Automatic translation
SpanishPortugueseFrenchGermanItalianRussian
Supporters

Motoraid

 

REV'IT!

 

3P Racing

 

ELPA

 

eXTra Products

 

PlanetSim

 

Baja Designs

 

Travel Bookstore

 

NRG

 

Sena

 

Motomax

 

Flipped Horizons

   

Οικονομική Μακεδονίας

 

Moto Market

 

Cobrra

 

Atlas Panniers

 

Fifth Element

 

ANEK

 

Bikegear

 

Ω2

Namibia: Shining like a diamond!

   Heading south through gravel roads, I reached Lüderitz, another one city where the influence of the German colonizers is obvious until today. I also enjoyed a relaxing ride around the deserted and windy beaches of the peninsula that protects the city from the wild Atlantic Ocean waves.

The Atlantic coastline around Lüderitz can be dangerous...

The Atlantic coastline around Lüderitz can be dangerous…

   A place that I definitely wanted to visit was Kolmanskop. This village was established in the desert in 1908 when a local worker found a diamond in the area and without knowing how much it was worth, he showed it to his German supervisor. They figured out that there were so many diamonds in the area that sometimes they didn’t even have to dig the ground to find them! As expected, the German government soon declared the area forbidden to everybody. German miners started to gather immediately, while of course the locals were the ones that were used for the heavy labor.

These wild horses have been adapted to the harsh conditions of Namib, the world’s eldest desert and they are now characterized as a special breed. I think one of them actually fell in love with Baobabis!

These wild horses have been adapted to the harsh conditions of Namib, the world’s eldest desert and they are now characterized as a special breed. I think one of them actually fell in love with Baobabis!

   The security precautions out of fear of diamond theft were very harsh. The workers’ hands and legs were tied and they were left to look for diamonds crawling on the ground. They were even mouth gagged so that they would not swallow any diamonds and transfer them in their body. Despite all that, many workers had thought tricks beyond imagination just to grab one of those precious stones and change their whole life. They even used pigeons to secretly transfer the diamonds! This led pigeon ownership to be forbidden in the area up until today.

Once upon a time Kolmanskop and Lüderitz were Southern Africa’s richest cities. Now everything cries abandonment...

Once upon a time Kolmanskop and Lüderitz were Southern Africa’s richest cities. Now everything cries abandonment…

   The city of Lüderitz and nearby Kolmanskop were Southern Africa’s richest cities at that time. At Kolmanskop, in the middle of the desert, they had installed pipes to bring water from the sea. Then they could make ice for the Germans to cool their beers! They even had a big swimming pool. Tons of drinking water were carried overland by that era’s means of transport… Tons of coal were imported from South Africa so that the electric power plant could operate. The settlement also provided a school, a casino, a bowling alley and a theater where famous artists were coming all the way from Europe to entertain the diamond miners. That was also the place were Africa’s first tram was introduced and it also facilitated a hospital equipped with the first X-ray machine in southern hemisphere! Do not jump to conclusions that the German employers were worried about the health of their workers. The X-rays were used to find out if anybody was hiding a diamond inside his body, a technique that is common even today! Imagine that the workers were not allowed to leave the settlement for the entire two years their contract was on…

The diamond miners could even enjoy bowling while living at the settlement of Kolmanskop...

The diamond miners could even enjoy bowling while living at the settlement of Kolmanskop…

   I rode some gravel roads again to reach Fish River Canyon. On the way my motorcycle’s engine started to stall. While I was riding the endless straight roads with a steady speed of 70 km/h (43.5 mph), I did not notice any problem . But while I was slowing down, I was realizing that the engine was not working properly. I thought that I should clean the carburetor since I had been riding thousands of kilometers in rough off-road conditions with fuel of uncertain quality.

Cleaning my carburetor from the desert dust.

Cleaning my carburetor from the desert dust.

   I did actually remove some dirt from my carburetor, despite I have a fuel filter installed! The weird thing though was that the problem was not solved. I was now at a lower altitude than before and I thought that maybe the valves’ clearance should be adjusted since the heat might have led them to remain open. I wild camped at a beautiful place in front of the canyon and I let the engine to cool off completely. In the morning I adjusted the valves’ clearance, which I had neglected for 11,500 km (7,146 miles). Unfortunately that was not the solution either…

One of the few trees in that area offered me its shade to wild camp while gazing at the Fish River Canyon and adjust the valves' clearance.

One of the few trees in that area offered me its shade to wild camp while gazing at the Fish River Canyon and adjust the valves’ clearance.

   The first thing I did was to check whether there was a spark at the spark plug or not and that fooled me. When I checked again, I realized that the spark was not steady and strong. That led me to the correct conclusion… The suspects were: the CDI, the ignition coil and the alternator, with the first one being the more plausible. While traveling with Christina, diagnosing faults was a piece of cake! I was exchanging the suspected spare parts between the motorbikes and I could immediately spot the problem. But this time I was traveling alone in the desert of Namibia and there were no spare parts within a range of thousands of kilometers!

Time to forget the problems for a while and enjoy the sunset over the canyon…

Time to forget the problems for a while and enjoy the sunset over the canyon…

   I struggled and made it to a settlement where fortunately my mobile phone could get some reception! Thanks to PlanetSim that works all over the world! I called Dimitris Katigiannis from NRG, the mechanic that always saves me in situations like this… He suggested an old trick that I would never have thought of; to hit hard the CDI in case the problem was caused by poor connection or something and can be temporarily solved by hitting the unit.

Those endless dirt roads of Namibia stole my heart away!

Those endless dirt roads of Namibia stole my heart away!

   I fitted all the parts on my motorbike again, I pressed the start button and everything was working fine! I could finally go on after two days of searching for the problem! I had hundreds of off-road kilometers ahead of me and I was hoping everything would function properly until I reach Cape Town in South Africa, where I would be able to find a permanent solution…

With my motorcycle running properly again, it was time to enjoy the Fish River Canyon, which is considered to be the second largest canyon of the world, after the Grand Canyon!

With my motorcycle running properly again, it was time to enjoy the Fish River Canyon, which is considered to be the second largest canyon of the world, after the Grand Canyon!

   With the problem solved, obviously more relaxed, I visited the Fish River Canyon. It is considered to be the second largest canyon of the world, after the Grand Canyon, but this depends on the way somebody measures a canyon. It is definitely impressive, anyway! I reached Aussenkehr, where I was hosted in a huge vineyard at the banks of Orange River that separates Namibia from South Africa.

It is strange that Aussenkehr, despite it sits in a desert, is full of vineyards!

It is strange that Aussenkehr, despite it sits in a desert, is full of vineyards!

   That was where I ran across a dilemma. I wanted to make a long detour heading west and enjoy the picturesque and quiet off-road route next to the river. I would enter in South Africa through some forgotten border that one can reach after crossing the river on a barge. As I wasn’t sure if the CDI would keep functioning properly, I was thinking if it is more wise to take the paved road to reach South Africa through the quick and easy way. Well, you know me, what do you think I did? After all, I had already covered thousands of kilometers on dirt roads and the motorcycle was running perfectly well!

There’s no way I would miss entering South Africa off-road! The /Ai/Ais - Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is offering a much more appealing alternative than the paved road ;-)

There’s no way I would miss entering South Africa off-road! The /Ai/Ais – Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is offering a much more appealing alternative than the paved road 😉

   I spent an entire month at this amazing country and I realized that I was dreaming about it all these years for a reason! I explored it thoroughly and I feel satisfied and complete. I rode almost 5,000 km (3,107 miles) in Namibia and 3,000 (1,864 miles) of them were far away from the boring tar! This is an even greater percentage of off-road riding than we had in Mauritania, Guinea or the Democratic Republic of the Congo!

On a barge, I said goodbye to Namibia leaving with the best impressions!

On a barge, I said goodbye to Namibia leaving with the best impressions!


 

Here you can watch the second part of the video about my adventures in Namibia:

Soundtracks (Namibian music):
Blossom – I wanna be free
A Hand-Full of Namibians & Papa Wemba – Nhamo (Mbira 1)

 

Where is mad nomad
Τα βιβλία μου

Κυκλοφόρησε το βιβλίο σχετικά με το ταξίδι μου στην Αφρική και τη Μέση Ανατολή!

 

Ταξιδεύω άρα υπάρχω

Ταξιδεύω άρα υπάρχω   Facebook

Newsletters
Loading...Loading...


TED Talks

Η ομιλία μου στο TEDx Komotini

TEDx
Interview

Ντοκιμαντέρ σχετικά με το greece2india

Asia
Awarded by
Jupiter's Traveller