When the Honda Quest convoy left Opuwo, the capital of Namibia’s Kaokoland area at 09:00 with the mercury already at 29⁰ C, everyone suspected that the 225km ride from Opuwo to Epupa Falls was going to be quite a challenge.

Thanks to fairly open terrain, the first 130km to Swartbooisdrif was relatively easy going. After a quick stop at the memorial for the Dorsland Trekkers – the hardy group of pioneers that trekked to Angola and back at the beginning of the previous century – the riders donned their riding gear and headed for the Kunene River, the border between Namibia and Angola.

Here they turned left on a trail that headed westwards and had to negotiate numerous dry riverbed crossings, steep climbs and descents – and the all-too-normal rocks that never ceased to threaten the motorcycle’s tyres.

It soon became apparent that this 95km section was going to require huge amounts of skill, concentration – and hydration – because the different riders’ CRF 1000 L Africa Twins on-board computers indicated temperatures of anything between 41⁰ and 47⁰ Celsius!

The teams had to concentrate hard to maintain the proper following distances in the scorching, dusty conditions, as well as having to negotiate the obstacles and try to maintain enough speed to be able to cool down somewhat. Eventually, a tired and sweaty group of riders rode into the tiny settlement of Epupa Falls, where they got rid of their riding gear and had the opportunity to marvel at the sight and sound of the waterfall, an oasis in an otherwise barren and unforgiving terrain.

But tomorrow the next challenge waits, when the riders head for Okangwati, and then onto the last treacherous 73km to the Van Zyl’s Pass community camp at Otjihende, a stretch of rocky track that on average takes almost six hours to do by 4x4. How will the Honda Quest riders do?

Issued by Jaco Kirsten, Media Manager for Specialised Adventures: jaco.kirsten@specialisedadventures.com.