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Online katana

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #240 on: March 24, 2014, 01:38:16 pm »
Awesome Jim!
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Offline oldmannorman

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #241 on: April 06, 2014, 04:47:01 pm »
Hey Jim, are you OK, need a fix here.
 

Offline TechnomadicJim

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #242 on: April 14, 2014, 10:33:35 pm »
Awesome Jim!

Thanks again man :)

Hey Jim, are you OK, need a fix here.

Coming right up! :

---

Here's a picture of my camp at croc valley just before packing up. I really like it when there is a thatched area I can just string my hammock under. All the better if it has power, water and a bench like here.



I set off around 10am towards Chipata. Fortunately their were no crazy machete wielding drunks on the road today. I did come across an amusing "shopping center" which I emailed to my brother who's having a baby. He and his wife found it hilarious :



I forgot to mention in my last report but whilst I was on the old petauke road I hit a rock which pinged off one of my side sand springs into the bush. I spotted a workshop in Chipata run by an organisation called riders.org so I popped in to see if they could help. One of these two gentlemen sourced me a new one in 20 minutes flat and even installed it all for 15 kwatcha. Very nice guys indeed!



I also forgot to mention that whilst on the old petauke road I met a retired British policeman called Steve who was off to collect his canoe. He said to pop by his place on my way back for a beer which I did. He and his wife Anna run a Wildlife Education Trust called Chipembele just off old petauke road. Steve showed me round their impressive place which includes a pet Hippo called Douglas, a rescue monkey called Doreen and a few other animals. Steve also showed me his canoe which had a hole in it. He explained he was on a 12 day trip along the upper luangwa river when all of a sudden a crocodile grabbed the back of his canoe and tried to shake him out. Steve then said everything went in slow motion as he lent forward, grabbed his hand gun and turned around to fire two warning shots in to the water. The crocodile then slid back into the river. Pretty scary stuff. He said another canoeist had a similar experience but without a gun and he abandoned his trip soon after. I imagine the constant worry of capsizing it pretty nerve wrecking.

Anyway, after having my spring fixed and grabbing a burger in the Chipata Spurs I headed to the border to cross into Malawi. On the way I passed the usual queue of trucks parked up waiting to cross in.



The crossing went pretty smooth and took about an hour. Nobody was in a hurry and I got my first taste of the Malawian's laid back nature. The visa was free and as usual the Temporary permit was free. I did have to pay 5000 MWK (about 11 USD) road fee. I also had to buy insurance for 30 days which was available 100 meters down the road and cost about 8 USD. Pretty cheap crossing all in all! It rained heavily whilst I was sorting everything out but fortunately stopped on my way out. Below is a picture of the river coming down the road.



No welcome sign in Malawi either. Just this sign informing me of the speed limits. It will have to do! Interestingly the maximum speed limit is 80 km/h which is perfect for me with my top speed of around 95 km/h. 



I set off for Lilongwe and took a dorm bed at Mabuya Camp for $10 per night. I bought some supplies from the local supermarkets and filled both my tanks with petrol as I wasn't sure how many stations I would find here in Malawi. I also picked up an extra 1.5 liters of oil from the Game store and changed my oil that night. The next morning I headed to an Indian barbers for a much needed haircut and shave. It was the full works including head message and cut throat razor. In my experience having haircuts and shaves around the world the Indians always do the best job. Later that day two Italian bikers called Andrea and Umberto turned up at Mabuya. They had driven down from Italy. Nice guys!

Not wanting to dwell too long in he capital I headed north to Mzuzu along the hill roads and was very glad I had the extra fuel as the only pump on the way was broken. I spent the night at the MzooZooZoo which to be honest is in dire need of renovation but the people made up for it with interesting conversation that night by the fire. Not wanting to waste time I topped up my fuel and headed north again the next day.



Finally I get my first view of Lake Malawi as I come over a hill :



I drove straight past the turning to Livingstonia the first time. Considering it's a fairly famous town I didn't expect the turn off to look like this.



The ascent is about 15 bends like this which is great fun on the bike. Most of the road is gravel but some of the steeper corners have been sealed.



I made it up to the top and decided to stay at The Mushroom Farm which is now owned and run by an american called Cameron. The views from up here are outstanding and I decided the only way to go was with my hammock and tarp setup. Here's my setup and the view I woke up to :



A view of some of the small villages below :



Cameron's new puppy "Chapati" :



The next morning I headed up into Livingstonia itself. Its a very strange to see all these old colonial buildings so far from civilisation. I grabbed a tea from the local coffee shop and chatted a bit with the very friendly locals.



Here's the very quiet town center.



Next I headed into the Stonehouse Museum which is probably the smallest museum I have visited on my trip so far. Entry was 500 MWK with a 200 MWK supplement for photos.



The museum was pretty crap to be honest but I did come across this gem which made it worth all it :



Here's the pretty impressive church. I can't imagine how hard it was to build all this in such a remote place.



I ate some samosas for lunch at the Livingstonia Lodge which was surprisingly good. On my way back down I visited the Manchewe falls. I took a guide for 200 MWK on the recommendation of a local who turned out to be drunk on sachets. These sachets sell for about 60 MWK (0.15 USD) for 100 ml of hard liquor :



Here's the view :



Quite a drop too when you stand above it. I didn't want to get too close especially with the drunk kid nearby.



I was a bit disappointed with my young drunk guide but paid him anyway and decided to visit the cave behind the falls with a group of 5 boys who spoke much better English and weren't drunk. We had some interesting conversation about BK (Bible Knowledge). They were quite surprised when I told them of that Christianity wasn't as popular in Europe as it was here in Africa. I then tried to explain why I believed in evolution rather than creationism. To be fair they listened and seemed interested enough. I do find it a bit ironic that after all the missionary work done by Europeans in Africa in the past that we no longer believe so much any more.



Here is the cave behind the waterfall. Apparently the locals used to hide here from the slavers when they came to town.



I paid the boys 100 MWK each for their time which worked out at about 1 USD in total for all 5. It had been raining a little and on my return to the bike the local drunk who had recommended the drunk kid had covered my bike in plastic. He was demanding 200 MWK for guarding my bike. I was not impressed as I had told him when I left that my bike didn't need looking after. We had a "debate" for about 15 minutes which attracted a few locals who were curious what the muzungu was up to. I offered him 50 MWK which to be honest was more of an insult than anything. Of course he didn't accept it. I made a few digs that while he's out drinking his sachets all day I was working hard back in the UK to afford this trip and I'm not going to waste my money having my bike guarded by drunks. In the end I just left giving him nothing with most of the locals laughing at the drunk who made an empty threat that we would "meet again". meh, whatever. I don't like confrontations like this but after a while you get tired of it all and decide to stick to your principles and argue it through. In all honesty though its not worth the hassle and headache for 200 MWK (less than half a dollar).

Here's a nice view of a small homestead to lighten the mood :)



After spending two night at the Mushroom Farm I headed back down the twisty path to the main road. Cameron the owner was looking rough and confessed he had just tested positive for malaria. A sign of things to come :/

Here's a good example of the road from above :



On my way back to Mzuzu I took this panoramic on my phone. It's a beautiful drive with the smell of the tobacco fields as you drive by.



I popped into the Mzuzu Zoo again to say hi to Graham, Chad and Jim and had a BLT lunch. I then headed down to Nkhata bay. I checked out the Butterfly Space but it was a run down and dilapidated place. When looking around I got hassled by a couple of artists to check out their work. Not a place I wanted to stay if I could avoid it. Next I checked Mayoka Village which was much better. This is certainly a place where you could get stuck for a while!

Me, Jimmy (also from the UK) and Haroula from Canada took a local boat out for a spin (quite literally). Despite me looking like i was in control these things take some controlling and tend to spin on the slightest over paddling or wave. Good fun though.



Not the most comfortable either. You end up with a dead leg after not too long.



Every Tuesday at Mayoka they offer a free boat trip which is a nice touch. First we fed the fish eagles. I got these shots with burst mode on the GoPro.



That's Gill right below the bird. You'll remember he's on the GS1200 and we spent a few days camping on the Kariba in Zambia. I think this shot is pretty cool.



Next we did a rock jump where some local boys were hanging out. Really nice to meet some local kids who don't want pens or money and are just happy to have a laugh with you. :)



On my Facebook page there was some debate about whether I had the balls to jump. Just so that doesn't happen here's the proof up front ;)



Lastly we landed on the beach of a small fishing village. This is everyone banding together to pull the net in. I was interested to the result of all this effort. Unbelievably there were only 15 or so tiny fish! You can see in the distance what looks like smoke. Its actually a swarm of small flying ants. When they come ashore the locals catch them and make them into burgers (I'm not joking!).



Life was very relaxed at Mayoka and time flies easily. I decided though that I needed to get move on so I took the Ilala ferry up to Ruarwe. There's a lodge up there called Zulunkhuni River Lodge run by Charlie and Rosa who I met at the Muzuzu Zoo. The ferry took about 6 hours. Two of which were spent uploading maize meal to Usisya on the way. 2nd class cost 5200 MWK and was comfortable enough.



Here's Ruware's beach :



We were met by Charlie on a smaller boat and stopped to collect some luggage before heading to the lodge. This picture really shows the excitement and chaos of the twice a week arrival of the Ilala ferry.



The lodge has a waterfall of ice cold water right next to it and a nice swim and a jump off some of the rocks there was an enjoyable end to the day. The next morning I woke up with a bit of a headache which was not normal for me. I never get headaches. I mentioned this to Charlie and he recommended I take a Malaria test just in case. I haven't taken any anti-malerials on this trip and suspected at some point I may get malaria. That time was now.



Two lines for positive. Unfortunately I had left the treatment I had bought back in Nkhata bay with the rest of my main luggage. Charlie had some treatment at the lodge which was lucky. It was actually a child dosage and it was out of date too. I started the treatment immediately and took it easy for the rest of the day. I started to feel worse as the day went on and after managing to get to sleep that night I woke at about 4am with a bad fever and was vomiting. I felt really rough and was up for a couple of hours. I managed to fall back to sleep and spent the next day taking it easy again. I didn't know what to expect and didn't feel too comfortable being 6 hours by a once a week boat from civilisation. What if I got really bad ? The Ilala came back in the opposite direction the next day so I decided to take it despite feeling a bit rough.

The journey wasn't too bad and the treatment seemed to be working well. I had also stopped taking any paracetamol after I read it can prolong the recovery time. I did have an interesting conversation on the way back with a gentleman named George who shouted everything he said so that everybody in 2nd class could hear. He also occasionally spat in my face as he spoke. He didn't seem to mind too much that I had malaria and had his conversation anyway. I was sweating a lot by this point with the effort of remaining politely interested in the conversation. Fortunately after about 20 minutes he moved on to shout and spit at someone else. He was a nice friendly guy but just difficult to deal with at that time with the malaria.

I had some friends with me throughout which was great. Haroula from Canada looked out for me which was much appreciated. Also Julia and Alex from South Africa were with us at the lodge. I actually met them on the way down from Livingstonia (they were walking up). I spent a few more nights at Mayoka village recovering during which there was some really heavy rain. So heavy it caused a mud slide which took out the bar and part of the seating area :



I'm becoming more and more conscious that my trip is going to end. I'm over two thirds through now and really need to get a move on towards cape town. There's so much to see on the way and I only have 10 weeks left and that includes the time I will need to sell the bike.

My front tire was a little flat and there's not one electric air compressor in Nkhata bay. This lad used his bike pump and the promise of 300 MWK to sort it out.



I paid my bill said my goodbyes and headed south down the lake side road towards Lilongwe. After about 300 km's I reached Nkhotakota. I rocked up at a place called fish eagle bay. For 4000 MWK i strung my hammock up under some thatching right on the beach. The food there was excellent and I had some perfectly cooked fish and rice and settled in for the night.



It was incredibly windy that night and I ended up re-orientating the hammock so it faced the wind head on instead of side on. Made for a much more comfortable nights sleep. I then set off for Lilongwe and made it in time for lunch at Chipiku supermarket using my bike as a table I ate outside the supermarket for about 1000 MWK. I then checked into Mabuya Camp like before and took a dorm bed.

This morning I drove to the Mozambican embassy to apply for a visa but was told to come back tomorrow. My plan is to try for the visa tomorrow and if its available the next day I will stay. Otherwise I will head to Monkey Bay and stay for a couple of nights. I only have 9 days left on my visa so I have to be careful. I may try and get the bike serviced in Blantyre. They also have an High Commission there where I can try for the visa again if I need to. I can probably get the visa on the border but I would feel better having it in advance just in case but I'm not waiting around for it. If it takes too long I will just try for it on the border.

I plan on crossing over at Zobue and heading to Tete. Next I'm going to make my was down to Vilanculos via Chimoio. I may only spend two weeks in Mozambique as I know there's a lot to see still in South Africa.

KM's so far : 19,700.
Live Ride Report : Southern Africa on a Honda CTX 200 // Live GPS Tracking : http://www.whereisjames.com
 

Online katana

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #243 on: April 15, 2014, 06:33:43 am »
Thanks for the report Jim.  Glad you are OK.  Maybe consider getting the proper malaria meds and make sure you kill the little bugs dead.  I am glad you are enjoying your trip.   :thumleft:
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Offline Malibu

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #244 on: April 15, 2014, 12:26:38 pm »
Really enjoying the report... :thumleft:
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Offline Kenzogs

Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #245 on: April 15, 2014, 12:44:55 pm »
Jim,

If you are here in MaputoMatola before the 30th we have a spot for you to stay.

Ken
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Every road has to lead somewhere - even if it is a dead-end.
 

Offline oldmannorman

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #246 on: April 15, 2014, 04:40:25 pm »
Thanks Jim. Enjoying your RR. Strongs with the malaria.
 

Offline lj111

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #247 on: April 15, 2014, 04:43:08 pm »
Lekker rr!!

Thanks Jim  :thumleft:
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Offline Cronje Rademan

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #248 on: April 27, 2014, 08:13:45 pm »
Hi Jim
Like your ride report a lot keep it coming. Just on a serious note and I hope you get this before you leave Chimoio. There is an issue with rebels on the EN1 between the village of Muxungue and Rio Save. You should get proper advice from the locals before you head down to Vilankulos.
I work as an overland tour guide and I traveled that stretch of road a few times last year. We had to travel with a military convoy for the 100km stretch that is occupied by the rebels. One of our trucks were shot at last year, luckily we had 5 soldiers with AK's and LMG's that were firing back into the bush all while the convoy was moving at 120km/h. Our clients on the overland truck got a massive scare. Luckily the truck weren't hit.
Sorry if it may come across a bit harsh but please don't risk your safety.
Any way I hope you get this before you leave Chimoio. If you are in the area for a while and want to do something you can head to Lake Chicamba which is 40km west of Chimoio on the road heading to the Zim border. There is a fishing camp with a little private game reserve called Casa Msika if you want to check it out.

When you get to Vilankulos there's quite a few nice campsites/backpackers on the beachfront. A place we always use is Beach Bums (the old Smuggler's Inn), nice rooms, good food and always lively. They are next to the old harbor. When you there take a dhow trip to the Bazaruto archipeligo. You can do day trips to go and snorkel on the reefs of the island or an overnight camp trip on the island. Just ask at Beach Bums about that.

Good luck with the rest of your travels.

« Last Edit: April 27, 2014, 08:27:57 pm by Cronje Rademan »
 

Offline TechnomadicJim

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #249 on: April 27, 2014, 08:33:57 pm »
Thanks for the report Jim.  Glad you are OK.  Maybe consider getting the proper malaria meds and make sure you kill the little bugs dead.  I am glad you are enjoying your trip.   :thumleft:

Cool 8) I'm feeling absolutely fine right now so I'm sure its sorted.

Really enjoying the report... :thumleft:

Excellent, glad your into it!

Jim,

If you are here in MaputoMatola before the 30th we have a spot for you to stay.

Ken
+258843034961

Thanks Ken. That's very kind of you. Unfortunately I'm not going to be in Maputo area for probably another couple of weeks. I'm going to be spending some time in Vilaculous and Tofo first then working my way down. If you are around when I do pass then it would be great to meet up for a coffee or a beer!

Thanks Jim. Enjoying your RR. Strongs with the malaria.

All good now oldmannorman. :) To be honest I think I got off lightly. The dengue fever I had in Thailand was much worse...

Lekker rr!!

Thanks Jim  :thumleft:

Cheers man!!

Hi Jim
Like your ride report a lot keep it coming. Just on a serious note and I hope you get this before you leave Chimoio. There is an issue with rebels on the EN1 between the village of Muxungue and Rio Save. You should get proper advice from the locals before you head down to Vilankulos.
I work as an overland tour guide and I traveled that stretch of road a few times last year. We had to travel with a military convoy for the 100km stretch that is occupied by the rebels. One of our trucks were shot at last year, luckily we had 5 soldiers with AK's and LMG's that were firing back into the bush all while the convoy was moving at 120km/h.
Any way I hope you get this before you leave Chimoio. If you are in the area for a while and want to do something you can head to Lake Chicamba which is 40km west of Chimoio on the road heading to the Zim border. There is a fishing camp with a little private game reserve called Casa Msika if you want to check it out.

Good luck with the rest of your travels.

Thanks for the heads up Cronje Rademan. I have been monitoring the situation for a while now and getting local advice here in Chimoio. The situation is calm right now and there hasn't been an incident in over 3 months which is good. I'm leaving Chimoio tomorrow for the convoy and funnily enough I rode round Lake Chicamba today! Coincidence, heh! Thanks again for chiming in and checking out my ride report :).

There's an update coming soon. Will write it up and post it when I make it to Vilanculos. Stay tuned!
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 #250 on: April 28, 2014, 03:17:40 pm »
Thanks Jim, enjoying your RR  :thumleft: :sip:
 

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #251 on: April 29, 2014, 03:51:43 pm »
Excellent RR - Just finished reading the whole thing up to now. Enjoy your journey further and will keep an eye on your progress.

Let us know if and when you pass Durban, so we can have a beer !
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Offline TechnomadicJim

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #252 on: May 07, 2014, 07:29:53 pm »
Thanks Jim, enjoying your RR  :thumleft: :sip:

Great :) Thanks for tuning in!

Excellent RR - Just finished reading the whole thing up to now. Enjoy your journey further and will keep an eye on your progress.

Let us know if and when you pass Durban, so we can have a beer !

Wow, thanks for reading the whole way through! Will let ya know for sure. Here's another installment for you :

---

After unsuccessfully obtaining a visa for Mozambique I decided to head down to Cape Maclear. It was only about 300 km's and the route across the hills is a particularly nice ride. Lots of twisty roads and amazing views. I got some great video on this drive too.



There's so little traffic on the Malawian roads I decided to pose for a photo to take a break.



I arrived at Cape Maclear and on a recommendation decided to stay at Fat Monkeys. Its a really nice, well run place with dorms literally next to the beach. I hung out with two Scottish guys for a couple of days and just chilled.



Next I headed south again to Liwonde National Park and stayed at Liwonde Safari Camp. I went on a boat safari but it wasn't that great. I saw 3 elephants from a distance and a few hippos. Perhaps it was the wrong time of year or something. I also think I was spoiled by the excellent safaris I did in Zambia. I also found the prices at the safari camp to be quite expensive too. Dinner was $15 for a buffet with no other options. Here's my hammock camp.



Being conscious of my time running out (only 2 months left!) I headed south again to Zomba and checked into Pakachere Backpackers. It's a very well run place that seems mostly setup for volunteering but did me fine. I was feeling quite ill with a bad stomach when I arrived so slept for most of the afternoon and then chilled out the following day to get try and improve. 

Feeling a bit better I left my stuff at the backpackers and drove up to the Sunbird Hotel on the Zomba plateau and had a cup of tea (very British of me). The drive up was excellent and I heard that the hiking was good up there so I drove towards the waterfall thinking I might just hike up and see it. To my delight there was a full on 4x4 trail in a loop around the plateau with stunning view points. That's Mount Mulanje you can see in the distance with Zomba city in the foreground.





About half way round the loop is Chingwes hole which is a deep cave system where apparently the local chief used to throw lepers and mad men.



Move impressive in my opinion is the view from there.





The road was pretty crap but easily handled by my trusty CTX 200.



I was really happy to have had a surprise few hours driving round the plateau and really recommend it to any other bikers heading up to Malawi.

Next I drove to Blantyre and checked into Doogles Lodge. I only had two days left on my Malawian visa so I didn't bother trying to apply for a Visa and went straight to the Honda dealership the next morning. Fortunately the guys managed to fit me in and do a same day service for the 20,000 km's. Whilst in the showroom  i noticed they were also sending a brand of bike simply called "Tough". The following was written on the tank! "Read Owaner smanual carefully before driving"



Later that evening I went out to dinner with some volunteers. Malawi is FULL of "volunteers" by the way. I didn't actually meet that many travelers / backpackers whilst in Malawi. We walked to a nice Indian restaurant in town and had a good meal. I brought up that we should get a taxi back as it was late but the volunteers brushed off my suggestion despite me insisting it was a dangerous move. On the way back I was proved right when a guy cut the bag strap from one of their bags and ran off with her camera, phone and purse. The camera's photos hadn't been backed up either. The local's who saw it all happen asked what the hell we were thinking walking around at night especially in that area. I resisted the obvious "i told you so!" but it was definitely a wake up call for them.

I got up fairly early on the last day of my Malawian visa and headed off for the Zobue border. I was following my GPS but forgot to double check the route (it sometimes sends me in odd directions because i tell it to choose the shortest route). It turns out I was being routed a more direct route which I realised when I was sent down this path. Fortunately I was only 20 km's off track and corrected myself.



The whole way to the border I was worrying about having not got my Visa in advance like most people do. The manager at Doogles even doubted they would issue me one there. Leaving Malawi was easy and the staff were very efficient and speedy. I drove the few kilometers to the town of Zobue and was swamped by "help". Whilst collecting the necessary forms I noticed a lot of cash being passed around inside passports and being shoved under the desk which didn't give me much confidence in the process. I asked for the visa application form and he gave it to me which was a relief. It took about an hour of messing about but I managed to get the visa for 
$75. I had my photo and finger prints taken! I also paid $30 for "insurance" which included the temporary import permit. I think this was too high for bike insurance but the "help" already filled out all my forms and had them processed so I just paid it and was relieved to have made it through.

Welcome to Mozambique! My 7th sticker on the bike.



The roads started out generally quite good. The problem was being constantly run off the road by trucks overtaking each other and not caring if there was any oncoming traffic, especially a motorbike!



I arrived in Tete and found it difficult to find any accomodation. I also couldn't locate a Vodacom office so I could get my sim card and data plan setup. I did notice some signs to a camp site and followed them instead. The campsite was called "Jesus E Born" and was essentially some family's small plot next to the Zambezi river. I paid 200 Mets for the night and had a bucket shower in the evening as the shower was broken. I later found out that this camp site used to owned by some sort of religious man (hence the name) but was sold and now not very trust worthy. Apparently some dutch campers had their tents slashed and stuff stolen in the night. Security was pretty non existence there and there was not much of a perimeter fence. This is why sleeping in a hammock is nice... I can keep an eye on all my stuff beside me with just a glance.



Here's the view of the bridge and Tete as the sun was going down.



The next morning I got up early and set off for Chimoio. It was a long drive and mostly uneventful apart from being run off the road by the odd truck just to keep me on my toes. After arriving in Chimoio i found a Vodacom shop and got my sim and data plan. This mean't I could then look up where the Pink Papaya Backpackers was located so I could check in! Having the internet on the go is such a useful thing its one of the first things I try and organise when I enter a country. The Pink Papaya is a nice homely hostel run by a German called Anya who is very helpful and full of local knowledge. She recommended I go on a day trip around Lake Chicamba where she has sent some bikers before who enjoyed it. Unfortunately it rained quite heavily for a few days so I holed up and waited until it cleared and set off.

I had actually seen Lake Chicamba a few months before when I was in the Chimanimani mountains in Zimbabwe. Here's the picture from my previous ride report :



Driving west from Chimoio you turn off after about 40 km's and you will eventually come across the dam. I got told off by security for taking this photo. 



I ate a nice fish lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the lake and continued my ride. To be honest the Zimbabwean side was more impressive.



As the weather had cleared up nicely I headed down towards Vilanculos. On the way I had to join the military convoy which I just about caught 10 minutes before it left. We passed without any gun fire or other incidents which was good although I did hear that a bus was shot at and several people injured a few days later.

When I arrive in Vilanculos I had a look at Zombie Cucumber which was very nice but there was hardly anybody there so I checked in to Baobab Beach backpackers. I had the dorm to myself for most of my 4 night stay which was a nice bonus. Here's a couple of pictures I took around the grounds and the view :





It took a few days of waiting but I managed to get on a tour and dive of Bazarota with Odyssea dive which was amazing. Really awesome place. Here's a GoPro shot selfie from the dune I hiked up :



Beautiful coloured water and dunes.



I did two dives (my first in Africa) on the two mile reef.



Moray Eel :



Shoal :



My best picture of the dive's :





Underwater selfie...



Some fish. I'm really crap with their names...



Finally I get my first puncture! The value was ripped from the tube so I just replaced the whole tube for 250 Mets. I did try and get the tyre off myself but I just couldn't get it off and I was starting to damage the tyre so I gave up and this guy did it for 75 Mets.



Not wanting to linger too long in Mozambique I headed south again to Tofo. I crossed the Tropic of Capricorn for the 3rd time (in 3 countries) of my trip :



I had a drive around Tofo but wasn't that impressed to be honest. I'm not much of a beach person as I find them boring and Tofo felt very touristy so I decided not to hang around too long. Whilst there I stayed at the Mozambeat Motel which is a South African run "boutique" backpackers. Very nice place with an awesome pool, bar and cinema! 



A view  of the beach from Casa Barry.



After only two nights I headed south to Maputo. It was a long slog or a ride. 500 km's. I left at 9am and arrived 5:30pm. It was mostly continuous riding and just to set me up for the day I got soaked by heavy rain about 50 km's out of Tofo. It took about 300 km's before I finally dried. Nice! Also about 100 km's from Maputo I noticed my speedo started malfunctioning. Something I need to work out along with the fact I have just run out of chain lube.

Most of the police waved me on during the day but one guy stopped me took a closer look and just pointed and said Go! I didn't hang around... Another one went through all my documentation with a fine tooth comb and let me proceed because he couldn't find anything out of order. He did question the fact my driving license expires in 2051 which was a weird mistake by the UK DVLA who issued the license. The traffic into Maputo was terrible. I arrived at rush hour and combined with all the road works going on it was a nightmare getting to "Base Backpackers" where I checked in for a couple of nights.

I spent today trying to buy chain lube. I went to the main Honda dealership and they didn't have any idea and just told me to go to Game which I did and as I expected they didn't sell any. Tomorrow I will try Mica and the Yamaha dealership. I also took the front tyre off today and inspected the speedo gear. As I thought the guy who replaced my inner tube didn't seat the gear correctly and its worn down part of it. The guys at Honda will take a look tomorrow. They have CTX's and XL 200's so they should have the part. If not I will get it sorted in Swaziland.

Ideally I would like to leave for Swaziland tomorrow but will see how I do for time. I don't mind Maputo as it seems like quite a nice city with plenty to do. I plan on crossing into Swaziland via Goba and heading for wither "Sundowners" or "Sondzela". I reckon I will setup a base at one of those two and spend a few days exploring Swaziland in loops. Its such a small country it should only take a few days to explore.

As always I'm interested in anyone's feedback on things to see and do, roads to ride etc.. As I'm getting close to South Africa I'm sure you guys know plenty about this area. More long term I'm also looking for a nice itinerary to get back to cape town so please send your recommendations :)

Distance so far : 22,500 km's
Live Ride Report : Southern Africa on a Honda CTX 200 // Live GPS Tracking : http://www.whereisjames.com
 

Offline badballie

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #253 on: May 08, 2014, 08:25:55 am »
Great stuff ! I love Blantyre  ;D, spent many days there on stop overs. Doogles is cool and you meet the nicest volunteers there  ;).

Tete is a dump in my opinion.

Plenty to do in Swaziland, whilst you are there. And as you say, easy country to explore over a few days, as distances are not that great.

Check out Swazi candles in Malkerns

Ezulwini Valley, make sure to have a drink at the Why not, If not pub  ;D

Piggs Peak - the whole area is beautiful as well as the ride there

Riders Ranch in Sidvokodvo just south of Manzini with various bikes all over the pub

Hlane game reserve etc
Cash, Gas or Ass............ no-one rides for free :-)

I did it because I can, I can because I want to and I want to because you said that I couldn't !!!!!!!
 

Online mox

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #254 on: May 08, 2014, 11:51:08 am »
Nice Jim,

Checkout Sibebe Rock, worlds second largest granite monolith and the worlds largest exposed granite pluton, 10 km's out of Mbabane.
Klr 650 , Z800 - My blood is green.
 

Offline Howie-WP

Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #255 on: May 13, 2014, 03:49:43 pm »
Wow.... just read this thread from start to finish.....all the while sitting in an office and realising what adventures can be had if you just do it. Amazing to see so many others doing similar trips through Africa. When sometimes us africans think we have to go elsewhere to "see the world" as it were.

Thanks TechnomadicJim for a very entertaining read.  :thumleft: Cool to see the help and advice offered for places to see as well.

Out of interest as I might have missed it, are you on a sabbatical or doing some work as well? Also what has been you budget for the trip?

 :ricky:
 

Offline TechnomadicJim

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #256 on: May 16, 2014, 09:23:38 am »
Great stuff ! I love Blantyre  ;D, spent many days there on stop overs. Doogles is cool and you meet the nicest volunteers there  ;).

Tete is a dump in my opinion.

Plenty to do in Swaziland, whilst you are there. And as you say, easy country to explore over a few days, as distances are not that great.

Check out Swazi candles in Malkerns

Ezulwini Valley, make sure to have a drink at the Why not, If not pub  ;D

Piggs Peak - the whole area is beautiful as well as the ride there

Riders Ranch in Sidvokodvo just south of Manzini with various bikes all over the pub

Hlane game reserve etc

Thanks for the tips. I found Swaziland and really nice country to visit. Compared to some of the countries I've just come from it feels like a very peaceful and easy going place.

Nice Jim,

Checkout Sibebe Rock, worlds second largest granite monolith and the worlds largest exposed granite pluton, 10 km's out of Mbabane.

I didn't hike it but drove past it on my way down pine valley. A very nice ride indeed :)

Wow.... just read this thread from start to finish.....all the while sitting in an office and realising what adventures can be had if you just do it. Amazing to see so many others doing similar trips through Africa. When sometimes us africans think we have to go elsewhere to "see the world" as it were.

Thanks TechnomadicJim for a very entertaining read.  :thumleft: Cool to see the help and advice offered for places to see as well.

Out of interest as I might have missed it, are you on a sabbatical or doing some work as well? Also what has been you budget for the trip?

 :ricky:

Slacking off work hey ? ;) Thanks for taking the time to read it through. It makes it all the more worth it when I know people are enjoying it.

I'm a techie and work online while I travel so I still get paid. I've been travelling on and off (50% Europe downtime 50% world travel) like this for the past 6 or so years but this is my first pure motorbike trip. I actually can't imagine travelling any other way from now on so I'm sure there will be more adventures to come. You're always planning the next trip in your head. Plenty of time to think when you are on the road. Budget is a tough one to figure as I'm still earning but I plan on going through all my bank statements and working it out at the end. I will post it up. I am quite curious about it too!

On with the ride report :

The guys at Honda Maputo were pretty useless and didn't have the part or any chain lube and couldn't tell me where I could buy any! Do they not lube their chains at all ? Anyway I left Maputo and headed west through Matola. I popped into the Yamaha dealership and managed to buy some chain lube there.

Leaving Mozambique was quick and easy. Entering Swaziland was even easier! They didn't even require a TIP or check any of my documentation. I paid 50 rand road tax and that was it.



The guys watched as I stuck my Swaziland sticker on the bike too.



I had lunch in Sideki and sorted out an MTN sim card. MTN are the only provider in Swaziland on account of the king apparently owning a 30% share and banning all competitors. On my way to Manzini I was stopped by the Swazi police for a license check. He was curious about my GoPro so I managed to get this picture.



I headed straight for Sundowners Backpackers and checked in late afternoon. Its a really nice and comfortable place to base yourself and I heard from some of the peace corp volunteers that its the best backpackers in the country.

I was still having trouble with my speedo and noticed Carson Motors just outside Manzini so I popped in the next morning and they replaced the special washer inside for 90 rand.  Below is a picture of the old one. You can see how its worn away where it wasn't seated properly. Unfortunately though this didn't totally fix my problem. The speedo is fine when you are accelerating but when you engine break or cruise it's all over the place. I'm due a service soon so will have it sorted properly then. I reckon the park this washer meshes with is worn too.



The guys in the dealership were very helpful and pretty amazed that I had taken the CTX so far. They have a lot of them in Swaziland so they know the bike well.

That evening I drove up the hill behind the backpackers and watched the Swazi sun set. I also got a nice time lapse video of it too.



I had a lie in the next morning which is easily done at Sundowners, a very comfortable place! I headed out on the bike through Pine valley and past Sibebe to Malolotja Nature Reserve. There was no fee to enter the park and they didn't seem to care I was on a bike which was unusual. I rode all the way around the park for a few hours and took in the awesome views :





That evening I had a few beers and a chat with Sergio the owner who rides a GS 1200. Also staying at Sundowners was Max who rides a KLR 650. We all agreed to head out the next day to explore one of Sergios routes in the South West of Swaziland. You can see Max behind me on the KLR.



Stopping for a few pictures.





Awesome view point behind one of the cell towers.



Sergio and I.



Nice trails through the forests.



You can view or download our route here (in GPX format).

Being very aware of the end of my trip looming and after 5 days in Swaziland I decided it was time to head back into South Africa. Here's the route I took as suggested by Max. Mostly tar but with around 20 km's or gravel it was a scenic route towards the border.







Now the flags are building up on the front of the bike people often stop for a look and read out loud all countries I've visited so far. Here's a picture of four guys talking about my bike.



The border crossing itself was pretty straight forward. The fact I had already been in South Africa did cause them a little problem but I have a flight booked for the 30th of June which put them at ease. The police also wanted to check my passport and then driving license but when he saw we were the same age (32) he didn't care about my license any more... weird.



The road beside pongolapoort dam.



I shouldn't really have left it so late to leave as the sun was starting to set and I still had 50 km's of gravel to drive before I made it in to Sodwana. Still I made it just before dark and checked in to Natural Moments Backpackers and got a room for 150 rand per night for two nights. The next morning I headed next door and managed to get on a lunchtime dive to the Stringer dive site on the 2 mile reef.



Underwater there are fish.



Including this Potato bass who was very friendly and curious. I've never seen one before but one of the divers was banging on the floor and it came right up and was very interested in what he was doing. Amazing.



The next morning I headed down the coast to St Lucia and checked in to Budget Backpackers. Being low season I have a whole dorm to myself for 150 rand a night. I plan on going to the crocodile center and visiting the beach today.

Not exactly sure where I will go tomorrow but I may pop in to Durban to get the bike serviced on Monday. As always if there are any suggestions I'm all ears.
Live Ride Report : Southern Africa on a Honda CTX 200 // Live GPS Tracking : http://www.whereisjames.com
 

Offline oldmannorman

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #257 on: May 16, 2014, 06:51:46 pm »
It's been a pleasure following your adventure. Keep it coming. If you have another service in George, (like your 1000 service) give me a shout. Would like to meet you.
 

Offline The Badger

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #258 on: May 18, 2014, 06:23:21 pm »
Thanks for the enjoyable and informative rr....:thumleft:

Oh..... and it was good meeting you today.
Good friends and fresh mud......

It is not about what you ride...... but WHO you ride with !
 

Offline EssBee

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Re: Southern Africa on a Honda CTX200 Bushlander
« Reply #259 on: May 19, 2014, 07:54:39 am »
Thanks for the enjoyable and informative rr....:thumleft:

Oh..... and it was good meeting you today.

as above...+1 !!!!!