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Author Topic: Africa - Photoreport (Prague to Cape Town)  (Read 47826 times)

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Offline Laban

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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #100 on: November 02, 2014, 05:45:56 pm »

Öthis is mesmerisingÖthanks Xpat..  :thumleft:
..."sometimes the people around you won't understand your journey, they don't need to, it's not for them"...Joubert Botha

...tie my own bootlacesÖ

Offline Optimusprime

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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #101 on: November 02, 2014, 10:35:55 pm »
Hi xpat

What would you take with if you'd had to do the trip again, that you feel would make the trip 'easier'.

My pig has 105000, another 940 days to departure to UK.


I already have properly modified XTZ so this is what I would take now:

However if I would not have XTZ yet, the top of my list would be properly modified XT660R (like on the picture - I already know based on my Tenere mods how to get it to about 60 HP, which is more than enough - of course the engine and suspension mods may affect reliability, but so far I had no major problems with Ten) with bigger tank:

or Terra TR650 with big tank like this (with some more appropriate windshield):

I would also look into some well preserved 640 adventure. I personally would steer clear of 690 though, with its enduro geometry unsuitable for long distance riding, close ratio gearbox and questionable reliability, and I don't care how many km Noah on advrider done on it. That bike is probably already on a 3rd throttle body assembly and did not finish trip through Africa with its prior owner if I'm not mistaken).

But as I said before, it all depends on what trip you want to do - if you just want to make it the shortest way to Cairo and beyond on the main roads, the GS you have is probably the best tool. If you want to do a lot of off road exploring as I would tend to, I would look into the above lighter single options - but not too light as those tend to be very tedious on the long straight bits (even dirt) and there will be lots of them even if you avoid main roads.

Thanks for the info, appreciated.
Cape to Cairo 2017


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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #102 on: November 05, 2014, 08:58:43 am »
 :sip: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :amazon:

Offline Xpat

Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #103 on: November 05, 2014, 11:08:21 am »
Sorry, I'm a bit busy catching up at work. May need to take this week off writing. But will try to catch up next week.

Thanks for support.


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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #104 on: November 18, 2014, 09:15:43 am »
Jy maak nie mooi nie  :laughing4: :peepwall:

Offline Xpat

Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #105 on: November 18, 2014, 10:50:34 am »
I know - sorry, got a writer's block or something and the work push before year end doesn't help. This trip took a year to ride, so will take some time to report on, with few breaks in between.

I'll try to get going again on weekend.

Offline Wayne Duck

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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #106 on: November 18, 2014, 03:41:26 pm »
Magnificent...absolutely magnificent!  :thumleft:
Links to my Ride Reports...
I have listed (with links) all my ride reports at the start of this ride report here:


Offline edgy

Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #107 on: November 18, 2014, 04:45:43 pm »
I`m enjoying! :thumleft:

 BEER..."I drink it when I`m happy or when I`m sad. I drink it when I`m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. Trifle with it if I`m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I`m thirsty"

Offline Steekvlieg

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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #108 on: November 19, 2014, 03:15:59 pm »

Offline KiLRoy

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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #109 on: November 19, 2014, 03:22:25 pm »

Offline african dust

Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #110 on: November 19, 2014, 06:52:06 pm »
huge effort to put it all together for us to drool over. thanks. allows us to live the dream from the comfort of our computer screen.

Offline Xpat

Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #111 on: November 23, 2014, 11:01:20 pm »
Uganda - part 1

I didnít know anything about Uganda, except that a dude named Idi Amin may have ruled there once upon a time. It turned out to be my favourite country of the whole trip - and that despite the fact that I experienced the lowest point of the trip there. The people were generally very friendly and easygoing, and the lush green tropical rain forests in the west with chimpanzees and gorillas provided an impressive contrast the bushy savannah covering most of the East Africa.

For a crash course in history I skimped quickly through the Lonely Planet and learned basics about the turbulent post-independence history dominated by two despotic cretins - Obote and Amin, ruling alternatively between 1966 and 1985. Milton Obote changed constitution in 1966 to become the typical African big man ruler. He got ousted in coup by infamous Idi Amin in 1971 who proceeded to devastate country until 1979, when he lost war with Tanzania that brought Obote back to power. While he didnít achieve notoriety of Amin, Obote was equally brutal and eventually got kicked out by insurgents led by current president Yoweri Museveni. In Nairobi Iíve stumbled upon book Dark Star Safari from Paul Theroux describing his travels on public transport from Cairo to Cape Town. During the trip he paid visit to Museveni, whom he taught few decades back in Malawi as a volunteer in Peace Corps. He seemed to be quite sympathetic to the president and described him as smart guy and one of the new breed of African rulers, who may be inclined to serve their country and play by the rules. Unfortunately just as I arrived the constitution has been changed to allow Museveni to run for the third time (prior constitution limited presidency to two terms), and he is still president now, so it seems he turned into just another african big man holding on to the power as long as possible.

Iíve entered Uganda through a small border crossing north of Mount Elgon NP. This turned out to be my favourite border crossing with very relaxed officers and no traffic. On the Kenyan side the officers spent most of their time gardening - planting and watering flowers in the pots hanging off the office walls. I havenít seen this kind of care shown by state employees anywhere else in Africa. The adjacent Ugandan offices were noticeably poorer and dilapidated, but the officers were still very friendly.

Once through the border I took off west on a winding mountainous dirt road circumventing Mount Elgon from north. The road seemed rarely used (think small remote road in Lesotho) with people and animals the only traffic in between the small villages. The people were noticeably poorer and friendlier than in Kenya, where they were more indifferent to muzungu. Most kids and adults smiled and waved as soon as they saw me, many showing the V sign for victory - the sign of the opposition party in the upcoming elections as I found later. It looked like most of the rural Uganda supported opposition, while towns supported the governing party (by waving three fingers - as in the third consecutive term).

Iíve made it to Chebonet on the north-western side of Mount Elgon NP famous for the Sipi Falls running through the town. Iíve stopped for sleepover in the local hostel and went for a walkabout.

Chebonet with the Sipi falls - the upper one in the right top corner, the bottom one on the left:

Bottom waterfall:

Top waterfall:


Back in the hostel I had to figure out where to next. I wanted to explore north of Uganda close to the Sudanese border. But everybody I talked to advised me strongly against visiting areas north of Nile, frequented by the notorious fuckface called Kony and his rumble of so-called rebels referring to themselves humbly as Lordís Army. What started long time ago supposedly as one of the rebel movements to protect local tribes (Acholi I think) against the Museveni government degenerated into blatant extortion of the local population. Most of the soldiers in the ĎArmyí were children kidnapped from the villages in the north (ironically mostly Acholi), some of them reportedly converted to the army by being forced to kill their own parents. All his efforts earned Kony prominent position on the list of international criminals wanted in Hague. His response was a vow to exterminate any whitey he can get his hands on - and sadly owner of one of the most popular hostels in Kampala - had been killed few months back north of Murchinson Falls.

However I found out from somebody that the north-east along the Kenyan/Sudanese border is Karamojo country. Karamojo are a tribe of fierce warriors you donít fuck with even if you believe Lord is your chief commander and Kony wisely opted to stay away. So it seemed as a possible safe enough option for a bit of exploration up north. That is of course if Karamojo would find me agreeable enough to leave me alone - some local expats told me later in Kampala that it may not be wise to visit solo without some kind of local Karamojo endorsement.

But before I headed north I needed to get Ugandan money. There was a branch of a bank in Chebonet but it didnít allow to withdraw money from Mastercard. I wanted to save US $ cash I carried for emergencies so I set off next day to Mbale - the next bigger town where I should be able to get cash from card, about 50 km south-west. Mbale played a role in the first James bond movie with Daniel Craig - the place in the beginning providing backdrop for the fight on the crane towering over Victoria lake. The thing is - Mbale is about 100 km north of Victoria lake, but hey - who cares. It did end up being a place of my own major misadventure though.

Mbale turned out to be a bustling provincial town. Iíve found a bank (I think Braclayís) on one of the major streets and managed to withdraw Ugandan Shillings from my card at a counter - score! Getting money from Mastercard turned out to be major hassle throughout Africa - even in countries where there were ATMs, as they generally supported only Visa. Outside the bank Iíve bumped into Dominic - a polish volunteer Iíve met in Jungle Junction. Dominic and his praises for Uganda were one of the main reasons I was here. After quick chat I geared up and got on bike to head north.

From the side street where I was parked I had to cross the main street to head out of town. The street was a main boulevard with three lanes in each direction separated by curbed park lane with trees and bushes with regular pass-through openings. There was an opening in front of the side street I wanted to use to join the lanes on the other side. The traffic was busy consisting mostly from bicycles and motorbikes with occasional car waving in between. I waited for gap but realised soon enough that there is not going to be one and that I will have to  bully my way across the street in the usual third world way - except for the occasional car I was the biggest vehicle on the road and therefore had the implicit right of way.

So I edged slowly into the road and as expected the traffic seamlessly flew around me like a river with no worry in the world. That is until I was slap bang in the middle lane when a guy on a motorbike swerved unseed from behind a bicycle loaded with bananas (e.g. not visible at all) and headed squarely at me. I tried to get out of his way and jumped into the third lane, and he swerved desperately to pass behind me, but there was not enough room and he hit me in the right pannier.

Iíve dropped the bike to the ground between my legs without falling over more out of shock than from the impact, which was surprisingly mild. The other guy wasnít so lucky - he flew over the handlebars and landed on the pavement with his head bleeding profusely. He was conscious, but half out of it. Still dumbfounded I left my bike on the ground and moved towards him to try to help somehow. I wasnít much of a use - there was already crowd including Dominic loading the guy to a sedan that stopped by to take him to the hospital. Some of the guys in the crowd were getting quite agitated with me pointing out that I wasnít supposed to cross the street there, but head up the street and use a roundabout about 100 m further to get to the opposite lanes. They were right - but unfortunately being new to the town I had no clue. Dominic seeing the situation possibly escalating out of hand told me to leave my bike there and just head to the police station across the street - he will get my bike sorted.

Still in the haze I walked across the street into the police station, where at the reception I just reported that I just caused an accident - which of course they already knew about from all the commotion outside (interestingly there were quite a few police dudes standing by on the street during accident but watched the whole aftermath with complete indifference). They took me to the station commander seated in the dark sparsely furnished office. He invited me to sit down and asked me what happened. When I reported the accident he told me that I was supposed to use the roundabout, and I confessed my ignorance and admitted my fault.

He started to write down the accident report in hand on a paper torn out of a notebook, while I - with the adrenaline wearing off - started to flap in my head. I have heard stories of corrupt officers in the third world countries trying to rip off westerners and strict warnings to not sign any report without an official from embassy being in place or something. I contemplated contacting the Czech embassy in Nairobi (no embassy in Uganda) for assistance, but eventually calmed down and decided against it - at least for the moment. My instincts were telling me not to make an unnecessary nuisance of myself and disrespect the local authorities as so far they were treating me politely and professionally despite the fact that I have fucked up royally.

So I went with the flow and once he was done signed the report as it reflected what I told him. With that done he told me to leave my bike in the police station courtyard (Dominic managed to get it there - I never had a chance to thank him for it properly) and come back in the morning to finalize proceedings - he recommended a hotel across the street for the accommodation. I went to see the bike and take some stuff for the night and was surprised that except for the squashed right pannier, there was no damage on the bike. I remember that my first thought after the accident was that the trip is over as the drive shaft surely must be fucked - well it wasnít even touched. At least some good news.

I crossed the street tentatively half expecting a mob waiting for me but all was well and Iíve made it to the hotel without being overrun. In the hotel I got the room and was surprised by the support shown by the receptionists who of course knew the whole story as the accident happened right in front of the hotel and recognised me immediately.After quick dinner in the little hotel restaurant I retreated into my room for the sleepless night praying that the guy will be OK and everything will turn out alright.

When I walked in in the morning, the police commander told me that the guy has died in hospital and he has to go to check the body. My heart sunk and my mind was in the full tailspin again. He send me to wait in one of the offices in the courtyard with young plump female junior officer for a company until he comes back. There Iíve spent two hours with my mind flapping big time, while the bored lady officer tried to flirt the shit out of me - I must have had that deep glow of a depressed man. She asked me for my mobile number (the Czech one), which I gave her absentmindedly and then tried to arrange calls with me across the table. When I didnít bite, she asked why I am so sad, but she still couldnít see it even after I explained that killing a man does leave me feeling a bit depressed. She explained that it is no big deal - I will either settle a payment with the family outside the court or go to judge and after paying some fine will be on my way again next day. Now I know itís wrong, but this gave me huge relief and I may have even managed to squeeze out a compliment or two afterwards.

Two hours later the commander came back and told me there was a mix-up and they found my guy alive in another hospital. Well thank fuck for that! We were to go to the hospital to negotiate settlement with the family - he talked to them and they prefered settlement out of the court. I couldnít help it but felt that the whole dead man story was just a tactic to soften me for the negotiations.

The private hospital resembled something out of a third world war zone with multiple patients sharing the same bed and many of them spread out on the ground. They showed me to the room with the guy from the accident - he laid awake on the bed with bandages all over his head and I appologised the best I could for the fuck-up. He was surprisingly accommodating and forgiving. I was also introduced to his wife and his uncle - a surprisingly jolly and friendly fellow (and owner of the damaged bike), who was to lead the negotiations for the family.

I had a Comesa third party insurance that Iíve arranged in Addis Ababa that covered all the sub saharan African countries, except RSA. Iíve proposed to arrange the settlement via Comesa rather than me paying once off sum - not to save money, but rather to cover any possible future expenses once Iím gone. But they were keen on cash - feeling guilty for this whole fuck-up I didnít argue and eventually paid 1000 USD - all the USD cash I had on me (which I used as a lever). Over the following 3 years out of guilt I did end up sending another about 3000 USD, whenever the family presented a believable story of despair. And I was also asked by the lady police office for some donation and gave her some Ugandan Shillings (contradicting what I said in the prior installment about not paying single bribe in Africa - forgot about this one, and anyway it felt much more like after fact voluntary donation, as I didnít need anything from them anymore).

The uncle seemed really happy with the deal and even proposed that one of his sons can fix my box smashed in the accident - for additional fee of course. We agreed and the son managed to hammer and rivet the box back roughly into its original shape in the hotel parking lot.

All this rollercoaster took the whole day to ride, so I stayed one more night in the hotel - this time actually sleeping and set-off again only next day.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 12:11:22 am by Xpat »

Offline King Louis

Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #112 on: November 24, 2014, 12:59:13 pm »
Well written, great pics, thanks for sharing..... :thumleft:

Offline Jondu

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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #113 on: December 02, 2014, 04:29:47 pm »
book mark Tnx man

Offline ArthurS

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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #114 on: December 03, 2014, 01:47:07 pm »
 :sip: its stories like these you talk about around a camp fire... p.s Xpat... was that your only big adventure or have you done some more since then ? 

Offline Xpat

Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #115 on: December 03, 2014, 03:49:37 pm »
Well that was the biggest. Since I've done quite a few trips through Southern Africa - Kaokoland, Mozambique sand monster, Zim, Bots cutlines, etc. You can find one more ride report from me in my sig-line to give you some idea.


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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #116 on: December 18, 2014, 06:23:22 am »
Those two British lad(ies) can smoke your socks mate! That was fantastic! Great writing and excellent photos. Thanks for the inspiration.

Offline pietas

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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #117 on: December 18, 2014, 07:04:40 am »
Can't believe I only now discover this gem. Thank you for sharing it
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Offline Jackol.

Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #118 on: December 30, 2014, 03:34:52 pm »
This is a brilliant report!!!  Thanks for sharing!   :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Re: Africa - Photoreport
« Reply #119 on: July 03, 2015, 09:47:42 am »
Finish this now Pleeeeaaaaaassssse

Ride it like you stole it!

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