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Offline shanti

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Mozambique , Zimbabwe , Zambia and Malawi - a little trip to see the wizard ...
Just finished my brewery building and before I tackle the bar , water system and theme I thought to take a little trip up north to see how other people have done their bars .
As always there was some time spent preparing and looking at routes . I chose to leave at the end of June and be away for 6 weeks or so , just enough time for a mind and soul refresh and hopefully come back with some creative ideas on how to go further with the brewery .
My bike of choice - an African Twin DCT model , initially I was a bit nervous of taking such a big heavy bike on this journey and had spent time preparing my CRF250L for my ride .  Looking back there was some moments that the CRF250L would have been a better option but saying that I would have needed another month at least to enjoy the more relaxed style of long distance riding that for me small bikes bring on . I will go into more detail with my packing at the end of this ride report for now let's just jump right in .
Riding day 1 - Harkerville to Chintsa ( Buccaneers backpackers )  
Left on a cold morning - quite allot going through my mind , took the coastal route via Port Alfred to taste some Kowie craft beer. Met Jacque along the way on his XT660Z - he would ride with me in Southern Mozambique.

 Loving the AT on the long tar roads even though my bike was feeling strange with all the baggage. Easy ride up to Chinsta - Buccaneers backpackers is my go to place in that part of the world , firstly because of their clean rooms and great bar and secondly an old friend from student days runs and owns the place , if you are in the area check it out  , it's a good stop over .
https://secure.staah.com/common-cgi/properties/b2c/Booknow.pl?action=showpage&MotelId=1207&Ln=

Riding Day 2 - Chintsa to Port Shepstone ( Spot backpackers )
The Transkei roads are amazing to do on a bike - great twisty roads in very good condition. Stopped for a break looking out to Mandelas birthplace. Jacque and I had at this point decided on 70km stretches between breaks and that suited me fine - we were eating up the miles.

 Got to Port Shepstone in good time to make a braai and to enjoy the marked increase in temperature . The camping at Spot backpackers was reasonable and the crowd there very lively with quite a few long stay residents from Durban working on a contract there fixing some machinery at a mine .
http://www.spotbackpackers.com/



Riding Day 3 - Port Shepstone to Ballitto
Woke up to an amazing sunrise over the sea , my first of many as we would be following the sea up to Vilankulos for this part of the journey . The weather was getting better and again the riding was easy . Arrived in Balitto for lunch time and after some trouble got ourselves in the gated village where Jacques sister has a house . I never quite got the gated communities - for all the ' security ' it seems that a huge amount of personal freedom is lost , the amount of rules was staggering - a huge amount of money is spent on such a clinical experience , I guess coming from my farm and being here made the differences so much more obvious and I didn't fit in or feel comfortable there . We all choose our path so each to their own I guess. Stephan our third riding partner arrived from Cullinan on his KTM990 Adventure .




Offline shanti

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2016, 10:21:12 pm »
Riding day 4 - Balllitto to Kosi Bay (Utshwayelo Lodge )
Jacque and Stephan had some last minute things to do in Durban for the day so where going to hang for a further night in Balittoo , myself I didn't want to shop or hang around the gated community so I decided too path find for us and head to Kosi bay .
Again great roads met me heading North and suddenly at Hluhluwe for the first time I felt I was on an African adventure with my first sight of a baobab tree , woohooo here we come.
 Got to Kosi Bay by lunch time and after getting supplies for my food for the next few days - I intended to stay in Kosi Bay for a few nights as I had never been there I went out searching for somewhere to stay . My first place to go to was Kosi Bay Lodge and here was my first experience of deep sand with the AT .

I was a bit overwhelmed at first and was paddling along until I worked up the courage and came to the conclusion that this style of riding wouldn't do for the miles of sand I had ahead , it took a few hundred meters of effort to get the hang of the bikes handling in the sand and I was very pleasantly surprised with the ease at which the bike tracks true in the sand and the ease of riding the deep sand with the DCT gearbox .
Got to Kosi Bay lodge to find out they don't allow camping and their prices were way too steep for me - returned on the road with much more ease  and made my way to Utshwayelo Lodge . Wow ! what a beautiful place , right on the edge of the Kosi Bay nature reserve by the mouth  . I was blown away by Kosi Bay - man we live in a beautiful country and Kosi Bay mouth area is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to - everything you need - big sea to swim in , relaxed river to float around in and amazing landscape especially with the fishing methods of the Tsonga people .
The road down to the beach ......

Little bridge on the road


Jacque and Stephan arrived the next afternoon and we settled in for a bit of R&R on the beach . My being was becoming more relaxed and the groove was settling in nicely - early to bed and early rising - being apparent to the sunrise everyday has an amazing effect on the soul and being outside camping increases this feeling .
A few photos to give a feel for the place..



Just chillin ..

The Tsonga people have amazing fishing methods ..



We spent time exploring the area , no bullshit , just relaxing , ok a little bullshit
 



I could have stayed there much longer but Mozambique was calling ..

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2016, 10:44:23 pm »
Sub :thumleft:
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Offline shanti

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2016, 10:53:28 pm »
Riding day 5 Kosi Bay to Catembe

Our host at the campsite had told us it was an easy road from Kosi Bay to Catembe with a 'little ' bit of sand in the beginning part but not to stress , just don't take the wrong road from the border post and all will be fine - keep left .....
With this is mind we headed out early the next morning to the border post .. The Kosi Bay border post is a very small affair and it went very quickly and suddenly Mozambique here we are , damn that was easy , off we rode oblivious to the fact that our opportunity to going left had passed - it didn't take us long to hit deep sand with no easy way to turn the bikes around

- signs for Ponta appeared and we realized we were on the wrong road ..... anyone who has ridden these roads will know the various paths/roads that criss cross randomly heading in the general direction of Ponta - we kept left way to late but decided to carry on through the soft sand .....

smiles at first but the going got harder


hello sand - it would be our constant companion for the next 50km

eventually we found the 'right ' road and the going got easier

The AT was a pleasure to ride in the sand , even though the bike is heavy the torque is low down in the revs and it didn't mind chugging along on top of the sand - there was no way we could go fast as the road twisted and turned and in many places tracks went right over the road .
All good things must come to an end and we eventually hit a highway of sorts and we could now eat up the miles towards Catembe . Soon the entire road will be tarred as the Chinese are building roads in this part of Mozambique - lots of Chinese operators on the machines

Finally my first 2M while waiting for Jacque and Stephan to catch up

My aftermarket pegs got bent out of shape when I accidentally dropped the bike while pushing it backwards leaving my 2M rest stop - the metal is a bit flimsy on such a heavy bike


Anyways lots of metalworkers in Africa - we pushed on to Catembe and stayed the night at Catembe Beach Resort

Its the cheapest option for Catembe but doesn't come well recommended - loud music all night and some creatures where inhabiting the mattresses although it was beautiful to watch the lights of Maputo over the bay


Offline shanti

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2016, 11:15:36 pm »
Riding Day 6 Catembe to Nascar del Sol

Early start and headed for the ferry to cross into Maputo - little advice for the ferry - care of the touts who want to 'assist' you to pay - ignore them and just pay at the ticket counter , they act like officials and are helpful but they really just adding 'value' to your ticket

I love ferrys and the trip was very relaxing


We met a South African on the ferry and he inquired about our destination - we had planned for Xai Xai but he told us of a friend of his who owned a place a little north of that called Nascar Del Sol so we decided to head for there . The ride up was great and the roads well tarred . It took us a while too get used to the constantly changing speeds on the roads that are well enforced by the police - we found the best method was to follow the fastest taxi as they knew where the police where hiding and generally the cops stopped them first allowing us to slip past . 
And yes I found a few oasis along the way - some closer to home than I expected

The road down to Nascar was a bit sandy but nothing like the Ponta roads - the place is beautiful and being out of season we managed to organize a house for us at a very cheap price , beautiful place albeit quite tame .
 

we chilled here for a few daze .....

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2016, 11:32:53 pm »
Riding Day 7 Nascar Del Sol to Tofu

Beautiful leaving Nascar - nothing like a sand road when you are fresh and not tired









Along the way I stopped off at a local metalworker to sort my peg out ..



a bit of gas and some leverage and sorted ... kinda .



Mozambican roadside repair shop - you see these often so don't stress if you bend or break something metal - just keep a good eye on the proceedings ;)



We arrived after an easy ride at Fatimas in Tofu and camped there . We would stay here for a few days to sort out cell phones , wake up late and spend our days swimming and nights searching for bars that had the grande 2M at cheap prices - lots of fun , lots of relaxing and loots of piri piri
Fatimas campsite




Not too bad a view ....





The bar at Fatimas






Offline shanti

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2016, 12:00:48 am »
Riding Day 8 Tofu to Vilankulos

Another easy day riding with the usual speed up slow down dodging of the traffic cops , we had a small fuel issue with the KTM but made the petrol station with some sips to spare - In retrospect you should never have any issues with fuel in Mozambique - every little town has a guy with container fuel but we were still fresh into our journey and didn't know to look .

The view from a bar heading north - I love having a cold beer and staring at bikes , oh and the scenery





Kids off to school



We crossed the tropic of Capricorn - was great to cross it in another country , this would be my third country to cross the tropic , only Botswana left but thats for another ride ..



Vilankulos is another beautiful place and we chose to stay at Baobab beach backpackers which is a great choice - a good restaurant , friendly staff , good vibe with the other travelers and great bar .



Doing what we do best .



One of the main attractions in Vilankulos has to be a boat ride and snorkeling ( diving would be better if you can afford it) in the Bazaruto Islands - photos cant do it justice - amazing place , one of my most surreal moments was seeing the pink flamingos off the islands - my camera battery had died at this point but it remains clear in my mind ...

heading out





Bazaroto Island where we would have a fish braai



mucking around in the beautiful clear water





and some fish - wow , so many fish



we  would spend some time here in Vilankulos - these beach bars are hard to leave and the stories from the north were getting ominous - armoured convoys and shootings on the north south road to Chimoio





« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 12:04:49 am by shanti »
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2016, 02:54:43 am »
Wow, this looks like a great trip you had, nice bike too!

 :thumleft:
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2016, 03:39:24 am »
Awesome trip so far! :thumleft:
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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2016, 04:39:02 am »
Nice RR!
No hassles getting the bike through the control at kosi mouth?
It is interesting to see that tree is still there!
I took a photo when I was there and a lady asked for it in order for her to paint it!
Lekker cold beers at the top when you come out!
Keep it up!
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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2016, 07:21:32 am »
 :ricky:  :thumleft:
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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2016, 08:21:55 am »
Sub.
 

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2016, 09:11:55 am »
Nice report. That Ponta sand is so deep and soft, must have been quite a struggle, well done.
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank amongst those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
 

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2016, 09:33:38 am »
Riding day 8 Vilankulos to Chimoio

After trying to get as much information as possible about the armoured column we left early for the Save River to Mexungue leg .
The backpackers had told us there was 2 per day , one early and one in the afternoon , we were under the impression that this meant 2 heading north per day so we woke up early and tried to reach the Save river bridge by 9am when we thought the convoy was leaving . After Vilankulos the road starts to get bad with giant potholes appearing on the road .
We were making good time when Stephan hit a pothhole with only 10km to go to reach the start of the convoy -



Try as we could there was no way we would make the time we thought the first convoy would leave , not 5km further and the tyre was down again forcing us to slow everything down and accept that we would not make it



We reached Save just after 9am only to find out some facts about the convoys - yes there is two convoys per day but only one each way - the Save convoy going north leaves at 1pm heading north , it was the south bound one that leaves early in the morning .
Save bridge town was a weird place , on the edge of the new civil war there was a nervous energy about the place  , trucks and buses were arriving all the time to get ready for the afternoon convoy , photography was not allowed and there was a huge police/military presence .

 a view towards Save bridge



some of the interesting buses that were starting to arrive to wait on the convoy - good packing hey



At 1pm we crossed the bridge only to be assembled by the police about a km after the bridge in some sort of convoy , and there we waited ......



Eventually at 3pm we left for Mexungue - it was chaos led by a Russian APC - the road on this stretch had degenerated into a pothole filled obstacle course with burnt vehicles lining the side of the road every now and then - I counted 23 burnt vehicles on this 100km stretch of road , the Mozambican government is trying to keep this stretch out of the press and trying to get a photo was very difficult





We arrived in Mexungue at sunset and the town was wild with drunken people in the streets and trucks flying through the town pushing for Inchope were they would spend the night waiting on the next leg north . My GPS did not indicate a place to stay in the town and asking around just put us in the limelight of the drinking chaos which was getting a bit heated so we decided to push on .

Riding at night in Africa is bad , added to this was a pothole filled road with trucks heading north as fast as possible without a care for road conditions made this stretch of road a living nightmare .



Somewhere along the road while overtaking a truck I hit a huge pothole - the results were disastrous :( -- both front and back wheels badly damaged , I was lucky to stay upright ..



We made Chimoio by 10pm exhausted from the concentration and me worried about my wheels and thinking that if I couldn't find somewhere to fix my rims my journey would be over .

 


« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 09:36:59 am by shanti »
 

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2016, 09:38:23 am »
Fortunately you didnt have tubeless!! :thumleft:
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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2016, 09:46:27 am »
Fortunately you didnt have tubeless!! :thumleft:

Honda had some wisdom here , the hit my wheels took was huge and I think had I had tubeless I would have punctured both tyres and been stuck at the side of the road having to put tubes in anyway - as it was I bumped through Africa for the next 7000km or so on my damaged rims - most times couldn't tell if it was the road surface or my wheels that was bumping at low speed :) trying get a rim fixed north of our border proved difficult

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2016, 09:50:44 am »
Big thanks to Operator who was looking after my insurance - I now have two new shiny wheels on my bike - Operator I cannot thank you enough for your service and if anyone is looking for great insurance go no further than Operator on this forum - Dewald you are a true operator when it comes to bike insurance in Africa .

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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2016, 10:22:30 am »
Subscribed ;D ;D
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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2016, 10:35:04 am »
Riding Day 9 Chimoio to Nyanga National Park

My decision was made - to carry on with my journey and take it as it comes with regards to my rims . I pumped the tyres up to 2.8 ( i would ride with this pressure for the rest of my journey ) and carried on .
Having had enough of the convoys I decided to avoid the Vanduzi to Tete convoy - riding a 300km stretch in a convoy that doesn't stop on a bike was not what me nor my arse wanted - and head in Zimbabwe .

The border crossing was again easy the only problem proved to be the lack of dollars in small denominations to pay the various road taxes and import duties , I took a bit of a hit with the exchange rates through the money touts and lost a couple of hundred rands in my exchange for $200 that would see me through the rest of Zimbabwe and beyond . It was at the border post that I said goodbye to Jacque and Stephan as their time was up and they headed south for the Zim ruins - I love solo riding on bikes and even with the niggling thoughts about my rims I was happy to be carrying on alone

Cheers guys it was great riding with you



I headed into Mutare for some lunch and to try find someone with knowledge of fixing bike rims - this proved unsuccessful and I headed out towards the Nyanga National Park . The road conditions are great in this part of Zim and my ride was uneventful - I was enjoying the signage now being in english and the countryside is very beautiful .  





I reached Nyanga national park by nightfall and settled down in a deserted campsite





It is quite cold up there in the mountains and I was very happy with the hot water and the fire under the donkey - the stars were amazing and them and a bottle of whiskey kept me good company for the night  - there is something amazing about being with oneself out in nature under a carpet of stars , the chatter dies down and the soul is at ease .



The next morning I had an attempt at trying too fix my wheels - I had bought a rubber mallet in Mutare and thought I could gently convince my rim to return to its original configuration - no chance and further acceptance that I would just have to live with what had been given to me .



I did stuff some tape into the gaps to try stop sand getting to my tube and wearing it through - this was my best solution for carrying on and surprisingly the tape stayed in .



The campsite there was deserted and after a morning fiddling I rode around the park seeing the different sights



That evening I had an incredible meal at the Rhodes Hotel which is in the park , a slice of colonial heaven with great food and a decent bar with a fire .



Did I mention it was cold - that night the temps dropped to below 0C and I knew it was time to head on ..







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Re: Off to see the wizard - Mozambique , Malawi , Zambia and Zimbabwe
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2016, 10:45:25 am »
What knobblie tyre is that up front and how did you find it?
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