Part 2: Sand and Heat from Botswana to Namibia

Rest day in Sesriem

Today is a rest day, and usually, we look forward to sleeping in a bit and enjoying a leisurely breakfast. But today is different; we want to experience the sunrise in the dunes and visit the Deadvlei.

The Deadvlei is a clay pan surrounded by the remains of ancient trees, nestled among sand dunes. We set off at 6 a.m., climbing two dunes—it's fantastic!!! In the afternoon, as usual on rest days, it's time for 'household chores': laundry and bike cleaning!!!

Stage 66: Sesriem to Tolou‘s, 111 km, 748 hm

A very exhausting day: dreadful gravel roads (sand, washboard), heat... I lose a water bottle without even noticing, that's how challenging the terrain is. Luckily, Colleen, our tour leader, has organized a water point on a farm. I gladly take a few bottles because the heat is truly almost unbearable.

Tolou's is an exceptionally beautiful camp, with incredibly friendly hosts and a stunning cactus garden. As almost every evening, we enjoy a beautiful sunset.

Stage 67: Tolou‘s to Helmeringhausen, 130 km, 1104 hm

I slept poorly, and today is another very tough day. The terrain hasn't changed, but it gets slightly better in the afternoon.

I meet Richard again; he's already had three flat tires that day :-( and together we roll into Helmeringhausen, a very nice camp with a small shop and restaurant.

Stage 68: Helmeringhausen to Alte Kalkoefen, 128 km, 129 hm

A wonderfully relaxing ride, with some beautiful gravel sections, partly even tarmac, and lots of downhill stretches! We encounter herds of springboks nervously crossing the road to avoid us. In Namibia, even though the properties are huge, they are always fenced in.

On the way, we pass through a place selling carrot cake. Unfortunately, the supply doesn't last for all cyclists, and the counter empties very quickly.

Alte Kalkoefen is a beautiful camp with a huge collection of lithops (living stones). As a biologist, I am naturally thrilled by this incredibly large collection and the meticulous care of these plants.

Stage 69: Alte Kalkoefen to Canyon Farm Yard Camp, 117 km, 657 hm

For the past few days, I've been dealing with a cough that doesn't seem to improve due to the heat and dryness. The landscape has also undergone significant changes, becoming flatter and more monotonous. However, along our route, we stumbled upon a gin distillery with amazing apple pie. We're grateful for any bit of variety.

We spend the night in a camp that could easily be found on Route 66. Old car wrecks decorate the area, and in the evening, we enjoy a stunning sunset on one side and a beautiful moonrise on the other.

Stage 70: Canyon Farm Yard Camp to Canyon Resthouse, 46 km, 279 hm

Today's route is very short because in the afternoon, we have the opportunity to visit Fish Canyon. My cough has been getting worse, so I decide to stay back at the camp. Not wanting to disturb the others, I opt for a room instead.

It's really unusual to sleep in a bed again (as mentioned before, for weeks I've been sleeping only on a yoga mat... one does get used to many things!!!). The Canyon Resthouse is also a creatively arranged camp with many interesting details.

Stage 71: Canyon Resthouse to Felix Unite, 170 km, 1102 hm

The morning starts beautifully, the landscape is picturesque! Unfortunately, my cough isn't getting any better due to the dry air and the dust kicked up by passing cars. By midday, I can hardly speak, and the night becomes a nightmare (also for the others camping around me :-( )

Felix Unite is situated on the Orange River. We haven't seen a river in a long time, and the grape vineyards look very surreal.

Rest day in Felix Unite

This is our last rest day before Cape Town!!! Laundry, changing tires (as we expect more asphalt roads in South Africa), cleaning bikes, writing a blog!!!

More impressions