Tour 5 – The Namibian Experience
Itinerary and Summary
This is a 21-day tour which leads us from Johannesburg via the diamond city of Kimberley to the Fish River Canyon in all its glory, a quiver tree forest and a giant’s playground. A rest day in Windhoek gives us time to explore this town and in the evening we can keep our taste buds busy with a visit to Joe’s Beerhouse to sample some of their awesome dishes and beers. After Windhoek we will enjoy the stunning scenery of the gravel road cutting through the Khomas Hochland which we take to make our way to Swakopmund, a coastal town with a visible touch of German architecture prevailing. Based in Swakopmund, we will explore the Grosse Spitzkoppe and Cape Cross with its seal colony. Working our way down south, we will taste the best Apfelstrudel in the southern hemisphere at Solitaire on the way to Sesriem. A visit to the Sossusvlei dunes and the photogenic Deadvlei is obligatory. Via the small town Helmeringhausen we will travel to Aus and over to the coastal city of Luederitz. Close to Luederitz is the ghost town of Kolmanskop, reflecting life as it was during the height of the diamond trade. From there we take the road south via Rosh Pinah and through the range of the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Conservation Park. With that our stay in Namibia comes to an end and we will enter the Northern Cape. Through Namaqualand we will touch Springbok and Vanrhynsdorp, from where we cross over to Niewoudtville. You can absorb the silent beauty of the Karoo on our way down to Ceres. The following day leads us to the southernmost point of the African continent, Cape L’Agulhas. Only a short distance away, we will stay the night in Arniston. The last day will provide us once again with stunning views on the road along the coast from Arniston via Hermanus to Cape Town. You can expect a total distance of approx. 5.200 km, most of it on gravel (60%) and the balance on tar. This tour should not be tackled by novice riders, gravel experience is required. Depending on rider experience, it can be done with pillion. The gravel roads in Namibia are regularly crossed by dry river beds, which means short stretches of soft sand.
On your arrival day we will pick you up from Johannesburg’s ORTIA Airport and take you to your hotel in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. After the long flight you can relax and stretch your legs next to the swimming pool. For the energetic one’s we can organise a tour to the Apartheid Museum or the Cradle of Humankind. At dinner the tour participants will have time to meet each other and we will do a briefing of the tour routing, hand out maps and explain what to be aware of when riding a motorcycle in South Africa and Namibia.
After a short briefing on the morning of the second day, we will collect the bikes and make our way west direction via Klerksdorp and Bloemhof to the diamond city of Kimberley.
The morning of day three will be used to visit the Big Hole and learn about the history of this famous city, which played a big role in the development of the country and its various industries. After that we will continue our route to Upington in the Northern Cape.
The fourth day brings us on a short trip to Ariamsvlei, the border post to Namibia and after the necessary paperwork we cross over close to the Fish River Canyon, our destination for the day.
Day five will be started with a visit to the Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world and its stunning panoramic views displaying the forces of nature’s power. Later during the day we ride up north to Keetmanshoop to visit the Kokerboom Forest and the Giant’s playground, which will make you wonder what happened here as it really deserves its name.
The sixth day is used to cover a bit of distance and we continue the road to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. We are staying in Windhoek for two nights and on day seven the bikes can take a rest as we will be exploring Windhoek and its various treasures and historical buildings, to be rounded off with the delicacies and beers at Joe’s Beerhouse.
On day eight once again you will be surprised by the sheer beauty of Namibia when we take the gravel road from Windhoek to Swakopmund through the Khomas Hochland. Plan for a few extra stops just to absorb the magnificent scenery and to take pictures.
Day nine will provide another highlight of the tour when we approach the mountain massive of the Spitzkoppe.This imposing outcrop is about 1.829m high and is also called the Matterhorn of Namibia. You can view some of the bushman’s paintings on natural display. From the Spitzkoppe we will carry on to visit the seal colony at Cape Cross before returning back to Swakopmund.
Swakopmund and its typical German architecture will leave you breathless after a couple of days cruising through this barren land, it is something one simply does not expect. The day will leave you time to explore the city, check out its restaurants and pubs, or go quad biking or paragliding in the dunes. The evening can be wound up by fresh sea food and a cold drink of choice in any of the restaurants along the sea front promenade.
On day eleven we will say good bye to Swakopmund to continue our route to Sesriem, a gem in the middle of the Namib Naukluft desert which is a must during any Namibia trip. En route we will pass the little town of Solitaire, which is famous for the best apple strudel in the country. Sesriem will surprise you with a stunning sundowner, exquisite views and the night sound of the desert, which you will not forget for a long time. Sometimes it is hard to leave such extraordinary places. Find out for yourselves.
Day twelve will see us taking a safari vehicle to bring us to the Sossusvlei, with its display of desert animals, amongst others the majestic gemsbok, springbok and austriches, moving between the dunes, which are amongst the highest sand dunes on our planet. An early ascent is advisable as temperatures rise quickly, furthermore, pictures taken in the early morning light are just so much better. After the climb onto one of the dunes, take your time to stroll over to Dead Vlei, another gem of the Namib Naukluft desert and make sure to have enough memory space on your camera. You will shoot a lot!
From Sesriem day thirteen carries us along the Namib Naukluft Park to the small place of Helmeringhausen where we will stay for the night. A short detour en route will allow us to visit the Duwisib castle before reaching Helmeringhausen.
Day fourteen continues the route from Helmeringhausen down to Aus and we may be lucky to spot some of the last feral horses which live in this area. From Aus we stay on tarmac until we reach the seaside town of Luederitz.
We take a few hours out of riding on day fifteen, as we will be visiting the ghost town of Kolmanskop, which is slowly eaten up by the desert. It used to be a highly developed little town during the diamond boom in the early 1900’s and its history is astounding and not to be missed. In the afternoon we continue the route to our next stop, the small town of Aus.
Day sixteen will take us from Aus to the mining town of Rosh Pinah, from where the road goes along the Orange River through the awesome Ai-AisRichtersveld Transfrontier Conservation Park to our destination just shortly before the border post of Noordoewer/Vioolsdrif.
With the border post coming up and the formalities taking place, we kept day seventeen relatively short regarding the distance and will ride to the centre of Namaqualand’s town of Springbok to stay over.
Day eighteen will lead us mainly on tar to Vanrhynsdorp, where we continue eastwards via the Vanrhyns Pass to Niewoudtville. Back on to gravel we ride south to stay at Papkuilsfontein.
Moving further south from Papkuilsfontein the route passes the Cederberg Wilderness Area through beautiful valleys to the town of Ceres (day nineteen).
On day twenty we move on to Montagu on Route 62 and further via Stormsvlei and Bredasdorp to the southernmost point of the African continent, Cape L’Agulhas. After taking the obligatory pictures as proof of having been here, we carry on to the destination of the day, Arniston.
Although day twenty one being the last day, it is still peppered with a fantastic route from Arniston to a lunch break in Hermanus, to possibly watch some Southernright Whales. From there we keep riding along the stunning coastal road via Kleinmond to Gordon’s Bay, a couple of stops for taking photos guaranteed. Eventually we will reach Cape Town to return the motor cycles.
Tour price: ZAR 106 500.00 with BMW F700GS
Add ZR 2 100.00 for BMW F800GS
Add ZAR 10 000.00 for BMW R1200GS LC
Included: 20 night’s accommodation, all dinners and breakfasts, tour guide, Sossusvlei Excursion, Kolmanskop visit, back-up vehicle/driver
Minimum: 5 participants