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Offline Almero

Botswana Adventure 2016
« on: July 20, 2016, 11:38:18 am »
Hi everyone.

Rather than a long-winded story, here's a bite-size vid of my recent trip through Botswana.

It has everything you'd ever want from a trip in it, bikes, beers, planes, girls, boats, beautiful scenery and lekker roads.


Offline Slaaiblaar

Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2016, 11:58:35 am »
Lyk Lekker :thumleft:

Offline arno

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Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2016, 03:04:01 pm »
Nice !
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Offline Shortcut123

Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2016, 05:30:54 pm »
Awsome we need a report and a track to follow

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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2016, 05:40:47 pm »
Now that is an RR worth writing ... come on guys!
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Offline Frannarossi

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Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2016, 08:48:02 am »
Bliksem dit lyk na 'n trip en 'n half!
If you don't live on the edge,you take up too much space!!!

Offline Almero

Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2016, 10:14:37 am »
Wow you guys are very kind!

What you see here is actually only part 2 of a 4 week trip that included a hike through the fish river and solo mission through the kalahari.

My gopro-owning buddy only joined for the Botswana leg of the trip, hence footage only starting at the 2 week mark.

I've never written a proper ride report, but I'm going to study the guide and include a bunch of photos of all 4 weeks worth.

Watch this space.

Offline OrangeRidingH00d

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Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2016, 10:19:30 am »
Dit lyk baie lekker, dalk ons volgende trip miskien weer deur Botswana maar die keer met ons motorbikes... :peepwall:
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Take the Ride...

Offline Crossed-up

Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2016, 10:43:39 am »
Enjoyed the vid. Look forward to the report. Thanks.

Offline Almero

Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2016, 03:33:35 pm »
Ok so here goes.

Southern Africa Super Trip 2016 Part 1

Sorry if I mess something up, I haven't done this before.

On the 14th of June Lucky and I set out for Namibia. Lucky is my 2011 XTZ, so named because whenever something goes wrong, it's always Lucky who suffers (and this trip was no different!!). I live in Somerset West and it was pretty much plain sailing all the way up. I go to Nam every year for my birthday, so the road is familiar.

Also along for the ride was Jeff, my old battered ukulele. I love playing guitar (but am yet to find one I can fit on the bike), so Jeff is a nice addition to any trip. He's often joined me on trips, and carries multiple scars, even being partially re-built from fibreglass after a nasty crash in Namibia a few years

The first mission? To meet up with friends at the Canyon Roadhouse and walk the 95km of the Fish River Canyon. My bike was loaded like a truck with the giant hiking backpack (and hiking gear) on the back. The trip up was a very top heavy affair...

Here's the bike loaded for the long road.

I had scored a place on this hike through friends of friends, so didn't know anyone very well. Luckily they all turned out to be awesome people, and we spent every night of the 5 day hike drinking whisky and making dirty jokes.

This is a biking forum, not a hiking forum, so I won't dwell on the details of the hike. But, as anyone who's done it will tell you, it's great!

Here's the group at the famous vespa. (if you dont know about the fish river vespa expedition, search it now!)

Jeff also joined for the hike.

After the hike, I spent another 2 days at Ais-Ais. I had a week to kill before I'd meet Pieter and his XT600 "Trompie" near McCarthy's Rest. At Ais Ais I spent time with some guys from the Put Foot Rally, The Republicans. They were doing this epic social rally in an old taxi, pimped out with decals. I was quite lonely after the social occasion that was the fishriver hike, so enjoyed drinking beer and smoking hubly bubbly with this eccentric gang.

I also spent a night talking to Daniel, a mad German who is cycling solo from Cape Town to Kenya over the next 12 months. As two wheel travelers, we quickly became friends and spent a night swapping stories and making fires.

I then headed back to SA towards the Kalahari. I went over Aroab, making sure to buy one of the famous venison pies. I don't need to tell anyone here about how lekker the Namibian dirt roads are. I wanted to go through Rietfontein border post to see Hakskeen Pan, where Bloodhound will break the land speed record at some point.

From here I headed to Molopo Lodge, near the Kgalagadi Park's gate. This is an old family favourite, and reminds me of happy times on family road trips. I camped on their nice green lawns. But the nights were COLD! The Kalahari is a frigid lady after dark! I didnt dare venture out of my tent before dawn.

I was here for 2 days and enjoyed chatting to Oomies in the nice bar. We shared Jagermeisters and swapped stories. I could tell these guys would gladly swap places with the "laaitie" on the bike.

I spent some time at Kalahari Trails in Askham, where I chilled with some tame meerkats. A retired professor runs a sanctuary for these animals here. They joined for a walk through the veldt.

The next day I decided to do something different and follow the road along the Botswana border. I choice I would soon regret, as the road got gradually more and more sandy. But my GPS pointed forward, so forward I went (after this trip I will avoid Garmin products), ignoring my better instincts.

A nasty piece of sand brought Lucky down on my leg. I wasn't hurt, but I was pinned, my left leg at an awkward angle. Twisting my foot to attempt an escape, I felt a snap in my knee.

Bye bye, Mr ligament! (confirmed by a physio after my return home 3 weeks later). Somehow I managed to get lucky up. But I knew I'd have to turn back and find a farm road, I was now aiming for Van Zylsrus and this road was out of my ability without both knees working. But Lucky's reserve indicator was flashing... I should have filled up in Askham!

Luckily the xt660 can run on the smell of an oil rag when ridden slowly and calmly, sometimes approaching 40km on a liter. I made it to VZylsrus at 5pm, and put 23,4 liters into my 24l tank.

But I was in agony, my leg would not work! I decided to be a wuss for the night so I could rest the leg and get a room at the VZylsrus hotel. Here the friendly tannies fed me voltarins like smarties, and the leg felt slightly better. Luckily I only had 5000km to go ;)

The next day I aimed for Vorstershoop. I would spend the night at Pieter's cousin's farm and meet him there. But it was not to be!

Near McCarthy's Rest I got a flat front wheel. I have a massive phobia of front wheel problems, as this was the cause of my big accident in Nam which claimed Jeff the Ukulele's top half. My old man also broke his knee like this, and suffered for months as a result.

The front rim had taken damage and the tyre would not refit even with a new tube. Where to now? I packed my valuables and left the stranded bike next to the road to look for help.

A few km down the road I walked into Kalahari Rangers, an extremely upmarket hunting farm for rich foreigners. Here I met Marie from Stellenbosch, who now runs the show at the lodge. She is a lovely person and sent their resident mechanic to help me fix the wheel. Success! But my relief was brief. As the workers helped me fit the wheel I suddenly saw brake fluid everywhere. The nipple on one of the brakes had leaked (I think someone may have loosened it when I wasnt paying attention).

Now I had no front brakes. With my front wheel phobia and busted knee I wasnt taking chances, these rough Kalahari dirt roads were scary with a functioning bike and leg!

I as stranded... I asked Marie if I could set up tent in acorner, as this lodge was waaaaaay out of my price range. She made me a deal, i would work on the game farm for the next two days and, in return, I would be allowed to sleep in the PH quarters, paying only for my food. So for the next few days I fed bokkies, drove the staff around in the cruiser, fixed a trailer and made lasagna.

Not a terrible place to be stuck honestly.

Ok that's it for part 1. Part 2 takes off with Pieter's arrival (and includes everything in the video).

Part 2 has everything a good adventure story needs, aeroplanes, lions, boats, new friends, parties and many strange unforeseen events.

And what tale is complete without a love interest? Stay tuned...

Offline Big-G

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Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2016, 03:58:35 pm »
Whooohoooo this has the makings of an epic trip

Keep it coming please :sip:
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Offline Almero

Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2016, 04:41:17 pm »
Ok here comes part 2. I'm going to split it up further because there are a few stories to tell.

Pieter joined me and brought a can of brake fluid and we quickly bleed the brakes. Lucky would ride again! We grab a map and plan our route.

We head through the border at McCarthy's Rest. Finally we're in Botswana. Time to hit the road towards Cornwall Camp at Werda. We fill up in Tsabong and are welcomed by a very proud gentleman. It's the first day of business for his brand new filling station.
He gives us each a "Farmer's Dream" hat for supporting him.

We reach Cornwall Camp after a nasty piece of dirt road. Lo and behold, lucky has another flat front wheel! And we have no spare tube. We decide to cross that bridge tomorrow. Is this trip cursed?

Cornwall Camp was a beautiful thatch roof Lodge that burnt down. Heather, the lovely woman who owns it, now lives in a tent and rents out the chalets and campsites. We make a giant fire and drink far too many St Louis Lagers to celebrate finally meeting up. Jeff makes an appearance. (this is where the video starts, as you can hear by the nonsense we talk).

The next morning (after almost freezing in the Kalahari cold) we remove Lucky's front wheel and strap it to Piet's XT. He heads across the border back to SA to get it professionally repaired. Luckily he finds another biker at the convenience store, who sells him his pare tube.

It's around 11am before lucky is fitted with the repaired wheel. Originally aiming for Ghanzi, we are now out of range (Piet's air cooled XT can't do much over 110kmph). Heather tells us to aim for Kang as there is a nice campsite about 20km after it.

But this was not to be!

It's around 5pm as we pull into Kang's filling station. The Trans-Kalahari highway makes for smoothe cruising, easy riding after a few days of struggling. Anyone who's been to Kang knows its a tiny place, a petrol station and a small town.

So imagine our surprise as we see two girls walking down the road as we pull into the station. They are dressed like vagrants, with big back packs, but stick out like a sore thumb. Pieter and I pull the whole "get a load of this" game, nudging each other in the ribs.

We decide to stop and talk to these two girls and learn their story. They are Laura and Zoe, two Americans part of the Peace corps. They are 11 months into a 22 month outreach program in Botswana. Zoe works in the clinic and Laura is a councilor for people with PTSD.

Despite being dressed like a bergie and being a few showers behind, Laura is far from the least attractive person I've ever met...

We invite them to have a drink with us at the campsite we are heading towards. But they protest, blaming the freezing nights. Zoe offers us a place in her house in town. Pieter and I exchange unsure looks, but tentatively agree. They hitch hike in and catch a ride on a cruiser (there isnt space to lift on the loaded bikes).

We follow them into town, through gates, past a few township scenes, where kids run and wave while Mamas cook on outdoor potjie fires. Zoe's house obviously WAS a nice house at one stage, but is now very run down and dirty. There's no electricity and no hot water. Zoe and Laura bath out of a bucket. These Americans seem to be taking the "roughing it in Africa" thing a little too far...

To thank them for their hospitality we buy braai stuff (Piet is a master braai-er) and a few quarts of beer from the local shebeen. The next day happens to be my birthday, so we plan to party with these girls the night before. We spend the night drinking beer and eating braai, listening to music and telling funny stories. The girls even offer us some ...um.."cigarettes", which I usually avoid. However there's a time and a place for everything, and an impromptu birthday party in Kang with pretty American girls is the perfect occaision to partake in the smoking of these "cigarettes".

As the party winds down and the cold arrives its time to hit the hay. We are about to unroll our camping mattresses when the girls stop us. They have an actual bed for us! Infact, they've pushed two double beds together to make a Christmas bed in the living room. And everyone sleeps in this big bed together. Pieter is confined to the corner, while I lie parallel to Laura.

I don't kiss and tell, but the early hours of my birthday are not terrible.

Morning arrives and Pieter wakes me up with bloodshot eyes. The girls make pancakes and coffee for my birthday (this is seen in the video). After that we hit the road towards Maun. For my birthday lunch we stop at Ghanzi hotel for a beer and a burger.

We ride into Maun late afternoon and stay at the Maun Rest Camp. We walk across the bridge to the Old Bridge Backpackers pub. Here we meet a real Dakar rider, practicing on the dirt roads on his Husky 701. Unfortunately his name escapes me.

That night we celebrate my bday at the bar with some lekker guys. We drink waaaaay to much Jagermeister and they need to take us home in a game viewer. This is a good thing as I would have certainly fallen in the river and got eaten by crocs had I had to stumble across the bridge in the dark.

The next day we take a rest day, spending the time lounging on the banks of the river and drinking G&Ts.

At the pub we meet Uncle Vic, a real British gentleman with a sharp tongue. We listen to his stories and drink beers with him. Later we head to his camp with some whisky. He pulls out a guitar and starts playing some crazy rock n roll solos. I grab Jeff and we spend the night jamming like rockstars.

The next morning we take a scenic flight over the Delta. This is amazing, the scenery is so beautiful I shed a manly tear at its majesty.

With the flight complete we head towards the Makgadkgadi Pans...

What will happen in part 3? Will our heroes meet a third musketeer? And are Lucky's troubles really and truly over?

Stay tuned.


Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2016, 05:46:04 pm »
Yep, I knew this would be good    :thumleft:
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Offline Draadwerk

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Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2016, 06:13:47 pm »
Lekker man. Lekker!!!

Offline Almero

Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2016, 10:32:56 pm »
Here's part 3. Let's wrap it up.
On the way out of Maun Lucky collides with a dog. He runs out to chase Pieter, but doesn't see me a few meters behind. And not a small dog either, probably about the size of collie. Luckily my front wheel misses him and he collides with my right foot, catapulting him into the air. He hits the ground and runs away. I stay upright. My back brake is bent 180 degrees on itself, so the dog must have been hit by some force. Pieter bends the brake right as a crowd of kids form around us. They're not too phased by the poor dog, instead focusing more on the pack of jelly beans we take out.

Riding towards the pans, we stop at a giant aardvark, marking the location of Planet Baobab Kalahari Surf Club. This fancy lodge has a quirky style and a great S-shaped bar.

At the gate the security lady asks where I'm from. When I say Cape Town she responds with:
"Cape Town???...You came all this way....on THIS?"
After a whiskey we head to the pans. Following the tracks leading off the tar road we high tail it onto the pan, keen for our first and only "dry camping" night. After a few km of flying across the dry surface, we decide to camp on a small island (which we dub Whore Island, optimistically).

Pieter gathers fire wood while I take glamour photos for my Tinder profile.

We watch the sun set and listen to some music on Piet's portable speaker.

I cook us a bully beef stew and then we relax by the fire. Sharing a half-jack of Klippies, we howl at the moon like wolves to establish our dominance over the crying jackals in the distance.

The next morning we head for Nata. Pieter's bike starts running low on fuel and we ride slowly to conserve fuel. It's amazing how much lighter the fuel injected 660 is on juice when compared to its carburetted predecessor. We both have 24l tanks, I would often put in 15l and Piet 22l for the same distance covered. In Nata we meet another biker, Danie. Danie is a young engineer travelling Africa until his cash runs out, so he fits right in (Piet and I are both engineers who met at varsity). We convince him to join us (he seems like he could be a bit lonely, travelling solo like that) and we head north towards Kasane.

The road to Chobe is littered with elephants and we stop often to do some game watching.

Chobe lodge is highly recommended by all, so we aim to camp there. And it doesn't disappoint, with its beautiful vistas and a stoep perfect for chillaxing.

We set up camp and head to the deck to have some beers.

Later we are approached by Cronje. He's an engineering lecturer from UJ who's touring with his family. Cronje rides his bike and his family follows in the bakkie. He invites us to have supper with him and we oblige, the lovely steaks going down a treat. Cronje obviously just wants to spend some man-time with other bikers, and we drink a few too many beers while swapping travel stories, four biker engi-nerds together.

The next day I chat to this German guy and his Swedish girlfriend. Over the last year they've travelled down from Germany in this old cruiser. He describes the trip as "much easier than I thought it would be". Apparently the only repairs to the cruiser consisted of a new set of shocks.

That afternoon we go on a wild life sunset cruise. This is amazing, as there are hippos, elephant, giraffes and various other animals literally everywhere you look, in the most beautiful place on earth.

Piet and I drink probably a little too much on the boat. The family sitting in front of us are uncomfortable at first, but soon start laughing along to our drunken banter.

I can tell Danie is a little embarrassed to be seen with us...

That night we braai steaks again (bought cheap at the choppies across the road). The next morning Piet and I set out for Victoria falls, the official target of the trip. After exploring all options we're told that the road tax imposed by Zim is too much to take the bikes across for just the day, so we take a minibus across the border to the park. Danie plans to see the falls later in his trip, and we part ways. Vic falls are amazing of course. However Zim has become unbelievably expensive with their adoption of the US dollar, and we end up paying the equivalent of R650 for two burgers and four beers.

The taxi returns to Chobe too late for us to make the trip to Nata as intended (everyone warns against riding the elephant-infested road at night). So we sleep at A Touch of Africa lodge near Pandamatenga. Here we are greeted by this lovable trouble maker.

We drink beers with some Stellenbosch girls and eat a huge rack of ribs each.

I wake up at about 1AM to a sound very familiar to those that have been to the Kgalagadi park... The deep and power roar of a very big kitty. The lack of fences around the lodge grounds doesn't exactly comfort me. Pieter wakes up and we both agree that it might be a better idea to go sleep on the tiles in the bathroom.

The next morning we wake up early, a 1000km day ahead of us. We are aiming for Zeerust in SA, where Pieter's mom lives. This is easily the worst day of the trip, as the drivers between Francistown and Gabarone are crazy and aggressive. I swear I'm nearly run over at least once every 10 minutes. I hope that I never have to drive this horrible road again, as it's completely at odds with the rest of the laid back and friendly country that is Botswana.

We arrive in Zeerust at about 10pm, following an 18-wheeler to serve as a barrier between us and any kudu that may run into the road. We're welcomed by Pieter's faithful hound Baxter. After a day of relaxing it's time for Piet and I to part ways, as he return to his home in Standerton. I head towards Upington, another long boring day of straight tar roads. I sleep in the Kenhardt hotel. It's cheap, and a welcome escape from the Northern Cape cold.

That night I sit in the hotel pub, chatting to the owner about bikes. I have one last whiskey for the trip and reflect on this amazing trip. The fish river feels like it was months ago at this point!

The next morning I head to Calvinia and then through the Tankwa. My folks have a small piece of land here, not far from Stonehenge, and I arrange to meet them. The dirt roads are a dream, and I enjoy playing around on the loose gravel.

After a day here I head home. The trip ends with a whimper rather than a bang. But after 6200km on the bike, 100km on foot, 4 weeks from home and many, many amazing memories, who am I to complain.

Thank you for reading :)



Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2016, 03:13:15 am »
Excellent, thanks for sharing!

1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

Old bike: '82 Eddie Lawson Replica Replica.
Other bike: '05 Honda Varadero 1000
New bike: '16 Honda Africa Twin.

Offline Xpat

Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2016, 08:52:01 am »
Nice report, thanks for that  :thumleft:

Just out of interest, why you swore off all Garmin products? Because it showed a route you battled to ride?

Offline Almero

Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2016, 01:54:36 pm »
Constant power issues, random reboots, losing track of where it is halfway through a ride, refusing to accept detours. Not worth the sukkel.

Its not the fanciest device in the range, so maybe the top end ones are better. My phone did everything better once I switched over to that.

But whatever, knowing where you're going is over-rated.

Offline Xpat

Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2016, 02:05:36 pm »
OK I get it, the technical issues do get old very quickly.

I misunderstood your original description and thought you were cross with it because it took you on that Molotov river track, which I wouldn't blame GPS for.

I do use and like GPS, but I ride mostly off the beaten tracks - I don't have cojones to ride cutlines deep in Okavango delta without one. I use it as a map, do not use any navigational functions - just to see where I am and what is around. For riding on the main routes I agree you don't need one.

Offline 0012

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Re: Botswana Adventure 2016
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2016, 02:34:34 pm »
very schweet report, great pics, memories to last a lifetime!

Ja eating at a restaurant in zim on average for me and the GF comes to around $45 (just mains and drinks) which is pretty ridiculous  :lol8:

how is the knee doing, which ligament was it?
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