January 17, 2008 GMT
Seriously Friggin' Sandy

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Road to A-Ais - softer than it looks

A-Ais thats what the sign said, we turned left off the melting bitumen onto the black sandy gravel road, the D316, with the hope of making it to the Fish River Canyon that evening.

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Road to Fish River Canyon

It was our first taste of the Namibian dirt roads. It felt good as our rate of velocity increased. Some 30 kilometres in with the front end squirming about in a somewhat violent fashion we slowed and stopped! Was this, afterall, the correct road to the canyon?

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Grant on Christmas Eve

A quick check of the map and we figured two things. This road would take us to the canyon, in a round about way, but more importantly with a distance of 90kilometres of isolated road to cover a half a litre of water left to share and the temperature around 39 degrees at 11:00 we decided to head back to the highway indeed a prudent decision it seemed at the time.

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Canyon Road House

Christmas Eve was spent in a pleasant enough fashion, riding a pleasant enough dirt road to the Canon Road house and with the tent set up under a camel thorn tree, numerous in this region, a violent desert wind picked up threatening to toss our precious tent against the spiney thorns whilst depositing a thick layer of sand over our sleeping gear inside.

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Fish River Canyon

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Jules at the Fish River Canyon

For an hour we held on to our parachuting tent while other campers pulled thiers down around us and as all calmed and after a frenzy of interior cleaning we decided to treat ourselves to Christmas dinner at the restaurant.

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Merry Christmas Santa

We were both enjoying the Namibian desert, but Grant having lived and worked for long periods of time in similar Australian terrain had never thought it wise taking long motorcycle journeys in mid summer.

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Long days in isolation

This feeling kept creeping back as we ventured deeper into the dune areas and with our little thermometer perched on the tank bag soaring regularly above its indicated 50 degrees centigrade it was almost impossible to carry enough water with us.

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Single Male Zebra seeks Female for companionship with view to permanent relationship
Hans the lonely biting Zebra of Hamersteins

Along the way we were informed of good lodging at Hammerstiens Lodge, so at some 60 kilometres before the turn off to Sossusovlei, on New Years Eve, we barrelled along the sandy track entering the lodge. It was an excellent choice and one of our best New Years Eves.

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Adult Cheetah
The fastest animal in the world tends to ignore humans unless provoked or threatened

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Leopard
You are unable to walk in the pen with Leopard as their behaviour is unpredictable

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Lynx
A flexible backbone allows them to jump up to 3 metres and catch 6 birds at a time

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Lynx

We toured what is know as the Cat Walk (not a fashion show) mingling with adult Cheetahs, Lynx and Leopards. The highlight was playing with the young Cheetahs who, at under 2 years of age and almost fully grown, were not yet in a wild state as we were able to sit about whilst they constantly licked our sweat salted skin and purring with a constant rhythmic pulse.

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Grant and Jules with young Cheetahs

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Jules with a cub

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Grant is obviously very tasty

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Never bite the hand that feeds you...

Our map showed the D845 as the only road to Sesriem Canyon, so naturally we headed up it, only to find deep sand and us on the deck after a fall at 50 kilometres an hour. No harm done we thought, picking us and Piggy up until Grant spied the left hand pannier sitting at a rather odd angle.

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Oops! We all fall down

One of the welded supports had completely snapped and with that, the sand continuing on into the far distance and at 10 am the temperature soaring above 40 degrees C we decided that perhaps the sanddunes had no more to offer than this particular road!

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Broken pannier frame

We headed back to the main dirt road, and low and behold, not 40 kilometres north, a good gravel road headed straight to the dune area.

With a make-shift repair on the pannier frame completed in no less than 50 degrees centrigrade heat we allowed ourselves the luxury of staying at the exclusive Sossusvlei Lodge. Quite a treat really, but aaaawfully expensive.

Wind carved sands of Sossusvlei

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Windhoek was less than a day away on a relatively easy gravel road over the Remhoogte Pass and a lovely lunch stop at a farm house smack in the middle.

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Remhoogte Pass

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Windhoek, Capital city of Namibia, Ahead.... somewhere

We love the Namib Desert, but it was good to get to Windhoek as the heat had finally taken its toll, we were both just a little knackered!

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Paved Desert Road... can ya feel the heat, can ya??!!

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Zaris Pass

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Red Road Picnic Stop - near Zaris Pass

The week between Christmas and New Years was spent at the unusual seaside village of Luderitz where just about everything was closed.

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Luderitz, known as Namibias Little Bavaria

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Lutheran Church - Luderitz

The land surrounding the town is restricted access due to diamond mining in the area. This old German style village is perched on a rocky base and the sea is the workplace of many of the locals. We took a ride with Stephan, from South Africa, to Agate beach where the wind blew and the sea churned.

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Flamingos on small lake near Agate Beach, Luderitz

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Agate Beach.... Windy as all hell

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Christof & Eloise from South Africa with their V-Strom 1000

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There's diamonds in them thar hills

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Kolmanskop - Ghost Diamond Town

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Wild Horses of Aus

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Sunrise at Keetmanshoop

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Border Scenery South Africa and Namibia

BORDER CROSSING - SOUTH AFRICA/NAMIBIA

Exit South Africa
* Present passport to immigration for exit stamp
* Present receipts of goods purchased to Tax Refun Office for the calculation on your VAT refund (make sure you ask for a cheque on the spot, otherwise they will send it to your home address)

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Local Bush Transport

Enter Namibia
* Present passport to immigration for 90 day entry
* Pay N$100 Road Tax, all foreign vehicles pay to use the roads in Namibia

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A Courteous Welcome

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