(Day 5) 4 April 2011 (Okahanja – Rundu)
Distance for the day – 657 km Odometer – 2 693 km
Hours on the Bike – 06:39
Donations up to date for Adelaide Hospital – R46 627.00
The goal yesterday was to get the post for the day out before going to bed. This meant that Richard and Rufus had less sleep than the other two. The agreement was to leave at 06:00 for the long stretch to Rundu but nearly did it a hour early, because Stelios had his alarm still set on SA time. The campsite at Okahanja was good and all facilities were clean.
We left at day break and saw the sun rise over the mountains east of Okahanja. The colours were intense, caused by dust particles in the air.
The day progressed well, with the nicest time to ride in the early morning before temperatures start to rise and the wind picks up. We experienced a bit of a side wind, which could sometimes make the ride difficult, especially when it is gusty. The landscape varied a lot and we started to see more big trees, and some sections even Palm trees.
We routed via Otavi and stopped for a quick cup of coffee. A group from Angola approached us for some photographs in front of our bikes. We only realised afterwards that just about nothing of the bikes could be seen, because there were too many of us.
Mr. “Always in a hurry” Bennett then took off while Stelios and Rufus were still getting their kit on. He took a wrong turn and headed off into the distance with Norman trying to keep up. The other two patiently waited at the 2m by 6m signboard with the directions to Grootfontein. After a few minutes we herd them coming back, after they realized they had made a mistake and knew what the excuse was going to be before Richard shouted it out – “the bloody GPS!” Be it as it may, one thing is for sure the darn things even makes you “blind” and erases all sense of direction.
We arrived at Grootfontein before noon and had lunch at the local Hotel. After lunch Rufus and Norman headed of to a Motorbike shop called Northern Bikes and Quads. Norman lost his one glove and Rufus enquired to get a spare carburettor diaphragm for his bike. The owner, Johan and his son Duan understood our dilemma and said that they could give us a second hand spare, which they took off an old bike. It was to good to be true and one hour later the noisy thumpers were eating up the tarmac en route, 264km’s to Rundu.
The group pulled over for a rest with 130km’s to go and met up with two young German cyclists, Tim Starck and Fabian Nawrath, heading in the same direction, all the way from Cape Town. Now for those of you that thought we had rocks in our heads, imagine travelling from Cape Town to Cairo on a bicycle? – No engine and a seat that will change your walk for life. Up to this point they already were on the road for one month and had six to go.
The last stretch before Rundu went through the Okovango Homelands, which we asume will be similar through most of the roads up north to follow. You had to be wary of pedestrians and animals along the road.
It was a long but enjoyable day and Norman this time provided us with laughter when he nearly dropped his bike at the filling station. In an attempt to catch the falling bike his helmet bounced like a soccer ball to the one side and he also managed to rip his tank bank off. This needed some sewing work done at our camp site.
Stelios also provided some amusement when he rode his bike into the one and only hole in the camp site. Being short, this was the first time he could put both feet down while touching the ground. Tomorrow it is the Caprivi Strip and hopefully some game spotting.