One of the most appealing aspects of travelling by bicycle is the sense of self-sufficiency. On your bicycle, you carry everything you need to face the cold weather and the rain, and to cook and sleep. However, you need places to restock on water and food. It’s crucial to plan your route and carry the necessary supplies for the days ahead.

In this regard, Namibia poses a significant challenge. With a population density of just three people per square kilometre, the distances between settlements are immense. If you add high temperatures to the long distances, the challenge primarily revolves around managing water. On hot days, we’ve consumed up to a litre of water per person every 10 kilometres. The most we can carry on each bike is 8 litres. So, if you have 200 kilometres ahead with no chance of resupplying, you’d need to carry 20 litres per bike. Our only solution has been to rely on the help of others. In these situations, we’ve asked fellow travellers in cars to leave water at prearranged points. What a relief it is to reach our campsite and find those water bottles! Sometimes, they’ve even left encouraging messages next to the bottles!

In emergencies, when our water calculations have fallen short, we’ve also relied on the help of other travellers. We’ve flagged down vehicles to ask for water, and not only have we received water every time, but also encouragement and a big smile. There have been times when people, without us asking, have stopped their cars to see if we needed anything. Some have even given us cold beers, fruit, energy bars, or rusks (a type of South African biscuit).

Ultimately, cycling through Namibia has been possible thanks to the kindness and generosity of those we’ve met along the way. It’s beautiful to see how the need for water has led us to encounter such wonderful people.