Strong O-ring trip - Cape to Kunene on an enduro seat ( And Richtersveldt bash)

Wild Dog Adventure Riding

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Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Waaay back I read the report " The wife, the Ex and the Kid" ( written by Metaljocky
and it planted a seed.

That seed grew slowly until Noneking chimed in with his "Northern Namibia with my brother......and a few other clowns" (
Suddenly I was the Proud owner of a 2016 Husky FE501.
The goal was to experience Northern Namibia for myself and find out what is really out there...
I booked a trip with Hardy from Specialized adventures, but it fell through between his date changes and my work schedule.
2 Years after I adopted the Husky, and I had taken it to some very interesting places, done a few multi-day trips (including CT to Botswana) and finally feel like I have my setup refined enough to tackle Northern Namibia.

Enter Boskakbruce and his thread asking for riding buddies and advice on how to do a trip from Cape Town to Koakoland. Initially I was in, however my bad luck hit and I was delayed leaving work by a month, so I missed what turned out to be an epic. (

I kept in touch with Bruce and Amsterdam, and the more I spoke to them the more I knew that I had to do it, one way or another.
Bruce let me know he was coming to do it again, and guess what? I had more delays at work, and missed the trip.
I was stuck at work but followed Bruce's ride every day, and he humored all my stupid questions and patiently explained where and how and why...

Me stuck at work... Again

I don't remember the date but the day is etched into my mind. I had thought about it for a while and was going back and forth until Bruce made me promise to get to Northern Namibia. I said to Bruce Fuckit. I'll go alone if I have to, but I have to go.

I had to postpone the trip from August to October, but after finishing my second ever race at the Tankwa Rally, moving house, and a couple of mechanical issues with my body (turns out penicillin isn't the right grade to be compatible with me) I left home on the 3rd of October.

Post Tankwa Rally

As a chronicle mostly for myself, I made a group on whatsapp and did daily updates for the friends and family who were interested.
This thread is basically going to mirror that, A short bla bla about what happend and then a few pics...

Here we go!


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Day -1 After wasting half the morning waiting for a courier who never arrived at 1030 I was finally all packed and ready, except for that one thing I'll remember 50km out of town..

Except that I didn't even make it 50km. I got the first puncture less than 30km from home
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Making my way north near aurora

The late start put me in the middle of nowhere, so that's where we slept. Basically on the beach, between Lutzville and Groenrivier mond

After dinner walk on my private beach

Weskus beskus

Not bad for an unplanned stop


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Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Day 2:
Big seas kept the ears full in the night, but made a spectacular side note all along the coast road

The traditional lighthouse shot

It only works within 20m of the magic sign

After being told that bikes are not allowed in Namaqua National Park Odie found another almost as good road

Wind was picking up as we approached the coast

Dust was totally obscuring the mountains at times, although it's hard to catch on camera

Odie making use of a pole During a stop

Port Nolloth sunset this eve


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Day 3 turned out to be a long one. 545km over 9.5 hours.
Port Nolloth ran out of fuel, so I left a little bit concerned about range. But my track to the boarder was 150km, so I should have made it. After pondering a while I decided to procrastinate until I crossed the shortest route and make the call there.
From Nolloth I ducked into the dunes east of the road and followed my old tracks to the Holgat river. The riding is magic there, and I was having a great time when I noticed fresh tracks from 2 4x4s. Sure enough as I reached the river there were 2 bakkis on the other bank. I stopped to say hi, and long story short, they very kindly filled up my tank.
Kept on the fun tracks all as far as I could, only to get to the Richtersveldt gate and find out that the Sendelingsdrift boarder is closed.
Shoot back along the gravel autobahn to Alexander bay for fuel and across the boarder at Oranjemund. From there it's all tar, although I did take a really lekka scenic route on the D727 that added about 40km but was gravel.
Made it to Aus 30 mins before sunset..

Odie contemplating the tracks

These were thick juicy succulents last time I passed through

Nolloth sand

Which got quite hard in some places

20 km to where I learned I have to turn around

First dirt in Namibia under the moon


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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After a rest in Aus yesterday, sundowners at the laanie lodge and a major disappointment when the hotel restaurant was closed Odie decided that Luderitz was too windy for us. We spoke to some Belgian guys who had been there and they said it was extreme.
Mellow gravel all the way to Betta for a Gemsbok burger, and Odi found that he'd kept the room key for the accommodation in Aus.
Luckily it was lunch time and Betta petrol station was busy (meaning it had other people there at the same time), so we found a bakki going to Aus this afternoon and sent the key with them.
15 km down the road there was a Kombi stopped with a destroyed tyre, a pap spare wheel, and no pump.
We lent them the bicycle pump and found a leak in the spare which we plugged for them.
Corrugations to Sesriem made it hard to spot the wildlife, but there were plenty of ostrich, Gemsbok and some smaller bokkies in the distance...
The Sesriem camp was fully booked, and the reserve price to camp was more than the BnB in Aus, so we made a plan and will be camping in a quiet corner of the Engen..


Sunset in Aus yesterday

Someone parking in the middle of the road

Sesriem this evening


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Day 6 was a shorter day on the road.
After a night of mosquito terror where the evil things got into my tent thru a zip that I hadn't used and was 2mm open, I woke up at the Engen.
I took my time packing up and bought a bag of ice for my camelback which filled it perfectly. A fresh roll for breakfast and we hit the road.
Solitaire was next, where I stopped for the obligatory apple pie. More cold water and petrol topped off the tanks. Spotted a thermometer outside the shop, in the shade showing 36°c before 11am.
Corrugations were easier on softer tires and there were a few sections where the grader had been recently which gave some good respite.
Odie spotted a sign that side steep gradient, no trucks or caravans/trailers... It wasn't super far down the road so we decided to go have a look. The climb looked impressive from the bottom but we were both disappointed to find the whole pass was paved. Nonetheless we went up and had a look, before backtracking to the original route.
A friend suggested a wild camp up a river bed- we had a look and found a shaded corner and flat ground not super far from the road, so the plan is to wild camp here tonight and get an earlier start than today.
It's finally starting to cool down, and I've been waiting for the wind to drop before I set up camp..

Solitaire apple pie

Before 11am

Spreedshoogte pas view stop

Odie checking out the route down



Camp spot


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Last night I slept near some water, so heard lots of life throughout the night... But somehow didn't manage to see any of it, even under a bright moon.
Today I found out there's a lot of leopard around the😅, not that I'd hear them at all.
Uneventful ride into Walvis bay where I met with Dirkie, an absolute legend of a human. He took me for a joll through the dunes despite having been home for 20 mins himself all weekend.
Tomorrow I'll do a little bit of work on the bike and get ready for the next leg. Where all the fun start, or so I have been told.

Dead still air meant my dust hung in the air behind me

A bad photo of the Martian landscape

"find a smoother track" trying to ride outside the graded area

Flamingos of Walvis bay

Odie enjoying the cool breeze after the heat yesterday


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Maintenance day today with the husky getting some fresh oil and air filter. Picked up a chain slider from swakop as a backup because I seem to be wearing thru them fast.
Really lucky to have been able to abuse Dirkie and his workshop.
Probably a later departure for Spitzkoppe tomorrow, might be weds. Then the real fun starts.

Husky having a nap at oil change time

And Biks having a nap in sympathy


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Day 9
Dirkie got back from the hospital after a major rebuild around 1130 today so I only left Walvis bay at 1230.
Stopped at my favourite restaurant this far- Gonnikontes lodge for a burger before heading up the adjacent river.
The river riding was good, although the erosion can catch you out easily.. further up the river it flattens our and is an absolute pleasure to ride.
Along the way I passed a pair of orange socks, which caught my eye. Once my brain registered I realized they were attached to a human i stopped and turned back. I met Nicolai..
Nicolai is a proper hard core overlander, we chatted for a while, and I found out he left Switzerland in 1989 and still hasn't finished. He's been through 2 Yamaha tenere 600s and an xr 600r, and. Now on his 4th bike a 650L.
The rest of the way into Spitzkoppe was a lekka 2 spoor that kept me in my toes. Passed some old mines with owls living in them, they are just begging for a closer look. Although I was pressed for time so it'll be filed under unfinished business.

Arrived at Spitzkoppe just before sunset and managed to get set up in time for a lekka show of the sun going down.
Tomorrow we head towards Uis where the fuel range anxiety really starts to get major.
But that's tomorrow Craig and Odies problem.

Moonscape near Gonnikontes

The rooster was trying to crow but it's voice hadn't broken yet

Gonnikontes restaurant. You can sit in the back of an old Toyota bakkie

They not messing around with dog kak

River beds!

Erosion almost caught me out, with the back wheel going a different route to the front

Opening out nicely

Nicolai, who has been on his adventure since before I was born
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The XR 650L, somewhere under there


My camp for the night

Dinner on the go


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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This morning started with a walk to the arch. Which I aborted when I realized that the sun was going to be up properly, and I'd have a sunburned head by the time I got back (joys of the folliclly challenged)
Packed up and left Spitzkoppe having a look at the arch on the way out.
A few km down the road I turned off into twee spoor, where I saw a sign for lemoen draai.
It turned out to be a small homestead where a single woman lives, and I chatted to her a little bit before shifting on.
Passed the Schwarze Spitzkoppe and eventually the 2spoor gave way to river beds.
Uis was a lunch and fuel stop after the obligatory ride up the old tin mine dump
From Uis I went passed brandberg and went down the valley of desolation.. as I was leaving the valley I had a moment where my concentration lapsed and I realized I was getting tired.
I hooked a bush with my right knee and didn't notice, but I lost my knee brace patella guard and tore my pants...

That didn't last long. As I got into the Huab river I got my second wind, and the river bed leant itself to a slightly faster pace... Right until I looked up.

Grey shapes near a tree with many legs and a few trunks.
4 elephant, 2 small and 2 big, were having a munch under a tree in the distance. I was far off, but was well aware of how fast they can move if they decide they don't like you.
I waited and so did the ellies.
I tried to go East, But the dunes were overgrown and I couldn't get going quick enough to ride smoothly.
West was too thick to get thru.
Half an hour later I was back, in the river in the shade waiting.
The ellies has split up and the last 2 in the river were starting to move off.
I made my break, and then saw 2 more right next to where I was planning on going. I stopped and they ambled towards me, keeping a close eye on Odie.
Eventually there were ellies on both sides of the river, so I shot the gap and went up the middle. They were absolutely massive, and a lot closer than I liked, but they weren't too bothered by me.
The relief was great, and I would have to keep the pace a bit up to make it to Twyfelfontein before sunset after getting stuck for almost an hour...
Less than 2 km later a lodge vehicle was stopped in the middle of the river which can only mean one thing.
Sure enough, I saw 3 more ellies, walking and eating their way towards me.
The closest was a massive bull, who would look at me every now and then but wasn't too phased. He came past me about 10m away and climbed the bank to munch on the bigger trees..
Just as I was about to move I see 4 more coming down the side of the river that I'm on.
The game vehicle moved but I knew I had to make a call for where I had to move. Once they got close enough I'd not have enough space to bolt.
They continued playing chicken, and won. I went back down stream and across to the other side.
Of course, so did they. They excited the river bed 8m from me with one keeping his ears wide and his body square to me. I couldn't get any pics of them super close as I wanted my hands free to ride if I had to.
Eventually I made it up the rest of the river without incident. Booked in at twyfelfontein lodge in a guides room for half price, a great end to a great day.

Sunrise between Spitzkop and sugar loaf mountain

Through the arch

I want to park under it, but thought better of that plan

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Tweespoor after lemoendraai

River beds approaching Uis

It was lekka riding

Uis from the tin mine dump


Lunch at the cactus coffee

I'm sure I've seen this one on gumtree- "needs work"

Desolation Valley

Odie pondering about why it's called desolation valley

I saw a few welwicha? But it was just a bit too hot to stop again

Surprised to see 2 other vehicles out here. They are the first ones I've seen off the big gravel highway

Road block

Flanking maneuver in action

The stopped vehicle must mean one thing....

... more road blocks

The bull keeping an eye on me

The second flanking maneuver that made me move away. They were about 10m from me at this point


The one on the far right didn't like having me so close

Salad served on a log for dinner

A wide angle, they went up the bank on the right, which was 6m from me.

The laanie accommodation this eve


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Shorter day today, arrived at camp nice and early.
This morning was a buffet breakfast, so I didn't get on the road before 9ish, but it was straight into the river bed after fueling up.
It took a minute to get into it but eventually I got the flow and stopped looking at the GPS, just riding whatever I found, as all the options came out in the same place.
I climbed a koppie because it seemed like a good idea, and was rewarded with a fantastic view, riverbed on 3 sides and the mountains extending into the distance.
It was also quite a fun little climb.
I did another one for the same reason, and again was rewarded with a fabulous view.
The riverbeds then had actual water in them, which seemed unnecessary, it just meant I'd have to slow down all the time.
Honestly I was more surprised at the water than the wildlife.
Eventually it dried up and I was just getting used to ignoring the tracks and following the river when a road block appeared.
Only 2 elephant, that went left. So the obvious answer is to go right. After a while I started the GoPro and climbed the bank separating the two sides of the river.
Sure enough, the two were not phased by my presence, but something in the back of my mind said there would be more...
I drifted into the middle of the bed and sure enough, on the right were some serious grey buildings that had trunks. I'd guess 4. Unfortunately I came up from behind a bush so I startled them.
I feel bad seeing them run, it's the same as driving my heavy ass car and accelerating hard. It just wastes energy... But I suspect they settled down soon after I passed.
Another group on the left bank, but they'd seen me before I saw them, so as I drifted by 1 of the bigger ones kept me square with his ears out, and even though I was already going past it's damm scary to be faced down by a sentient building.
No lion spoor that I saw, although I sure as hell wasn't going to stop and look.
Eventually the river bed tracks turned into tweespoor, as the beds were getting rocky, and rather than follow the meanders I was climbing over the loops and dropping in and out of the riverbeds.
The tracks were rocks and could be quite jarring if you went off the best line, I was enjoying it, but it was getting fairly hot by now, close to noon.
One riverbed entry looked smooth, so I considered turning down the river, then didn't, then did, and suddenly as one finds with a lack of commitment, I was on my arse with the bike on its side.
First fall of the trip! I was going slowly and only had some sand in one glove, but the warning was there.
I got up and for the sake of it, took the riverbed, which had one rocky bit but was otherwise good...
Not long after that I came to a small farm, and bam, I was on a wide smooth red sand road. There were no vehicle tracks visible, but lots of animal tracks.
The break was welcomed and just as I was getting bored i started crossing rivers where the erosion had taken all the surface away.

The rest of the ride was all gravel, with one stop to talk to some guys working on a bakkie with a broken engine mount, and another to speak to a mad man on a bicycle, who had done most of the route I have planned.
And people think I'm crazy!

The laanie lodge

The green is riverbed I was riding and the desert that surrounds it

The view from the koppie


Odie wondering why we going down the steep side instead of the way we went up

Second climb, I was sticking to the sand on the outside of all the bends

The back of the second koppie

The river bed entering the mountains. Possibly my favorite landscape so far

It's damp.

Very damp. My boots were wet by this point


Road block... I remembered incorrectly, I saw 3 initially

Odie remembering the ellies and wondering if a narrow riverbed is very smart

Rocky tweespoor and rockier river bed

Smoooth operator

Groot pas if I remember correctly


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Day11 started with rain. I'm not sure why,. I hadn't washed my bike?
After a few token drops the weather remembered that it was a desert and it promptly got hot.
The route for the day started with a good 50km of wide gravel that I'd done yesterday. After settling in at a comfy cruise, I started to dwaal..
A movement caught my eye, next thing I know I'm on the brakes hard and there's a lot of knees in my immediate vicinity.
A giraffe seemed unimpressed with my progress and decided to cross the road and cut me off.
Giraffe are usually seen as majestic and aloof, but they're basically horses with a weird aspect ratio, and as such get a fright and do dumb shit.

Eventually the road turned into a rocky track up a river. It was hard work but good fun. The day got hotter and after about 50km of rocks, I reached a burned area of trees. Getting into the groove I was enjoying the tracks, when I passed the skull of an elephant. It took me a while to work out what it was, and I stopped to go back and have a closer look. Once stopped I looked around.
Giraffe, springbok and zebra all looked back. I'd not seen them far off the track. But they all kept a good eye on me. The elephant skull was mind blowing, only comparable to the whale bones I found on the west coast. There was also a few bits of (probably) zebra carcass and another skull I didn't recognize there. Enough puzzling. I pushed on.

Without much more drama I reached the Klein Serengeti. Grassy hills and a lot more wide open areas, bright red sand...
The grass was high, a springbok crossed the road in front of me, and when he hit the grass on the other side only the horns and ears were visible.
Great for hiding a sandy colored cat.
Lots of elephant tracks and dung. You know it's elephant dung because if you ride into it, it deflects the front wheel like a small boulder.
I did spot some padded prints. Can't say exactly what, but one's mind jumps to the feline variety very quickly when stopped and basically blind in the grass.

I reached the Khowarib river, and followed it. It has been churned up by lots of 4x4s, so it was hard on the bike, revving high to try get on top of the sand. Having too cross the
Ruts at speed giving everything a wobbly feeling.
Lots of animal signs but I could barely take my eyes off the track for fear of falling in a hole, rut, or off a drop off.
Eventually after getting wet, the track climbs out of the river and turned into fesh fesh.
(For anyone unfamiliar, fesh fesh is usually found in dry clay that's been disturbed. It's incredibly fine dust, that looks solid on the floor, but can be very deep, and almost always hides holes, ruts and things that make you crash. It also isn't great for anything mechanical. )
After some fesh fesh, there was more, but eventually it passed and I stopped at the Khowarib lodge for lunch.
Nice setting, although they seemed surprised at my presence.
A few km up a gravel highway took me so my camp for the night, at a waterfall.
A swim and a mild sunburn later I met a French family who left France 9 months ago, and have done the entire east coast. They'll skip SA as they have heard bad things about it (although they crossed Nigeria) and are hoping to finish in Kenya..
I also pulled a nail out the back tire, and had to repair the tube, but luckily it was a fairly easy tyre to get off the bead.

I'm sitting listening to the noisy frogs probably trying to attract a mate, but it makes a nice change of background to humanity.
Tomorrow is Robbie's pass to Opowo..

My morning alertness test

Odie enjoying the shade of a palm tree

Bokkie just after the vet gate

More long horse

Striped horse

Rocky tracks

Mind bending elephant skull

More striped horse

The start of the grass in the Klein Serengeti

Panic prints

Ellie tracks

What's the opposite of pspspspspspspspss?

More damp

Road to fesh fesh


Lunch in Khowarib

Waterfall in the camp

Porridge wheel repair

The resident turtle


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Sesfontein had no fuel. This made my morning a bit less complicated. I'd go as far as I could before using the emergency fuel I've been carrying since Uis.
Breakfast at the fort and a camel back filled with ice meant I hit the road feeling good... Until I realized That I lost my buff either at the guesthouse office where I paid for my camping, or at the empty fuel station or at breakfast. I went back the few km to find it but no luck.
Nothing else to do, so off to the trail. The track got difficult quickly, and I was having to think hard about the riding.
Rocks and step ups were the first challenge. Luckily traction was good.
After a flatter section and a few villages, I approached the bottom of Robbie's pass.
I wasn't ready for the hard work of the river bed. It was boulders and rocks non stop. There was no time that I was moving that both wheels were on the ground.
I was struggling to see the "tracks" and ended up with a wall of rock in front of me, and a fight to get turned around.
By the time I got out I needed a helmet break, and while munching on Nick Nacks I found my missing buff. Around my neck 🤦‍♂
The pass ends with a massive cliff in the river that must be a great waterfall when there's water, with the trail going around it.
The rest of the ride was much easier, and I nursed the bike into Opowo with the fuel so low in the tank that I couldn't see it. I'd estimate that there was less than 100ml left.

While struggling with the rocks my bike decided that it was time for an oil change.
With all the rivers my average speed has dropped, and I was expecting to only change in Walvis bay again.
In Opowo, on a Saturday afternoon I managed to find some 20w50 mineral car oil, so hopefully the clutch won't start slipping when I'm in the deep sand.
On Monday I'll try organize some proper oil to get to me along the way..

The start of the trail

Odie wondering what we got ourselves in for

Steering is more of a suggestion in this

Brief reprieve

Spectacular mountains cut by the river

Just after the helmet break

It carried on and on

Tires are taking strain on the rocks

The cliff that signalled the exit of Robbie's pass.

The rest of the way was fairly easy with lots of fesh fesh patches

Oil change time

Sunset from camp


Pack Dog
Dec 20, 2017
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Day 13 began with a quick spin into town to get some loose sweets to give to kids along the way, and to make sure the clutch would work with this oil in the bike.. it did, so after packing up and topping off the fuel, I headed north. Big gravel roads were a slow start, but I was enjoying the scenery, but not stopping much. Swinging more east to meet the Kunene river, which marks the Angolan boarder.
I rode along the "old road" which has over grown into single door paths in places. Often I'd come across an unsuspecting Himba, usually teenagers who after the initial shock would usually smile and wave. Some would try out the English they knew, and I'd try out the very limited Hereo I know..
When the old road ran out I was stuck on the main drag. Unfortunately most of the people I saw there were very quick to ask for something... A sad side effect of the mingling of cultures.

Coming to camp I got set up, and noticed two overland vehicles who were my neighbors last night. I said hello and ended up joining them on a stroll to see the water falls... Turned out that gentle stroll doesn't translate well from French and I was on a brisk walk that took me down stream and we explored the banks of the river, then doing a short loop around 2 mountain koppies and coming into the village from the other side.
All this in my crocs, as that is all I have besides boots.
Back at camp I spy some bikes who are on a supported tour, got my first look at the 660 Aprilia and the Ducati adventure bike I can't remember the name of.
The Honda rider was working on his bike, but didn't speak much English, so we kind of pointed and nodded and gestured until neither had any clue what was going on.
I've just had a lekka dinner (in crocs) and am looking forward to bed.
Might have a rest day here tomorrow, as it looks like the next few camps are going to be fairly rough and ready, but I'll see what I feel like tomorrow.

First look at Angola

Odie looking for crocodiles

Epupa falls


The Kunene

I got my feet wet, only crocs around were the shoes though

Gentle stroll down the river - apparently


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Dec 20, 2017
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Rest day today in Eupupa, with another try at finding the front tyre leak, a new air filter and a quick once over the bike.
I managed to organise fuel for weds and then found a shop selling vetkoek for lunch. I also helped work on an Iveco van and had several swims.
Good way to rest I think, although I am looking forward to the ride tomorrow.

I wouldn't have believed the colours of this guy. Camera makes it look washed out, but it's a bright blue and orange...

Another friend

Doing a rest day properly

Baobab with its bottom roots visible