My route so far:
On Saturday morning Uwe and I left Lambert’s Bay early and set off through thick mist and dirt roads. The feeling was mystical – the sunlight filtering through the fog, only barely revealing an apocalyptic wasteland of burnt trees and sand. By 10 in the morning the grey began clearing and a rainbow burst through. We got slightly lost on the back roads and I fell twice in patches of sand that took me by surprise. Faced with the sudden realization that it was too late I couldn’t make up my mind whether to slow down to a crawl and waddle through it or stand up and speed through. That indecision was my unmaking. The second time my foot was caught under the aluminium panniers. The pain was excruciating but while I honked my horn helplessly the thought ran through my mind that if Uwe wasn’t with me I would have been in big trouble.
We crossed into Namibia through Vioolsdrift in the late afternoon and arrived at the campsite on the banks of the Orange River, by dark. The view next morning was the first taste of how beautiful Namibia can be.
Just picture it. Early morning. Air wonderfully chilly, wind whipping your cheeks. The sunrise starts to color the earth and you are driving on a motorcycle through a new, incredible country. It’s a feeling that it is hard to put in words. The gravel road wound along the Orange River from Noordower to Rosh Pinah, and when I wasn’t bumping up and down like a yo-yo I managed to snap a few pictures.
After 100 kilometers the road changed to tar, and there, on our way to Aus, I celebrated 10,000 km with my bike! Another milestone, and god it feels great!
We slept at Aus and the next morning, Monday, began driving towards the sand dunes of Sossusvlei. We did not make it. About 25 kilometers in I fishtailed in deep sand and rolled with the bike. I remember standing on it, turning the throttle and praying that I make it out. The next thing I remember is opening my eyes to a helmet filled with dirt, kneeling with my knees bent below me. The bike’s windscreen had broken off and one of the panniers was beyond repair. The handlebars were bent and steering through the gravel became impossible. We turned back around and, with my tail between my legs, starting the two-day drive towards Windhoek to repair the bike.
It was a big blow to my confidence. If I can’t make it up these roads, how can I make it through Africa? I felt like a failure. I felt that I am not a good enough rider. I felt that my judgement was flawed in picking the wrong bike, one that is too heavy, for the journey. Maybe I should just cut my losses, turn around to Cape Town and sell my bike before it’s too late. The other voice in my head said – you are not a failure! You’re daring to try, chasing your dreams. You are here, you are doing this! Even if you don’t make it to Ethiopia – you’ll learn so much from this journey. Noam, my mother and Uwe all helped me feel much better. And after meeting so many bikers who fell on the same road, and some who had severe accidents, I felt less critical of my riding ability. It can happen to anyone, regardless of riding ability. I got away luckily without so much as a scratch.
The road up to Windhoek revealed more of Namibia’s beauty. Yellow grass, green thorny trees and eternally clear, blue sky. We arrived in Windhoek at the house of Uwe’s sister. The bike has been sent off to the garage to get fixed up. I can’t wait to get going again.