Return to GlobeRiders Home Page

Africa Adventure 2007 Live!Journal

GlobeRiders Africa Adventure 2007 Live!Journal Chapters Menu

Week 05 & 06 Chapter - 30 Oct ~ 07 Nov - Namibia, South Africa

National Flag of Turkmenistan
National Flag of Turkmenistan
South Africa

"When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw

"He who neglects to drink from the spring of experience is likely to die of thirst in the desert of ignorance." - Ling Po

Start Location for This Week: Swakopmund, Namibia
Ending Location for This Week: Cape Town, South Africa
Planned mileage for This Week: 1,350 miles 2,160 kilometers)

Text starts here...

Be Well, Safe Journeys,

Mike M. Paull - Partner, Guide, Webmeister

Days 16 through Day 37 - Wed 17 Oct through Wed 07 Nov- Botswana, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa

Mac's End of Tour Diary

On to Botswana, home to the Okavango Delta which is the largest wetlands area in the world!!

Leaving the bikes behind at the Chobe Safari Lodge, we continued on by a 15-passenger plane maybe 125 miles into the Delta.  The first night was spent in a tent on an island with a great meal prepared by our guides under a dining tent with table cloths.  Truly “in the wilds”.  Elephant dung a few feet from the tent with instructions not to leave the campsite at night...  Rhinos, Cape Buffalo, elephants, zebra and even some crocodiles in the area !!

The second day on safari, more boat rides through the Delta for some close-up photos of elephants, Cape Buffalo and hippos.  The second night we, each stayed in a 4-star tent at the Kgori Safari Resort.   A large bedroom, sitting room, outside deck and even a bathroom with running water and a shower!  The tent had pull down canvas windows with screens !!  The morning sounds  around 5 AM of many loud birds was better than my alarm clock.  The last night in the Delta was another campground in just regular tents with great views of the Southern Hemisphere’s sky.  Saw the Magellanic Cloud for the first time.  Two huge galaxies similar to the Milky Way which looked like two huge clouds in the southern sky.  Also saw the Southern Cross early in the morning, preceded by elephant and jackal noises in the middle of the night.

Back to Kasane and on to Livingstone, Zambia the following day.  Home to Victoria Falls and the border with Zimbabwe.  The Falls were seen best by helicopter from the air for a true panoramic of one of the wonders of the world from 1,000 feet.

Our next 10 days were the long straight roads of Namibia and a lot fewer people.  Many times, 100/150 miles between "petrol stations".  Only Stuart missed a key one but was refueled on the side of the road  within an hour by Mike and his side car with a full complement of emergency rations and tools, with the very faithful Marius providing the spare petrol from the chase vehicle.

In this area we would pass many tribal villages with anywhere from a few to 25 or 50 thatched roof huts in a village.  Everyone lived on dirt in family groups with small herds of goats or small fields.  Almost never saw cars, electricity or anything other than huts and a few pole fences.  I understand that occasionally the men would hunt for Springbok or Kudu without guns, but people mostly just existing.  On a few occasions, we’d pass children in a school yard who would all run towards the road waving their hands at the passing motorcycles. We were truly the passing cowboys through their country!!

One night we stayed in the town of Rundu, probably a town of 5,000 to 10,000 people, and kind of a regional center for shopping, food,etc. Two paved roads in the middle of town and everything else a brown dirt street.  Truly, we were the visiting minority.  The next morning I understand Frank and Joe were up at 5:30 AM in an attempt to cross into Angola (so they could Rock and Rolla, and maybe have a Cola), just 3 miles away.  They were turned away at the frontier border crossing because they did not have any visas. This area was closed to foreigners just a few years ago because of rebel activity.  Two adventurers looking for real adventure, or just another stamp in their passports?

The next day, on to the Ombinda Country Lodge in Outjo, Namibia for a 2-day rest and tire change.  This area , and the land to the northwest are probably the least-inhabited and remote area of Namibia.  In the town of Outjo, we did see a few women of the ObaHimba tribe, who are some of the last of the truly semi-nomadic tribes left in Africa. Henna-covered bodies, plaited hair, and not many clothes.

 The following day was 350 miles to the coastal town of Swakopmund, with approximately 275 miles of off-road and dirt riding.  Riding into the desert with many distant rock mountains and more and more sand.  Even stopped at a petrified forest and made another brief stop at a 50-ton meteor, claimed to be the largest intact meteor on Earth.

 Swakopmund is a large regional town of the former German colony of modern-day Namibia, which today is pretty much a German tourist resort.  Saw lots of cars, people and even slow internet cafes for the first time in weeks !!  Even did an ATV ride over the nearby dunes the next afternoon.

The next day, another long one of dirt brought us to the Sossusvlei Lodge for 2 days. A true 4-star resort in the middle of the desert. Had a fabulous outside dinner barbecue which included choices of fish, crocodile, kudu, ostrich,oryx, zebra,Springbok,and beef.

The following morning most of us were up at 4:30 AM for a gorgeous sunrise hot air balloon ride and champagne breakfast over the world famous Namib Dunes.

Day 31, November 1st.  This was one of the longest on the bikes.  Approx 350 miles of which probably 250 was dirt, sand, gravel,and hard-pack.  Some people more than others liked the good taste of dust in their  mouths at the end of the day.  Riding fast over deep gravel and sand was also another experience!  A good reason for some very cold beers at the end of the day.

Nearing the end of the trip was a visit to the beautiful Fish River Canyon, Namibia's equivalent to our Grand Canyon.  Millions of years of a river eroding through the desert made for some beautiful views.  Especially from a small plane.

Day 35, a sad last riding day from Lambert's Bay back to Cape Town in a little rain.  The only rain for almost a month.  A farewell dinner and a quick visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for some of his 19 years, finished up a truly memorable adventure vacation by motorcycle.


The Hoba Meteor, Near Grootfontein, Namibia, at over 60 metric tons, is the largest meteorite in the world.

There are great, straight, tarmac roads.
And tarmac with a few twists.
The higher gravel mountain pass roads are a stairway to heaven.
Some of the mountain passes rival those of Europe, only the road surface isn't paved.
There are brown dirt roads which wander through the fields and savannah.
There are red clayish roads which are great when dry, slicker than snot when wet.
There are wonderful wide, high-speed gravel roads that seem to go nowhere.
There are wonderful, wide, high-speed gravel roads that do go nowhere.
Sometimes, there are elevation changes.
Sometimes, it's hard to know which road is the less traveled. . . .
Any Day - Any Date - Any Place in Southern Africa

The Roads of Africa

In last week's Chapter, I mused a bit about why travelers are drawn to Africa.  For a motorcyclist, I said the roads of Africa are a dream.  Perhaps what I should have said is, simply, driving in Africa is a dream, and the variety of roads are icing on the cake.

For many passionate motorcyclists, getting there is the whole point, the destination is just a good place to have a meal and a good's night rest.  It about the riding, if you're like me, Africa is all about the Ride.

There something that s just fundamentally joyous about motoring along a dirt or gravel road.  It's a visceral experience, it requires heightened senses, and at times, requires the ability to ignore what your mind is telling you do to, and simply let the bike and your body do their job to keep the rubber side down.

There's also a huge satisfaction in being on sparsely traveled roads, where you may not see another vehicles for long periods of time.  It's like this road was made just for me, to drive as I please, in a manner of my choosing.

As you'll see in the images, Africa offers a huge variety of roads, and in endless quantity.  If you just want to burn kilometers, there are paved national roads, though they may be few in number.  The are also long stretches of pavement where the primary "maintenance" seems to be the erection of signs saying "Warning - Pot Holes for the Next 100 Kilometers". Me, I'll take a dirt or gravel road over a run of cracked, pot-holed tarmac any day.

If you look at road maps of Africa, you'll see a network of secondary and tertiary roads. Most are good, graded gravel, some are simply let go.  The point is, for any given destination, with few exceptions, you can usually get there on tarmac, gravel, or dirt roads, whatever you feel like riding on any given day.

Couple lots of road, sparse traffic, plenty of off-pavement, and the relative paucity of tax-collecting law enforcement officers with speed detection equipment, and it's a pretty tasty menu indeed.

So, there are many reasons to come to Africa.  If you enjoy riding, it's one of the best playgrounds on the planet. Don't pass up the chance to ride Africa if the opportunity presents itself!


Day 29 - Tue 30 Oct - Sossusvlei/Sesriem, Namibia

Swakopmund to Sossousvlei

The road was long, hot and difficult at times.  Even though it was not technically challenging, the deepness of the gravel and sand at times made for total concentration if you were going fast.  Speed allows one to float above the chatter, but it also means there is less room for error if you hit some deep stuff.

The lodge is a plush place in the middle of the desert but has no phones, TV or internet.  It is a place to relax.


Day 30 - Wed 31 Oct - Sossousvlei, Namibia

Happy Halloween!

We celebrated by taking a balloon ride over the dunes.  What vistas!  Everything is put in perspective.  This is such a vast country.  We viewed 'fairy rings' where vegetation has ceased to grow.  They speculate it is a fungus.  We went up to 2800 feet and the sun rose with us.

After the ride we drove to the Namibian dunes to see the tallest in the world "Big Daddy".  A huge iron red mountain of sand.


Day 33 - Sat 03 Nov - Okiep, South Africa

Canon lodge to Okiep.  Last mandatory dirt.  It was fast and fun.  People are very friendly and helpful here in this country.

My personal experience was when we arrived for lunch at Captain's Burgers.  I left my sunglasses in the loo and someone pinched them.  The lady owner called around to find out who had them and got them back for me!  I don't think that could happen in the states. She obviously had some pull!


Day 34 - Sun 04 Nov - Lambert's Bay (Lambertsbaii), Namibia, One Day Away from Cape Town, and the End of the Africa Adventure

In fact, there are still 3 days to go according to the official tour itinerary.

On Day 35, we ride to Cape Town, wash the bikes, check-in to our final hotel, reclaim our luggage from the check room, and separate all out "stuff" into what flies home with us, and what will go into the container with the bikes for the long voyage home.

On Day 36, we ride the bikes once last time on Africa soil, from our hotel to SACD (the South African Container Depot), where we will personally load our bikes. Under the watchful eyes of South Africa Customs, we, chock, lash and secure the bikes in the container, wrap our detached panniers in cardboard, and load them, along with any other "hard goods" for the long journey home. On this evening, we have our farewell dinner.

On Day 37, we check-out, and head for home . . . .

So, for me, Day 34 is the last REAL day of the tour. Everyone will be far too busy getting ready for the return home to write any more stories for our Live!Journal, so I'm going to close out our Africa Adventure here.

There aren't any stories or images I could conjure that would better explain the experience we had than those we've already authored into these Chapters, so I'll leave you with pictures of our final highpoint, this time, a dinner, the beach BBQ at Muisbosskerm, Lamberts Bay, South Africa.

Helge, you missed a great Norwegetarian feast (though, as we've seen from your IndoChina Expedition 2007 Live!Journal, you did get your fill of crab on a different continent, on a different ocean <g>).

It really has been a grand tour.  As noted throughout these Chapters, we had a fantastic group of riders, enthusiastic, respectful, generous, curios, and always willing to pitch in if any needed any help, or a cold brew. We traded hundreds of handshakes, and thousands of smile.  We saw the Big Five, the Garden Coast, Victoria Falls, the Okavango Delta, the Namib Dunes, and Fish River Canyon. We dipped our hands and toes into both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.  We saw it all from our bikes, from boats, canoes, ferry, river boats, safari vehicles, aircraft, hot air balloons, helicopters, the backs of African elephants, and one one courageous case, from the tether of a 600-foot bungee cord (and yes, Dustin admits he did "scream like a girl".

As a guide, everyone made it to the Farewell Dinner, where Bill Kamps convened an impromptu Awards Ceremony that had us in tears, both happy and sad.  The bikes were successfully loaded, and with we headed home.

My sincerest thanks to everyone who participated in this year's tour. You are all great people, and I would ride with you anywhere again. I know that I'll see some of you on a future GlobeRiders tour.  If not, I hope we'll meet on the road again, somewhere, someday.  And thanks to all of you, family, friends and fans of adventure travel everywhere, for taking this virtual journey with us.

Africa awaits.  There is nothing for the traveler to fear in the countries we've traveled through, other than than the fear that you'll leave this world without having experienced the harsh reality and wonder that is Africa.

Africa awaits. . . .

Best Regards, and Thanks,

The Day After - Fri 09 Nov - Seattle, Washington, USA

Well, here I sit in Seattle at my home computer, relaxing after a 10.5 hour flight from London's Heathrow airport.

It is good to be back home again, but the experience of riding with the GlobeRiders in South Africa was the most incredible trip I have been on - EVER!

The final two days saw us riding along the west coast through overcast skies and damp roads. We had easy tar roads to negotiate, so it made for a relaxing descent back to "civilization". Our short ride to load the bikes back into the container for shipping back to the States was the "reality moment" when I realized the trip was truly over.

At moments during the tour, it seemed that we would never get past the rough road, or the sand, or the mud, but the time actually flew by. A few even said they were now ready to start their ride and could go on right away for another adventure.

That is what this, the "shortest" offering of GlobeRiders, was - a real adventure.

The friends I made of everyone involved are very special people to me now, as we shared such unique moments as a group, and singly. The farewell banquet was altogether too brief. Bill had thoughtful presents for everyone and made us all laugh, for that is his gift, the gift of JOY. I learned this from him as I learned something from all the others I rode with. I learned about strength, humility, perseverance, love, exuberance, wisdom, determination, good naturedness, dependability, leadership, relaxation, individualism, inquisitiveness, speed and comradeship.

The people on this ride created a lot of magic. You cannot have magic unless you have magicians. Each one of the participants is a great magician, and I truly hope that they continue to offer their magic so others can appreciate what I received from them on the Africa
2007 tour..........

Thanks to all of you for making my trip a perfect one!


Images from the Africa Adventure 2007

Africa Adventure 2007 Live!Journal Chapters Menu

Copyright © 2009 GlobeRiders, LLC ®.  All rights reserved.