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Offline Nardus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #100 on: August 27, 2008, 08:18:06 am »
Tanzania


For everybody's sake, I wish that Tanzania was a bit closer to South Africa. Miles of hidden gravel tracks, tropical coastline, sparsely populated central area, Lake Tanganyika, Ngorongoro crater, Serengeti planes, part of Lake Victoria, Mount Kilimanjaro, really only one tar road - getting the picture - a bikers paradise !!

So, the dhow dropped us off at Mtwara. To our surprise, there was a little hut about 30 meters from the beach - an immigration office. I think we arrived there during lunchtime, because it was closed. As we waited, one or two local fellows came closer to have a look at these whities with their big scooters. As always, the first thing they would ask is where we were from. And we always replied: South Africa/Afrique du Sud.  Unlike before, we received a rather unwelcome glare. The one guy in particular was rather difficult. Both Johan and me kept our cool, remained friendly and answered all their questions. He kept calling us (in a derogative manner) Maburu. After some time he could not keep it in any longer and asked us directly: Why do you hate black people? and Why are you killing them?

I grew up in a house where my parents hated the previous government and I think Johans parents too. So we calmly explained that there were, and still are, some white folk, but not all, that have no respect for other people, but that we belong with people who were not like them ...blah, blah, blah ...

By then the immigration office opened so we went over rather nervously, also because we had no visas for Tanzania. The official was extremely friendly and helpful and issued us with visas, stamped the passports and booked our motorbikes in  legally, with the Carne's and all.

We were walking back to our scooters when the difficult fellow came over to us and explained that he is looking after a developer's land about 10 km up the beach. We are welcome to visit him, look at the place and sleep over if we want to. Holy smacker, how is that for a quick change of heart. Johan and I looked at each other, evaluated the pristine coastline with its long white beach, crystal clear water, sunshine, palm trees, we nodded to each other, climbed on the scooters and drove up the beach until we saw his palm-leaved hut.

This was the spot !!!! Is this idyllic or what ?? Damn, should have stayed for a week.




As you know, Tanzania was one of African countries that were sympathetic towards the ANC and very hostile towards the old government. No SA whities were allowed into Tanzania for quite some time. We were most probably the first ones to fart around in this part of Tanzania. He explained to us that Maburu is a Swahili word that was invented for white South Africans and it literally means that you hate and kill black people and are un-rehabilitate-able (his words). We assumed it derived from
Boer, but these people had never heard of boere before. We spent the whole evening around a fire explaining the SA politics to him and his girlfriends. As you can imagine, they also did not get the whole story from their sources. (Remember that we were there in about February 1994).

Well, we were treated like kings. Rice fried in a pan and then cooked in coconut milk and a variety of fish. Went snorkeling with him the next morning - stunning !! He wrote us a long list of Swahili words that we would need to know for our journey. I wish we had stayed there for a couple of days more.


We slept one night at Lindi, again what a spot !! Back in those days nobody catered for tourists that far south along the Tanzanian coast, so one could pretty much do what you want. This was also the last night that I slept in my tent - sad, sad, sad.




Taking a quick crap before arriving at Lindi



A local restaurant



Wow, look at the track running up the coast !! This was unreal, but I would hate to be here when it rains !!



Lush bush all the way



I assume that this road would be tarmac by now - hope not!

I bought my bike with a Kenda K270 rear tyre - obviously with a couple of miles on it. I must have done at least 6000 kilometers prior to this trip. This trip was now standing on about 13 000 kms. The tyre, therefore, had done at least 20 000km. Not bad. But now was the time to change it.



We got to our first coastal T-junction after about 300 kms -  a turnoff heading to three different places, each starting with Kilwa. We choose Kilwa Kuvinje.



Wow !! What a beautiful spot.



Not sure how they get such a big dhow back to the water. Repair work being done, replacing one plank at a time, like a puzzle.



Johan showed signs of Malaria, so he popped his Fansidar pills and we decided to only pitch his tent so that he can sleep. With some bad luck, it was the month of Ramadan, so no food was available until very late at night. I grabbed my camera and Johan slept in the tent. The ruins in town are apparently from old slave trade buildings - a really stunning place.




That night at about 01h00, we both woke up from somebody falling over the tent line. Johan stuck his head out of the window and shouted :JOU FOKKEN BLIKSEM  KOM HIER!!!  AS EK JOU VANG DONNER EK VIR JOU !!! (Sorry, this cannot really be translated, but it relates to something like this. Your dirty rascal come here. If I catch you, I will beat you up!) And with that he leaped out of the tent with only his underpants on. I was stunned, but also maneuvered myself out of the tent. I saw Johan chasing a couple of kids down the road, he turned around eventually and picked up his bike and pushed it back to the tent. I still said: Damn, Johan that was a close shave and thinking to myself that I am glad it was not my bike. I walked around the tent only to realize that my bike is GONE - YES, GONE, NOT THERE - MISSING  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me cut this short. Eventually we found the bike the next morning at about 05h30 on a secluded beach, but all my belongings were gone. This experience was bad - worst than the mud, sand, or the leather jacket with my passport in the ocean experience. I then had to decide if and how to carry on.

Fortunately, I had the bike - most important item - that was close  very, very close. Because Johan was sick and in the tent, I threw my jacket with passport, money and Carne into the tent that previous afternoon. All my other belongings were on the bike. My tent, raincoat, boots, bike spares, a shirt, my only jeans, my 10 empty slide films (and one full one), and all other pieces of crap were all gone. The decision was easy - carry on !! Since then, we slept a bit more lightly and more aware of what went on outside and where our bikes were. (MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT THE BIKE AND THE REST OF AFRICA ....!!)

The crime scene.  After finding the bike, we packed up and left with a very bitter taste in the mouths.



We headed north, crossing the mighty Rufiji River, past Dar Es Salam and stopped for a day or so at Bagamoyo - another interesting little town with a lot of history and character. Burton and Speak, the famous explorers, started some of their expeditions from here. Those of you that have watched the movie Mountains of the Moon will know how they got fucked up here at Bagamoyo. But what a beautiful town.

The Rufiji River



On the way out of Bagamoya, Johan and I took our daily crap in the bush together. As always we would examine the remains. I think we thought that any signs of health problems could well manifest first in the crap. Generally we were of exceptional good health, but that morning we discovered that Johan had worms !

Johan cleaning the carburetor and points - the coastal air did from time to time cause the XT500 to struggle to start.




We turned west (again) at Tanga, towards Mochi. We are now close to the Kenya border and exactly below Mount Kilimanjaro. It was very nice at the time to get out of the tropical coastal area. Around Mochi it is dry with only grass and thorn trees - lovely. It was great that all our scratches, cuts and bruzes (that turned septic at the coast) were able to heal - wounds that we had carried for over a month got better within two days. Betadine, acts like a growing medium for germs generally, but at the coast it is even worse.

The savannah veld, around the Moshi area





Camping in the dry air was a nice change



We found a track running past the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro via Sanya Yuu. Another thunderstorm was approaching and Mt Kilimanjaro was covered with clouds, so we pulled into the bush and started to pitch our tent. A local fellow came up to us and promptly invited us to rather stay at his house. On arrival we actually felt a bit awkward as he kicked his wife out to sleep outside and offered Johan and I the bed. We did not want to get involved in a family brawl, so we accepted the offer. He told us that we will only see the mountain between 05h00 and 06h00 in the morning, the rest of the time it will be covered with clouds.

The friendly man that was willing to kick his wife out of bed to make space for Johan and me



Again, the local knowledge was spot on and we managed to capture a couple of shots before 06h00 the next morning. It was really a special moment to see this mountain - there is something majestic about her.





With that, we were off to Arusha via a little gravel track.



An interesting story that we were told by one of the locals was that Tanzania is rather unique in Africa in that it has around 140 different ethnic groups, which have had no internal conflicts between these groups for over 30 years. This was due to some forced removals that took place in the 1960 (I think), when the government mixed all the tribes forcefully to prevent any infighting in future. It was very traumatic at the time, but the end result was successful.

It was really awesome riding in this savannah veld where your mind struggles to absorb the beauty of everything that you see. And then, as we thought it can't get any better, there it is - an exact picture of the dream I had had on Marion Island and subsequent recollections of that same image !!!! I stopped the bike, got off, watched the scene in front of me and started to cry (Moffie, I know), but this was just too much for me. By the time Johan caught up with me the tears were flowing vigorously. Johan is not really the emotional type. I think he struggled a bit with how to deal with the situation, so he did what Johan did best. He walked off for about 50 meters, sat down on a rock and watched the scene of these African planes for about an hour. With no words spoken, we got back on the bikes and drove off to Arusha.

Not such a nice picture, but this was the emotional highlight for me






Down in the valley, Johan feeling pity for the Masai boy who is slightly thinner than him (must say, not much)







We spent a day or two at Arusha - a rather nice little buzzing town with a couple of government departments and a lot of tourists, restaurants, lodges, etc., catering for all the people going to the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro National Parks.

With our money getting rather low and Johan's lust for staying and working in Africa, we parted our ways here. Johan stayed in Arusha to see if he cannot find a job in one of the National Parks. In addition, we had now spent over 4 months together - riding together, every time we stop we really only could share things with each other whether good or bad, and since my tent was stolen we now also had to sleep together. If the partner was a pretty immoral woman with nice boobs, it might have been different, but neither one of us fitted the above criteria. So yes, it was becoming more and more difficult to tolerate each other. Poor Johan, I have to admit, struggled here a bit more than me. (My current wife will also have sympathy with Johan's situation - and she has nice boobs !) It was, therefore, not too difficult to agree, or to concoct some scheme to part for a while.

From all the staring at the map over the past few months, I developed an urge to ride around Lake Victoria. We agreed that we will meet up in Nairobi in two to three weeks time - that is if I do not get stuck somewhere and if Johan had no luck finding a job.

I drove to the entrance gate of the Ngorongoro National Park, knowing that I will not be allowed in, but this is the only road through to Lake Victoria. It is a stunning ride to the Park, passing Lake Manyara.

Climbing up to Ngorongoro with Lake Manyara in the background



After spending a couple of hours at the gate, a truck carrying maize flour arrived and were en route towards Lake Victoria. I convinced the driver to load my bike in the truck and with that I was off for a drive past the Ngorongoro crater and through the Serengeti planes - hiii haaa !!! Smackers - it is really amazing to see the crater with its tropical forests at the top and savannah down below, and all the animals in the Serengeti (thousands of wildebeest and zebra). I must admit, apart from the wildebeest and zebra, the white tourist combi's were the second most sited attraction in the park - it does depreciate the experience to a large extent.

The Ngorongoro Crater



The Serengeti planes



A rock showing signs of wear from years of drumming




Close to the exit of the park



The journey through the park was long, the road was badly corrugated, and the driver had only one tape - Lucky Dube. Now of all men, I can appreciate Lucky Dube (the saviour), but that was tough. On arrival at Bumda, at least half of the cargo of flour had accumulated and penetrated every possible part of the bike - it was bad.

Offloading the bike at Bumda



Although Mwanza was the next destination, something drew me to see what Nansio look like. On the way I stopped in a small village, somewhere around Kibara, at a building with the words -Rafiki Hotel- written on it. It was in fact no Hotel, but a little shop that sold nothing more than tea and a bread roll type thing. It was getting rather late so I asked the shop keeper if I could crash in a little room at the back of the hotel. He felt very uncomfortable with the idea, but agreed eventually.

Growing Kasawa in between the rocks



Marabou Stork at Lake Victoria

 



Visiting a local family - had to taste fresh milk and blood from cow




Well, six days later I left the Rafiki Hotel. It felt like a couple of hours. I had made such good friends with a crowd of people in this village. You must have heard (even if it was from a movie scene) those real African drums playing until late at night, coming from the bush. Well, I was even taken to see where that comes from. They showed me everything that Kibara had to offer - it was a very sad moment to leave my friends behind. Rafiki in Swahili means friend - now how is that.



Due to my unplanned delay at Kibara, I opted to take the ferry across the southern part of Lake Victoria to Bukoba close to the Uganda border. I also heard that there was sone turmoil in Rwanda and Burundi and did not want to venture too close to the action. The ferry departed late from Mwanza harbour and I had the opportunity to watch the African Cup football match between Bafana Bafana and Zambia in a local pub. Wow, that was a great match. The journey on the ferry was mainly at night, but one thing I can recall was the bad engineering (or ergonomics) that was applied in the men's toilet. It was a standard stainless steel almost 3 meter long urinal -piskrip-. As a typical African ferry, it was overcrowded and cigarette butts (for example) were also thrown into the urinal. Within an hour the urinal was filled with piss and that together with the rocking of the ferry caused the piss to run from one side to the next. Each time it hits the far end, it explodes, and so on !!

Boarding the Ferry to cross a part of Lake Victoria at Mwanza




Uganda

To follow soon .....
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 03:28:25 pm by Nardus »
Let the snake slide and the lizzard slither and LET IT BE !
 

Offline bmad

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #101 on: August 27, 2008, 08:50:58 am »

I am in awe....

Now this is a fine way to start a day, with an epic journey installment.
Thanks Nardus, you're a LEGEND  :thumleft:
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Offline Nardus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #102 on: August 27, 2008, 09:05:40 am »
Och man, hte yearning just grows! Thanks Nardus...!

(On an aside, do you know Jan Skoene? Did several trips to Marion, was with me G41 and later mech for my last SANAE takeover (S37).)

Mods, I nominate this for hall of fame already. :)

Lonerider, yes I know Jan Skoene. He was a frequent visitor to our commune in Pretoria - we had a couple of common friends - Botes (Francois) - may he rest in peace, Jo, Sua, etc...
Let the snake slide and the lizzard slither and LET IT BE !
 

Offline Operator

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #103 on: August 27, 2008, 09:08:25 am »
Keep it coming.................. :thumleft:
 

Offline malgat (RIP)

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #104 on: August 27, 2008, 12:17:56 pm »
dammm,,,this reading the memoirs is becoming the hilite of my day,,,,

thanx for sharing,,,,respect
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Offline MrBig

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #105 on: August 27, 2008, 02:26:54 pm »
fantastic! keep it coming PLEASE
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Offline michnus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #106 on: August 27, 2008, 03:05:40 pm »
Kenda K270, still being made 20years later?  :)



Offline bradleys

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #107 on: August 27, 2008, 03:09:31 pm »
KEEP IT COMMING ,what a great read,respect BRO.
ROUTE DIFFICULTY
1 = tar
2 = good gravel /pillian friendly
3 = interspersed with sand, mud, sand , bush / not pillian friendly
4 = lots of sand, technical riding 5 = expert only
 

Offline keithk

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #108 on: August 27, 2008, 05:56:21 pm »
Nardus this is an amazing RR you should have it printed and bound , for the last couple of days I have been rushing home to read the latest chapter. This RR will take a lot of beating WELL DONE  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
ROUTE DIFFICULTY:1 = tar
2 = good gravel /pillion friendly
3 = interspersed with sand, mud, sand , bush / not pillion friendly
4 = lots of sand, technical riding
5 = expert only (we are not worthy, still to meet one)
 

Offline Miena Moo

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #109 on: August 27, 2008, 09:01:29 pm »
I have no words.Excellent.........
MOOOOOOOOOOOO  
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Offline Yefimovich˛

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #110 on: August 28, 2008, 12:35:13 pm »
Amazing!! :thumleft: Thanks my workday just became better!
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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #111 on: August 28, 2008, 12:40:31 pm »
cool stuff  :thumleft:

when you doing an anniversary tour  :ricky:
 

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #112 on: August 28, 2008, 03:10:02 pm »
Ja thanks another lunch time in sy moer  :biggrin:
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Offline Nardus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #113 on: August 29, 2008, 08:21:23 am »
Uganda


Both Johan and I had a fear of big cities. Now, being by myself I did not have the balls to pass through Kampala. The alternate route was somewhat of a detour but looked as if it was really passing through the rural areas of Uganda. I must say, it was quite different from what I expected, but still amazing. My expectations were that it will be much more tropical, but a mountain range on the then Zaire side of the rift valley obviously caused a bit of a rain shadow over the rift valley on the Uganda side.

A view towards Zaire (now DRC)



I found a track of about 60 km that run through some indigenous forest, but for the rest it was mainly plantations



Having said that, without a raincoat and some serious thunderstorms which do not get affected by the mountain range, you have to take shelter - even if it is in the local butchery



The food in Uganda was interesting. Their staple diet, instead of pap or rice, is stewed green bananas - called Matooke. The bananas are picked when green and still rock hard. They are peeled with a panga and then stewed in banana leaves in a black pot on the fire until it is of the same consistency as pap. Because they are picked green, it does not have a banana flavour.

A lot of land in Uganda has been cleared for agriculture, mostly sugar cane and banana plantations. I assume the sugar cane gets into a processing facility, but the bananas is all over - in cars, on trucks, on shoulders, on bicycles, in taxis and in the people's mouths. Banana's, banana's all over. The souties and prostitutes from KwaZulu-Natal will really feel at home here !!

Banana country.




Passing through the Queen Elizabeth National Park, I noticed a white line across the tarmac road with two white concrete -wheels- on either side of the road - it was the Equator!! Bloody wow - this is roughly halfway through Africa. It was a bit crappy not being able to share the moment with anybody. I took this picture of myself - it was quite tricky to balance the camera on my sleeping bag, then to run and stand next to the sign and the bike.



Inside the Queen Elizabeth National Park



(Side note: After the trip, when I showed this picture to my parents, they asked me why I took a picture of the sign on this side of the road and not the other one. I replied that the one on the other side was broken. They laughed because when they passed through there in 1955 the other one was also broken ! Can you believe it - such a landmark in a National Park and it is still broken !)



Well, the road took me past Lake Edward, though Fort Portal to Lake Albert. What I found strange is that the map showed only one town located next to this whole part of Lake Albert, called Butiaba. I drove down to Butiaba and it was just a small fishing village. What I found strange in Butiaba was that there was only one place that could accommodate a visitor like me - a tourist to town. But what was really strange is that this place had only one room with only one bed. Well, I was lucky, the bed was unoccupied and I spent two nights there. Not a lot of entertainment but still rather interesting to behold the life of the fisher folk along Lake Albert.

The one room, one bed Kent Lodge at Butiaba



Butiaba



I had interesting discussions with some of the locals. The one I remember is that Idi Amin, the dictator that killed so many people, is not really a well known figure to some of the local residents. According to them Uganda has had several Governments during that time that were equally bad. Idi Amin was not really different to any of the others, the difference being that he was in power for about seven years - slightly longer than the other dictators. The others were in power for usually less than one year. I cannot recall the correct facts, but part of the problem that Uganda had when it came to government powers and acceptance of powers is that there are at least 20 different ethnic tribes within this small country and none of them really want to be ruled by the others.

All these lakes, together with Lake Victoria feed into the Nile River. It was quite a spectacular sight to cross the Nile River - it is really huge with wild rapids.



I took this picture of the local taxis in Tororo, the last town in Uganda before entering Kenya.



Kenya

To follow soon ...
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 03:53:40 pm by Nardus »
Let the snake slide and the lizzard slither and LET IT BE !
 

Offline Whethefakawe

Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #114 on: August 29, 2008, 09:19:50 am »
Now THAT'S an adventure ride! The ride of a lifetime.  I love Tanzania, seems you did some ecellent diplomacy cause when I was there in 96 the people were incredibly friendly.
Thanks, keep it coming!
Do you still have that bike?
You been using dogsh*t for toothpaste, Mullet?
 

Offline Grondpad ™

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #115 on: August 29, 2008, 09:51:42 am »
Nardus,  firstly let me congratulate you on your excellent technique of taking me on a wonderful journey.  It is incredible the way you describe what you experienced on your trip I can actually imagine myself with you on that trip.  You are a explorer!  there is no way that I would of explored Africa in those years.  I salute you and respect you.     
 

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #116 on: August 29, 2008, 10:11:37 pm »
Well, you still have me spellbound. Spent the night drinking a beer or two and catching up on your story - and boy what a story it is. Thanks man, it really makes good reading. I've read other adventure stories, but reading a biking adventure on an adventure site, and being a rider myself, your story means a lot more.
By the way, I hope you have many more adventures like this one!

LeonDude
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Offline Abel

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #117 on: August 31, 2008, 06:45:18 pm »
This is the stuff most people dream of few experience, well written would like to leave now and pack along the way.
'n Toe bek is 'n heel bek.......
 

Offline Nardus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #118 on: September 01, 2008, 09:44:35 am »
Kenya


As per our arrangement, I headed a bit south to Nairobi to see if Johan will be joining me for the rest of the journey north.

We had pre-arranged that we would stay with Joyce Poole in Nairobi. Joyce Poole is a well-known person in Kenya - she grew up in Kenya and had been studying Elephant behaviour for many years. She stayed in the most beautiful little stone house south of Nairobi, next to the Ngong hills overlooking the rift valley. One cannot describe this place - you have to see it for yourself. Her house is on the property belonging to the very well known Richard Leakey. Richard Leakey also grew up in Kenya. His parents really put the Leakey's on the map through their anthropology work around the Lake Turkana district. Richard Leakey, head of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) did the tremendous task of saving a lot of animals from being poached over the past decade or so. He built up an anti-poach unit that was eventually much stronger than the Kenya Army, which had some obvious political repercussions. In any case, eight months or so prior to our arrival, his airplane had a rather strange technical problem soon after take-off and he had a bad crash. He lost both his legs. He visited us at Joyce's house one afternoon and it was amazing to see a huge man wobbling along on his new prosthetics - not much more than 8 months after the accident. It was really an honour to have met both Joyce and Richard.

A view from Joyce's house overlooking the Rift Valley



When I arrived at Joyce's place after my Uganda detour, Johan was not there. I used a day or two to do some repairs to the bike. I arrived in Nairobi with only 7 teeth left on my rear sprocket and sail protruding on my front tyre. It was quite a job to find these items in Nairobi, but succeeded eventually. Johan was still not in Nairobi, so I took a three day trip to Magadi. If he was not in Nairobi after my trip to Magadi, I would assume that he had found a job and I would be left to carry on by myself. Joyce recommended Magadi and it was really amazing. It was the top part of Lake Natron - a pink salt lake.

A view from Magadi of the pink lake, Lake Natron



My camping spot along a river at Magadi


On my arrival back, Johan was there. I must admit, I was very glad to see him and although Johan is not liberal with words and emotions, I knew that he was very glad to see me too.  We spent another whole week with Joyce. It was just so nice to be at such a special place with such special people and to have the priveledge of listening  to her stories for hours and to meet some of her friends. It was also nice get some beers for free - it was almost the only beer we had on our whole trip - Tuskers, and lots of them - normally with Joyce at sunset overlooking the rift valley. I will never forget that place. She was at the time writing an autobiography, which was published a couple years later.

Joyce's cottage, at the foot of the Ngong hills



We ventured into Nairobi a couple of times, using the local taxis, called Matutus - what a unique experience. Bigger than our taxis back home, very colourful, very loud music and much more people inside than the recommended allowance - you can even hang on to side of the vehicle.

Swahili is such a rhythmical language - I can still recall a couple of words: bara bara = road, pole pole = go slow, piki piki = motorbike, habari = hello, kubwa sana = very big, tea = chai, karibu = welcome, safari = travel, etc..

Well it was time to head north again.

Johan with some Masai



And his Bokkie



Some beautiful spots further north



This was a rather interesting part of our trip. Riding north from Nairobi one passes Mount Kenya, which I think, is the second highest peak in Africa. The peak is always covered with ice or snow. It was rather chilly even on the main road below. With Mount Kenya still lingering in the shaky rear view mirror of the Tenere one passes the equator and then within 20 minutes riding you drop down into the hot rift valley - stopping briefly to take off the leather jacket and then on to Isiolo - more or less at the centre of Kenya. At Isiolo we were stopped by police officers who informed us that the road to Ethiopia is dangerous and we will need to join a convoy. Somalian gangs operate in this remote part of Kenya and often ambush vehicles to steal valuables and even kill occupants. So, we waited for about two hours and realized that this could take more than a day to have a convoy ready and then we will have sit in the dust of all the vehicles for many hours. We looked at each other, then at the map and concluded that we have no valuables on the bikes and that not even a desperate Somalian thief would go to all the trouble to harass us. With that, we started our engines and off we went - a police officer was still waving and shouting as we rode off.

It is almost possible to do the whole of Africa with a Corsa bakkie, or a Vespa scooter, because there are tarmac roads in all the countries we have been through, but here is a 500 km section that would not be possible. It started off with very deep ruts, sometimes over half a meter deep, then to stones and eventually to powder dust. The dust was rather scary as you would sometimes drive almost half a meter in this powder pool with a stone or two lurking at the bottom. It looked rather spectacular, so I went a bit faster to get a real action shot of Johan speeding through the dust. Well, I waited a good 10 minutes and then Johan approached the camera at nothing more than 25 km/h. I was obviously pissed off with his performance, but then he told me he hit a rock at the bottom of one dust pool and had a rather nasty separation. I did not have enough film to redo any photos, so had to be content with what I had.



This was a bad road and very VERY HOT!!. We stopped at the Bushmillah Hotel for some shelter, but the tin building was even worse than outside and again the Hotel offered nothing but hot tea.



We arrived late that afternoon in Marsabit. Woweee - what a spot.  In the middle of nowhere there were only two buildings and about four huts. Both the buildings were a sort of rest-over spot with a bar. We chose the one on the left side of the road as it had a big signpost that read -Free Accommodation-. It was a tent behind the bar with a couple of camel skins on the ground, probably crawling with bugs and lice, but free.

A dry river bed in the Marsabit National Park



The people from here on were chewing Chat (From Wikipidia - Street Names: Khat, Qat, Kat, Chat, Miraa, Quaadka, deriving from the plant Catha edulis a flowering shrub native to the Arabian-Peninsula) imported mainly from Yemen. As we had no money for beer, I made the mistake of bumming a piece of Chat from a local - tasted like any piece of leaf would, but I could not remember any high or hallucinating experience only a stomach ache and I was sick for the whole evening - must have vomited at least 20 times !

I don't know whether we were lucky or what, but we got to the border of Ethiopia without any ambushes and we were very glad that we did not end up in the convoy's dust.





Ethiopia

To follow soon ....
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 04:15:51 pm by Nardus »
Let the snake slide and the lizzard slither and LET IT BE !
 

Offline Hidalgo

Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #119 on: September 01, 2008, 10:52:35 am »
Hey Nardus

Joyce's cottage looks amazing, I don't blame you for wanting to stay there.

This report is great, keep it coming.

Thanks
H
Difference between cars and bikes - Driving in your car is like watching a movie, riding your bike is like starring in the movie.

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