AUS TO DUWISIB
This was to be an interesting day. We were leaving all tar behind for good - making our way in the direction of Swakopmund. After our horrid sandy road experience near Rosh Pinah, Lisa had some trepidation about what lay ahead. To make matters even more exciting the famed D707 was on our itinerary.
Even local Namibians have something to say about their D707. One German lady mentions this about the 'most scenic road in Namibia': 'Beautiful to look at but horrible to ride'. Food for thought indeed.
But the views truly are spectacular and it's well worth the ride. Be warned though - there are NO trees for the first 90km's of the 120km stretch. Once again we found a good use for the old umbrella! A couple of vehicles came past us and the looks ranged from perplexed amazement to almost hysterical laughter.
Let me put things in perspective on the D707. The only reason it might be perceived as bad is that it has a section of thick(ish) sand as well as a really rocky part (coming from the Betta side). It's no worse than most other Namibian D-roads. In fact, we were to learn soon that roads can get a LOT worse! The pictures here also shows the road in excellent condition. As we all know: when the going gets tough, the camera gets put away. Or something like that!
Regardless, for most bikers with gravel road experience, these roads should not pose any problem. When it does become a bit more difficult is when the loose stuff gets looser, the sandy parts gets sandier and the pillion gets stressed! Especially on a heavy, loaded bike. The hard part really is to read the surface correctly as the colour of the road keeps changing. Eventually, you learn where the better part of the road is and just pick your line accordingly.
One misread caused a slight fishtail into some heavy sand with the front wheel eventually diving to the side. I just managed to catch it in time and a shaky Lisa preferred to walk for the next bit. The Tiger was so heavy that even with her off the bike I could hardly get any momentum - the road-biased rear tyre flaying helplessly, managing only to spray a bow of desert sand!
It was hard work at times and we stopped at every shady spot we found. Most of them pretty poor for shade but it was a break at least! The views stayed spectacular though.
Finally reaching some firmer surface we spotted a HUGE tree by the roadside. Too tempting to ignore I pointed the Tiger off the road into a shady spot. Realising my error of judgement too late the heavy machine ploughed into the sandy banks - we were stuck.
Lunch first though. Must have been the green that attracted them as we were suddenly swamped by hordes of persistent, sticky flies. Making and eating lunch became a bit of an ordeal - Lisa eventually consigned to pulling her shirt over her head just to have some peace! Just. wasn't. our. day.
The green beast needed to be extracted eventually and it proved no easy task. Digging furrows in front of the wheels were of little help as the rear wheel could find zero traction on the powdery surface. Covered in sand and sweat we removed every last piece of luggage and tried again. Some huffing, sweating and swearing we managed to make it back to the road. Lesson learnt.
From there it was a short hop to Betta. We made a beeline for the kiosk and downed a cold beer. Much better.
Betta was swelteringly hot. Even the flies preferred the shady spots. Fuel was available - if I started the generator. Man was it hot! We hit the road in the direction of Duwisib - eventually ending up at the backside of the castle.
The caretaker was slightly indignant as we came strolling through the castle after entering through the back door! Hey, nothing like a free tour - especially as there's not that much to see. He seemed confused at first when I asked about camping. Perhaps it was the heat. We were the only people there and we could pick our spot.
Man, it was hot! To be honest, at that time I wasn't sure why exactly why we went there. In retrospect, we should've kept towards Sesriem. But we made it there and the days ride had taken it's toll so we took a cold (ok more like lukewarm) shower and relaxed. Did I mention that it was hot?
Distance for the day: 300kms