Home > Uncategorized > Travels with a motorbike – Part 5 – Windhoek to Swakopmund

Travels with a motorbike – Part 5 – Windhoek to Swakopmund

On Sunday morning I prepared to leave for Swakopmund. There are two routes. One, slightly longer, is on a good tar road, while the other, the C28 is on dirt; 360 km as against 300 km approx. I have chosen to ride on the C28. I am told it is very scenic and since I will be taking the tar road when I leave Swakop for Caprivi I do not want to ride the same road twice. There are a couple of risks. There is nowhere to stop and refuel on the C28 and it is dirt virtually all the way. There may well be some traffic, but not a lot. Breaking down is not encouraged.

I had arranged to meet Mark in time for lunch. I reckoned on the journey taking me 4 hours. I would not be able to go fast for two reasons. I did not like exceeding 100 kph on dirt and with no chance of refuelling, I would need to make sure that I had enough fuel to make it all the way. So shortly after 08.00 I said goodbye to Andrew and Linda and set off. In an effort to make sure I had enough petrol, I filled up with fuel at the last garage leaving town.

It was a bright, sunny day and I got to start enjoying the countryside. The road turned from tar about 20km out of town and I proceeded on a very decent gravel road, travelling at about 80-90 kph. I was still up in the high plateau and there was a fair amount of vegetation. Occasionally there would be a sign pointing to a farm and I thought there could be many worse places to live.

Eventually, I started to descend through rocky passes with twists and turns. Although there was virtually no traffic, I did pass a car or two coming in the opposite direction and that meant that I had to be very careful going round corners. I also came across a cyclist, heavily laden down with panniers, who presumably on some mammoth tour of the country. I did not envy him one bit, though it did rather diminish the scale of my rugged adventure.

Speaking of rugged, there are some things they just don’t tell in the magazine articles about touring through Africa. What is about to follow, is not for the squeamish. For safety and comfort, it is necessary to wear specialised clothing when riding a motorbike. Apart from boots, gloves and a helmet, I wear a jacket and pants of synthetic material. These have thick padding at the shoulders, elbows, knees and hips, greatly restricting one’s movements. When answering the call of nature, taking a pee is a bit of mission in that there are so many zips involved, it is something of a battle to find the right one. However, all that is mere child’s play when compared to what is involved in relieving one’s bowels. All the padding in the trousers, coupled with the restriction of the boots, mean that it requires some deal of manoeuvring to slide the pants sufficiently far down the legs before one sits down on the loo. Add a sense of urgency to the proceedings and it becomes a fairly stressful event. But, what happens when you are miles from civilization? How does one deal with such matters? I can assure you, it is not as easy as you might think.

The urge to make a pit stop had been growing for a while. I had been looking for a suitable spot, but nothing had appeared that offered sufficient cover. After all, even if there is little traffic, it only takes one passing car to see….

(This journal was written in 2009. I am not sure why, but  I never finished it. Maybe I will endeavour to do so, but time will have taken its toll on my memory.)

2009-09-24 013

Categories: Uncategorized
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