Namibia

The Zambian/Namibian border crossing was the easiest I have ever undertaken. The whole thing took fifteen minutes and that included time spent changing money. The difference between the two countries is immediately noticeable. About 2 km from the border there is a petrol station with food and even a restaurant. Here I also had to pay some “cross border charges” for some reason. I only found this out when I was sent back by a cop from a checkpoint 10 km outside town.

The main roads in Namibia are smooth, flat, straight and really boring but I had no choice only to stay on them. The main and needle bearings in my final drive (rear wheel) started to fail in southern Tanzania and they have been steadily getting worse. If I didn’t stay on the smooth main roads the bike would suffer a lot more damage. The main bearing is easy enough to get but the needle bearing is BMW specific. I didn’t want to try and replace the main in case the needle baring falls to pieces in the process so I had no choice but to ride on and head for Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.

Along the way I came across a sign warning for elephants in the area. About 2 km later I spotted a mother and calf, another 5 km later a whole heard of these wild beasts crossed the road right in front of me. I was able to get to within 20 meters of them before they took notice of my presence. One or two started to come towards me so I thought it best to ride a little further away. These were truly majestic wild beasts. I feel honoured to have been the only one around and to have been able to get so close to them.

I spent the night at the magnificent N’Kwazi Lodge situated on the banks of the Okavango River about 20km outside the town of Rundu. The waters here are full of hippo and crocs so it’s best to swim in the pool. I also had the best meal of the whole trip here, eating Impala for the first but defiantly not the last time. During dinner wild birds and strange wild cats wandered into the restaurant snatching food when no one was looking, well I was looking but I couldn’t have cared less, there was plenty to go round.

From Rundu I rode 800 km to Windhoek in one sitting. I reached the town about 4pm found a place to stay and had a few beers while waiting for BMW to reopen the next morning. At 8am I was outside the garage with my fingers crossed that they could fix my bike. I really wanted to get back to the dirt roads and out to the coast. The mechanic took one look at it and told me he didn’t have the parts, in fact he didn’t have any parts, I think I had more spare bike parts then him but unfortunately I didn’t have the right ones. He rang BMW in Cape Town to order them but they were closed as it was a public holiday there. Because he wouldn’t have been able to order them until Tuesday it would be Friday at the earliest before the parts would arrive and guess what, they were closed on Friday. I had no choice but to ride on but first I changed the oil in the final drive to see if it contained any bits of metal. There were a few tiny pieces in the oil which had me worried and gripping the bars tighter as I rode out of town. If these bearing went the whole final drive would most likely seize up and have me careering into whatever lay in my path. Subsequently I had to keep the speed down to 104km. The back wheel found a sweet spot and stopped wobbling at this speed.

There were many things I wanted to see in Namibia but unfortunately I will have to wait till a later time. I didn’t want to risk riding the bike in this state any further than I had to so I just headed for South Africa. Along the way I stopped off at little lodge outside Keetmansshoop for the night. From here it was a short 300km to the South African border.

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