Riding into a new country is always an exciting moment. Especially when it is my first visit. After the hectic diamond related adventures in South Africa, which you can read here, I was curious how the diamond situation would be on the Namibian side of the Orange River. After all, the Orange river and the diamonds that traveled with it, didn’t care about the national borders that people have drawn.
Crossing the border
It was my first border crossing with Savannah, and I was a little nervous. I wasn’t 100% sure that all the paperwork would hold, because when I bought Savannah in Johannesburg I couldn’t get her registered in my name because I entered South Africa visa-free as a tourist. So even though I am Savannah’s owner, the papers are still registered on the bike shop where I bought her from. In the meantime, some papers had been stamped by the police. With these legalized papers, it should be possible to travel legally with her to all of the direct neighbouring countries of South Africa. But, in reality things don’t always work the way they should. That is why I held my breath when I approached the border.
Arriving there, nobody asked for my paperwork! They routinely asked me if I was the owner of the bike, and my answer ‘yes’ apparently covered any issues that might have been. I got the impression that border control was more focused on health screening and Covid-testing than ownership papers of motorcycles. I can’t be sure about this as I haven’t crossed the border between South Africa and Namibia in pre-pandemic times.
With a negative test result from my PCR-test that I had done in the clinic of Springbok, and after going through the normal hoops one has to jump through when at a border crossing, I entered Namibia!
Diamond craziness in Namibia
Namibia has less than 2.5 million inhabitants and is slightly larger than the state of Texas in the US. Most people live in the capital Windhoek and in a few other ‘cities’ throughout the country. The rest consists of vast deserts, mountain ranges, and well… wide open landscapes.
But as expected, I first rode through the Namibian side of the diamond craziness. At the ghost town of Kolmanskoppe, I was again stunned by the stories I heard of how things went down here a century ago, but still, it all seemed quite tame compared to what I’d seen and heard on the South African side of the border.
The numbers were dazzling though. In the first six years of diamond mining at Kolmanskoppe, 5 million carats of diamonds were recovered. 5 million carats! That is about 5.000 kilograms! Not really a rare stone if you come to think about it. But with just a few mining companies, like De Beers, mining for diamonds, these companies are able to keep the influx on the world market as low as possible in order to maintain these high artificial prices.
When riding on the Namibian side of the Orange river, I passed many small improvised camps where people were digging for diamonds. Those camps consist of a couple of tents, a small excavator, and piles of rubble, that was it. I decided that I had my fair share of diamond danger in South Africa and rode quickly past those camps.
It was time to shift my focus to more ‘innocent’ and relaxed geology. Namibia has so many incredible geological features that I was looking forward to exploring them. Huge natural phenomena such as Fish river canyon, the second largest canyon in the world, but also poorly misunderstood features such as the Brukkaros Crater. Interesting fact is that the name Brukkaros refers to a piece of clothing worn by local Nama women. ‘Bruk’ refers to the Afrikaans (or Dutch) word for trousers and ‘karos’ is the Nama word for a leather apron.
Somehow I managed to reach these geological wonders by conquering some seriously difficult terrain. Again, I was glad to have my lightweight Savannah with me. I wouldn’t have wanted to attempt this terrain with the much heavier Himalayan or even my Honda CB500x. A small engine / lightweight dual sport bike is definitely the way to go here!
Oldest desert in the world
Without realising it, I was already riding in the Namib desert, the oldest desert in the world. This area has been a desert for 55 million years. In its current form, it stretches all the way from Angola, through Namibia and into South Africa. To me, it is fascinating to see that even an area as inhospitable as a desert, with virtually no rainfall, is still teeming with life. Animals and plants have over time evolved in such a way that they can survive the most harsh circumstances. From the tiniest insects and lizards to desert adapted elephants in the north of Namibia, they all live in the desert.
A large part of the Namib Desert is now preserved as the Namib-Naukluft National Park, which is fantastic. On top of that, there is a large private game reserve attached to it. Even though it’s privately owned, this reserve is still growing in size as its owner keeps on buying adjacent farms and turns them into protected areas. Giraffes have been reintroduced here after being completely wiped out due to poaching in the ’40s. Big predators, such as lions, were also all killed as they threatened the livestock on farms. The lions have not been brought back, making it a safe area to pass through on a motorcycle. There are some leopards but they rarely show themselves during the day, so you’d be extremely (un)lucky to see one!
Without actually planning it this way, I happened to enter Namibia at the right time of the year. Winter time is the best time to travel here, as summers get scorching and unbearably hot. Nonetheless, temperatures still soar here around midday, but the mornings and evenings are surprisingly chilly!
The capital of Namibia, Windhoek, situated at over 1000 meters altitude, has temperatures around freezing point (in Celsius) in the mornings. It does get cold in wintertime in Namibia! Wintertime is also the driest season of the year. The little rain that this country gets, all falls in summer time. That means I don’t have to check the weather forecast every day and worry about riding in the rain, like I had to do when I was riding in Norway and Iceland last summer!
Climate wise, the temperature didn’t pose the biggest challenge for me, the wind did. Sometimes it came from the east, sometimes from the north and sometimes from every direction at the same time! This country is quite notorious for its strong winds, and I can confirm that for sure!
Culture & Food
So far, I can’t say I have experienced the local Namibian cuisine. There are definitely several local dishes, but as it is the case in many other countries, most eateries only serve burgers, pizza, and steaks. I hope that further north, I will find some traditional Namibian food!
So far, the locals that I’ve met have been very welcoming and the hospitality is warm, just like in South Africa. But meeting people here is generally rare, with its vast open spaces and few, very few people living here. I always enjoy meeting locals, but the non-existing traffic, the empty gravel roads and endless nature are what make me the happiest.
I can’t wait to see what will come next. This was only just the beginning after all.
I have followed your journey through Southern Africa. Fantastic!!! I would like to know why you are not showing your accommodation and food like you used to on your previous journeys. Having grown up in South Africa it would be helpful forbthe local tourism industry. Pleaseshow us your accommodation. Thanks
Hi Kirk, Often at the end of my videos I show the accommodation, and what I eat is not always very interesting haha... Furthermore, I prefer to focus on riding through the most beautiful landscapes and visiting interesting places with my bike.
I've enjoyed your Namibian visit so far, it's always very insightful to view and experience our Country through a visitors eyes, I am staying in the North of Namibia on a Farm outside Tsumeb some 100 Km from Etosha National Park, pity you won't be allowed inside our National Parks on a motorcycle, like you've already experienced at the Naukluft park. Looking forward to the rest of you travels and enjoy the rest of our beautiful country.
Congratulations Noraly on your brand new website. It's a beautiful piece of work.
I have always been a road bike rider but after binge watching your YouTube channel during the pandemic lock downs I'm sure I will looking much closer at the dual purpose bikes on my future visits to motorcycle shops. On a clear day I can see the Front Range of the Alberta Rockies from here in Calgary and those hills are talking to me.
Enjoy Namibia, safe travels and keep the rubber side down.
Hallo Noraly, Ik denk alle beelden van jou te hebben gezien en volg je nog steeds op de voet. geweldig hoe je de wereld rondreist en ons daarvan de beelden laat zien met deskundig commentaar. Mijn stelling is wij leven in het paradijs en ........ .
Wat ik mij laatst afvroeg is, Savannah is een lichte motor en de bagage die je mee neemt is weloverwogen. We hebben een aantal keren in het verleden jou gezien met een pannetje en daarna verdwijnen in een tentje, heb jij dit nog steeds bij jou?
Verder een hele goede reis en geniet van ons paradijs. Blijf veilig.
Hartelijk groet uit Noord-Nederland
Hello Noraly: I just finished watching your last two videos on Namibia and I want to go back there. We did a two week drive in the central and northern part of the country about ten years ago. It was in a five speed full size diesel pickup truck. Two fuel tanks that held 140 litres of fuel and three spare tires. Luckily we didn’t have any flats. If you get a chance go to Okinjima leopard and cheetah rehabilitation reserve which is north of Windhoek. I probably didn’t spell the name correctly. Another amazing place is Vingerklip Lodge. A great country and keep having fun.
Namib is amazingly spectaculair. The Video S5-45 is mindblowing, the color diverence amazingly.
The only thing what strike me is most off the time the sound when you filming and speaking with out the helmet. That is very hard to hear some times impossible. Perhaps an microphone on the shirt would help this out?
But we love your video's and geological explanations, it gives us an other look on geologic items and the world.
Please stay safe and keep up the good (hard) work.
Those beautiful drone shots, the camera panning over that deserted landscape, making you smaller and smaller but in control of the view, the epic music adding to the impact of that moment, a beautiful modern house in the middle of nowhere, the stars you see at night, moments of closeness and peace that you must be feeling when the cameras are off, when you can just be alone with yourself shut off from the rest of the world, you might as well be on an entirely different planet.
After watching your videos I booked a motorcycle trip from SA to Namibia, it will follow most of your routes ... it's a guided tour, but only a small group ..can't wait to see the stunning landscapes down there ..
Hi Noraly. Love watching you on Youtube. Always a highlight when a new video is released. I do not know if you will travel through Chad but I happened to on Youtube to see some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen. It's called Ennedi Massif. Google it and be amazed. Best regards Tony
As you wrote in this period Namibia can be very cold, moreover if There are antaric winds blowing.
The good things are that probably you shall not see any fly or mosquito and probably any snake too. Scorpione àre a problem when you make the Fire in a tent càmp, but you usually stay in a B&B so no prob.
Buy a pair of packs of biltong made with game meat, Emergency food, a lot of proteines and Energy in few grams of dry meat. Biltong made with gamesbock/orix meat Is the best IMHO, but àsk too your hosrs, and follow th eir suggestions on which Is the best. Ride safe, don't ride during the night.
I'm riding a Vulcan S cruiser, but your adventures are making me think an adventure bike should be in my future. hmmm. At 70, maybe I'm too old to learn, or....YOLO!!!
Thank you, Sergey! We were getting concerned too. Glad to know all is well.
Great episode and I really like that you spend time on certain topics like this one.
For now I have only explored Europe and I just miss 5 countries then I have had them all. You are a great inspiration and you motivate me to see more of the world. So it might be that I find the courage to see more of the world after 2021 when the world starts to open again.
I have to admit that I am addicted to watch your episodes and I can hardly wait for the next one.
I like your videos very much.
Hopefully you have a new video soon, so that we know you doing well.
Greetings from the Netherlands.
I am following your travels since the adventures with Basanti. I am 61, I just passed the motorbike licence and bought a RE Himalayan. I am afraid you are a bit guilty 😉.
I am really worrying about this sudden lack of news.
Hope you are safe and everything is ok.
Take care and keep us informed as soon as you will have the opportunity.
We are following you "daily" since India...
Noraly, you are in my top 10 exceptional women.
We are worried, without new video of you since a week.
We wish, with full hearted, that you are well and everything is OK.
Please give news if it's possible for you.
We love you big,
Fi and Gab, Quebec, Canada
P.S. If you ever travel in Canada - Quebec, we have a warm place for you.
We volgen je "elke dag" sinds India...
Noraly, je bent in mijn top 10 uitzonderlijke vrouwen.
We zijn bang, zonder nieuwe video van je voor een week.
We wensen, van harte, dat je gezond bent en dat alles in orde is.
Geef nieuws als het voor u mogelijk is.
We houden van je groot,
Fi en Gab, Quebec, Canada
P.S. Als je ooit in Canada reist - Quebec, hebben we een warme plek voor jou.
Girl, you are getting us worried. We hope things are going well but you have a lot of followers sitting on the edge of their seats.
Thanks Sergey for the info to get here and Best of luck Noraly with your web site. I too was worried as to what happened and so Glad your ok. Enjoy your u tube videos very much and feel like traveling the world through your video.
Thank you Sergey for providing the link! I missed the announcement as well. I to was worried Noraly fell ill. The regular video was something I also looked forward to for enlightenment.
Andy, I tried the link mentioned and got nothing updating her status or situation or whereabou.
Please anyone help me to find why the sudden loss of posts on YouTube or on website.
Amboy see the youtube link five comments up i was worried too till i saw this post.
we have'nt seen any post from noraly since wed june 16, 2021. its now june 22,2021 as of this writing still no post from noraly. i dont remember her saying that she will be offline for any length of time as of her last video (s5 e42). i hope she is okay, i do miss her regular vlog update.
Your travel tales get better and better. I have never seen anything about Namibia on ‘normal tv’ so the landscape and history is all new and wife & I are loving it.
We had two delivery guys up from England the other day, big job, two hours to unload, I got chatting to them, both bikers. I asked if they watched YouTube adventure bike videos. The elder guy immediately replied yes, itchy boots! Two of your biggest fans spent ages talking about how we loved the series.
Thanks for inspiring! So many great photos, video footage, blog posts and unknown destinations. :) Glad to be a support to such an amazing journey.
So what is going on? Net problems? Got covid? Get kidnapped? Lot of people want to know..
@Collette see explanations here https://www.youtube.com/c/ItchyBoots/community
I don't know if you have made an announcement that you are not posting videos, but I am missing you videos fri 18th and Mon 21st June, hope all is well
Stunning ride and filmography!
Fabulous videos of your journey through SA and Nambia , stay safe . .
Im learning so much by watching these videos,I try to follow your progress on google earth from the info you provide and I,m loving it..Keep up the great work.Hopefully we see some Traditional Namibian food at some stage?
South Africa ws great to watch..can not wait to see Namibia and what ever countries you'll be seeing...I just stick to The Netherlands and parts of Europe this year.
Tnx for the great video!
What a wonderfully written article Noraly.
Hi Noraly. Wonderfull videos of All the countries you have visited, what plans after Namibia
The thought of riding somewhere I could be ambushed by a Leopard is a little intimidating 😂. I love your work!
I'm your fan!
Hi Noraly, congratulation on your new website.
I dont know how it happens but i became an... itchbootaholic now!!!
I love your videos. Especially that they are not only entertaining and satisfy my love of traveling. But that they are also informative and that I learn a lot from the regions that you travel to. Thanks for that!
Thank you for your comments so far. I enjoy reading them :-)
Good morning Noraly, from North Oxfordshire, UK. Sherpa the Himalayan and I send best wishes to you and Savannah on your travels. The new site is great. I look forward to many more Itchy Adventures.
Life, not Live.....ok, I could not find the Edit feature
The new site looks and works great, Ms. Boots. And the Stories from the Road remind me that you mentioned you were a writer first. Well done! I saw a quote today:
"Live is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all."
- Helen Keller
Turns out, she was pioneering the adventurous woman a long time ago; she has a lot of great quotes.
Glad to be a part of your community Noraly,have been following you from the start,watching you grow.Once again,your new travels show us amazing places,people and landscapes.Your filming and editing are top notch,love the soundtracks too.Good choice on the little Honda,perfect for this journey.You have inspired an old bloke to get off his behind and do a bit while I'm still able and travel around my beautiful country,(Australia) on my newly purchased CB500X,aptly named Dora.Cheers from down under.
Fantastic pictures of an amazing landscape. Thank you for sharing.
Noraly, I don't know how you accomplish all that you publish. Blog, Vlog, social media and oh yeah travel the world daily. I wish you continued success and safety living your dream.
Thanks for sharing your experience in Namibia. Stay safe and wish you a safe journey.
Congrats on the new website - looks great! Fascinated by your recent travels - South Africa/Namibia look like magnificent countries to tour and have encouraged me to wonder if I've still got one more adventure left in these old bones........!
Congrats on the new website, Noraly. Where do you find the time? I'm happy to be Loyalty Member and look forward to the rest of your trip through Namibia and beyond..... Every one of your videos are spectacular is some regard. Thanks and stay well. You are the best.
You have been showing us around SA and talking about diamonds and now this in the news today. What a coincidence. But your tour also gives us an understanding of the complexities related to this news. So thanks for everything you do and all the trouble you take.
Noraly, I love your stories... Great fun to read about your adventures. Had to chuckle on this one where you state that the temperatures in Windhoek are around freezing (in Celcius) in the mornings. They are around freezing in Fahrenheit as well, you do realise, right ;-)
Keep riding, keep writing, keep enjoying!
Thank you for the fantastic and inspirational video's showing some of the beautiful parts of this world we live on.
I have watched all your video's from S1 E1.
Keep up the great work and ride safe.
Looks like a wonderful place to ride. You keep adding to my bucket list!
Thanks for sharing! Keep riding!
Namibia is spectacular. I hope that you are able to find the cuisine and more local flavours in your journey. Thanks for the great videos!
It is you to blame I want to ride again,
Now you have me saving for a Yamaha T7👍
Thanks for the ride just love every episode and seen them all👍😘
I've only recently discovered your blog and You Tube channel and haven't watched anything else for days! By far the best thing I've found on the internet for years. Every video is extremely well put together. The scenery where you ride is stunning. I wish I was there.
Your adventures are wonderful ! Your videos inspired my wife to buy a motorcycle (125cc at the moment, but soon a larger one after getting the license) and we are now two riders instead of one. We admire your courage to explore such remote places alone !
Congratulation on Itchy Boots 2.0! Your journey over the last 2 years has been truly amazing and inspirational; both the journey overland on four continents but also the journey into film making and travel vlogging. Your skills as a motorcyclist and in cinematography are top notch. Well done Noraly. What a RIDE! I look forward to your documenting your continuing adventure on two wheels and thank you for taking me (and 750K others) along for the ride. Kind regards from British Columbia Canada
Bringing out the best in the locals, wherever you go. Such a wonderful talent for friendship, empathy, and sharing the local experience. So many followers are hanging on your every word and loving the way you share your travels! Magic!
Such a stunning landscape. Thoroughly enjoying the journey.
Wonderful drone videos of the wide open spaces. Great to see geology in action.