We have nothing against Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia, but when you’re stuck there for weeks on end because your motorcycle is broken, all you can think about is leaving.
We had unfortunately snapped our monoshock (rear suspension) when we’d first entered Namibia. We waited for two weeks for our new shock to arrive from Austria, and when it did, we packed up the bike, got on the road, and headed to Botswana when we realized something horrible: the monoshock was not the only thing that needed replacing. The shock’s spring was also damaged, and we would have to turn back.
That meant it would be another week and a half of waiting in Windhoek and paying for repairs and living expenses before we could continue with our African travels.
This was very depressing for us, and it certainly wasn’t a great beginning to the holiday season.
Most people who visit Africa usually go on a safari. And there's nothing else on the planet like it: driving through the flat grasslands of thorny acacia trees, telling your fellow travelers to hush when you think you see something, and then whipping out your camera and holding your breath as a several-ton elephant lumbers out of the trees. It's the stuff of legends.
But there is a high price to be paid.
We were on our way to Namibia's famous red dunes at Sossusvlei when we took a nasty spill and broke our motorcycle's monoshock (rear suspension), which if you're unfamiliar with bike mechanics, is something that you can't just fix on the side of the road. So we had to tow our bike up to Namibia's capital city of Windhoek (which was quite an adventure in itself) and are still waiting for a new monoshock to be flown in from Austria.
While we're waiting, we decided to rent a car here in Namibia to explore this beautiful country. And what a trip it's been!
It turns out that going by 4x4 is the way to see Namibia since most of the country's sights prohibit motorcycles to enter. This is due to a number of reasons (such as lions could chase you, a valid reason I suppose), so in order to see things, we would have had to either join a tour group or rent a car anyway. Even the place we were headed to when we had our accident, Sossusvlei, doesn't allow motorcycles in, it turns out. Maybe this broken monoshock was a blessing in disguise.
Once again we've broken down in the middle of nowhere, this time it was out in the scorching Kalahari desert after a nasty fall into the sand... But let me start at the beginning, and it was a good beginning: the Drakensberg, meaning Dragon Mountains in Afrikaans.
Back in South Africa, these jagged peaks definitely earned their name. Like towering stone monoliths ruling over the landscape from their lofty thrones, they say that it was the scenery of South Africa that inspired J. R. R. Tolkein to create Middle Earth in his fantasy books The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. And I certainly agree that there seemed to be magic there, like I could just picture a dragon hiding behind the crags, protecting his hoard of gold and treasure.
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