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Author Topic: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe  (Read 31791 times)

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Online Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #100 on: April 21, 2016, 10:44:29 am »
It really seems like an awesome trip  :thumleft:  seriously in the sticks

Yes Kobus, it was a great trip and much more 'sticky' than I expected - at least after Vilankulos. I think you guys should consider doing a round through there (I have posted link for the sand track up the coast in the first post), maybe coming back down along the Kruger park on Moz side - I think you may really enjoy it. And it is not far and wouldn't require too much time.

Offline ROOI

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #101 on: April 21, 2016, 11:45:10 am »
Only if u guide us  :thumleft:
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Offline dirtyXT

Re: Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #102 on: April 21, 2016, 08:15:23 pm »
well done, tell me did you pay any attention to the RENAMO threat in your planning?

Nope, didn't pay any attention to Renamo at all. I have thought - wrongly as this thread (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=190641.0) shows  - that Renamo operates only up north, mostly in Tete region.

That said, I didn't feel any threat anywhere whatsoever. Would I go again now knowing about those attacks (the one described in that linked thread happened just to the east of where I was on EN1)? To be honest most probably yes. I know nothing about rebel movements, but I doubt that they will - at this early stage of resistance when they still probably care about external support - target foreigners (which of course could change if the things go pearshaped, which they didn't yet and hopefully will not). Plus I was ridding really deep in the sticks - it would have to be extreme coincidence for me to run into an ambush. I would be actually more worried on EN1.
Probably better that way, would never go anywhere trying to plan for the what ifs. Lekker style

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Offline Poena

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #103 on: April 21, 2016, 09:54:40 pm »
Beautiful pictures. What camera did you use.
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Online Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #104 on: April 21, 2016, 10:16:30 pm »
@Poena: The riding pictures are screen-scraps from videos from Drift Ghost S,  the better quality / real photos are from Olympus OMD EM1.

I will not manage another instalment tonight - will try to finish the report over the weekend. Thanks for following.

Online Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #105 on: April 24, 2016, 02:27:36 am »
Day 16

In the morning I finished for breakfast whatever junk I had left from day before, packed up and set-off. The official objective for the day was to explore little serpentine tracks running through the Eastern Highlands north along the Mozambiquan border. Another objective was to find a nice lodge with bar and restaurant. After 4 days of hard riding and dodgy food, the second objective became the priority one.

I had no idea what to expect from Eastern Highlands, except that few random people who I've met over the years on my travels sang praises about the beauty of the place. My idea was a highland (naturally) hopefully still supporting lots of the original tropical forest, which I knew to be intersped by coffe or tea plantations (sorry I cannot differentiate them in plant form). It turned out that way - kind of like Lesotho but with real vegetation, except the tropical forrest - sadly most of the original forest have been replaced by those ghastly timber plantation. There were few pockets of the original jungle still left in places, but far too few for my liking. But still better than Lesotho, where there is nothing - not even that bloody timber.

The track was the usual mountainious track of hardened red dirt with embedded rocks winding around and over the mountains - most of the time in pretty steep uphills and downhills. It was a slow going. In 5 hours of riding I have managed only about 90 km to Chinaminami where I finally found a lodge I was looking for and took the rest of the day off to try to recover from the prior days rally raid. The place was called Heaven's lodge or some such - the name definitely didn't inspire confidence at first (if something sounds too sweet it probably is either exactly that, or some stinky arsehole). It turned out to be great - run by a white couple with all the usual amenities of backpacker's place. Most importantly they had bar and would cook for me. Score!

I'm not going to blabber much more and rather let the pictures tell the story.

Tea/coffee plantations (feel free to let me know which one they actually are):







































And finally a pocket of the original tropical rain forest:

























Local bikers:





























       

The track winding up and down the highlands:





To be continued.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 02:59:30 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline evansv

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #106 on: April 24, 2016, 08:20:44 am »
 :sip:
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Online Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #107 on: April 24, 2016, 01:38:17 pm »
Day 16 - part 2

The southern half of the track run through remains of the original rainforest and was heavily settled with villages and small settlements with their fields spread all across the valleys.





Must be hard work toiling at this slope:







This little fellow stopped me, shook my hand and said 'Give me my money'. I didn't, leaving him behind to work out more charming sales pitch:















Free State visitors (one way or another - if they weren't from Free State, something tells me they have visited there at one time or another bringing souvenirs back home):











































Furhter north the original rainforest was replaced by timber plantations and there seemed to be noticeably fewer settlements:







I have enventually crested the easternmost range of hills providing views of impressive range standing over Chinaminami to the north as well as lowlands to the east in Mozambique:















From there it was mostly downhill to Chinaminami about 30 km away:



































I Chinaminami I finaly found what I was looking for - backpacker's lodge with bar and working kitchen. As I said the place was called Heaven's lodge or some such romantic name that initially threw me off, but after I failed to find any good alternative, I checked it out and it turned out to be good. With exception of one American student on his way down from Malawi (where he partook in some kind of charity work) on public transport, I was the only guest. But they were busy preparing for a big wedding starting next day, so I could stay only one night - idea of rest day did naturally cross my mind after 5 days of pretty hard ridding.

I have arived in the early afternoon taking my time through the mountains, and spend the rest of the day showeling food and drinks down my throat listening to Johny Cash on pretty high quality stereo (owner was clearly a music affecionady with wall plastered with posters of albums of famous as well as long forgotten bands - mostly from 60s and 70s) and sleeping trying to alleviate a bit accumlated fatigue.











Route for the day:

« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 02:15:08 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline funacide

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #108 on: April 25, 2016, 10:43:37 am »
Awesome, some more please!

Beautiful part of the world.
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #109 on: April 25, 2016, 04:26:22 pm »
Excellent as ever!

I wonder sometimes how Xpat would arrive for a braai at a mates place: I recon he drops in by helicopter from 3000m in a flying suite and then crawls down the braai chimney ... backwards. 

 8)
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Offline 0012

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #110 on: April 26, 2016, 12:44:21 pm »
hahahahaha, awesome Xpat, loving this report, great pics, wow you did some really hard work in all that sand!

looking forward to next installment    :thumleft:


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Online Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #111 on: April 26, 2016, 03:38:51 pm »

I wonder sometimes how Xpat would arrive for a braai at a mates place: I recon he drops in by helicopter from 3000m in a flying suite and then crawls down the braai chimney ... backwards. 


Well thank you Ian, but not really. If anything, these reports try to show how much fantastic riding there is around for an average Joe, if one is willing to get off the beaten track - and is smart enough to get proper bike for the job  :peepwall:

Online Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #112 on: April 26, 2016, 03:40:42 pm »
hahahahaha, awesome Xpat, loving this report, great pics, wow you did some really hard work in all that sand!

looking forward to next installment    :thumleft:

Thanks.

I'm going for another ride for the rest of the week, so will be able to wrap this up only next week.

Offline 0012

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #113 on: April 26, 2016, 04:13:21 pm »
hahahahaha, awesome Xpat, loving this report, great pics, wow you did some really hard work in all that sand!

looking forward to next installment    :thumleft:

Thanks.

I'm going for another ride for the rest of the week, so will be able to wrap this up only next week.


Don't let typing get in the way of riding  :ricky:


I will wait (semi) patiently for my next fix, till then, ride safe  :thumleft:


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Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #114 on: April 26, 2016, 09:47:29 pm »
I always read your reports, they're excellent. :thumleft:  Loving this one. Massive respect to you for doing this alone with an open face helmet.

I am definitely going to take you up on that offer to ride the sand road - Good training for the Amageza, I reckon! Speaking of, why don't you enter?

It would be like a normal trip for you! :peepwall:


Re the KTM: I fully agree its a great choice of bike. I have never ridden on of those 690 Oryx's but its interesting comparison to the 2012 450 Rally Replica, which I was lucky enough to have before I left Peru.

It also has the same problem with the side stand. Just look how high it stands parked on this slope in your pic


Its a hang over from the Dakar racers input I reckon. Its high so you can stand the bike up in deep stand using the side stand. The racing breed coming through.

The same with the short gear ratios. Really, really useful in gnarly stuff but not much use if you're doing lower speeds in deep sand. Again the 450 RR is also the same. On the 690 I understand the part you have to watch out the most for is the fuel pump. Its worth having one on hand for when they fail without warning.

Which brings me to ask: What have you got in those panniers? Not nearly as much as some I have seen, but it seems like you are carrying quite a bit given your minimalist approach.
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Offline Mikie

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #115 on: April 28, 2016, 07:39:48 am »

I wonder sometimes how Xpat would arrive for a braai at a mates place: I recon he drops in by helicopter from 3000m in a flying suite and then crawls down the braai chimney ... backwards. 


Well thank you Ian, but not really. If anything, these reports try to show how much fantastic riding there is around for an average Joe, if one is willing to get off the beaten track - and is smart enough to get proper bike for the job  :peepwall:

Agree there, the GSA isnt the best bike for this kind of riding, how does the KTM compare to your previous XT??
I have been toying with the idea of an XT for these kinds of rides
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Online Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #116 on: April 28, 2016, 09:09:13 am »
I always read your reports, they're excellent. :thumleft:  Loving this one. Massive respect to you for doing this alone with an open face helmet.

I am definitely going to take you up on that offer to ride the sand road - Good training for the Amageza, I reckon! Speaking of, why don't you enter?

It would be like a normal trip for you! :peepwall:


Re the KTM: I fully agree its a great choice of bike. I have never ridden on of those 690 Oryx's but its interesting comparison to the 2012 450 Rally Replica, which I was lucky enough to have before I left Peru.

It also has the same problem with the side stand. ...

Its a hang over from the Dakar racers input I reckon. Its high so you can stand the bike up in deep stand using the side stand. The racing breed coming through.

The same with the short gear ratios. Really, really useful in gnarly stuff but not much use if you're doing lower speeds in deep sand. Again the 450 RR is also the same. On the 690 I understand the part you have to watch out the most for is the fuel pump. Its worth having one on hand for when they fail without warning.

Which brings me to ask: What have you got in those panniers? Not nearly as much as some I have seen, but it seems like you are carrying quite a bit given your minimalist approach.

Thanks BB. You raise quite a few points, let me try to answer them:
- going alone: I genuinely do feel safer going on my own as I'm able to keep my ego in check without too much effort - which is unfortunatelly not the case with other people around. That said, I like the company in the evening, so I have asked around for somebody to join this (and following trips). Usually it is not easy to find somebody who can do it, but I have done part of a trip to Bots with Straatkat, and really did enjoy it (even though he hurt my feelings once or twice, by just gunning past me and disapearing in the distance without me not being even able to try to keep up :dousing:)
- open face helmet: as I said before IMO it is much better choice for adventure riding - much better contact with locals, peripheral visibility and much better ventilation in hot weather (I do not cope with heat well and in full face I usually have to rip the helmet off as soon as I stop - I can sit with open face no problem).
- Amageza: I thought about it for a bit, but it just seems too much effort (and investment into the navigational gear not usefull for anything else) for relatively small amount of ridding. I'm confident that I can ride the tracks, but definitely not in the time frame (I would take more like 3 weeks to ride what they do in 1). Also it seems to change every year from quite technical to relatively easy desert race, and I'm not suer 690 would be the right tool for for example this year which I suspect is going to be more technical. And I do not want to have another very specialised 450 rally bike in my garage (I have 7 now, which I need to trim down as it just doesn't make sense).
- side stand: actually the side stand is probably fine for standard 690. The problem is that with adding the kit, another 14-16 litres of petrol and luggage, the bike sags down and that is where it becomes a problem. I had it shortened now, so not a problem anymore.
- gear ratios: I didin't now Dakar bikes have close ratios. I would expect them to have wider ratio to minimise fatigue - and KTM500 has wide ratio gearbox I think. I believe KTM is just saving money by putting Supermoto gearbox to Enduro. I am now reasonably happy with 15/48 combo (instead of standard 15/45), but of course I have to stay off tar and easy dirt as much as possible as cruising long distances at high speed is just not fun. Of course it would be better with 45, but then the technical riding becomes real pain.
- luggage: I do carry way too much crap, I'm not very systematic in my packing. I have trimmed it down for this trip (I went from 50l rollie bag to 30 litre), but there is still room for improvement (I stopped carry compressor for example - just hand pumps). That said, if you are going on your own deep into the sticks, you need to carry some amount of stuff to be able to survive in the case you break down out there. So I carry: tools (too many I think), spares like bolts, levers, even brake pads, fuel pump assembly and injector (it is KTM after all), full camping gear, including cooking pots (I stopped that on my next trip), if going out into sticks (which is most of the time) I carry 9 litres of water in the bags (+3 in my camel bag), in one section I carried 14 litres (2 foldable jerry cans) of spare fuel, some canned food, clothes (which I have managed to trim down quite a bit), cameras (I carry two + helmet), chargers, etc.

I'm sure you realise this, but this kind of riding is very different from for example Amageza, where you carry absolute minimum for survival and have support at the tip of your finger. I have to be able to untangle myself should I get into bind. That said, I'm working on getting lighter still.

Online Xpat

Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #117 on: April 28, 2016, 09:19:03 am »

Agree there, the GSA isnt the best bike for this kind of riding, how does the KTM compare to your previous XT??
I have been toying with the idea of an XT for these kinds of rides

Well, it depends on what kind of riding you want to do.

I wouldn't attempt this trip on XT. I would be able (and did) ride parts of those sandy bits on XTZ, hell even GSA probably. But after a day or two of that (and that with much shorter distances per day) I would be wasted and had to resort to easy roads, which in Moz means mostly tar.

This trip was like riding every day a loop through DeWildt on big bike (taking into account that I had luggage). So energy conservation is paramount and lighter bike just helps with that. Not to speak about fun, which is just 100 times more on smaller bike.


That said, if you want to ride mostly good dirt (like those roads you did/planned on the last trip - but assuming that you wouldn't do it after few days of heavy rain), I would probably rather recommend XT. That said, if I would go XT route, I would probably go for R and modify it heavily (as I did with Tenere).

Not sure if you are aware of it, but MT07 (twin) Tenere is in the pipeline (there is thread with leaked pictures). Assuming they will keep it at the XTZ weight (which quite frankly is too much) or lighter, that would be my choice then (and I may buy one to complement 690 and 630 for commuting and less technical long distance trips - e.g. like the Christmas Safari 2 trip to Kaokoland).
« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 09:20:06 am by Xpat »
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #118 on: April 28, 2016, 06:40:35 pm »
Xpat, thanks for your answers. True thing said about the ego! I think we all suffer from that one a bit! ;D

You have clearly given everything a lot of thought - Interesting to read about your packing list.

Thanks again for a great report! :thumleft:
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Offline Bushtrotter

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Re: Christmas Safari 3 - Mozambique & Zimbabwe
« Reply #119 on: May 04, 2016, 10:57:01 am »
 :lamer: