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Offline Goggakop

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #200 on: February 03, 2014, 09:05:09 pm »
Hi James

I see you have moved from Maun - been waiting for a update,  please.
 

Offline TechnomadicJim

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #201 on: February 05, 2014, 12:34:49 am »
Quote
Jim, PM me if you don't come right, I'm not that much on your post. I'm willing to help and know people with family in Gab

Thanks man. I think I'm good but I really appreciate the offer :). The bikes at the Honda dealership here in Gaborone and I'm optimistic they have it all in hand.

Quote
Hi James

I see you have moved from Maun - been waiting for a update,  please.


Yes :) Currently in Gaborone getting supplies. Here's my latest ride report :

----

Soon after checking in at the Old Bridge Backpackers in Maun I met Dave and Marly who are riding two Honda Dominator (250cc) bikes. They come from Amsterdam and spent the last 3 years (with 1 years break in between) travelling down the east coast of Africa. It was really cool to hang out with them.



The 3 of us decided to hire a 4x4 (Toyota Prado) and head into Moremi national park for a couple of days. Dave and Marly took turns at driving as I actually don't have a car license only a full bike license :) As you can imagine at this time of year there was a lot if water so we took it way and weaved our way through towards the third bridge camp. After a while the Prado started to overheat and we could hear the coolant boiling so we let it cool down for a while and proceeded but after a little while the engine began to have a knocking sound which did not sound good at all. Dave checked the radiator and it was pretty much empty! We filled it up with almost 10 liters of water and some coolant which they had with them from the bikes. After that the Prado was fine. They hired us a car empty of coolant!!!

Moremi is full of game and definitely my best national park to date. We didn't see any lions but other groups did. We did see a Serval though which was pretty cool. Here's some of the photo highlights :











We camped at third bridge for 234 pula which is pretty expensive but ok for one night. During the night the hippos were so close I could hear them breathing. Obviously I didn't leave my tent all night after hearing of how dangerous they can be!

The next day we took a different route out of the park which was very difficult driving (top work Dave!) with the main tracks being completely flooded. We had to blaze a fresh trail many times just to make it through. There was the added concern that we were running out of fuel and couldn't afford to back track the way we came. Fortunately we lucked out on our diversions with a little help from our GPS's and the low fuel light came on 10k's outside of Maun. Nice!

To cap off the Moremi experience we found 4 more backpackers and organised a 1 hour scenic flight for 640 pula each which I thought was a great price (Top work Dave + Marly again!). There really was some spectacular views including a giant herd of about 60 elephants! Awesome :)











It really was cool hanging out at the Old Bridge Backpackers with Dave and Marly but I had to get moving as I needed to get my oil drain plugs from Gaborone. They did mention that they drove across the Makgadikgadi Pan and camped on Kubu island on their way to Maun so I decided to do the same on my way. The Makgadikgadi Pan and Kubu island appeared on the Top Gear Botswana Special episode where they have to cross over in non 4wd vehicles of their choosing. Pretty funny episode.

Anyway... I packed up and said my goodbyes to all the cool people I met and headed for Gweta where I had some lunch at Planet Baobab and had a chat with one of local guides. He told me no... its not possible to cross this time of year. I mentioned that Dave and Marly made it through and one of the managers said it would probably be OK so I thought I would give it a go anyway. I drove through south through Gweta and out the other side where it was very sandy tracks through lots homesteads. The road became firmer but soon I arrived at this :



I started to make my way around and nearly got past until I broke through into the mud and just wheel spun digging myself in deeper :\



Fortunately a nice farmer was passing on his donkey and helped push me through the last part. It wasn't long before I got stuck again and had to drag the bike sideways to get out of this :



Fortunately the CTX is so light that even with my luggage I can haul it out of situations like this by myself without unpacking my luggage. I spent about an hour and a half making very slow progress through heavy mud and only managed to make about 30 km's of the 130 to kubu island via this route so I decided to turn back at 4pm as it was obvious I wasn't going to make it this way. I retraced my track and headed back to the main road defeated by the mud.



I camped back at Planet Baobab where I had lunch. It happens to have a giant concrete Aardvark just next to the entrance off the main road. :)





The next day I headed to Nata where Dave and Marly mentioned there was another (main) way in to Kubu Island which I hoped would be easier going. Surely enough it started out good and I made progress across the plains with the odd startled ostrich running away from me every now and again.



I passed some hore homesteads and started to come across the mighty Baobab tree's. They are very cool.



As I neared Kubu island the road started to get more waterlogged and I began to worry that I might not make but I pressed on as it wasn't so muddy like before and the ground was quite firm underneath the water which wasn't so bad. I reached Makgadikgadi adventure camp with about 20 km's to Kubu island and stopped off to have a coke and chat to the manager about the road conditions. Again he told me no I would't make it. He said two Kiwi's in a 4x4 tried and turned back the day before and stayed at his place. He told me the water level was above knee height in a lot of places but I suspected he might be exaggerating a bit in order to get me to stay at his place rather than Kubu island so I set off anyway. I was so close!

The water was deeper the closer I got but it had firm ground underneath and wasn't so slippery which was the main problem that stopped me before. Finally I could see Kubu island but I had to cross about 200 metres of mud to get there. It had also just began to rain. I took it slow and made it across to the staff house where I managed to get under their porch just as the rain came down. Nice! The manager there was quite surprised to see me and impressed I had made it this time of year. I picked a camp site by some baobab's and as soon as I put my tarp up the rain came down even heavier and I had to scramble to keep everything dry and ensure the tarp was tight and secure. It lasted about an hour so I made some video and prepared my standard standard cold beans and pilchards in a mug for dinner. I watched an episode of Bear Grylls on my phone in my hammock and fell asleep happy I had made it.





I got up just after sunrise and it began to rain so I got back in the hammock and began to fall asleep again until I noticed that water was soaking down the webbing and into my hammock. I remembered a little trick where you tie a piece of string to each end before the hammock and it wicks the water to the ground before it gets to the hammock. It works too :)

I packed up and went on a short drive around the island and took some photos. Its a very cool place! It would have been nicer to have been able to drive on the pans but it was way too wet. Very different from the pictures i saw of a week previous when Dave and Marly had crossed it.







As I left two of the staff members mentioned that if I did have any trouble there would be a 4x4 coming from the south on the same path I was taking in order to relieve them. They also said I should back track 20 km's and go round rather than taking the direct route south. As I left I got confused about where the path I came in on was and ended up heading down the short cut. Realizing my mistake I just decided to plough a path through the mud and water which was a bit touch and go when the bike ended up in water so deep it was nearly over the exhaust! Fortunately I made it back to the correct track and made my way. It was definitely deeper than the day before after all the extra rain.



There was long stretches of water where you couldn't see any sort of dry exit so you just had to go for it and hope there was no unexpected trenches under the water.









After a while the dreaded mud appeared. I skirted the edge the best I could and tried not to make any turns on area's I had to cross. It was slow going but being by myself I had to be careful not to mess up as I didn't know how long help would be or if there would be any at all!



I was getting tired and I still had a long way to go. I really didn't know what to expect next. I did come across a pan that was mostly dry and decided to have some fun for a bit and took some cool video speeding past the camera.







After the semi-dry pan was more water and mud for a few kilometers where I had one of my more artistic slides :







Eventually there was less extended areas of water. It was soon just large puddles. I wasn't wearing my helmet as i was sweating so much working to keep the bike upright. The inevitable happened and it fell off the back and into a puddle :( doh!



Very tired at this point I only had about 30 km's until I was sure I was going to reach some much anticipated tar. Unfortunately this last stretch was a maze of deep rutted muddy puddles surrounded by thorny bushes. I was shattered when I eventually made it to Serowe so I checked into the first decent B&B I could find and slept in until late the next morning.

The A1 road from Serowe to Gabarone was mostly uneventful apart from crossing the Tropic of Capricorn again :



I'm currently staying at Mokolodi Backpackers and have the whole dorm to myself and some half decent Internet at last. Sweet! I've been buying some supplies from the "Game City" shopping mall including a new Buff neck scarf, two new K-Way shirts (They have a Cape Union Mart here!) and a new 1.5 meter mono-pod for the cameras.

I dropped the bike into the local Honda dealership this morning for a service and clocked the brand new clean CTX in the window. I call this photo "Beauty and the Beast".



Will report on how the service goes next.
Live Ride Report : Southern Africa on a Honda CTX 200 // Live GPS Tracking : http://www.whereisjames.com
 

Offline katana

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #202 on: February 05, 2014, 05:50:19 am »
Nice   :thumleft:
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Offline MegaPix

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #203 on: February 05, 2014, 07:52:25 am »
Epic James

I have been looking at these photos on Facebook as well, and hell any other bigger bike would have caused a lot of shit for you.

Well done ! :thumleft:
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Offline pietas

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #204 on: February 05, 2014, 08:41:54 am »
Once again, stunning photos and great read. At least you are having loads of fun
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Offline Lem

Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #205 on: February 05, 2014, 09:09:56 am »
this is my favourite part of your report, jim

all the best for the next leg of your journey
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Offline YamaV

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #206 on: February 05, 2014, 09:17:07 am »
 :thumleft:
 

Offline Mountain Goat

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #207 on: February 05, 2014, 10:08:18 am »
Wonderful adventure!   :thumleft:   Safe Travels Jim
 

Offline DRAZIL

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #208 on: February 05, 2014, 10:15:01 am »
great going  :thumleft: tired and still making time for fun +1000 :thumleft:
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Offline oldmannorman

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #209 on: February 05, 2014, 05:39:09 pm »
 :sip: Cool. keep it coming.
 

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #210 on: February 06, 2014, 02:32:14 pm »
Fantastic on making it through the pans and all the way past Kubu  :thumleft:

As mentioned, anything bigger than your 200 Bushlander and you would have been in a lot of trouble!
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Offline www_travelin_tk

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #211 on: February 06, 2014, 05:00:43 pm »
Hi James,

Great to hear (and see now by the pics) that you made it through! Because if you didnt survive this trip to Kubu Island, for sure we would get the blame for sending yiy that direction! :pot:

What a big big difference since 1 week before that we were there, we were sooooooo lucky. (See our dry pictures) But it looks like you had a lot of fun anyway! ;) And even you fel down, ok Marly did 4 x in the deep deep dry sand (Or you as well???? )

And So great to see all your pics like this, awesome! Almost as much as water which we had in the Moremi Park when we hired the 4x4  :3some:

Greetings from Marly and Dave (already in Namanjab, Namibia (we're going fast now!))
 

Offline 4 Kays

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #212 on: February 06, 2014, 06:29:29 pm »
 :sip:really enjoying the rr Jim
 

Offline gwild

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #213 on: February 06, 2014, 08:51:42 pm »
Awesome as usual  :thumleft: keep it coming
 

Offline TechnomadicJim

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #214 on: February 06, 2014, 09:44:12 pm »
Epic James

I have been looking at these photos on Facebook as well, and hell any other bigger bike would have caused a lot of shit for you.

Well done ! :thumleft:

Cool man, Thanks :) I agree, I can pick up the bike all the luggage without too much difficulty. Also I would have sunk much deeper with a bigger bike.

Once again, stunning photos and great read. At least you are having loads of fun

Thanks very much! I am having lots of fun for sure :)

this is my favourite part of your report, jim

all the best for the next leg of your journey

Me too. Was a proper little adventure in my bigger adventure.

Wonderful adventure!   :thumleft:   Safe Travels Jim

Thanks Mountain Goat!

great going  :thumleft: tired and still making time for fun +1000 :thumleft:

I was a but disappointed about not being able to speed around some wide open pan so when I came across the one in the photos I was very happy :) Got some good video too.

:sip: Cool. keep it coming.

Yes sir!  :biggrin:

Fantastic on making it through the pans and all the way past Kubu  :thumleft:

As mentioned, anything bigger than your 200 Bushlander and you would have been in a lot of trouble!

Very happy to be on the lightweight CTX with this sort of riding. Thanks :)

Hi James,

Great to hear (and see now by the pics) that you made it through! Because if you didnt survive this trip to Kubu Island, for sure we would get the blame for sending yiy that direction! :pot:

What a big big difference since 1 week before that we were there, we were sooooooo lucky. (See our dry pictures) But it looks like you had a lot of fun anyway! ;) And even you fel down, ok Marly did 4 x in the deep deep dry sand (Or you as well???? )

And So great to see all your pics like this, awesome! Almost as much as water which we had in the Moremi Park when we hired the 4x4  :3some:

Greetings from Marly and Dave (already in Namanjab, Namibia (we're going fast now!))
"
Hey :) Good to see you both on here! I can see the headlines now : "Two dutchies send brit to his watery demise." hehe... naah I was really glad I did it even with all the water. I would have just driven straight past to Francistown had I not known. When I tried to enter via Gweta I kept thinking I must be taking the wrong path despite what my GPS was telling me.

I got sent some pictures just now from the nice South African couple who I got a lift into Sossusvlei with and it's so dry when they entered.I haven't hurt myself when falling yet which is good. Its always off road on sand or mud. Makes me shudder remembering your story of the collision with the cart!

I guess you went in over the north of Etosha ? Didn't get the chance to get further than Ondangwa. Looks cool. Hope the map and sim card are working for ya!

Take Care, Enjoy!

:sip:really enjoying the rr Jim

Excellent :) Its really nice to get messages from people who are tuned in. I imagine there's at least one more silent reader for every person that comments.

Awesome as usual  :thumleft: keep it coming

Thanks man, will do!

---

Just a little update  :

I put the bike in for its 12k (actually 13k) service at Honda Gabarone. They were really good and even organised me a lift back to the hostel and picked me up the next day. The driver even took me to some other bike shops so I could get some replacement gloves as I lost mine on the pans. Nice!

When I arrived the bike was ready and looked brand new again :). Here's what was done :

Spark plug replaced.
Engine flushed and cleaned, Oil changed.
Sump plug changed and spare (with O ring) supplied.
Rear swing arm cap bodge replaced with original cap.
Chain replaced as mine was very stretched (some wear some my fault for now lubing enough).

As I was next heading to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique I also bought replacement brake pads and shoes as they would probably go soon within the next 10k's. As far as I know this will be the last official Honda dealership before i get back into SA in a few months time.

Here's Allan the service manager (also an MX rider). He was impressed with my journey and the fact I made it across the pan's. So impressed he didn't charge me any labor for the service and gave me a 20% discount on all the parts! Wow!



Thanks Allan, very much appreciated mate!

I also bought myself a mono pod (pictured at the bottom) for using with my GoPro and camera. Should make for some different / cool shots. Will have a play when I hit the road again. I also bought some CO2 inflation canisters and the valve as I really don't fancy using my bicycle pump to inflate after a flat! Incidentally I checked my spare tubes and one had a hole in it from being attached to the bike for the last 13km's. I fixed that up with my kit. Here's my new stuff. Its like Christmas! :D



So the plan next is to head up to Francistown and cross over into Zimbabwe. I'm interested to see what its like as I hear VERY different views from people. Depending on the weather I may leave Gaborone tomorrow or perhaps the next day. I'm interested on any recommendations for Zim apart from Vic falls. Im tempted by Greater Zimbabwe Ruins and Lake Kariba.

Feeling good I have everything sorted and new supplies.
Live Ride Report : Southern Africa on a Honda CTX 200 // Live GPS Tracking : http://www.whereisjames.com
 

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #215 on: February 06, 2014, 09:48:05 pm »
Jim when in Bulawayo ride out to see Matopos. Stay over if one still can.
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Offline evansv

Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #216 on: February 07, 2014, 06:30:46 am »
If you're into fishing, there used to be great Tiger fishing at Deka.

I love Botswana, particularly the Okavango. I've worked there a couple of times & had a few holidays there too. Great RR :thumleft: Thanks for sharing!
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Offline Tiger8

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #217 on: February 07, 2014, 11:29:46 am »
Awesome Jim, I have been following your trip from the start and wait each day to read the next episode of "Technomadic Jim and the Bushlander, Rides Again"  :thumleft:

Ride carefree but carefully and be safe, thanks for sharing and allowing us the priviledge of "riding" with.  :3some:
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #218 on: February 08, 2014, 10:52:55 am »
Hi James,

Great to hear (and see now by the pics) that you made it through! Because if you didnt survive this trip to Kubu Island, for sure we would get the blame for sending yiy that direction! :pot:

What a big big difference since 1 week before that we were there, we were sooooooo lucky. (See our dry pictures) But it looks like you had a lot of fun anyway! ;) And even you fel down, ok Marly did 4 x in the deep deep dry sand (Or you as well???? )

And So great to see all your pics like this, awesome! Almost as much as water which we had in the Moremi Park when we hired the 4x4  :3some:

Greetings from Marly and Dave (already in Namanjab, Namibia (we're going fast now!))

Amazing stuff. Real way to do Africa. Maybe I must downsize the GSA. Pity I can not upgrade the body.

I met the Dutch Adventurers at Makuzi Beach Lodge in Malawi, where they were stuck because Dave was nursing an infection in the foot or ankle back to health.

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #219 on: February 09, 2014, 11:28:54 am »
Great stuff  :thumleft:
I'm not saying kill stupid people, I'm saying, remove the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

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