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Author Topic: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018  (Read 1626 times)

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Offline DREWMARX

TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« on: May 23, 2018, 12:00:05 pm »
Ja ja, okay it wasn’t really a RALLY but it felt like it, and it has brought about the idea of possibly doing a staged multi-day event through Mozambique, but I won’t elaborate on that now. So where and how do I begin this ride report?

I suppose it begins with the drowning of my XR650R in Lake Rukwa, Tanzania in late 2016. A friend of mine and I decided to do a day ride from Mbeya to Lake Rukwa, maybe a 300km return trip. I was riding my Christini 450X and he was riding my XRR. We made it to Rukwa in good time, having left Mbeya around 10am, we got there just after 12 but there isn’t really a road that takes you straight to the lake shore and we found these “hippo lanes” and decided to follow them. The further we go the higher the reeds got and the more imminent the threat of actually encountering hippos, yes the water also got a bit deeper, and we had a few touch and go moments, but then all of a sudden we were on the lake shore and on dry land. We had an energy Bar, took a few pictures and decided to start travelling back to Mbeya. The return journey through the “hippo lanes” was not as successful, and while riding behind Deon he suddenly stalled the bike in one of the deeper sections. I rode through and parked my bike on dry land returning by “boot” to the scene of the stall. I tried to start the bike with only a gurgling sound and immediately knew there was “groot kak”.

Loooong story short, I ended up towing Deon about 50km before abandoning him to go and fetch the bakkie. Got back to Mbeya, stripped the bike completely and took the barrel and head and valves to SA for some love. Returned, put the bike back together “fucked-up” the timing and bent the valves again when I tried to skop it. Stripped my moer and left the bike standing. I took the bike back to SA in October of last year to have it fixed by some people with the right skills and experience. So this is where the Adventure Begins. My XRR is stuck in SA and ready for a ride/adventure and while talking to a friend we decide that this is a good excuse to fly down to SA and ride up my 650 and 400 “QUICKLY” over a self made “LONG WEEKEND” through Moz to Tanzania. We both had work commitments and couldn’t take more time for the trip, but to be honest the time pressure only made the journey/trip more of an advenXure.
So, I guess I can now finally begin with the “ride report”……

I hope that you enjoy the read, if not…..well then it just proves I am a poor writer as it truly turned out to be an epic advenXure for us anyway.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 12:43:35 pm by DREWMARX »
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Offline DREWMARX

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2018, 12:21:28 pm »
The Bikes:
2005 XR650R
2004 XR400R

Riders:
Drew Marx
Johan Pfahl

So as with anything in life, my life anyway, I never ever have enough time to plan something properly, and if I had to wait to plan stuff properly I would never get out of bed. So, last minute, the night before I leave Tanzania for SA, I started packing tools and sleeping bags and kit, and needless to say when I arrived in SA I had forgotten lots of stuff. I arrived on Wednesday evening and my pops picked myself and Johan(who arrived via shuttle from Klerksdorp) up from ORTambo. Thursday was spent running around buying stuff, biltong, tuna, mayo, rehydrate, some nuts and bolts, puncture solution/glue, and of course waiting for DHL to deliver the LARGE ACERBIS TANK and LUGGAGE RACK ordered for the XR400R. We were debating whether or not we were really going to need the Tank and rack or whether we should just siphon from my bikes Tank. Later events would have prove that at most we needed a range of about 250km, so we might have been able to cope, except for a bad spell during which my XR650R only managed around 11 to 12km/litre.

DHL did themselves proud and showed up at 16:45 on the Thursday prior to our planned Departure the next DAY. Quickly we started installing the tank and fitting the luggage rack and in about 30min we were done and very proud of ourselves. Bikes were being packed and we were ready by about 8pm on the 10th of May, ready to leave at 05:30 for our 5 to 6 day RACE through Mozambique on the 11th, on dirt roads nogal.

This ride report is being written by a semi-literate buffoon, so kindly excuse the deurmekaargatgheid of the report. Our plan was to enter Mozambique at Komati Poort, turn left at Moamba, 50km into Moz from the Lebombo border post, and then to find tracks and dirt roads all the way north to the UNITY 1 Bridge border post, just East of Lake Malawi, between Tanzania and Mozambique. From there we would just race the short dirt section to Songea and then fly on TAR to Mbeya, or so we thought, if we hadn’t gotten lost a bit in Mozambique, and if we hadn’t taken the wrong turn in Tanzania in Njombe(Just North of Songea). The Tanzanian detour took us through Makete(Cowboy Town of note) and through Kitulo National Park to Mbeya(Our end Destination).

Please feel free to ask questions about tyre type, tank size, what we packed etc. I'll be happy to answer as I go along, these questions may help me not to forget a lot of stuff.

DAY 1:
We got up around 5am, in Pretoria North at my parents house, had a quick coffee, brushed our teeth, and put our KIT on. Pretty pleased with ourselves we started our bikes at 5:25am. MOZAMBIQUE here we come. I as overheating with all the KIT already, but how I prayed for that heat when we hit the WITBANK highway. It was FREEZING! The last time I was this cold was in high school when we had to write our Exams in the School Hall in the dead of WINTER! My hands were Freezing as the MX gloves I had opted for weren’t providing too much protection against the CHILL! Johan was also suffering, and just after the BANKS we decided to pull in for a well deserved coffee so we could defrost a bit. The next time we would be this cold would be in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, not quite as cold as the BANKS an Middleburg, but could enough to seize the hands and cold enough so that you need to take off your gloves and search a bit to find your pee machine.

« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 12:37:38 pm by DREWMARX »
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Offline DREWMARX

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2018, 12:40:35 pm »
From the SHELL Ultra just the other side of the BANKS we experienced some more entertaining TAR and some more very very gripping cold. We were hungry and cold and stopped at MILLY's for another warm-me-up coffee and a lekker pulled LAMB VETKOEK.
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Offline jeff

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Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2018, 01:13:10 pm »
Subscribed :ricky:
"Love the life you live. Live the life you love"

Bob Marley
 

Offline Offshore

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2018, 01:21:59 pm »
Me too
 

Offline DREWMARX

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2018, 01:25:11 pm »
After sufficiently having built up the courage to brave the cold we decided to make for the border, we knew this was the last time for about a week that we were going to be able to something as lekker as a pulled LAMB VETKOEK, the mood was quite sombre food wise. We made it to Lebombo Border around 11:30 and this is where the swindling and scheming started. If you see the individual posing with our bikes, kindly provide him with a pk and mention our bike trip to him. We were at fault because in the chaos these bastards ousted us of about $400. Apparently $50 per bike Temporary Import Fee, which we later find out was free, we couldn’t do any math while paying for 3rd party insurance, buying a sim card and then swopping $300 for 2010 Meticals, instead of 20 100 Meticals. Anyway, we didn’t realise it at the time as I would have dealt a few PK’s myself. We happily felt that the border wasn’t too expensive, took us about 40min to pass through at roughly about $80 per person, until that is we noticed we got stiffed on the cash exchange deal.

« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 01:25:38 pm by DREWMARX »
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Offline DREWMARX

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2018, 01:36:04 pm »
We made it through the border and off we were to Moamba to turn left and find some dirt roads that’ll take us NORTH! Just after turning left at Moamba we found a filling station, and because the unknown beckoned we decided to fill up. This is where we noticed our grossly idiotic error. I told the attendant to fill up and when the bill came I noticed it was for about 1 500 Meticals. THAT’S impossible I shouted at the poor attendant exclaiming that that’s amount $200 worth of fuel for about 20 litres of fuel!!! I wasn’t impressed, and neither was Johan as he was the one actually dealing with the Exchange. We were properly screwed. It’s a Friday afternoon, we’re not returning to the border to waste a whole day on trying to find the culprits, we got had fair and square, and believe me I won’t make that mistake again! Anyway, we swallowed the very BITTER PILL and decided that it won’t ruin our trip. We made it to the first town, where luckily the BCI Bank were willing to exchange $300 for us, and where I was able to draw another 5 000 Meticals just for good measure. This was not a good experience, lesson learnt and school fees paid, but what was worse is that it took about an hour and a half for the exchange to take place. I had already drawn cash, and Johan was in the bank exchange his dollars, but he had already handed it over and besides them wanting to know the colour of his underwear and his date of birth on the exchange form, every single person in the branch wanted to come and meet him and ask stupid questions about our journey, and why we’re doing it, and it’s crazy to ride the length of Moz, I was gatvol!!! I decide to chow some biltong, have a coke, eat some peanuts and a protein bar while waiting for Johan. The biltong instantly made me feel better!
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Offline Lou1

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2018, 01:38:58 pm »
 :thumleft:

Gonna be a good wone!
 

Offline DREWMARX

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2018, 01:41:38 pm »
Johan FINALLY made it out of the Bank, I handed him a protein bar and said: “eet op, ons moet NOU ry!”. The unknown awaited and we didn’t have any more time or money to waste. I forgot to mention that we were also both on a very tight budget, we both only had $500 for the trip and had just got swindled out of about $400, half of our trip budget basically, we were screwed! But not screwed enough to make us want to turn back, we had swallowed the pill and decide to make the best of it!
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Offline DREWMARX

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2018, 01:51:34 pm »
We were off like bats out of hell, on the grondpad heading north, and had to stop and talk about where we were going as we hadn’t done any planning. We were off again after a one minute talk saying that lets just follow the road, turn left when we can and avoid crossing back in to SA. We made it to some fork in the road around 4pm and decided that a beer was in order and the Dois M WAS GOOOOD! No idea of the name of this intersection, but you go straight ahead and it takes you to Inhambane, and we went left, I think we were heading for Chokwe, this fork in the road wasn’t far from there. We had our beers and were off! We wanted to head away from people and out of town so we could find a nice quiet camping spot.
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Offline FrancoisTz

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Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2018, 01:53:49 pm »
Thanks for sharing, waiting for the rest.
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank amongst those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
 

Offline DREWMARX

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2018, 01:55:32 pm »
I say, OFF! because we intended to do another 60 or 70 km for the day to reach our target we set of 700km a day. This never happened. Immediately after we turned left, post beers, we crossed a train bridge and made it into quite a nice big town that we never imagined would be lurking less than 500m from where we had our beers. We pulled into a petrol station, filled up our bikes(without yelling at the attendant over the price) and then left this little place as the sun was setting.
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Offline eSKaPe

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Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2018, 02:00:23 pm »
 :sip:
Very entertaining so far! keep it coming!
 

Offline RobLH

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Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2018, 02:09:58 pm »
Explain the petrol station scam at Moamba please. Were you not with your bikes when filling up?
 

Offline DREWMARX

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2018, 02:20:27 pm »
If I remember correctly we did about 645km for the day, not bad for the first day, but it would be the most we’d do for the whole trip in a single day. Up to know we hadn’t experienced any problems and weren’t expecting to. But, oh were we wrong……but more about this later. We left Chokwe and made our way up the 208 Road to Mabalane. I think we made it maybe 40km out of town when the light started fading quickly! Johan stopped me and suggested we make camp. To our left was swamp and to our write was a rickety fence, no fence really but the wooden fence poles were in place. We turned right into the open veld and rode about 300m into it where we found a big clump of thorn bushes that would shield us from the road and preying eyes. We parked the bikes, took out our tents and made a fire, quick quick just as darkness fell our camp was set up and our fire glinting in the fading light. We were content and proud of ourselves. We had tuna on provitas for dinner, a Dois M bought at the fork in the road, some biltong and of course a Nescafe cappuccino that I had the good sense to pack. Johan had a very handy little gas stove and pot set, but we just heated the water in the coals of the fire. We talked kak for about 30min after Dinner under the starts listening to some nearby cattle groaning and mooing and hoping the farmer doesn’t come and shoot these cattle rustlers trespassing on his land.

Johan had forgotten his tents pegs and had to use some logs and his bike to secure it so that it doesn’t collapse. He doesn’t have a dome tent but one of those kak jobbies that has a hoop on either end of the tent and you have to pull it taught to make it stay up. This was a ritual he would repeat 3 times on the trip as we also made us of some other accommodation during the trip, and on 3 nights didn’t even bother to pitch tents.

Anyway, back to the last minutes of the trip. I had packed a bottle of BRAND SLANG, this is 50% strength witblits with two BEEEEG chillies inside. This was our straf dop for falling over, crashing, droopping the bike or being the dick of the day, any stupid reason we could come up with got you a slukkie of Brand Slang. Night 1 was Johan’s turn to have a slukkie. This stuff actually turned out to be quite nice, and the chillies actually made it seem like it wasn’t that strong, but man did it BRAND, the next morning I swear I heard Johan’s poephol whistle like a boiling kettle when he went for his morning drop off. We went to bed early, maybe around 8pm. It was mixed day, some nice dirt roads, some close calls, a kooi with big horns clipped my riding jacket at about 80km/hour, my life flashed before my eyes, and I sommer decided that I also needed a slukkie BRAND SLANG! The trip could have ended there and then at around 3pm if I was just a little bit faster or if I had looked left instead of right at the moment the fkn cow came flying out of the bush at full tilt. Damn smart cow too, when I shouted, hit the brakes(with no real effect) and hooted at it, it sort of turned it’s headed and itself hit the brakes and we narrowly avoided contact……I had to stop and take stock of my life a little and thank God that I was still alive and also ask him to continue keeping an eye over us for the rest of the trip. It was time for bed, day one was over and we needed some rest as we had no idea what day 2 had in store for us.
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Offline DREWMARX

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2018, 02:29:37 pm »
@RobLH there was no scam at the petrol station just after Moamba, sorry for not explaining it better. That is just where we realized we got screwed over at the border. We were given 2010 Meticals at the border instead of 20 100. When I got to the petrol station and filled up our bikes we realized that we only had 2010 meticals and the total fuel bill was 1500, our minds for a minute thought the attendant was taking a chance, but he wasn't. The price of fuel is roughly a dollar per litre, and his price and rate was spot on, but we were robbed out of 18 000 Meticals, about $270 along with the $50 per bike Temporary Import Cost(which was actually free) so in essence we were robbed of almost $400, well I say robbed, more swindled and made fools of. They were most likely having a beer near the border that night and laughed at the two stupid white guys on bikes who, with good educations and degrees, couldn't even do simple math. I was and still am terribly disappointed in myself. They create and feed and profit out of the chaos at the borders.....and normally I am super switched on as I have done numerous trips through Africa and this was the first time I got made a fool of like this. The rule is, in Africa anyway, NEVER EVER let your guard down, never ever just let it be, question everything, especially if it comes to money and paying for something or exchanging currencies.
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Offline RobLH

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Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2018, 02:31:59 pm »
Shit, that's bad luck, thanks for explaining. Loving the trip, looking forward to the rest, thanks.
 

Offline Buff

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2018, 02:41:25 pm »
Subscribed  :ricky: Lekka story so far, really enjoying it  :thumleft:
Present bikes: BETA 300RR, KTM 690, Yamaha WR250F

If you're dumb you gotta be tough !!!
 

Offline DREWMARX

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2018, 02:58:29 pm »
Some help needed with posting my story. I checked some okes are writing and then inserting pics below paragraphs and labeling their pics etc, whereas my dumbass simply writes a paragraph and then attaches the photos all at once, then have to write a new reply to continue my story. Some how-to tips here would be greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards

Drew
The Christini AWD Advantage!
 

Offline DREWMARX

Re: TRANS MOZMBIQUE RALLY 2018
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2018, 03:33:07 pm »
Some help needed with posting my story. I checked some okes are writing and then inserting pics below paragraphs and labeling their pics etc, whereas my dumbass simply writes a paragraph and then attaches the photos all at once, then have to write a new reply to continue my story. Some how-to tips here would be greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards

Drew

Just helped myself and found some helpful tips on how to do this. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have it right.
The Christini AWD Advantage!