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Offline Nickel512

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I know nothing
« on: February 27, 2019, 02:37:36 am »
Iím a 57yo from Minnesota USA, outside my door is 6feet of snow and -20c. I am planning a solo trip to Sa-Moz-Mal-Zam-Bot-Sa. Iím a veteran of riding solo from my Home in StPaul thru Mx thru numerous Central American countries to Costa Rica and back in about 30 days. I have also ridden/ raced off road for decades (and was a big Albie fan)Here is my general plan and then several questions as Iím doing this all from an iPad and google maps. I know only what I read.
1) Fly into JHB n rent from Yamaha Adventure XT bike rentals their tenere XT660 for about $2700 with panniers.
2) Depart towards Kruger and wander a bit west of there, then into Moz, Maputo then make my way up the coast visiting various beach towns til Vilankulos then heading northwest up thru Tete corridor and into Malawi.
3) Visit various beach towns til Nkhata bay then head west towards Zambia entering around Kalonge the make my way to Lusaka. Then down near Lake Kariba and down to Kansane.
4) Kansane down to Nata west to Matopi to Maun to Ghanzi then swing east to JHB, somewhere around 120hrs seat time an 8k kms.
?s
a) assuming I follow all the usual safety measures(no night driving, all gear all time, avoid suspicious areas and people) is this a relatively safe idea solo? Iím bothered by heat more than cold what about September (19í) as travel month? 30 or so days to do trip?
b) what is with not being able to ride bikes thru National Parks. Kansane to Nata shows a main roadway thru huge green areas on google map and a post I read a guy drove his bike thru the parks are so huge going around would add days and in some areas the only rout is thru a park/reserve. Is there a man standing there letting cars in bikes no?
c) I would like to drop at a few of the big name reserves (Kruger, Chobe) and park my bike and be shuttled in for a 2-3day safari, my problem is I donít expect to be able to keep a schedule there for can a call the day of or before to try and last minute get a seat on a safari or is that unlikely. I will be a guy who knows nothing trying to get around on what many believe is a very adventurous continent yet according to my Loney Planet Iíll need a reservation for everything in the bush??
d) should I be learning some languages? There seems to be so many, everyone in Mexico n Central Am spoke one!
Any general advice is very much welcomed, knowledge is inversely porpotional to anxiety
Oh n what does Lekkar mean, I know I could look it up but this is more fun
Nick
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Offline Mr Zog

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2019, 03:06:17 am »
Welcome to the WD forum Nick.

I'll just answer one of your questions, the one regarding riding through National Parks.

Unlike the USA Nat Parks (like Yellowstone etc) the Nat Parks in SA are actually Game Reserves. They are fenced and they have (most of them) the Big 5. Lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo. Lions will eat you. Elephants are protective of their herds and if you are on a bike they can easily kill you. Leopard usually only hunt in darkness. Rhino's are the size of a small compact car, but are usually docile. The Cape Buffalo is a very grumpy fucker, it's bigger than a cow, and will charge, spear you on it's horns, and trample your body into the dust.

Then there are many other animals in the Nat Parks too; impala (deer) zebras, giraffe, kudu's, countless other antelope, extremely venomous snakes (think black mamba, google it if you want) and countless other critters that can cause you very serious bodily harm, even death.

To protect you, the Nat Parks do not allow bikes inside them, except in very few special circumstances (like organised trips with rangers etc). That is just the way it is. An alternative to going on a guided tour would be to rent a car outside the park and use that to explore on your own time, but going on a guided tour will give you a much richer experience. The guide will point out the animals to you, and tell you a whole lot about them. Well worth the money and time.

And just some free advice. Plan on 30 days, but accept that Africa runs on Africa Time, so have a couple of weeks leeway planned just in case. Also, you want to stop and admire, photograph, and experience Africa. Take some extra time, take it slower, and you'll enjoy the trip a whole lot more.  :thumleft:

I emigrated to the USA (sunny warm Florida  :biggrin: ) 3 years ago from SA. But I still yearn for the beauty and splendour that is Africa...
Young enough to know I can, old enough to know I shouldn't, stupid enough to do it anyway.
 
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Offline Vis Arend

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2019, 03:29:10 am »
Lekker means very very nice.   :biggrin:  Lekker is an Afrikaans word that are used on a regular basis to describe anything that is or was enjoyable or nice.  For example, your trip looks lekker, or the food is very lekker.  Hope that will help. 

To get back at some of your other questions.
As far as I know you can ride through most of Botswana's National Parks.  The road you see on your maps through the parks is basically the main road and may be done on a bike.  Attached my rr through Botswana on a bike.  Start looking from page 6, reply nr 103 to get to the Botswana part if you do not want to see the rest.

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=124997.100




Kruger NAt PArk in SA is off limits for bikes.
Be prepared to cross paths with wild animals during your tour through Botswana.  If you are on the road between Kasane and Nata, please pop in at Elephants sands, some 50km before Nata from Kasane's side.  This is a must stop over, you will thank me later.   :thumleft:

Moz and Zambia I do not know, but the rest of your trip should be relative safe solo.  However, be alert the whole time and observe your surroundings.  Be aware of what is happening around you. 

September month will just be fine for your planned trip, not to cold anymore and also not as hot as in the summer months.  The wind that time of the year could give you some grief. 

Other than that you should enjoy your trip, it seems like a lekker mellow trip. 

Have a lekker (great)  day    :biggrin:  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 06:42:30 am by Vis Arend »
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Offline ClemS

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2019, 06:35:27 am »
Lekker means very very nice.   :biggrin:  Lekker is an Afrikaans word that are used on a regular basis to describe anything that is or was enjoyable or nice.  For example, your trip looks lekker, or the food is very lekker.  Hope that will help. 

To get back at some of your other questions.
As far as I know you can ride through most of Botswana's National Parks.  The road you see on your maps through the parks is basically the main road and may be done on a bike.  Attached my rr through Botswana on a bike.  Start looking from page 6, reply nr 103 to get to the Botswana part if you do not want to see the rest.
Kruger NAt PArk in SA is off limits for bikes.
Be prepared to cross paths with wild animals during your tour through Botswana.  If you are on the road between Kasane and Nata, please pop in at Elephants sands, some 50km before Nata from Kasane's side.  This is a must stop over, you will thank me later.   :thumleft:

Moz and Zambia I do not know, but the rest of your trip should be relative safe solo.  However, be alert the whole time and observe your surroundings.  Be aware of what is happening around you. 

September month will just be fine for your planned trip, not to cold anymore and also not as hot as in the summer months.  The wind that time of the year could give you some grief. 

Other than that you should enjoy your trip, it seems like a lekker mellow trip. 

Have a lekker (great)  day    :biggrin:  :thumleft:  :thumleft:

Vis, I think you forgot to attach your RR?  :coffee2:
 
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Offline Blou Zebu

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2019, 06:39:55 am »


Unlike the USA Nat Parks (like Yellowstone etc) the Nat Parks in SA are actually Game Reserves. They are fenced and they have (most of them) the Big 5. Lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo. Lions will eat you. Elephants are protective of their herds and if you are on a bike they can easily kill you. Leopard usually only hunt in darkness. Rhino's are the size of a small compact car, but are usually docile. The Cape Buffalo is a very grumpy fucker, it's bigger than a cow, and will charge, spear you on it's horns, and trample your body into the dust.

Then there are many other animals in the Nat Parks too; impala (deer) zebras, giraffe, kudu's, countless other antelope, extremely venomous snakes (think black mamba, google it if you want) and countless other critters that can cause you very serious bodily harm, even death.


And then he hasn't even mentioned the dangerous animals. The most dangerous is commonly considered the South African female! Beware!  :pot:

Welcome to the forum and I am sure you will enjoy the trip!
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Offline ClimbingTurtle

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2019, 08:14:09 am »
Morning Nick - and welcome!
@YoungGSer did almost the same trip in reverse, except the Moz coast section - check his RR here - http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=229303.0 - he was solo on a GS Adventure, he had no issues travelling solo at all - all the info above Re the national Parks is covered.
Outside of some remote areas in Botswana, there are very few places that you aren't more than a few minutes from people - Southern Africa has a large rural population, but travel is generally safe - just dont ride at night - this is pretty inportant - there are loads of animals of all types that wander in the roads at night, as well as animals attracted to the lights (Kudu in Botswana).
Bookings - the main parks are always full, but the Tour operators runing Safari's from the outskirts will generally be able to help you, particularly if you are flexible regarding dates/times - day tripss into the National Parks are easy, its accomodation in the parks that may be a challenge, but dont let that stop you, there are always plans to be made! Lonely Planet's reservation policy is a guide and will apply to the Upmarket (Expensive) lodges & tours. Mainly the tour operators want your money and will go out of their way to help you spend it with them!!
Lekker is an Afrikaans word for Good, nice, great brillant and can be applied to just about anything you like - or even dont like. Kak is the other word that means Bad, not nice, horrible - so Lekker Kak means its REAL BAD - while a Lekker Dop is a really nice drink!! (dop = Drink of any kind)
September for travel in Southern Africa is a pretty good time - winter (such as it is in SA) is pretty much over, but the intense heat of summer has not arrived yet. Moz coast in September is sublime - expect 26-30degC, sunny, gentle winds and a marvelous beach experience - we go to Moz coast in September as its the best tim, before the rains. Bring wet weather gear (rainsuit) as you are pretty much guaranteed a shower here now & then.
I MAY be in Jhb at that time - will know later in the year - but i live very close to the airport if you need assistance, a base to leave from, accommodation before & after, whatever.
Steve
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Offline eberhard

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2019, 08:16:28 am »
Work in extra time for border crossing. Prepare to be patient.

Work on an average of 60km/h. Some roads are excellent, some roads that were excellent the previous year you will find now can be in a very bad condition.

Be very aware in Botswana as to animals in the road. Elephants, cattle, donkeys, ostriches, etc. That can also have an effect on your speed. Botswana has normally very good roads otherwise.

Divide your currency in as many $1.00 bills as possible. A lot of places / government offices will charge you in dollars, but where you pay in say $50.00 or $100.00 bills then they do not have enough small bills to give you the correct change and you will take the loss.

Keep to the speed limits when near towns. You do not want to be locked-up in a jail in some of those places. Be prepared to be asked for bribes and have your plan how you will deal with it ready beforehand.   

The official language in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Botswana is English. So you should manage well with American. In Mozambique it is Portuguese, much like Spanish (Mexico, Central America).
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 08:19:27 am by eberhard »
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Offline madmax

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2019, 10:11:09 am »
just double check north moz as there seems to be insurgent issues/low scalwe civil war and isis type clowns at moment
fornicate the proletariat
 
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Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2019, 10:26:50 am »
Welcome Nick. You have a lekke tour planned. :thumleft:
I would skip the Zambia bit, it would just mean long boring tar roads with lots of trucks.
At some point in Moz I would turn west towards Zimbabwe and go from there through Harare the capital down to Bulawayo and Vic Falls. Have to chill there for at least two days.
Short ride from there to Kasane in Bots. The time you would have spent in Zambia I would use this way. From Kasane ride through the Chobe(on tar) to Namibia and Katima Millilo and make your way to Bagani at Popa Falls. From there go into Botswana again and try stay on one of the islands in the delta at a lodge. They take you out on boat ferries.
From there down to Maun and there you can do a fly over safari if you like of the Delta. Maun back to SA is not far.

Of all the border posts you will go through it seems Moz will/could be the most corrupt. :deal:
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Offline ClimbingTurtle

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2019, 10:30:23 am »
just double check north moz as there seems to be insurgent issues/low scalwe civil war and isis type clowns at moment

Always a good idea to check, but recent info (January 2019) on the 4x4 site says security is not an issue at the moment - but we know there has been issues - check the www.4x4community.co.za and www.drivemoz.co.za websites - they generally have good info...

Nick - what are your procedures for Malaria...?
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Offline EssBee

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2019, 10:37:58 am »
Welcome to the forum, Nick, if you're in the Durban area and in need of an overnight spot, feel free to look me up.

PS....I thought your snow had all but melted by now....( not that your winter is over )
 

Offline eberhard

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2019, 10:55:33 am »
This is a serious consideration when riding around in a game reserve. Or most places in Botswana.
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Offline punisher

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2019, 11:56:57 am »
BE VERY WARY OF THE DEADLY MOSQUITO
just wanna have fun , and ride ... and ....... ride
 
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Offline Sardine

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2019, 02:26:39 pm »
Ag, ja, nee, lekker man, Welcome  O0

I lived in Botswana for a little over 3 years from 2014-2018.
While I never explored much by motorbike, I know the area fairly well and have contacts there.
For that portion do you aim to say on the tar?

Offline Mr Zog

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2019, 03:12:42 am »
BE VERY WARY OF THE DEADLY MOSQUITO
+1 000 000  especially with the warm season starting in September...

although mozzies are around all year in the countries north of SA  :deal:
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Offline Nickel512

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2019, 05:55:02 am »
Welcome Nick. You have a lekke tour planned. :thumleft:
I would skip the Zambia bit, it would just mean long boring tar roads with lots of trucks.
At some point in Moz I would turn west towards Zimbabwe and go from there through Harare the capital down to Bulawayo and Vic Falls. Have to chill there for at least two days.
Short ride from there to Kasane in Bots. The time you would have spent in Zambia I would use this way. From Kasane ride through the Chobe(on tar) to Namibia and Katima Millilo and make your way to Bagani at Popa Falls. From there go into Botswana again and try stay on one of the islands in the delta at a lodge. They take you out on boat ferries.
From there down to Maun and there you can do a fly over safari if you like of the Delta. Maun back to SA is not far.

Of all the border posts you will go through it seems Moz will/could be the most corrupt. :deal:
thanks, I had know great desire to see Zambia but I thought Zim was a little hot rt now. I would actually prefer thru Zim than Zambia so thanks sounds like a Lekkar idea🤓
Qk
 

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2019, 10:13:18 am »
Welcome Nick. You have a lekke tour planned. :thumleft:
I would skip the Zambia bit, it would just mean long boring tar roads with lots of trucks.
At some point in Moz I would turn west towards Zimbabwe and go from there through Harare the capital down to Bulawayo and Vic Falls. Have to chill there for at least two days.
Short ride from there to Kasane in Bots. The time you would have spent in Zambia I would use this way. From Kasane ride through the Chobe(on tar) to Namibia and Katima Millilo and make your way to Bagani at Popa Falls. From there go into Botswana again and try stay on one of the islands in the delta at a lodge. They take you out on boat ferries.
From there down to Maun and there you can do a fly over safari if you like of the Delta. Maun back to SA is not far.

Of all the border posts you will go through it seems Moz will/could be the most corrupt. :deal:
thanks, I had know great desire to see Zambia but I thought Zim was a little hot rt now. I would actually prefer thru Zim than Zambia so thanks sounds like a Lekkar idea🤓
I would bring a summer jacket and pants if I were you if the trip is in September. Standing at customs in the sun with thick bike clothes can be hot.
For Zim you need US dollars so bring enough in small bills 1 dollar notes. They do not give you change after handing a 50 or 100. :deal:

When getting into Zim you might want to skip Harare and do the eastern highlands and then make your way to Bulawayo and then Vic Falls. From Moz there is a road that enters into the eastern highlands.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2019, 10:18:02 am by ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS »
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Offline Brewed_Coffee

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2019, 04:14:33 pm »
Hiya Nick,  from much experience Ö.

September - mild to hot (in the 20's deg celcius) but dry and dusty in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia etc as we're exiting a dry winter and summer rains only arrive later.
Chobe / Bots National Parks - be careful, getting from Kasane to Savuti (for example) is a no go.  You won't be permitted to enter due to safety precautions.  (unlike Kruger, Botswana parks are unfenced!).  There are however some tarred transit routes through their parks - Kasane to Ngoma, or Kasane to Nata, for example which you may use.
Solo shouldn't be a problem if you have a reliable steed.
Doing a shuttle type safari will definitely be possible along the way.  Many operators around northern and central Botswana will only be too happy to take your dollars for this.
English, opposed to American  :imaposer: :imaposer:, will be all you need.
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Offline Nickel512

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2019, 05:25:40 pm »
Welcome Nick. You have a lekke tour planned. :thumleft:
I would skip the Zambia bit, it would just mean long boring tar roads with lots of trucks.
At some point in Moz I would turn west towards Zimbabwe and go from there through Harare the capital down to Bulawayo and Vic Falls. Have to chill there for at least two days.
Short ride from there to Kasane in Bots. The time you would have spent in Zambia I would use this way. From Kasane ride through the Chobe(on tar) to Namibia and Katima Millilo and make your way to Bagani at Popa Falls. From there go into Botswana again and try stay on one of the islands in the delta at a lodge. They take you out on boat ferries.
From there down to Maun and there you can do a fly over safari if you like of the Delta. Maun back to SA is not far.

Of all the border posts you will go through it seems Moz will/could be the most corrupt. :deal:
I like the idea, I have no great desire to see  Zambia but I thought Zim is a little hot right now and the Zambia route gets me around there if youíre saying Harare is cool then ok, thanks
Qk
 

Offline Nickel512

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Re: I know nothing
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2019, 05:28:17 pm »
Welcome to the forum, Nick, if you're in the Durban area and in need of an overnight spot, feel free to look me up.

PS....I thought your snow had all but melted by now....( not that your winter is over )
We set a record for snow totals in the month of February
Qk