I visited shortly Swakopmund, a town in the coast of Namibia.
It is a small town built in the desert. Cold wind blasted from
the Atlantic Ocean and sand was everywhere. Especially this time
of the year, there were not much to offer for a traveller. So
I continued 33 kms south to Walvis Bay. I found accommodation
again, by asking from people. Expcellent packbackers hostel called
The Spawning Ground.
Night cost 30 Rands or Namibian dollars (6 USD).
11.5. (306) Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay was also a small town, but seemed to be a little
bit bigger than Swakop. One of the biggest dunes of the world
was nearby, just 15 kms away from town. It was called Dune 7.
Good tar road led to the dune area. Around it was just flat
sand fields, but in a small area about half a dozen of dunes.
"Dune 7", about 100 metres high. The world's biggest dune is in Sossusvlei, in Namib desert. It is 360 metres high!
I tried to climb that Dune 7 up. It is very difficult as the
sand is so very fine. Climbing 100 metres of a dune was like climbing
half kilometre of a hill.
13.5. (308) Walvis Bay
Walvis bay was abit too quiet place for me. I rode towards Dune 7 again.
The road led through Namib desert. Also it was the shortest route to
Windhoek. Just after the dune area gravel road started. Great. I
was about to turn back... Riding on soft gravel with heavy luggage is
not so good. Generally, I like riding on gravel roads! I continued the
road and soon the sceneries started to look magnificent! Some times
it looked like in Grand Canyon and the road was very curvy.
Nice! 400 kms to Windhoek. Practically no traffic.
In the middle of the desert there was a hotel! I bought 10
litres of gasoline from there. 'Tavern of the half-way'. Before sunset
I arrived to the city. Atmosphere was quite European, I would say
German style. Many streets had German names.
In a camping I met a nice German group: Horst, his wife
Petra and Andrea. We went to have some dinner to a
Bier Garten. Very nice people. Horst worked in the German Embassy in
14.5. (309) Windhoek
The camping (called Arebbush) was of european standard and
not expensove (30 N$). Anyway, it was on noisy place, near
airport. The nights were cold, jost some 5 degrees Celsius.
The shash (turban) bought from Mauritania was needed.
I knew there should be letter waiting in the poste restante,
main post office. No there weren't. Even the 'super intendent'
checked mails for me. Of no help. The e-mail seems to be an
unbeatable system. They reach you wherever you travel... at
least almost wherever. Letters are anyway more personal.
There was a internet cafe in town. Surfing cost 20 $. Ok. That
service was set up just a couple of years ago. 15 e-mails were
waiting for me...
Windhoek was a small city, just 100,000 people. For me it seemed
rather tranquil and nice town. In the evening I heard bad news,
anyway: a group of three youngsters had tried to steal some tools
from a shop. The guard had caught them, there came two more guards
to help him and a fight started. In the end one of the guards got
a bullet in his head and the murderers ran away! Terrible things
can happen almost everywhere. The thieves/murderers were not caught yet.
15.5. (310) Windhoek
The nice German people (Horst, Petra and Andrea) were leaving for
Swakop, the same road I had come. A nice sight-seeing route
indeed :) I was heading south. I rode some 500 kms to Keetmanshoop.
16.5. (311) Keetmanshoop
Ai-Ais (Fish River Canyon)
Again, the sceneries were like from Grand Canyon! Red, rocky mountains
everywhere. A bit like a 'moon scnery'. Fish River Canyon is the
second biggest canyon in the world.
Camping in Ai-Ais cost 90 N$. Area was a tourist attraction, there
were lots of hiking tracks nearby. One group had made 300 kms in 10
days! My intention was anyway to continue soon to Cape Town.
I considered the African part of this El Viaje tour was
Wakeup at 4.30... sunrise and the
I had planned to leave to Cape Town this day. 850 kms to go plus
one border crossing. One of the longest day trips so far.
The first 100 kms were gravel road. In the northern side of
South Africa there wasn't anything interesting to see. Almost no
traffic, so I could keep 120-130 km/h constant cruising speed
for hours. Kilometers eating. Just before arriving to Cape Town
I overtook a Honda Transalp rider. Then we stopped in the roadside.
He was from Germany, Thomas. We planned to go cycling some
day. I could park my bike into his wife's workplace's (hotel)
garage. Great!! Parking would otherwise have been a problem, since
many parking halls were closed on Sundays. Accommodation at
At R35/night the best backpackers hostel in town. It was great
to arrive to Cape Town again, I liked the city.
18.5. (313) Cape Town
Calling to freight companies. My intention was to get a reasonably
priced freight for my bike & luggage to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Freight by ship was in most companies between 160 and 210 USD per
cubic metre. That meant 640 to 840 USD. And all the ships would go
first to Holland and from there to Buenos Aires.
6 to 8 weeks of shipping time. Didn't make any sense...
Then I contacted again Safcor, the excellent air freight company I
had found on my last visit. I found out that air freight was even
cheaper than shipment! And much faster.
19.5. (314) Cape Town
I thought of changing the drive chain and both sprockets to the bike
before the flight. Chain was totally worn out after some 46,000 kms.
Also I tried to reduce luggage weight and use most of the spare parts.
46,000 kms for a chain is very well done, I think. I could park my
bike near the backpackers. Great!
The guard of the garage had also been a world traveller in his younghood.
40 years as a seaman. He had travelled every sea of the world and
seen a lot!
As a contribution he let me park for free. Very nice.
Maybe two years of travelling would be enough for me, let's see.
Since there were some problems in the engine, I decided to open
& check the carburators. This time there was white dust in the
diapraghms and in the slides. Air filter was finished. On a world
tour it is sometimes difficult to find spare parts for a DR800.
20.5. (315) Cape Town
I had ordered some spares from the local bike shop. They couldn't get
a visor for the helmet. That's bad! Finding spares for my Arai
helmet was also difficult! Usually in the thirld world the helmets are
cheaper models. Anyway I got the front sprocket and both gaskets for
engine side covers. I had planned to check the clutch disks too...
I changed the chain and
Because the new drive chain didn't have a link, I had to remove the
rear swing first. There was no sense to cut and link again the
factory assembled chain. I had got the chain and sprocket as a
sponsorship from Sfakianakis, The Suzuki importer in Athens,
Greece. Also clutch disks! In the old drive chain some 30% of the
links were stiff. It was totally finished. Actually I had had some
problems with the chain since Namibia.
21.5. (316) Cape Town
I tested the new chain. From the rear there wasn't anymore bad sounds
like "clonk-clonk". And I also tried if rinsing the carburetors
with fuel would help... after that no running problems.
I rode the beautiful and nice road near Table Mountain, and visited
Cape Point. They are the most beatiful places near Cape Town.
22.5. (317) Cape Town
When I started my bike the exhaust manifold turned soon red hot!!!
What??!!!! Seemed like a serious trouble! Also battery was dead.
Only 11 months old... I understood to check the valve clearances...
they were ok.
Arranging the air freight to Buenos Aires. I had some difficulties
to find a cashier, which would accept AMEX credit card. VISA rules!
AMEX is not common in Europe or Africa. We agreed with Safcor
that on Monday my bike would be packed. Great. In the evening
great party in a pub, Drunken Springbok.
23.5. (318) Cape Town
I had to take my bike away from the garage, as it was held closed
the whole weekend. There were two guards of whom the other guard wanted
me to pay bribes, as I had kept my bike there for free. I didn't pay... The place was promised for me... agreements & promises have to be
kept, I think! The other guard was actually a world traveler, he had
been a sailor by profession and had sailed for 40 years this globe!
24.5. (319) Cape Town
We had planned to go riding with Thomas to the coast area. He had an
Honda Transalp 600cc. Mountaineous sceneries and curvy roads.
Like in Norway, but there is colder...
Thomas had to go back (work duties), I continued alone, to
Agulhas. It is
the southern most point of the continent of Africa.
25.5. (320) Cape Town
At 8.30 am to Safcor Freight. Then we went to the airport
cargo area, to Swissport. There we made a
for the bike. That meant safer and easier handling and also
saving lots of money! The flight company would have charged
as much as 27,000 rands (5,400 USD) for the whole pad! Now
I just paid 3,600 rands. Much cheaper.
I drained all the fuel out of the tank, because of flight
security reasons. Fuel was allowed to be left in the
carburetors. Battery was disconnected. Then bike plus
weighed: 358 kgs!
Everything went so easily. All was ready for the flight.
Thanks for Mr. Gordon Schmidt at Safcor.
27.5. (322) Africa
General information about Argentina.
At 7 am I rushed to the railway station. Airport shuttle was
about to leave. Check-in at eight... I had forgotten my knife in
backpack. Incredible... No problem, it had to be given separately
in the security check.
Malaysian Airways flight left 10 minutes in advance. Flight
took 7.5 hours, a positive experience. Overall, travelling
and arrangements went easily, as the bike came on the same
Landing on Buenos Aires, Argentina at 15.30 local time (GMT -3).
The third continent of El Viaje!!
In the terminal was some hassling: lots of taxi drivers were
a nuisance. Another surprise: the cash-machine informed me
in Spanish that I don't have any credit on my bank account!
Great. A quick call to Finland.
On the way to downtown, the city seemed large! The largest
city I had ever seen. Seemed also quite European style.
I heard that in Buenos Aires live some 12 million people.
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