1st Cape Town Free Chapter

Trip to the Skeleton Coast Rally, Swakopmund – 1 May 2017

On the 1st of May 9 FCCT members embarked on a journey to the Skeleton Coast Rally in Swakopmund. This was to be my first visit to Namibia and I was not sure what to expect.

Day 01 – Cape Town – Felix Unite Camp (680 km)

We met up at the N2 Engen on a misty Monday morning bright and early. After a quick coffee at Wimpy and saying our goodbyes to Leon and Bernie as well as Liza’s parents who had braved the cold misty weather to see us off, we headed up the N2 towards our first fuel stop in Klawer. The scenery was ever-changing from brown fields to beautiful mountains as the sun came up. There was also a lot of bugger-all on both sides of the road! Now that the roadworks have finished from Citrusdal onwards the roads are excellent. We drove past placenames such as Pofadder, Garries and Bitterfontein. We arrived at Klawer as the weather was starting to warm up. Our fuel stop was at the Engen Wimpy where we had a coffee and a bite to eat. This was our second Wimpy but it wouldn’t be our last.

From Klawer it was on to Springbok for our second fuel stop. But, as Mr Mike’s bike is a bit thirsty, we made an impromptu stop in Kamiskroon. As it was a public holiday we had to ask the garage to open up for us! The scenery was ever-changing ranging from nothing to stunning mountain ranges and rocky outcroppings. After fuelling up in Springbok we headed off on the last leg to our overnight stop at Felix Unite Camp on the Orange River. The scenery now was rapidly changing to rocky outcrops and almost-black sand, which could have been mistken for a lunar landscape. We arrived at the border which must have been about 30+ degrees. By now my air conditioner had stopped working and I was trying to fill in forms standing in a puddle of sweat! Luckily for me they didn’t think I was a nervous smuggler and we passed through without incident. After passing SA immigration and crossing the border to the Namibia-side we made the short journey to the Felix Unite Camp on the Orange River.

After settling in to our riverside chalets we headed off to the bar for a well-earned beer. It wasn’t long until we were told they had run out of our new favourite beer, Tafel Lager. Once Bruce heard this he quickly summoned the manageress and told her in no uncertain terms to find beer! Within a few minutes the fridges were miraculously stocked. After enjoying a nice dinner in the restaurant and the first of many Jägermeisters we headed off for an early night.

Day 02 - Felix Unit – Mariental (530 km)

After packing our bikes and tucking into a delicious breakfast at the restaurant it was time to head off to our next fuel stop at Grunau. The roads were getting straighter and the scenery and landscapes were becoming more barren with plenty of bugger-all on both sides! After Grunau it was on to Keetmanshoop for our next fuel stop and yes, another Wimpy! Geoff Davidson was starting to look for something a bit healthier on the menu. Our next leg to Mariental went without incident as our big V twins ate up the kilometers. We arrived at our overnight stop in Mariental. After freshening up we headed into town to buy some meat and most importantly beer and some wine for the ladies. Some of us took the opportunity to purchase Namibian sim cards to reduce the phone bills. After enjoying a well-earned braai and a few beers it was time for an early night.

Day 03 – Mariental – Windhoek (265 km)

After packing our bikes and fuelling up we headed off towards our next stop, Windhoek. On our way out of Mariental we made a detour to the Hardap Dam which is the largest dam in Namibia.

After stopping for various photo opportunities and checking out the nice facilities we hit the road again. The scenery was again ever-changing and we were now riding through lush green African grasslands. I was half expecting to see a lion along the road! On our way to our next fuel stop at Rheobot we stopped for a quick photo shoot as we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. We headed off to Windhoek. After checking into our accommodation at Aloe Lodge we took a trip into central Windhoek to visit the Harley dealership and check out the bikes on display.

We were all now starting to get hungry so we headed to Wecke and Voigts coffee shop and restaurant. I sampled Rohac which is raw meat on a Brötchen, it definitely tastes better than it sounds. After a wander around Windhoek we headed back to our rooms to freshen up for the night’s entertainment. We were picked up by a minibus and taken to Joe’s Beer House. Joe’s is an institution in Windhoek and a ‘must visit’ place to go to. This was a meeting point for all the various chapters with the various Free Chapters from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Windhoek occupying a complete wing of the restaurant. The décor is hard to describe with various old items of junk and endless Jägermeister bottles to even oyster baskets hanging from the ceiling.

Joe’s is famous for their Eisbein’s which are huge. I opted for ribs and a metre of beer. This is 13 Glasses of beer in a metre wide container which didn’t last long with our thirsty chapter. The person with the biggest appetite on the night was Alan Joffe who polished off a huge Eisbein single-handedly. After a few more beers and a few Jägermeisters we headed back to our rooms while our very own party animals Liza and Peter continued representing the chapter at another watering hole.

Day 04 – Windhoek – Swakopmund

After packing our bikes we headed off to fuel up at the local garage. Luckily, there was no Wimpy so it was just a quick coffee before we set off. We had arranged to meet up with some of the Free Chapter Windhoek members. It was now time to leave, but only a couple of Windhoek members had arrived, so we decided to head off and meet up with them later.

We eventually met them at Okohanja and very soon we were on our way again. We made a brief stop along the way for biltong and droëwors. The scenery was starting to change from green grasslands gradually to barren desert.

After a fuel stop at Usakos we fired up the big machines for the last leg to Swakopmund. The last 100 kms the temperature soared to 39 degrees and my aircon definitely stopped working! We arrived in Swakopmund and due to the heat we headed straight to a local café for some ice cold beer. Between Cape Town and Windhoek Free Chapters we almost drank them out of beer.

With our thirst quenched we headed off to MC Human’s flats which was our home for the rally. After unpacking our bags we headed for the rally site to register. The rally site was at the local sports ground with plenty of parking for the bikes. There were riders from all over South Africa and Namibia. Evening was approaching so we headed back to MC’s flat to join him in his pub for a few drinks and a braai. After a delicious meal which included “pap tert” and more beers (my poor liver) we headed off to bed.

Day 05 – Mass Ride to Walvis Bay

We woke up early after our good night’s rest. Some members needed to do some washing so it was off to the laundry. Luckily for us this was next to a nice little German café. We sat down to a nice freshly cooked breakfast cooked by our German host and chef. After breakfast it was time to head to the rally site to assemble for the mass ride to Walvis Bay.

It was amazing to see the different chapters assembling from all over South Africa and Namibia. We headed off on the ride which was surprisingly orderly. The route took us through Swakopmund town centre where a lot of the townsfolk had come out to greet us. We then headed out of the town onto the coast road which took us through the desert to Walvis Bay. 400 Harleys swarming across the coast road was a sight to behold.

Unfortunately, we had a fall on the mass ride, Smitty (aka Stompy) took a tumble on his chopper which resulted in him losing part of his finger (ouch!). Once we arrived in Walvis Bay we arrived at the Raft Restaurant which is situated in the water of the lagoon. After fighting our way to the bar we tucked into our lunch which was included in our rally fee. The choice was calamari or pork schnitzel.

After lunch we decided to meet up with the Free Chapter Namibia to give our best wishes to Smitty who was nursing a very sore body after his fall. After leaving Walvis Bay, Bruce took us on a sightseeing tour of Walvis Bay which included the salt factory and the flamingos, but unfortunately the flamingos were out of town. After leaving town we headed towards Dune 7 which is one of the largest dunes. As we got closer to the dunes we encountered a few sand drifts which were a slight challenge on the Harley.

Due to the hold up with the sand Mr Mike and myself were separated from the other riders so we were on one side of the Dune and Bruce and company were on the other. As Bruce and company were nowhere to be seen Mr Mike and myself decided to head back to Swakopmund. We eventually met back up at the rally site for a well-earned beer. Friday evening we headed into Swakopmund to the Brauhaus for dinner. The house speciality was Eisbein but none of our party had the appetite for a huge piece of meat. My Wiener schnitzel and Hansa draught beer were delicious.

After dinner the majority of members headed back to our flats. Myself and Liza decided the night was too young so we headed back to the rally site. The party was in full swing at the bar and the Jägermeisters were too frequent. Eventually we decided enough is enough and headed back to our flat to sleep.

Day 06 – Saturday
We all woke up bright and early, some of us brighter than others. We all decided we needed a non-Wimpy breakfast and Bruce managed to find a quaint café in Swakopmund. The breakfast was yummy, especially the home-baked bread of which each slice was like a door step. After breakfast we headed off to Hentie’s Bay. This was my first time riding on a salt road and the bike felt looser than compared to normal tar.

When we arrived in Hentie’s Bay we had to visit the bar where legend has it that Bwana Bruce lost his name. The bar is still there and, yes, Bruce was allowed back in again. On the way back we stopped at the wreck of a trawler from a few years ago and then stopped off at the ‘Windpomp’ for lunch. This was the venue for the rally outride earlier in the day, the music, beers and food were good except for the inevitable shooters, OMW!

After lunch it was back to the rally site for a few beers and a bike wash for my bike after the salt and sand. Saturday night the rally moved to the Tiger Reef Bar on the beach. This was for our Namibian braai which was also included in our rally fee. The food and drink was delicious and the music was supplied by Koos van Zyl who we had met previously at MC’s pub.

After dinner and a few beers the Jägermeister and Varkies started flowing again. This was my cue to head back to the flats. Liza and Peter stayed on to party with the Namibian Free Chapter.

Day 07 – Swakopmund – Windhoek

Our rally days were over and it was time to start the long journey home. We headed off bright and early and headed to Usakos for fuel and a delicious breakfast. The Harleys were eating up the kilometers and never missed a beat. After Usakos we headed back to Windhoek via the biltong shop and a quick stop at the local gem stone stalls. When we arrived in Windhoek Bruce took us to the new Windhoek museum. This Chinese masterpiece is a real architects dream. The views of Windhoek from the top are quite spectacular. On the way down in the lift it decided to get stuck between floors. We didn’t think a handwritten note saying max 6 people applied to us. After climbing out of the lift we headed back to our accommodations to freshen up for the next party.

We had arranged to meet some of the Namibian Free Chapter Members for dinner at the Bush Bar. This local watering hole was literally through the bushes from our accommodation. The food and drink was delicious as ever with the customary Jägermeister before heading to bed.

Day 08 – Windhoek – Keetmanshoop

We headed off bright and early heading for Mariental and a Wimpy breakfast (Geoff was so happy). As we left Windhoek the scenery started to change from African grassland and hills to bugger-all on both sides of the road. After filling our tummies and bikes in Mariental we tackled the last stretch from Mariental to Keetmanshoop.

We were staying at Schützenhaus Guest House which was an old German barracks in days gone by. After a quick freshen up and power nap Lisa and Geoff arrived with cold beers. This was to keep us hydrated until the bar opened. The bar was now open and we all assembled in the bar to sample the Hansa Draught. Unfortunately for us, Bruce knew the owner Inge, who is German. Unfortunately for those of us at the bar, he decided to pour us a Schnapps. Very soon we had drunk 3 already and this was before supper! It was now supper time at the restaurant and my steak was very tasty. After dinner we had another round of Jägermeister and then bed.

Day 09 – Keetmanshoop – Springbok

We all woke up bright and early and after packing the bikes we headed to breakfast at the restaurant. Geoff was visibly excited that it wasn’t a Wimpy. We were soon on the road and the Harleys were eating up the kilos. The scenery was ever changing from rocky outcrops to long flat mountains to bugger-all. The colours were constantly changing with the sunlight.

As we neared the border we stopped for a fuel stop for our last cheaper petrol and yes we thought we would visit the Wimpy, in case any of us were having withdrawal symptoms. The transition through the border went smoothly and a bit cooler than when we arrived. Back in sunny South Africa we headed out through the lunar landscape of Noordoewer and headed for Springbok.

The scenery now changed from lunar to stunning mountain ranges and mountain passes. Our home for the night was the new hotel just outside town called the Springbok Inn. This is a modern glass and concrete architects dream.

As we were parking our bikes Ammi decided it was too difficult a manoeuvre so she decided on the ungraceful dismount option, hence the cup is on the move again! After checking in and a quick freshen up it was off to the bar (again). Some of us relaxed with something cold. Bruce decided to get into something cold. The hotel pool was just too inviting for our Director but, as he found out when he jumped in, it was rather chilly.

After the shortest swim in history Bruce joined us for a beer in the fast setting sun to warm up. Supper time had arrived and we headed to the restaurant for the last supper before heading home tomorrow. There were no complaints about the food or drink and after dinner we all sat around a nice log fire for one last time. Geoff decided we couldn’t go home without one last shot so we all had 1 last ‘Varkie’ aka kleinerkeiler which tastes slightly better than Jägermeister. We all headed off to bed for an early night.

Day 10 – Springbok – Home

After packing the bikes early we all headed for our last non-Wimpy breakfast and then hit the road. The road was long and winding with ever changing scenery. The bikes were purring along and eating up the kilos.

We had a quick fuel stop at Garries and hit the road again, the temperature was cooling down rapidly now as we approached Klawer. Klawer was to be our last fuel stop and our last wimpy stop (“Hooray!” Geoff cries). With full tanks and tummies we headed off for the home stretch.

After 4100 kms we were home. I would like to thank Bruce and Ammi for all the organisation and the knowledge he passed on to us and my fellow travellers; Liza, Peter, Geoff, Alan, Mr Mike and Riana for a great trip and some great memories.

– From the pen of Ivor Wills, Historian / Editor