Scheduled flight overnight with Air Namibia from Frankfurt (Main) which takes you directly to Windhoek.
Damaraland - Motorbike tour
Arriving in the early morning at Hosea Kutako International Airport, our tourguide will welcome you. After a one-hour journey you arrive at Windhoek Mountain Lodge. This comfortable lodge, located at the southern foothills of the Auas Mountains, is the starting point for all our Gravel Travel tours in Namibia. After a hearty breakfast, there is space for acclimatising and relaxing at the pool. The Windhoek Mountain Lodge offers a beautiful view of the surrounding mountain ranges and wide bush savannah. We have a general tour briefing in this afternoon and give introdution to the bikes and GPS devices. Subsequently, we go on an introductory ride (approx. 100 km) where you can familiarise with the road conditions and the technology. Later on you can enjoy a first sundowner at the viewing platform near the lodge before our legendary bushman fondue is served for dinner …
After breakfast we meet for a short morning briefing with some specific hints for this day stage – and off we go: we pass Windhoek on the brink and leave the tarred road fairly quick to submerge into the hilly Khomas-Hochland. We travel along wide and fairly solid gravel roads across this central highlands towards western direction. Later on the route becomes much more curvy and provides real riding fun. In the afternoon we reach the Bosua pass and suddenly get to a gigantic lookout point at the rim of the Great Escarpment where the view opens up over the Namib Desert landscape. Further down the pass the gravel roads lead through open plains and shrubby savannah along mountaineous scenery, where a small track finally leads to our secretly hidden and dreamlike situated accommodation – Kobo Kobo Hills.
Kobo Kobo Hills – a place enthusing all. We are accommodated for two nights at this most enchanted camp inmidst of granite hills and mountains where little cottages are built between boulders very uniquly. A special oasis for humans and wildlife, perfect for relaxing and relish the silence. Its up to you to decide for a rest today or take another trip through the hinterland of Kobo Kobo, there are some amazing curvy gravel roads, the Bosua and Us pass as well as the Kuiseb River Canyon to go through before reaching again the rim of Namib desert plains and our quarters for tonight. However, the evening promises great dinner served from open fire under amazing firmament and the lit waterhole for game below the terrace offers interesting observations.
After breakfast in the wild, we pass through and along the north-eastern edge of Namib Naukluft National Park, actually Africa’s largest protection area and its seemingly lifeless plains, but surprisingly you should be aware of Ostrich, Oryx antelope, Zebra or Springbuck crossing your path. We then climb the escarpment up on the Bosua Pass which leads us from 1.100m to 1.800 m hight and may stop for the great view over the desert before we submerge on curvy gravel roads through wild mountain landscape that leads us into the huge Swakop river valley and cross its sandy river bed. The route then heads towards Karibib, a small mining town and take a shortcut over tar road to catch up with a marvellous route leading further north along the steep walls of the Erongo Mountains, until we finally reach our today’s destination – the AiAiba Rockpainting Lodge, nestled wonderfully between huge granite boulders.
The scenery of AiAiba Lodge gave a good first impression of the Damaraland ahead of us. Leaving the Erongo Mountains towards the west we’re already able to spot Namibia’s highest mountain at the horizon – the legendary Brandberg. On smallest farm tracks we ride through the bushveld and pass settlements of the Damara people with their livestock „kraals“ until the Spitzkoppe mountain eventually appears in the flat surrounding gravel plains of the Namib Desert. Following the attractiveness of this over 1.800m high and amazingly tapered granite rock formation, also called the „Matterhorn of Namibia“ – and enjoy the atmosphere on sandy, small tracks around those scenic hilltops. We then turn northwards over open plains heading for Uis, an old mining village where we have our next lodging, a cosy, warm place in rustic style with a great „braai“ for dinner.
Meanwhile you should have been warmed up and familiar with the Yamaha WR250 – as we today go deeper into the lonely landscapes where almost no humans are likely to be seen and your driving skills are in demand. Spectacular and virtually untouched nature provides everything: sandy soils, gravel, rough and smooth rocks, dry riverbeds, almost around the whole Brandberg Mountain until we reach the depth of the Ugab River. Along the green, wooded river course we may expect and be aware of divers wildlife like springbuck, giraffe, elephant and even lion or rhino which still roam freely here. The rough rocky desert is precious habitat for many endangered species. Also remarkable is the unique giant plant Welwitschia and the globular shaped highly poisonous Euphorbia prominent in this area. Through wonderful red and black coloured rocky plains of Doros Crater we leave the Brandberg behind to reach the „Burnt Mountains“ near Twyfelfontein and our next lodge for a relaxing, comfortable evening.
Twyfelfontein is a World Heritage Site as it hosts thousands of rockpaintings and engravings. Visitng them would break our time frame but one should have at least have a look and get some impressions of those displayed on huge sandstone slabs close by the lodge entrance. After breakfast we start further northeast on various tracks through remote areas. Off the public roads the route first leads along wonderful Aba-Huab River until it joins the huge Huab River bed, an important habitat to desert dwelling elephants and rhinos. Via Palmwag we take the bigger gravel road passing the beautiful table mountain landscapes up until Grootberg pass on the Etendeka Plateau. Our lodging is close by when reaching small village of Kamanjab, where we stay in a guesthouse.
The Damaraland Tour is with no doubt intensively full of contrast and particularly attractive – as it shows Namibia’s divers facets on even short distances. We take a southern route back towards Aba-Huab River. On smallest and very curvy farm roads we come across the typical mopane wood savannah with its chalk white soils. we pass the wide riverbed of the Huab with its impressive Ana- and Acacia trees feeding the elephants and arrive at a quite extraordinary place in the afternoon – Camp Kipwe along the river bed, luxurious although settled sensitively inmidst the surrounding nature.
Rather unwillingly leaving this location but still having many stunning tracks and adventures ahead of us, so let’s kick off for Vingerklip. We stay off the main gravel roads used by the tourists while visiting this area as we are lucky to easily join the small farm tracks having much mor riding fun. We pass various settlements of Damara people, come across town of Khorixas and head towards the Ugab river terraces. The landscape had been eroded widely and left tablelike levels forming the rim along Ugab River and particularly its one high upright standing rockfinger called „Vingerklip“ and seemingly rests only on a small tip base. From our next destination „Vingerklip Lodge“ we have an awesome sight of it, especially in the glowing light of sunset and sunrise.
Our today’s stage of 280km leads us out of the Ugab valley towards the south along lonely farm tracks through various Damara settlements. Via Omatjete we reach the small town Omaruru where we have a stop for a coffee before we head further turning north on dirt tracks through dense bushveld savanna until we get to the prominent Mount Etjo table mountain, our last destination on this tour. The nearby game reserve on over 30.000 ha and its Safari Lodge provide a wonderful place to get a real impression of african wildlife, and one will lack almost nothing here. Perfect for the last night to stay and still having great adventure on an afternoon game drive. The barbeque dinner is excellent and you may spend the evening in the spacious garden under stars in gentle breeze enjoying the natural sounds of the african bush.
Now that we have the last stage ahead of us, the morning emphasises to get all the enjoyment out of this last riding day back to the Windhoek Mountain Lodge. After breakfast we start to southern direction crossing nice mountain landscapes and farmlands up to Omaruru joining larger gravel roads to get to Otjimbingwe, an abonded mission village from 1849. We cross the broad dry river bed of the Swakop River to get back to the central highlands on curvy and easy gravel roads from where we reach our Gravel Travel home base lodge. We are welcomed by our lodge team with a good chilled drink and once again enjoy the gentle afternoon lights after another great riding day. A dinner „braai“ or bushman fondue is served and we may pass in review all those pictures of different places and impressions collected on this tour in a very comfortable atmosphere…
This day is still completely available for staying at the lodge or to make a trip to the city of Windhoek because at least the Air Namibia flight is only going to depart in the evening. So, it’s possible to visit some sights and to go to a bazaar or shops where you can buy a lot of traditional handcrafted things. In the early evening, our shuttle takes you to the Hosea Kutako International Airport.
With Air Namibia arrival is scheduled for the early morning at Frankfurt (Main) from where your individual onward journey resumes via train or flight to your home town.