I left Windhoek to visit Swakopmund and Henties Bay for the first time. It was very different to what I expected. This is what makes it such an adventure! Seeing new places where you have never been before…it excites me. “Exploring my unknown”, I guess I would call it. I met up with the guys from Vredendal that I had met in Marienthal and stayed over with them in Henties Bay. Another night with good food and lots of chatting and joking and laughing. Had such an awesome time with these guys!
I decided to push on from Henties Bay to Ondangwa so I could catch up on the day I had lost and take my next rest day staying at Ondangwa rest camp. I had underestimated just how far it is though! I spent 13 hours on the road that day!! One of those hours was spent negotiating my way out of a speeding ticket in Owamboland. (oops – it was getting dark…hence my being caught for speeding). I managed to get off with a stern warning!
At Ondangwa Rest Camp I met two bikers who are on their way down to Cape Town. Chris and Andrei. Chris is from Switzerland and Andrei from Romania. They have ridden down the West Coast of Africa, via Mali. We spent the night having a few beers and telling stories of our experiences. They gave me a whole lot of information and contacts for the road ahead! Like motorcycle club in different countries. (Which is how I got to meet the MC’s in Angola)
Next day I crossed the border into Angola. I had expected it to be a quick and easy task. Not a chance!!! My fixer wasn’t at the border anymore, so I called another fixer. Then the customs officials gave me hassles because I have an ordinary visa and not a tourist visa. So I show then my previous visa which was also an ordinary visa and I had no problems with that one. They still won’t accept it! So I give them the number for the Minister of Local Government in Luanda and my contact in Lobito and tell them to call these people. Which they do. 10 Minutes later they tell me to go through!! And welcome to Angola!!!
I phoned my friends in Ondjiva to notify them that I had arrived and would be waiting for them at their house. (Afrikaans couple from Zimbabwe) They got home from work a little later on. After greeting one another with big hugs and loads of questions we had dinner and sat catching up on what’s been going on in our respective lives. And here is where the proverbial paw-paw strikes the fan.
There we were, sitting, minding our own business when next thing I know four guys storm into the house armed with a pistol a crowbar and some kind of spray which I suspect was mace/ pepper spray.
They find tape in one of the drawers and tape us to chairs. I’m first in line so they’re still very eager and almost use half the roll of tape on me. They tape my hands, my feet, my body to the chair and put tape all around my head to cover my mouth. They tell us to increase the volume of the television. (Guessing so no one can hear what’s going on). They keep demanding money. (Dineiro in Portuguese).
Luckily…the police knew of my whereabouts and came checking in on me. Just as these guys were starting to really get agitated with us, the idiot with the gun took out a magazine to load the pistol, but then heard someone hooting at the gate. It was the Police! They took off into the night. We were able to break free and Hennie ran to open the gate. Within the next 10 minutes about 5 cars filled with Police officers arrived on the scene and it was all pretty chaotic. They only took my phone! I was so relieved, knowing that they could’ve taken the bike and all my gear if they wanted to. And most importantly, we were okay! (My phone was replaced the next day)
So from Ondjiva onwards I have had Police escort all the way, everyday. I am not allowed to move without informing the Police.
From Onjiva I made my way to Lubango, knowing that a very bad stretch of road lay ahead between Xangongo and Cahama. It’s a 83km stretch, bad potholes, sand, you name it. The Police rode with me, all the way. In each town I am handed over to the next convoy who then escorts me to the next town, and so on and so on. The Chief of Police in every town has to literally sign me over to the next Chief of Police, and then I become his responsibility!
In Lubango a friend of a friend of mine in Luanda waited for me and booked me into his Lodge for the night. He took me to dinner and I was surprised by two of my friends from Luanda who also just happened to be in Lubango. Slept like the dead that night.
Next day I rode to Namibe, via Serra de Leba. It is a very beautiful area and going down Leba Pass is any biker’s dream!! The most beautiful mountain pass I have ever seen with awesome switchbacks. And it was designed by a woman!
This was my first time visiting Namibe. I stayed with a family who are friends with a friend of mine in Luanda. (I have lots of friends in Luanda as you may have noticed by now). Lol
I had such a great time with this family. Even though we had some difficulties understanding one another every now and then…we could communicate and chat and laugh. I felt right at home. Everybody here just wants to feed me all the time!! LoL. I don’t understand why! If you look at me you’ll notice it’s not like I’m starving! Food is great though! Love the Portuguese cooking.
In Namibe I had to meet the Governess who welcomed me to her Province and wished me a safe journey from Namibe onwards. I also met with the head of Sport and Chief of Police and members from the Tourism department, to discuss the road ahead etc.
From Namibe…I tackled the worst road I have ridden on to date. Namibe to Lobito via Lucira. I had always wanted to see this area as so many people have told me how beautiful it is. The first 100 kilometers is easy, tar road. From hereon out all the way to Dombe Grande the road condition is either that of a rocky road with sand….or a sand road with big rocks. I fell twice, I think. I am starting to lose count! The Police officers had to help me pick the bike back up everytime I had an off. It helps a lot having them around! Dented my panniers and have a few new scratches…but nothing too serious. I thought my rear shock would give in at any second though. This stretch of road is less than 400 kilometers and it took me 13 hours to complete. I only arrived in Lobito at midnight on Friday evening!!! And then….the Police vehicle’s lights didn’t work!!!! So I had to ride next to them to light the way. At night, on a sandy road, having been on the road for like 11 hours!!! Urrrggghhh. I was so tired I couldn’t care less if I fell over or not. I just wanted to get to Lobito!!!
Like I said, I eventually arrived in Lobito at midnight. I was booked into the Hotel Terminus in Lobito. It’s a four star hotel right on the beach! BEAUTIFUL!!!! It’s like a little piece of heaven! My friend Pedro Bandeira from HoteisAngola arranged for my stay at the Hotel and the owner, Mr Fernando agreed. I spent two days in Lobito, resting…sorting things out. Like the bike! There is a Motorcycle Club in Lobito called “Moto Clube 90”. They met up with me and took care of me whilst in Lobito. Cleaned my bike for me, checked that everything is okay. Replaced some light bulbs that needed replacing. Checked the fluids etc etc.
They took me on a few outrides around town and to Benguela. I had such a good time with these guys! They treat you like royalty and really look after you here! And I really love Lobito. I can’t explain it. There’s just something here that attracts me. Maybe I am losing it because I am starting to think that I can picture myself living here!!!!
The Moto Clube 90 guys rode with me from Lobito to Barra do Kwanza, on route to Luanda. From Barra do Kwanza, the biggest Motorcycle Club in Luanda – Amigos di Picada (Meaning: Friends of the off-road), together with my good friend Candido Carneiro from Trevogel would meet us and escort me the rest of the way into the city. My Police escorts are pretty insane! They quite literally chase everyone off the road, so I can pass by. They will ride into oncoming traffic to stop them and push them off the road….until I have passed. It’s crazy!!!! They make very sure that nobody comes near me and that I am safe.
Meeting up with the guys at Barra do Kwanza was really special! I had expected maybe a couple of bikes to turn up and ride with me. As we crossed the river, you go through two control points. (Oh, this is the other cool thing! I never have to stop at ANY control points!!! I can just ride through, following my escort! Saves on time!)
As we passed through the control points, I just saw this LOOOONG line of bikes and a bunch of people in yellow t-shirts, shouting and waving their hands and making a huge noise. About 30 bikes had come to meet me and would ride with me into Luanda!!!! As I got off my bike champagne got poured all over me and I was greeted by the President of the club, Mr Lillio Almeida. And then I got to say hello to my friend Candido Carneiro. I couldn’t believe that so many guys had come out to meet me!
I had a radio interview and we had loads of photos taken, of course.
And then we rolled out for the ride to Luanda. Two police bikes in front, then a police care, then Candido in his 4×4 with the South African and Angolan flags handing off the back, then the Leader, then yours truly…and then the rest of the pack behind me.
Getting into Luanda was absolute CHAOS!!!!!!
Sirens and hooting with the Police, once again, bringing the traffic to a halt so that I could pass with my very long convoy. If you know what the traffic is like in Luanda, then you will understand that it took some doing to get us all through!! I have never experienced anything like this in my life!
We rode into the city and to “Miami Beach”. A restaurant and club right on the beach. The owner of the establishment welcomed me and they had prepared a whole spread for all of us. Loads of food and beer!!!
We spent most of the afternoon at Miami Beach. I met a fellow South African reporter for SuperSport. They did an interview with me. SuperSport Massimo in Angola will have regular updates on my trip.
I had to take so many photos with so many people.
One thing I can say is: The Angolans know how to party!!
I only got to bed around half past four this morning!!!
And now, whilst in Luanda, DAX is being serviced. I am trying to catch up updates and washing etc etc.
I am waiting to meet with the Minister of Local Government in Luanda. Still have a few more media appointments to attend to. And then from here I head to Soyo to cross into Cabinda and then to Congo. (Yes, my route changed). But….now we wait for a boat!!!