Aurel: Here we are in Namibia! Actually here you are because we have already left the country! We are a bit late with the publication of articles but you are going to be amazed in the next few weeks!
The asphalt disapears as soon as we cross the border and is replaced by a track in perfect condition. We easily ride at 100km/h!
We are going to cross almost the whole country on this track, 3000 kms of sand and rocks and only 300 kms of asphalt; could we dream of better?
Actually this border is not comparable to any borders we have seen up to now. It's deserted. There is no-one except the custom officers. Nobody tries to make us change money, no truck with surprising loads, it's almost too easy!
We are not disappointed by campsites here. They are often to be deserved but they are worth it!
Once there, they are idyllic spots! We camp on the edge of rivers full of hippopotamus and crocodiles.
We shower outside, we drink local beers, we read in the sun, we fish in the river (thinking of Xavier! ), we eat well, once again, this trip is very tough!
I let myself be tempted by a boat tour at sunset. I was expecting an amazing one like in Botswana but no, it was a tour focused on birds and we spent 3h observing tiny birds from 100m away (you would have liked it Diane!). I was the only one with no pair of binoculars nor telephoto lens, I found the time quite long! Except when a hippopotamus tried to overturn the boat...
But I had the chance to see the sunset on the savannah. It's still better than being in the traffic jam when getting back from work!
After these difficult steps... we take the road along the Angolan border. We plan of following to reach the Ocean.
We ride toward Ruacana where we expect one of the most beautiful track of the trip. We had quite a lot of long straight and monotonous tracks in Botswana so we now enjoy the nice sinuous track in the hills!
Loïc: This track was absolutely great, narrow, easy to ride, with sometimes a ford or a sandbank to cross, a rock to climb... and then it was late so we had to hurry, we did not stop too much to take pictures but we speeded up a little.
It's amazing how obstacles are easier to pass when we ride faster!
Aurel: There are not a lot of people leaving in this country except in a few big cities. We meet almost no vehicle on the track, villages are distant of 50 or 100 kms sometimes more, and count very few inhabitants.
90% of the time tracks are large and easy to ride, we ride 350 kms in one day with no effort and without speeding.
Actually we meet more animals than humans
But it's exotic when we meet them! The Himbas live in the North. These people are nomadic breeders who continue to live in a very traditional way.
Loïc: Beyond the traditional costumes they wear every day, even to go to the supermarket, Himbas have a particular status. They can even cross the Angolan border without identity documents as the tribe is in between Namibia and Angola; they move from season to season, depending on pastures, blooming...
No English language to discuss, but once more the offered polaroid picture breaks the ice. It allows us to go beyond the "money money" which is probably the only English word they know. Himbas quickly learnt that they can ask for money to be taken in pictures...
Later we meet Himbas kids. They are coming back from their school at nightfall with their donkeys. Again, I exchange the magic of the meeting against the magic of the instant picture...
Aurel: We get to visit one of their village in the mountain.
Here they live following the nature's rhythm. They pick fruits, they hunt, they build from almost nothing, they danse, they laugh. Above all it's a reenactment of the ancestral life.
Loïc: Past the small time of adaptation it all seems natural and the discussion becomes much richer and interessant.
What striked me is that everything is done with a smile. Life seems to be a game.
When we mention the evolution between the ancestral life and the modern life and the effect of colonisation, we are told good and bad things. Things brought by Westerners considered as "good" are school and christianity. I was not expecting this answer.
Aurel: These people have taste! They loved our KTM!
Loïc: We discover that our campsite is only 1 km away from a village where they live a "normal" and modern life, and they invite us to join them there. There is only one grocer shop which is also the bar, restaurant and night club.
We easily find it, and they meet us bit-by-bit to share a beer and some danse steps... modern this time.
It's nice to FINALLY share a bit of the life of people we have been close to for months. I was missing this and I feel like a million bucks thanks to this party.
Aurel: Being closer to the Atlantic Ocean we start to ride alonside the Skeleton Coast. A sand desert between the Ocean and a rock desert. Our only option with a bike and 450 kms of fuel is the rock desert. 2000 kms of a track in a mineral desert, cut off from the rest of the world. 2000 kms where even trees are being transformed into rocks.
Loïc: But you'll get the rocks in the next article, we promise that we are going to show you amazing places!