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Author Topic: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander  (Read 14703 times)
TechnomadicJim
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #220 on: February 13, 2014, 09:30:44 am »

Jim when in Bulawayo ride out to see Matopos. Stay over if one still can.

Thanks Chris. I did just that for my first night in Zim. See below.

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 icon_thumleft Thanks for sharing!

I haven't done much fishing in the past but thanks for the advice Smiley Moremi is my favorite national park so far. There's just so much game there! Thanks for tuning in evansv!

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"  icon_thumleft

Ride carefree but carefully and be safe, thanks for sharing and allowing us the priviledge of "riding" with.  3some

haha Smiley Excellent! Its great to be able to share it with you. I'm having an awesome time and its made even better knowing people like yourself are along (virtually) for the ride Smiley

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.

Small world! I still chat to them on Facebook and hope to meet them again when I'm back in Europe. Dave's had a few scrapes for sure!

Great stuff  icon_thumleft

Thanks Ratt! Another 4 months worth still to come. Stay tuned!

---

I spent a few more days at the backpackers before heading to Francistown as there was a lot of rain. I needed time to setup my new laptop anyway as my old one had broken. A new one (Lenovo G500) cost me 3500 Pula which wasn't bad and I needed it for my work. I'm still lugging the old one around and need to ditch it somewhere.

While at the backpackers I met Alex from Russia on a Namibian registered TransAlp :



After the weather cleared I set off on the long boring drive to Francistown. The only thing of interest that happened was when a lorry tire went straight over a cow pat and splatted me all over with cow dung. Cheers! Arriving late in the afternoon I found some accommodation at a random "Luxury" guest house that actually wasn't so luxury and cost 350 Pula per night. I went out and ate a burger a Spurs for dinner. Nice! my first time in one of those joints.

The next morning I packed up and headed the 100 km's to the border post. Leaving Botswana was straight forward and I also changed my last Pula into Rand (they didn't have any small USD left). Then I headed towards the Zimbabwe Plumtree crossing. You are fist greeted by this not so welcoming welcome sign :



I have to admit that I was unsure how the border would be. Half the people I spoke to told me how dangerous Zim was and they always had a story to tell of a friend of a friend who ended up in jail and had to pay big bribes etc... The other half told me what a beautiful country it was. My gut told me that all would be fine. I usually find countries that are the poorest or have had some issues in the past (Colombia for example) are the friendliest.

The visa and fee's process was very efficient and fast. I paid $55 for a 30 day single entry visa and about $36 for the bike stuff. I got given receipts for all payments and even had a laugh with the guys and girls who worked behind the counters. The whole process took 30 minutes. I was relieved and happy everything was fine and I made it into Zim!. I stopped off at Plumtree town to buy a EcoNet sim card for my phone. It cost $1 and the guy also enabled the 3G and put a 500mb data bundle on there for $20. Internet sorted. Next I stopped for lunch. Chicken, rice and cabbage for $3.20 and very good too.

As recommended my chrisL I headed to Matabos National Park for my first night which is 30 km's south of Bulawayo. Here's the map at the main gate :



All the rangers seemed to have guns here which was a bit odd considering how little game there is. A few leopards and Rhino and some eagles. The ranger told me most people came here for the scenery. She also said motorbikes were not allowed. Very disappointing Sad I think she took pity on me or got sick of my questions because she made a phone call and the manager was prepared to make an exception and let me stay for one night provided I didn't tour the place and just went straight to the camp site via the Rhodes grave. Result! It cost $15 for me $10 for the bike and $8 to camp.

I rode up to the world view point where Cecil John Rhodes grave was and had to pay a further $10 to see it and $1 for the guide... hmm... To be fair the guide Eddy was very good and well worth the $1. I just resented a fee within a place I had already paid a fee to get into... Anyway... the Grave :



Here's the memorial to the Shangani patrol :





The view up here was amazing! Awesome colours :







The sun was starting to go down so I drove down to the Maleme dam rest camp and set up. There were some horses around and later that night one of them woke me up rifling through my food bag!



Three Austrians (Charlie, Bruno and Fritz) were also at the camp site in a 4x4 and they kindly offered me a beer and we had a nice chat and a good laugh in the evening.

The next morning I hung around after the Austrians left and took my time packing and riding out of the park.  Here's the lake :



Also the Dam :



Nice scenery :



Cool Rocks :



After leaving the park I headed back into Bulawayo. I really had no idea what I would do next. I was in that travelers state of limbo where you have nowhere to go nowhere to stay and no idea. I bought some lunch and decided it was too late to head to Vic falls or Greater Zimbabwe ruins so I was going to have to stay in Bulawayo. I started to drive around first trying to find a Youth Hostel from my GPS that didn't exist then I checked out the local camp ground / caravan park in town which looked good. Only $9 too. I tried the Holiday Inn next. They wanted $150! My last try as the "Hilltop Motel" which is about 8-9km's out of town. I pulled in and it seemed more like a school than a Motel. It was now a school. The "Theological College of Zimbabwe" no less! Anyway... I got chatting to John who works there told him how impressed I was with Zimbabwe and he introduced me to the receptionist and insisted they find me a bed at a good price. So here I am sitting in my own big apartment with kitchen bathroom and 5 beds all to myself and only $20 a night. Result! I just hope they don't expect me to attend classes today! If they do I'm already late writing this ride report...

So I'm staying a couple of nights and my plans are to go to the museums in Bulawayo today and then head to Masvingo tomorrow to visit Greater Zimbabwe for a couple of nights. After that I shall probably head up to Harare then to Lake Kariba. I hope to get the 24 hour ferry down the lake and then visit Vic Falls. I feel that's a pretty good tour of Zim and much better than just going to Vic falls like most other visitors. I'm interested to know anyone's thoughts or suggestions ?
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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 #221 on: February 13, 2014, 05:59:13 pm »

Hi Jim

You seem to have most things sorted.  My suggestion is that when you leave Masvinga continue heading east towards Mutare via Birchenough Bridge. Mutare is on the edge of the escarpment which looks down onto Mozambique, and you will be in some great biking country.  Leaving Mutare head towards Nyanga and where is a great old colonial place, TheTrout Beck Inn to stay at.  Somewhat reminiscent of areas in Scotland / Ireland.

This route is longer and more interesting than taking the direct route from Masvinga to Harare but is well worth it more so as you are not pressed for time.

If you can get on the ferry, especially the Sea Lion, it is a great experience and takes about 23 hours from Kariba to Mlibizi. From here the road brings you out almost opposite one of the entrance to Hwange National Park.  Well worth a visit if you can cadge a lift in.

From there it is an easy ride towards Vic Falls.

PS. your wet ride through the pans etc. was great and another reason why, when we met in Swakopmund why I supported your decision i.r.o. smaller bikes.

Continue to live the dream.
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #222 on: February 14, 2014, 11:03:41 am »

Hi Jim

Great Pics and great story icon_thumleft
Already excited to hear more about Zimbabwe and your traveling process ...

when you're at Vic-Falls and search for accomodation, try "Shoestrings backpackers" or "Victoria Falls backpackers" - think it's affordable and nice ... Will also be at Vic-Falls in March, maybe we can meet there if you have time? Would be cool  Smiley   

Enjoy your trip!!

Greetings from Lennart, Tutta and Patricia :-)

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #223 on: February 21, 2014, 02:38:49 pm »

Hi James,
just found an interesting link and read something about Lake Kariba and the Kariba Ferry Service - sounds interesting. Don't know if you already know that page  Huh?
Maybe you can just check: http://www.afrizim.com/Houseboats/Kariba-Ferry.asp - might be interesting for you as well  Smiley

Bon Voyage and take care  Grin
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #224 on: February 21, 2014, 04:17:25 pm »

Hi Jim
If you are at Vic Falls and you want to stay at the Zambian side, please go to Maramba Lodge. All the bikers stay there and the management couple Ruth and Brad will give you an excellent deal.
I can really recommend it and it is only about 1 km from the falls on the banks of the Maramba River.
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #225 on: February 22, 2014, 10:09:27 am »

Hi Jim

You seem to have most things sorted.  My suggestion is that when you leave Masvinga continue heading east towards Mutare via Birchenough Bridge. Mutare is on the edge of the escarpment which looks down onto Mozambique, and you will be in some great biking country.  Leaving Mutare head towards Nyanga and where is a great old colonial place, TheTrout Beck Inn to stay at.  Somewhat reminiscent of areas in Scotland / Ireland.

This route is longer and more interesting than taking the direct route from Masvinga to Harare but is well worth it more so as you are not pressed for time.

If you can get on the ferry, especially the Sea Lion, it is a great experience and takes about 23 hours from Kariba to Mlibizi. From here the road brings you out almost opposite one of the entrance to Hwange National Park.  Well worth a visit if you can cadge a lift in.

From there it is an easy ride towards Vic Falls.

PS. your wet ride through the pans etc. was great and another reason why, when we met in Swakopmund why I supported your decision i.r.o. smaller bikes.

Continue to live the dream.

Hi Chris Smiley Hope you are well!

I was hoping you would chime in. Thanks! I just emailed the ferry company and unfortunately they are shut until the 31st March as its too quiet to run at the moment. Damn shame! Was looking forward to it since you mentioned it in Swakopmund!

Hi Jim

Great Pics and great story icon_thumleft
Already excited to hear more about Zimbabwe and your traveling process ...

when you're at Vic-Falls and search for accomodation, try "Shoestrings backpackers" or "Victoria Falls backpackers" - think it's affordable and nice ... Will also be at Vic-Falls in March, maybe we can meet there if you have time? Would be cool  Smiley   

Enjoy your trip!!

Greetings from Lennart, Tutta and Patricia :-)

Hey :)Thanks for the tip! I should be there at the same time if everything goes to plan. Shoestrings looks nice. I heard from Anica said that you're all going to be there. WIll be cool to see you all again Smiley

Hi James,
just found an interesting link and read something about Lake Kariba and the Kariba Ferry Service - sounds interesting. Don't know if you already know that page  Huh?
Maybe you can just check: http://www.afrizim.com/Houseboats/Kariba-Ferry.asp - might be interesting for you as well  Smiley

Bon Voyage and take care  Grin

Yes, Thanks. Chris mentioned this a while ago. See above Smiley

Hi Jim
If you are at Vic Falls and you want to stay at the Zambian side, please go to Maramba Lodge. All the bikers stay there and the management couple Ruth and Brad will give you an excellent deal.
I can really recommend it and it is only about 1 km from the falls on the banks of the Maramba River.


Thanks Smiley Will check it out.

---

Kilometers so far 14,000.

I visited the Natural History Museum in Bulawayo. Entrance was $5 and well worth spending an hour or two. Next I visited the National Art Gallery and got chatting to some local artists for a few hours.  Very interesting conversation and we went for a couple of beers at the roof top Horizon bar in town. Nice place with a pool overlooking Bulawayo. Beers were $1.50. Not bad at all!

I also got chatting to the girl who worked at the art gallery cafe and mentioned how I was interested in obtaining some Zim dollars as a souvenir and she kindly brought some in the next day including a 10 trillion dollar note. After having some coffee and early lunch I headed off to Masvingo. After about 33 km's I was checking my speedo and it suddenly zeroed out my speed. Something to fix when I got some time.

300 km's or so later I arrived in Masvingo where I checked into the Backpackers rest. It's not even really a backpackers but more of a crappy hotel. Its a dirty nasty place so stay at the ruins themselves as it's cheaper and better in almost every way. Anyway I paid $25 for a poor excuse of a room and couldn't wait to check out.

About 30 km's south of Masvingo are the Great Zimbabwe ruins. On the way I came across yet another burned out car. There seems to be a lot of these littering the sides of the roads.



I paid $10 to get into the park and started to make my way up towards the Hill Complex.



I kept coming across these weird creatures. No idea what they are ?



Some of the entrances to the Hill Complex





Here's whats on the top.



The walls were up to 5 meters tall and have used no mortar.



The view from the top is impressive :







Here's one taken with my GoPro looking out in the other direction.



Also the lake in the distance.



I took a walk down to the great enclosure and the Shona village.



I spent roughly two hours exploring the ruins and wish I had stayed there rather than in the crappy Backpackers Rest in Masvingo. I think I remember the price of accommodation being about $20 for a single chalet at the ruins.

After leaving the ruins I headed towards Mutare after the recommendation from Chris (1up4adv). At about the halfway point I crossed the old Birchenough bridge. They have banned heavy vehicles as I think the bridge is a bit worse for wear.



Zimbabwe's eastern highlands have some awesome scenery. A real nice change from the flat lands of Namibia and Botswana. Lots of nice twisty roads and peaks with awesome views. Perfect biking country. The photo's and video I took doesn't really do it justice.



When I arrived in Mutare I went straight to Ann Bruce Backpackers. I was welcomed by Ann who has been running the place forever it seems. Its her residential house right in town with 4-5 rooms converted into doubles triples and dorms from $15 per night. A very comfortable and chilled out place to be. Ann is very sociable and full of stories and advice. A great place to get some down time. In fact I spent the last 6 nights there!

Now I had some time I started to look at the speedo problem and soon figured out I had snapped my speedo cable. It had rusted. Probably from the Makadikadi pans crossing. I headed off into town and found two! bike shops. I managed to pick up a replacement for $18. Whilst in the bike shop I came across these Chinese GY3 bikes.

This 125cc was $1750.



This 200cc was $2250. I wonder what the quality is like on these bikes... I would be interested to see a long trip done on one of these.



The second bike shop offered repairs and services. Its nice to see that bikes are more popular in Zimbabwe than they have been in Botswana and Namibia. I had a chat with the guys and they offer a full service for $80. I'm not in need of one for another couple of thousand km's so I didn't bother.



They had 3 XL 200's in for work which is essentially what the CTX 200 is but with less protection and racks.



Whilst staying at Ann's I met a really interesting guy called Steve who used to live in Mutare and he was back meeting up with old school friends and generally being nostalgic about the place. He offered to give me and a backpacker called Emily a lift with him up to Bvumba as he was planting a tree on behalf of another ex-Rhodesian. We thought this was a nice idea so Emily and I bought tree's too.

First we visited the Ornamental gardens ($10 entry) which were still open but not the Tea rooms.



After a wrong turn we managed to backtrack and visit Leopards Rock Hotel. According to Steve the semi-circular balcony was built especially for the Queen and mother. We had some tea and lunch on the other balcony for a very reasonable price.



This is the residence of the former owners which was up on the hill overlooking the hotel. Apparently it was fire bombed during the fighting.



Finally we got round to planting our tree's. We found a nice place near a school that had a good view and wasn't to enclosed by other plants. I have the exact GPS location so it would be interesting to see if they took hold in 10 years or so.



We carried on down a dirt track closer to the school and there was an amazing view point overlooking Mozambique. Steve was asked by a another friend back in the UK  to get a photo as this was the place she got engaged.



The lake.



I finally got round to installing the new cable. I imagine that had I been near a Honda dealership it should still be under warranty. Hopefully when I get back to SA I will get a proper Honda one installed. The aftermarket one I used is about 15 cms longer and isn't so water tight but I made it so with some duct tape. I did take the speedo apart to see if I could add on the 700 or so Km's that were missing since it broke but its all pretty well locked in which is understandable as it should't be easy to manipulate the mileage. I will see if Honda can do it for me as i liked being able to see and show people my total km's so far without having to add 700 on each time.



I'm not sure I mentioned it before but my laptop finally gave up in Botswana. I think the motherboard is at fault as even known good hard drive's (my original suspect for the problems) were causing it top just power down randomly until eventually it just didn't switch on. I bought a new one (Lenovo G500) for 3500 pula in Gaborone. Although its a bit bigger its important I have one so I can continue to work and write these ride reports of course! Smiley I had been lugging round the old one but I finally got some time to get rid of it and sold it to laptop repair shop for $40. Result! I was sorry to see it go mostly because of all the stickers I had accumulated on my travels (including a wild dog one) but I took a photo before I let it go :



A couple of days later I decided to take a day trip to Nyanga national park via the Honde valley.

I passed Redwing Mine.



Beautiful rock formations on the way.



I took the non tar roads into the Honde Valley and fortunatelt it hadn't been raining too much as this mud was still quite slippery in places.



I passed lots of home steads as the valley began to come into view.




The Honde Valley. The photo's don't really do the view justice. You can see the road on the right and the two waterfalls on the left. An awesome twisty drive.



A zoom in on the waterfalls.



I stopped off at the Rhodes Hotel and ate some local trout for lunch. $15. not bad Smiley

I finally made it to Nyanga National Park a bit later than I had hoped and paid my $10 entrance fee. Below is possible one of the worst maps I've come across. Its so vague, and looking at my GPS trace of the trip, not much like the actual shape or distance of the roads.



Nyamziwa Falls.



I was on the circular drive around the park and at its farthest point is Mount Nyangani which is highest peak in Zimbabwe. A visitor went missing up there last month and still hasn't been found.



The road isn't so great. Wouldn't fancy doing it even in a 4x4. Fine on the bike of course Smiley



Towards the end of the circular drive is Udu Dam. There's a guy fishing in the middle. Lots of trout I expect.



Here's a picture of Emma, her daughter Deborah and an Angolan student also staying at Ann Bruce Backpackers.



Whilst in Mutare I noticed a vinyl graphics shop around the corner of the backpackers. Its the place that all the mini van's get their bizarre graphics done. Things like "2 Bad 2 Fail" or "4WD OVERDRIVE" or whatever put on the side of their buses. I was chatting to Costa the Cypriot owner and he got one of his girls to make a union jack flag and my "whereisjames.com" website address. Only cost $5 and looks pretty cool I thought!



After being in Mutare for 6 days I decided to head to Chimanemane as I had heard from several people how nice it is. It's an awesome 150 km ride of great twisty roads and impressive vista's over the valleys. Great motorbiking country. I'm currently staying at The Farmhouse for $20 a night. Its one of the oldest buildings still standing in Chimanimani.

Kilometers so far 15,100.
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #226 on: February 23, 2014, 04:08:50 pm »

Ooops ... As I see you texted the ferry company, I only scanned the report yesterday and didn't see you already talked about that, he he ... shame Wink which destinations are you aiming next? Are you also going to Harare? 
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #227 on: February 23, 2014, 04:27:46 pm »

 sip Enjoying the ride. Keep it coming.
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #228 on: February 23, 2014, 08:05:05 pm »

Very nice keep it coming  icon_thumleft
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #229 on: February 23, 2014, 09:06:02 pm »

Reading religiously. Keep it coming. sip
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #230 on: February 24, 2014, 01:03:13 pm »

Xcellent TJ. Just a note to check, I had to remove my CTX's chain, and there was no master link. If your's the same, better get one somewhere and keep incase something happens to your chain
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #231 on: February 26, 2014, 09:59:18 am »

Thanks Jim, still enjoying your rr and admire your guts.  icon_thumleft
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #232 on: March 05, 2014, 11:04:12 am »

sip Enjoying the ride. Keep it coming.

Thanks! Will do Smiley

Very nice keep it coming  icon_thumleft

Yes sir! Smiley

Reading religiously. Keep it coming. sip

Get ready for the next testament below Wink

Xcellent TJ. Just a note to check, I had to remove my CTX's chain, and there was no master link. If your's the same, better get one somewhere and keep incase something happens to your chain

Yes I noticed this too. I had my chain replaced in Gaborone and this one has a master link so I'm good now. Thanks Smiley

---

I forgot to mention before I left Mutare I knocked up some small flyers to hand out as people are constantly asking about my trip. I had them photocopied for $1 for 20 sheets with 8 to a sheet. I think they look pretty neat Smiley :



Ann Bruce from the back packers recommended I read Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa. Its a great book with an interesting insight into Zimbabwe. Kindle's are essential for travel in my opinion. 1000 books in your pocket and when you get a recommendation you don't have to hunt round book shops and pay crazy prices. I even have the Honda XL 200 workshop manual on it along with phrase and guide books. Handy!



After staying a night at The Farmhouse they had some guests who booked the whole house so the other guest Stefano (from Italy) and I moved up the hill to a new place that was being managed by Tempe the Farmhouse owner. We had the whole house to ourselves and all for $20 a night! The house seemed like it had been furnished in the 70's and then never lived in since. Apparently the owners moved to South Africa and the house has been used by their children and the occasional guests like us.



The kitchen :



The weather was very temperamental this time of year in Chimanimani and so I added my waterproof layer to my jacket and trousers just in case. When I spoke to the national parks guys he told me that normally bikes weren't normally allowed but he didn't seem too bothered so I paid $10 for my permit (no charge for the bike!, cars pay an extra $10), filled up with fuel and set off exploring. My first stop was the Bridal Veil falls which were impressive. There's a nice camp site right next to it where you can stay for about $8 per night.



Next I headed to a place called "The Corner" which I think is named because it protrudes towards Mozambique kind of in the shape of a corner. Not sure! You head out of Chimanimani along "Scenic Dr" which soon becomes mud. It began to rain lightly for the first 10 km's but soon the sun came out again.



The area around Chimanimani has stunning valley views that are hard to do justice with a photo. This view reminds me of my time hiking around Salento, Colombia  two years ago.



Obligatory bike pics. Its amazing how many pictures you take of the bike when you travel by yourself!



Still liking my new graphics. Very cool Smiley 



Still videoing too. I think I have around 60 GB of footage so far. All filmed at 720p High Def. Its going to take some editing!



I had quite an odd experience when I got a bit lost after some lady on the side of the road waved me down and told me to go in the wrong direction. If I had carried on the way I was going I would have been fine. Anyway, I ended up in a small village and started asking around for some directions and was sent over to a man carrying a 4-5 year old. At the sight of me the child started screaming and desperately trying to escape. It was very odd and I wonder why he reacted this way. Had he not seen any white people before ? I was off a track off the beaten path so its possible I guess. Or perhaps his parents had threatened him when he was naughty that the Mukiwa (Shona for "white person") would come and take him away if he didn't behave!

I found my way again and followed an increasingly narrower dirt track that rose over the top of the hills. The weather was worsening the higher I got and the path became loose rocks like below. There was a camp site there and i was literately 400 meters from the border with Mozambique.



I made my way back and the weather was still sunny. Lots of small homesteads growing maize meal can be seen from the track. I notice that generally the rural Zimbabweans seem like very tidy and self sufficient people.





After getting back into Chimanimani town I headed down to Tessa Pools which are at the end of the main tar road that heads down in to the valley past a saw mill and through the Outward Bound school. Not as impressive as Bridal Veil falls these are Tessa Pools :



I still had some daylight left so I headed to base camp where most of the hiking starts from. There's a nice camp site there and a particularly friendly caretaker. Its below the mountains and you can see the road leading up to it and the camp itself to the right of this photo :



The next day I left Chimanimani for Mutare as my Visa was expiring soon and I wanted to get over to Vic Falls asap. Below is the view up to Chimanimani on the road out. You can see smoke rising from one of the many saw mills in the area. The small winding road you can see is the one you take and its great fun on the bike. 



About 5km's outside Mutare I came across this fine eating establishment... I decided to wait until Mutare and had a Nando's instead!



I spent 2 more nights in Mutare and gave my gear a good clean as 4 months in they were beginning to stink! This RST adventure pro gear has been pretty good although I have to wear it without the waterproof layer as its just way too hot otherwise even with all the good venting. This means that every once in a while I get a good soaking but fortunately the Africa sun and the wind dries me out pretty quickly.



The next morning I drove from Mutare to Harare which was only 250 km's. I arrived mid afternoon and headed straight for the Small World Backpackers which is a good backpackers to stay in. I got on the phone and called Honda Harare to see if they had a service center for the bike which they did and they even managed to book me in for the next morning. Perfect timing!

I took the bike in and had a chat with the mechanics. It was the 16000km service so the valves needed adjusting. I could hear as of a couple of thousand km's ago there was a slight tinny sound to the engine. I got a lift in the courtesy car to and from the backpackers which was a nice touch. The service cost $136. The guys did a good job and the bike sounds normal again. I also gave them all some flyers and when they looked up whereisjames.com on the computer they were amazed that my gps location on the web actually showed their service center right now (as it should) Smiley



Back at the hostel I met some nice people including a fellow British guy called Andrew who is doing some sort of medical volunteer work in Harare. He told me a story of how he spent a night in a cell after being accused of interfering with the presidential motorcade! A big misunderstanding of course but pretty scary stuff I imagine. Especially when you are being told by fellow inmates that endangering the life of the president carries a 20 year sentence! We all played a dice game called Dudo that evening which as good fun.

The next morning I headed towards Vic Falls. Being over 800km's away I knew I would need to take two days to get there and decided to go through the midlands versus the normal highway route via Bulawayo. On the way I stopped at a Chicken Inn for some quick lunch and met some nice locals who asked about the trip. About 2 km's out of town I felt for my passport, check, then my camera's. NO! I had that horrible sinking feeling and immediately thought that I had been pick pocketed in the Chicken Inn as my coat was on the back of my chair and possibly pickpocket-able. I spent a few seconds swearing and contemplating driving back when I remembered I had put them in my waterproof bag as it was raining earlier. Phew!

I drove on and came to Kwekwe where I headed west to take my short cut. The road started out fine then it went to a single track then gravel then sand. I was kind of regretting my decision but the road soon became firmer to my relief. After a while I came to a road closed sign where the bridge had been washed away.



As you can see its not too much of an issue for my bike .



As I had all my luggage I got off and pushed the bike to lower its weight in this deep sand. I made it across with ease.



According to my GPS there was a town in the middle called Nkayi with a petrol pump and therefore hopefully some accommodation. I filled up with fuel and came across the Panke lodge which was $15 per bed. Sorted! I was unsure whether I would need to bush camp that night. To be fair there were plenty of places you could.



Nyaki is a small town with a large green square in the middle. At least a quarter of the establishments were bar's. This seems to be the case in most small towns. I ate my standard beans and pilchards that evening and watched some TV shows on my laptop.



The next morning I headed towards Lupane. Stopping for a water break I noticed my monopod was missing off the back! After loosing my last two tool kits and going back to look with no avail I was tempted just to drive on but decided I would drive 10 km's back and if I didn't find it then it was lost. Fortunately it was 2 km's back. Result!



Past Lupane and back on the main highway I stopped for a salad lunch at a restaurant on the side of the road and noticed on my GPS that there was a broken suspension bridge so I headed down a small dirt track for a look. 



I arrived in Victoria Falls mid-afternoon and checked into Shoestring Backpackers for two nights. Cost $10 per night. Its a rowdy place with a big party atmosphere but not the best hostel so i moved to VicFalls Backpackers where I'm currently staying. Cost $15. Its much nicer here but a little out of town.

I headed to see the Victoria Falls on a cloudy (but not raining) day. I paid the $30 entrance fee and spent a few hours wandering around the view points taking photos.











At the end is the Victoria Falls bridge which I will be crossing when I head into Zambia soon.



The weather had been really sunny in the mornings here and I'm tempted to visit again (and pay another $30) to see if i can get a better view and some better pictures. I'm also probably going to head for some "high tea" later at the Victoria Falls hotel.

KM's so far 16,500.
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #233 on: March 05, 2014, 11:21:35 am »

15 000 Trouble free km's! Well done! That part of Zim is so green, almost hurts my eyes, haha! Keep going with this awesome trip and this epic ride report!!

Where to next?
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #234 on: March 15, 2014, 05:49:15 pm »

15 000 Trouble free km's! Well done! That part of Zim is so green, almost hurts my eyes, haha! Keep going with this awesome trip and this epic ride report!!

Where to next?

Hey Vian Smiley Thanks. Yeah I'm quite impressed. Only a broken sump plug (my fault) and a snapped speedo cable. I also have avoided any punctures yet which is amazing. Zimbabwe is right up there as one of my favorite countries so far. Next is towards Malawi then Mozambique and working my way back down into SA via Swaziland and a visit to Lesotho of course. Bearing in mind my slower pace of travel I don't think I'm going to have the time to do Tanzania properly. Next time!

---

As recommended be several people I headed to the Victoria Falls Hotel for high tea with my friend from Katima, Namibia who was also visiting Vic Falls. We bumped into two Canadians from our hostel who were very early for the high tea (3pm to 5pm by the way) and had been working their way through the cocktail menu for the past couple of hours. The high tea was great and it was amusing watching the cheeky monkeys go for the scones on the neighboring table. There was also a slow but steady stream of different animals that would appear from the side of the building and graze on the lawn. I speculated they kept them in cages round the back and periodically let them out for tourists to photograph.



The view was excellent with a rainbow appearing about 4pm and slowly rising above the bridge.



We visited the falls again a couple of days later as the sun was shining but it wasn't really worth it. The views weren't any better. If anything they were a little worse. I was getting tired of Victoria Falls town and being offered crappy trinkets and billion dollar Zimbabwean notes so I decided it was time to cross over into Zambia. My 5th Country so far.



Exiting Zimbabwe was quick and easy and I got to cross the bridge which was cool. The Zambian border post was pretty hectic and as soon as I pulled up I had a few guys hassling me to park here or there but I largely ignored them and parked by the building. Nobody seems to care where you park a motorbike which is good. The Visa was quickly issued and cost me $50 for 30 days (they wouldn't give me 60) then I headed to customs who told me to visit some examiner. I knocked on his door and behind it was a fat man stuffing a huge lump of nshima (maize meal) into his fat face. He was not impressed about having to deal with me so told me to go back and get the woman who sent me. She wasn't interested either so told me to tell him I needed a temporary import permit for the bike. I did this and the guy just stared at me and told me to come back later as he was eating. Fair enough I guess. After about 25 minutes of constantly checking my bike and trying to avoid the "helpers" he came out and inspected my documents. He seemed friendlier now he had filled his fat belly and asked where my South African residency certificate was. Of course I didn't have one although technically I should have had one to have been given my Traffic Registration Number so I just confidently mentioned my SA visa was in my passport and pointed out ownership document. He didn't seem too bothered and issued me my import permit for free. Next I had to pay $20 road toll and 50 Kwacha ($8.30) carbon tax. As I was about to cross through the last gate I was informed I also needed insurance which was purchased from a small building by the gate for 116 Kwacha ($20). Finally I was through! It took about an hour. Not too bad I guess.

The guys on the bicycles make the crossing several times a day ferrying orange juice and maize meal across the border to sell for a profit. Some of them seriously load up their bikes.


Welcome to Zambia! Except there was no sign to take a picture of the bike next to Sad Instead there is a commercial advertisement saying welcome which isn't the same. Come on Zambia sort it out! Every other country so far has had one. I headed to Fawlty Towers Backpackers first but this was full so I moved on to Livingstone Backpackers which was only a couple of streets away.

The next day was good weather so we headed down to the Zambian side of the falls which was only $20 entrance and better in my opinion at this time of year. You will get absolutely soaked though as the viewpoints are much closer to the falls. I rented a double layered rain mac and still got soaked.



The bridge from the Zambian side.



I took my GoPro to try and take some photos but it was difficult with the amount of spray.



After my friend left I moved to JollyBoys Backpackers which has some of the best WiFi I've had since Cape Town. Gives me a good oportunity to backup and pull down some music and videos I've been after. The place is well run and very popular. I stayed for 3 nights in the dorm and met Jacob who has driven all the way from Holland on his Africa Twin without a carnet! Impressive.



After Jacob left Gill from Belgium turned up on a BMW and we decided to head towards Lusaka together but stopping off on Lake Kariba to break up the ride. The drive was about 280 km's and we set up camp in Sinazongwe at Kariba Lake View for 30 Kwacha a night. The food here is great so we decided to stay for a while and chill.



Fishermen on the lake.



On one of the days we decided to explore some of the area. We ate nshima and beans (10 Kwacha) in a town just outside Sinazongwe and chatted to some locals until the inevitable drunk turns up asking for money because he's hungry. These guys really do my head in. You have a nice chat and a laugh with some friendly locals and then we leave early after the drunk won't stop hassling us for booze money. To be fair the guys we were chatting with did have a word with him.



We headed to the lakes edge after following some bad roads but decided not to go any further as the scenery isn't that spectacular and the roads were pretty bad.



We came across these fishing vessels.





So tomorrow we head to Lusaka to try and get out Malawian visa's as we have heard its cheaper to do in Lusaka than on the border. Gill will head south into Zimbabwe and I will continue north east and possibly visit South Luangwa national park and try and do a game drive and see some animals. I've heard Zambia has some of the best safaris. I'm not too sure after that. Probably work my way towards Malawi and cross the border in the north somewhere.

As always I'm open to advice an suggestions Smiley

KM's travelled so far 17,000.
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #235 on: March 15, 2014, 06:47:19 pm »

Awesome fotos & enjoying the ride. Keep it coming. sip
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #236 on: March 15, 2014, 08:22:32 pm »

T/Jim - I really enjoy your RR. Great idea to do it with such a light bike I think.

Go to Malawi and spend a bit of time along the lake. It is fantastic place to chill out and relax. Great friendly people etc.
I could easily ride up there and stay for a few months just chill out along the lake.

Keep the RR going and thanks for making the effort. Lots of us are enjoying it and appreciate it.
Are you coming back to SA again after Malawi/Mozambique?
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #237 on: March 15, 2014, 08:25:00 pm »

Enjoying this a lot ... good luck  sip
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #238 on: March 15, 2014, 09:14:48 pm »

Jim what a nice trip on the little Honda sip
Thanks for sharing , nice photos
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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander « Reply #239 on: March 24, 2014, 08:54:11 am »

Awesome fotos & enjoying the ride. Keep it coming. sip

Thanks again Smiley There;s another report coming right up!

T/Jim - I really enjoy your RR. Great idea to do it with such a light bike I think.

Go to Malawi and spend a bit of time along the lake. It is fantastic place to chill out and relax. Great friendly people etc.
I could easily ride up there and stay for a few months just chill out along the lake.

Keep the RR going and thanks for making the effort. Lots of us are enjoying it and appreciate it.
Are you coming back to SA again after Malawi/Mozambique?

Yeah. Especially travelling solo. Its saved more than a few times when I have got myself into deep mud or dropped the bike fully laden. I'm off to Malawi today and looking forward to it Smiley Yes I will be heading back into SA and down the coast to Cape Town for the end of June. Glad you are enjoying the report! It takes a fair amount of effort to prepare the photos and write it but its worth it.

Enjoying this a lot ... good luck  sip

Cool! Thanks for tuning in! Smiley

Jim what a nice trip on the little Honda sip
Thanks for sharing , nice photos

You're welcome Smiley Here have another report :

---

The drive to Lusaka was about 320 km's but we were low on Kwatcha as our bill of T Bone steaks and camping had cleaned us both out. The ATM's were also conspiring against us. For some reason only Barclays banks work with my Mastercard and the ones I tried were out of service. I was also low on fuel but I found a petrol attendant who would give me a fair rate in dollars for some fuel and gave me change in Kwatcha. Result! I bought Gill and I some Nishima, vegetables and tea for lunch. We were pretty hungry.



After arriving in Lusaka Gill and I checked in at Paseli 7 Backpackers which seemed like the best backpackers in town according to trip adviser. The next morning Gill and I visited both the Malawi and Mozambique embassies to inquire about visa's. Both told us that yes we would need to apply for them but they would take 3-5 days unless you pay a premium so we decided it wasn't worth it and we would get them on the border. I have now learned you don't even need one for Malawi if you are European despite them advising us you did!

Gill left for Harare, Zimbabwe intending to stop for a quick look at the Kariba Dam on the way. I headed towards South Luangwa National Park. As I got ready to leave I noticed this praying mantis on my luggage. I guess he was headed that way too.



I had a long drive ahead (407 km's) and wanted to get away early but I got a text from my local mobile provider MTN informing me they were going to cancel my SIM unless i registered with them so I stopped off at the local shop to sort it out. It took about 45 minutes which I could really have done without but seeing as I was late I also decided to pop into the Game store and replace my 10 Liter fuel can too. It had been leaking slowly for the past month after a thorn somehow penetrated the plastic. I had tried to repair it many times but it always leaked again after a few days. I gave the old one to a random guy on a bicycle who seemed very pleased despite it being broken. I guess he will repair it properly and perhaps get something for it.



I finally got going and expected to have a fuel stop or two on the way but there was none and I was running low so I stopped and asked a lady called Doris who was waiting for a lift to Lusaka. This family provided me with 5 liters for 75 Kwatcha (normal price 50) and I was on my way again.



I should really have bought 10 liters as I had to pay 85 for another 5 a bit further on. I was still expecting a fuel stop but there wasn't any. This is the first time I've had any difficulty getting any fuel from petrol stations (or lack of). From now on I am keeping my main tank and extra can full. I also ate some Nshima and fish for 12 Kwatcha (2 USD) in a small restaurant by the side of the road much to the curiosity of the locals especially as I was eating local style with just my hand. Heading off again I crossed this bridge and was going to stop and make a little drive by video on the GoPro when I had 7-8 children descend on me demanding pens. Instead I just pointed at my ignition switch on the bike and one of the kids tentatively pressed the button and the bike fired up. They loved it. Kids get a real kick out of it when I let them start the bike.



I eventually made it to Petauke which is the half way point between Lusaka and Mfuwe (the entrance to South Luangwa National Park). It had just begun to rain so I headed into the first lodge I found which was Chimwemwe Lodge. It's a very well looked after place. Rooms were 300 Kwatcha and I was tempted but decided to go for camping priced at 50 Kwatcha. I waited for the rain to slow and headed to the campsite and unloaded my stuff into the abolution facilities. Whilst I was waiting for it to stop raining again it started to get dark so I decided I would just sleep on the floor in there. It wasn't the best night's sleep to be honest as I was constantly bothered by mosquitoes but I got some rest.



The next morning I ate some bran flakes and used one of my 250 ml long life milk cartons. These things are essential when you are on the road and want milk but don't have refrigeration. I always carry two or three. Great for tea too. The road was pretty good and started become more hilly as I proceeded east.



I passed through some more towns but still no fuel. Fortunately I had topped up in Petauke and had enough to make it to Chapati where there is plenty. I also noticed that
how popular cycling is in Zambia.



Arriving in Chapati I filled up my tanks again but the pump broke mid way through so I had to wait until they could get it working again so I could pay. Bit of a pain especially as I attracted the attention of a beggar who kept hassling me for 2 Kwatcha which I always refuse politely (I never give to beggars, ever). He became quite angry and kept pointing at my Honda and then mumbled about how angry I was making him and how he was going to get a gun and shoot me. Crazy guy. The petrol attendant had a word and he soon left mumbling to himself. I had lunch at a Steers branch in town and headed north towards Mfuwe. The road was excellent and had recently been tarred except for a few small stretches.



Getting close to the national park entrance where I intended to camp I drove over a hill with a nice view of the land below.



I was driving through some small villages about 10 km's from the park entrance when I came across a road block which seemed quite suspicious. There were no police, just a gang of about 20 young men and boys who flagged me down and immediately surrounded me. There was one guy who was sweating profusely and standing right in front of me with a machete in his hand trying to look mean. One of the boys explained there had recently been an accident and they wanted money. I argued that the accident was nothing to do with me but they insisted I needed to pay something. Next a car just drove straight past the road block and I questioned why they were allowed to pass. They told me they had already paid 5 Kwatcha (less than 1 USD). As it was less than a dollar I decided to just pay them rather than risk getting hit with a machete. They were really happy with their money and let me pass.

I went fo Flatdogs camp first but they don't offer camping anymore so they sent me to Croc Valley Camp a couple of kilometers away. This time of year their camping costs 72 Kwatcha after they add VAT and their 10% service charge. I set up my hammock under the rondaval overlooking the hippo and crocodile infested luangwa river. I had a bench for all my stuff, power outlet and even room to park the bike. Perfect!



Also staying at Croc Valley were two families. One from France who had been on the road for 4 years and another Dutch family who were traveling for 6 months. Here's their impressive trucks :





I saved a bit of money by buying a package deal for the next day. For $120 I got camping, 3 meals, 2 game drives and laundry. We left at 6am for our morning game drive along with a group from an overland bus that pulled in late in the evening. I'm so glad I didn't do an overland tour as they seemed mostly miserable as hell. The morning drive was OK but I didn't get to see anything new. Plenty of Elephants, Zebra's and Giraffes etc.. I still hadn't seen any cats...





After some tea and cakes we headed out in a smaller group of 3. Myself and two Swedish backpackers. Withing 30 minutes we spotted a Leopard on the road. He was marking his territory as he progressed towards us. He passed right next to our vehicle.



We followed him to a clearing and watched him survey the open grass lands for about 20 minutes uninterrupted.



Then he moved on towards a herd of Impalas.







Eventually a second vehicle (full of the most deadly predators of them all) turned up to disturb the peace.



Later on during the drive we spotted two hyenas, a pack of wild dogs and this baby Leopard in a tree :



I decided to use the next day to explore the old petauke road which I was tempted to take instead of coming from Petauke via Chipata on the tar road. I was quite glad I didn't as the 40 or so kilometers I saw was pretty washed out and would have been tough with all my luggage.



As you can see a lot of the bridges were washed away.



The old petauke road follows the river and has some excellent views. I spotted these two elephants on the other side.





There were plenty of interesting tracks on the way too.



After driving about 40 km's I decided to turn back as I was considering a second night drive. I was also told by some locals that the next 40 or so km's was just boring bush driving with the possibility of angry elephants.



I managed to fall off into this mud puddle by spending too much time looking out for elephants instead of keeping my eye on the road.



Apart from a few patches the road really isn't too bad and rises up every now and again to give excellent views of the park.



I tried to take a deviation on the way back but had to pull the bike out of this mud. Having a light bike makes it much easier to get myself out of situations like this on my own. 



The road was really fun to drive and I imagine being able to travel the whole length in the dry season is awesome.



The next evening I decided to do one more evening game drive before leaving. 





Just before we were about to head back we heard from another truck that there were lions ahead! A herd of about 15 were on the road and finally I got to see a wild lion. This is the best picture I took as inevitably the batteries run out on my camera. hmm! bit annoying but still impressive to see. They were so close to us. I got within meters of this male as we drove past.



Today I cross the border and head to Lilongwe, Malawi.

KM's so far 18,000.

Here's some bonus pictures I got from Gill on the BMW :'

Checking out nature reclaiming this digger near Sinazongwe.



Our camp by Lake Kariba. You can see my foot poking out from the hammock.



Enjoying some "Africa TV" with fellow traveler friends in Lusaka.

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