Wild Dog Adventure Riding

General => Africa Info & other International Travels => Topic started by: nicolasbahm on February 05, 2020, 04:21:11 pm

Title: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: nicolasbahm on February 05, 2020, 04:21:11 pm
Hello eveyone, thank you very much for making me a part of this group!
My name is Nicolas, 29, originally from Argentina but also lucky to have a German Passport. Almost 4 years ago I left home searching for adventure and moved to Sydney to save some money to travel. One of the pros of living (and earning money) in a first world country was that I could save enough to purchase a Harley and ride across Australia. About a ago I decided to move to Europe, but wanted to make my way there mostly on a bike. Not even 10 days ago I finished my 7 months through SEA (on a 125cc chinese cheap bike), Nepal and India (RE), but it was all part of the adventure.
In a way, Africa has always been for my sort of an ultimate challenge and feels like all these experiences during the last years were a preparation for this one. I arrived in Cape Town on the last days of Januay, and so far everyone has been more than welcoming (I might have even met some of you guys at #TheMotoSocial on the 30th!). With the help of an acquaintance I managed to submit my application for a Traffic Register Number just yesterday, but I was told that it might last up to 8 weeks (hopefully won't) because it goes first to the Home Department for a background check.
In the meantime I'm searching for my ideal partner for the long trip, planning the upcoming steps once I leave CT and also trying to get to see the area.
Because my budget for the bike is limited (about R 50,000), I've been looking for second hand Honda Transalps or 2000-2003 Africa Twins, because they are reliable bikeas and also want to make sure spare parts can be found almost anywhere. Hopefully I'll find one soon and get it ready for when the TRN comes out, so that I can transfer the bike into my name, get the export clearence and hit the road.
The route that I have been working on during these last years of preparation would be the following:
-CT throught the coast towards Durban
-Couple of days in Lesotho before getting back into SA to visit Joburg, Pretoria and keep oon heading north.
-Zimbabwe, Zambia (Lower Zambwesi NP) and head towards the Vic Falls.
-Loop in Botswana and head west towards Namibia.
-Follow the coast north through Angola, DCR, Congo, Gabon (I believe the border between Congo and Cameroon is closed for the moment), Cameroon, Nigeria.
-Head west for Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso (skip Ghana because it is not included in the Visa des Pays del Entente combo), Ivory Coast, Guinea (perhaps Liberia & Sierra Leone depending on money and time left).
-Last stretch through Senegal, Tha Gambia, Mauritania and Morocco until Tangier, where I plan to cross the bike on a ferry to Spain.

I intended to be in Spain by mid July but unfortunately it took me longer than expected to finish my ride in Asia and now being stuck in CT does not help much, but I'll try to make it anyway.
I've been taking a look to other post in the groups and some other research, and seems that for the road that I'm taking the Carnet du Passage would not really be necessary.
Do not want to steal any more time for you, but any piece of advise from any of you who already been in these countries is more than welcomed, specially as regards up to day status on border crossings (as far as visas go, the german passport is similar to the SA one, but any particular hints to make the trip a bit cheaper are more than welcomed, taking into account that over 1200 USD are destined on visas!)
Thank you very much for your time!
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: Sardine on February 06, 2020, 08:02:38 am
Hi Nicolas,

Wow, that sounds like it is going to be an awesome trip!

If you pass through Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, give us a shout. There are quite a few Wilddogs here, and all are a great bunch of guys and girls.

I hope the paperwork doesn't take too long, and that you can hit the road soon!  :ricky:
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: Ri on February 06, 2020, 12:46:47 pm
Hi and all the best with your plans, hope everything works out.
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: Numsch on February 06, 2020, 12:51:22 pm
Good luck with your Africa adventure, keep us posted here with updates where and when you can.
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: EssBee on February 07, 2020, 10:27:39 am
Hullo Nicholas, welcome to the forum and I wish you all the best with your plans. I am in the Durban area if you ever need a place to stay for the night while you are here.
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: kwatali on February 08, 2020, 10:22:05 am
Nicolas ,
if you in Northern Botswana and need a hand give me a shout .
have accommodation and workshop for you in Maun ( hopefully don't need the workshop  :biggrin: :biggrin:
Safe travels ...
Cheers
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on February 09, 2020, 05:53:56 pm
Welcome to the forum, no doubt you will get some helpfull info here soon. Sound like a great trip you have planned.

 8)
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: maria41 on February 09, 2020, 06:54:18 pm
Hola Nicolas.

When are you planning this trip? I am in the very early stage of planning to ride the west coast of Africa, from London to Cape Town. WE will start late next year with my other half and a friend. 
Will you be keeping a blog? I will be very interested in your experience there. Not many people cross the west side, so not huge amount of up to date info!  ;D
And  if  you start next year we may bump into each others on the road!

cheers,
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: Hermit on February 16, 2020, 10:22:50 pm
Hi Nicolas. Welcome to SA. I hope you get all sorted soon.

When you exit Lesotho, give me a call. I have a place to stay and a workshop if needed for a service near Bethlehem. Zero 8.2.800. 13.86.

Take care and enjoy the ride.
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: nicolasbahm on February 16, 2020, 11:34:56 pm
Hello everyone again!
First of all, Iíd like to thank you very much for all the post and messages Iíve received in the last days! I look forward to meeting some wild dogs along the way, and already more than grateful for everyone who has offered me accommodation (even if itís just a small space in the backyard to set up my tent, for me itís already luxurious).
I would also like to introduce everyone to my new other half ĎCharlizeí, that will keep me company in this adventure! On the other hand, I was lucky to get my Traffic Registration Number in just over a week, so Iím already itís official owner. During this week Iíll be doing the police clearance in order to get an export permit, work a bit on the bike and sort out the rest of the equipment that I might need for the trip, but hopefully will be leaving Cape Town next Friday morning!
Iím not really into social media but I try to keep people posted on my Instagram account (mainly my mom and grandma 😂, but it works), so youíre welcomed to follow my trip (specially for visas & borders status if someone is planning to do the same soon). Itís @nicolasbahm
Thanks again for the support, Iíll try to keep you guys posted!
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: Kaboef on February 17, 2020, 05:06:45 am
Riding Africa on a Africa Twin.

The stuff dreams are made of.

I cant offer any route advice, but I wish you best of luck.
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: tulips on February 17, 2020, 05:46:42 pm
Good luck  :thumleft:
 Dont forget to collect your chicken in the Ivory Coast   :biggrin:

PS if you have any issues with the bike get hold of superfoxi on the forum
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: nicolasbahm on February 23, 2020, 12:04:59 pm
Hello everyone! After a compulsory stop at Cape Agulhas I spent my first night camping in Swellendam.
Yesterday did a long stretch through the Garden Route with a few stops along the way and finally onto Jeffreyís Bay, where hopefully Iíll be able to catch some waves.
Tomorrow might drive to Grahamstown, so excited to meet some Wild Dogs if theyíre available.
Iíll keep you guys posted!
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: nicolasbahm on March 12, 2020, 08:36:38 pm
Hello again Wild Dogs! Iíve been reading some riding reports lately and wanted to share a bit of my experiences, hoping some of you might find it helpful.
After a failed attempt to make it into Lesotho through Sani Pass (fully loaded, my rear brake pad wore off, the road was mostly loose rocks and altitude did not help either), me and my Charlize hitched for a ride for the last 800 metres, and enjoyed my first Maluti beer with an amazing view.
Lesotho was quite a surprise. Friendly people, stunning landscapes and extremely green! (Iím South American and before coming here I was expecting it to be dry!).
Back into SA our fellow Wild Dog Hermit hosted me for a few days in Bethlehem, sharing some advice for the upcoming routes and interesting stories, as well as introducing me to some of SA Wild (and not so wild) life! I would have taken one of the puppies if I had room on the bike!
Next stop: Pretoria.
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: nicolasbahm on March 12, 2020, 08:41:43 pm
My stop in Pretoria turned also better than expected. Not only I got new brake pads and new Haidenau K60 tyres, but also managed to get my DRC and Republic of Congo visas in only 24 hs each (not that easy with a German Passport and none SA residence permit or whatsoever). This was a huge relief and will probably buy me some time that I could use further up north.
Botswana also received me warmly, not only itís people but also found one of the best burgers Iíve ever tasted at Itumela Camp in Palapye. Only one payment of 217 Pulas using my card included Toad Taxes, TIP and Insurance for multiple entries. As you can see, my bike loves laying in the sand 😂.
After stopping in Nata for the night (Eselbe Camp makes it worth the stop), I met two Chinese-born fellow riders who live in Kenya and speak Swahili (odd combination, right?) who were also heading towards the Vic Falls, so we decided to ride together. This turned out to be extremely useful considering we had the Kazungula border ahead!
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: nicolasbahm on March 12, 2020, 08:51:12 pm
The elephant corridor did not disappoint and we bumped into a big one having breakfast who certainly did not like the exhaust noises and quickly showed us whoís the boss, forcing us to keep the distance.
Kazungula border was challenging. To start with, they took 1 Pula = 1 Kwacha so we were constantly losing money. 50 Kwacha for the ferry, 50 USD for the Kaza Univisa (Zam & Zim), 84 Kwacha for Carbon Tax (used to be 70 until January), 20 more for Council Levy, 162 for Insurance and an extra 20 USD cash for Road Tax. The worst thing, it took 3 hours. At least we maŮa fed to do it by ourselves and kept all the touts in line despite their attempts to make some money out from us.
Made it to Livingstone already at night, but never too late for a Mosi beer!
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: Ri on March 12, 2020, 09:53:51 pm
I like your collection of international beer photo's :laughing4:
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: Kaboef on March 13, 2020, 06:54:44 am
Fantastic.

Keep posting please.
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: GravelFox on March 13, 2020, 07:57:46 am
Nice report. Will be following with interest. About normal time for Kazangulu crossing...also like your beer pics


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Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: landieman on March 13, 2020, 08:08:45 am
Living the life


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Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: nicolasbahm on March 18, 2020, 12:40:26 pm
Hello again!
Finally in Livingstone I decided to take a few days off and make a proper visit to both sides of the falls. Due to Zambia's rainy season, they were flowing at it's best, so it was quite a spectacle!
Not a big Simpson's fan, but lots of people told me that David Livingstone's statue reminded them of Jebediah Springfield!
On the second day I crossed into Zimbabwe, also with the excuse to try one Zambezi Lager (I'll try to keep up with the beer pictures, I actually use an instagram account @agameofbeers where I just post my own collection of local beers I've tried from around the world).
From my point of view, the falls and walking paths for the visit seem a bit better prepared for tourism from the Zimbabwe side, same as Victoria compared to Livingstone, but all the prices are in USD and about x1.5 timer the price of things!
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: nicolasbahm on March 18, 2020, 01:02:39 pm
I had intentions of getting deeper into Zambia, but taking into account the weather and that every km was going to take me further away from the west coast, I decided to head back to Botswana, and later on Namibia.
People say Friday 13 usually means bad luck, but even if it rained for most of the day, I managed to spot 27 elephants from Kazungula to Nata, including this family with three little ones (I learnt my lesson and decided to keep safe distance!).
After a night visiting my friends Rupert and Silvia at Eselbe Camp in Nata, made another stretch towards Maun, where I met some fellow Overlanders at the Old Bridge Campsite. Here I started hearing to peoples accounts that borders where already shutting down (apparently Angola already had) and even some people trying to cancel their trips and rush back to Europe (not judging at all, just wondering if they do believe they will be safer there).
The next morning I decided to go for a 510 km stretch towards the Buitepos/Trans-Kalahari Border with Namibia. I admit it was a long and boring road, mostly dodging cows, goats and donkeys, but at least less potholes than on the Nata-Maun road.
They checked my body temperature before entering Namibia and made me pay Road Tax (196 rand for motorcycle), but both sides did not even take 45 minutes in total. My stop for the night was at East Gate Rest Camp, literally next to the border. Had a decent pizza at the restaurant but most importantly, a cold Windhoek Draught.
The next morning I woke up under the attack of this huge mutant bugs all over the tent. Harmless, but took some time to take them out from all my luggage!
Made it into Windhoek despite of the rain. I'm still really unlucky finding host on couchsurfing, so ended up setting "camp" at Urban Camp, apparently one of the most popular options in town. Histeria levels here were higher than in other places, people paying tons of money for tickets back to Europe (I expected them to be cheaper than usual) and storing their vehicles. I decided to apply for the Angola E-Visa anyway but wait in town for a few days just in case I need to get to the embassy. We'll see how everything develops, but excited to get back in the road!
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: Ri on March 18, 2020, 02:56:03 pm
Those mutant bugs look like "koringkrieke" (directly translates to wheat or corn cricket) "Acanthoplus discoidalis"

Europe might not be safer if you hope to avoid the virus, but they're probably better prepared to deal with more serious cases of the disease. In Africa, a person's own immune system will have to do the job, as ever.

I hope the borders aren't closed, but with all the hysteria and people fleeing back to Europe, it might be quieter. All the best for your travels into Africa.
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: Blikkies1 on March 18, 2020, 03:38:56 pm
Buy a book named Riding My Bicycle Around South Africa by Riaan Manser, it should give you some guidance.
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: windswept on March 19, 2020, 01:32:34 pm
Around Africa on my bicycle. :thumleft:
Title: Re: South Africa to Europe via West Coast - Feb 2020
Post by: Vaufi on March 19, 2020, 05:38:05 pm
Now, that's a proper beer: Windhoek! So rather enjoy it for a while and don't travel too fast. Europe has closed its borders to all Non-EU citizens  :o
Good luck on your trip!