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Adventure Big Five (the other way around!) ABF1602

Monday, September 12, 2016 | Domenico Schiano Moriello | Africa

Day 16, Citrusdal - Cape Town

Time was flying guys, this great tour has come to an end... and what a beautiful end! First the Middelberg pass on gravel (that not everybody did!), then a nice break in Ceres... and then the wonderful Bainskloof pass! A last break at the Afrikaans language monument in Paarl and there we were ready to hop on the highway and reach the fina destination, Cape Town!

In sixteen days we travelled from the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to the southernmost region of this continent, everything changed, sometimes gradually and sometimes suddenly, lots of memories and... what an experience!

Albert, Rudolf, Michael, Anantha, Yalim, Murad, Dirk, John, thank you for a great time together! Oh, and I'm waiting for your comments on this blog!

Yalim reaching Middelberg Pass
saying goodbye to the gravel!
Ceres, the place where we had our first break...
Domenico is missing home!
the coffee break soon turned into lunch, not many of us could resist the pizza!
Michael on the Bainskloof pass
Anantha, Dirk and John
not only the road, also the landscapes were amazing!
in Paarl at the Afrikaans language monument
"we are earnest about this"
we could see Table Mountain already!
arrived in Cape Town! Time to give the bikes back and time for a well deserved boot-beer!

Day 15, Springbok - Citrusdal

Leaving Springbok, we took the N7 direction south and left it only 2 times, when we stopped for lunch and when we reached Citrusdal! Really incredible how the landscape changed so much in such a little time, from Namaqualand and its blooming desert, we approached the regions of the south with mountains, rivers... and lots of vineyards!

this is the season of the blooming near Springbok! Lots of wildflowers of all colours along the road!
picture stop at Kamieskron
work in progress along the road... sometimes the waiting time was around 10 minutes... so there was time for a picture
Bikes parked, while we have lunch at Maretha's
landscape changed totally! Were we not surrounded by a desert until yesterday?

Day 14, Fish River Canyon - Springbok

Time to leave Namibia and enter South Africa! Today we left our beautiful Canyon Village and rode southward on gravel roads for around 100 kilometres, before hitting the asphalt again right before the border between these two countries. Immigration and customs procedures were very fast, so we reached Springbok quite early and had some time to relax before dinner in our lodge full of birds!

Direction Ai-Ais!
Also Namibia produces some wine!
entering South Africa
our lodge

Day 13, Keetmanshoop - Fish River Canyon

From Keetmanshoop we rode on the B3, direction south-west, until we saw the indication to Fish River Canyon, then we left the main road and got back on some gravel again! First break was by the Naute Dam, that makes the area around very fertile and then, following the Fish River downstream, we reached the nice Canyon Roadhouse where we had lunch. After that, we were just a few miles away from the world's second largest canyon, one of the most spectacular sights in Namibia. The views were just outstanding, stunning, amazing!

first picture at the Naute Dam
the Naute Dam
turn right to Fish River Canyon
the Canyon Roadhouse
after refilling our stomachs, it is the turn of our bikes
we reached the Fish River Canyon, time for a group picture!
after admiring the Canyon, time to go to our lodge...
We finally reached Canyon Village
waiting for the sunset!
the air here is so dry that the visibility is incredible!
a nice drink by the fire was the perfect end of this beautiful day

Day 12, Mariental - Keetmanshoop

Today we took it easy, so we left our beautiful lodge at 10am and followed the B1 southward through the arid Kalahari desert, not a very challenging ride. We reached Keetmanshoop in time for lunch and then headed to the Quiver Tree Forest and the Giant's Playground. These two attractions are very close to each-other and they actually could be considered as one. The Giant's Playground is a bizarre, rocky landscape where the towering dolerite rocks look as if they were the work of giants. The boulders are made of 170 million year old volcanic basalt... and among all these huge rocks there are a lot of quiver trees, a species of aloe that is typical from here. Well, take a look at the pictures!

a break along the B1
Dirk and Michael
at the giant's playground
a big quivertree

Day 11, Namib-Naukluft National Park - Mariental

After our relaxing rest day, we were ready to hit the gravel again! Today around 200 kilometres of dust and amazing landscapes took us to Maltahöhe, where we had lunch, and then back on the asphalt until Mariental. Well, we were ready to hit the gravel again, but maybe the trailer was not so ready, because it broke down around 80 kilometres before reaching the asphalt... and I have to say it was definitely not easy to take it to a garage in Maltahöhe, where they will try to fix it! Fingers crossed!

many animals saying goodbye in the morning!
the road in the Namib-Naukluft national park
Murad and Yalim
some other impressions...
fixing the trailer again and again, every 15 kilometres we had to lift it and fix the wheel with some straps... we reached Maltahöhe after 3pm!
Arrived at destination in time to enjoy a wonderful sunset!

Day 10, Safari in Sossusvlei

The second "rest" day of this tour started at 6am when the jeep came to pick us up and take us to Sossusvlei. This salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes is the main visitor attraction in Namibia, and the area is really breath-taking! Amazing huge sand dunes and the surrealistic "Dead Vlei", sights that will be difficult to forget!

turkish warm-up in the morning
one of the many picture stops
orix, this animal is the symbol of Namibia
arrived at dead vlei
This used to be an oasis, but when the water stopped reaching this area, the trees died and the remaining skeletons, which are believed to have died 600–700 years ago do not decompose because it is so dry.
Dead Vlei from Big Daddy, the biggest dune of this region
another view from Big Daddy
picnic in Sossusvlei
amazing landscapes
at the Sesriem canyon, our last stop before going back to the lodge!

Day 9, Swakopmund - Namib-Naukluft National Park

The day everybody was waiting for has finally arrived! Following the coast, we went south from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay and then turned left to the inland again. Soon the asphalt road turned into gravel... and the adventure began! After around 150 kilometres of gravel and stunning landscapes we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn and then reached Solitaire, where we could have a break and fill-up the bikes before finally reaching our lodge.

Picture stop in Wolvis Bay, where we saw flamingos...
...and dolphins!!!
flamingos taking off
Soon we hit the gravel and tyre pressure has to be lowered!
coffee break at Dune 7
finally gravel! Here Rudolf ready to start!
some impressions of the day
gravel and gravel...
here passes the Tropic of Capricorn...
... and here passes also Edelweiss!
last break in Solitaire
some riding
the view from our lodge, amazing!
bikes parked, they will rest also tomorrow because another safari is awaiting us!

Day 8, Windhoek - Swakopmund

Today's ride took us from Windhoek to Swakopmund, on the Atlantic Ocean. Finally the landscape started changing quite a lot and we could also do some gravel road training, to have an idea of what is expecting us in the next days! As we got closer and closer to the coast, the temperature started to change very quickly, from around 34° it dropped to 16°C! What a sudden change! And also a light rain was awaiting us in Swakopmund... one definitely feels the presence of the ocean!


first coffee break in Okahandja
quick stop for a picture in Karibib
At the Namib Oasis, near Usakos, where we had lunch
lunch time...
some gasoline, and then back on the road again!
some gravel on the road that leads to the Spitzkoppe
another quick break...
we reached the Atlantic!!!
the lighthouse of Swakopmund

Day 7, Ghanzi - Windhoek

Today's ride was the longest of the tour, around 530km plus the border crossing to enter Namibia, so there was not really much time to stop and take many pictures! Crossing the border was fortunately very easy and took short time, then we stopped in Gobabis for lunch and finally headed to Windhoek, capital city of Namibia, where we also had time for a short walk before dinner.

Namibia Check Point!
long, straight... trans-Kalahari!
last break before Windhoek

Day 6, Maun - Ghanzi

To get the full experience of the Okavango Delta, after the jeep safari of yesterday we decided to take a look at it also from the sky! So the day started with a flight at 8am, then we went back to the hotel to have breakfast (better not to fly on those small planes with a full stomach!)... and then back on the bikes! We left the hotel at 11:00 am but we are still in Botswana, so it is no big deal to ride for 300km on straight roads!

Rudolf boarding the plane...
Who is the pilot? Anantha???
some impressions of the Okavango Delta
John trying to spot animals...
time to land!
Picture stop at Lake Ngami, an important habitat for birds and wildlife, especially in flood years.
some gravel road training near lake Ngami... Namibia is getting always closer guys!
Last break on the way to Ghanzi

Day 5, Safari in the Okavango Delta

The 1000th site to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014, the Okavango Delta is a very important wildlife area of Botswana. A great river that flows not into the sea but the harsh Kalahari Desert, the Okavango Delta is more correctly termed an alluvial fan comprising areas that are permanently flooded, seasonally flooded and occasionally flood. A myriad of species are found within the delta including African Elephant, African Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Giraffe, Crocodile, Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Zebra, Baboon and so on. We were not able to see all of them, but we really saw a lot of animals today! Enjoy the pictures!!!

ready to "shoot" the animals!
our first victim...
our guide and driver, Mr. Cowboy. He could spot the animals from so far, that we were thinking that he had some kind of agreement with them! Or maybe he could smell them?
today we saw a lot of zebras!
what a good luck we had, we could see also lions today! That does not happen very often!!!
lunch break
how sweet... but nobody had the courage to go stroke this lioness!
on the way back. It was a long safari, almost 12 hours on the jeep... but it was worth it!

Day 4, Nata - Maun

The day started for a few of us with a nice warm-up ride in the Nata Bird Sanctuary, just a few kilometres away from our lodge. We did not see many birds... but it was a really good off-road training! Then with all the group we headed to Maun, a very long and straight road! Along the road, we stopped at the "Baobab Planet", a very nice lodge, where we could admire some of these huge trees. Still two hundred kilometres to go after that, that we tried to do as relaxed as possible, because animals can cross the road at any time, but still some policemen complained a bit...


Yalim in the Nata Bird Sanctuary
Attention, big animals crossing!
At the Planet Baobab
A baobab tree
Baobabs are known both for their height and trunk's girth. The trunk can reach a diameter of 10–14 m!
Group picture
Can anyone tell what kind of bird is that?
Kirk near a termite mound, just to have an idea of how big these insects build their "villages"!
Arrived in Maun (the elephant is fake!)
some chatting at the bar before dinner

Day 3, Kasane - Nata

What to say about today? We decided to leave around one hour later to enjoy the lodge a little longer, it was supposed to be a relaxed day but then... first one bike did not start (battery was a bit low...) and then, when this issue was fixed, we found out that another bike had a flat tyre! And, when everything was done, we finally left and after lunch some bikes were already short of gasoline... fortunately Bella was there to help us!

aren't we brave?
what is Skumbi doing?
taking some gasoline from Bella's big tank!

Day 2, Victoria Falls - Kasane

After marvelling at one of the largest waterfalls on earth for a sufficient amount of time, we climbed on a bus and headed to the Botswana border. Luckily there were not many people there, so we could reach Kazane quite early, relax a bit and then hop on the boat that took us into the Chobe National Park for a great boat safari, where we could see elephants, crocodiles, giraffes, hippos and so on...

Definitely not a bad day, even if we did not ride our bikes yet!

The monument dedicated to David Livingstone, first european who reached these waterfalls in 1855. Then he renamed them Victoria Falls, but of course they had already a name. How arrogant, isn't it?
some impressions of the Victoria Falls
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 metres and height of 108 metres resulting in the world's largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America's Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width Victoria Falls is rivalled only by Argentina and Brazil's Iguazu Falls.
John, Rudolf and Dirk
Michael and Albert
on the van that took us to Botswana
Murad and Yalim, welcome to Botswana
Some impressions of the boat safari in the Chobe National Park
we were so lucky that we could see two elephants crossing the river!!! Here they were entering the water...
here starting the crossing...
and here reaching the other side!
Some other impressions...
Sunset on the Chobe river

Day 1, Arrival day in Victoria Falls

If you dream of Africa, what does your imagination show you? Do you see elephants showering in dust and hippos wading in shallow pools? Do you see a barren, moon-like desert landscape that miraculously covers itself with flowers each spring? Or do you dream of a sea of giant sand dunes, stretching from horizon to horizon? Whatever your African dreams are, you are likely to see them on this motorcycle tour. What else to say... the group has arrived, today we met for the welcome briefing and everybody is looking foreward to a great tour! Tomorrow morning we start, stay tuned!

notice the sharks around Cape Town
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Yalim Acar
Thursday, September 29, 2016 at 18:06

Thanks to whole Edelweiss crew for putting together this magical adventure together! Big thanks to Domenico for leading the group and Scumbe for his help! Me and my father Murad enjoyed the hell out of this tour! We woke up to a new culture and language every morning and i have to say that Adventure big 5 definitely added some great adventure skills to our selves. Can't wait to move to the next adventure with Edelweiss.
Murad Acar
Monday, September 19, 2016 at 14:28

Thanks for the Edelweiss team specially to Doris than to Domenico i have been travelling all around the World myself and some other companies as well .
For this trip I participated with my son Yalim so This was one of the amazing tour that I ever made.
The group of our friend was awesome the tour guide was so positive ,helpful and handsome .
so once again thanks for whole Edelweiss team
Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 22:23

Excellent riding experience and well organized and executed tour. Would highly recommend this trip to motorcycle enthusiasts !
Bob Brennr
Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 21:26

Anantha - It's Bob Brenner here (green Cubs baseball cap) from the BOE tour Sept. 2015. I was looking through Edelweiss tours and stumbled on your pictures from the Big Five. I kept saying that guy looks a lot like the guy from the BOE tour and then I saw your name. I took the BMW Off-Road Adventure Training Course last spring (I highly recommend it if you haven't done it already) and I've been thinking about this tour and would like to talk to you about it sometime. Here's my email - Let's talk, Bob
Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 16:06

Very interesting trio and a great group of people. Domenico (the guide) and Skoobie (the chase van driver) were really great - even more than it was reasonable to expect.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 17:58

Hi Domenico,

Thank you for more than two weeks of beautiful and sometimes challenging (at least for me riding. Thanks also to Skumbi. You both took anytime good care about us and made this trip an amazing adventure.

Greatings also to all other members of the group it was a pleasure riding with you.

Maybe we will meet again on another Edelweiss-Trip as this was definately not my last one.

John Stinson, M.D.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 04:34

This was my first Edelweiss tour, and most definitely won't be my last! An outstanding experience, in ways too numerous to recount. Domenico & Scoobie did an exemplary job, the lodging, meals and camaraderie were terrific. All good things must end, though, so I'll soon start planning my next Edelweiss sojourn...
Monday, September 5, 2016 at 08:21

Bon Giorno Domenico,

I hope everything is alright! Take care and remember to eat chicken always grilled and not fried !
Domenico Schiano
Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 20:45

Ciao Andrzej! All is good here, thank you, and no chicken at all on this tour!
Michael Wöllermann
Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 21:30

Hallo Domenico, Ihr habt schon viele Tierchen gesehen...
Jetzt geht's los mit den Mopeds. Viel Glück und unfallfreie Fahrt.

Gabi und Michael
Domenico Schiano
Friday, September 2, 2016 at 17:07

Danke Gabi und Michael! WIe geht es euch? Ich hoffe ihr habe eine angenehme Reise zurueck gehabt! Liebe Gruesse aus Ghanzi (ein anderes Hotel, keine 5Km Sand!)
Alan Magnoni
Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 10:02

...fingers crossed that everybody makes it to the sharks in Cape Town!!
Domenico, watch out for the bunnies as well ...

safe trip to all of you!
greetings from Austria
Domenico Schiano
Friday, September 2, 2016 at 17:06

Gracias amigo! See you in Napoli for the Southern Italy Extreme!!!


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