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Author Topic: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!  (Read 59773 times)

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Offline Kaboef

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #120 on: September 01, 2008, 11:00:31 am »
Stunning report. :thumleft: 8)

Keep it coming man.
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Offline Maverick

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #121 on: September 01, 2008, 03:14:15 pm »
Holy smoke or is that dust, don't know which report to read first now your's or Whethefakawe  ???  :biggrin:

Great stuff Nardus!
« Last Edit: September 01, 2008, 03:15:00 pm by Maverick »
Maverick Disclaimer: This thread is intended for the use of the individual(s) named above and may contain information that is confidential privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humor or irrational religious beliefs. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution or copying of this thread is not authorised (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes an irritating social faux pas.
 

Offline Yefimovich²

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #122 on: September 01, 2008, 04:59:04 pm »
Awesome! :thumleft:
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Offline Nardus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #123 on: September 02, 2008, 07:36:20 am »
I have found a couple of pictures that Johan have taken - I will scan them and add them tomorrow. One or two from northern Mozambique, for example.

Thanks for the comments and replies.
Let the snake slide and the lizzard slither and LET IT BE !
 

Offline Frankie

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #124 on: September 02, 2008, 10:03:19 pm »
gREAT ! AWESOME ! Thanks for sharing  - such an amazing trip.
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Offline Nardus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #125 on: September 03, 2008, 09:51:00 am »
Some of Johan's pictures added to previous part of report
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Offline Fidel

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #126 on: September 03, 2008, 11:01:39 am »
What compels certain men to do these things?.... is it that hunters spirit, hunting for answers or those explorer genes, which beckons in a few of us?


While most men where trying to make riches........you where out there enriching your character and existence. These gains you can share with others and take to your grave, not the big house and SUV.
 

Offline Frog

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #127 on: September 03, 2008, 11:35:21 am »
Nardus, you are privileged to have been able to do a trip like this. In 1993 I backpacked through the whole of Europe, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Israel etc. The life experiences gained and the sights seen are something you never forget & live with you forever. In 1995 back in S.A. a friend of mine & myself bought a Unimog and had plans to drive up to Cairo. I met a girl a few months before we were about to leave and got engaged 6 months later (I am still happily married to her) So that was the end of the Africa trip. The yearning to explore Africa has never gone away hence me buying the bike this year. I am hoping to do trips into Southern Africa over the next few years.
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Offline Nardus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #128 on: September 03, 2008, 12:11:47 pm »
Ethiopia


If ever you want to visit a crazy country - very beautiful, unique, but crazy, then Ethiopia should be your first choice.

A language like no other, a culture like no other, a calendar like no other, time table like no other, an attitude like no other, and the people - looking like no other.

Our experience started at the border post when the date for our arrival in 1994, was clearly incorrect - it was stamped as 1987. Even after a lengthy explanation, we still could not figure this out. Apparently the Ethiopians know the real birth date of Christ and they cannot help that the rest of the world have it all wrong.

It was amazing how quickly the landscape changed. As we crossed the border at Moyale, we started climbing in altitude and within 15 minutes the climate and vegetation changed - cooler, greener, more shrubs and trees.



A rather decent tarred road turned north towards Addis Ababa (meaning New Flower). We could not stomach the boredom of tarmac and found an alternative route from Yabelo to Awassa. Man, were we glad we took this gravel track - it was wild.



We saw the strangest looking black faces - people, especially the kids, with pitch black skins, western features, and big affro's (almost like mine from page one of the report!). I doubt whether they had seen a white man on a motorbike before, as they were shit scared of us. They would vanish into the bush as soon as we stopped or even just looked at them for too long. This was odd.

The track we were on was amazing, it winded through savannah bushveld and down into river beds - often the track would end in the riverbed and one had to negotiate up the river, over the stones for sometimes a couple of kilometers before the track runs up on the other side and then up the next hill - some of them were rather steep. My Tenere's engine sounded very rough and we assumed that the main bearing might be faulty. Johan's XT500 was making  worse noises and lacked a lot of power. We were very worried about it, but realized later that it was the low octane fuel that was causing the bike to ping badly.

The higher north we went the higher the mountains became.  It was mind boggling how people can survive in this harsh and isolated environment - it was getting much drier the more north we went.



Back on the main road and we stopped in some of the towns - what a disaster !! These people's behaviour is just so different to what us South Africans are used to. The kids throw stones down the road as you approach - knocking the shits out of your kneecap, chin, or feet (remember no shoes, or long pants!). If you have to ride through a crowded area in the centre of town, people push you from the side - sometimes we were knocked over. The kids screamed, shouted and jumped up and down - really, really weird shit.

The residential and population density increased significantly as we started to approach Addis Ababa. We were really NOT looking forward to staying in this shit-hole, but we had to get visas for Sudan. We would stop at a lodge, which was obviously not full, only to be told we are not welcome to stay there. As I have said - strange place, strange people.

We were now about 5 km from the city centre and we realized that it will only get worse, but we have to find a place to sleep - hopefully only for one night. We stopped at a Mobil Filling Station. There were some fairly decent looking fellows working there and they could speak English, so we asked them if they know of a place. We would prefer just pitching the tent in somebodyâ??s backyard. The guy went into the office and had a lengthy discussion with his colleagues. He came back to say that his family owns a smallholding about 5 km back from where we came. Johan and I were EXTREEEEMELY excited. He then asked where we were from and we replied that we are from South Africa. He got a very suspicious look on his face and disappeared back to his colleagues. After about 15 minutes he came back to inform us that his family is not prepared to have us, but that he will assist us to find accommodation in the city. FAAAAK ! Well, it took Johan and I about another hour to convince them that even though we are white South Africans, we are fairly normal human beings and that we would really appreciate it if they allowed us to stay with them - eventually, they agreed.

The Mobil Filling Station



We soon found out that even our limits will be tested to the extreme - and even beyond. We went to the Sudanese consulate the next day, and the next day, and the next day and the next day !! With our money resources running thin, it did not take a lot to drive us MAD.

The complete and utter arsehole of a consulate refused, with absolutely no reason, to issue us with visas.

We did not have enough money between the two of us to make it back to South Africa, so we could only ride up to Djibouti and take a ship across to Saudi Arabia. So off we went. What a ride it was - all the way up to the start of the rift valley - damn, but it was hot - very hot!! The landscape mainly consisted of either red or black rock. It was like riding in an overheated oven. I must admit that Johan took the heat slightly better than I did. Djibouti was a rather unfriendly place for an African country and very expensive. No passenger ships docked at Djibouti and the cargo ships were not allowed to take any passengers.

On route to Djibouti









Very hot, rock desert





Johan pumping mud !



The one night we spend in Djibouti was quite an experience. We could not afford any type of accommodation, so we slept with the street children and homeless on the street. A fancy car stopped next to us at about 02h00 in the morning with a lady asking us whether we were all right - the news obviously spread around that some travelers were sleeping on the streets. She warned us that it could be very dangerous on the streets at night. We thanked her for her concern but assured her that we felt safe enough amongst these people. Although we could not communicate with them, they appeared friendly and I think it was a first for them also to be joined by some whities who sleep on street corners with no food.

We had no option but to return to Addis Ababa. Now, we were really low on resources. So, seven days and 1200 km later and we were back in Addis Ababa - back to our Muslim family.

By then, we new this family fairly well, also their friends, their extended family and all their servants. They were extremely good to us. The mother cared for us as if we were really part of the family.  She was caring and sympathetic towards us. The elder brother was a medical doctor (studied in Russia). He was a rather influential figure in the city and he also could not assist us with obtaining the visas. However, he took us out for dinner or supper a couple of times in town and treated us to the local cuisine - Anjera. Anjera is a very large pancake-like thing, made from a type of Teff  and served with very hot and spicy food - something Johan could stomach, but not me.

Our house with the local family



At a local restaurant, with the Doctor and a colleague



We learnt a lot about the Ethiopian history, people and culture during our four weeks in Addis Ababa. We even went to the sister's wedding - she was very pretty - Ethiopian/Italian mix ! We were told that Ethiopia was one of the African countries that had the shortest duration under colonial rule. The Ethiopians had had enough of the Italians within only six years. And apparently, with no fire arms, they drove the Italians out with spades and shovels. Later on our trip, we appreciated the Italian rule, as they constructed the most amazing mountain passes through the northern highlands.

Live band at the wedding



Have a look at the girl with the pink dress on the left !



We also learned that the great famine that we saw on our national television during the early to mid eighties was not as bad as it was portrayed. According to them it was obviously some scam by somebody to make some money for himself  by exploiting people's emotions. They were aware of the famine and drought that was experienced by the whole of Africa during those years. Having just ridden through most of those countries we could understand their explanation - most other countries in Africa have much less resources than Ethiopia - less water, less rain, less cattle, less everything and often more people. They knew that most of the other countries (Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, etc..) were much more affected than them. During the drought a lot of people from the rural areas migrated to Addis Ababa in search of work and food. A huge informal settlement developed around the city and with very limited employment opportunities, people were worse off in the city than in the rural areas. Those terrible pictures we were shown on TV, must have been in these shacks around the city. But still, as far as they know, all the other countries were affected much worse than Ethiopia. Interesting ...

We also heard the whole story about the start of the Rastafarian cult. When we entered Ethiopia, I thought that the Ethiopian flag looked rather familiar - it resembled the Rastafarian colours !

We obviously went back to the Sudanese consulate and one day on our way back, we bumped into a group of ten cyclists who were on a trip cycling from Norway down to Cape Town - how mad is that !! Well, they convinced us to try Eritrea for visas and insisted that we ride through Sudan. Apparently, the people in Sudan are amazing!

(Side track: Over six months later, when I was back in South Africa and driving between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, I saw this same group of crazy Norwegians struggling against a howling south easterly wind along the N2 road. Fuckit, now how is that. I obviously stopped them, forced them into the closest pub and bought them all a beer.)

Anyway, after fighting with the arsehole of a consulate for another few days, Johan lost his patience with the man and THROTTLED him - well, needless to say, we then had no option but to try our luck in Eritrea. We were not allowed back at the consulate and were afraid that the incident might have been reported to the police. With a lot of kisses and tears, we left our Muslim family early the next morning. (Johan found it very difficult to hug other men, especially the kisses - first on the left cheek, then the right and again the left) Wow, by the time Johan was through with the whole family, the poor man was in a state of shock !

The ride from Addis Ababa to Eritrea was most probably the highlight of the whole trip as far as the biking was concerned.







The people were very interesting - look at the silver jewellery

 

And rather western facial features



A small little track heading straight for a 2000m high mountain range. Every time you approach such a mountain it looks impossible to get over it. When you are about 7 kilometers from it, you notice a very twisty little track running straight up and straight down on the other side. There must have been over 10 of these mountain ranges, called the Ethiopian highlands. In between these mountain ranges are fertile valleys - full of cattle (literally millions of cattle) and lots of fruit trees and other fields next to permanent flowing rivers. We would stop at a little village next to these rivers or streams and were served ice cold fresh fruit juices. This was an experience we will never ever forget. Bloody impressive, overwhelming and absolutely breathtaking.

On top of one of the mountains



The fertile valleys in between with thousands of cattle



Close to Eritrea - the people look similar to the other nomads of the Rift Valley







Eritrea


(Sorry, no pictures - I had only about 10 more pictures left on my last spool by then)

We were very fortunate to have been able to slip into Eritrea when we did. For years prior to our arrival and years thereafter, Eritrea and Ethiopia were at war over some silly reason. Eritrea used to be a northern province of Ethiopia.

But, WOW, Asmara - what a spot !!

I have never seen such a clean, beautiful and friendly city (not even in South Africa). It was like walking in a dream world â?? whoever can, should go and experience this place.

We obviously drove straight to the Sudanese consulate, where we again were greeted with a hug and a kiss (lucky Johan!). He insisted that we show him every little road we took all the way from Pretoria - he could not believe people ride all that way on a bike. He listened to our plea and apologized profusely for the fellow arsehole comrade in Addis Ababa. He was so glad that we are going to Sudan, because we have to go - the people in Sudan are amazing! He said he would see what he can organize for us and told us to come early in the morning. Well, we both fell asleep that night with huuuge grins on our faces.

We arrived back at the consulate at about 09h00. The consulate was waiting for us at the front door (it was a Saturday morning) I have been here since 07h00 he said, I thought you guys were eager to get going. Well, he had all the paperwork sorted, charged us about half the fees and sent us off with yet another hug and a kiss and lots of blessings from Allah, and his prophet Mohammed ...


Sudan

To follow soon ....
« Last Edit: August 19, 2009, 04:39:29 pm by Nardus »
Let the snake slide and the lizzard slither and LET IT BE !
 

Offline JackShit

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #129 on: September 03, 2008, 01:07:29 pm »
Nardus, dis regtig wonderlik om van julle wedervaringe te lees......elke ou (of vrou) wat julle verhaal volg begin sekerlik reeds droom van sy/haar eie Afrika reis. Ek wil nie jou verslag vooruitloop nie maar kon julle kontak behou met sommige van die mense wat hul harte en huise vir julle oopgemaak het?
« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 01:15:01 pm by JackShit »
 

Offline BirdDog

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #130 on: September 03, 2008, 01:24:14 pm »
Your writting style sucks you into the momment. Great adventure. Keep it comming. Love it.
 

Offline CrazyPorra

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #131 on: September 03, 2008, 01:27:35 pm »
Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Offline malgat (RIP)

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #132 on: September 03, 2008, 01:31:48 pm »
angs bevange great,,,,,,eks al bang die stories gaan ophou,,,eks bang ons is by die einde,,,se vir my dit gaan nog weke en weke aanhou asb
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Offline Yefimovich²

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #133 on: September 03, 2008, 01:38:16 pm »
AMAZING!!! :thumleft:
If at first you don't succeed, lower your standards
 

Offline Nardus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #134 on: September 03, 2008, 01:41:15 pm »
Hi JackShit

We kept contact with only a few and by now, almost nobody.

I kept a bit of contact with my friends at the Rafiki Hotel, my last letter I received of about 3 years ago was from Moja (the guy with his hand on my shoulder). Moja means "first" - he is the first of twins. It was rather sad, most of the guys on that photo has died since - mostly from Aids.

The Doctor brother of our family in Addis Ababa and one of his mates (also a medical doctor) arrived at Johan's parents house in Pretoria a year after our trip. They stayed with his parents for a good 6 months until they got working permits and jobs in South Africa. Not sure if Johan has any contact with them. Johan (or at least his parents) might still have connections with Joyce and Richard from Nairobi.

We were more often in the bush, than really mingling with the people, so we did not make too many friends on the way. If we had more time and money, it would have been quit a different trip.

Cheers
« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 01:43:18 pm by Nardus »
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Offline Metaljockey

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #135 on: September 03, 2008, 03:26:19 pm »
Fokkit maat, jy maak dit damn moeilik vir my.

Hier's 'n bike onder in my garage...  en 'n rugsak en 'n spaar tjoep.






Offline zetman

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #136 on: September 03, 2008, 05:11:17 pm »
Nardus my maat jy vertel die storie op so n wonderlike manier ek kani wag vir die volgne stuk nie ...Jy is wragtag die DS Adventure se Camelman...
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Offline Goose

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #137 on: September 03, 2008, 07:21:26 pm »
I read... I absorb and am flabberghasted and amazed.... don't want to replay and say too much... the story is what it's about! Nardu - you write the book... it will outsell Ted Simon - no doubt!
Absolutely fantastic story telling and pictures - as they say "Charlie & Ewan se moer!"

Looking forward to the next episode..... :thumleft:  :notworthy: :notworthy:
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Offline growweblaar

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #138 on: September 03, 2008, 08:52:40 pm »
Fantasties, Nardus!

Weet jy, een van die mooiste meisies wat ek ken is van Eritrea - soos jy se^: Westerse features met blinkswart vel en pragtige haredos. Daar moet iets in die water wees...  ;)
 

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #139 on: September 03, 2008, 10:02:34 pm »
BLIKSEM!

NOG!

Asseblief!