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Rob en Dafne de Jong

Ride-on South Africa and Namibia

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Date: 11 December 1998

Hoe gaan die .... (Afrikaans),

South Africa

We're on the road again! But things are going slowly. We had a hard time leaving Bloemfontein, even while I did not like the work in the pub too much (paid lousy), but quit within a week the better money in a restaurant as well (very hard work, but being yelled at in front of customers by a complete asshole who thinks he's made it is not really what I had in mind when I started working there).

Instead we used our energy to decorate the wall of a Johan and Denise's patio (four panels) in colourful African decorative designs with a European finishing touch and I redesigned and painted the nameplate (2.40m X 2.40m) of the nursery where we stayed. We enjoyed the company of Jan and Alta, the owners of the nursery and Johan and Denise, who also drive a motorcycle, very much and met a lot of people at the Prowlers Motorcycle Club in Bloemfontein. We were glad to be able to see the Christmas play of the school of Jan's daughter, Chrisna.

Had to go through all our stuff another time, because we still carry along too much before being able to leave. Made a package with things to send "home" too. A friend of Jan, the owner of the nursery, made us a (little bit too) big metal box to fit on top of our sidecar. This is to replace all the loose stuff that does not fit inside our sidecar-box. So it is kept dry during the rainy season, out of sight and locked up now.

We are really happy with our new tent, but are scratching our heads every time we tie it down between the sidecar-box and the motorcycle. It weighs 13 kilo's!!! and is really too heavy. It is the best (against heat and cold, heavy duty, heavy quality, good ventilating) tent we ever had however and we hope it will last for 13 years (compared to the 11 months our (expensive) nylon tents lasted).

Rob constructed two brackets to carry the tent and, although it takes up space between the motorcycle and the sidecar, we still have enough space for our legs. Jan (of the nursery) constructed a tool for us to press tyres out of the rim. This has been a real problem for as long as we are travelling. Every time we needed to replace or repair a tyre, Rob worked himself half dead getting that done. Rob's way also damaged the rim and gave us a real problem trying to get the tube around the rim without being punctured another time by the sharp edges of the rim. Now we simply chain this tool to a light or electricity-pole or to a fence and press the tyre till it plops. 5 minutes work.

So we took off from Bloemfontein towards the Namibian border. Visited Johan and Denise's nephew Paul and family, who gave us again a hard time to leave, by welcoming us so warmly and becoming real good friends.

Namibia

The road to Namibia is dusty but impressive. The dry land is touched a little here and there by erosion. You really get the feeling of timelessness standing on the dry, stony crust of the earth.

In Keetmanshoop we met two lovely people from Johannesburg, who made us stay another day before we took off to Luderitz and our 11th encounter with the Atlantic Ocean.

Namibia is a very German-orientated country, although it was not very long their colony (1884-1915). A lot of people are of German descendants and speak German. You also see a lot of German Fachwerkhauser (German-style architecture) and find Kaffee mit Kuche in coffee-shops.

South of Luderitz stretches the Spergebiet in the Namib Desert, a restricted diamond-mining area bigger than Holland. On the edge of this Spergebiet the diamond-diggers village of Kolmanskop, now a ghost town, is well preserved and open to visitors. The houses have a hard time resisting the ever-blowing wind, which moves the sand of the Namib Desert wherever possible and half bury them. A real paradise for photographers.

We were shocked and surprised to find our red oil-indicator burning in Luderitz, having to add 700 cc of oil on just a distance of 400 km. This was a very bad sign. Rob tried to find out what was wrong, but did not want to open the engine, for we if there was trouble in the cylinders, we could not repair it over there. The airfilter was clean, the spark plugs were a little greasy, but things did not look too bad. Rob worried himself sick, while we were finding out which were our odds going on to Windhoek (capital of Namibia) or returning to South Africa. 500 km back in South Africa, Paul informed us everything we needed (but spare parts) was present and waiting for us to arrive.

Back in South Africa

Back in Douglas, South Africa, the oil was send to Durban for analysis and Rob took the engine apart, after finding a lot of Namibian sand inside the airfilter-housing. The sand was everywhere, in the carburettors and the cylinders, but luckily enough had not made too big a mess, probably because we do not drive too fast and the sand was not too fine. With the help of Paul and the people of a small but very professional engineering company everything was measured and checked.

The sand had not been fatal and after honing the cylinders and putting new piston-rings on (we still had those), Rob and Paul built the engine together again. The valves also needed to be adjusted and we tested the engine for about 600 km. It still uses a little bit of oil, but runs smooth and sounds happy.

 

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de Jong's Home

Travel Stories, English:

January 2002,
Ride on 2002...
October 2001,
Ride on Home
July 2001,
Russia and
Siberia
April 2001,
Japan
Jan 2001,
Arizona
Dec 2000,
California
Oct 2000, L.A
to Fresno via
Inuvik
Sep 2000,
New Zealand
July 2000,
Australia part 2
April 2000 India
and Australia,
part 1
Dec 1999,
Istanbul
to Kathmandu
Nov 1999,
Shoeshine boy
of Gondar

Sept 1999,
Uganda to
Turkey
May 1999,
Zimbabwe to
Uganda
Dec 1998,
South Africa
and Namibia
Sept 1998,
Swaziland &
Lesotho

June 1998,
S. Africa 1
April 1998,
W.Africa 2
March 1998,
W. Africa 1

Travel Stories, In het Nederlands:

July 2001,
Rusland en
Siberie
April 2001,
Japan
Jan 2001,
Arizona

Top of Page.

Namibia again

Ready to travel to Windhoek and Swakopmund, before going through the Caprivi Strip to Zimbabwe.

We want to thank all the marvellous people we met in South Africa and who helped us, specially Linex Yamaha, Yamaha South Africa, SOS-Children's Villages South Africa and Lesotho, Noordkaapse Landboudiens, Douglas Engineering, Outlook Travel Agency, Tshukudu, Umlani and Djuma Game Reserves and all the other friends we made en route, who made it so hard to leave this beautiful country.

Thanx to everybody.

We also want to thank everybody who mailed us after our last newsletter. We do like to hear from you, keep in touch.

Of course also a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!!!

And a greeting and a smile,
Rob and Dafne
Ride-on World Tour

Story and photos copyright © Rob and Dafne de Jong 1998-2002.
All Rights Reserved.

 

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

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All text and photographs are copyright © Grant and Susan Johnson, 1987-, or their respective authors. All Rights Reserved.