Friday, July 30, 2010

The North West

Warm greetings to you all,

This comes to you from the South Western Kalahari desert region, specifically a small dusty desert town called Augrabies. The world cup is over, the vuvuzelas are no more, the landscape surrounding us right now is out of this world and we are about to take our first hot air baloon ride over the Kalahari desert. But first, let's take a quick step back...

Since we last spoke we have journeyed again through the magical Kruger National Park, struggled to recite words to old songs singing through our helmet intercom systems, spent great time with friends from the past and present, devoured copious ammounts of the worlds greatest biltong that now resides blissfully above my belt, and battled with severe weight overload on Yele (our trusty steed).
I've said it before and I will say it again, no matter how many times you experience the Kruger, each visit seems to surpass the one before. On this occasion, we came between an elephant matriarch and one of it's baby clan. See me for what not to do in such an occasion. Hint: Keep your entire body in the car and have the car in gear for an emergency get away! We were unbelievably lucky to have come face to face with two male lions on the road and perhaps even more fortunate to have been able to sit alongside a young leopard who was absolutely gorgeous. All pics of animals at Kruger by Paul, Karla and Joshua (my 7 year old nephew who takes unbelievable photos!)

After spending some great time with friends and family and in a whirlwind of emotions, we loaded up Yele for our departure and soon realised that we were going to have some issues. Karla could almost not fit on the bike! Some major reshuffling of gear and decisions to leave some things behind happened and just like that we were off! Heading west....

We journeyed through and stayed in small towns, ate food, slept in freezing rooms and came to grips with how we would be spending the next six months. We have a fantastic intercom system, this allowed to us to talk and sing and look absolutely ridiculous to passing cars. There were at times hands in the air as we remembered those good ole days although each song recital was short lived due to not being able to remember much.

Yele is runnning amazingly well considering the load. Fuel stops thus far are easily achievable with a little planning although we have two jerries on board for those long stretches. The general rule seems to be, if you see a fuel station, fill her up, regardless of when last you did. The roads thus far have been absolutely incredible, everything was majorly upgraded for the world cup so right now all roads, around Johannesburg at least, are amazing to drive on. I have heard however that the tolling system will commence soon and then it remains to be seen what happens in terms of usage etc.

As for where we are now, the Kalahari region is an amazing place. The light and colours leave for amazing photographs. These pics don't really do the place justice but the space and silence can at times be quite astounding. For the most part thus far, I get off the bike and all I can hear is my head ringing. I look out through the desert plains and all I can hear is my buzzing ears. I tell myself, the silence is amazing, but I am waiting to hear what happens when there is no ringing in my ears. Watch this space... We have experienced serious wind while driving too. As we are a moving mass of just under 400 kg's every big gust of wind has us leaning into the wind at sometimes quite unnerving angles. Never mind...

This is however our last stop in South Africa. Tomorrow we head over the border into Namibia. We are expecting good times and even more wide open spaces. They tell me that the biltong is even better there than here, bring that on I say!

Hoping that all in your lives is happy and healthy.

Big love

P and K xxx