116km before Swakop) before it becomes flat and straight for 116km of tar to Swakop.

The whole happy story:

Herewith a more detailed story on the trip.

The information herein is easy to follow. You will not get lost. We will be at Kuruman the whole day Friday to do documentation, T-Shirts and things, answer questions and will have a 8,30pm briefing in the bar/dining room to clarify last minute things and there is also plenty of time to find out everything en route.

KURUMAN – 1ST NIGHT

At Red Sand Lodge meeting place on Friday 14km outside Kuruman please put the supplied numbers on your vehicle – every car, bakkie, quad and bike, even if it is a kiddy quad to be ridden only on the dunes. We will hand out two sets of numbers to each vehicle – for helicopter or whatever identification. We will give authorities a corresponding list of the owner of each numbered vehicle, with his details so that he can be identified when gallivanting off into illegal territory such as off the roads or tracks en route to Swakop or on the dunes outside demarcated areas. Another recent change will be armbands for everyone which will help identification of people as genuine Desert Runners.

Registration of vehicles:

The laws of both countries say that vehicles on public roads, which includes dirt roads, should be licenced with number plates and discs. We often get asked about this and we have to reply that the law must be obeyed but we have, however, never had problems with police on the South African side on the adventurous off the beaten track sections. In Namibia we were stopped once outside Windhoek many years ago on the Khomas Hochland road to Swakop by a December roadblock to catch drunk drivers. Unlicensed vehicles will be allowed on the permit-designated Namib dunes. We have made vehicle red tape easy for everyone, with everything needed available at Kuruman.

There is a remote possibility (never happened in 40 years) that you may be asked for “registration” papers in Namibia. Here is the law – All vehicles in Namibia have to be registered, including quads and MX bikes on trailers. Please note that REGISTERED does not mean LICENCED as in street-legal with number plates – it means a record of the existence of your vehicle (NATIS and all that) and was introduced to curb international theft, among other things. If yours is not registered, we will give you documentation at Kuruman to make it legal as a racing vehicle. The law does exempt vehicles designed for racing, but it does not allow them on public roads as they will have no number plates. This includes quads and off-road bikes and, in order to make sure we have no hassles from any authorities, we will give you at Kuruman:

1. A copy of the Namibian law stating that vehicles designed for racing are exempt from being registered. Chapter 3, Part 1Section 13 (1) (f) (“Registration and licencing of motor vehicles…”) Government Gazette 30 March 2001 No. 2503, which lists these as “designed exclusively for racing… if that motor vehicle is not operated on a public road”. Show this to anyone who asks and, then show them –

2. We will give you a letter from the relevant importer (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Bombardier, Polaris, KTM etc.) stating that your bike is designed for racing. We have a letter from each of these with a list of their off-road bikes and quads. You will need both these (or valid registration papers) at any roadblock, such as the permanent one as we get into Windhoek. If in doubt, get a 21 day paper plate registration from your friendly dealer.

3. Take a re-importation form. At the border please fill in a re-importation form (BA65 I think) and include all vehicles (bikes and quads) that are not licensed for the road and are on trailers. Get it stamped. This will allow you smooth passage back to South Africa with the vehicles.

4. Take a route schedule laminate. This is a shortened laminated version of the daily route schedule and itinerary to hang on your rear view mirror or to stick on your tank for easy reference.

SATURDAY

TRAVEL TO Molopo Kalahari Lodge Tel. 0545110008/9.,

Distances From Kuruman to Molopo: 407km on sandy route, 360km on normal route.

From Red Sands go to Kuruman, turn left at the Wimpy, go 60km to Hotazel on tar, keep straight on for 11km and TURN LEFT on the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (formerly Gemsbok Park) tar road and it is 110km to Vanzylsrus, which they have been slowly tarring and could be tar all the way there by now.

At Vanzylsrus there will be outside and verandah food stalls and a pub and restaurant. Get petrol and guys do wheelies for the locals and there is always music from car ghetto blasters and fun.

Then go back on the Hotazel road for a few hundred metres and turn right on the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Gemsbok Park) road. If you continue on this road straight on it is the alternate good gravel route for 2 wheel drive vehicles and big bikes and drunk drivers – follow the  Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park road, don’t turn right after 10km on the sandy route Middelpits road, go about 160km, pass Askham to meet the rest at Molopo Kalahari Lodge 15km further, on the left. Please refuel in Askham.

Adventurous Route – 203km. From Vanzylsrus go back on the Hotazel road for 500 metres and turn right on the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park road, go along this road for 10km and turn right to Middelputs, (don’t miss it) to go on 27km of good dirt towards Middelpits, the border post to Botswana. A kilometre before the border turn left. The road is rocky for 5km, then gravel and sand. After 160km, turn left at T-junction and Molopo Kalahari Lodge is a few k’s on the right.

Cars please keep a lookout for bikes trying to pass. Please carry spare fuel for more than 200km travel from Van Zylsrus or be prepared to wait somewhere along the route for your backup.

This adventurous route track from Middelputs is rocky at first, but gets better when the sandy riverbed is reached. Then 160km of varying track, sand and hard and sometimes muddy, flat, with some parts twisty but mostly fast river section following Botswana fence. The last 80km or so has been graded and gravelled and is fast, but beware of fast corners with loose gravel – we have had several accidents on this section, especially with cars. Turn left at T-junction near the end, not right towards Gemsbok Park. Molopo Kalahari Lodge a few k’s on on the right, to overnight and party. It is shown as Andriesvale, 14km South of Askham, on the map. Please try to have supper there – the food is good and with self-service in the lapa and bar service. Molopo has petrol and diesel, and limited car and bike tyres on site. Askham 15km away also has a petrol station . Please do not cause dust in the campsite.

Molopo Kalahari Lodge Tel. 0545110008/9.

Sunday:

Molopo to Auob Lodge, to overnight 433km. 80km of tar from Molopo to Rietfontein, then fast gravel roads. No unlicenced vehicles to ride to the border please. From Molopo everyone follows the same route all the way to Swakopmund. 80km to Rietfontein border, opening hours are 8 to 4,30.

On this day we cross the border into Namibia outside Rietfontein. The queue should not be not long, but be patient and socialise if it is. Please note that all unlicenced vehicles (quads and MX bikes) must be loaded up. Route: Molopo to Rietfontein, the town of Aroab, Koes, Gochas, to overnight at Auob Lodge.

Petrol at:

Aroab – 120km from Molopo,

Koes – 140km from Aroab

Gochas – 163km from Koes

We overnight at Auob Lodge 4km past Gochas..

Border Formalities Fill in customs form DA65 (Registration Of Goods For Re-Importation) with details of loaded up unlicenced bikes and quads, cameras, laptops and things. Take your passport with the DA65 into the immigration office for quick stamps. Show the police your engine and chassis number. Sometimes they search your vehicle – be patient. Please keep far left in the queue before the border if you are waiting for others to catch up, and wave other vehicles through, but meanwhile do the above border formalities. On the Namibian side hand in their form with your passport and get the DA65 stamped.

Passports & Vehicle Registration Papers:

Each driver/rider fill in a customs declaration form, everyone collects his passport from our people in the car park, get it stamped inside the immigration office and go through. Bring registration papers for all vehicles driven or ridden through and the racing bike exemption papers we gave you at Kuruman. Bikes without number plates and registrations must be loaded up.

Vehicle Engine Numbers – Clean Engine Numbers: The police will want to see that your engine number matches your registration papers. Please find location of number on engine, clean with a lappie or tissue and help show it to the police to hurry things up.

Thereafter everyone together on a common route 40km to Aroab on fast gravel highway. This is a public road and not to be used by unlicenced vehicles. Some of the smaller licenced bikes may wish to load up anyway as it is a fast highway smooth gravel road. There is a nice restaurant at Aroab that serves nice sosaties and things after the right turn in Aroab on the right. Get your Road Tax here, for cars, trailers and bikes on the road, at the restaurant if it is open, otherwise at the garage. The permanent road block outside Windhoek will ask for it.

Right at the Aroab petrol station, then left on fast dirt 140km to Koes (pronounced “COYs”), 140km past Aroab. These roads are graded, smooth and fast, but the setting sun and dust will be a problem late afternoon. Please (cars and bikes) do not stop in the dust or make U-turns and cause accidents. Cars please keep a lookout for overtaking bikes battling to get past in the dust.

Arrive at T-junction at Koes, turn right to Gochas, but some may wish to turn left to go to the hotel for refreshments and eats, about a kilometre down the road on the left. Koes has a bar and TV with satellite and is next to a pan and 4×4 track and dunes if anyone has time to play.

Hotel Koes – Tel. 00264-63-252716. They now have a total of 30 hotel beds.

Gochas is 163km from here and please try to get there before the sun sets as it is an interesting road. It is fast, hard gravel but a long series of high hills, former dunes, with thrilling ups and downs. Please keep left at all time as you cannot see vehicles coming from the opposite direction. Go 68 km North to a T-junction, turn left, go 95km to Gochas, a small town (turn off to the right) with garage, shops and hotel. Then to Auob Lodge, on the main road a few km past the Gochas turnoff on the left. It is a really excellent place to stay with hotel facilities, camping on green grass, good food and jaffels and tea and scones, a pool…

Auob Lodge 00264-63-250101).

TO WINDHOEK MONDAY

Everyone on the same route.

Distances: 75km good gravel to Stampriet where the gravel road ends and tar starts, then 328km tar to Windhoek. Total 403km.

Stampriet has a petrol station with shop on the left. Go on to turn right at Mariental T-juncion and on to Windhoek. This is the time to relax, open a few beers and let the ladies drive. There is also much swopping of cars and bikes. Bikers often let car passengers or drivers ride their licenced bikes on the tar. Arebbusch chalets and campsite is before the main Windhoek town. Pass the truck port on the left, cross Golf Street and it is on the left before Eros airport. Camping has full facilities available. Chalets have shower, toilet, stove, fridge, TV, telephone, cutlery, aircon etc. Camping is around R50 each, no booking needed. Book chalets individually (book early). Also shop and restaurant, swimming pool, garden bar, trampoline. A popular evening dining and drinking place is Joe’s Beerhouse, a favourite Desert Run restaurant.

Nelson Mandela Drive. Arebbusch Tel. (00264-61) 252255.

TO SWAKOP, Tuesday.

326km, no petrol. This is the famous Khomas Hochland road. Please note that there will be no petrol for 326km, so fill up extra cans if needed. Distances summary: The tar ends 28km outside Windhoek.

The Spookhuis is 18km from the end of the tar, 43km from Windhoek, .

From Windhoek to the farmer’s braai (if they are there) on Boshia Pass – 146km.

From the braai the road stays interesting and winds through hills and mountains for 64km (116km before Swakop) before it becomes flat and straight for 116km to Swakop. They have tarred the last part, about 100km, into Swakop.

Directions to Swakop:

From Arrebush turn left on the main tar road and head towards town. Turn right at the garages and go along the double main road for a few km and turn left into Sam Nujoma Rd at the sign “Western Bypass, Daan Viljoen, Okahandja”. 3km out of Windhoek you will see a sign saying “Swakopmund 356km”. Ignore it. The real distance is 326km from there. Or from Arrebusch turn right on the main tar road (the one from South Africa) and turn right at the circle onto the Western Bypass and go on a few km and take the turnoff to Daan Viljoen, Walvis. Go 320km along this famous Khomas Hochland road to Swakop, which is tar for the first 25 km. The gravel road goes through everything from mountain passes to long, flat plains. This is a public road and no unlicenced bikes without number plates will be allowed. If you haven’t ridden your licenced bike thus far, the end of the tar road is a good place to do so for an unforgettable ride.

The Spookhuis is good for a quick stop, photos and party, about 50k’s out on the dirt road.

Our official lunch stop is at the notorious chevron board view site about 146km from Windhoek. You can’t miss it. After a steep little climb the road turns sharply left with a warning chevron board ahead and a nice sightseeing level parking lot to the right. There will sometimes be local farmers with marquee selling food and braaied meat and sausages, sosaties and refreshments.

On the flat plains nearer Swakop please stay on the main route and do not go onto the gravel plains. Your tyre marks will stay for many years, they scar the landscape and cause ecological damage and your vehicle gets confiscated and our trip gets banned in future. If you chase Gemsbok or any game, Nature Conservation will land their helicopter next to you and will take you away. I will encourage the judge in court to give you the maximum sentence. Sightseers and may want to look out for, and get excited about, old (1000 year?) plants like Welwichias and things. Please park your vehicle and walk onto the gravel plains.

Directions To Swakop Site:

The road is tarred for about 100km before Swakop. As you approach the outskirts of Swakop, follow the obvious route, veer right, cross a little low bridge, and at the T-Junction with the main tar road turn left. Then go into town along the main street and turn left at the Total garage on the road to Walvis Bay. The chalets/A-Frames are a few blocks down on the right. If you arrive too early, your chalet may not have been be cleaned and readied. The cleaning staff need time to do their work before bringing the keys to the office.

SWAKOPMUND

THE AUTHORITIES ARE A FRIENDLY LOT UNTIL SOMEONE RIDES AN UNLICENSED BIKE OR QUAD IN TOWN. YOU WILL BE ARRESTED. NO NOISY BIKES IN THE SWAKOP SITE PLEASE. ON-SITE RIDE QUIET BIKES ONLY PLEASE AND PUSH THE NOISY ONES.

We have got special permission to ride the STANDARD quads with quiet exhausts and the road-type bikes with standard exhausts inside the site. Please note that few of the MX bikes, two or four stroke, are quiet enough to be ridden on site. See notes on Dunes before riding on the dunes.

Swakop Municipal Restcamp

Tel 0026464 410-4618/19/21

SWAKOPMUND SCHEDULE

Swakopmund is the holiday mecca of Namibia. We will play in the dunes where the permit allows, sightsee, party and generally enjoy the resort town and return by various routes, mostly on Friday.

Tuesday: Settle in and relax; bars and restaurants in town in the evening.

Wednesday: Tar route straight to Dunes 7 and 2: Unlicensed bikes and quads may use this area but must be loaded up to get there please. The permit will allow some areas other than Dune 2, but please let us all stay together on this traditionally Dune 2 and 7 day, with everyone putting up gazebos and bringing picnic lunches and drinks and riding up and down the famous Dune 2 behind Dune 7 or watching others do it. Some arrive early but most 10 or 11ish. At the Walvis circle turn left on the airport road and go a few kilometers and follow Dune 7 signs on left and our signs to Dune 2.

Route To Dune 2: When you get to the Dune 7 area, head for the Dune 7 palm trees, cross the railway line, keep right, with the palm trees 100 meters away on your left, pass the quad hire place on your right and head for an open plain amongst dunes and go into the bowl of Dune 2.

Dune 2 Racing Track Route:

These dunes are for the enjoyment of everybody. There is the intimidating big “Dune 2” and several other smaller dunes in the vicinity. Please observe a tradition that there is a part of the gravel plain bowl and the dune of Dune 2 that is the playground for the faster, more experienced intermediate and expert bike and quad riders and they develop a sort of set route up and down. Most realise this and each chooses his own place to ride according to ability and enthusiasm. Please don’t cross their “racing” path at the foot of the dune while you are playing in the gravel bowl. These guys sometimes reach high speeds in the bowl and they can’t avoid you ambling across your path. We have never yet had a major collision, and please let us never have one. Dune 2, the big one at the back of Dune 7, has several routes to the top, but only one is the highest and toughest, the A-Team Route on the right hand side and straight up. It is intimidating for the first timer and needs a 450 four stroke or a 250 two stroke to get to the top, although some well-tuned smaller bikes have made it.

Children on mini bikes and 4 wheelers are especially vulnerable and should please stay off the racing course and use the smaller dunes. Parents PLEASE advise children. These more experienced guys provide good entertainment for spectators having a picnic in the bowl with wheelies and antics and speed and cornering and dicing. Take a picnic lunch and snacks and drinks for the ride and Dune 2 and bring a tent or gazebo. Afterwards explore nearby Walvis Bay.

Thursday is a generally free day, but various activities other than dune riding can take place:

Swakopmund is the tourist mecca of Namibia – see the tourist pamphlets on site. Anyone can hire quads on any day, or can use their own quads and bikes and ask guides at the quad hire place next to the bridge outside the chalets to take them on the dunes, including the horse graveyard, the Wall Of Death and other interesting places not accessible to the public.

Friday: This is usually the day most people start returning, by various routes.

Gobabis Accommodation: For those intending to return through Botswana, a nice stay over on Friday night could be East Gate Rest Camp at the Buitepos border post, with cabins and a campsite. Book now – 00264 62 560405, Fax 560406.

OTHER THINGS TO DO

Pamphlets for this lot, and more, are on display for taking away at reception in Swakop. And Peter Baron Von Ginkel, our official Namib tour operator, can advise. Tel 00264 811248191.

These include

Sea excursions,Pleasure and fishing tours, Shark fishing, Air flights, including to Sossus and other places to see desert elephants in Damaraland and returning over the Skeleton Coast and Cape Cross seal colony, Ballooning and parasailing and mountain foofie sliding, Day tours coastal and inland desert – historical, industrial and natural history. Gorges, canyons, Welwitschia, ecology, landscapes, flora, animals. Paint ball, rope climbing, abseiling, a chrystal gallery (Kristall Galerie) with coffee shop, corner Bahnhof & Garnison, Internet Cafe & coffee shop, Brock Mall, Kaiser Wilhelm St., A museum and library, The municipal swimming pool complex with two saunas, Health spa and aromatherapy and things, A spinning and weaving and carding and dyeing Karakul carpets and wall hangings factory, A tannery with leather goods for sale, Seal leather goods in Walvis, African Kirikara Art gallery and workshop with baskets, carpets, diamonds, gemstones, woodcut prints The outdoor large craft market near the swimming pool has a wide variety of all sorts.Nature lovers could visit the Walvis Bay area with the Wetland Lagoon and Pelican Point with lots of various birds. Sandwich Harbour, further south, is also a wetland with fresh water vegetation between dunes and sea, with a large bay and mudflats with birds, waders and flamingoes, 10000 per square km. Cape Fur seals at Cape Cross are 50km north of Henties Bay (118km from Swakop) and worth a visit, especially if visiting Henties, a holiday town famous for its fishing and very nice pubs.

SOME GENERAL INFORMATION

REFUELLING

When you stop at places with petrol refuel as soon as possible. Do not wait until everybody has gathered or until the next morning to refuel. You could end up in a long queue.

TYPE OF BIKES, TYRES, EQUIPMENT, DRESS.

Information given is from past experience but please forgive us for repeatedly reminding you that unlicensed vehicles (without number plates and not licenced for the road) are not allowed on any public roads, dirt or tar, no matter how small. Although we have said in the past that we have not had any problems on public dirt roads, times are changing. The bigger licenced bikes are fun the whole way from Kuruman to Swakop, but smaller bikes are fun on the tighter bits and on the dunes in Swakop but only enthusiasts would ride them the whole way.

Use enduro tyres if riding the whole way on a big bike – Jhb to Kuruman is 550km of tar and 372km from Stampriet to Windhoek. Ideally you should trailer or truck over the tar, but some ride the whole way. MX tyres are best for soft stuff like the dunes in Swakop but enduro tyres will do and are good for the other days of harder dirt and tar.

Riders, especially those riding the whole way, should bring things like sprockets, chains, maybe tyres, definitely tubes, maybe pistons, clutch plates, cables and common nuts and bolts and spare things that vibrate off or break when you crash – number plates and mirrors especially. You will be sent a list of everybody who is coming, with telephone numbers and make of bike – guys with same vehicles should contact each other and make a combined spares pool, so that everyone does not bring everything. A good idea is to see your local friendly dealer and get spares on consignment and pay him for only those used and you can return the rest. Please pack his spares carefully, so that you do not return them looking second hand and the dealer does not take them back. Drivers probably know all about spare fan belts, hoses etc. Take spare bike mirrors, number plates. These fall off regularly. Try to tie plates on more securely than standard with extra bolts and big washers. Take jets and maybe high octane petrol for two strokes.

TWO STROKE JETTING & ENGINE SEIZING

Two strokes, especially those tuned for high altitudes like Jhb, please get advice on bigger jetting for sea level and cool air and hard dune climbing on soft sand with sustained full throttle.

TYPES OF CARS etc.

Two wheel drives will make it on the Saturday adventurous route if driven well without a loaded trailer. Reliable vehicles only, please. Please help to carry or tow, if possible, broken down bikes and cars to the next stop or to their backup.

VEHICLE HINTS AND TIPS

Riding & Driving Etiquette: When bikers pass cars on the dirt, please stay over to the right side until well clear. If you immediately cut in in front of a car, you will put rocks through the windscreen. Cars please keep a lookout for bikes and move over. Cars or bikes please do not stop suddenly on a dirt road. A vehicle following in the dust will hit you. And if a bike hits a truck at speed, or a truck a bike, the biker may not survive and no-one will be happy. Pull well over before stopping please.

Quads please do not ride next to each other. You make tremendous dust and do not leave enough room for the faster cars and bikes, who have risked your dust to catch up, to overtake. Look behind before changing lanes or making U-turns. We have had some close misses with faster bikes or cars coming up from behind, especially at places like the Hotazel turnoff, to be confronted by vehicles who have missed the turnoff making U-turns. Parents please realise that on the route is no place to teach children to ride. Teach them somewhere safer before the trip. And don’t let them make dust in the campsites – uncle Simon will not be polite to them or their parents. Check Oil Regularly, especially on older bikes. Take: mosquito repellent, toilet rolls & take this information with you.

DUNE RIDING TIPS

Please explore the dunes cautiously at first, and prevent injury. Once you have ascertained where the top of a dune is and how to traverse it, have fun, but do not blindly tear up any dune of any size. The drop offs are treacherous, even on the smaller dunes. And each dune is different. Even the smaller dunes sometimes have dangerous drop offs on the other side and you will dive nose first into the ground. This applies to car drivers too – the damage caused by nose-diving is considerable, including usually a bent chassis and bodies. Try to get a sand tyre or a scoop tyre for the back wheel (quads and bikes) for the dunes. The fun is really worth the expense.

TRAILERS

2 wheel drives do not tow laden trailers on the Saturday sandy Molopo River section. Take the alternative route or ask a 4X4 to take the trailer through the sandy bits for you. Take spare wheel bearings – they break often. Please also check your trailer for cracks and tears and fatigue. Check especially the floppiness of the mudguards and weld them on better.

Broken Rear Windows:– The rear wheel of your car will throw stones which will hit the tyres of the bikes on the trailer or the trailer spare wheel and will bounce back, breaking your rear window, especially on station wagons. Rubber flaps behind the rear wheels help but the best solution is to have some material (canvas or netting or hessian) between the rear of the car and the front of the trailer. It is easy to fit, use ski rope or wire or cable ties.

GENERAL

As you will have heard, this is a fantastic trip that you will thoroughly enjoy. It is well-organised, but mostly you are not subjected to much restrictions or routines. May I ask you to please observe a few rules in order to aid efficiency. There is no rush, leave and arrive at your leisure – you are on holiday. Please remember that neither I nor any of the willing helpers are tour guides or waiters or servants. There are lots of similar tours, all-inclusive with guides and blondes in sexy uniforms who will make sure you have ice for your whiskey, but at R10000 and more. Phone your travel agent. This jaunt is organised well, we will assist with anything whenever we can but we also treat it as a holiday. Please pick up every bit of rubbish before you leave. Happily for 99,99% of us the above does not apply and there is a marvellously good spirit amongst all.

DRINKING, BEHAVIOUR & DESERT LANGUAGE: GOSH & GOLLY, DARN & RATS

The following message does not apply to you, but read it anyway – This is a fun holiday for decent family people. Drinking is not a sin; it is almost compulsory, but, please do not get drunk if you are driving. If you are of the rare type who becomes belligerent and horrible and foul-mouthed instead of merry and jolly, it is better to not come than for you to be subjected to the indignity of being asked to leave the venture and me to have to suffer the embarrassment of having to ask you to do so. Persistently drunk and dangerous car or quad drivers will have their vehicles set alight. Genuine. Try suing me with today’s chaos in the law courts or, with luck, if it happens in the foreign country of Namibia. – End of message.

Please remember that this fun holiday for decent family people and has its own language.

The official desert expletives are “gosh” and “golly”. Sometimes “rats” is acceptable, or even “darn” in more extreme cases and “damn” when you really lose your cool. “Gosh” and “Golly” are very handy for things like punctures. Use both if you have two punctures at once or one puncture and no spare. For something worse like an engine blowup “Rats” and “Darn” are acceptable.

Extremes like “Damn” should be reserved only for real calamities like running out of beer.

At overnight stops please park your vehicle and leave it till morning and do not make dust (vehicles racing through the campsite and quads doing doughnuts are a nuisance) and do not wake up people at night with revving of any vehicle. See note on setting vehicle alight.

RETURN TRIP

On the Friday from Swakop various people will return by various routes, as usual. Several people will take extra days holiday to sightsee a country that has a lot of sights to see while others may wish to be home in time for Monday’s work to bore everyone about tales of one of the best holidays they have ever had.

Last Minute Advice:

Bring a Gazebo for use both along the way and at Dune 2/7 for putting up on the Wednesday big day there.

Bike SA 011 782-5521

Simon Fourie 082 074 9221, Sharon Kell 083 276 9549.

Our Namibian licensed Tour Operator

– Peter Baron Van Ginkel (0064) 0811 248191

 

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