Fish river to the Vaal river

With a new clutch, and you can tell the difference when driving, fuel leak fixed and the handbrake adjusted, we set off westwards from Kolmanskop towards our next destination, the Fish River Canyon. Another well known tourist spot in Namibia, reputed to be the second deepest canyon after the Grand Canyon in the USA. After so much dirt road driving, its quite pleasurable to be on tar again. The temperature rises quickly and we are soon back into the high 30’s after the cool of Lüderitz.

Quiver tree, Namibia

Quiver tree, Namibia


We cross the Fish river and turn south on the C12, the surface seems a little rough for such an important road, but as we progress further south I realise that due to a washout, the authorities have moved the C12 to an adjacent road. The map I used to navigate here is out of date, but the GPS is correct. Always worth cross checking each of the map/GPS sources if you have them.

The fish river canyon is not crowded and we are able to wander along the edge alone surveying the vastness and depth of the canyon. Due to the heat, the Park Authorities have closed the walking trails, not that I would want to walk far anyway.

Looking south down the Fish river canyon.

Looking south down the Fish river canyon.


Looking west over the Fish river canyon.

Looking west over the Fish river canyon.

Breakfast at the edge of the canyon early next morning is our last in Namibia. Coffee and tea in hand, we watch the sunrise, through the clouds highlighting different facets of the rock below us.

Fish river canyon lookout for breakfast.

Fish river canyon lookout for breakfast.


Anyone identify this plant at the Fish river canyon?

Anyone identify this plant at the Fish river canyon?


During some of our travels the road has paralleled railway lines. In the north of the country the railway is used to transport petroleum products to major centres from Walvis Bay. Thus keeping the petroleum tankers off the roads, not a bad thing. We have seen no trains in the south, however we have been told that the Chinese have been rehabilitating the railway from Lüderitz to the junction at Seeheim. We had not seen a single train south of Seeheim, which is the link to South Africa, until we came across a loco and single carriage heading north out of Karasburg.
Engine and one coach leaving Karasburg

Engine and one coach leaving Karasburg


Enthusiastic locals at Karasburg Namibia.

Enthusiastic locals at Karasburg Namibia.


As we head towards the South African border, I reflect on all we have seen and done here in Namibia. We have covered a significant distance, met interesting people and seen a diverse set of landscapes. It would have been nicer to have more temperate weather, but perhaps the remote areas would have been more populated with 4×4 vehicles and then less to our liking. All in all we have had a fabulous time.

We pass Sishen, which is the 11th largest iron ore mine in the world, measured by remaining reserves. Infastructure stretches into the distance. Mining equipment, rail networks, shopping centres and housing. I understand that only 18 years of reserves exist at the current location and wonder what happens if no more commercial reserves are developed?

Sishen iorn ore mine in Kathu, Northern Cape Province

Sishen iorn ore mine in Kathu, Northern Cape Province


Our first rain - with double rainbow

Our first rain – with double rainbow


Leading up to Red Sands Lodge, South Africa

Leading up to Red Sands Lodge, South Africa


Our first destination back in South Africa is Elgro River Lodge, a conference centre and game lodge on the banks of the Vaal river, south of Potchefstroom. Our reason? To attend the 3rd Horizons Unlimited South Africa Adventure Travellers Meeting. Horizons Unlimited (HU) http://www.horizonsunlimited.com is an organisation for motorcycle travellers such as ourselves. HU was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle. This event provides a great opportunity for motorcyclists to meet and exchange information as well as attend presentations and workshops.

Who looks away first loses

Who looks away first loses


Johan Gray - motorcyclist trainer extraordinaire

Johan Gray – motorcyclist trainer extraordinaire


We attended our 1st and only HU event in Queensland a couple of days before we left for Europe in September 2013 and look what happened to us on motorcycles! What we found was an exceptionally well run event by Korbus and his daughter Claudine. We reconnected with Grant and Susan, met a lovely Dutch/Australian couple Richard and Steph just starting their journey from Cape Town to Amsterdam . Oh the memories of starting a long distance trip. We are envious, but so pleased for them. What great adventures await them.
Steph and Richard leaving Horizons Unlimited, South Africa

Steph and Richard leaving Horizons Unlimited, South Africa

We spend a couple of days with like minded individuals who have travelled extensively in Africa and beyond. We enjoyed our time there even though we were not on motorbikes.

– Anthony

11 comments on “Fish river to the Vaal river

  1. Methinks you were more sensible, travelling on separate bikes, rather than two on one as your new friends Steph and Richard are doing. Dirt tracks, mud, you’ve encountered it all. And coped (even when the bike didn’t). Bravo, both of you. xx

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    • I completely agree. I do not think it can be fun to be on the back on rough roads. Not sure how they do it. I think that the African back roads would be worse than anything we did. We prefer tar, we are not great off road riders.

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  2. Thinking of you lots as you prepare for your journey home. Good luck and Bon Voyage! Can’t wait to have you back in England next July!!😊 I now need to reread the whole of this blog as I’m sure I have missed some gem of a photo or interesting fact!! Love you lots😍😍 xxx

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  3. Yet again , fabulous descriptions and photos. More memories for your memory banks! Love the orange/ red colours…so vibrant. Safe travels xx

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  4. Amazing! The Fish River Canyon is indeed a jewel in the crown of Namibia. I forgot to ask before if you picked up any desert roses?

    When my brother-in-law worked at the diamond mines in Swakopmund they collected many and they are just stunning

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