Wild Dog Adventure Riding

Riding: Plan, Report and Racing => Ride Reports => 'Roll of Honour' - Best Ride Reports => Topic started by: mrg46 on August 21, 2008, 08:08:38 pm

Title: African Enduro
Post by: mrg46 on August 21, 2008, 08:08:38 pm
Howzit

Well, only my second post here and its a Ride Report, what a rush.

So I've been lurking around here a few times over the years but decided to sign-up and contribute, with my solo trans-Africa adventure.

I'm writing an RR for advrider too, but instead of just pasting the same here I'll modify it slightly to include much more descriptive South Africanisms than I can't for the yanks. Lekker.

Oh and just so I don't mislead anyone - I'm not on the road now - writing this afterwards. I did update a blog when I was on the road, but read this rather as its exclusively written for you wild dogs.

THE ROUTE

I'd been scheming about a trip like this since I was a laatie, but in many past years the route has not been possible through the countries I wanted to travel (mostly due to borders being closed with kak in countries like Libya & The Sudan). As is the custom, I had many friends that would be coming with but when it came down to the crunch nobody seemed comitted enough to quit their jobs or ask their wives permission so I thought fokkit, I'll do it on my ace. I've always wanted to go North to South so I could arrive at home, and along the East coast. So this was the idea:

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/start/advridermap_start.jpg)

I contacted each country consulate and read all the other recent Africa RR's I could find and although entry into each country wasn't 100% guaranteed I had worked-out some plan B's, so the game was on.

I had also done some research to find out some more challenging offroad legs through each country. The Chinese are building roads through Africa like it's nobodies business, and my preference with bikes is generally toward dirt surfaces.

Oh and if you're wondering about this, people have told me its a relatively simiar route as those moffies Ewen & Charlie took in Long Way Down. I haven't watched it, and don't want to. From what I've heard my trip couldn't be more different to theirs in so many ways.

THE PREP

This is the boring part. It took me about 6 months part-time and 1 month full-time - and mostly entailed research for:

    * Visa's, carnet, & other documentation
    * Route & local contacts
    * Bike mods, repairs, spares & riding gear
    * Camping, eating, living & medical equipment

I'll spare the boring detail, but visa & documentation requirements were extensive and had to be done in advance. PM me if you want to know more.

THE BIKE

OK, the lekker part. I'd read everything I could find written on this route and the overriding bike advice was to keep it light & simple. The shortlist was these usual suspects (ahem, in alphabetical order)

    * BMW 650 Dakar
    * Honda Transalp
    * Honda XR 600/650
    * KTM 640 Adv
    * Yamaha TT or XT 600/660

I gave each contender an equal opportunity. The choice came down to being the most off-road biased while at the same time was strong and most ready out of the box, and most importantly not require a computer to be plugged-in for a service. There was a clear winner in my opinion, especially as it needed the least amount of aftermarket mods which can become costly from this part of the world.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/start/plain-ktm-640-adv.jpg)

I decided to buy a brand new one, especially after hearing about them being discontinued and managed to grab one of the few new models from the importers at Pro Action in JHB. My research suggested that the newer LC4's were very reliable if given appropriate TLC, and because I was going solo through some pretty unfriendly places I wanted to be 100% certain of the bikes history.

THE MODS

I thought the bike could handle it out of the box, but my extensive research on Advrider revealed many bits that would aid fall protection and luggage capacity/ease. My shortlist was anything but short, so I trimmed it by 2/3rds and was left with these:

    Limbs

        * Sprockets upgraded to steel (Longer life-span thus spares shouldn't be required)
        * Chain upgraded to X-ring Gold (As with sprockets, prolonged lifespan)
        * Stenhouse handlebar risers (Comfortable for taller rider & standing on pegs)
        * Tyres (Standard Metzeler Sahara's for Europe, Continental TKC80's for Africa, Pirelli MT21 purchased on-route)
        * Ultra heavy duty tubes (Ask me afterwards how many punctures I get)

    Heart, lungs & stomach

        * Akrapovic silencer (Apart from the nice tune & performance I needed the flexibility of the silencing insert)
        * The usual airbox, carb needle & emission control restrictions removed. Tuned at the average altitude I would be at.
        * VisuFilter inline fuel filter (Extra protection against dirty fuel)
        * Mr Funnel (Even more protection against dirty fuel)
        * Loctite blue (Added to just about everything that could turn on the bike)

    Body & clothing

        * Acerbis multipro hand guards (much better than the stock plastic ones)
        * Front high fender conversion (purely aesthetic, but does help in thick mud)
        * Neoprene fork covers (to keep dust & kak out of seals etc)
        * Carbon fibre tank protectots (lightweight bump & scratch protection. Hand made by an oke in the UK)
        * Side stand (In addition to centre stand)
        * Headlight guard (Protection against stone-throwing Ethiopian juveniles)
        * Rallye crash plate with side toolboxes (Tougher engine / lever protection plus low-down tool storage)
        * Sheepskin on seat
        * Tankbag (nice & small, by Wolfman, with rain cover)
        * Front fender bag (Handy for tube spares/repair)
        * Andystrapz pannierz luggage (This is my thread, so I can say soft luggage is the ONLY option for offroad terrain)
        * Pacsafe security netting for pannierz
        * Pelican top box
        * Luggage rack extension for top box
        * Registration number plate (Not essential in Mpumalanga but a useful accessory when traveling abroad)

    Eyes

        * Garmin 60CSx with maps from tracks4africa
        * Garmin plastic bicycle handlebar mount
        * Cigarette lighter to hella power adapter

There were two major mods which I couldn't afford; stronger rims than the standard behr ones and a steering damper. I thought I'd use my guns as a steering damper (and to straighten the rims). I'll reflect on these omissions at the end of my trip.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/start/MRG_0626.jpg)
My bike with most of the mods installed

BIKE PREP

The bike was brand new 5 weeks before my scheduled departure date (what a gamble hey). I spent this time installing most of the mods and running in the motor for its first 1000km's. I opted for the 'take it easy' run-in method, only opening it up slightly past 5K rpm towards the end. Although I had ridden a number of 640 Adv‚??s previously I was astounded by its offroad ability while chasing a china on his 250 MX bike through the Lowveld forests. On the road I found it a pleasure, especially when tightening up the suspension. The renowned vibes of the LC4 didn't bother me in the slightest, besides if it was comfort I wanted I would be staying at home in front of the TV with my slippers on and a klippies in my hand.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/start/DSC04844.jpg)
The forests in the Lowveld have some awesome tracks for dual sport bikes

During the run-in I had a total of three punctures so had plenty opportunity to test my pathetic 6inch tyre levers and shed much claret from my knuckles in the process.. The 1000k‚??s came and went in a few weeks and I was back off to JHB for the first service (which sadly they wouldn‚??t let me watch). At this point they removed the emission restriction kak and fitted the one luxury I had granted myself in the mod list; the akrapovic silencer.

After the service I got a wooden pallet from the Pro Action, loaded it onto the bakkie with the bike and drove to Jan Smuts. I then packed it onto the pallet for freighting to the UK. This entailed taking the front wheel off an undoing the handlebars to lay them long ways, and then strapping everything securely on the pallet with tie-downs. I watched my pride & joy being taken away precariously balanced on a forklift to be inspected by customs, wrapped in plastic and then queued for its flight to London, UK.

My bike was due to land in London in four days so I spent that time packing all my gear, eating as much biltong as I could (about 1kg a day) and drinking as much klipdrift as I could (won't say how much)

Stay tuned for the next post ‚?? the start of the African Enduro in London.

Mark
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: BMWPE on August 21, 2008, 08:17:21 pm
Thanks
Looking forward to the rest :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: lonerider on August 21, 2008, 08:19:46 pm
Lekkerrrrrr! Keep 'em coming, interesting reading...
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Carnivore on August 21, 2008, 08:21:51 pm
Oooooooooooooo KAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!

Now THIS is gonna be lekker!! SOunds great! Looking forward to the rest..!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Adventure MX on August 21, 2008, 08:49:01 pm
Story sounds interesting, will be watching out for the rest!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Doerengone on August 21, 2008, 09:32:07 pm
Great, will be following the story as it unwraps.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: edgy on August 21, 2008, 09:42:53 pm
Awesome,waiting in anticipation! .....What broke first? :biggrin:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Goose on August 21, 2008, 09:58:13 pm
Lekkkeerrrrrr  :drif: :drif:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Snafu on August 21, 2008, 10:08:47 pm
What a teaser!!! :)

Great stuff!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: zetman on August 21, 2008, 10:23:04 pm
Kom ou maat ons wag in spanning ... :drif:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Kykdaar on August 22, 2008, 08:05:16 am
Glad you posting this  :thumleft:

Waiting impatiently  ;D
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: letsgofishing on August 22, 2008, 08:45:57 am
This is going to be awesome.....waiting, waiting, waiting... ;)
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Lito on August 22, 2008, 09:01:23 am
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:


LEKKER  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: MrBig on August 22, 2008, 09:11:06 am
 :thumleft:
Great start to what will surely be an awesome read!

Just dont make us wait too long hey!
tick-tock
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Yefimovich≤ on August 22, 2008, 09:14:09 am
Glad we get the custom bersion :thumleft:

Cant wait :P
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Biesie on August 22, 2008, 09:21:47 am
This is gonna be another great RR !!!  :thumleft: Gooi hom pappie, gooi hom  :biggrin:



Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: malgat (RIP) on August 22, 2008, 09:23:00 am
gooi hom bokkie....gooi hom !!!!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: ROOI on August 22, 2008, 09:58:28 am
We r all waiting in anticipation   :ricky: :ricky: :ricky:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Hidalgo on August 22, 2008, 10:52:28 am
Damitt !!!

How am I going to get any work done with these amazing trip reports going on at the moment  :patch:

Looking forward to the next instalment  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Watty on August 22, 2008, 11:08:27 am
(http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/signs115.gif)
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: N[]vA on August 22, 2008, 11:34:10 am
will def keep an eye on this one :D
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Misty on August 22, 2008, 11:35:12 am
Great intro to a RR to keep us all on the edge of our seats in anticipation - keeping an eye out for the rest of the story  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Hammerhead on August 22, 2008, 11:49:41 am
Very much looking forward to the rest!!!  :drif: :drif:
C'mon, put down the klippies and post already!  :biggrin:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: kwassi on August 22, 2008, 02:21:16 pm
 :drif:

Ek wag

Waar is die res    :angry1:

 :happy1:

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: KT-emmer707 on August 22, 2008, 02:42:14 pm
Nice one dude :thumleft:
Looking forward to the next episode. ;)
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: mrg46 on August 22, 2008, 03:45:16 pm
AFRICAN ENDURO - The Start

Glad I've got some interest here - I'll try & write each post within a couple of days.

This picks up from my first post; where I found myself in London, UK waiting anxiously to be re-united with the somewhat necessary ingredient of my trip (my bike).

London the freighting flight was delayed by a couple of days, and then another three days added to that with the useless staff at UK customs & excise trying to come to terms with the fact that all my paperwork was actually in order.

After declining the subtle request of a bribe by an employee of BA world cargo (what a twatwaffle), my bike was finally released to me at 2am in the morning on the day I was supposed to depart. An SA friend in London with a GS helped me unwrap the freight, inspect the damage and re-assemble the bike. This only took us 20 mins and I was then able to pour some fuel into the beast and crank it up for the ride back to Gary's place. Despite the sub zero temperature this 20 minute ride was the first since the run-in service AND having the Akra fitted. It was a good feeling being able to ring the neck of my dream bike through the streets of London at 3am. The un-silenced Akra was setting off car alarms and emitting the odd flame out of the rear. Yes please.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/london/P4110003.jpg)
My bike package, looking decidedly smaller than when I last saw it. Hmmmm.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/london/P4110005.jpg)
My bent fairing

The freighting company was a bit cavalier with the plastic wrapping an had bent my fairing out of shape. It would take a couple of weeks and much bending to set back to normal shape. Bastards.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/london/P4110010.jpg)
Ahhhh, my brand new akra. Very sexy looking and sounding compared to the stocker.

I caught three hours of sleep that morning and then woke up to fit the final bits of kit I'd bought in London (Pelican top box, side-stand & electronic bits), and then proceed to pack the bike for departure. I was seriously tired but had no choice but to leave ASAP. I had already booked the ferry ride from France to Tunisia in advance, and the customs delays meant that I now had 24 hours to get from London to Marseille (approx. 1,300 km's). I didn't mind this at all because I had backpacked through Europe before and my trip was only really starting on African soil.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/london/P4110013.jpg)
Team orange, ready to hit the road. Witrivier or bust.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/london/P4110020.jpg)
Odometer at start, 1000k's on the clock in the background.

Gary rode with me out of London and we stopped at a service station to fill up, where I proceeded to drop the bike off the newly fitted side-stand. Great start champ! Thankfully no camera's were rolling. We did the 130k's to the port of Folkestone where I said goodbye to Gary and got onto the train that runs underneath the English channel to France.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/london/P4110024.jpg)
On the train going under the English channel, where I bumped into an oke his way to Holland on his GS.

The route to Marseille was pretty much on one highway all the way, and after adjusting to riding on the wrong side of the road and having such a heavy load I focussed on dispatching the km's one by one. I was able to comfortably cruise at 130kmph and used this to calculate that if I kept my average speed on the GPS odometer above 105km/ph I could stop for a total of 5 hours during the 24 hours that I had to get to the ferry in time. After a good 5 hour session in the saddle it was finally cold (snow) and not fatigue that got the better of my and I pulled into Dijon to find somewhere to get my head down.

I chose the best looking hotel so that I could park my bike somewhere secure, have a quick bite & dop, sleep and then get up and back on the road immediately. My bike was parked in the locked basement parking lot but when I got back to it after my nap I noticed that the locks on my topbox & pannier netting had hacksaw cut marks on them and my ignition looked as though it was jimmy'd with a screwdriver. Thieving bastards. The twatwaffle must have been startled as none of the locks were cut through an nothing stolen. The ignition still worked. At this point I decided that I would be sleeping next to my bike from now onwards.

I did the final 700k's to Marseille early that morning despite being blown around like a balloon on the highway. They were experiencing gale-force winds and my bike & luggage was exhibiting the aerodynamic properties of a sherman tank. I pulled into the Marseille port at full tilt and made the ferry with 10 minutes to spare. Although I was in need of some sleep a more important duty called at the bar of the ferry where I celebrated with numerous French lagers and the good company of an Englishman named John. I then retired to my shared cabin, where my three Freddie Mercury lookalike room-mates were hosting a snorning competition, but I slept well and woke up the next morning busting to get back onto my bike.

Next post coming in a couple of days, and many more pics next time I promise.

Mark

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/london/MRG_0678.jpg)

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: cloudgazer on August 22, 2008, 03:54:04 pm
awesome.
keep em coming.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: MudCakedFace on August 22, 2008, 08:17:44 pm
It's gotta be close to xmas: two awesome reports posted in one week of each other...Keep it coming!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Trailrider on August 23, 2008, 12:19:56 am
(http://trailrider.route42.co.za/Smileys/default/waiting.gif)
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Lito on August 23, 2008, 09:14:23 am
Stuff dreams are made of.... excellent storytelling and pics  :thumleft: - and youre right - thieving bastards  >:(
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: dieterf on August 23, 2008, 09:43:21 am
so they thieve everywhere  :-\

great stuff, keep it coming!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: JO GSA on August 23, 2008, 10:06:46 am
Respect to you Mark, I truely admire you're guts for travling alone. All of the best luck to you, and keep the rubber side down mate  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: ratrap on August 23, 2008, 09:18:46 pm
Excellent read!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: husky on August 24, 2008, 09:05:25 am
This is going to bugger up my working time - keep it coming.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: durtseeker on August 24, 2008, 05:02:41 pm
Greate RR Mark.  This is the kind of trip we all dream off.

Hats of to you for doing it.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: edgy on August 24, 2008, 05:18:25 pm
Alright already....we ready for more :ricky:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: LeonDude on August 24, 2008, 05:35:04 pm
Nice, sounds like its' going to be a good one.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: EtienneXplore on August 24, 2008, 05:47:21 pm
Great stuff

Can't wait for the rest  ;D ;D

I can see, between this report and Nardus' report, most of the WD's productivity is gonna go for a ball of S#IT !!!! :laughing4: :laughing4:

But who cares !!!

KEEP IT COMMING GUYS !!!!!!!


Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: bobnob on August 24, 2008, 06:11:40 pm
great stuff!

keep it coming  :thumleft:

them thieving bastards!

did you have any problems with theft in africa?

i have heard of numerous guys doing cape to london type trips and only ever had stuff stolen once they reached EU - i would have guessed it the other way round  ???
Title: Tunisia
Post by: mrg46 on August 24, 2008, 06:36:00 pm
AFRICAN ENDURO - Tunisia

As I said in the previous post, I was busting to get back into the saddle and onto African soil. I kitted-up and rode off the ferry - for the first time feeling that this dream was actually taking place. I was spared a lengthy customs procedure as they were more interested in the 200 French 4X4's on the ferry that were attending a rally somewhere in the desert.

As I rode out of the port I experienced for the first time the amazing feeling of adventure riding. I had (purposely) only researched places to stay in the major Capital cities where I would be doing bike services, so here I was riding through a very foreign land not knowing what was around the next corner, where I would be kipping or what I would be chowing next. Befok!

Well actually I had seen what I could be eating - fresh roadside braai'd lamb. I passed through a number of road-side stopovers where you chose your preferred cut of meat and it was then thrown on the flames. I noticed a local oke who fancied a cut that wasn't available on any of the carcasses so another one of the tied-up animals bit the dust. Africa is not for vegetarians!

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tunisia/P4140036.jpg)
Lamb braai. Just a pity there was no dop on offer. Hulle moet nog leer.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tunisia/MRG_0705.jpg)
A local adventure rider

I tracked the coast for a couple of days, heading in a Southerly direction. As I was to find out throughout my trip, camp sites don't really exist in some countries and I didn't want to chance road-side camping by myself so early in the trip so I clocked into cheap hotels I found along the way.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tunisia/MRG_0695.jpg)
El Jem, an impressive Roman Colosseum I passed-by

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tunisia/MRG_0701.jpg)
These people had clearly come for a show. I would have loved to do some donuts for them but access was tricky.

The riding was mostly on tarmac but the surface was pretty rough - prefect for the KTM's suspension. In many of the small villages I passed through the locals would gesture me to lift the front wheel - but I didn't want to be showing off so early in the trip (bad karma). As I suspected a bike as big as mine (above a 125cc) and packed with loads of gear is an absolute rarity in almost all of Africa until the South. It was flattering being such a main oke.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tunisia/MRG_0730.jpg)
After the attempted theft in France I slept very close to my bike - in this case next to it in this courtyard. I felt a warm feeling every time I saw my MP number plate in a remote location. MP can be like a black hole - some people can't leave for generations.

My final leg in Tunisia was to leave the coast and hit the desert in an Easterly tangent to get to the border of Libya. This was my first encounter with the sahara desert, which would be my constant companion for at least the next 8,000km's until Ethiopia. I was stoked to be out in the middle of nowhere and on some dirt.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tunisia/MRG_0713.jpg)
Ahhh, a kak road.

When I was a few hundred k's from the Libyan border I started looking out for a top-up of petrol. There was none to be found except this oke selling a large variety of octane's out of dirty containers. He wouldn't accept my petro reward points and was all out of cappuccino's so I took my business some place else.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tunisia/P4140043.jpg)

Thats all for now - the next post (Libya) would be my biggest border-post gamble as I had heard of countless travelers being declined entry recently.

Mark
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: ratrap on August 24, 2008, 06:45:31 pm
 :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Madala on August 24, 2008, 07:28:36 pm
I'm hooked. Looking forward to next posts. Enjoy the adventure!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: bradleys on August 25, 2008, 08:52:21 am
Cool report keep it coming :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Hammerhead on August 25, 2008, 10:15:35 am
Befo(n)kte storytelling and pics!!  :thumleft:
I can almost taste the dust.  :biggrin:
At least my mind can travel while the body stays trapped in the office...
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Kaboef on August 26, 2008, 09:17:51 am
Please sir, can I have some more? :ricky:

 :biggrin:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: brettp on August 26, 2008, 10:34:49 am
Mark, this is stuff that create legends - Keep it comming!!!!

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: IceCreamMan on August 26, 2008, 11:05:39 am
we is waiting not so patiently  ;D
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: kwassi on August 26, 2008, 11:16:56 am
 :naka:
Title: Libya
Post by: mrg46 on August 26, 2008, 05:09:28 pm
AFRICAN ENDURO - Libya

As I said in my previous post, this was to be the biggest border gamble on my trip. Europeans seem to be granted entry quite easily (with transit visa's) but for unsavoury characters like South Africans its much more difficult. The only way I would be allowed to enter was by having a government (well dictatorship) approved tour agency supply me with an invitation to visit the country, and then provide a tour guide to shadow me the entire visit. This wasn't cheap but the alternative was a 5000km round-trip through Southern Europe to Egypt. Then three weeks before my trip started the Libyans issued a statement that South Africans were no longer permitted in their glorious nation. I contacted a my tour operator who assured me this would blow over and that he had the clout to get me in.

I clocked out of Tunisia and waited between borders in no mans land for a couple of hours for my guide to arrive. He then completed all the border formalities for me (all forms in Arabic and no English or Swazi speakers). After a couple of hours of negotiation and a small yet well placed bribe he emerged with my passport and the Libyan number plate that I had to attach over my MP one. By the grace of Allah (and his prophet Mohammed) I had made it into Libya!

I then rode (behind Mahmoud in his car) from the border for a few hundred k's to the capital, Tripoli. The drivers on the double-track highways were INSANE. They put SA taxi drivers in the shade. I quickly learnt that opposing lanes could become one-way lanes at the discretion of the driver. My first experience was a large truck coming in my direction, without the speed or inclination to complete his overtaking manouvre before flattening me. As I result I had to disembark from the highway onto the dirt on the side of the road at high speed. I lost count of how many times this happened but thankfully the awesome suspension of the KTM didn't mind the high speed transition into the dirt.

Tripoli was fascinating. Thanks to everybody's favourite colonel (that's Gadaffi, not Saunders - dictatorship not chicken) there has been virtually no tourism in Libya for almost 40 years. I took a day off in Tripoli to do laundry and have a poke around the city. There were none of the tourist facilities that we take for granted in foreign cities, such as;


Before reversing out of North Africa in WWII the Italians left behind a penchant for good coffee and ice cream. The esspresso's were as good as anywhere in Europe. Sorry, no photo's of Tripoli. The AK47 clad polisie aren't that keen on American looking tourists waving big Nikons around.

The next day was a 200km ride eastwards to visit the Roman ruins of Leptis Magna. The ruins are of a huge port & market town dating back to 100AD and although most of the ruins are still under the cover of sand, the larger more impressive ones have been excavated. I've seen many similar sites in the Mediterranean but these were by far the most impressive.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/libya/MRG_0739.jpg)
An arch at the 2000 year old Roman ruins.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/libya/MRG_0743.jpg)
An early Roman kak house. Genius.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/libya/MRG_0753.jpg)
The signpost for the Red light district (seriously)

After that we rode/drove further East and very suddenly a sand storm started coming in from the desert. The air became very thick with sand and although I had just about enough visibility to ride at 50kmph I was worried about the effects of this fine dust on the KTM's lungs so we pulled into a town and found a hotel. Well I say hotel, it was actually a Moroccan run brothel with a thriving bed bug & flea breeding operation on the side. But at least the VIP KTM could sleep in the hotel reception under 24 hour observation. This would become the norm in the hotels I stayed at in Libya, and riding up the stairs of a Hotel after a hard days riding was very raakvat.

My bike was performing at 100%, and I was now so comfortable with the weight of luggage of opted to keep it on the bike rather than put it in trunk of Mahmoud's car. It was enjoying a diet of good quality petrol that was so cheap it was free sometimes. It cost about R30 to fill the tank, and when I was just topping it up by a few litres there wasn't a monetary denomination smaller enough to pay with so it was free! I was enjoying an adventure riding diet of one very large meal per day and just liquids & small bits either side.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/libya/P4180063.jpg)
The Libyan people were the friendliest & kindest Arab's I've come across.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/libya/P4180064.jpg)
Nice mkuku in Libya

After having done about 1,500 klicks along the coastline of Libya we took a very desolate road through the middle of the desert so that I could do some desert riding and we could camp out in the wilds. A few times along this road the tar would end and be replaced with sections of very soft sand and I don't know how I stayed on the pegs. Mahmouds Daewoo Nubia and more so his driving skills were impressive in this soft stuff, although we did have to stop a few times to shovel dust out of the engine where it was piling up.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/libya/P4190068.jpg)
A rest stop for the Daewoo. The KTM needed no rest.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/libya/P4190082.jpg)
A sufficiently overloaded taxi. This Is Africa.

Before long I had arrived at the border with Egypt. A particularly uptight official was insisting that I shouldn't have been allowed into Libya. He didn't see the humour in me suggesting that I'd leave immediately. I would have liked to spend some more time in Libya but the guide costs were expensive and although the KTM was performing superbly I was not far off having done 5000k's on the trip so far and wanted to do the next service in Cairo.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/libya/P4190085.jpg)
When I returned my rented plates at the border they were not impressed by the damaged caused by my Akrapovic flame-thrower.

Oh and I managed to get a small bit of video from my camera and put this together in an internet cafe that had Microsoft movie maker and a selection of Arabic pop music...

http://www.youtube.com/v/_VVvTFdqDUw (http://www.youtube.com/v/_VVvTFdqDUw)

Egypt post to follow soon.

Mark
Title: Re: Libya
Post by: IceCreamMan on August 26, 2008, 05:14:13 pm
excellent ,,that kark huis is featured in long way donw as i recall...that sluit in front was where you dipped in your  hand to get twater to clean your nought
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: cloudgazer on August 26, 2008, 05:24:59 pm
Awesome report.
A good chuckle at your 'favorite colonel' statement.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: DanMan on August 27, 2008, 07:50:41 am
I like this RR .
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: GIDEON on August 27, 2008, 08:14:28 am
Very very nice.
Keep going be safe.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: bradleys on August 27, 2008, 03:20:34 pm
GREAT REPORT,keep it comming ,i am glued to the screen :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: GO GIRL on August 27, 2008, 09:34:40 pm
Riveting stuff ....what a trip and experience.. 8)
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: >Herman< on August 27, 2008, 10:08:06 pm
Fantasties!
Title: Egypt
Post by: mrg46 on August 28, 2008, 06:13:35 pm
AFRICAN ENDURO - Egypt

Hallo-wherefrom-mister-hey-whatyourname

That is a typical Egyptian greeting, which is closely followed by a rapid fire of insistence to buy any thing or service you could imagine not requiring. Ironically I was actually in need of an entrepreneurial Egyptian at this border-post of Salloum in the North West of the country.

Egypt is famed for having one of the more complex land border entry procedures on the planet, and this border specifically as the worst in Egypt. I had researched exactly what I needed to do but fell down at the first hurdle and started throwing abuse at the officials. It was time to calm down and pay someone to do the shouting. End-to-end it took me 4.5 hours to get in, and this a brief summary of what I needed to do:


Each of the above steps took place in a different building and resulted in me receiving some sort of document or paperwork which I then needed to make a photocopy of which got retained by guy in the next step of the process. What a pain the arse. After having several hundred Egyptian pounds liberated from my wallet I left the border with some high RPM's and some loud cracks of the Akra.

I was making for a town on the North coast called Marsa Matruh but was caught short of daylight hours and broke one of my rules of the trip - riding at night, in Africa. There weren't many villages and thus livestock on this highway so I thought I'd go for it. I wanted to push for this town because it was where my Grandfather had fought in World War II (all the way from the Lowveld). The only unpleasantness was the odd vehicle driving towards me in the wrong lane.The only unpleasantness on the road was the odd vehicle driving towards me in the wrong lane. It turns out that they do this when travelling short distances instead of going in the opposite direction to use an over/under pass in the correct lane. Another revelation was that these Egyptians were driving without their lights on, at night. This, I would be told was so that when they saw a vehicle approaching they would hit the high beam so that you can see them. Hmmmm, and these guys built the pyramids?

After this stopover I made a run for the capital, Cairo. I must explain that I wasn't purposely rushing Egypt, as I had spent 6 weeks here as a backpacker some years back when I was still nat agter die ore. I knew Cairo traffic would be hectic but nothing could prepared me. For the first time on my trip the KTM was getting a bit hot under the collar. The temp wasn't lank hot (low 30's) but the traffic was so slow moving that there wasn't enough air moving through the radiator. A couple of times I had no option but to stop and wait (with the electric fan running) and this seemed to work. I had found a cheap hotel and for the first time on my trip tried to use my GPS' mapping facility - which was not much use with the maps I had loaded.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0047_MRG_0775.jpg)
Token pyramid shot.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/P4210096.jpg)
A couple of guys on a Jawa with sidecar. Very popular bikes in Egypt but have a tendency toward spontaneous combustion.

Other than to arrange a visa for Sudan my time in Cairo was spent with my first big service on the bike (5000k service). Although I had all the tools & parts with me I decided to take it to a mechanic as the alternative was to do the service in the street outside my hotel. This mechanic was a guy who all the overlanders use and although his facilities (and English) are modest he is known as the best bike mechanic in all of North Africa, and specialises in DS bikes. Together we spent a whole day doing the service. Major items were:


(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0041_P4220105.jpg)
Mo getting his hands dirty.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/P4220103.jpg)
He is an incredibly gifted mechanic.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0044_P4220115.jpg)
Dinner with the boys. Afterwards Mo' serviced the front shocks of a CBR600 in the time it took me to pack up.

So the report after 6000k's was that the bike was in perfect shape, and I had 100% confidence in it for the more challenging roads leading Southwards. My health was questionable and a few times I was to be caught short of a latrine facility with the first strike of the unavoidable gippo guts. I like to call it the 'Cairo Quickstep' and have a new appreciation for the robes that these okes wear. I can't think of anything more practical for performing a dark alley squat in.

Once I had my bearings I enjoyed riding around Cairo with no luggage, however it took a while to get used to the Egyptian use of a car hooter. They use it constantly, a driving control as fundamental as the accelerator or brakes. Here is a clip of me negotiating some Cairo traffic. It's a bit drawn out & excuse the quality - I fastened the camera to my helmet with insulation tape.


(http://www.youtube.com/v/UjN235rbkgs)
(Why can't we embed youtube in this forum? Or is it just me being dof?)

After the Cairo stoppover I hit the road again, first traveling East towards Suez and the Red Sea and then South along the coast. Shortly after leaving Cairo I ran dry of fuel for the first time on my trip. It was my fault. Despite there being plenty of petrol stations some looked more questionable than others and I had become fussy. I pushed the bike for about one K and then freewheeled another one to a conveniently close pump. During this day I was aiming to get as far down Egypt as possible - as I said I'd seen every corner of the country before. In much of Egypt South of Cairo tourists can only move around in Military convoys, but I was able to avoid these with the 'next town' gag. (I'm just going to the next town down the road, china). These convoys are absurd - there is no threat in Egypt these days. I regrettably had my first flare of road rage on the trip. I was on a tiny road on the banks of the Nile and an oncoming taxi pulled out to overtake and to kill me. He could clearly see me but that didn't stop him. I had river on one side of the road and a steep drop on the other and don't know how I squeezed passed. I swung around and chased him. He was apologising profusely through his window but didn't want to stop so I have his car door a nice alpinestar tattoo & gave up the chase. I felt my rage was justified; I had come close to certain death. After almost 900k's in the saddle I stopped-over in a town called Luxor for a welcome few beers after a long day.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0049_P4250139.jpg)
A rider i saw on the banks of the Nile, transporting some feed for his other bony.

The next day I woke up at crack of dawn (I think that was her name) and hit the road further South. I only needed to do 100k's but needed to get there before midday to arrange my paperwork for the ferry that runs into the Sudan along lake Nasser. I was about 20k's away when I got stopped at a military checkpoint where a particularly difficult soldier wouldn't let me through. What a proes straat pretoria. He insisted that I go back to Luxor & wait for a convoy. I tried every angle but he wouldn't budge, and when I tried some agression his AK47'd comrades flinched. They wouldn't let me wait there for a convoy either, so I went back to Luxor where I had to wait for one. In the end I arrived at my destination of Aswan 10 minutes after the government offices closed. I had missed the ferry. Next sailing was in 10 days. My anger was off the scale. Later that day while riding around looking for a place to stay a guy in a bakkie rode into the back of me at a slow moving traffic circle. Thankfully I wasn't on the brakes and the clutch was in so I just rolled forward instead of falling. I got out and throttled the driver - something I regretted within seconds and stopped myself from further action. That night I dopped like an Egyptian pyramid builder with a mastercard and made sure the surge of recent road rage was no more and good karma was restored.

While I was in Aswan I started noting a clicking or ticking noise coming from the engine at very low or very high revs. It was disturbing. I didn't know what the 'pinking' low octane noise sounded like and started getting paranoid about the valves, so through a guy I had met arranged a place to do a quick inspection service. This 'place' was in fact his cousins lounge - nice! This was to be my first solo attempt at a valve clearance check. I enjoyed doing it and took a very long time to make sure I wasn't cocking anything else up. The clearances were fine and it was in fact just low-octane pinking. Time to engage the low-octane CDI switch that the 640 Adv comes with.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0053_P4280782.jpg)
Sharaf and the entrance to his house / KTM servicing lounge.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0052_P4280780.jpg)
Valve inspection in the lounge.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0050_P4280776.jpg)
I didn't have a straw to place through the spark plug hole to onto the piston to find top-dead center of the 4-stroke and the only thing I could find was my little SA flag with plastic pole. Nice. Proudly South African top-dead center, Mr Venter.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0059_MRG_0820.jpg)
I took the time I had to do a bit of practice in the soft stuff.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/MRG_0818.jpg)
It was like riding a 250 when the luggage was removed.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0073_MRG_0879.jpg)
A local butcher. No biltong, but the fresh meat was fast approaching that state.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0074_MRG_0880.jpg)
A knife sharpener in the market. Egypt is expected to advance beyond this use of a wheel very soon.

After an extended riding break and much time to reflect and lubricate my system in the hot weather it was time for the next ferry sailing to The Sudan. This ferry travels the length of Lake Nasser, which is a dammed-up section of the Nile and is the only means of getting between these two countries. The ferry is only for foot passengers and any cargo (my bike) is loaded onto a separate barge which hopefully also arrives at the same destination.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/P5050068.jpg)
Loading the KTM onto the barge. I met two couples in these vehicles also heading South. That VW looks a bit low for the desert. Hmmm ons sal sien.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0080_P5050848.jpg)
There were no sides on the barge, so my tie-downs were as tight as a guinea fowls hamstring.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/egypt/0083_P5050856.jpg)
No space was left unloaded on the barge. This Is Africa.

I was very excited about The Sudan. In just a 30 hour ferry ride I would be plunged from a pretty Westernised town into the most desolate and uncivilised environment imaginable. Befok!

Mark



Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Doggone on August 28, 2008, 10:11:09 pm
Wonderful report so far..........................keep it coming! :biggrin: ;D
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: JonW on August 28, 2008, 10:15:47 pm
Befok.....indeed!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: BlueBull2007 on August 29, 2008, 04:16:04 am
Absolutely brilliant stuff!!!

Cant wait for the next post.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Mark Hardy on August 29, 2008, 07:52:59 am
Hi ....enjoying both sides of the report  ;) (I'm following it on ADVrider aswell) bring on more please ;  :thumleft:

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: bobnob on August 29, 2008, 10:13:47 am
awesome stuff!

a must do before you check out  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: KT-emmer707 on August 29, 2008, 10:35:36 am
Love your work Mark :thumleft:
Dis reg, fok hulle op as hulle so kak ry :biggrin:
Waiting for the next chapter.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Maya_The_Bee on August 29, 2008, 10:43:15 am
awesome report, waiting for more  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Stofstreep on August 29, 2008, 01:34:46 pm
:drif:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Frohan Visser on August 29, 2008, 02:05:14 pm
Mark
Very nice report, I did the same rout as u,just opposite direction and it was in '94 with an old DR600, but your report bring back very nice memories!!!!!!!!!!!
Cant wait for the rest!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Lootch67 on September 01, 2008, 10:01:37 pm
Children put to bed, wife installed in front of the TV, fresh cup of coffee in hand and no update?? C'mon boet, this is just cruel. Start posting!! :deal: :deal:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: durtseeker on September 02, 2008, 09:42:09 am
Nice one Mark  :thumleft:
Cant wait for the next post!
Title: The Sudan
Post by: mrg46 on September 02, 2008, 08:45:03 pm
AFRICAN ENDURO - The Sudan

Picking up from that 30 hour ferry ride across lake Nasser from Egypt to Sudan...

The ferry was very primitive. I had opted for a day and night on the open deck of the ferry rather than a smelly cabin. It seemed as though the other 700 citizens on this 300 person ferry did the same, but with a bit of negotiation I was able to secure a space big enough to roll my sleeping bag out that night. Those on the deck who had made this journey before knew to bring with a blanket or sheet to make some shade with and the rest of us just sat & dealt with the 45C/110F heat. As I was entering yet another strictly no alcohol country I took the opportunity to dispatch with my hip flask of rum, which made the heat much more bearable. There would be some hard times ahead until I could have another dop in Ethiopia. I met some interesting and very friendly characters on the ferry, like the guy featured in the video further down.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0084_P5050859.jpg)
No space left un-passengered on the ferry.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0085_MRG_0911.jpg)
Sunset on Lake Nasser, not too unpleasant.

We arrived at the Sudanese port of Wadi Halfa and I conducted my entry formalities and went into the town in search of somewhere to kip that night. The barge carrying my bike was taking more time to make the crossing and was supposed to arrive the next day. This town was very backward compared to the Egyptian one I had left and the best place to stay was a steel bed surrounded by four cement walls. The best toilets were particularly full long drops and the shower was a two litre container of water which was also utilised for poephol washing purposes (stricly no toilet paper as per the muslim ethics). After dinner I joined the rest of the inhabitants in the dusty town square where the only television in town was situated. It was showing WWF wrestling, something these Sudanese would watch every night, over & over.

While I was in this town I met an Irish guy by the name of Hugh who was heading North, having almost completed a lap of Africa after having come down the West coast. Some Wild Doggers might know him from his time in SA. He was great company and a good source of information for my route Southwards. He was on a very well kitted-out GS 650 Dakar. His bike was parked in the reception of our hotel and obviously at an Eastern tangent as I noticed someone bowing down to the almighty BMW (and Allah). Blasphemous as it was I had to take a sneaky photo:

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0091_P5070865.jpg)

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0093_P5070868.jpg)
KTM & BMW bonding while their owners conduct border formalities.

The barge finally arrived at the port and when I went to fetch it the tie-downs were quite loose - I put the thought of my bike at the bottom of Lake Nasser in the back of my mind. It took all morning to check my bike into The Sudan and I then after filling up all the extra containers I could with petrol hit the road Southwards. Together with a Swedish couple in a Landcruiser and an Aussie couple in a VW van we formed a convoy for safety & security purposes. I scouted the route from the front and stopped for a drink of water every hour to wait for them to catch up. There was no tarmac now for at least the next 800km's and the terrain was absolutely lifeless and resembled the surface of Mars.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0095_MRG_0944.jpg)
Typical Nile-side camping.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0092_MRG_0936.jpg)
Stand-off with a local dual sport model.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0100_MRG_0952.jpg)
One of the good surfaced roads next to the Nile.

The riding was very lekker; a combination of hard but rocky road with sudden patches of very soft sand. I started getting mak piel in the soft stuff when all of a sudden I found myself lying on the floor, spitting out sand. My front had dug into the middle mannetjie and I had continued forward motion over the handlebars. This was a high speed spill but I was very thankful to be in one piece. I was wearing full riding gear ALL of the time on my trip and I could tell from a bruised elbow & knee my armour had done its job. In a few places I encountered what the Aussies call 'bull dust', which is soft sand that is ground as fine as powder by passing trucks & 4x4's. My rear got bogged down on a few occasions and I needed to drop my bike down to one side, pull the rear out and pick it up again. The VW of our convoy got stuck in a particularly large patch of this stuff (as I suspected it would - even though it had 4x4 it was far too low for African roads). I helped try & dig it out for two hours in heat with no luck. Eventually a local in a 4x4 bakkie gave us a pull.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0103_P5080883.jpg)
Oh dear, KTM bites the dust.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0104_P5080884.jpg)
I learned that it was actually better to pick the bike up while the adrenalin was still flowing, rather than stand around taking photo's.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0101_MRG_0954.jpg)
Taking a breather and some shade in an abandoned village. KTM was in its element.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0109_MRG_0967.jpg)
More Nile-side camping, and a local adventure rider who came to have a look.

After a few nights traveling along and camping beside the Nile I decided to head into the Nubian desert to cut off a large meander of the Nile. There were several routes exiting the last town I left on the Nile, and most were going in the same direction so I opted for the most fun one. It was a hard surfaced double-track with great berms on the sides and was good fun but didn't last long. Slowly the tracks faded with age until I found myself with none. This is exactly what I had dreamt about for so many years; I was in the middle of the desert with no tracks and no people. I took plenty of photo's and enjoyed the slow-going ride through some pretty deep sand. My gps was useless in these parts so out came the old compass to ensure I was heading East where I new the Nile (and some civilisation) would be.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0110_MRG_0970.jpg)
Middle of the trackless desert, I had an imagine like this in my head for many years prior so had to set it up.

After a few hours in the solitude I was reunited with the Nile and the small villages that scatter its course. I had recently picked up a bad habit of kicking a foot into the sand each time I thought I was going over. It was easy enough to do, even when standing, but when done at speed it would knock my foot back into a pannier. Then, just as suddenly as my other wipeout I was on the deck, but this was a little more serious. My right leg was pinned under my right-side pannier, with foot pointing in a worrying looking direction. My knee hurt and for a moment I thought the trip was over and because I was on the ground I couldn't lift the bike to free my leg. After a few attempts I was very luck to see a couple of locals walking in the distance. I shouted & whistled for them to come over, which they did sedately and proceeded to lift the big orange just enough for me to get out. Thankfully I could still walk so picked up the bike and carried on. I was wearing some very expensive Alpinestar boots and motocross knee guards under my rally pants, without these I would have suffered at least one break and one dislocation. Close shave.

A few hours of very slow riding after this incident I was re-united with tarmac, which was a great relief as my experience of the soft stuff wasn't too good this far. After a refuel of every receptacle I could find I took a very long (300km) and very desolate tarred road through the desert to cut off another large meander of the Nile. It had been in the high 40's since leaving Egypt but this day was on another level. I couldn't ride without my visor down and even at 120kmph the KTM was running quite hot. When I was once again reunited with the Nile I stopped in a little town for some food & liquids. I had a look at the little digital thermometer I was carrying and at 2pm it read 53.7 C, in the shade. I put it on my bike in the sun after hitting 70C it stopped working and hasn't since. While I was in The Sudan I always carried at least 4 litres of drinking water which I replenished at each village I could find. By the end of this day I had consumed just under ten litres of water and was never quenched. I was seeing mirages of water in the desert and couldn't imagine what it would have been like to have an ice cold quart.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0112_MRG_0980.jpg)
Nice tar road through the desert

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0114_MRG_0983.jpg)
Some great pyramids in the desert before Khartoum

I then spent the next few days making my way down the remainder of the Nile but now on tarmac and slowly encountering more civilisation on the way to the capital Khartoum. In Khartoum I stayed on the green grass of the Nile Sailing Club, a favourite among overlanders. After pitching my tent I walked into town to buy some groceries and find an internet cafe. While I was in the cafe the owner came running in from outside saying I had to get out immediately. He said that there was some fighting outside and he was closing his shop. Outside everyone was running in one direction (out of town) and there was a crackle of gunfire which sounded pretty close-by. I took up the sprint back towards the campsite trying to cut as small a profile as possible. A tank & a few armoured vehicles rolled past in the opposite direction, which was quite reassuring. Although the campsite was very close to this action it seemed very quiet and together with a few other travelers we sat around making nervous small talk. That night we watched a delightful fireworks display of mortar fire and the odd burst of tracer on the other side of the river. The next morning I woke up at 4am, packed-up and left the campsite. There were police or army roadblocks at every street corner and although I was allowed through some others would send me back to the campsite. I tried all three exits of the city I could find and had the same luck at each. At the last roadblock I was gestured off my bike by a sloppy looking warrior who was poking my bags with his AK gesturing me to open them. I started with my top box and when he saw my Nikon Digital SLR he slung it over his shoulder and pointed with his AK for me to leave. I refused and tried to find out if any of his comrades could speak English. I was blocking traffic now and tempers were rising but then a soldier with some rank drove by and stopped. I had to give him a short slide-show of the photo's on my camera, and after seeing no military related photo's gave it back to me.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0123_MRG_1006.jpg)
Camping at the Blue Nile Sailing club

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/sudan/0122_MRG_1003.jpg)
The reception of the campsite is Lord Kitcheners old gunboat, perched on the banks of the Blue Nile.

The reason I couldn't leave was that there was a military curfew in place on the city. Approx. 100 bakkies full of rebels drove all the way from Darfur to Khartoum to try & pull off a coup and dispose of the countries prime minister. They didn't pull it off and had dispersed into the city. I tried to leave each morning for a few days but the situation had remained the same. No shops were open and the streets were deserted so I had to resort to my emergency rations of food. I did however have some good company in the campsite, a couple traveling through Africa by public transport and a young German guy riding a DT125 through Africa - I don't know who was more brave.

Finally one morning my departure drill payed off and I got out of Khartoum. Tensions seemed high even outside of the city so I didn't stop riding until I got to the Ethiopian border. I was relieved to have no bullet holes in my person and was really looking forward to riding up into the Ethiopian highlands and out of the desert.

Here's another dodgy clip I fashioned in an internet cafe.

More soon...

Mark

http://www.youtube.com/v/9RuUpktG44Y (http://www.youtube.com/v/9RuUpktG44Y)


Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: bobnob on September 02, 2008, 08:58:18 pm
great report as always  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Frankie on September 02, 2008, 09:25:19 pm
iNCREDABLE REPORT - WHAT AN ADVENTURE! :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Goose on September 02, 2008, 11:20:59 pm
  :drif: :drif: Lekker man - keep it coming!!!!  :thumleft:


erm.... taking note there Plottie!!!  :mwink:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: GreenMachine on September 03, 2008, 05:53:35 am
Great trip report  :thumleft:

Keep it coming and best of luck. Stay safe.

 :ricky:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Hidalgo on September 03, 2008, 08:38:30 am
Great report !

I think that you must have very big cahonas to do a trip like this solo - well done.

Thanks

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: cloudgazer on September 03, 2008, 09:18:34 am
awesome.

inspiring.

hurry up with the next post.
 ;D
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Doringboom on September 03, 2008, 09:22:14 am
Mannemoed se moses! Fantasties :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Frohan Visser on September 03, 2008, 09:39:25 am
Hi Mark
Awesome to read your adventure, I can still picture that road from Khartoum to Abu Hammed and then that final stretch through the desert to Wadi Halfa, I spend 3 days in Wadi Halfa waiting for the transport ships to arrive, eventually I got permission from the Sudanese to travel via the Desert to Egypt and only 30 km into Egypt, just after the first Border/ Military post, I got arrested.
Long story short, after 25 days in prison, first in Aswan and then in Kalifa prison in Cairo, I got out with help from my worrying parents and the South African embassy. In prison I got to hear it was all one big corruption story, they confiscated my bike but luckily I got out unharmed‚?¶‚?¶‚?¶Anyway‚?¶..just a quickie what happened to me‚?¶glad u made it safe out there.
I can‚??t wait for your next bit!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Yefimovich≤ on September 03, 2008, 10:11:55 am
Awesome! Thanks! :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Aicorner on September 03, 2008, 10:24:04 am
 :drif:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Frohan Visser on September 03, 2008, 10:45:11 am
Mark
Do u remember this "main road" between Abu Hammid and Wadi Halfa???
This picture of my DR 600 is 14 years old, but still keeps the memories high!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Biesie on September 03, 2008, 11:33:29 am
Mark
Do u remember this "main road" between Abu Hammid and Wadi Halfa???
This picture of my DR 600 is 14 years old, but still keeps the memories high!!

Daar het jy nou 'n lat vir jou eie gat gesny  :biggrin: ....ek sien uit na jou RR  ;) ...al is hy 14 jaar oud ..volg Nardus se voorbeeld  :mwink: :mwink:

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Hondsekierie on September 03, 2008, 11:36:42 am
Really well written report, makes it so much more enjoyable with all the pics and vids.  

Like the "mak piel" chirp, something new for the vocab.

Thanks again
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Frohan Visser on September 03, 2008, 01:06:44 pm
Biesie

"I can still picture that road from Khartoum to Abu Hammed and then that final stretch through the desert to Wadi Halfa, I spend 3 days in Wadi Halfa waiting for the transport ships to arrive, eventually I got permission from the Sudanese to travel via the Desert to Egypt and only 30 km into Egypt, just after the first Border/ Military post, I got arrested.
Long story short, after 25 days in prison, first in Aswan and then in Kalifa prison in Cairo, I got out with help from my worrying parents and the South African embassy. In prison I got to hear it was all one big corruption story, they confiscated my bike but luckily I got out unharmed‚?¶‚?¶‚?¶"

Ek het dagboek geskryf van die hele trip, 120 bladsye, maar ongelukkig in Afrikaans, is besig om dit op die oomblik in "Brits" te vertaal en moet al die 336 foto's nog scan, dan sal ek dit looi op die website............!!!!!!!
Ek lyk ook soos n hiepie, lang hare soos Nardus!!!!!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Hidalgo on September 03, 2008, 01:25:50 pm
Hey Frohan

Like Biesie said, you have just sealed your own fate  :lamer:

Ons sien uit na jou trip report.   Volg Nardus se voorbeeld, ons almal geniet die verslae baie.

Thx
H



Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: mrg46 on September 03, 2008, 03:59:33 pm
Mark
Do u remember this "main road" between Abu Hammid and Wadi Halfa???
This picture of my DR 600 is 14 years old, but still keeps the memories high!!


Howzit Frohan, man you were a real pioneer doing it in those days. Like the others say, lat loop with a trip report please. That episode trying to cross the land border and then ending up in jail sounds hectic. Apparently these days they shoot first then ask questions at that border. Can't wait to hear about it.

I know that road you're talking about, but I didn't take it. I went from Wadi Halfa down to Dongola and then across the desert to Atbara

Looking fwd to your report!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Nardus on September 04, 2008, 12:33:20 pm
Hi mrg46 (Mark)

I have been following your trip - awesome !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, you are partly to blame for me starting a trip report on a very similar route I did back in 1993/94. Dammit, but the memories are like sweet smelling pink rose petals. How I wish I could be back in Sudan.

Enjoy your trip and have safe journeys.

Waiting for the rest
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: bradleys on September 04, 2008, 02:18:00 pm
 :thumleft:Keep it comming,Hey Frohan cant wait to read your report.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: mrg46 on September 04, 2008, 04:05:26 pm
Dammit, but the memories are like sweet smelling pink rose petals. How I wish I could be back in Sudan.

Hi Nardus,

I'm honoured - your report & adventure is phenomenal. Can't wait for more.

I've got a few photo's of my trip that are almost carbon coppies of yours - will post them on your thread when its done.

Cheers
Mark
Title: Ethiopia
Post by: mrg46 on September 05, 2008, 07:03:46 am
AFRICAN ENDURO - Ethiopia

So I was thankful to have escaped Khartoum in one piece, and although it was the only capital city I was really looking forward to exploring on my trip it wasn't worth the risk. I was now at the Ethiopian border and very soon everything would change dramatically, the countryside, the people and the language. For some reason (well apparently because they didn't ever have colonial occupation) Ethiopia is just so different to anywhere else in Africa. Its amharic language is nothing like its neighbours Arabic or Swahili and the countryside is some of the most green & fertile to be found on the planet. Hard to imagine they had some serious famine in these parts not too long ago, but i was to find out that many things are very primitive in Ethiopia, including agriculture. A few well placed boere could work wonders with this soil.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0125_P5120918.jpg)
The dung-walled immigration office at the border.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0126_P5120919.jpg)
The customs building, which was closed for the day.

I got my visa stamped at the very official looking immigration office but the customs office was closed for the day so I had to ride 40k's up the road to the next town where I could check my bike in. The tarmac had ended on the Sudanese side and was replaced with a very rocky dirt road. After checking my bike in I found the only hotel in town as this country was still a bit new & scary to risk camping next to the road. At the hotel I met some friendly local engineers who were in the area drilling boreholes. They invited me to a coffee ceremony, which I accepted, but having spent all of my time in Sudan without a dop I had to punctuate the coffee with several very tasty local beers. The Ethiopians take their coffee drinking very seriously and the ceremony involved the hostess roasting green beans on a coal fire, then grinding them with a wooden mortar & pestle and finally boiling & serving (as Espresso shots). I'm a coffee snob and that was the best I'd tasted in my life. My new friends invited me to dinner with them after the coffee and a large knife was taken to the goat that was tide-up next to my bike. The diced goat fillets were fried in garlic & green chilli's (a dish called Tibs) and served with their local sour pancake-like bread called Injera. It was obviously fresh but this was the tastiest meal I had eaten on my trip.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0127_MRG_1009.jpg)
Coffee ceremony in progress

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0128_MRG_1010.jpg)
Luxury accommodation, with dinner tied-up in the foreground.

The next day I rode Eastwards and the terrain quickly changed from desert to green as I climbed the mountains into the Ethiopian highlands. Although the dirt track was very windy the surface was really nice gravel and the KTM was handling superbly, getting the back sideways every now & then just to let me know who's boss (sometimes).  As I climbed the mountains it got greener & more populous until after about 200k's I was on a tar road. I headed to a large town called Dongola for fuel, but there as none to be found. Some would say there is no electricity and others would say the pumps were dry. While riding around I spotted a couple of GS 650 Dakar's moving in the opposite direction. As they passed I saw a GP and then an EC number plate. Jislaaik. I gave chase and stopped them for chat. They were heading Northwards through Africa and were fed up with Ethiopia and more specifically the 'no fuel' business. After swapping stories it turned out a particular garage that had said to me there was no electricity had said to them there was no fuel in the pumps, so having bust their cover they had to give us petrol. This wasn't to be the last time a petrol station wasn't 'lus' to sell me some petrol.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0135_MRG_1039.jpg)
Leaving the desert & climbing into the mountains.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0133_P5130923.jpg)
The two South Africans I met looking for fuel.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0138_MRG_1042.jpg)
I started seeing some burnt-out tanks next to the road.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/P5140003.jpg)
KTM campsite wheelies.

The next few days I spent riding mostly on tarmac towards the capital Addis Ababa. At one point I rode into a storm and was very thankful for the feel of rain, as I hadn't had or seen any since leaving Europe and was now a third of the way through Africa. There were people everywhere (TIA), and in each village most used the tarred roads as a marketplace and it was frustrating having to slow right down to negotiate people & livestock. I started seeing the tell-tale signs of the famed stone throwing Ethiopian kids. Everyone who has traveled these parts warns of them and I always cast my eyes towards any kids before paying attention to livestock in the road. I had managed to avoid a few failed attempts but eventually out of nowhere a fist sized rock struck my left hand. It was quite painful but thankfully I had just swapped my motocross gloves for tougher waterproof ones for the rains. Little bastards. There were many more attempts but only one more hit, this time on a pannier. A few times I would see a laaitie bending down to pick up a stone and just aimed the KTM straight for them which worked well. The livestock in the road was also becoming particularly risky. The herd boys would just stand-by & watch cattle or goats walk into the road without trying to herd them off. At one point I had to knock a goat out with a size 11 Alpinestar to the head. The road was littered with roadkill, mostly dogs, which seemed to be the least intelligent form of life (closely followed by stone throwers). I would often herd a stray dog myself by aiming straight for them and then slipping to their rear at the last minute. Once this technique herded a dog in front of an oncoming truck and it was tickets for the brak. Later I also observed a large cow getting smacked by an oncoming truck in front of me. Most Ethiopian men I had met all chewed this mildly narcotic leaf called 'Chat' (pronounced GAT in Afr) which probably accounted for the relaxed attitude towards livestock depletion.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0166_MRG_1171.jpg)
A typical Ethiopian countryside scene.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0163_MRG_1167.jpg)
Another tank, and some begging children.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0134_P5130924.jpg)
A lunch stop, I had to share my bread with these shepherds.

The highlight of this pretty stressful ride to Addis was passing through the amazing Blue Nile gorge. It was a 20km ride down 4000ft of winding road to the bridge that crossed the river and then a climb of 5000ft along another 20km's. The scenery was spectacular. The road through the gorge was under construction, a 50/50 mix of new tarmac and slippery gravel. I was surprised how much grip the TKC's were giving when I was leaning over on the tarred bits and took a bit of video.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0168_MRG_1187.jpg)
A view of the gorge from the top.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0169_MRG_1192.jpg)
No second chances for over-cooking these corners.

As I was approaching Addis I started hearing a commotion coming from my chain on the long downhills into the city. I thought it was just a bit loose and would adjust it when I got to where I was staying. When I inspected it the next day I saw that the plate link on opposite side of the masterclip link was broken in half and the chain was all over the place, only held by the clip. Close shave. This was the very expensive X-ring gold chain that I had fitted in Cairo and was rated for at least 20,000km's. I think that when I was keeping the chain oil-free in the very soft sand in Sudan the two o-rings had broken off and caused the loose play. Given the mileage I had expected from this chain I didn't have a spare and the only one I could find locally was going to cost me $300. Fok dit! I did however have a spare link that came with the chain (the rivet type as opposed to clip) so borrowed the tool that is used to knock the rivet in as I only had a conventional breaker with me. I borrowed this tool from a very nice guy by the name of Flavio who has a modest KTM shop in Addis. Anyway the chain looked good (for now) and the steel sprockets were in good shape. While I was in Addis I bumped into a South African guy riding a 26 year old Yamaha XT 500 Northwards through Africa, also solo. It was very humbling meeting this guy and I had so much respect for the routes he had accomplished on this bike. I felt a bit like those hot shot idiots Ewen & Charlie with my fancy bike and all my kit, which wasn't pleasant. If anyone here knows of him that would be an incredible ride report!

After Addis I cut a line Southwards towards Kenya. There were many more sights in the North of Ethiopia but apart from a few very friendly & helpful exceptions I wasn't really enjoying my experience of the locals so far. I think the ghat that most people chew renders a large proportion of the population terribly lethargic and disengaged from reality. In addition, hostile intent was noted yet again with more (failed) stone-throwing attempts. I once even had a whole pineapple hurtled towards me by an older trouble-maker. I wanted to stop & ask what the f*ck he was trying to achieve but good karma prevailed and I rode on. Ethiopia is known as the cradle of mankind, and I can only assume that this past-time of projectile throwing at alien objects is a very direct link to the neanderthals that roamed these parts in days gone by.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0174_MRG_1197.jpg)
Impressive anthills started dotting the countryside.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0175_MRG_1203.jpg)
Some aspiring young warriors.

Anyway the South of Ethiopia was very lekker. There were less villages & people on the roads and I started seeing more wildlife in the bush. Being a coffee snob I made a detour into a tiny village called Yirga Chefe, where my favourite coffee is grown. This coffee is pretty rare to find in shops and this proved to be the same where it was grown. I imagine every last morsel is exported. After a bit of exploring I found a young fella who was able to source some and I bought as much of the green beans as I could carry. It was a special treat roasting the beans over my camp stove in the mornings for a cup of moer koffie. I was now very close to the border of Kenya and about to take another large gamble; an infamously bad road through Northern Kenya, which was also home to some delightful bandits that prey on passers-by.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/ethiopia/0172_P5170021.jpg)
The general dealer where my coffee was sourced from.

I've cobbled together another small video clip - with some truly appalling editing (forgive me). I sped up the boring part but the rest is normal. First bit is the ride down the gorge, second bit a large truck blown over by strong winds, then me leaning at a silly angle to negotiate the winds, typical village congestion, and lastly a mad junction in the capital; six four-lane highways all coming together with no traffic lights or form of order. As per Cairo I used a car as a shield.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J43TcoYRQ1M (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J43TcoYRQ1M)

More soon...

Mark
 
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: I&horse on September 05, 2008, 07:32:45 am
I subscribe to this thread!!!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Trailrider on September 05, 2008, 07:44:44 am
Great stuff. Keep it coming!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Hidalgo on September 05, 2008, 08:23:31 am
That was amazing.

I get so excited when the report is updated  :deal:

Brilliant stuff !

Thx
H
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Yefimovich≤ on September 05, 2008, 08:25:09 am
Excellent! :thumleft: Great start to the day!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: growweblaar on September 05, 2008, 08:48:33 am
Great stuff  :thumleft:

Funny, this stone-throwing stuff. Apparently, it's just as bad in India. Do they hate whities? Bikers? Bikes? Whities on bikes?  :patch:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Mark Hardy on September 05, 2008, 08:50:40 am
It's worth reading twice.. ;)

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: bushclown on September 05, 2008, 09:14:21 am

Awesome solo ride report

 :thumleft:

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Whethefakawe on September 05, 2008, 09:36:38 am
Hellofa ride, Mark! That's a REAL ride, I'm dying to do the same route. Have bike in soutern Europe, have time on hands........funds a bit short.....hmmmmmmmm........problem   :biggrin:

iI enjoy the descriptions of Ethiopia, I have worked closely with several Ethiopians and find them to be very dignified, hospitable people. The two best meals I've ever had were Turkish and Ethiopian.  Did you have any Tej?  The honey wine? Good shite :biggrin:

Khat, or Miraa as it's called in Kenya, gives you a buzz till about 3 pm, when the hangover kicks in, then people get nasty. I used to see that in Somalia every day. Problem is, those bastards all carry AK's or similar penis enlargers . Best you start your day early and be well away by afternoon tea  :laughing4:

Keep it coming!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: cloudgazer on September 05, 2008, 10:28:51 am
I'm loving this report.

All I wanna do now is go on my own adventure.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Maya_The_Bee on September 05, 2008, 11:55:21 am
great report , good days  :thumleft:

Quote
Luxury accommodation, with dinner tied-up in the foreground.

did u eat it ?  ;D
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: BigEd on September 05, 2008, 08:59:17 pm
Great report Mark. Can't wait for the next installment :drif: :drif: :drif:


 :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: BigEd on September 05, 2008, 09:00:02 pm
great report , good days  :thumleft:

Quote
Luxury accommodation, with dinner tied-up in the foreground.

did u eat it ?  ;D

Hmm, I always wondered what KTM tasted like...
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: I&horse on September 06, 2008, 04:02:23 pm
This report makes me feel like a real WUS. We never rode more than 600km in a day, and mostly only 450.

Please tell us more about Sudan, what makes it so interesting|
Title: Kenya
Post by: mrg46 on September 08, 2008, 05:04:01 pm
AFRICAN ENDURO - Kenya

So here I was at the Kenyan border of Moyale. I was a little anxious about the road that lay ahead. Most people had said it was very bad, but then these were the people that were sticking to tarmac where I was to dirt and were on  less offroad biased bikes. My Kenya border formalities were taken care of by one person and in about three minutes. That's how it's done. Although Kenya's election problems had kicked off just before I started my trip they seemed stable (ish) now, but I had heard of an Austrian couple on bikes that were shot at a few weeks ago on this road. I found the local policeman and inquired about the security situation on the road and he said it was ok, nobody was shot at, this week. It was Tuesday. Charming. I didn't ask about the previous week.

So I hit the road, and for the first 50k's it was very lekker, but then some severe rockiness started. It ranged from slippery fist-sized loose rocks to very large immovable ones that required some very slow riding and dodging. Although I love offroad riding this was intense and there were no good sections for a bit of a break. I don't think my vocabulary can do this road justice so I won't bother. Below are a few pictures, again they don't really show all its glory. There were a few tiny villages on the way where I stopped to ask the local policeman (or guy with the kwaaiest looking gun) if the road was safe. The people in this area are from the Samburu tribe, all wear very impressive traditional clothing and seem very aggressive. At one point I saw a flicker of movement in the bush and there was a tribesman sitting in the thick scrub with the but of his gun in his shoulder. Hostile intent was evident but thankfully my rally jacket armour was not tested. Later in the day I rounded a corner to find a large herd of camels in the road, being herded by three teenage tribesman. As I passed-by one of the he lunged at me with his spear. Time slowed down and I put the KTM on it side and gave plenty of throttle. I can't tell whether his intentions were murderous but it was pretty scary. I rode for the rest of the day without any more hostility from the Samburu's but the road was the killer. In one rocky and rain eroded section I didn't leave first gear for 45 minutes and covered 10km's slower than I can run it. The KTM had taken some very serious knocks, either by rocks buried in soft sand or when I didn't have the strength to avoid them. Twice the knocks on the front deflated the tyre and I was sure both rims were square but the KTM ploughed on through. At sunset I arrived at the mid-point of this road from hell and the town of Marsabit where I stayed at a very nice campsite on a farm owned by a Swiss man & his family. They were pretty self-sufficient and with the lodging he sold me a few of ice cold Tusker beers, some home-baked break and home-made swiss cheese. Those beers were glorious and bit the dust very quickly.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/P5180040.jpg)
The start of the Northern Kenya road, thankfully there had been no rain for a week.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/P5190055.jpg)
This could slow an oke down.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/P5190056.jpg)
Some of the lesser rocky bits.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/P5190057.jpg)
Never a dull moment on this road.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0182_MRG_1205.jpg)
A large crater in a national park.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0184_MRG_1209.jpg)
The outside of the accommodation at Henry the Swiss. Modest looking hey?

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0185_MRG_1211.jpg)
The inside of the accommodation. Very comfortable.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0187_MRG_1227.jpg)
Cold beer & fresh cheese sandwiches, what more could an advrider ask for.

The next day I woke up at sparrows fart and hit the remainder of lucifer's path. This day was mentally draining where the previous was physical. Other than the odd patch of bull dust it was just continuous and irregular corrugations. Other than travelers the only other traffic on this road is large un-articulated trucks which plough along much faster than a bike or 4x4 can travel. The corrugations were huge and required more very tedious first gear riding. Like the previous day there were no easy bits for a rest. Again the KTM's suspension did an incredible job but I really didn't expect it to take this much abuse and still be capable of forward motion. I heard from others after my crossing that most people took four days for this road, camping in the bush, but that wasn't an option for me as I was on my ace and would have been short work for a bandit. Still I'm glad I did it fast, it was an awesome enduro ride. After 520km's and two days I finally arrived on tarmac at the town of Isiolo. I stopped to have a photo taken of my releif and shortly afterwards a nearby crowd of road construction workers gathered around, some becoming quite aggressive and shouting for money or food. They started tugging at me & my luggage but thankfully I had left the bike running on its centre stand and my helmet on so ploughed through them. If the spear thrust had left me shaken this mob had left me stirred. When I was further down the road & refueled I stopped to inspect any damage to the KTM. The shocks didn't seem to be leaking any fluid but the rims were littered with dents - four on the front and two on the rear. When riding it only seemed to wobble at 90-100kmphs so I either kept it above or below that. The tyres (both TKC's) also took some serious abuse but held out well. I've heard some horror stories about people that used Korean or Chinese rubber on this road. You get what you pay for

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/P5190058.jpg)
Some bull dust.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0194_MRG_1234.jpg)
Pity you can't see the corrugations in this shot.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0195_P5190063.jpg)
There was a truck far in the distance, which I was riding too fast to keep in front of incase I had a bad fall. Catch 22 hey?

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0197_CONVAR52.jpg)
Finally some tar after 520 of hell. Taken just before the hungry mob turned angry.

I was so chuffed with the nice tarmac road for a change that I carried on riding all the way to the capital Nairobbery, stopping for a some photo's at the Equator. It was cloudy & raining so I couldn't get to see mount Kenya and made my way South. I had misjudged sunlight hours and found myself breaking the rules again, riding at night and the rain. It took me a couple of hours to get through the Nairobi traffic and to the place I was staying at; the famous Jungle Junction (JJ's) in Nairobi. I just about collapsed with releif but the fridge full of Tuskers kept me upright to socialise with the other travelers there.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0199_CONVAR66.jpg)
Token equator shot.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0198_CONVAR63.jpg)
As I approached the Equator my GPS trip odometer was scarily close to a very round number. Give or take a few it was 10,000km's form London to the Equator, incase anyone was wondering.

I stayed in Nairobi for several days, washing & repairing clothes & gear and having another 5K service done. The inmates of JJ's  were all also in a frenzy of repairing & servicing bikes & 4x4's. As I had done the last two valve clearance checks myself I opted to take the bike to the local KTM dealer (the only official one in African outside of South Africa). Although they had some impressive (if pricey) stock I was not altogether impressed by their work on my bike. They had a set of Pirelli MT21's so I bought the rear to carry with me when the TKC ran smooth. So the report on the bike after 10,000km's on the trip so far was that it was in almost perfect shape. I don't think they checked the valves at the service (one of my gripes) but things felt & sounded good. I got a 2nd & 3rd opinion on my fixed chain and both said it looked fine and wasn't stretched. One of my wipeouts in The Sudan had put alot of stress on the long bolts of my handlebar risers and I had to tighten them a few times since then. One was just about stripped so I re-threaded to a couple of smaller nuts. The only other fix was to weld a broken joint on my luggage rack (also from a desert wipeout). The KTM now had a shade under 17,000km's on the clock and was ready for the most kak roads I could find.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/P5220001.jpg)
A typical work day at JJ's. Many nice bikes in for service work by the owner of the establishment, mostly owned by local riders and not travelers.

Although there is much more to see in Kenya a lot of is in game parks that only allow closed vehicles, so I made for Tanzania. I had heard from the owner of JJ's about a very remote and untraveled border between Kenya & Tanzania which he had been to many years previously. Although I didn't know whether it was still open or the road passable I thought I'd give it a shot so left Nairobbery and cut a line Southwards. I left the main drag to Mombassa and hit a very unused road through Southern Kenya. It got more & more rural but was a great surface and really fun to ride. At one point I passed through a park and briefly rode next to a herd of galloping Zebra's, which was very cool. The people here were very friendly (unlike the North) and spoke excellent English like everywhere else in the country.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0210_MRG_1255.jpg)
The very pleasant dirt track I rode in Southern Kenya. I could always tell how remote somewhere was by how cautious the little kids were in approaching this strange looking wit ou on a big orange bicycle.

I was giving it horns on a nice open dirt track when I noticed another bike in my mirrors. Wag a bietjie. I slowed to let this oke pass so I could have a look and was immediately suspicious. He was riding a Yamaha AG200 with a huge top box on the back and was wearing some top MX kit. Wat gaan hier aan? I knew what this was about. One of the things I had done as part of my prep was sign up to a charity for my trip. Generally I think foreign aid in Africa is a load of kak (like Bob's use of it in Zim) and I wasn't aiming to pick up a nobel prize but thought I might as well try & do something for Riders for Health. I knew about them from watching MotoGP. They teach nurses & doctors how to ride and give them dual sport bikes & riding gear so that they can supply aid to very rural areas that are not accessible by 4 wheeled vehicles. This was one of these 'Riders' that I had just happened to bump into. I stopped him & we had a long chat, took some photo's and then rode together for about 20km's. He was riding like a pro, on the pegs and ringing the neck of the AG. It was pretty special meeting this guy on the road, especially as it slightly altered my opinion of aid. In Ethiopia all I had seen was hundreds & hundreds of brand new Toyota Land cruisers donated by aid agencies, being driven around as taxi's. In the capital cities I had been through so far I would find the best hotels so that I could use the internet connection in their business centres. These 5 star hotels were often overflowing with 'aid workers'  smoking cigars and knocking back cocktails at midday. This guy was the other (real) end of the aid work spectrum. His top box was full of medicine and he was riding some hard tracks to the remote villages to give treatment where people had very little. Most of my friends & family are the pre-historic types who don't use credit cards online so my fund raising has failed abysmally, but if anyone reading this would like to drop a few bokke in I'd be very grateful.

http://www.justgiving.com/africanenduro (http://www.justgiving.com/africanenduro)
(It's based in the UK but you can donate in any currency)

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0205_MRG_1240.jpg)
The Rider, Lazarus, perched on his AG.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0208_MRG_1246.jpg)
He fancied the KTM. Don't we all.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/kenya/0203_P5230025.jpg)
Lazarus giving the AG plenty.

As I approached the border with Tanzania the spectacular Mount Kilimanjaro was covered in a large and low bank of cloud, but hopefully I'd be able to clock it from the other side. I eventually got to the tiny border where I was glad to find out that I could pass through and exit the country. Hakuna Matata (no problem). I was noted in the immigration book as being the 182nd person to pass through this year - not a particularly busy border. I was looking forward to the unknown on the other side of the fence, as I hadn't heard of anyone having taken this route before.

More soon

Mark
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Trailrider on September 08, 2008, 05:28:15 pm
Great stuff!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: LanceSA on September 08, 2008, 09:14:41 pm
Man, I'm enjoying this RR. Makes me lus.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Nardus on September 09, 2008, 12:23:55 pm
lekka lekka lekka !!!

Great stuff.

Must admit, it takes a certain ball size to tackle such a trip solo - much respect !!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: KTMjedi on September 10, 2008, 10:56:05 am
Geeze Nardus, you talk of ball size....bud you must have ones the size of bowling balls after reading your RR!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: bradleys on September 11, 2008, 08:09:29 am
WOW,, what a great report, really enjoyng the read and pics .RESPECT BRO.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Stofstreep on September 11, 2008, 03:36:02 pm
I have great respect for the work that riders for Health is doing in Africa.
Nice one Mark
Title: Tanzania
Post by: mrg46 on September 14, 2008, 05:33:02 pm
AFRICAN ENDURO - Tanzania

Picking up from this remote border-post with Southern Kenya, which was called Oloitokitok. I had been through a fair few border-posts by now and although each one is interesting and different, what happened next proved to be solid gold. I went into the tiny immigration office and waited for the official to finish reading his newspaper and then motion me forward for processing. He had a quick look through the interesting visa's & stamps in my green mamba, closed it and put it in his top pocket, tore off a piece of newspaper and excused himself, disappearing out the back door. It was obvious to me where he was going but I looked out the window to confirm that he was in fact going for a kak. Either he was caught short, or my passport was a particularly interesting toilet read - I suspect it was the latter. He emerged after short while with the newspaper missing, but thankfully all the pages of my passport in tact. As I left I inspected my passport for a brown stamp. I enjoyed this comical moment immensely.

After wiping the tears of laughter I hit the very slippery track around the foothils of Mt. Kilimanjaro for a couple of hours. This was the only part of Africa where I encountered rainforest jungle vegetation and conditions, which are only found in Central or West Africa. Although it was wet the dirt track was incredibly good fun - the best days riding I'd had on my trip so far. After waiting in a small town at the foothills of Mt.Kili for a day for the cloud to disappear I lost patience and hit the road Eastwards along the impressive Usambara mountain range. Although I was tempted to climb into the mountains I thought I'd give the KTM a break for now and head for the coast instead. I made for a little-known coastal town of Pangani and again had a really good and fast dirt road ride to get there. At the little village I found the local chief and he suggested I wasn't allowed to camp anywhere so I treated myself to an up-market but very remote luxury tented camp called Mkoma bay. This was a very lekker place and the owner hosts were hospitable and good company. They had a fully stocked bar and some very good graze.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0213_P5240033.jpg)
At tame baboon at a roadside cafe.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0215_MRG_1285.jpg)
The Usambara mountains in the background, sisal plants in the foreground.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0216_P5240037.jpg)
This was the first country on my trip where almost all locals with bikes wore helmets. This guy had his jacket on backwards fastened with a safety pin. Genius.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0221_MRG_1295.jpg)
A typically friendly Tanzanian. Roughly translated his sign reads: "Kolosai's Camp. Jesus is God. We fix and hire bicycles"

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0225_MRG_1312.jpg)
KTM sleeping beside one of the luxury tents at Mkoma bay.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0230_MRG_1339.jpg)
Not an unattractive rainbow.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0217_P5240038.jpg)
A very dirt nice road to the village of Pangani.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0232_P5250061.jpg)
The same road after an evening of rain.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0233_P5250062.jpg)
This oke had stopped to remove the mud from his low fender. He appreciated my high fender conversion, as did I.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0234_P5250069.jpg)
Bikes work as hard as any other vehicles in Africa. Among other things this raakvat looking rider had a briefcase, firewood and some livestock.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0237_MRG_1349.jpg)
Bicycles are also hard-working vehicles.

Unfortunately I couldn't track the coast Southwards as there were a number of river mouths without bridges or ferries, so I hit the same road I came on, but this time after an evening of rain (before & after photo's above). I then stuck to the tar and made for the Capital of Dar Es Salaam. In Dar I stayed at a great beach campsite about 10k's out of town and met a few other travelers, also heading Northwards in the opposite direction of me. I stayed at this spot for several days, as it was the first decent rest period of my trip so far with no work required on the bike. Dar was my favourite city on the route so far, largely due to the very pleasant Tanzania people. As I had made my way down Tanzania I had decided to purposely bypass certain interesting bits as I loved the country so much I wanted to go back some time (with company).

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0238_P5250071.jpg)
Practicing patience on a very busy ferry crossing.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0242_MRG_1365.jpg)
My accommodation on the beach close to Dar Es Salaam.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0243_MRG_1366.jpg)
The KTM had a very long rest here, as did I.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0240_P5280075.jpg)
A round-the-world couple on a Vstrom. They had done the America's and were going North through Africa. He had made a fully enclosed chain casing for the bike.

After having my batteries recharged on the beach in Dar I packed-up and got ready for the final leg of my trip, which was very exciting. Most people on a trans-Africa swing inland after Dar and head for Malawi but I had decided to leave that for another trip as I desperately wanted to cross into the far North of Mozambique instead. So this left me with about 800k's of Tanzania which I had no report of anyone doing recently. After the tarmac of Dar ran out the dirt track become very sandy and very bumpy. I was once again slowed right down and it occurred to me that doing 800k's of this surface was not going to end well. I had done about 70k's of this when all of a sudden an amazing new single lane tarmac road appeared. I was thankful for the tarmac as it gave me a chance to admire the very wild and interesting surroundings. About half way to the Moz. border I pulled into a beach-side campsite that I had seen a sign for. The campsite was empty except for a couple of locals and a dog and I made an offer of cash if I could pitch my tent. The setting was incredible easy on the eye and the inhabitants were very glad for the company. One of the guys was a security guard and the other a cook, who I asked if he had any food I could buy. He beamed at the opportunity to cook for me. He said I had to choose what I wanted to eat immediately so that he had a few hours to go and forage for it. The options were prawns, fish or chicken. I chose the prawns and he promptly got into his dug-out canoe to retrieve dinner. He left me with a cooler box of Kilimanjaro lagers but before I got stuck in I stripped the luggage of the KTM and took it onto the beach. I had long fantasised about doing some Dakar-style wheelies through the surf and this was the moment. The security guard enjoyed the show and although I gave him my camera to take some video he was so fascinated by the viewfinder which showed exactly what he saw with his eyes that he couldn't quite follow my ride-by's. The prawns were fantastic, which I was thankful for as the chef would have fallen on his sword if I hadn't enjoyed them. The security guard was a traditional tribal warrior and wore all the finery to go with it. He never moved from within 20 meters of my tent & bike at all times and was there, on guard when I woke up early the in the morning. When I left he refused my appreciation offer of money, but did accept an apple I had in my bag. He was typical of the Tanzanians I had met on my trip; the nicest people and country by far.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0244_MRG_1371.jpg)
One of the larger boabab trees beside the road. There were huge indigenous forests of them in the South of Tanzania.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0246_MRG_1378.jpg)
The beach campsite I described above.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0249_MRG_1397.jpg)
No video but the security gaurd was able to get a still of the beach riding demonstration.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0245_MRG_1375.jpg)
The proud & noble security guard.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0252_MRG_1419.jpg)
Sunset on the beach. Not revolting to look at while drinking a Kili lager.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0250_P5300088.jpg)
The prawns masterly prepared by the chef.

The next day I had a long ride to the very South of Tanzania. There was no fuel in the two villages I passed through, which was a little worrying. I ran the tank dry and then moved on with the extra 5 litres I was carrying in a plastic container. That ran dry too. My camp stove (the multi fuel type) had run out of kerosene earlier in the trip and I had filled it with petrol, so in went that ample 750ml into the tank to get a little further. There were a few hills which I coasted down and amazingly made it into a village with petrol, running dry very close to the pumps. While I was in this town I took the opportunity to replace my smooth rear TKC with the Pirelli MT21 I was carrying. The TKC had done very well, around 12,000km'. I thought it charitable to make a contribution to the Tanzanian GDP by employing someone at the fuel station to change it for me. I was happy to see that the top tyre changer in the village had as much trouble changing tyres as I did.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0253_P5310093.jpg)
This is my favourite photo of the entire trip so far. Despite being destitutely poor this guy had a bungalow in Pariis with a make believe satellite dish and various cables running into his shack to suggest it had electricity. This made him incredibly wealthy and he was a happy man. T-I-A.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0254_P5310095.jpg)
This is where I ran dry of petrol - not too far to push.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0255_P5310100.jpg)
The tyre changer busting a bead of sweat.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0266_P6010171.jpg)
The tarmac was now gone and a taster of things to come in Mozambique.

That evening I located yet another beach-side camp, owned by a Belgian ex-big game hunter & fisherman. We had a great seafood meal, again sourced from the water a few metres away and washed down with Kilimanjaro lager. He was an avid Dakar fan and loved the KTM. He said it looked like I was a good racer. Thankfully he didn't see my pathetically slow arrival over the sand dunes to his camp, or the little wipeout on-route. The next day I proceeded to the very bottom of the country and it's border, the great Rovuma river. There were no petrol pumps but I was able to source some 'bush fuel' and filled the tank and again every other receptacle after filtering it. After paying a small bribe to the immigration officer in the village (to avoid unpacking all of my kit) I was checked-out of Tanzania but still on their soil and made my way to the banks of the river.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/MRG_1425.jpg)
Another beach-side camp.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0263_MRG_1428.jpg)
Typical African dugout canoes.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0264_MRG_1436.jpg)
Someones beach-side villa.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0267_P6010173.jpg)
A top-up of bush fuel. The octane was surprisingly good.

I'll take a little time to explain this crossing. As I said, not many travelers use this route and similarly very few locals seem to move between this border, and if so it's by foot on a small boat. There is a small two car ferry which allegedly operates to cross the river but it is hardly ever in operation due to the river being so tidal, and the mass of sand banks along its 2km width. When I was in Nairobi I had met a very adventurous German guy who had recently crossed it in his Toyota Landcruiser. He used the ferry which had got stuck on a sand back, where it remained for three days. Out of desperation he then charted three of the little passenger vessels, had them tide together and drove his Landcruiser onto the makeshift raft, which only cleared the water by 20cm. Large, hardekool balls!

At the river bank there was no ferry but a collection of these small boats with outboard motors. The huge swarm of locals desperate locals fighting to be enlisted as crew for my crossing, one of them even resorting to windmilling with his fists to reduce the number of contenders. I selected 6 of the sturdiest fella's (this number would rise) and the biggest looking boat. They man-handled the KTM onto the boat and I quickly enlisted an extra person to start bailing the water that was flowing in from a couple of little holes. We pushed off the bank and did a couple of hundred metres downstream towards the sea before the captain could get the spluttering outboard to start.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0268_P6010174.jpg)
The three biggest & best vessels on the Rovuma.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0269_P6010175.jpg)
Loading required a fair amount of organisation. Enthusiasm wasn't lacking.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/tanzania/0272_P6010189.jpg)
Underway on the river. Next stop Mozambique, or perhaps a sandbank.

I'll leave you on tender hooks as to how this unfolds..

More soon

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: BMWPE on September 14, 2008, 06:15:05 pm
Great stuff
Thanks for sharing :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Mark Hardy on September 14, 2008, 07:30:18 pm
I am looking forward to the next leg. I hope to do a trip to Tanzania and I am also looking at returning through Northern Mozambique.

Thanks for wonderful RR.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: ratrap on September 14, 2008, 09:09:03 pm
Great read again!!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: BigEd on September 14, 2008, 11:12:25 pm
Great read again!!  :thumleft:

+1 Can't wait... :drif:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: bradleys on September 15, 2008, 08:30:08 am
Cant wait for the next episode :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Hidalgo on September 15, 2008, 08:44:12 am
Awsome read !!

I was in Tanzania last year doing Killi and agree that the Tanzanian people are extremely friendly.

Looking forward to the next chapter.

Thx
H
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: dieterf on September 15, 2008, 08:37:03 pm
this entire story is better than a published novel. Well done  :thumleft:

especially love this part:"
Picking up from this remote border-post with Southern Kenya, which was called Oloitokitok. I had been through a fair few border-posts by now and although each one is interesting and different, what happened next proved to be solid gold. I went into the tiny immigration office and waited for the official to finish reading his newspaper and then motion me forward for processing. He had a quick look through the interesting visa's & stamps in my green mamba, closed it and put it in his top pocket, tore off a piece of newspaper and excused himself, disappearing out the back door. It was obvious to me where he was going but I looked out the window to confirm that he was in fact going for a kak. Either he was caught short, or my passport was a particularly interesting toilet read - I suspect it was the latter. He emerged after short while with the newspaper missing, but thankfully all the pages of my passport in tact. As I left I inspected my passport for a brown stamp. I enjoyed this comical moment immensely.

looking forward to the next chapter  :P
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: husky on September 16, 2008, 06:32:30 am
Absolutely fantastic. Good to see on Adv rider too. Let's head for N Moz & S Tanzania. Wife, kids, job; who needs those.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: BlueBull2007 on September 16, 2008, 06:58:18 am
Brilliant! We are eagerly waiting for the next issue!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Ratel on September 16, 2008, 07:52:50 am
Excellent ride report :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: malgat (RIP) on September 16, 2008, 11:33:50 am
muckin afazing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Ballies on September 16, 2008, 01:39:06 pm
Baie cool,baie jaloers  :biggrin:
Title: Mozambique
Post by: mrg46 on September 18, 2008, 04:59:03 pm
AFRICAN ENDURO - Mozambique

Where was I? Oh Ja, on this magnificent water vessel on the great Rio Rovuma. I had been good china's with the Nile for many thousands of km's on my trip but this river was on a different scale entirely. My excitement for making this crossing far out-weighed any notions of misfortune - something my Mother describes as the benefit of youthful folly. Ignorance is bliss. The crew were all very proud to be holding the KTM upright so I could turn my attention to making sure the guy bailing water did not get lazy. I also took this opportunity to remove the large ZA sticker from the front of the bike. Some friend in the slowveld had told that the Mozambican were hurling stones at ZA vehicles after the recent xenophobia that was going on. My jovial spirits were put on hold for a moment when our craft got stuck on a sandbank and a couple of the crew had to disembark to dislodge the boat. Although the river was approx. 2km wide here at the mouth most of it was very shallow (low tide) and our zig-zagging between little islands resulted in the crossing taking about half an hour. We arrived at the far side to an unwelcoming looking steep bank. The captain kept the motor on to push the boat against the bank and the rest of us plus some additional Mozambicans dragged the bike up the very steep 10 foot bank. There was much sweating after this exertion so I flashed a few more dollar notes in appreciation. I had made it!

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0274_P6010191.jpg)
I placed my ZA sticker on the boat, much to the crews' amusement. This oke was the sand bank scout. He did a kak job.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0275_P6010195.jpg)
Up the bank on the other side. Don't be fooled by the bank in the far horizon - it was only one of many islands in the river.

There was nothing on this side of the river. No signs of life or road. The few Mozambicans that we had encountered on this side pointed me in the direction I should take through the bush - obviously there was a road somewhere in the distance. After a short while crashing through the riverbed I found a rudimentary track and followed it for about 10km's to the closest village. In this village it was easy to spot the only permanent looking structure and I was welcomed by the immigration official who booked me into the country. His English was good and assured me that there would be no xenophobic backlashes on team oranje. I asked why the road leading out of the village had a large collection of branches blocking it off. He said it was only used by a vehicle once a week when he was relieved, and the obstruction was to keep the elephants out. This place was twatwaffle wild!

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0276_P6010197.jpg)
Initially the road was rough but not sandy.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0278_P6010199.jpg)
And then the sukkeling began...

I hit this track and it quickly became the most difficult riding of my entire trip. The sand was so deep that my panniers would knock on either side of the ruts now & then and usually send me to the deck. I was barely creeping along with the KTM at full taps in first gear. To quote WC fields; the road was fraught with imminent peril. Something had to give. To my surprise that something was the bike and not rider. The sand had just got a little shallower when I heard & felt much liquid erupt from the engine. In a split second I had thought it was oil and the trip was over. Thankfully it was not. The radiator pipe leading to the engine had popped off and all coolant liquid was liberated from the engine & radiator. This was not a fatal blow but nonetheless I was in a bit of a pickle. I only had about a litre of drinking water with me and quickly decided it should be kept for my good self in the interest of self-preservation. I found the nearest tree to sit under (one that could be scaled in the event of an encounter with an elephant) and began to ponder my predicament and wait a few years for a passer-by. Africa being Africa it was only a few minutes before a local emerged out of the thick bush and walked up the road towards me. He had a little boy with him, who hastily disappeared into the bush to hide when he saw me. I explained in sign language what had happened and asked him for some 'agwa'. He understood and disappeared back into the bush, returning half an hour later with a bucket of the finest Mozambican river water. I filled-up and gave him a $donation for his efforts. His very shy son had been slowly & carefully creeping forward towards us throughout all of this. He was very shy and nervous. I inquired why and his father rubber the skin on my arm - a gesture that I took for this little fella probably not having seen many or any wit ou's before. Eventually he came & stood for a photo but when the strange and noisy orange horse started he ran back into the bush. His father & I both laughed - probably his first sighting of a motorcycle.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0279_P6010201.jpg)
Some of the hardcore sand.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0280_P6010203.jpg)
The KTM parked-up with a severe radiator coolant shortage.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0281_P6010204.jpg)
My local river water supplier & saviour with his shy son.

I carried on riding on this very difficult road and eventually made it to the next village or Palma. My first 40km's in Mozambique had taken me three hours of riding and one hour under a tree. I cannot stress how WILD this place was. I was fortunate to grow up a stones-throw from the Kruger Park and spent most of my childhood in the bush, but this was absolutely untouched. Although I rode over many Elephant dung mines I didn't get to see any live specimens. I stopped to buy some water in the town of Palma and an English speaking guy told me of a resident lion that was picking off the villagers every now & then. I didn't stick around as bait and made for the biggest town in the North called Mocimboa Da Praia where I camped for the night.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0282_P6010205.jpg)
Finally the sand was replaced by some hard stuff.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0284_P6010213.jpg)
Some old Martini-Henry rifles excavated by a local.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0285_P6020220.jpg)
Mozambique's finest unleaded.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0288_P6040230.jpg)
Ethiopia's finest coffee beans still cranking out the espresso's each morning.

After this town the roads generally got better with some patches of tarmac starting to appear. There was however no fuel so after exhausting all the bush fuel I had bought in Tanzania I had to resort to a few litres of Mozambique's finest high octane palm wine. I made it to the coastal oasis of Pemba where there was plenty fuel, food, drink & company. Pemba is an incredible place and not as spoilt as places to the South. It has some of the best looking beaches on the planet, an endless supply of fresh seafood and is also a diving mecca for those who prefer to look at the marine life rather than eat it. In Pemba I stayed at a fantastic camp site with a huge bar that was the hub of the small SA community there. During the last few days of tough sand tracks I had noticed a slightly different knocking noise coming from the LC4 so took a day to do an 'inspection' service. I thought that the valve clearances were slightly loose so tightened them up. Another thing I had noticed was that the KTM guys in Nairobi had not put in the correctly sized spark plug - it was a larger sized one that left no room in the recess for a plug socket. I was eventually able to get it out with a pair of long-nose pliers, probably what they had used to put it in. In went one of the decent spares plugs I was carrying. I was to find out much later that the valves were actually fine and I had made them a little too tight. The noise I was hearing was a combination of LC4 paranoia (totally unjustified) and the usual audio changes of an engine getting looser. A very good family friend in South Africa has a huge hunting concession in the Rovuma area and I met up with his local partner for a tour of Pemba and it's watering holes. He told me that he had been asked to get rid of the man-eating Lion I had heard about in Palma and was just waiting for a delivery of bullets before going to take it out. Some people get the short straw.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0289_P6040231.jpg)
There are very many pedestrian fatalities in Mozambique, but you could not pay me enough money to walk in this grass.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0290_P6040234.jpg)
Bicycle charcoal transportation.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0291_P6040235.jpg)
Bicycle bicycle transportation.

After Pemba I took the main roads inland leading Southwards. I had little choice but to use the tarmac network as they usually led past fuel pumps (funny that). The country of Mozambique is incredibly long, especially in the North, and I ended up doing much more mileage in Mozambique than in any other country on the continent (almost 3000km's). I spent the next few days getting some big mileage under the belt (about 500-700km's a day) and although the engine was perfect my chain woes returned. The chain was making a big noise and was now stretching rapidly and taking the sprockets with it. One day in particular I stopped to adjust it four times at the side of the road. During all of this it had also worn through the plastic chain slider and then started having a go at bisecting the swing-arm. I was mega-paranoid about this and couldn't stand the thought of failure being this close to completing the trip. At one point I fabricated a new slider - sout piel maak 'n plan - using a piece of truck tyre and some cable-ties. This gave me one day of riding without swing-arm deterioration and the following day I replaced it with an even better version - I flattened a couple of large 2M beer cans and moulded them over the swing-arm. This proved to be just as good as the chain slid over them without cutting through for two more days. Although I was still on tar there were some silly sections of around 50km's that had more sandy potholes in the road than tarred-covered bits.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0292_MRG_1448.jpg)
Typical scenery in the central interior.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0294_P6060245.jpg)
They're building a fancy bridge across the Zambezi river, but things are going slowly with many construction workers getting chowed by crocs.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/P6060243.jpg)
McGuyvers first take at a chain slider.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/P6060241.jpg)
The swingarm deterioration.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0296_P6060249.jpg)
Armed KTM security while I went to lay a coil.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0297_MRG_1454.jpg)
There are several massive rivers which flow through central Mozambique in the summer.

By now I was past the fairly boring central interior of the country and approaching the touristy coastal South that I was familiar with. There GP 4x4's were now coming thick & fast on the roads and before I knew it all you saw were bakkies loaded with Quad's towing JetSki's. It's a pity some of Portuguese charm is being eroded by these people but I'm just as much to blame having done countless deep sea fishing holidays here myself. It is good however seeing the infrastructure of the country improved. Having grown up in the slowveld there wasn't much exploring for me to do in the South so I made he final dash for home, getting serious bouts of broken chain paranoia.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0299_P6070258.jpg)
A coconut salesman at the side of the road.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0302_MRG_1464.jpg)
It wasn't all tarmac as I usually went off the beaten track to camp.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0300_P6070259.jpg)
I spent almost an hour riding through dunes to get to a remote place to camp - but the facilities here were long past their prime.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0303_MRG_1465.jpg)
Typical Southern African coastal dunes.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/mozambique/0304_MRG_1476.jpg)
These nippers were up at 5am to do the washing. I was up at 5am to dispatch with Mozambique.

Although my back sprocket had teeth that looked like wave crests and the chain felt as though it was about 5 metres long, amazingly it held and I felt a warm sensation of homecoming as I neared the border of South Africa. I only had about 1.5 hours of riding left after the border and could almost smell victory (and the braai being lighted), but would the chain be playing the game?

Stay tuned for the final post - my final run home and a little warm-down ride in South Africa & Swaziland. I'll also do a detailed post about how the bike performed.

Mark
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Carnivore on September 18, 2008, 07:15:45 pm
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiihhhhhhhhhhhh !

Eish!

Oh my....

Thanks for the report...  :o  :biggrin:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Kaboef on September 19, 2008, 07:46:38 am
Whohoo!!! :biggrin:

Excellent!

Anxiously waiting for the last part...
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: I&horse on September 19, 2008, 08:25:36 am
Lekker report!!!!!!!

How long did the whole thing take you?
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Hidalgo on September 19, 2008, 08:37:15 am
Lekka Lekka

I love the suspense

Great report !

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Nardus on September 19, 2008, 03:17:07 pm
Grrrrrreeeeeeeeaaaaaaaat !!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Yefimovich≤ on September 20, 2008, 07:53:55 am
Really great report!

Waiting for the Finale!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: ratrap on September 20, 2008, 12:41:08 pm
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: brettp on September 20, 2008, 03:14:15 pm
Eish Mark, you really have a wonderful ability to keep our attention, yet you do so with such ease!

Thanks for the best ride report that I have read to date!!!

Looking forward to the final instalment!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: buzzlightyear on September 20, 2008, 09:54:52 pm
 :blob3: :blob5: :blob6: :blob7:

The anticipation is mounting...

It's a GREAT read so far. Maybe your bike needed a scottoiler?
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Trailrider on September 21, 2008, 09:07:19 am
Sheez. Great report.

Where's the last bit? ;D
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: bradleys on September 22, 2008, 10:13:38 am
Going to miss this report,great read ,looking forward to your next instalment :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: KAT-WP on September 23, 2008, 08:48:50 am
I have been following your report with a lot of interest 8)

You are a hero in my eyes to have done so much travelling SOLO in some very difficult countries with that awesum 640 you got ;D

some of those roads looked hectic to get thru and then just riding kays & kays alone..... well done :thumleft:

Look forward to your end report & esp how the bike performed overall :)

Cheers
Mish

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Stev0 on September 23, 2008, 09:44:43 am
more please!

since london to sa was no problem, how about meeting us in cape town on friday?
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: BigEd on September 23, 2008, 11:16:05 am
Jeez Mark, what a ride! What a report! Bliksem! Solo nogal!

Gonna miss the catch-ups.

Fanks man, you make it worthwhile going online for... I've even checked all your videos :thumleft:

Respect!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Stev0 on September 23, 2008, 11:20:06 am
Jeez Mark, what a ride! What a report! Bliksem! Solo nogal!

Gonna miss the catch-ups.

Fanks man, you make it worthwhile going online for... I've even checked all your videos :thumleft:

Respect!

Maximum Respect.. Booyakasha!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: BlueBull2007 on September 24, 2008, 03:18:40 am
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Its wish it was more detailed, Im sure you still have plenty of other stories to tel. You have a raptured audience.

Thanks for the effort!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Doerengone on September 24, 2008, 09:45:21 pm
Hiya Mark. Great ride, great report writing. KTM and bush coffee, good combo there.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Andy660 on September 24, 2008, 10:19:28 pm
Ag no ,Have enjoyed your RR so much , now we have to wait !! Oh well its worth the wait.Sterkte
Title: South Africa
Post by: mrg46 on September 25, 2008, 11:45:03 pm
AFRICAN ENDURO - South Africa

So there I was - at the Mozambique / SA border with my awesome trip almost, but not quite yet complete. The border formalities were a piece of cake and I took the opportunity to place another ZA sticker on the KTM. I didn't experience any xenophobia backlashes while in Mozambique, which was nice.

Very close to the border in Komatipoort I paid a visit to my sister and brother in law - who farm in the area. I was quite apprehensive of seeing people I knew for the first time in a while and if I knew my sister there would be a trick up her sleeve. As I rounded a corner to the start of their farm there was the said trick; the security guard at the boom gate was waiving an orange checkered flag that she had painted, standing beside a welcome home sign. I had a substantial grin, and that was increased when I saw my brother-in-law (Shane) coming towards me on a KTM 525, on one wheel. We settled down to a typically wild Komatipoort braai of guinnea fowl & nyala which Shane had shot recently. This was to be the first of my dietary rehabilitation program - I had lost over 10kg's during the trip.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0306_P6080263.jpg)
The security guy with the orange race flag.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0309_P6080268.jpg)
My swaer.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0313_P6080279.jpg)
The wildsvleis braai.

It was very tempting to stay for the night so Shane & I could get amongst the klipdrift and try & pull in a few tigers from the Komati but I desperately wanted to finish the job and get the final 100km's done.  I rode up out of the Kaapmaiden gorge and past a large rock in Karino where my grandfather once sat when he saw his first motor car (the first one in the slowveld). As special moments go, riding past that old rock was pretty much up there. Miraculously the chain was still holding and I made it all the way to my home town of Witrivier. As I drove through the town on a quiet Sunday evening I started to get excited about having completed the trip, and as I was nearing home I realised I could even push the bike from here so started giving the KTM plenty, over cooking the corners and liberating the front from terra-firma. I pulled up the driveway to a small welcoming party who had heard the bellowing akra from some way away.

http://www.youtube.com/v/IoKoRnTdiIQ (http://www.youtube.com/v/IoKoRnTdiIQ)

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0314_P6080283.jpg)
A happy & relieved old lady when I finally arrived home

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0315_P6100290.jpg)
The odometer distance from London to Witrivier

Although I was very tired and needed rest I was 'buzzing' for quite a few days afterwards, and found it strange having to sleep on a bed and being able to eat good chow whenever I wanted to. I also realised that my hands were shaking uncontrollably and that I had lost much dexterity in fine motor skills - probably from hanging onto a bike all day every day for the last few months (and a nice vibey one like an LC4 at that).

I spent a few days cleaning up my gear and my bike was in the capable hands of the best mechanic I have come across in a third of the planet - who happens to runs a small KTM workshop in Nelspruit. He confirmed that I had over-tightened the valve clearances and other than that the engine was in perfect shape. After the full service and a few new bits (like sprockets & chain) the KTM looked and felt like it had just been run-in.

I was missing the daily routine of riding so decided to take a small warm-down trip, as I hadn't enjoyed the paranoia filled last part of Mozambique. I packed on all my trip gear and rode 700k's to a the Alfie Cox dual sport festival that some of you dogs were at.  It was very lekker riding without luggage and with decent tyres on, especially when I was in a small pack of LC4's. I had to leave before most people got back to the ranch on the Saturday so lost contact, but if anyone of you okes I rode with is reading this please shout. I was surprised how much my riding abilities had come on since the trip, probably the most important one being the ability to stay on the bike at any costs. I suppose this is the number one requirement when you're riding alone on a trip through some pretty unfriendly places.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0316_MRG_1816.jpg)
The highveld in Northern Natal, one of the last roadside poses for the KTM.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/P6210021.jpg)
A pack of us taking a rest during the Alfie Cox jol.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/P6210024.jpg)
Happy days for this petrol station.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/P6200011.jpg)
A few of the other 640 Adv's I rode with for a while.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/MRG_1913.jpg)
The main oke doing what he does best.

After the event I spent the weekend with my sister who lives in Umhlanga and also picked up a few more bits from Alfie's shop before heading back to the Slowveld, via the North coast and then into Swaziland. Swaziland is a very cook place to go riding, as you can ride just about anywhere  you want without picking up any kak from the authorities (we pick up a bit of flack from the forestry people in the Slowveld sometimes). After Swaziland my trip was well & truly over, and it has been very difficult since then to try & get back on the straight & narrow of leading a normal life and not becoming a full time boomelaar.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0320_MRG_2237.jpg)
The mountains in the West of Swaziland.

As promised, here's a bit of a report on the most crucial member of team orange.

As I said in my first post; I am a fan of the orange equipment but did much research which suggested this was the bike for the trip. It was simply phenomenal. I always put the bike first, some nights searching for good fuel for so long that I went without food, and servicing it religiously and performing 'inspection services' between each interval (I inspected 5 times on the trip). Although I'm quite partial to the 990 Adventure I don't think I would have had as much fun on the heavier bike, and its better road manners wasn't really a factor as I always tried to stay off road. So in summary...

The Engine

100% reliable and never missed a beat. It now has 20,000 trouble-free km's on it and is only six months old. The radiator pipe incident I put down to my good self not checking the hose clamps when doing inspections and I think the pipes were just getting a bit soft in the ultra-hot conditions. I did experience a small bit of low octane pinking before switching the CDI but haven't inspected the piston for damage as I don't see the point of opening up an engine that has been otherwise untouched.

The Wheels


The standard Metzeler enduro's were very good on road and justifiably crap on the dirt. The TKC's were very good on road and quite good on gravel, especially the rear. The front was very sketchy in the soft desert sand. I'm not sure if it was the tread pattern but it often took some very strange lines through the soft sand (opposing lines to the rest of team orange). An ex Dakar rider I met in the UK had told me not to use them in the sand and he was right. In Kenya I switched to a Pirelli MT21 rear and it was just as good as the TKC's on road and even better offroad. I bought a couple of Michelin Deserts form Alfie Cox and they were phenomenal offroad and really shite onroad. The TKC & Pirelli rears both gave in about 8-10,000 km's which is good, and probably due to adventure riding being a bit more sedate than the thrashing we give our bikes on an average w/end ride.

The Behr rims were quite soft. Although they took some serious abuse they are now littered with dents. I couldn't afford Excels for the trip but will be making that upgrade when I can.

The Suspension

I think this is what puts the bike very far away from anything else on a trip like this. The knocks that it soaked up were staggering. At one point I smacked a rock so hard I thought I had broken both wrists, but I stayed on. I don't want to brand bash but I met a total of seven other bikers on my trip, all going North and none of them on bikes like mine. Two of them had spent quite a bit of money upgrading their standard suspensions, and the other five ALL had suspension breakages or leaks. Two of these five I met in Nairobi, waiting for new suspension parts to come from Europe after that bad road in Northern Kenya.

Chain woes

I rode the stock sprockets & chain until I got to Cairo and although they were still in good shape I changed them to the steel ones I was carrying and put on the flippen expensive high tech Gold X-Ring chain. On paper this combo was rated for around 20,000km's and I only had 10,000 left on the trip. The chain broke after 5,000. When I inspected the damage I noticed two of the o-rings at the break were missing, they probably expired from all the desert riding in temperatures over 50 degrees C. I didn't lube much in the desert to stop the chain collecting bull-dust. Anyway as far as drama's go this was a pretty small one to contend with on such a big trip. Next time I'll be carrying spares for the spares.

The Rest

Nothing wrong with the chassis or subframe - in all the tumbles I took the only break was to a pannier frame. The seat wasn't too bad, but I did use a very thick sheepskin on the longer rides which worked great. The tank size gave me plenty of range and those carbon fibre protectors were magic - they're full of scratches now, which is good. The soft luggage was awesome. I kept valuables in the top box and the bags soaked up the brunt of my off's - the only damage was a few dents in my cooking pits & tin mug. The GPS was tough and very useful for working out distances & using as a compass. I had tracks4africa loaded but they didn't feature any roads on quite a bit of the journey and were pretty inaccurate at other times. They were however very useful showing the major roads that lead in & out of the big cities like Cairo, Nairobi & others. The one other thing I really could have done with is a steering damper for the soft stuff. I'm sure I would have had less off's with one of these but couldn't afford it - maybe next time.

Well sadly thats all folks, thanks very much for reading and thanks for all the kinds words. Really appreciate it.

I updated a website while I was on the road, and it has a few more photo's if you'd like to take a look.

http://www.africanenduro.com (http://www.africanenduro.com)

My GPS logged just about every second spent riding on my trip, but the file is far too large for the web so I cut it down by about 99% and plotted it on a google map here:

http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/maps/track.aspx (http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/maps/track.aspx)

LASTLY, if any of you are interested in joining me on my next trip feel free to leave me your details. I'd like to do a lap of Southern Africa, probably taking in bits of Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia & ZA. Nothing planned as yet but I'd like to do it some time in 2009.

http://www.southernenduro.com (http://www.southernenduro.com).

Cheersvireers!
Mark

PS. I know video was a bit lacking in the last few posts so here's one taken from a typical weekend ride around the plantations where I live. Apologies for the video quality - I cable tied my camera to the passenger foot rest and it obviously wasn't up to the challenge of so much fast movement. Following me is my best china on a Husky 250 2-stroke. He's since upgraded to a spanking 300xcw so now I ride at the rear.

http://www.youtube.com/v/ZN1EfDWDEBI (http://www.youtube.com/v/ZN1EfDWDEBI)

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Jerrycan on September 26, 2008, 02:06:40 am
Thanks for sharing your awesome trip with us and plenty respect for doing it solo!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: husky on September 26, 2008, 06:36:04 am
Stunning ride and report. Good punt for the 640 and I'm glad yours served you faithfully. That's mine (and white head) in the background in your side of road shots (not at the petrol stop though) at Alfie's ride.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Mark Hardy on September 26, 2008, 07:17:49 am
Thanks so much for taking the time to share this ride with us. I for one have enjoyed every post.

Congrats.

 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Watty on September 26, 2008, 07:27:22 am
(http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/signs115.gif)(http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/happy096.gif)
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Frohan Visser on September 26, 2008, 08:02:24 am
Howzit Mark

Shit no its over.......thanks for sharing..........I really enjoyed reading the whole trip!!!

We must stay in contact, I might join u on that SA, Nam, Malawi and Moz trip, will be a joll!!

Cheers for now
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: letsgofishing on September 26, 2008, 08:32:32 am
Thnaks for sharing an awesome trip and ride report  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: cloudgazer on September 26, 2008, 09:10:34 am
That was an awesome report.
I enjoyed every entry - and am sad its over.

Well done.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: ROOI on September 26, 2008, 10:11:23 am
Fuck Respect man. Great ride, great report  :3some: :thumleft: :ricky:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Beltzer on September 26, 2008, 10:36:12 am
nice!!!!!!!!!!!! :thumleft:   
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Hidalgo on September 26, 2008, 12:25:13 pm
 :'(

Agh no man, why did you have to finish it  :patch:   

This was a great report.    Thanks for sharing this with us, this is the stuff dreams are made of....

Thanks
H

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: NAZM on September 26, 2008, 02:05:08 pm
That's just epic!  :thumleft: Thanks for the great read.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Fire Dragon on September 26, 2008, 03:17:16 pm
Thanks for the RR and the great pics
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Nardus on September 26, 2008, 03:36:41 pm
Thanks, Mark and thanks even more for sharing and all the effort.

For me, it was amazing to compare your route and experiences in each country my 15 year old trip. Amazed at how similar a lot of things still are.

Hope to catch you sometime for a brandy and coke somewhere !!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: KAT-WP on September 26, 2008, 03:55:04 pm
Thank you Mark for such interesting reading and stunning photos :thumleft:

Must say i looked forward to open WD site regularly to finish reading ur report - and as for that 640 - such cool bikes, they just go on and ON ;D

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: clem on September 26, 2008, 07:25:09 pm
What a great report Mark!
I will be doing a similar route next year on my 990.
Will probably bug you for info if you don't mind next year.
Thanks again for getting me excited about my trip.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: CrazyPorra on September 26, 2008, 08:30:11 pm
Excellent thank U.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: briv on September 26, 2008, 08:44:51 pm
Dankie;; is al wat ek jou kan kap my broe  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Lootch67 on September 26, 2008, 10:58:25 pm
Well done Mark and thanks for sharing the experience in such a brilliant ride report.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: LeonDude on September 27, 2008, 07:17:38 am
Hi Mark, thanks for taking the trouble to do such a great report, it was really cool reading.

LeonDude
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Andy660 on September 27, 2008, 08:47:32 pm
Hey Mark , many thanks for sharing you fantastic ride with us , many of us would love to do a ride like that , but proberbly would never have the oppertunety,
Respect for doing it alone !!
 :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2: :hello2:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: ratrap on September 28, 2008, 10:27:38 pm
Thanks Mark!!

The next best thing to actually riding across Africa has to be reading such a great story relating the adventure.
Doing it alone is an awesome feat!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Swanniebraai on September 28, 2008, 10:30:35 pm
Mark, this was an awesome read, just can imagine how the trip was! Huge respect!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: gobby on September 29, 2008, 06:12:44 am
Excellent reading stuff, well done!

Very keen to chat about southern Africa in 2009, but seeing I will have the missus with on her DRZ250, we might not be up to the speed of the rest, but would still be good to meet for a beer somewhere.  :ricky:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Tin-Tin on September 29, 2008, 08:44:49 am
Bliksem het ek dit nou geniet.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Hammerhead on September 29, 2008, 09:18:36 am
Thanx for the time and effort in putting together this awesome ride report - MUCH appreciated!!
Inspiring stuff!!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: u-go on September 29, 2008, 12:09:23 pm
 :thumleft:

Amazing trip and report!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Brakenjan on September 30, 2008, 02:03:02 pm
Mark, thank you for the time and effort in posting this report - absolutely awesome stuff!!!!    :thumleft:  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Smithey on September 30, 2008, 03:25:18 pm
Befok lekker report Mark. Just kept me out of work for the last 2 hours  :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Aicorner on September 30, 2008, 03:30:28 pm
Another thank you for a great report.  Like everyone else I'm moerofa envious & moerofa sad the report is finished.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: MrBig on October 03, 2008, 11:56:29 am
Fantastic indeed - Thank you very much!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Plothond on October 04, 2008, 06:37:04 am
Really excellent
One of the most enjoyable reads in a long time

Couldn't sleep so got up at 04:00 and looked up this report - best 2.5 hours on this site for a long time

Well done  :)
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: peter stuyvesant on October 04, 2008, 08:33:15 am
Well done Mark and thanks for taking the time and effort to share this amazing adventure with us.I am always amazed at how guys like yourself are prepared to take a trip of this magnitude,alone and unsupported. I salute you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: NO GOOD on October 05, 2008, 10:47:13 pm
Amazing. superb.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Bakkie on October 16, 2008, 10:26:07 pm
AWESOME!!!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: JO GSA on October 17, 2008, 06:11:43 am
Great report Mark, all my respect for doing it alone, just shows me if you want to do something and you have the right attetide you will secceed.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: GO GIRL on October 17, 2008, 09:16:52 am
+1000 ...Must agree with all What a super report.... 8) 8)

What an inspiration, and yes what it comes down to Hold onto your Dreams..... :ricky: :ricky:

Something I would love to do.... :)

Thanks for sharing.....
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Camelman on October 17, 2008, 02:26:01 pm
What a ride! I was supposed to work, but after starting reading your thread, all work was set aside. Thanks a million!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: mrg46 on October 17, 2008, 04:33:41 pm
Hi All

Just wanted to thank each & every one of you again for your kind words! It was a lifelong dream come true for me to do this ride so wanted to share it but didn't realise there would be such a captive audience.

I've seen almost zero of our own country (by bike) so hopefully I'll get to meet some of you in person as I take ou oranjes exploring.

Cheersvireers
Mark
 
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Iron Shark on October 19, 2008, 07:50:12 pm
Absolutely brilliant Mark, well done man!!!   :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Mungo Park on October 21, 2008, 03:26:39 pm
great report,everyting has been said...what about the pannier system used?
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: mrg46 on October 23, 2008, 07:05:39 pm
what about the pannier system used?

Sure. I used AndyStrapz Pannierz and thoroughly recommend them. They're super tough, 100% waterproof and best of all roll-down when not full. I fastened them to the luggage rack that came free with the bike, and tightened them down even more with a tie-down on each side (a good place to store your tie-downs I thought).

They're not cheap but I reckon they'll last a very long time. They also have a supplier in the UK if thats cheaper to import than from Aus, I dunno. Luckily I could pick mine up when I started the trip in London.

http://www.andystrapz.com/productdetails.php?pid=34&BACK=51

(and if anyone ends up buying them make sure you get some extensions too, you'll probably need them)

EDIT: Oh ja, security! I put one of these over each pannier when I was in dodgy areas.

http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php?_room=3&_action=detail&id=11

They sell them at Cape Onion mart
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: 1X on October 25, 2008, 10:41:28 am
Ongelooflik "Roll  of honour stuff" :headbang: :hello2:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: MellowJo on October 28, 2008, 04:03:32 pm
Absolutely Magic !!

 :thumleft:

Did you not miss the oportunity to share everything all the way, with a buddy?   ???
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Bakkie on October 28, 2008, 06:35:16 pm
Hi Mark

How many days did it take from leaving London to the farm?
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: mrg46 on October 29, 2008, 05:10:02 pm
Did you not miss the oportunity to share everything all the way, with a buddy?   ???

Ja there were many times when I wished I had one of my friends with, but there are also advantages to traveling alone; I think strangers are much friendlier.

But my next trip I'll defo advertise here in 'planning a ride'. You lot seem much more committed to this sort of riding than my armchair adventurer friends.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: mrg46 on October 29, 2008, 05:12:55 pm
How many days did it take from leaving London to the farm?

58 days. This is very quick for some, and most people I met had a go at me about it, but I have no regrets. I just loved the riding, all day every day that I wasn't servicing or stuck somewhere beyond my control.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Mzee on November 18, 2008, 03:57:43 pm
Mark owesome!  Simply Owesome!  You have inspired me I am travelling to Uganda this December and back following some of your route via Tanzania and Mozambique.  Learnt a lot from you.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: funacide on April 03, 2009, 12:18:00 pm
Hey Mark

Just awesome, what a great ride and report. Thanks for the effort in sharing with us mortals who have not or can not go on an epic adventure like this. I don't know how I missed this report. I just finished reading it and all I can say is F*($($*ING AWESOME, one of those trip reports that just inspire you to ride...

Thanks again...

This is what the forum is about!!!!

 :hello2: :headbang:  :hello2: :headbang:  :hello2: :headbang:  :hello2: :headbang:  :hello2: :headbang:  :hello2: :headbang:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Christian Kuun on April 10, 2009, 05:43:36 pm
Eish, my idol! Great report.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Anderdag on May 03, 2009, 03:26:12 am
Befok. Thanks for a great read. Just look at the time of my post to see if it's a good read or not...
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Tonteldoos on May 03, 2009, 10:24:12 pm
Mark, AWSOME, Only saw it today, and almost spend the wholeday reading it.
Great stuff!!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Tubeless on May 23, 2009, 01:05:55 am
OK, now I can go to bed after some excellent reading;

1:03am   :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Polo on May 30, 2009, 12:27:40 pm
wow...great report...well done
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Rock Rabbit on June 25, 2009, 09:00:29 pm
Well done Mark, hard core adventure stuff. What most of us dream of.
Great report, well written and entertaining. Glad you made it all intact.

Ride safe

RR
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: N[]vA on July 16, 2009, 12:56:12 am
seriously enjoyed reading this

Kudos and respect  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: ģ©errie on July 23, 2009, 04:19:58 pm
No this is what I am talking about  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: thysman on July 24, 2009, 10:51:15 am
Mark

"Halleluja Borther!!!"

Amen
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Laban on December 02, 2009, 01:36:57 pm
Respect! Boeta Respect!!, thanks for sharing :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: bertrand on December 02, 2009, 04:30:09 pm
Excellent report. I enjoyed reading it a lot. Inspirational.
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Kaptein Bos on January 08, 2010, 12:40:23 pm
Yet another legend amongst us... :laughing4:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: MOGGIE on July 18, 2010, 10:46:59 pm
Hi Mark. I enjoyed the report and all the other African trips,
I am starting a support vehicle to acompany riders through Southern africa. It is a Unimog with a Unimog trailer.
I live in Hoedspruit
My bike is a 650GS Dakar.
We should keep in contact
Regards
Dieter
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on September 13, 2010, 08:46:14 pm
What an inspiration to the rest of us !!

Great photo's and well told, in all an excellent read.

Big thank you.
Title: Re: South Africa
Post by: schalk vd merwe on March 07, 2012, 09:56:35 am
AFRICAN ENDURO - South Africa

So there I was - at the Mozambique / SA border with my awesome trip almost, but not quite yet complete. The border formalities were a piece of cake and I took the opportunity to place another ZA sticker on the KTM. I didn't experience any xenophobia backlashes while in Mozambique, which was nice.

Very close to the border in Komatipoort I paid a visit to my sister and brother in law - who farm in the area. I was quite apprehensive of seeing people I knew for the first time in a while and if I knew my sister there would be a trick up her sleeve. As I rounded a corner to the start of their farm there was the said trick; the security guard at the boom gate was waiving an orange checkered flag that she had painted, standing beside a welcome home sign. I had a substantial grin, and that was increased when I saw my brother-in-law (Shane) coming towards me on a KTM 525, on one wheel. We settled down to a typically wild Komatipoort braai of guinnea fowl & nyala which Shane had shot recently. This was to be the first of my dietary rehabilitation program - I had lost over 10kg's during the trip.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0306_P6080263.jpg)
The security guy with the orange race flag.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0309_P6080268.jpg)
My swaer.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0313_P6080279.jpg)
The wildsvleis braai.

It was very tempting to stay for the night so Shane & I could get amongst the klipdrift and try & pull in a few tigers from the Komati but I desperately wanted to finish the job and get the final 100km's done.  I rode up out of the Kaapmaiden gorge and past a large rock in Karino where my grandfather once sat when he saw his first motor car (the first one in the slowveld). As special moments go, riding past that old rock was pretty much up there. Miraculously the chain was still holding and I made it all the way to my home town of Witrivier. As I drove through the town on a quiet Sunday evening I started to get excited about having completed the trip, and as I was nearing home I realised I could even push the bike from here so started giving the KTM plenty, over cooking the corners and liberating the front from terra-firma. I pulled up the driveway to a small welcoming party who had heard the bellowing akra from some way away.

http://www.youtube.com/v/IoKoRnTdiIQ (http://www.youtube.com/v/IoKoRnTdiIQ)

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0314_P6080283.jpg)
A happy & relieved old lady when I finally arrived home

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0315_P6100290.jpg)
The odometer distance from London to Witrivier

Although I was very tired and needed rest I was 'buzzing' for quite a few days afterwards, and found it strange having to sleep on a bed and being able to eat good chow whenever I wanted to. I also realised that my hands were shaking uncontrollably and that I had lost much dexterity in fine motor skills - probably from hanging onto a bike all day every day for the last few months (and a nice vibey one like an LC4 at that).

I spent a few days cleaning up my gear and my bike was in the capable hands of the best mechanic I have come across in a third of the planet - who happens to runs a small KTM workshop in Nelspruit. He confirmed that I had over-tightened the valve clearances and other than that the engine was in perfect shape. After the full service and a few new bits (like sprockets & chain) the KTM looked and felt like it had just been run-in.

I was missing the daily routine of riding so decided to take a small warm-down trip, as I hadn't enjoyed the paranoia filled last part of Mozambique. I packed on all my trip gear and rode 700k's to a the Alfie Cox dual sport festival that some of you dogs were at.  It was very lekker riding without luggage and with decent tyres on, especially when I was in a small pack of LC4's. I had to leave before most people got back to the ranch on the Saturday so lost contact, but if anyone of you okes I rode with is reading this please shout. I was surprised how much my riding abilities had come on since the trip, probably the most important one being the ability to stay on the bike at any costs. I suppose this is the number one requirement when you're riding alone on a trip through some pretty unfriendly places.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0316_MRG_1816.jpg)
The highveld in Northern Natal, one of the last roadside poses for the KTM.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/P6210021.jpg)
A pack of us taking a rest during the Alfie Cox jol.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/P6210024.jpg)
Happy days for this petrol station.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/P6200011.jpg)
A few of the other 640 Adv's I rode with for a while.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/MRG_1913.jpg)
The main oke doing what he does best.

After the event I spent the weekend with my sister who lives in Umhlanga and also picked up a few more bits from Alfie's shop before heading back to the Slowveld, via the North coast and then into Swaziland. Swaziland is a very cook place to go riding, as you can ride just about anywhere  you want without picking up any kak from the authorities (we pick up a bit of flack from the forestry people in the Slowveld sometimes). After Swaziland my trip was well & truly over, and it has been very difficult since then to try & get back on the straight & narrow of leading a normal life and not becoming a full time boomelaar.

(http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/advrider/images/southafrica/0320_MRG_2237.jpg)
The mountains in the West of Swaziland.

As promised, here's a bit of a report on the most crucial member of team orange.

As I said in my first post; I am a fan of the orange equipment but did much research which suggested this was the bike for the trip. It was simply phenomenal. I always put the bike first, some nights searching for good fuel for so long that I went without food, and servicing it religiously and performing 'inspection services' between each interval (I inspected 5 times on the trip). Although I'm quite partial to the 990 Adventure I don't think I would have had as much fun on the heavier bike, and its better road manners wasn't really a factor as I always tried to stay off road. So in summary...

The Engine

100% reliable and never missed a beat. It now has 20,000 trouble-free km's on it and is only six months old. The radiator pipe incident I put down to my good self not checking the hose clamps when doing inspections and I think the pipes were just getting a bit soft in the ultra-hot conditions. I did experience a small bit of low octane pinking before switching the CDI but haven't inspected the piston for damage as I don't see the point of opening up an engine that has been otherwise untouched.

The Wheels


The standard Metzeler enduro's were very good on road and justifiably crap on the dirt. The TKC's were very good on road and quite good on gravel, especially the rear. The front was very sketchy in the soft desert sand. I'm not sure if it was the tread pattern but it often took some very strange lines through the soft sand (opposing lines to the rest of team orange). An ex Dakar rider I met in the UK had told me not to use them in the sand and he was right. In Kenya I switched to a Pirelli MT21 rear and it was just as good as the TKC's on road and even better offroad. I bought a couple of Michelin Deserts form Alfie Cox and they were phenomenal offroad and really shite onroad. The TKC & Pirelli rears both gave in about 8-10,000 km's which is good, and probably due to adventure riding being a bit more sedate than the thrashing we give our bikes on an average w/end ride.

The Behr rims were quite soft. Although they took some serious abuse they are now littered with dents. I couldn't afford Excels for the trip but will be making that upgrade when I can.

The Suspension

I think this is what puts the bike very far away from anything else on a trip like this. The knocks that it soaked up were staggering. At one point I smacked a rock so hard I thought I had broken both wrists, but I stayed on. I don't want to brand bash but I met a total of seven other bikers on my trip, all going North and none of them on bikes like mine. Two of them had spent quite a bit of money upgrading their standard suspensions, and the other five ALL had suspension breakages or leaks. Two of these five I met in Nairobi, waiting for new suspension parts to come from Europe after that bad road in Northern Kenya.

Chain woes

I rode the stock sprockets & chain until I got to Cairo and although they were still in good shape I changed them to the steel ones I was carrying and put on the flippen expensive high tech Gold X-Ring chain. On paper this combo was rated for around 20,000km's and I only had 10,000 left on the trip. The chain broke after 5,000. When I inspected the damage I noticed two of the o-rings at the break were missing, they probably expired from all the desert riding in temperatures over 50 degrees C. I didn't lube much in the desert to stop the chain collecting bull-dust. Anyway as far as drama's go this was a pretty small one to contend with on such a big trip. Next time I'll be carrying spares for the spares.

The Rest

Nothing wrong with the chassis or subframe - in all the tumbles I took the only break was to a pannier frame. The seat wasn't too bad, but I did use a very thick sheepskin on the longer rides which worked great. The tank size gave me plenty of range and those carbon fibre protectors were magic - they're full of scratches now, which is good. The soft luggage was awesome. I kept valuables in the top box and the bags soaked up the brunt of my off's - the only damage was a few dents in my cooking pits & tin mug. The GPS was tough and very useful for working out distances & using as a compass. I had tracks4africa loaded but they didn't feature any roads on quite a bit of the journey and were pretty inaccurate at other times. They were however very useful showing the major roads that lead in & out of the big cities like Cairo, Nairobi & others. The one other thing I really could have done with is a steering damper for the soft stuff. I'm sure I would have had less off's with one of these but couldn't afford it - maybe next time.

Well sadly thats all folks, thanks very much for reading and thanks for all the kinds words. Really appreciate it.

I updated a website while I was on the road, and it has a few more photo's if you'd like to take a look.

http://www.africanenduro.com (http://www.africanenduro.com)

My GPS logged just about every second spent riding on my trip, but the file is far too large for the web so I cut it down by about 99% and plotted it on a google map here:

http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/maps/track.aspx (http://www.africanenduro.com/adventure/maps/track.aspx)

LASTLY, if any of you are interested in joining me on my next trip feel free to leave me your details. I'd like to do a lap of Southern Africa, probably taking in bits of Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia & ZA. Nothing planned as yet but I'd like to do it some time in 2009.

http://www.southernenduro.com (http://www.southernenduro.com).

Cheersvireers!
Mark

PS. I know video was a bit lacking in the last few posts so here's one taken from a typical weekend ride around the plantations where I live. Apologies for the video quality - I cable tied my camera to the passenger foot rest and it obviously wasn't up to the challenge of so much fast movement. Following me is my best china on a Husky 250 2-stroke. He's since upgraded to a spanking 300xcw so now I ride at the rear.

http://www.youtube.com/v/ZN1EfDWDEBI (http://www.youtube.com/v/ZN1EfDWDEBI)


Hi Mark I think we took the same boat on our trip than you, see our photo below. I enjoyed your RR Schalk
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: onderbroek on January 16, 2013, 07:30:11 am
What a nice surprise it was to discover this RR!
Awesome trip and respect for doing it alone!

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: jorust on January 18, 2013, 04:55:14 pm
Don't know how I missed this. What an awesome RR!!!
Respect!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Optimusprime on February 09, 2013, 02:06:45 pm
Legendary Mark, Great RR, thanks.

Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: wallyengles on February 14, 2013, 11:03:14 pm
I just read this report beginning to end, couldn't stop reading.  You should write a book, because your report is fantastic!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Mr Zog on March 05, 2013, 02:52:42 pm
Also just saw it and read it after the other guys ressurrected it. What an awesome adventure! This IS the stuff that the rest of us mere mortals dream about  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: BuRP on June 02, 2013, 04:38:54 pm
Mark,

I know, yyeeaarrss laters, but I missed any comments on that 'Mr Funnel', this whilst you did use it judging by the photos.
Does it work, would you use it again?
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Jondu on June 02, 2013, 04:49:14 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: katana on April 27, 2017, 05:38:53 pm
I am trolling the Roll of honour as I am craving a trip again.  Bump for all the guys who haven't seen this yet.

Respect!
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: billy-joe on June 20, 2017, 07:45:12 pm
that would be me!  many thanks to you and Mark!  great read
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Sardine on June 28, 2017, 08:56:50 pm
Fantastic RR!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: African Enduro
Post by: Rotten on December 14, 2017, 11:04:10 pm
Inspiring RR.Great writing.Reads like a good novel that cannot be put down. Does anyone know where Mark is ? Has'nt been on the forum for more than 4 years.