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Author Topic: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!  (Read 52342 times)

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Offline LeonDude

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #140 on: September 03, 2008, 10:25:36 pm »
Nardus, thanks for this instalment once again. Damn I really enjoy this story.
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Offline bmad

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #141 on: September 04, 2008, 07:42:30 am »
WOW, again!!

It was nice to catch up with this installment. I almost had a tear in my eye today.
I could visualize Johan cringing as he had to hug and kiss those folks. I felt your pain of battling to getting a visa and worrying about what next!  :3some:

You have me addicted as well as amazed  :thumleft:

So where do i place my order for the book? I would also like the coffee table version as well with added photies ;D
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Offline MrBig

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #142 on: September 04, 2008, 09:33:44 am »
This is the highlight of my day.
"I know you think you understand what I said, but what you don't understand is what I said is not what I mean."
 

Offline Frohan Visser

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #143 on: September 04, 2008, 12:41:44 pm »
Nardus
Excellent so far, amazing how nice your pictures still looks after all these years!!!!!!!

I didn't like that Anjera as well, but if there is nothing else to eat, it still fills the stomach, I remember I paid R3.50 for an  Anjera and a 500ml of beer, not to bad for a meal!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep it coming, I am waiting for Sudan!!!!!!!!

Cheers
1986 Suzuki DR 600, Confiscated in Egypt
1992 Suzuki DR 800, sold
1997 Suzuki DR 650, sold
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201.. KTM 690 R in the next 2 years
 

Offline mrg46

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #144 on: September 04, 2008, 04:01:48 pm »
Hi Nardus

I've just finished reading your report up to date (very slowly to savour it)

What an increadible read - you really are a pioneer of adventure riding.

Can't wait for the rest

Mark
 

Offline Whethefakawe

Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #145 on: September 05, 2008, 09:41:39 am »
My sentiments exactly - a REAL adventire ride back when carrying a SA passport was dodgy.  Big balls needed.

Please continue! NOW!! :biggrin:
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Offline Beltzer

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #146 on: September 05, 2008, 10:57:06 am »
WOW! what a wonderful story, If Wilbur Smith had to write a book with bikes in, this would be it!  Now i cant work anymore
Wolmerboom Suid
 

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #147 on: September 06, 2008, 09:34:48 pm »
Ek is so jaloers, ek sal seker nie weer in my lewe n kans kry om so iets aan te vat nie.

Het ek reg gelees, jy het die trip op n budget van R 3 500 gedoen? En dan met shorts en plakkies aangehou.

RESPEK!!!!!!!

En dit nog met XT's geen happy buttons nie, jy noem ook geen groot probleme met die bikes nie. LEKKER!!!
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Offline Saddle Up

Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #148 on: September 07, 2008, 05:30:19 pm »
Ongelooflik. Jou manier van storie vertel maak n mens verlang na goed wat ons nog net van gedroom het. Nou meer as ooit.
n Skaap is nie n scrambler
 

Offline Nardus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #149 on: September 08, 2008, 08:16:31 am »
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 - 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


We arrived on the other side of the Sudan border post at a tarred road. We stopped and had another look at the map. Sudan, the second largest country in Africa and it has one helluva loooong and straight road from Port Sudan at the Red Sea running way down south and turning with a slow bend north to Khartoum. This was not a pretty sight, bet we decided to head south to Khartoum. Nothing more than 20 km and we both stopped to have another look at the map. We agreed that we cannot drive in this heat on a black road. Apart from that, it was much closer to drive through the desert to get to the Nile. We could do about 500km on our petrol and figured that if we go straight across the desert, we should eventually ride into the Nile River - so, obviously we can't get lost.

And so we drove off into the horizon in search of the Nile.  Again, 20 km on, we realized that this might not be so easy to keep in a straight line - it was just too flat and some confusing tracks that would lead in all different directions. But if we push on, using the sun as our guide - we should fall into the Nile River some time before nightfall. By 20h00, we were still riding - sort of straight, but it was getting tough for me as I had my headlight no more (lost it somewhere) and Johan's XT500 was not of much help - like all XT500's the beam coming from the headlight did not even straighten out at full revs. So we pulled over for the night and decided that we will turn back on our tracks the next morning. What a nice feeling it was to sleep in the middle of the Nubian Desert - right there next to your bike and knowing that you are so, so far from anybody, anywhere.

It was not that easy to keep direction - very flat with no landmarks and a couple of misleading tracks !







When we woke up, we had another quick look at the map. I spotted a yellow dot on the big white area which represented the flat desert area. At first it looked like a stain on the map from a squashed insect, but then we agreed that it could be the only higher ground in this whole desert and on the horizon we could see something slightly higher than the flat surrounds. According to the map, a dry river bed on the other side of this hill runs straight for the Nile River - if we are lucky that could be a lifesaving beacon in the desert. (You must remember that we had no odometer working on any of these bikes - we could estimate our distance traveled by multiplying the hours spend and the revs and gear selection which gives us an idea of our speed). So, off we went ... and there it was  - a hill, nothing more than 30 meters high and behind it was a couple of dry thorn trees which could only indicate a water course if ever the good lord would send rain to this part of the world.

Some local nomads staying along the dry riverbed - this guy looked more like a camel than what the camel did !






White clothing is sort-of the in fashion in Sudan



The dry riverbed





So we followed it all the way to Atbara. The local police issued us with permits for petrol, we refueled and off we went to Abu Hamed (petrol was not available to the public, but there was a policy in Sudan that tourists would get preferential treatment). I remember riding out of Atbara, nothing more than an hour, when the track we were on and the map were making no sense at all. I assured Johan that I have it all under control and drove off with Johan following. After about an hours riding I noticed another bike track. I was rather excited - another biker in this end of the world !! I stopped and show Johan the bike tracks - he looked at me, shook his head, mumbled something ugly and rode off. I have managed to do a huuuge loop only to end up on our own track - arsehole !!

It was really stunning to ride all along the Nile River - winding its way through this dry desert. There are a couple of thorn trees and maybe the odd palm tree next to the river for about 20 or 30 meters and beyond that only sand.





We carried 4.5 liters of water between the two of us and the only food we had was a tin of Japanese sponsored pilchards that was given to us by a local guy somewhere in Tanzania. We never ate that tin as it was our emergency supply - only to be opened when we are really in the shits.

I will never forget our next stop here in the middle of nowhere - somewhere between Atbara and Abu Hamed. We were very hungry and almost out of water. We would only eat when compassionate locals will offer us something. We saw a local nomadic family -kraal/homestead- and stopped. As always, the head of the household would come out to greet us. He would show us to a shelter outside their homestead and hand-signed us to be seated. (Remember no English from his side and no Arab language from our side) He gave us ice cold wate,  called Nubian water. We waited for another 2 hours for the food to arrive. It looked terrible - a bowl with pieces of Anjera in the bottom and the rest filled to the top with a light green slime. It looked like the stuff you would scrape off the camels mouth after it had eaten grass and it tasted like it too. We had no idea what it was and it was very difficult to keep this stuff down. Nonetheless, it was appreciated, like always. Normally, the food was very good and as always we have experienced the people of Sudan as extremely friendly and really -amazing!-. We think it must be a desert thing - being nomads for thousands of years, there is an unwritten law that anybody traveling in the desert should be given a shelter, water and food. This was the same experience for every day and night that we were in the Nubian Desert. This was unreal !!

Locals on the outskirts of Atbara stopping us to give us food and water



We filled up at Abu Hamed and left in a bit of a dust storm. Luckily it only lasted about half an hour. From then on it was actually easy to navigate - just follow the railway line all the way to Wadi Halfa, at the bottom of Lake Nasser. It was such fun riding here - miles and miles of nothing, but keeping an eye on that railway line. From time to time you would plow into what you thought was a bit of sand, but in fact it is powder dust blown into the shape of a dune. You and the whole bike would disappear into it. It was hard work getting you unstuck and going again - even the 600 cc engine would take some strain to turn the rear wheel, but for the rest, it was much fun.

Johan managed to hit the only stone in the whole desert and got a flat front tyre- his second flat tyre of the whole trip for him !



On route to Wadi Halfa - this is dry country !



At some point, as we were taking a water break, we saw the train coming down the track. We were almost a kilometer away, but as the train come passed us it stopped and there were a helluva commotion going on. After some time we realized that the people were waving and yelling at us. We waved back, got on the bikes and rode towards one of the locomotives in front. Again no English, but we could figure out that the people (passengers included) were worried about our well-being and offered to load the bikes to give us a lift to Wadi Halfa. We assured them that we were okay and off it went. Just before dusk we met up with the train again - it was about 17h00. Again the train stopped, but this time all the passengers and crew stepped out, threw little rags on the desert sand - facing east, they all did their prayers for about 10 minutes or so and then left again. Strange, strange, strange ...

We got to Wadi Halfa, very tired and keen to head north to Egypt. By now, we had nothing more than 60 US dollars between the two of us. It took us a full day, to establish that we have missed the ferry by a day - it was here yesterday and will only be back in five days time. You must know that nobody at Wadi Halfa works with a calendar of any kind - they do not know that there are seven days in a week and that the ferry only comes every Wednesdays. It was very frustrating, but we eventually realized that we will have to camp out in the desert for at least 4 days, before returning to Wadi Halfa. We rode back about 20 kilometers and camped there amongst a couple of rocky outcrops.

I have to mention that Johan and I have had by now about as much of each others company as we both could handle - being over six months in each others faces, six months of sharing everything, six months of - it was getting a bit much.

Oh, but the desert were special - look at this - absolutely stunning. I wish our circumstances were different, because here one could spend months.



Playing in the sand, whilst waiting for the ferry



Back at Wadi Halfa and trying to get out of Sudan was a very frustrating ordeal. The Sudanese officials were not closely as nice as the nomads in the desert. This time, it was Johan that had to keep me from throttling an official, but in the end we managed to board the ferry with all the fucking paperwork completed.


Egypt

Will follow soon ....
« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 08:19:05 am by Nardus »
Let the snake slide and the lizzard slither and LET IT BE !
 

Offline Trailrider

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #150 on: September 08, 2008, 08:37:40 am »
What a story! Keep it coming ;D
 

Offline Oetie

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #151 on: September 08, 2008, 06:53:09 pm »
Nardus

Amazing story!! Keep it coming!!!

+1 on Eritrea and Asmara. Been there a couple of years ago. Haven't seen such a clean place and met such friendly people any where in the few African countries I have been to!!
Live life to the fullest!!
 

Offline mrg46

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #152 on: September 08, 2008, 07:38:27 pm »
Amazing & pioneering as ever. Can't wait for more

Mark
 

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #153 on: September 08, 2008, 08:44:05 pm »
a must do for every adventure biker  :thumleft:
 

Offline Nardus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #154 on: September 09, 2008, 12:10:08 pm »
Ek is so jaloers, ek sal seker nie weer in my lewe n kans kry om so iets aan te vat nie.

Het ek reg gelees, jy het die trip op n budget van R 3 500 gedoen? En dan met shorts en plakkies aangehou.

RESPEK!!!!!!!

En dit nog met XT's geen happy buttons nie, jy noem ook geen groot probleme met die bikes nie. LEKKER!!!

Hi Andy

Yes, low budget it was. Maybe around R10k in todays money. I would not recommend it, but at least it shows that it is possible. We did over 20 000 km on this trip and it took almost 7 months to reach Israel. It was so safe to sleep in the bush and our meals consisted mainly of mangoes, bananas and bread. We often went to the local markets - can get a nice plate of local food for about 50 cents (maybe R2 now).

Long pants, boots, rain coat, tent, etc. are luxury items. It should also be much easier these days with a gps, at least you will always know where you are in relation to road or town. The maps did not work always, but yet we got to all the places.

The bikes are just amazing - both were old and we had no problems with them. I never had to kick more than twice to get it going. The XT 500 with its points required some attention, but nothing serious. I had well over 100 punctures on my rear tyre. Nowhere in Africa could be get a 5.10 x 18 tube and I could not afford courier service from SA. This, I must admit was rather irritating, especially for Johan who had to assist most of the times. A puncture never happens near any shade !!

I hope that this report inspires a couple of dudes to "just do it" !!
Let the snake slide and the lizzard slither and LET IT BE !
 

Offline Frohan Visser

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #155 on: September 09, 2008, 01:09:12 pm »
Hi Nardus
The report brings back the memories, one by one!!!!!!!
My trip in '94 was 3 months long and I had R3700 to use and I still used a lot of money as bribary money in prison in Egypt, so it was cheap to travel then!!!!!!!

Flat tyres...........!!!!!!
I got 12 flat tyres in one day on the strecth of road between Marsabit and Moyale in Northern Kenia, and none were near shade..........that was shitty!!!!!!!!! I know that feeling!!!
 
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1992 Suzuki DR 800, sold
1997 Suzuki DR 650, sold
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201.. KTM 690 R in the next 2 years
 

Offline Nardus

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #156 on: September 09, 2008, 03:40:30 pm »
Hi Frohan

Ha ha - ja goeie memories !!

Stop talking crap and write your trip report - we all want to see it - the 50 odd days in prison sounds like fun !!

Remember, my family knows who you are, so don't think you can get out of this one ........
Let the snake slide and the lizzard slither and LET IT BE !
 

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #157 on: September 09, 2008, 10:55:34 pm »
...I still used a lot of money as bribary money in prison in Egypt, so it was cheap to travel then!!!!!!!

Hey, hey, don't you still owe us this story? :clock: :drif:

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Offline Goose

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #158 on: September 09, 2008, 11:13:47 pm »
...I still used a lot of money as bribary money in prison in Egypt, so it was cheap to travel then!!!!!!!

Hey, hey, don't you still owe us this story? :clock: :drif:

 :thumleft:

ahem..... lets hear it then!  :thumleft:
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Offline Frohan Visser

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Re: MAYBE NO SHOES, BUT A BIKE AND THE WHOLE OF AFRICA !!
« Reply #159 on: September 10, 2008, 03:04:31 pm »
Boys
Just a minute, I have scanned all my photos last weekend, was sitting inside the whole Saturday, and it was perfect bike riding weather, so I am getting there.........last night I got a PC so now I must just start typing....I promise it is on its way!!!!!!!!!!
The problem is that Nardus and Mark's reports were of such high standard's, I will have to pull up my socks with mine !!



 
1986 Suzuki DR 600, Confiscated in Egypt
1992 Suzuki DR 800, sold
1997 Suzuki DR 650, sold
2005 KTM 640 Adv, sold
201.. KTM 690 R in the next 2 years