February 27, 2008 GMT
Windhoek North

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YOU CAN'T RIDE THAT BIKE HERE! - Dune 7, Walvis Bay

West Coast or East Coast? What route to take?

Many overland travelers passed through Chameleon Backpackers.

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Richard - Off to Angola

Their machines varied from a 1954 650 Triumph carrying Denise and Clive and a 1955 Royal Enfield loaded with Richard and his gear.

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Mobs of Lads and thier Bikes - Heading South

A group of lads on a combination of Africa Twins (Dan and Ed) and BMW's (Michael and Chris) to a whole variety of trucks and jeeps.

Everyone had a different story, everyone had different advice, everyone had different information. It was fabulous!

Windhoek was our cross roads. We needed to decide which route to take trans Africa. Eventually we decided on the Eastern. The classic Cape Town to Cairo, but in our usual round about way.

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Spot Grant - Dune 7, Walvis Bay

The main reason for our decision was the steadily increasing rain and steadily decreasing road conditions. Serious flooding in the north of Namibia and Angola turned roads into nothing more than muddy rivers. This really was not appealing!

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Flower at Hoba Meteorite Park

Where as at least along the east coast you have a choice, most of the time, to take a paved or dirt road. We have planned to undertake some of the West Coast of Africa, Morocco - south, while waiting for Europe to warm up, but that is a long way off at the moment.

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Maggie - Staff Member at Chameleon

Meanwhile we were enjoying the comforts of Chamelon, waiting for some paperwork from Australia (thanks to Logistics Master Joanne, Julie's sister).

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Braii with some of the gang

We took a few day trips and a trip out to Swakopmund on the Skeleton coast, famous for shipwrecks and an inhospitable environment.

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Trinny & Piggy at the Seaside - Skeleton Coast

At 'Dog Poo Lodge' (not its real name, but an apt description) we met Clive and Denise, a British couple who had ridden their '54 Triumph, 'Trinny' down the East Coast of Africa.

We are constantly being told, by naysayers, that we cannot ride our Suzuki in Latin America/on the dirt/through Africa/etc etc etc and that you can only do it on a Brand X/Brand Y/Brand Z.

It all becomes a little monotonous. So when we meet Richard on his 55 Royal Enfield and Clive and Denise with Trinny it restores your faith that you can ride what you want where you want. People are and doing it quite well.

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Denise and Clive - Skeleton Coast

The stern faced, khaki camouflage suited local police officer walks assuredly towards Grant and Miss Piggy. He throws an authoritative glance at the bike parked on the footpath directly in front of the cafe.

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Petrol Station Sign.... don't forget your bonnet!

Grant stands with his hands behind his back feigning a smile with the knowledge that perhaps this was not the best place to park and we could be in for a fine of some sort.

He, the Police Officer, circles the machine tapping bits of metal and plastic with his batton. He throws his attention directly to the owner... Grant.

'What is this then?' he pronounces waving his baton over the bike and towards the footpath.

Grant answers avoiding the obvious subject at hand 'This is my motorcycle that my wife and I use to travel about your country.'

The Officer glances back at the bike and looks about the street and then with a quick motion, shakes his head and discards us with another wave of his baton, walking away... somewhat to Grant's relief.

Using Tsumeb as a base (the Municipal Campground has great and cheap camping, by the way) we explored some of the surrounding areas.

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Salt Road - Skeleton Coast

Grootfontain is a home to the largest, discovered, intact meteorite that has impacted with planet earth. This fascinating chunk of space debris weighs approximately 60 Tons and is composed of nickel, iron and other rare elements. In places the surface has been machined by scientists to an almost chrome like finish that does not appear to rust.

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Hoba Meteorite

We discovered and interesting phenomenon. Whilst the temperatures in the midday sun soared past 40 degrees Celsius and all around, including the cement compound, was extremely hot to touch, the metal meteorite remained unusually cool.... we don't know why? Do you?????

Giumas Lake is one of two sinkholes near Tsumeb. Their depth is unknown, however, divers have submerged to 80metres depth and reported that they cannot see the bottom.

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Sinkhole

Lake Guimas, approximately 50kms of dirt from Tsumeb, once, was a tourist spot, however, now all is in ruin. We laid out our picnic sheet, surrounded by overgrown bush lands and delapitated buildings. Other than the sounds of bird songs echoing around the wall of the sink hole it was completely silent and isolated. It was a pleasant spot and a far cry from the over touristed Okijito sink hole.

Northern Namibia seems to be a direct contrast to Southern Namibia. At least we were made to feel welcome, and not cash cows.

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Hot in Walvis Bay

Along the road, aways up the Caprivi Strip with Angola just a few kilometres to the north and with small settlements of mud and stick, children ran from them as we approached waving and smiling it became particularly tiring returning thier gestures as we ventured further towards Zambia.

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Pumping Gas Caprivi Style - by hand of course

We stopped under a large shady tree (Eucalyptus, all over the world now, it seems) near by sat one of these small villages. As we eat our light lunch by the side of the bike we notice a group of children from one of the huts staring curiously at us. They crept cautiously closer in the safety of their group only to beat a hasty retreat as a bull cow made itself known to them. Another advance, this time skirting the heard of cows and concealing themselves, not to well, behind a large tree. We watched them as they watched us for perhaps 10 minutes only for us to start packing up to continue.

Grant mounted Miss Piggy and seeing a few of the children advance a little closer, beckoned to them with a wave.

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Caprivi Kids

They immediately scrambled over to us, so for a further 10 minutes we took photos of them with the bike which they seemed awfully pleased to view on our camera and passing over a packet of bickies we continued on.

The Caprivi Strip, a famous battle ground between Namibia (then North West South Africa) and Angola. This once disputed strip of land is now home to many small villages and a large protected elephant population.

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Sunset on the Zambezi River - Romantic apart from being attacked by mozzies

The warning signs along the road caution drivers to take care and slow down for elephants. We transversed the 190 kilometre route to the Zambezi River with out seeing one damned elephant! Evidence of their presence, namely broken trees, shrubs devoid of foliage and enormous piles of poo were every where.... but alas no elephants this day.

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Where the hell did that come from.... HD Holden

BORDER CROSSING
Namibia To Zambia

Exit Namibia
* Complete departure forms;
* Present passport for exit stamps;
* Return Road Tax Levy paperwork and fill in register.

Enter Zambia
* Open wallet;
* Stand back and watch money fly out ;
* Go to immigration and purchase Visa (US$50.00 for Australians);
* Have passport stamped;
* Register your vehicle in the big book;
* Present carnet for inspection;
* Purchase Government required Third Party Property Insurance (US$33.00);
* Complete Temporary Import Papers and pay fee (US$13.00);
* Pay Council Levy (US$4.00);
* Leave, find a shady spot along the road for tuna and crackers for lunch.

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Zambia ahead

NOTE: These fees are all offical and will be receipted. The process is quite simple and takes a little time. They accept Namibian Dollars but the exchange rate is not great, however a convenient way to get rid of excess Nam$. The money changers at the border don't seem to have any Zambian money on a Sunday!!

Posted by Julie Rose at February 27, 2008 07:12 AM GMT
 


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