The bikes and gear have been fixed, the cat urine has been scrubbed off the tent yet again, and we’ve had an eyewateringly expensive sleeping mat couriered from Cape Town. We’ve sampled every bakery in town and have been cooking up a storm in the backpackers kitchen. We’ve explored the surrounding desert with new friends, an [...]
After riding almost 1000km on dirt roads, we’ve finally made it to some tarmac, but we can’t cycle anywhere just yet as our bikes and gear are battered after the past few weeks: Matt’s chain has rusted up and just snapped off; both of my gear cables snapped in the last couple of days; Matt’s rear derailleur has just br [...]
The dirt roads have hugely improved in the Namib-Naukluft Park and we’re easily managing 90-100km days. A driver pulled over in the dust and said “I bet you guys are Kiwis!”. He was from Palmerston North and gave us bottles of ice cold coke, which was much appreciated as we’re pretty much down to warm water and stale bread. Other [...]
We’re now riding in the vast Namib-Naukluft Park, one of the world’s largest national parks. We’re at the appropriately-named settlement of Solitaire, which is just a campsite, a petrol station and an excellent bakery/cafe out in the desert.
We were first told about the excellent Solitaire bakery apple pie over 200km away – it has a wel [...]
Today we hitchhiked deeper into the Namib desert (no bikes are allowed in the National Park) and spent the day hiking through the red dunes, which form a 32,000-sq-km sea of sand. This is one of the oldest and driest ecosystems on earth.
In the middle of nowhere, a Japanese film crew appeared and offered us (meaty) noodles, made fresh in the back of a van by a famous Japanese chef. They were making a documentary about cooking in far flung places using local ingredients. Random.
Apparently the noodles were incredible.
Telling the film crew about our trip.
They asked me to auto [...]
The dirt roads have deteriorated badly and are almost unridable. We’re spending half the day pushing the bikes through thick sand or over large stones, and are averaging just 7km per hour – a full days ride is an exhausting 50km. We’ve both fallen off our bikes – Matt fell into sand and laughed; I fell into stones and cried.
We’re continuing north on deserted dirt/sand roads, with a settlement every two days’ ride. From time to time, a column of dust (usually a tourist jeep) on the road heads towards us. We’ve stayed at some lovely (but expensive) campsites, and have seen lots of wild horses on the desert plains – some of the only wild horses in the world.
We crossed the Orange River into Namibia last week and found ourselves cycling through a beautiful, arid, transfrontier national park just south of Fish River Canyon. The deserts of southern Namibia are full of diamonds and we are now riding along the border of the vast ‘Forbidden Diamond Area’ which is controlled (and heavily gua [...]
We’re very excited to be in Namibia and think that the cycling here will be excellent, although the Lonely Planet says:
“Namibia is a desert country and is totally unsuitable for a biking holiday. Distances are great; the climate and landscapes are hot and very dry…and the sun is intense; water is scarce and villages are widely spaced.” [...]
We’ve had no wifi since leaving the Cape Town area, and in the past week in Namibia we’ve had no phone signal most of the time and certainly no 3G to update the website. Our converter plug doesn’t work, so we bought a new one today and that doesn’t work either. So no working electronics = no website updates. We hope to [...]
We’ve made it to Springbok, a small town that services the copper and diamond mines in the area, just a couple of days’ ride from the Namibian border. We’ve been riding the narrow, quiet main road, over craggy mountains and boulder-strewn hills. It looks desolate, but this region is well known for its spectacular biodiversity – it is on [...]