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BigEd

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #100 on: September 05, 2008, 09:00:02 pm »
great report , good days  :thumleft:

Quote
Luxury accommodation, with dinner tied-up in the foreground.

did u eat it ?  ;D

Hmm, I always wondered what KTM tasted like...
 

Offline I&horse

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #101 on: September 06, 2008, 04:02:23 pm »
This report makes me feel like a real WUS. We never rode more than 600km in a day, and mostly only 450.

Please tell us more about Sudan, what makes it so interesting|
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Offline mrg46

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Kenya
« Reply #102 on: September 08, 2008, 05:04:01 pm »
AFRICAN ENDURO - Kenya

So here I was at the Kenyan border of Moyale. I was a little anxious about the road that lay ahead. Most people had said it was very bad, but then these were the people that were sticking to tarmac where I was to dirt and were on  less offroad biased bikes. My Kenya border formalities were taken care of by one person and in about three minutes. That's how it's done. Although Kenya's election problems had kicked off just before I started my trip they seemed stable (ish) now, but I had heard of an Austrian couple on bikes that were shot at a few weeks ago on this road. I found the local policeman and inquired about the security situation on the road and he said it was ok, nobody was shot at, this week. It was Tuesday. Charming. I didn't ask about the previous week.

So I hit the road, and for the first 50k's it was very lekker, but then some severe rockiness started. It ranged from slippery fist-sized loose rocks to very large immovable ones that required some very slow riding and dodging. Although I love offroad riding this was intense and there were no good sections for a bit of a break. I don't think my vocabulary can do this road justice so I won't bother. Below are a few pictures, again they don't really show all its glory. There were a few tiny villages on the way where I stopped to ask the local policeman (or guy with the kwaaiest looking gun) if the road was safe. The people in this area are from the Samburu tribe, all wear very impressive traditional clothing and seem very aggressive. At one point I saw a flicker of movement in the bush and there was a tribesman sitting in the thick scrub with the but of his gun in his shoulder. Hostile intent was evident but thankfully my rally jacket armour was not tested. Later in the day I rounded a corner to find a large herd of camels in the road, being herded by three teenage tribesman. As I passed-by one of the he lunged at me with his spear. Time slowed down and I put the KTM on it side and gave plenty of throttle. I can't tell whether his intentions were murderous but it was pretty scary. I rode for the rest of the day without any more hostility from the Samburu's but the road was the killer. In one rocky and rain eroded section I didn't leave first gear for 45 minutes and covered 10km's slower than I can run it. The KTM had taken some very serious knocks, either by rocks buried in soft sand or when I didn't have the strength to avoid them. Twice the knocks on the front deflated the tyre and I was sure both rims were square but the KTM ploughed on through. At sunset I arrived at the mid-point of this road from hell and the town of Marsabit where I stayed at a very nice campsite on a farm owned by a Swiss man & his family. They were pretty self-sufficient and with the lodging he sold me a few of ice cold Tusker beers, some home-baked break and home-made swiss cheese. Those beers were glorious and bit the dust very quickly.


The start of the Northern Kenya road, thankfully there had been no rain for a week.


This could slow an oke down.


Some of the lesser rocky bits.


Never a dull moment on this road.


A large crater in a national park.


The outside of the accommodation at Henry the Swiss. Modest looking hey?


The inside of the accommodation. Very comfortable.


Cold beer & fresh cheese sandwiches, what more could an advrider ask for.

The next day I woke up at sparrows fart and hit the remainder of lucifer's path. This day was mentally draining where the previous was physical. Other than the odd patch of bull dust it was just continuous and irregular corrugations. Other than travelers the only other traffic on this road is large un-articulated trucks which plough along much faster than a bike or 4x4 can travel. The corrugations were huge and required more very tedious first gear riding. Like the previous day there were no easy bits for a rest. Again the KTM's suspension did an incredible job but I really didn't expect it to take this much abuse and still be capable of forward motion. I heard from others after my crossing that most people took four days for this road, camping in the bush, but that wasn't an option for me as I was on my ace and would have been short work for a bandit. Still I'm glad I did it fast, it was an awesome enduro ride. After 520km's and two days I finally arrived on tarmac at the town of Isiolo. I stopped to have a photo taken of my releif and shortly afterwards a nearby crowd of road construction workers gathered around, some becoming quite aggressive and shouting for money or food. They started tugging at me & my luggage but thankfully I had left the bike running on its centre stand and my helmet on so ploughed through them. If the spear thrust had left me shaken this mob had left me stirred. When I was further down the road & refueled I stopped to inspect any damage to the KTM. The shocks didn't seem to be leaking any fluid but the rims were littered with dents - four on the front and two on the rear. When riding it only seemed to wobble at 90-100kmphs so I either kept it above or below that. The tyres (both TKC's) also took some serious abuse but held out well. I've heard some horror stories about people that used Korean or Chinese rubber on this road. You get what you pay for


Some bull dust.


Pity you can't see the corrugations in this shot.


There was a truck far in the distance, which I was riding too fast to keep in front of incase I had a bad fall. Catch 22 hey?


Finally some tar after 520 of hell. Taken just before the hungry mob turned angry.

I was so chuffed with the nice tarmac road for a change that I carried on riding all the way to the capital Nairobbery, stopping for a some photo's at the Equator. It was cloudy & raining so I couldn't get to see mount Kenya and made my way South. I had misjudged sunlight hours and found myself breaking the rules again, riding at night and the rain. It took me a couple of hours to get through the Nairobi traffic and to the place I was staying at; the famous Jungle Junction (JJ's) in Nairobi. I just about collapsed with releif but the fridge full of Tuskers kept me upright to socialise with the other travelers there.


Token equator shot.


As I approached the Equator my GPS trip odometer was scarily close to a very round number. Give or take a few it was 10,000km's form London to the Equator, incase anyone was wondering.

I stayed in Nairobi for several days, washing & repairing clothes & gear and having another 5K service done. The inmates of JJ's  were all also in a frenzy of repairing & servicing bikes & 4x4's. As I had done the last two valve clearance checks myself I opted to take the bike to the local KTM dealer (the only official one in African outside of South Africa). Although they had some impressive (if pricey) stock I was not altogether impressed by their work on my bike. They had a set of Pirelli MT21's so I bought the rear to carry with me when the TKC ran smooth. So the report on the bike after 10,000km's on the trip so far was that it was in almost perfect shape. I don't think they checked the valves at the service (one of my gripes) but things felt & sounded good. I got a 2nd & 3rd opinion on my fixed chain and both said it looked fine and wasn't stretched. One of my wipeouts in The Sudan had put alot of stress on the long bolts of my handlebar risers and I had to tighten them a few times since then. One was just about stripped so I re-threaded to a couple of smaller nuts. The only other fix was to weld a broken joint on my luggage rack (also from a desert wipeout). The KTM now had a shade under 17,000km's on the clock and was ready for the most kak roads I could find.


A typical work day at JJ's. Many nice bikes in for service work by the owner of the establishment, mostly owned by local riders and not travelers.

Although there is much more to see in Kenya a lot of is in game parks that only allow closed vehicles, so I made for Tanzania. I had heard from the owner of JJ's about a very remote and untraveled border between Kenya & Tanzania which he had been to many years previously. Although I didn't know whether it was still open or the road passable I thought I'd give it a shot so left Nairobbery and cut a line Southwards. I left the main drag to Mombassa and hit a very unused road through Southern Kenya. It got more & more rural but was a great surface and really fun to ride. At one point I passed through a park and briefly rode next to a herd of galloping Zebra's, which was very cool. The people here were very friendly (unlike the North) and spoke excellent English like everywhere else in the country.


The very pleasant dirt track I rode in Southern Kenya. I could always tell how remote somewhere was by how cautious the little kids were in approaching this strange looking wit ou on a big orange bicycle.

I was giving it horns on a nice open dirt track when I noticed another bike in my mirrors. Wag a bietjie. I slowed to let this oke pass so I could have a look and was immediately suspicious. He was riding a Yamaha AG200 with a huge top box on the back and was wearing some top MX kit. Wat gaan hier aan? I knew what this was about. One of the things I had done as part of my prep was sign up to a charity for my trip. Generally I think foreign aid in Africa is a load of kak (like Bob's use of it in Zim) and I wasn't aiming to pick up a nobel prize but thought I might as well try & do something for Riders for Health. I knew about them from watching MotoGP. They teach nurses & doctors how to ride and give them dual sport bikes & riding gear so that they can supply aid to very rural areas that are not accessible by 4 wheeled vehicles. This was one of these 'Riders' that I had just happened to bump into. I stopped him & we had a long chat, took some photo's and then rode together for about 20km's. He was riding like a pro, on the pegs and ringing the neck of the AG. It was pretty special meeting this guy on the road, especially as it slightly altered my opinion of aid. In Ethiopia all I had seen was hundreds & hundreds of brand new Toyota Land cruisers donated by aid agencies, being driven around as taxi's. In the capital cities I had been through so far I would find the best hotels so that I could use the internet connection in their business centres. These 5 star hotels were often overflowing with 'aid workers'  smoking cigars and knocking back cocktails at midday. This guy was the other (real) end of the aid work spectrum. His top box was full of medicine and he was riding some hard tracks to the remote villages to give treatment where people had very little. Most of my friends & family are the pre-historic types who don't use credit cards online so my fund raising has failed abysmally, but if anyone reading this would like to drop a few bokke in I'd be very grateful.

http://www.justgiving.com/africanenduro
(It's based in the UK but you can donate in any currency)


The Rider, Lazarus, perched on his AG.


He fancied the KTM. Don't we all.


Lazarus giving the AG plenty.

As I approached the border with Tanzania the spectacular Mount Kilimanjaro was covered in a large and low bank of cloud, but hopefully I'd be able to clock it from the other side. I eventually got to the tiny border where I was glad to find out that I could pass through and exit the country. Hakuna Matata (no problem). I was noted in the immigration book as being the 182nd person to pass through this year - not a particularly busy border. I was looking forward to the unknown on the other side of the fence, as I hadn't heard of anyone having taken this route before.

More soon

Mark
 

Offline Trailrider

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #103 on: September 08, 2008, 05:28:15 pm »
Great stuff!
 

Offline LanceSA

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #104 on: September 08, 2008, 09:14:41 pm »
Man, I'm enjoying this RR. Makes me lus.
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Offline Nardus

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #105 on: September 09, 2008, 12:23:55 pm »
lekka lekka lekka !!!

Great stuff.

Must admit, it takes a certain ball size to tackle such a trip solo - much respect !!
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Offline KTMjedi

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #106 on: September 10, 2008, 10:56:05 am »
Geeze Nardus, you talk of ball size....bud you must have ones the size of bowling balls after reading your RR!

Offline bradleys

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #107 on: September 11, 2008, 08:09:29 am »
WOW,, what a great report, really enjoyng the read and pics .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 Stofstreep

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #108 on: September 11, 2008, 03:36:02 pm »
I have great respect for the work that riders for Health is doing in Africa.
Nice one Mark
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Offline mrg46

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Tanzania
« Reply #109 on: September 14, 2008, 05:33:02 pm »
AFRICAN ENDURO - Tanzania

Picking up from this remote border-post with Southern Kenya, which was called Oloitokitok. I had been through a fair few border-posts by now and although each one is interesting and different, what happened next proved to be solid gold. I went into the tiny immigration office and waited for the official to finish reading his newspaper and then motion me forward for processing. He had a quick look through the interesting visa's & stamps in my green mamba, closed it and put it in his top pocket, tore off a piece of newspaper and excused himself, disappearing out the back door. It was obvious to me where he was going but I looked out the window to confirm that he was in fact going for a kak. Either he was caught short, or my passport was a particularly interesting toilet read - I suspect it was the latter. He emerged after short while with the newspaper missing, but thankfully all the pages of my passport in tact. As I left I inspected my passport for a brown stamp. I enjoyed this comical moment immensely.

After wiping the tears of laughter I hit the very slippery track around the foothils of Mt. Kilimanjaro for a couple of hours. This was the only part of Africa where I encountered rainforest jungle vegetation and conditions, which are only found in Central or West Africa. Although it was wet the dirt track was incredibly good fun - the best days riding I'd had on my trip so far. After waiting in a small town at the foothills of Mt.Kili for a day for the cloud to disappear I lost patience and hit the road Eastwards along the impressive Usambara mountain range. Although I was tempted to climb into the mountains I thought I'd give the KTM a break for now and head for the coast instead. I made for a little-known coastal town of Pangani and again had a really good and fast dirt road ride to get there. At the little village I found the local chief and he suggested I wasn't allowed to camp anywhere so I treated myself to an up-market but very remote luxury tented camp called Mkoma bay. This was a very lekker place and the owner hosts were hospitable and good company. They had a fully stocked bar and some very good graze.


At tame baboon at a roadside cafe.


The Usambara mountains in the background, sisal plants in the foreground.


This was the first country on my trip where almost all locals with bikes wore helmets. This guy had his jacket on backwards fastened with a safety pin. Genius.


A typically friendly Tanzanian. Roughly translated his sign reads: "Kolosai's Camp. Jesus is God. We fix and hire bicycles"


KTM sleeping beside one of the luxury tents at Mkoma bay.


Not an unattractive rainbow.


A very dirt nice road to the village of Pangani.


The same road after an evening of rain.


This oke had stopped to remove the mud from his low fender. He appreciated my high fender conversion, as did I.


Bikes work as hard as any other vehicles in Africa. Among other things this raakvat looking rider had a briefcase, firewood and some livestock.


Bicycles are also hard-working vehicles.

Unfortunately I couldn't track the coast Southwards as there were a number of river mouths without bridges or ferries, so I hit the same road I came on, but this time after an evening of rain (before & after photo's above). I then stuck to the tar and made for the Capital of Dar Es Salaam. In Dar I stayed at a great beach campsite about 10k's out of town and met a few other travelers, also heading Northwards in the opposite direction of me. I stayed at this spot for several days, as it was the first decent rest period of my trip so far with no work required on the bike. Dar was my favourite city on the route so far, largely due to the very pleasant Tanzania people. As I had made my way down Tanzania I had decided to purposely bypass certain interesting bits as I loved the country so much I wanted to go back some time (with company).


Practicing patience on a very busy ferry crossing.


My accommodation on the beach close to Dar Es Salaam.


The KTM had a very long rest here, as did I.


A round-the-world couple on a Vstrom. They had done the America's and were going North through Africa. He had made a fully enclosed chain casing for the bike.

After having my batteries recharged on the beach in Dar I packed-up and got ready for the final leg of my trip, which was very exciting. Most people on a trans-Africa swing inland after Dar and head for Malawi but I had decided to leave that for another trip as I desperately wanted to cross into the far North of Mozambique instead. So this left me with about 800k's of Tanzania which I had no report of anyone doing recently. After the tarmac of Dar ran out the dirt track become very sandy and very bumpy. I was once again slowed right down and it occurred to me that doing 800k's of this surface was not going to end well. I had done about 70k's of this when all of a sudden an amazing new single lane tarmac road appeared. I was thankful for the tarmac as it gave me a chance to admire the very wild and interesting surroundings. About half way to the Moz. border I pulled into a beach-side campsite that I had seen a sign for. The campsite was empty except for a couple of locals and a dog and I made an offer of cash if I could pitch my tent. The setting was incredible easy on the eye and the inhabitants were very glad for the company. One of the guys was a security guard and the other a cook, who I asked if he had any food I could buy. He beamed at the opportunity to cook for me. He said I had to choose what I wanted to eat immediately so that he had a few hours to go and forage for it. The options were prawns, fish or chicken. I chose the prawns and he promptly got into his dug-out canoe to retrieve dinner. He left me with a cooler box of Kilimanjaro lagers but before I got stuck in I stripped the luggage of the KTM and took it onto the beach. I had long fantasised about doing some Dakar-style wheelies through the surf and this was the moment. The security guard enjoyed the show and although I gave him my camera to take some video he was so fascinated by the viewfinder which showed exactly what he saw with his eyes that he couldn't quite follow my ride-by's. The prawns were fantastic, which I was thankful for as the chef would have fallen on his sword if I hadn't enjoyed them. The security guard was a traditional tribal warrior and wore all the finery to go with it. He never moved from within 20 meters of my tent & bike at all times and was there, on guard when I woke up early the in the morning. When I left he refused my appreciation offer of money, but did accept an apple I had in my bag. He was typical of the Tanzanians I had met on my trip; the nicest people and country by far.


One of the larger boabab trees beside the road. There were huge indigenous forests of them in the South of Tanzania.


The beach campsite I described above.


No video but the security gaurd was able to get a still of the beach riding demonstration.


The proud & noble security guard.


Sunset on the beach. Not revolting to look at while drinking a Kili lager.


The prawns masterly prepared by the chef.

The next day I had a long ride to the very South of Tanzania. There was no fuel in the two villages I passed through, which was a little worrying. I ran the tank dry and then moved on with the extra 5 litres I was carrying in a plastic container. That ran dry too. My camp stove (the multi fuel type) had run out of kerosene earlier in the trip and I had filled it with petrol, so in went that ample 750ml into the tank to get a little further. There were a few hills which I coasted down and amazingly made it into a village with petrol, running dry very close to the pumps. While I was in this town I took the opportunity to replace my smooth rear TKC with the Pirelli MT21 I was carrying. The TKC had done very well, around 12,000km'. I thought it charitable to make a contribution to the Tanzanian GDP by employing someone at the fuel station to change it for me. I was happy to see that the top tyre changer in the village had as much trouble changing tyres as I did.


This is my favourite photo of the entire trip so far. Despite being destitutely poor this guy had a bungalow in Pariis with a make believe satellite dish and various cables running into his shack to suggest it had electricity. This made him incredibly wealthy and he was a happy man. T-I-A.


This is where I ran dry of petrol - not too far to push.


The tyre changer busting a bead of sweat.


The tarmac was now gone and a taster of things to come in Mozambique.

That evening I located yet another beach-side camp, owned by a Belgian ex-big game hunter & fisherman. We had a great seafood meal, again sourced from the water a few metres away and washed down with Kilimanjaro lager. He was an avid Dakar fan and loved the KTM. He said it looked like I was a good racer. Thankfully he didn't see my pathetically slow arrival over the sand dunes to his camp, or the little wipeout on-route. The next day I proceeded to the very bottom of the country and it's border, the great Rovuma river. There were no petrol pumps but I was able to source some 'bush fuel' and filled the tank and again every other receptacle after filtering it. After paying a small bribe to the immigration officer in the village (to avoid unpacking all of my kit) I was checked-out of Tanzania but still on their soil and made my way to the banks of the river.


Another beach-side camp.


Typical African dugout canoes.


Someones beach-side villa.


A top-up of bush fuel. The octane was surprisingly good.

I'll take a little time to explain this crossing. As I said, not many travelers use this route and similarly very few locals seem to move between this border, and if so it's by foot on a small boat. There is a small two car ferry which allegedly operates to cross the river but it is hardly ever in operation due to the river being so tidal, and the mass of sand banks along its 2km width. When I was in Nairobi I had met a very adventurous German guy who had recently crossed it in his Toyota Landcruiser. He used the ferry which had got stuck on a sand back, where it remained for three days. Out of desperation he then charted three of the little passenger vessels, had them tide together and drove his Landcruiser onto the makeshift raft, which only cleared the water by 20cm. Large, hardekool balls!

At the river bank there was no ferry but a collection of these small boats with outboard motors. The huge swarm of locals desperate locals fighting to be enlisted as crew for my crossing, one of them even resorting to windmilling with his fists to reduce the number of contenders. I selected 6 of the sturdiest fella's (this number would rise) and the biggest looking boat. They man-handled the KTM onto the boat and I quickly enlisted an extra person to start bailing the water that was flowing in from a couple of little holes. We pushed off the bank and did a couple of hundred metres downstream towards the sea before the captain could get the spluttering outboard to start.


The three biggest & best vessels on the Rovuma.


Loading required a fair amount of organisation. Enthusiasm wasn't lacking.


Underway on the river. Next stop Mozambique, or perhaps a sandbank.

I'll leave you on tender hooks as to how this unfolds..

More soon

 

Offline BMWPE

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #110 on: September 14, 2008, 06:15:05 pm »
Great stuff
Thanks for sharing :thumleft:
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Offline Mark Hardy

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #111 on: September 14, 2008, 07:30:18 pm »
I am looking forward to the next leg. I hope to do a trip to Tanzania and I am also looking at returning through Northern Mozambique.

Thanks for wonderful RR.
 

Offline ratrap

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #112 on: September 14, 2008, 09:09:03 pm »
Great read again!!  :thumleft:
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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #113 on: September 14, 2008, 11:12:25 pm »
Great read again!!  :thumleft:

+1 Can't wait... :drif:
 

Offline bradleys

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #114 on: September 15, 2008, 08:30:08 am »
Cant wait for the next episode :thumleft:
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 Hidalgo

Re: African Enduro
« Reply #115 on: September 15, 2008, 08:44:12 am »
Awsome read !!

I was in Tanzania last year doing Killi and agree that the Tanzanian people are extremely friendly.

Looking forward to the next chapter.

Thx
H
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Offline dieterf

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #116 on: September 15, 2008, 08:37:03 pm »
this entire story is better than a published novel. Well done  :thumleft:

especially love this part:"
Picking up from this remote border-post with Southern Kenya, which was called Oloitokitok. I had been through a fair few border-posts by now and although each one is interesting and different, what happened next proved to be solid gold. I went into the tiny immigration office and waited for the official to finish reading his newspaper and then motion me forward for processing. He had a quick look through the interesting visa's & stamps in my green mamba, closed it and put it in his top pocket, tore off a piece of newspaper and excused himself, disappearing out the back door. It was obvious to me where he was going but I looked out the window to confirm that he was in fact going for a kak. Either he was caught short, or my passport was a particularly interesting toilet read - I suspect it was the latter. He emerged after short while with the newspaper missing, but thankfully all the pages of my passport in tact. As I left I inspected my passport for a brown stamp. I enjoyed this comical moment immensely.

looking forward to the next chapter  :P
 

Offline husky

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #117 on: September 16, 2008, 06:32:30 am »
Absolutely fantastic. Good to see on Adv rider too. Let's head for N Moz & S Tanzania. Wife, kids, job; who needs those.
 

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #118 on: September 16, 2008, 06:58:18 am »
Brilliant! We are eagerly waiting for the next issue!
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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #119 on: September 16, 2008, 07:52:50 am »
Excellent ride report :thumleft:
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 07:53:40 am by Ratel »
"Stercus accidit..."