Planned route: Sesfontein - Myl 108
Estimated distance: about 360km +
Real route: Sesfontein - Hentiesbaai
Cameltop camp had nothing to prevent us from sleeping closed eyes, so that is what we did. We ate, cleaned, dressed, packed and left early, why not:
Sesfontein had fuel, but we had to find it first...there are some big development projects and all the signs says FUEL SOON. No sign however for FUEL NOW. In a little side street in town, most likely the only side street, we found three pumps in a row. 10 minutes later, just as we were about to give up, someone came running out of the bush to unlock the door to the little building to get the key to unlock the pump, yes only one worked...weird, but not for here.
We also had a quick peek at the German built Sesfontein fort which was nicely restored as a lodge:
Some riders discovered they had cell phones on them and got a little sidetracked by the wifes giving them the long grocery list of things to bring along. Nothing major, but it gave the others a chance to ride in front again and see more of the springbucks than before. If you ride last, you typically only see the springbuck pooh on the road!
At Palmwag Uncle A got a tire fixed. And we continued over the rolling hills ...
... back down 7 mile pass ...
... a quick stop for a picture here and there, nice rock on the left ...
... and a stop at a shibeen (liquor store / bar ) somewhere close to Twyfelfontein. Now imagine all the outside buildings stuffed with empty (beer or coke) crates, and then you peek around the back to find another couple a hundred stacked up. I could only imagine their thirst:
There is a small wall built around the tables, lets call it an open air bar with a roof, anyway the wall is built with empty beer bottles and cement (look right behind the person entering the building), so they must have been thirsty when they designed the place already!
A few of us were so concentrating on have fun on the gravel road, that they never saw the first bunch chilling out at the bar, so they proceeded on at full speed to who knows where. Fortunately we had speedy Brakkenjan to the rescue and he stopped them right before the Petrified Forest / Versteende Woud. The donkeys in front of the wagon were still wiping dust out their eyes from the high speed chase that passed them:
Lunch, enough miles of boere wors (sausage) to feed 8 grown men, was at just another place next to the road in a small riverbed; with almost the hottest weather we had the whole trip.
Lootch was concerned that he might not get enough riding in this trip, so he spend a few more minutes up and down the riverbed and road on his KLR, while we settled into the fold-up chairs:
Lunch was just long enough to convince each other that the two track road that we need to look for, was going to take a lot of energy again. We had to find a way from Twyfelfontein through Rhino Ugab Camp and then north of the Messum Krater towards Mile 108 on the coast. The "highway" going all the way around the Brandberg through Uis sounded like a perfect shortcut to sleep on real beds tonight. Besides, whoever wanted to, could ride the whole of tomorrow on the beach, high tide and low tide. It was actually the lack of knowing the tide that helped us to make this decision. If we slept at Mile 108 tonight, we would have to wait for low tide to do the beach riding, and we all knew how much the support vehicles liked "waiting". So just to make sure that we don't change our minds in a blink, Uncle G jumped in his Cruiser and "scouted" the gravel road for us.
We all stopped here where the road joins the bigger road from Khorixas to Uis, right under a tree. To amuse us, a local showed up and started talking all sorts of talk about the Springbok rugby team, the weather in Antarctica, just enough to make us rush out of there as the last vehicle showed up.
The road was not too bad, but the tourism industry is on a roll, so with all the big busses and the trucks that are converted into viewing boxes, you had to keep your cool to stay on the road in the overwhelming dust. Just before Uis is a tarred bridge spanning a riverbed and when you've crossed it, you wish you could do it again, just for the non-gravel feeling a little more.
Nothing spectacular in Uis this time, quick stop to taste something local. The semi-foreigners under us have an urge for local food whenever we get back in the country, so we never pass a chance like this. We did not refill our tanks, since there was some fuel on the Cruiser that we still needed to use. So not too far from Uis, Brakkenjan's KLR showed some funny loss-of-power tricks and with Uncle H handy to debug the problem, a simple tank-fill-up and plenty I-told-you-so was in order.
From here it was just one huge chase to the ocean. There is not much to see or do in this kind of flat desert, so no time was wasted on the 80km or so. Some bikes showed some more loss-of-power tricks and when a friend or too stopped to help, someone else would take the lead; the GPS was not needed any more!
For those not familiar with this little stretch of the Skeleton coast, the town of Hentiesbaai and for some while north of it, meets the see from the very flat desert at about a hundred feet or so higher than the beach. So just before you reach the ocean from inland, you have to go down this huge down, all soft sand, to get onto the not so wide beach. (That is also why at some places, you need the low tide to travel safely along the beach.) So in the next picture, where the road from the desert meets up with the north-south road along the coast, there is still a little bit of desert left, with some very low plant growth surviving on the morning mist. Anyway at this sign you can not see the beach but only the ocean. Hentiesbaai is only 6km south of here:
When we were kids, we dreamt of having a bike to go wild into these full of nothing parts of the world, but now 20 years later and 2226km on the bike's clock, making circles and jumping the little knobs with plants on, was not such an attractive idea any more, life changes a lot, huh?
Here is a view back into the desert to show why we did not care to stop:
We had some delicious steak for dinner with chips ("French", no sorry, "Freedom Fries") from the very slowest Fishy place in town...or was that the only Fishy place, well fastest and slowest then...officially Slowski Fishi now!
No matter what, this was a fantastic adventure that none of us will ever forget, and we would encourage you to go, even if it is only in a 4x4 with wife and kids, like we will do soon...did someone whisper Koako-reunion 2020?
Anyway, if you do go, please remember that the next one would also like to enjoy it, so please leave it cleaner than it was before you. Thank you!