Kaspaas does Namibia - Trip Report

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ThysdJ
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Town: Brackenfell
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Real Name: Thys
ORRA Call Sign: HC102
Location: Brackenfell
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Wed May 07, 2008 2:14 pm

After much anticipation and lots of preparation and careful planning the big day finally arrived and we got cracking! We left Brackenfell at about 14:00 but promptly had to turn back before we even reached Kraaifontein. Shameless forgot her "bino-curlers" on the bar counter, and without "bino-curlers" we would be lost. So we turned around, back home for the shortest holiday in human history...

We made good time and pulled into Calvinia just after 19:00 for chow at Myl 250 restaurant. That place is 250 miles away from everyting!! Almost like it's 250 miles away from the centre of the universe. We decided to overnight at Brandvlei and phoned ahead and booked a room for the night.

The Brandvlei Hotel has enough bars (steel ones) to look like Fort Knox, but it didn't keep the locusts and mozzies out. The insects were as a result of above average rainfall in the region, so they are tolerated with a smile. The room was okay and breakfast was included so we didnt complain.
RS_01_brandvlei_hotel.JPG
The next few days we spent on the farm outside Upington acclimatising and getting ready for our excursion to the Kalahari. Nobody must ever try and tell me ever again that Upington is this hot dry place. In the last 5 years every single time I put my foot in Upington it was thundering/lightninging/storming and very cold. Same thing happened when we arrived this time.

Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park
We arrived at Twee Rivieren at about 14:00 on Tuesday 08/04 after a leisurely drive from Upington via Askham. This gave us enough time to book in, explore the camp site, get our passports stamped, and pitch camp for the first time. We never camped with our current setup before so we wanted to get sorted before darkness fell. And I wanted to have a few beers. Our camping went very well and our equipment and setup was adequate and comfortable.
RS_02_2riv_sunrise.JPG
The roads in the park is VERY corrugated, so much so that I dropped the tyre pressures to 0.8bar in front and 1.2bar in the rear. I soon realised that with the rooftop tent and a full loadbin, those extra rear leaf springs that we left hanging in my garage were sorely missed. Kaspaas really needed them extra leaf springs to handle the extra load. This hang-gat attittude coupled with the route of the exhaust past all the extra fuel tanks and air-con condensor lead to the rear exhaust hanger rubber being broken on some dunes we had to climb. There was just not enough clearance for the silencer, spring bracket and the spare wheel to accommodate all of them and the rubber broke. At Nossob I took some time off in the afternoon to do some emergency repairs. A J-bolt, small d-shackle and a piece of wire fixed the hanger so well that the piece of round bar bracket that was welded to the exhast broke off in Luderitz about 3000km's later. I had that welded up and my repairs were still in good nick. The exhaust hanger is still hanging.
RS_04_Bitterpan.JPG
We drove some 4x4 tracks in the park and spent 1 night each at Bitterpan and Garagap. These are unfenced wilderness camps and we really enjoyed our stay there. The whole Kgalaghadi Trans Fronter Park experience was awesome. We will definitely do it again, next time we will stay longer and do more trails. Having to turn around for the "bino-curlers" was not in vein either, Shameless had them glued to her eyes all the time...

Namibia
We entered Namibia through the Mata Mata gate on Sunday 13/04 on our way to Koës where Shameless was born. We spent 3 days on her uncle's farm outside Koës relaxing and doing some more emergency repairs. While we were driving in the park I noticed some squealing noises coming from the right rear wheels. I ascetained that it was something in the brake drum that was either loose or worn out. It sounded like sand/dust on the brake shoes at first but later deteriorated to a downright howling banshee sound. Everytime the noise started I just pulled the handbrake up a little and it stopped for a while, so I assumed that it could not be something serious like a wheel bearing. The brakes still worked fine so I was not too worried about that either. Once we got to the farm we took off the right rear wheel and when we pulled the drum off the whole automatic adjusting spring mechanism fell out. It must have shaken loose on the corrugations in the park. We removed all the loose bits, checked the brake shoes (they were fine), and replaced the drum, tested the brakes and that was it, ready to rock and roll again.

We left the farm on Tuesday 15/04 for Windhoek and spent the night there with family. We took time out that evening to go to Joe's Beer House for a few beers. As they say, "When in Rome.... and all that jazz". On our way to Windhoek we had our first introduction to the Namibian Tourism Rip-Off Machine. At Hardap Dam the lady at the gate wanted to charge us N$70 just to drive to the dam wall and take a few photos (300m away). After lengthy discussions and some negotiations she agreed to let us turn around inside the premises, 300m further by the dam wall, but we had to complete the maneuver in 10 minutes, otherwise she would have to charge us N$70. We saw a dam wall with water behind it, nothing special, and we still have no idea why viewing this dam would be worth N$70.

From Windhoek we traveled to Swakopmund via the Khomas Hochland.
RS_08_Khomas_Hochland.JPG
At this time I must mention that the veld is incredibly green and one can see that Namibia had above average rainfall this rainy season. The hills looked almost as green as Natal's Valley of a Thousand Hills. It was really a sight to behold. We arrived in a cold and misty Swakopmund and then Namibia Holiday Services (the rental agency from whom we rented a holiday cottage) dropped the ball... They gave us the wrong keys to the cottage we rented, and when I phoned to inform them, the lady insisted that I didn't try hard enough, the locks were sticky from the sea-spray etc etc. I insisted that they bring the right keys before I go book into a hotel at their expence. They (Miss Try Harder and some Smooth Dude) arrived about 30 minutes later to SHOW me how to unlock a rusty, sea-sprayed lock. Luckily Smooth Dude realised they were busy making their names "ESKOM". They rushed off to get the proper keys and rocked up about another 45 minutes later with squealing tyres with another bunch of keys... while being persued by a ranting and raving german dude shouting at Smooth Dude something about cleaners and keys and stuff, but Shameless put her foot down and barged her way into the house and promptly chased them all away. They tried to apologise but the damage was done, we were both a bit pi$$ed off at how unprofessionally the whole query was handled. Besides that little experience the rest of our time in Swakopmund was very enjoyable. We drove out to Hentiesbaai for a look around and spent a lot of time in and around town doing the tourist thing.
RS_09_Swakop.JPG
After a wonderful stay in Swakopmund and with Kaspaas's ass-end hanging lower down to the ground from the weight of all the souvernirs and mementoes, we dashed across the desert to Walvisbaai and then off to Sossusvlei.
RS_14_groen_Namib.JPG
The desert is green... the fields are green and the dunes too. They had such good rains it is not even funny. We stopped in at Solitaire for "apfel strudel" and coffee, a must do, and we really enjoyed it. Well done Moose!!

We camped for 2 nights at the Little Sossus Lodge Camp Site. A nice shed like structure with a concrete floor and a corrugated iron roof and a bathroom built from stone. I pulled Kaspaas into the shed and we opened the RTT. It was great. The second night the wind came up and almost flattened the entire mountain range behind us, I have never experienced wind like that before. We drove out to Sesriem and explored the canyons and then out to Sossusvlei (after paying a further N$130). The size of the dunes are awesome, I cant wait to go drive the Atlantis Speedbumps again... We tried climbing Dune 45 but I gave up about 20m from the bottom. Shameless tried to make the top but turned around about 70% up.

On our way from Sossusvlei we drove to the Duwisib castle. What a waste. We were charged N$100 to view this castle. I have no problem with paying to see stuff, but I get NO return for my money except for my viewing pleasure and a few pics (NOT worth N$100). We need INFO people, give us a brochure, even signs explaining the origins and/or relevance of the exhibits in the rooms and the rest of the premises. All we got was "We are busy renovating the castle".. No sh!t? We saw nobody renovating anything, except a few school kids in the garden outside pulling out weeds. Did I mention we visited this place on a weekday?

Arriving in Luderitz that evening we booked in to the Zur Waterkant guesthouse and chatted with the delightful german couple who owns the place. Very friendly people and they gave us tips on stuff to see and places to go around Luderitz. The next morning we took Kaspaas to have the exhaust welded up, and then we did a spot of shopping and drove out to Kolmanskop. Same thing, you have to pay a LOT of $ and then you have to buy a brochure to give you some limited info on the Kolmanskop. I was fascinated though, and I was running around the ghost town inspecting every nook and cranny. Amazing!! Once again they "were busy renovating" but no workmen were to be seen. Maybe they work at night?
rs_17_kolmanskop.jpg
We also visited the Diaz cross. and did some more touristy things in and around Luderitz. The german style buildings are amazing. Just a pity that everything in Luderitz seems to be in a very neglected and run down state. With a little bit of a clean-up and a lick of paint here and there it could really be a pretty place.

We were homeward bound now with only a stop-over in Rosh Pinah and a night in Keetmanshoop left over. At Rosh Pinah we had a lekker braai and a few beers with a cousin of Shameless, who is also the rugby coach of the local rugby team.There is a red dune outside RP that Kaspaas tried to conquer, but due to the load on his back he struggled a bit, after 4 tries I stopped because I realised I was getting to that stage where my ego was taking over, and that is never a good thing, so we conceded defeat, but promised to be back. After that we were treated to some hunting stories, rugby stories, vark stories and even later a few dronk stories...

From RP we drove to Keetmanshoop. A bit of a detour, but it was something we had to do and no matter how we planned our trip it was going to be out of our way anyway, so we decided to leave it to the end. We drove all along the Orange River (is that now the Gariep?) until we got the turn-off to Ai-Ais.

We went all the way to Ai-Ais just to be chased away by some arrogant Aussie building contractor with a lot of pent up anger towards tourists. They are busy with renovations, no really, they are, and no tourists are allowed on the premises. Once again, I asked "Why the f*** dont they put a sign up 25km up the road to inform people that Ai-Ais is closed, and there is nothing else down there to see"???? Despite the fact that Mr Aussie Contractor was driving a Hilux I showed him a LONG finger and turned around and drove off into the sunset...

When we got to the Fish River Canyon we wanted to go to the lookout point to just have a look down, but we got stopped at a gate and after looking at the registration nr on Kaspaas the man said N$130 before you can proceed to look at the canyon. This was the last straw and I told the man where he could put his entire Fish River Canyon, because I would be damned if I had to pay another N$130 for renovations on a canyon that was created by nature...

We did our business in Keetmanshoop, spent that night at the Lafenis Lodge, had a meal in the Wimpy and retired early for the long drive home the next day.

No sooner had we crossed the border than we ran into the normal old SA stuff. In Springbok we wanted to but KFC for lunch... "No can do sir, we are being load-shedded come back in 2 hours... " And then about 20km outside Springbok!! Stop/Go traffic control hut, "Estimated Waiting Time = 10 Minute(s)".. After that smooth sailing all the way home, we only stopped at Klawer to have a quick bite to eat, and then at Piketberg to fill up for the last time.
rs_19_RSA_Welkom.jpg
Kaspaas - Equipment
1. The canopy I built did its job well. There are 1 or 2 small mods I would like to make before the next trip. The vent on the left hand side of the canopy manged to keep the back dust free, until one day some wise-ass in Windhoek closed the vent. That evening the entire loadbin was covered in dust.

2. The spare wheel carrier for the second spare wheel on the back worked like a charm. BUT it is a bit in the way. I am thinking to build a full rear door for the canopy and bolt the wheel to the door.

3. Definitely add the extra leaf springs to the back.

4. We need another folding table.

5. The RTT is sweet, but we need a fly sheet for it, and the cover needs a mod ot 2 as well, but thats a minor issue.

Lessons learned
1. Remember to pack the "bino-curlers";

2. A citronella candle works like magic!!

3. You can never take too many photographs.

4. Namibia's Tourism Rip-Off Machine does not have a clue about tourism. But that is a topic all on its own.

5. Upington is the wettest place in SA.

The figures
1. Distance travelled: 6162.4 km

2. Petrol consumed: 874.3 liters

3. Average consumption: 7.0 km/l

Will I do this again? Most definitely!!
Thys de Jager
CEO and Refreshments Manager at Team Offroad.

2010 Hilux 3.0 D4D D/C 4x4 with GOMAD "Brood" Canopy. Tripod.
1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0 Sport. The original SFA. AGA... Gooi kole
email: thys@teamoffroad.co.za

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DOELLOOS

Wed May 07, 2008 2:20 pm

Daar is dan nie eers een foto van 'n Hilux nie? Was Kaspaas ooit daar?

:?

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ThysdJ
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Wed May 07, 2008 2:28 pm

EWALD PATROLLIE wrote:Daar is dan nie eers een foto van 'n Hilux nie? Was Kaspaas ooit daar?

:?
Uitgevang! Ons het per helikopter gegaan... :shock: :shock:
RS_01_K_brandvlei_hotel.JPG
RS_02_K_2riv_Kamp.JPG
Thys de Jager
CEO and Refreshments Manager at Team Offroad.

2010 Hilux 3.0 D4D D/C 4x4 with GOMAD "Brood" Canopy. Tripod.
1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0 Sport. The original SFA. AGA... Gooi kole
email: thys@teamoffroad.co.za

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ThysdJ
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Wed May 07, 2008 2:54 pm

Some more pictures...
RS_03_K_Unions_End.JPG
RS_04_K_Nossob.JPG
RS_05_K_Matamata.JPG
RS_07_Koes.JPG
Thys de Jager
CEO and Refreshments Manager at Team Offroad.

2010 Hilux 3.0 D4D D/C 4x4 with GOMAD "Brood" Canopy. Tripod.
1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0 Sport. The original SFA. AGA... Gooi kole
email: thys@teamoffroad.co.za

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CasKru
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Wed May 07, 2008 3:36 pm

Dankie vir die trip report Thys. Lekker gelees en lekker gelag en lekker jaloers! :)
To God be the glory

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ThysdJ
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Wed May 07, 2008 3:41 pm

CasKru wrote:Dankie vir die trip report Thys. Lekker gelees en lekker gelag en lekker jaloers! :)
Vir die Afrikaanse lesers: Jammer dit het so lank gevat... ek hoop dit was die wag werd..
For the English readers : Sorry it took so long... I hope it was worth the wait..
:shock: :twisted: :twisted:
Thys de Jager
CEO and Refreshments Manager at Team Offroad.

2010 Hilux 3.0 D4D D/C 4x4 with GOMAD "Brood" Canopy. Tripod.
1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0 Sport. The original SFA. AGA... Gooi kole
email: thys@teamoffroad.co.za

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CasKru
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Wed May 07, 2008 3:43 pm

LOL....

Ek soek asseblief die Afrikaanse weergawe ook want jou naam in die topic is in Afrikaans gespel :)
To God be the glory

SuidWes
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Wed May 07, 2008 5:08 pm

Welkom terug en dankie vir die nice report :!:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away - George Carlin

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CasKru
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Wed May 07, 2008 5:19 pm

Thys. Ich hoffe, dass Sie Ihren Urlaub im ehemaligen Südwestlichen Afrika genoßen, und dass die Tourismus-Maschine nicht hastle Sie zu viel tat. Begrüßen Sie zurück
To God be the glory

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ThysdJ
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Wed May 07, 2008 5:39 pm

Thank you Cassie we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday despite the small tourism hassles we had. We took that in our stride and smiled and waved... :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
Thys de Jager
CEO and Refreshments Manager at Team Offroad.

2010 Hilux 3.0 D4D D/C 4x4 with GOMAD "Brood" Canopy. Tripod.
1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0 Sport. The original SFA. AGA... Gooi kole
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Wed May 07, 2008 7:58 pm

Brilliant report, Thys! Pity about the $$-grabbers who are spoiling it for the tourists and also the arrogant Aussie. Maybe he was booted out of the Wallabies?


-F_D
Image

White Fang: 1999 2.7i DC Raider 4x4
Bull Dog: 1987 4Y-EFI 2.2 DC 4x4
Pra Dog: 1998 Prado VX 3.4
Hound Dog: 2000 2.7i SC 4x4


One Staffie, One Jack Russell, One Ring Neck Screecher, 17 Fish of questionable heritage


Image

DOELLOOS

Wed May 07, 2008 8:04 pm

I say we send them a letter to warn them that they will be suspended from Hilux4x4, and maybe even expelled. The custodians will conveign and decide.

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Family_Dog
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Wed May 07, 2008 8:28 pm

EWALD PATROLLIE wrote:I say we send them a letter to warn them that they will be suspended from Hilux4x4, and maybe even expelled. The custodians will conveign and decide.
Oy,

What does this word mean? Editorially, I mean! :mrgreen:


-F_D
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White Fang: 1999 2.7i DC Raider 4x4
Bull Dog: 1987 4Y-EFI 2.2 DC 4x4
Pra Dog: 1998 Prado VX 3.4
Hound Dog: 2000 2.7i SC 4x4


One Staffie, One Jack Russell, One Ring Neck Screecher, 17 Fish of questionable heritage


Image

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CasKru
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Wed May 07, 2008 10:45 pm

EWALD PATROLLIE wrote:I say we send them a letter to warn them that they will be suspended from Hilux4x4, and maybe even expelled. The custodians will conveign and decide.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Ek smaak dit stukkend :)
To God be the glory

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ThysdJ
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Thu May 08, 2008 8:01 am

Family_BullDog wrote:Brilliant report, Thys! Pity about the $$-grabbers who are spoiling it for the tourists
Thanks Eric.
I just forgot to mention this before people think I am just another ingat South African complaining about high prices. I dont mind paying $$$ to the $$$-grabbers, but then I want return on my investment. By return I mean give me the relevant info on what ever it is I am looking at. I dont want to walk away from a place like Kolmanskop still asking the following questions:
What made people settle here in the first place?
Where did they get water from?
How many diamond were mined?
From when until when?
When did the last people leave?
Etc etc etc.....
This is basic info, and we never got it on that site, we had to go google it afterwards...

We went to see all these wonderful things and believe me it was great, but we still dont know squat about it. If Nam Tourisim would just provide tourists with that information, I think it would be a tremendous improvement.
Family_BullDog wrote: and also the arrogant Aussie. Maybe he was booted out of the Wallabies?
He was just naat-gat because the Wallabies didnt make the semi's in the RWC.. :twisted: :twisted:
Thys de Jager
CEO and Refreshments Manager at Team Offroad.

2010 Hilux 3.0 D4D D/C 4x4 with GOMAD "Brood" Canopy. Tripod.
1997 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0 Sport. The original SFA. AGA... Gooi kole
email: thys@teamoffroad.co.za

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