February 02, 2007 GMT
Time in Potchefstroom

I feel so pleased that i got to spend time with the people of Potch.

I visited one of the local m/cycle shops (Biker's Paradise ) i asked about some parts i wanted and it was no trouble at all. They did not have the bits in stock but the owner, Anton, said he'd have them the next day. One thing lead to another and i found myself back there at the end of the day having beers and chats with Anton and some of the local m/cyclists. A great afternoon.

One of the guys (Johan) asked me back to his home to share a meal with his family.

At Johan's and Margarets home that nite i was to learn more of the local area and what i would see on my future travels in South Africa . I must have been a good boy that nite as i was asked to return to spend another in their company and also to sleep over. We spent the nite looking at photos, eating, and discussing the joys of traveling by m/cycle.

The next morning i went with Johan to his place of work. Now this was a worry as he and Margaret are in the Police Force. All things where cool, i was shown around the Offices and meet some of Johans team and even sat in on the morning meeting, fantastic.

After that i said my goodbys at the Bike shop and road out towards Kimberly.

Posted by Brian Bayley at 05:35 PM GMT
February 15, 2007 GMT
Kimberly and Namibia

As it was so hot the towns between Potch and Kimberly had no real interest for me. Arriving in Kimberly i headed straight to the local B/P,GreatBatch Guesthouse and Backpackers. I fully recomend this place, has secure parking, swimming pool, pool table, bar, i could go on but its best to just go visit.

The Lady owner was fantastic could not do enough for me(not because of me its just shes great to all guests). I was taken on a comprehesive tour of the old building that serves as the Guest house , kitchen, dinning, bar etc. The backpacker section is out back and with own showers and toilets.

I stayed several days in Kimberly enjoying the towns sites, such as the big hole, a museum and the general feel of the place.

At the b/p i was to meet others and it came to a nite of playing pool. That nite i could do no wrong, i just kept winning. The words i heard where 'bloody australians, good at all sports'. To be honest im not into sports or being competative, but it was a great nite of drink, pool and laughter.

One of the guys i meet, Peter, and i got on well and he had so much knowledge of Africa. Peter is from Holland but has lived, toured and ran tours of Africa for 20 years. He was of great help sujesting routes to take and places to stay. I can not thank him enough.

It turned out that Peter was heading to Upington as i was. It was organised that i would meet up with him there and go over the map again to note some more places for me to visit.

On the way to Upington i took a side route to Douglas and Griekwasted, some where on the road i stopped to take photos of all the birds nests that have been built on the power/telephone poles along the roads. After a few photos i figured id ride off the made road over to the poles to get a better look. Well that was it for a while, as soon as i stopped at one of the poles my bike sunk to the axels. I struggled for some time to ride it out, with no luck. After unpacking the bike and have had it fall over i was able to get it back to the bitument. I was rather hot and puffed and felt rather silly.

That nite i camped with Peter at Upington. We chatted about the road ahead and i decided that it would be good to move on to Namibia for a look. Peter was going to spend a few weeks in Solitaire in Namibia, so we made plans for me to meet him there later on.

At Upington i found the local bike shop, that was a Suzuki dealer. I popped into ask if i could do an oil change there. The guys where great, one of them does all the service work at his home so of we went to his place. At the guys place he brought out the container for the old oil, a funnel, rag and the new oil. It was just great, after a bit of a chat and some photos we went back to the shop and i was only charged for the 2.33 litres my bike holds, fantastic stuff.

I headed out to cross my first border in Africa. Its was all rather simple if a little confussing. No trouble other than the Namibian side wanted to know where i was staying. As i had no idea i wrote on the sheet 'The local pub' this was not good so i looked in my map book and picked a town any town. There where funny glances behind the counter.

In Namibia i stopped at Karasburg Pub, see said id go to the local. At the pub i must have been a bit happy, lonely, comfortable or all of those as i didnt leave that pub till 10am the next day and R333 lighter in cash.

With a bit of a sore head i rode on to Canon Roadhouse.

Posted by Brian Bayley at 08:15 AM GMT
Namibia- great roads

A little on the roads and the bike. I find the roads(dirt and bitument) so far in great condition. Most people i meet ask me how the bike handles it all, its a little hard to explain to people who dont ride, but i do my best. The bike is a standard DR650 suzuki. I have a 33litr fuel tank and have not done anything to the front forks or handle bars. I did fit a heavier spring to the rear shocker, and that is a bit of a diapointment. As for tyres i use what ever is avaliable, people ask what brand i prefer and i always say what ever i can get and sometimes the cheapest. I found that to play with tyre pressures can mean the differance between a hard scarry ride to a commfy relaxed cruze. Im using 15psi in the front and 23psi in the rear. Im traveling at any where between 80-100klmh on either surface. Im getting 19-22klm litre and that will give me about 700klm before walking becomes the next mode of transport.

At the canyon i meet some great people from Germany(im to see/chat to them over the next week or so even to lunch with them by the side of the road) they give me their address in germany and say to pop in when i get there.

From Fish River i head to the town of Aus, and what a great place. Rocks and more rocks are what make Aus and also the old prison of war camp. On the way to Aus i get close to being cleaned up by a heard of Springbok, i now know how to get them to spring, TOOT the horn and watch them spring into action.

A cool ride into Luderitz, i was going to spend 2 nites in Luderitz but i arrived before midday one day and by the same time the next day i figured id seen all i wanted and headed out.

I took the dirt road from Aus that heads nrth to Betta. U all gotta go to Betta, a very clean friendly camp ground. They have onsite van type accomidation but i choose to sleep under the stars. I bought a Sudoku book in Joburg so each time i want to spend time i get that out to play. Mind u im no good at it yet but boy it shore takes the time away. I also meet and have breakfast with a British couple Bob and Margaret. Was to meet them again in Solitaire.

At Betta i had to do a repair job on my air bed. Seems my hammer handle put a small hole near the valve of the bed. All fixed now but i have now seperated the two so that they dont fight again.

Next came the sand dunes of Sossusulei. I was a naughty boy by actually sleeping at the dunes. This i found out is not done when i arrived back at the check in gate the next day. The Gate lady did not know what to do, she kept saying 'u cause problem'. I started to say there where no signs to say that i could not camp 65lkm from all the other campers but wisdom took over and i apologised very much, gave my regards and road off, with her giving me a smile.

At the dunes the day before i took the soft option and got a lift the 5klm over the sandy track to the actual end of the dune site. The nice couple took me and another young family in the back of their 4x4. This saved me playing with tyres and unloading the gear of my bike. I saw no reason to push myself in the heat of the day.

Posted by Brian Bayley at 09:13 AM GMT
February 23, 2007 GMT

At the camp i had by myself at Sossusvle, i was the one to be checked out. Owls in the tree above me kept a close eye on me during the nite and even came within a foot of my head in some closer inspections.

From the sand hills i headed nth for my meeting with Peter(duchman) at Solitaire. Now Solitaire is named so because of the, u gessed it, the Solitude.

In the very clean camp area i found Peter on his Hammock. I spent 2 days and 3 nites at that loveliest of places called Solitaire. Some times Peter and i would have a beer at the camp and other times we would go to the other side and have a beer at the bench seats that over looked the fueling pumps. At the fueling pumps we would watch the Tourist arrive and some times we would have a good old chin wag with them. I also caught up on washing in the well thought out laundry/kitchen area.

Solitaire and its peace to Walvis Bay and Swakopmund and all the bustle that larger places give out.

I took a room at one of the local B/P, tripped all over town, did some tourist stuff, but just generally looked around.

I took the opportunity of the larger place to get some spares for the bike and personal stuff for me. Here i also changed my rear tyre and didi a little general maintenance. Also had a beard and hair trim.

Leaving Swakopmund i moved inland to find some warmth, as the west coast is rather cool. I found myself that nite at ABA-HUUAB camp at Twyfelfontein, great nite with the locals at the bar.

From there i headed to Sesfontein, i was going to stop at Sesfontein for a nite but i didnt feel good about the place so i headed out. Unknown to me till 100klm later i had headed out on the wrong road. Now all is not bad, the road i took towards Puros was fantasic, it had all the various things that makes my heart sing. I rode on long stretches of loose sand, red and white, dry stoney creek beds, the sun shinning on the hills and passes and playing tricks with me as i rounded a corner. That 100ks out was full of sunshine, as i retuned it went cool and even rained. Great ride and great riding all that and no traffic.

I was getting rather tired by the time i arrived back at Sesfontein, but the hours that i had left had not changed my view of the place so i headed on ward.

I came the the main junction outside town to see a sign saying there was a camp with bed and breakfast 55ks further nrth. on the road i should have taken. North i went.

Posted by Brian Bayley at 10:27 AM GMT

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