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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 23 Oct 2005
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Richtersveld/Namaqualand South Africa

Has anyone taken the tracks west of Pella towards the Richtersveld Park? I'm going up there in January. I'm particularly interested in getting to the dunes, and staying in some of the new community tourism project camp sites.

I have driven in Namaqualand before, but haven't been by bike. I'll be on an F650GS dakar, so tank range could be a problem.
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Old 25 Oct 2005
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I have ridden some of the roads in the area and have not experienced a problem with fuel. No two towns in South Africa is more than 200 kilometres apart so a small can of fuel is optional but not necessary.

The roads vary from smoothly graded dirt to downright scary ruts (I assume you will be avoiding tarmac).
I’m not sure which dunes you are referring to but do you realise that your trip will take you through a very hot clime and the shortest route between Pella and the Richtersveld is over 850km? I hope you are willing to repair punctures because the area is notorious for eating tyres.

That said… It is a fantastic part of South Africa and definitely worth riding. Spending a night on the great pans north of Brandvlei can be very rewarding. Enjoy!
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Old 25 Oct 2005
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Don't know the answer to your question myself, but I am pretty sure you can get an answer from the people on the http://www.overland.co.za mailinglist. Good luck!
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Old 25 Oct 2005
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I suppose you're referring to the 4x4 Namaqualand track. To my knowledge you need a permit. The track is divided into 2 sections. The first and eastern part is supposed to be not too difficult, but for the rest a second vehicle is considered necessary.
Here's a link, but not yery elaborate:
http://www.namaqualand.com/4x4.htm

Besides that, Lucky, weren't you told that MCs are not welcome in the Richtersveld? Some time ago you posted a very useful list on most Cape NPs.

Hans
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Old 27 Oct 2005
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The Richtersveld Park itself is closed to bikes, but i'm interested in the area surrouding the park, which is now a "community Conservation Area" ( see: http://www.richtersveld.net/ ) I've heard from another rider who has done the route west from Pella along the Gariep. That sounds good and achievable.

I'm curious about the roads that head west of Ageneys, and south-west of Pella. My 1:25,000 SA government map shows dunes there, as does the satellite images in Google Earth (is anyone else using this to plan a route? It's great).

I'm not too worried about the heat. My wife is from Botswana. In fact i'm going there because I like deserts.

There is however one other problem. Last week there were some extreme storms in the are. SANP are reporting that all routes into the park, and many other roads have been washed away! http://www.sanparks.org/parks/richtersveld/default.php

For a full list of SANP reserves open to bikes, you can see the motorcycling section in this page: http://www.sanparks.org/tourism/activities/

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Old 29 Oct 2005
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Don't forget to give us a report after you've done the Pella trail. I'm planning to buzz around there first half of next year.

The SANP page is very useful. Besides that LuckyStriker posted a list of parks where bikers are welcome and where not.
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Old 4 Nov 2005
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Rob,

I just stumbled across the April 2005 edition of the South African 4x4 magazin "Drive out". One of the reports covers the Namaqua 4x4 track. Fist section to Vioolsdrif can even be made by non 4x4 vehicles (if sufficient ground clearance), the second leg contains the Helskloof circular route, which seems to be tougher.
After strong rains the trail might be difficult to find in some places, so some scouting could be necessary.

Booking the trail contact:
namakwaland@intekom.co.za
or phone 027 718 2985/6

Also check website www.northerncape.org.za

Good luck!
Hans

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