Across the border in an hour isn’t bad except we’ve been led to believe that this is the easiest border we’ll meet until the EU. The former homeland of Namibia welcomes us in though, and there’s a stream of 4WD vehicles heading south from Namibia’s National Park playground on this, the last day of the school holidays.
It’s getting late in the day and accommodation seems a faint hope until we stumble upon Felix’s camping ground on the banks of the Orange River, a lush green interruption to what is now arid desert – the wonders of river bank irrigation reminds one of the banks of the Indus river up in Ladakh where similarly they use irrigation to make the desert bloom.
Carlos our host quickly starts teasing us about the forthcoming drumming NZ is apparently going to get at the World Cup so it is somewhat satisfying next morning to gather around the bar and witness the 33-6, last 15 minute defeat of the Bok’s 3rd team. None of us are confident enough however to boast of a World Cup win – that’s Kiwis for you.
Every road off the main highway is now metal so our first taste of the grip of the grit isn’t long coming as we ride west into Fish River Canyon. Two up on the Dakar seems to suit it fine and before long we’re motoring along at 90 kph on the gravel stretches through what could be the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico – except it’s the Namibian, just west of the Kalahari.
Whispers of sand deal the bike the odd untidy transit but the speed is sufficient to keep us nimble. Tomorrow we enter the dunes of the Namibian however – they promise to be a little more challenging.