Day 10 and 11- Windhoek

We had such a good time in Swakopmund! I really love this place. But then it was time to start heading home. We assembled at the oceanside to take a few last photos, and to say goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean…

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Richard grabbed a dustbin, and put his iPhone on a small tripod to take our official Tour Photo here…

11701032_10153196851318071_4874538822240479063_nFrom left to right: Elaine and Richard, me and Annelie, Francois and Andrea, Magda and Johan.

The sky was clear and blue, unlike the foggy Sunday morning the day before. But when we started the journey back inland, we had a really hard ride ahead of us. This region experiences what they call the “Oosweer”, Easterly Weather, when the hot winds blow from the inland to the ocean. It can become sandstorms, sandblasting everything in its way. We missed the sandblasting part, but from Swakopmund to Aranos I just could not go any faster than 110 km/h, with the fierce headwind.  It was hard, hard riding, and some motorists including police vehicles did not make it any easier, passing sometimes with less than a metre between them and us…

This was the day’s route:

Swakopmund Windhoek

When we passed Aranos, the wind became more gentle. But it was still a hard day on the bike. We stopped at Okahandja at a Biltong factory, where we had some coffee. Biltong= the Americans call it beef jerky- wind dried raw meat. I see the old team of Top Gear did not like it.  We in some of the harshest parts of the world love it- it was a way to preserve meat in a hot climate long before we had fridges and freezers.

From Okahandja to Windhoek the road passes some really beautiful scenery. But there are some severe road works along this road, and the local motorists can be very dangerous in passing, both directions… Beware of the local drivers…

When we arrived at Windhoek, we found that we have pre-booked at an excellent venue! We stayed over for two days at Urban Camp- just check out their website! 

It was lovely. You get to pitch your tent on pavement, underneath a canvas awning.


The bathrooms are hidden behind reeds, but it is modern and very well planned. To combat Southern Africa’s electricity woes, they were also busy installing some wood fired geysers to provide hot water.

Just 500 meters away is the one must see tourism destination for people like us. Called Joe’s Beerhouse, it is one of the largest restaurants I have ever seen. It has a very laid back ambience, with lots of different little corners so that groups can have their own private space.  We had a very good evening together, the food and drink, service and vibe in the place was great…


Photo Andrea

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That Oryx Schnitzel was really good!

The next morning we first went to have our bikes washed, after all the ocean fog, and the salty roads that we have travelled on the past two days…


Afterwards we all had an appointment at the Namibia Bible House. We all are part of the South African Word Riders movement, which is organized nationally by Francois. So we had a visit to the Namibian Bible Society, and a briefing about what we do when we go out on Motorbikes to visit Schools in South Africa.

IMG_0127 IMG_0128 IMG_0129After some lekker coffee and snacks with wonderful people, we went to explore Windhoek. We stopped at the German church overlooking the whole city…


Afterwards, across the road, we went to see the new Freedom Monument- Museum…


After finishing these visits, the traffic of Windhoek started to get me under. The locals are not very motorbike friendly, they will not give you a gap to enter traffic, and some aggressively try to push you away to gain space for themselves.

That evening we did experience some genuine Namibian hospitality, when Barney and his wife (He is the manager of the Namibian Bible Society and she is a local pastor), invited us to dinner. We had a beautiful evening around a BRAAI (Barbeque). Again I had some Oryx meat, which I really enjoyed. We had a good evening filled with good food, wine and laughter. And then we had to go off to bed. Little did we know… to prepare for the NEXT day.

I enjoyed Urban Camp and Joe’s Beerhouse a lot. Windhoek might be a special city, I did not feel safe in the traffic on my motorbike.

Day 9- Swakopmund and Walvisbay

Swakopmund was one of the main destinations of our motorbike trip. It was also the furthest point from home. So we decided in fhe planning stage already that we would spend an extra day here, just resting

When we woke up on Sunday morning, the whole town was covered in fog.

My wife and I decided to walk through the beautiful town of Swakopmund in the fog. One huge bonus of staying at the municipal resort- we saw a laundromat next door, and we gladly handed them our first week’s dirty laundry, to be washed, dried and picked up at six.

Afterwards we walked down to the beach, and discovered that it was really cold along the ocean. So we turned into the commercial part of town. Being Sunday, it seemed totally deserted… we found that this could not be the main tourist season, there was nobody in sight… and with the fog… quite scary! Have you ever seen the original horror movie “The Fog”? I have when I was starting high school, and was traumatized by Fog ever since… 🙂

But turning a corner in the main street, we saw a delightful sight- a small restaurant/ coffee shop, Bojo’s,  with open doors! And the smell of freshly brewed coffee just invited us in. So in we went, and first had a beautiful cup of coffee, and afterwards a most memorable breakfast. They had excellent wifi, I was really, really impressed with Bojo’s!

After this breakfast we just walked around town for hours, enjoying the sights of Swakopmund. Here are some of the scenes of our flaneur….

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Late morning it was time for the one thing you MUST do if you ever go to Swakopmund. I mean, you have not been to Swakopmund if you have not done this thing. It is a crossed item on my Bucket List since my first visit. (See Bucket List Button above, #50)

Overlooking the famous lighthouse there is Hotel Schweizer. And they have Café Anton. And when you get there, you order their Apfelstrudel. They have lots of other things, which I have not tasted, it must be good. But their Apfelstrudel- you dont get anything more delicious than that. Yes, I know, my American friends do like their Apple Pie. But… I think the Germans does this better! Don’t believe me? Go try it out then (and send me some American Apple Pie to taste…)


Is that not heaven on a plate?

After this delicious stop, the weather was clearing a bit. So we went back to get our bike. We decided to ride the Salt Road that runs behind the first ridge of dunes to Walvis Bay. This road is just gravel road, covered by salt. It is as smooth as tarmac, we could run on it at 120 km/h without any problems…. a beautiful ride in the desert!


No, not going to take photos at 120 with my wife on the back!


This road goes to Dune 7. It was also on my Bucket List (#51) years ago to climb, because you have a really hard time getting to the top.  It looks small from here, but it is one of the highest sand dunes in the world. We did not ride up to the dune because of the extremely sandy road on the other side of the rail. IMG_0077From here, we turned to drive into Walvis Bay, Namibia’s main port city. And it looked like a scary movie when we approached it. While in the desert there was no fog. But in Walvis Bay the Fog was hanging over the town menacingly. I expected eery music to start up, and zombies to start walking towards us, maybe I watched that one episode too much of Walking Dead with my kids.

I remembered Walvis Bay as a stinking industrial place from my first visit. There are a lot of fishing industry companies around here. But riding around this place, I saw I was also wrong, There are beaufiful parts of Walvis Bay, where I would live any day if given a chance. It is also known for the millions of flamingoes walking in the shallow water of the beach and estuaries.


We arrived at another deserted walkway on the other side of the harbour. And were rewarded by two dolphins playing around in the ice cold water. But very lazily, just like us…

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This turned out to be one of the best days of my life. Being with ,my wife, just the two of us exploring new places on our bike.  It is so good to share these experiences with your loved one…


Swakopmund will always be one of our very special places in life!

And that evening we had a wonderful barbeque (BRAAI!) with all our friends… THAT was the picture we had in our minds when we started planning this trip. And it all came together that Sunday in Swakopmund/ Walvisbay. It must be a very special place, that is why Mrs Brad Pitt, Jolly Angelina, picked Long Beach to bring her twins into the world- halfway between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay…   What a day…

Day 8- Going to Swakopmund!

As I scroll through my blog this week, I come under the impression how much of this tour I have missed, being ill for 5 days. I have pictured sitting with my friends around the camp fire under the African winter skies. And I have missed it, being so weak and going to bed every night just after dinner…

Well, on this day finally the bad part ended. I felt good again! And we had a wonderful day on the bike ahead of us. On this day we experienced Namibia- from the grassy plains around Otjivarongo, to the Karoo style semi- desert, to the full desert of the Namib where you just see sand… and finally the Atlantic Ocean in all her splendor.

Otjiwarongo Swakop

It was so good waking up, and not having any hickups anymore! And to actually feel hungry again felt so good!

Our first stretch of the day was to Omaruru. And this is a town not to miss if you ever visit Namibia. It won awards as Town of the Year on our Southern Africa television networks.  We stopped at a delightful coffeeshop, that finally had world class food and service! (Or was it just me feeling so much better?)  I can’t remember the place’s name, if you recognize it please comment below!.

IMG_0030Their apple pie and coffee was heavenly! Afterwards we departed to some more excellent driving- and some spectacular landscapes, like near Karibib…


The land was getting harsher, dryer, hotter… Till we reached the proper Namib Desert… where we took time off to just pull over, and reflect, and BE…

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It was really hot on this stretch of road. Then, about 20 km from the sea, the temperature started dropping to cool. We arrived at Swakopmund. After so long time sleeping in tents we opted for a bit more shelter. We went to the Swakopmund Municipal Resort, where we got a small chalet to share.

Photo:  Francois

Photo: Francois

Just Richard and Elaine, being more adventurous, opted to go camping at Mile 4 just south of Swakopmund, they pitched their tents on the beach.

After removing our luggage, we went to explore Swakopmund. I was here once before, and it was my wife’s first time. For me it is the most special place in Namibia. It is a beautiful town, influenced by the German architecture when it was still Germany’s only colony.  And it is at the Atlantic Coast. For me, living 800 km from the nearest beach, it is always special to see the sea…

It was also very, very cold in Swakopmund. Remember that this is our Southern Hemisphere winter holiday, and the Atlantic is also very, very cold around here, We had a freezing walk along the beach, and then found some hot chocolate at the museum when the sun started setting…

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When the sun has set, we went together for supper at the Tug restaurant. It was upmarket, pricey, but absolutely worth it! It is on the beach, it is beautiful, and the food was great. I had the beerbattered hake- and it was so good! (Maybe I just felt really, really better finally…)

Photo Andrea

Francois in front of the Tug Restaurant- Swakopmund.    Photo Andrea

But of the wonderful times in Swakopmund I will tell in the next post…

Days like these make travel all we expect it to be- new horizons, new landscapes, new experiences and absolute joy at being alive, healthy and blessed.

Day 6- Rundu

Of this day I have taken nearly no photos. Except the morning when we spent some time just sitting and enjoying the splendor of the view of Popa Falls….


We just needed some time to regroup after Johan’s fall. Johan and his wife was picked up early that morning by one of the notorious minibus taxis of Africa, just before sunrise. They brought along a trailer, and so Johan and Magda went onwards to Rundu, where they were dropped off at an engineering works, that fixed Johan’s bike that day. There were no such bolt available in the whole of Namibia, that was confirmed by the BMW dealers in Windhoek. So the people at the engineering works just made one out of high tensile steel.  African ingenuity!

Meanwhile, the rest of us just packed up, and at a very leasurely pace started to find our own way to Rundu, just 2 hours away. I have thankfully stopped vomiting by then. But then the next calamity struck- I had another 2 days of hickups laying ahead, a reflux reaction after all the vomiting. It was not that good riding my bike, fighting a hickup every 5 seconds.

The road in the Caprivi strip is straight, and level…  It is also very dry, and can get hot, even in winter…


Photo Andrea

Photo Andrea

We arrived at Rundu, and after eating very little the past few days, I needed energy. We were happy to find a Wimpy at the Engen garage (filling station for you US friends…) And I had a beautiful doublethick milkshake. But the hickups just continued… so I went to find a pharmacy, and got some industrial strength medicine.

We camped at Ngandu Safari Lodge, which charged us about Nam$ 100 pp.


Photo Andrea

The wonderful news was that just after sunset Johan and Magda rejoined us, their bike fixed and ready for the next of the road.  I again went to bed very early, feeling drained after the past three days of being ill. But I do remember that Elaine has cooked us some beautiful pork chops for dinner.

Rundu is a large town with about 65 000 inhabitants- the capital of this Kavango region of Namibia. There are at least 3 pharmacies in the main road, one at a three story medical centre. They also have some excellent shopping, with a brand new mall with Shoprite as the anchor tenant still being built.

Camping at Ngandu was safe and on grass, there was just a hot water problem in the ablution blocks. I did manage a hot shower at the other side of the camping site, a small trickle of water at that shower. If the hot water problems can be fixed, this lodge will be good enough for most travellers not looking for luxury but affordability.

PS- The Caprivi strip ride map- from Kasane to Rundu:

Kasane to Rundu

Day 5- Into Namibia and to Popa Falls…

After the wonderful boat cruise on the Chobe river, I had another restless night in the tent, going to sleep very early with some fever. The next morning we woke early, packed and drove the 70 km to the Namibia border through the Chobe Wild Reserve. Although we could see evidence of wildlife passing the tarmac road by their droppings, we did not see any animals until we reached the Namibia border. But it is a most beautiful part of the world here where a lot of countries’ borders meet.

At the Namibia Border post we were amazed by the Boabab trees, and the antilope in the meandering river below.

Photo: Andrea

Photo: Andrea

The border crossing went mostly painlessly. We were scanned with a special device to see if we have ebola, but fortunately we skipped that disease…

Then in Namibia we started on the long, straight road of the Caprivi Strip. We had lunch in Katima Mulilo, a place that I have heard a lot of since childhood, as being one of the furthest places possible to reach… we reached it!

After lunch we still had a way to go. A 4×4 guy told us that we should stay at some “Vuvu- something” resort at Bagani, as it was spectacular and affordable. We asked about the road there, being very sensitive to sandy roads. But he assured us: hard gravel all the way from the tarmac right up to the resort, which lays alongside the Okavango river.

Well, we reached the turnoff. Which was thick sand. And one of the group had a fall right there,. Breaking the bolt which keeps his bike’s rear shock in place. Another one, the most experienced of us offroad speaking, also put his bike down. We then decided to turn around, and head back to Popa Falls Resort. 2 km back, which appeared as if it had paving up to the tarmac. It did, and we booked the night for 80 Nam dollar per person at Popa Falls.


This resort belongs to the Namibian Government, and is beautifully built, with excellent, modern bathrooms at the camping sites. The staff at the resort is friendly and helpful. The restaurant is also beautiful, I just had a problem with the quality of the food. It might be my fault, being sick that past two days. But I did not enjoy their Butternut Soup tasting like pureed onion, and croutons tasting like mud.  That was all that I could manage to try and eat.  The view from the restaurant is breathtaking…


The next morning we first went down to the river to see the Falls. It is actually just rapids. But it is beautiful, a place of peace. We had a good experience of just sitting and being quiet alongside the river, watching the various birds like Kingfishers catching their prey.


While we were sitting here, our friend with the broken bike was carried off in a Minibus Taxi, along with his wife and 27 other Namibian Citizens, with his bike on the back of a small trailer, to Rundu. The taxi driver told him about a business that would help him, and took him to an enginering works that really fixed his bike good (after finding out from Windhoek’s BMW dealer that there are no such bolts in supply in the whole of Namibia.)

Popa Falls was beautiful. I enjoyed it a lot. I would really recommend the resort, although I am not sure if I could say the same for the restaurant. I might be totally wrong.

Dust and Dirt- Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge



Rolling in the deep… before jumping in the lake…

Sandman in progress

Sandman in progress


THE way to shift dust and dirt...

THE way to shift dust and dirt…

Who is ever too old to play with Clifton beach' white sand?

Who is ever too old to play with Clifton beach’ white sand?

Bucket List Item #51 Dune 7, Walvisbaai, Namibia

My biggest sandpit play ever- Dune 7 outside Walvisbay, Namibia…