After a rest day on April 24 in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, the TDA bikers rode 2 days in a southwesterly direction to Sesriem. After a day of rest in Sesriem they rode 5 days south to Felix Unite safari camp on the Orange River bordering with South Africa. Total distance biked was approximately 996 km (147, 155, rest, 132, 151, 126, 110, and 175 km each day). Because this was a new route, I do not have daily elevations, other than Windhoek at 1707 masl and Felix Unite on the Orange River at 169 masl. While that indicates a lot of descent, there were numerous challenges ups over the seven riding days.
The road traveled was gravel most of the way. They could have taken a paved road, but instead TDA selected a more challenging route. Riders described the route as both beautiful and taxing. The gravel roads were less packed than anticipated, sandier and more corrugated than desired – resulting in long days on the bicycle (or on the truck).
The first day out of Windhoek the riders crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. They certainly have covered a lot of road since crossing the Tropic of Cancer way back in Egypt. The day coming into Sesriem started with a climb to over 1930 masl through Spreetshoogte Pass. As the riders reached the top of the pass, the ‘view opened out to reveal jaw dropping views over the Namib Desert.’ From there the track descended 0.5 km in 4 km, which required a steady grip on the brakes (at least for me it would have).
Sesriem is not a town but a government run campground. On the rest day at Sesriem, many of the riders took a tour of the famed sand dunes, some measuring over 200 m in height. One rider commented on the variety of beetles whizzing around all over the sand and flies being aggravating while riding.
Two days prior to Felix Unite the TDA riders camped near the Fish River and the world’s second largest canyon (behind the Grand Canyon in the USA).
Not much written by TDA riders on people or agriculture. Food however was discussed: a German Bakery in Windhoek with ‘loads of cakes, pastries, cookies and coffee’; dinner in Windhoek at NICE, the Namibian Institute of Culinary Education, of hot chocolate, African salad, a club sandwich, and a strawberry milkshake; and a restaurant at Solitaire famous for their apple crumble and game burger.
As of when I posted this blog, not all the TDA riders had updated their websites. Of their photos across this stretch only one showed cattle and one other showed fenced land. No cropland was photographed. The overall comment on the landscape was that it was ‘stunning’.