Exploring North Namibia by motorcycle

· 4 min read · namibia water

Riding in Angola was a blast, but after a week of camping and a crossing into Namibia, it was time to rest. Two nights in Ongwediwa was perfect. Another reason was to rest was to fix some gear. For example, a puncture in my camping mattress meant I would wake to a deflated mattress every morning. Over the two days, multiple items were fixed at the mercy of my hands! I'm writing notes on every item to eventually post reviews here on my website.

Refreshed and fixed, I rode to a campground next to Ruacana falls. Campgrounds do not exist from what I've seen in West and Central Africa. Namibia is much more geared towards tourists so easier to explore. This is where I camped at Ruacana.

Community campground at Ruacana Falls, Namibia.

I'd heard Ruacana falls was dry because of the drought in Namibia. Wasn't wrong! I could hear water, but it was tricky to see when peering down.

Drought meant there was no water at Ruacana Falls, Namibia.

I followed the track next to River Cunene along the border with Angola. One mile into the track, I pulled over on a hill to take a photo. Thought the hill was shallow, so I didn't put my motorcycle in gear to prevent it rolling down the hill. It wasn't! My motorcycle rolled forward, off the side stand, and tumbled to the ground.

Bike rolled off side stand because I misjudged the steepness of the hill. Between Ruacana and Epupa, Namibia.

Couldn't lift it, so dragging the bike on the ground rotated it so the wheels were down the hill and seat was up the hill. I felt bad because it was harsh on my motorcycle, but it made the lift possible.

Route from Ruacana to Epupa, Namibia.

There were a few tricky sections from Ruacana but a fantastic ride. It's dry season and Namibia had very little rainfall over the past year. Riding down a bank into a dried up river bed, there was soft sand at the bottom. I wasn't prepared and came off again!

Every day, people ask me for money. I rarely give money because I'm often unconvinced it will be spent on essentials. May seem harsh, but it's hard to know if it really is the right thing to do. Today, a Himba girl asked me for water. She clasped an empty plastic bottle and was next to a stagnant pool of water. I didn't think twice. I filled up her bottle.

Hungry, but happy with the ride, I arrived in Epupa and headed straight to the local shop. My expectations were high yet all they had to eat immediately was biscuits. O well, I bought two packets.

Had a nice chat with a tour guide, Eric. He told me that the border with Angola used to be 75 Km south of Epupa, but Angola gave land to Nambia so they had access to water from River Cunene, which now defines the border from Ruacana to the coast.

I'd been in Namibia for about 4 days now, and I was still on the border! Riding South, I met a South African couple riding a BMW GS 1200 and a 650 on their vacation. The guy had ridden Van Zyl's pass five times. He said the first time nearly killed him. Needless to say, I'm not daft enough to attempt it solo!

Most of the roads I'd ridden in Namibia have been hard packed gravel. Some of the route from Epupa to Sesfontein cut through the hills.

Route from Epupa to Sesfontein, Namibia.
Route from Epupa to Sesfontein, Namibia.

On my way to Uis, I tried posing with my motorcycle for photos. My camera is operated by voice command, so I felt like a muppet shouted the commands in the middle of nowhere!

Playing with camera in North Namibia.
Playing with camera in North Namibia.

Forgot where this was taken, but it was as soon as I'd setup camp and could relax!

Me as soon as I

I'd heard of a good fish and chip restaurant in Henties Bay, but before I made it there, I had a message from Evan and Jaakko. They were in Swakopmund, which was about 50 miles South. I joined them at a backpacker hostel just in time for the weekend!

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