Sunday bike ride

One of my favorite weekend activities is exploring the desert surrounding Arandis. For most recent weeks, this has been on foot–but now that I have a working bike, I’m able to cover much more ground and go further into the bush. Yesterday, while clocking about 30km off-road, I found ancient riverbeds, an endemic Quiver Tree and several herd of wandering Springbok.

Anything taller than 2-3 meters stands out pretty clearly in the distance. Here was my first glimpse.
Anything taller than 3 meters stands out pretty clearly in the distance. This silhouette was my first hint.
As I approach, I recognize it from my guide books as a Quiver Tree, indigenous to southern Africa and rare enough to be considered "vulnerable."
As I got closer, I recognized it from my guide books as a Quiver Tree, indigenous to southern Africa and considered “vulnerable.” Per Wikipedia, the Quiver Tree gets its English common name from the San people’s practice of hollowing out the tubular branches to form quivers for their arrows.
It is truly a standout in this landscape!
It is truly a rare standout in this landscape!

The Springbok always saw or heard or smelled me before I saw them. They were pretty easily spooked and wouldn’t let me anywhere close. This video clip shows several of the 6 herd I came across. Note that the sound you hear is not their thundering stampede but rather the wind blowing across my microphone, and the distant patch of green at 0:54 are trees in Arandis, about 5km away.

This is a photo from the web of a Springbok "pronking," something I witnessed but didn't manage to record.
This photograph from Wikipedia shows a Springbok “pronking,” something I witnessed but didn’t manage to record.

Other wild animals in the area that I keep watching for: zebra, kudu, hyena, warthog and ostrich. Interesting checklist, huh?

Author: Chris

Until recently, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia focused on Community Economic Development. Before that, I was a high-tech executive, small business owner, consultant and business broker.

6 thoughts on “Sunday bike ride”

  1. Chris – very interesting. Your bikes tires must be pretty tough to withstand riding in the desert. Are the rocks sharp or are there thorns? Or is it more like find sand? I just replaced a bike tire
    this weekend and I ride on roads!

    The Earthquakes fired John Doyle – their general manager – to try to shake up the organization a bit.
    They have new players but are not playing as a team right now.

    Thanks,

    Rick

    1. Hey, Rick! Yea, I’ve been following the Quakes (and the Reds) pretty closely…

      Here, it’s a used mountain bike with used tires, but I swapped out for slime self-repair tubes and carry two spares, a pump & patch kit so feel pretty good that I won’t ever have to walk my bike back home with a flat. New tires are on the wish list!

      The ground is varied: fine, powdery sand in the streambeds (which _can’t_ be traversed), coarse sand (very doable), crushed gravel (the best), razor-sharp quartz (have to avoid!) and every plant seems to have thorns of one size or another. Not much elevation change, even up the rock piles, so nothing too technical. All in all, the beauty of the terrain distracts me from all obstacles!

      1. They make plastic barrier strips you can put between your tire and tubes and almost never get a flat. For years, I was getting thorns, etc in my tires and since I put the shields in, no flats for 2 years.

        1. Thanks, Jeff! I’ve heard about those shields but haven’t seen them over here (yet). I’ll keep my eyes open or, if need be, order them to be included in my next care package.

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