Trip Report - Southern Namibia

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iandvl
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Trip Report - Southern Namibia

Post by iandvl » 02 Oct 2018 10:44

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As all are aware, it was recently the Forum Dune trip out at Goerapan.

Just before this, I had had one of the roughest work months I've ever had, and decided I seriously needed to get out and scrub my head clean in the desert. So I decided to hook up with the Dune trip, but only briefly, before heading out into Southern Namibia. Dis 'n skande - out of all the SADC countries, the one I've never got to has been Namibia, and I'd sort of made up my mind to leave the Dune trip group early, enter Namibia at Rietfontein, and then take a leasurely drive down to Oranjemund, exiting again at Sendelingsdrift. Was not too pushed for time.

In any case, I left a day earlier than the rest of the forum. Headed through to Kuruman. I ran into Graham and Vanessa's convoy just outside Kuruman. Overnighted at Redsands.
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The next morning was not a fantastic start. Started the truck, and immediately heard a horrible grinding noise when the truck was running. My immediate suspicion was the alternator bearings. This was later confirmed by Graham (they had also overnighted at Redsands. Luckily, and because I have had an alternator drop me before, I had a spare with me, and Graham assisted me in getting the thing installed.
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With the new alternator installed and tested, I headed out for Goerapan. Refuelled in Upington, and then the 100-odd kilometres North towards Ashkam before finding the entrance to Goerapan Lodge. Amazing place... Was the first to arrive, and after checking in at reception and being told I could drive anywhere on the pan, I headed out onto the pan. Found a nice sport to make lunch, and had a few beers whilst waiting for the rest of the group.
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Group arrived around 13h00. We made camp on the pan, and headed out to ride some dunes. Great fun, once I had my tyre pressure sorted. Don't really have any photos of the dune drive, as I was driving. But did get some good video footage of a few other folks' Patrols hitting the dunes. Will edit and add links to a few YouTube videos once I get around to uploading them.
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Braaied the evening. Next morning was an early start for me, as I decided to head out to Namibia. Inflated my tyres again after grabbing a shower. Headed out North on the road towards Ashkam.
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About 10km from Ashkam, my sub-tank and battery warning lights came on. Stopped in Ashkam, measured alternator voltage, and discovered that my spare alternator had failed. No autoelectrical people in Ashkam, so after a quick phone call to Graham at Goerapan, I heard that he had a spare alternator, and if I could get back there, we could figure it out. According to him, I'd have about 40 minutes of driving time on battery only before my ignition, fuel pumps etc started failing as the battery ran flat. I was about 75km from Goerapan at this point in time, so 40 minutes was probably about as long as it would take to get there... Arranged that if I did not pitch up at Goerapan in about 50 minutes, one of the group should head North on the Ashkam road to come and fetch me, as this would mean the truck had left me next to the road... I switched off the fridge, over-rode the smart controller for the second battery box so that I had two batteries connected in parallel, and then drove hell for leather for Goerapan. Time was of the essence, so I drove hard. I don't think I've driven the truck that fast before when it has been heavily laden, but we got there. Everyone was playing in the dunes, and I was at the camp-site with a partially dud vehicle, so I made some coffee and waited at the camp. We put in the other alternator again when Graham returned from the dunes, and I did a bit of battery maintenance with my solar panel for a bit, although the voltage did not seem to have dropped too much on the way back from Ashkam.
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Decided to spend that day at Goerapan and decide whether I aborted the trip and headed back home, or what I did the next morning. Witnessed the remainder of the group arrive on the Friday afternoon, including the T1 Navara, the Y62's and the GTR.

Moon was almost full, so I decided to rough it and sleep next to the awning. Woke up in the morning to a fantastic sunrise.
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Decided then that I would continue with my Namibia trip, but that instead of heading all the way to Oranjemund (probably stupid doing that solo in a single vehicle), I'd head in at Rietfontein, head towards Aroab. Then down to Karasburg and out again at Ariamsvlei - a much shorter route. On the way, to the border, I passed Hakskeenpan, which was awesome to see.
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The roads in Namibia are amazing. Good quality dirt roads. But what was really absolutely fantastic, although possibly even frightening with the lack of any form of communication (no cell signal, VHF radio dead quiet, similar), was the fact that from Aroab all the way until I reached Karasburg, I did not see another soul on the road. I had the humming of the motor and mud tyres on the road. And that was it. Absolutely fantastic....
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I refuelled in Karasburg, and made for the border. About 40 kilometres from the border, I ran into a couple with an overheating LandRover Discovery towing a Conqueror. I stopped to render some assistance. Their vehicle had overheated badly, and whilst replacing coolant and bleeding the system, the man had the bleed screw turned out to far. When the coolant burnt his hand, he jerked his hand away, resulting in the bleed screw being shot out somewhere in the engine bay... Carefully digging around in the engine bay, we eventually found the bleed screw. Filled up the coolant reservoirs with water and bled the motor. I opted to follow the couple to Upington to make sure they got back to civilisation safely.
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Overnighted again in Upington, after which I drove the 800-odd kilometres back to Brits. Arriving in the late afternoon.

Namibia has now hit the top of my bucket list. I saw an absolutely tiny bit of the place, but I so want to see much, much more of it. I will get back there some time...

Border crossings at both Rietfontein and Ariamsvlei were quick, quiet and simple.

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Re: Trip Report - Southern Namibia

Post by Nissan KingCab » 02 Oct 2018 16:18

Lyk my jy het 'n trip vol verrasings gehad! Namibia is vir my ook 'n gunstelling plek om te toer!

Hoop jy kon darem jou kop skoon kry in die verlate vlaktes. :thumbup:

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Re: Trip Report - Southern Namibia

Post by Anthony Forgey » 03 Oct 2018 06:27

great post Ian :thumbup:
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Jules
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Re: Trip Report - Southern Namibia

Post by Jules » 03 Oct 2018 08:37

Great report Ian :goodpost:

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Re: Trip Report - Southern Namibia

Post by gupster » 03 Oct 2018 17:26

Thank you Ian for sharing your trip with us and the great pictures to.
Have Troll, will travel.

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