Through the Namib-Naukluft NP: Swakopmund to Windhoek

20 August 2010

I dipped my feet in Atlantic, it was too cold to swim. There is some symbolism in the itinerary that I've chosen for this year's tour: it goes from one coast to the other of another continent. Last year I rode North America coast-to-coast, this year it is Africa. A few more years, and I'll be around the world in stages.
Swakopmund to Valvisbai road
Seaside resort
From Swakopmund I rode to Valvisbay, then turned inland on the gravel #C14. I refilled three bottles with water in Valvisbay and bought another 0,5 l drink at the Valvisbay airport. That's 3,75 liters which should last for the next 350 km, so I thought. The first day was Ok, overcast skies, warm but not hot, I didn't use up much water. I rode two or three hours after sunset, until 21:00, then I made a camp on rock-solid ground. 

The end of asphalt at Valvisbay airport
Freedoooom, ..., Freeeedooooom

Vogelvederberg, an Uluru-like monolith
Aloe Dichotoma
The next day, however, was different. The mist dissolved early in the morning and by the noon the thermometer already showed 32 °C. A few hours later it was 37 °C. The road was now of an up-and-down, roller-coaster variety, with frequent, short but steep uphills with pools of soft gravel at the base of them which absorbed all your momentum as you rode into them from a previous downhill. I drank most of my water by the end of the day. According to my cue sheet, there was only one place before Windhoek (Weissenfels guestf arm) with some certainty to get water, and it was 80 km away. And there were three passes still ahead. As I laid in my tent that evening I had a few thoughts of how I might deal with the lack of water. One of them is to collect my urine in the morning. I actually did, but fortunately hadn't had a chance of drinking it - Weissenfels guesthouse saved my life.

Solitaire/Windhoek crossroad on #C14, obviously

A piece of aspfalt before Kuisberg pass

  Springboks (if you look carefully)

No need to look - no springboks here.

Day 4: 138 km. Day 5: 108 km. Day 6: 92 km. Day 7: 61 km. Total: 816 km.

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