Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes  (Read 11441 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #180 on: November 21, 2018, 04:48:23 pm »

We passed many police checkpoints and, soon after Lusaka, a toll. We were waved through the toll. The police never bothered with us and just waved us through. The only time we got stopped was actually soon after crossing the border from Namibia. The poor police officer was alone and bored. We exchange few jokes and he let us go!

About 200kms from Lusaka we crossed over a massive bridge over the Luangwa river. The views were stunning but we could not stop safely in the very busy road, to take photos.

The weather was cold and cloudy and we had a strong headwind, as every morning since we started this trip. It seemed the wind blowed from the east. It usually calmed down early afternoon.

Although the road crossed many villages on the way, there was no accommodation, shops, coffee shops or anything where you could stop for a rest. All along, people and children waved and smiled at us. Zambians were friendly.

After a long cold day ride, we arrived at the junction with Petauke. From my research, I knew there was some sort of hotel around. We found is eventually. From the outside, it looked nice. Inside, as usual since we left Namibia, it was poorly built and bit run down.




The lodge had little individual wooden cabins or more expensive bricks ones. We took the cheap wooden cabin for 350 ZK including a small breakfast (about 35 $). They had a small restaurant, so we wandered there after a hot shower. I was absolutely frozen and asked reception for extra blankets. It was going to be a very cold night.

At the restaurant we had a choice of fish, pork or chicken. Rice or chips. We still had to wait a good hour to get our fried fish and rice. After eating, I felt a bit warmer. I never imagined Zambia could get this cold.

Tired and shivering, we got back to our hut for the night.

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #181 on: November 21, 2018, 04:50:15 pm »

Day 52 – Zambia, South Luangwa National Park – Croc Valley camp – Thursday 19th July – 310kms


That night we had a massive storm. There was no rain but a very violent wind. As we woke up, the sky was dark grey and fences and debris from a construction site had been blown away by the wind.  It was cold and still very windy.

I did not look forward to ride with such strong wind. We waited until 10am before setting off, with all my layers on. We neglected to put our trousers waterproof though. After all, this is the dry season right?

After riding for a while, it got colder and started to rain.

We had to stop to fetch our waterproof over-trousers. While we got them on, we provided some unusual entertainment to a young lad on a bicycle, across the road, who kept watching us. Women, carrying heavy baskets on their heads, walked pass us, laughing and saying a friendly hello.

As I finally sat on my bike, ready to leave, I smiled and waved a big good bye to the lad across the road, he gave me a big smile and waved back.







Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #182 on: November 21, 2018, 04:52:23 pm »

By mid afternoon we arrived at Chipata,  in the south east of Zambia, near the border with Malawi.

For now, we only stopped there to buy some fuel and visit the local Spar, to get some lunch. As soon as we arrived at the Spar parking lot, moneychangers surrounded us. It always makes me feel nervous, being surrounded by a bunch of guys, talking or shouting all at the same time.

We explained we were not going to Malawi and did not need their services. Eventually they left us. While Alistair went inside the supermarket, I kept watch of the bikes, being offered constantly goods by street sellers and being asked money by the many beggars that seem to populate border towns. I really don't like border towns. They always have that feeling of decay, crooks, thieves and danger.

Eventually, Alistair came back with a chicken pastry and two samosas, and some Diet Coke. After eating, we got out of town and picked up the road up to South Luangwa National Park.

Surprisingly, the road to the national park was all tarmac, contradicting my trusted paper map, which was nice. I was expecting a very bad road.

After 130kms of a small country road, up and down many hills, lined, once again, with many villages and people walking around, pigs, goats, cows wandering and eating by the side of the road, we saw the sign for Croc Valley Camp. I selected this campsite, among many available in the region, because it was one of the cheapest (I like a good bargain!) and also it provides safari drives in the national park at a reasonable cost! Once again motorbikes were not allowed in the park.

Online Noneking

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #183 on: November 21, 2018, 04:55:15 pm »
(I can always post the ride report in here if there is enough interest).


Yes please!!
2007 KTM 990 S
2019 KTM 790 R

NONEKING'S RIDE REPORTS - http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=226099.0
 

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #184 on: November 21, 2018, 05:05:38 pm »
(I can always post the ride report in here if there is enough interest).


Yes please!!

ah? ok then!
Just need to load photos into Flickr and see how many I can load there before they ask for money. The write up is pretty much done, loading photos is usually the big job. But I am not working at the moment so plenty of time  :angel4:

Although my idea, if I can find enough free platform for photos,  would be to integrate my year around south America followed by all  the others long overland trips. That would combine quite a world exploration. I will think about it. First, we finish this trip :)

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #185 on: November 21, 2018, 05:08:02 pm »
We decided, as it was just only 10 dollars more, to get one of the large Safari (canvas) tent, instead of using our small flimsy dome tent. Later on we realised it was a very wise decision!

The tent was big, with two beds and enough room for all our stuff. It had a thatched roof over the tent, which would come handy. It also had a pick-nick table outside and a big heavy metal box with a large padlock. The ‘door’ of the tent had also a padlock. This would become important later on because of the monkey wars!

After changing out of our motorcycle clothes, we went for a walk around the large campsite grounds, and I immediately saw all the monkeys, as well as the large baboons. So many of them!

There was a communal kitchen that had to be kept locked. We got a copy of the key at reception to access it. We were instructed that all the food had to stay in metal containers or in the fridge and the door should be locked at all times. We were not allowed to leave any food near the wired fenced windows. Hmmm…?

Apparently, during the winter season, when food is scarce, elephants wander around the campsites and will steal any food they can reach. A tent, window or car door is no match for them. And then of course, there are the monkeys.

The campsite was not too busy. A large overland truck from a tour company left that same day. Few tourists were around, staying in the safari tents or at the more expensive rooms and chalets.


Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #186 on: November 21, 2018, 05:09:47 pm »


Walking from our tent to the bar area, we observed, from a safe distance, a large gang of baboons completely flattening a small dome tent and stealing some clothes. They were also all over the car parked next to it. The staff, unlike in Ai - Ais, did nothing to stop them. I was glad we decided to stay in the big solid canvas tent.




Later on, a member of staff told me that monkeys are not afraid of women (sexist pigs, or monkeys in this case  :biggrin:), and often steal food from the hand of women. So he told me I should be cautious when and where I was eating. As it was dark, all the monkeys were gone. So it was ok. We cooked some vegs and noodles and ate our dinner in one of the many nice sitting areas.

The camp is set next to the river and we could see many hippos lying around. They can walk across the camp at night, as well as elephants, crocs and other wildlife.








Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #187 on: November 21, 2018, 05:13:41 pm »


Day 52 –  Zambia, Croc Valley camp – Friday 20th July – 0kms


A bit before 7am we got woken up by a very large group of baboons. There was a baboon war going on, the noise, screams and rage going on, were pretty scary. They were so may of them, by the sound, and they were all over our tent, the roof, the trees, our front door, with a bit of the fight just on my side of the tent. I was so glad to be inside a solid canvas tent. It was a very large group and the males were massive! I did not fancy an 80kgs baboon ripping through the tent!

We eventually came out, once the baboons settled their differences. We went to the kitchen building and ate our breakfast inside, standing around the table. There were no chairs but I did not want my breakfast stolen by scary big baboons again!

We had booked a drive to the National Park, starting at 4pm.



So we did not do much while waiting for our drive.

The campsite discouraged people walking to the village, because elephants, big cats and wild animals wander around, but they provided a free shuttle service at noon to visit  the village. So we took the shuttle service and visited the village.  8)

The village:



Lots of souvenirs stalls:


Alistair considering a shave at the local barber:


Or maybe this one:

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #188 on: November 21, 2018, 05:15:33 pm »

The fuel station, with no fuel. You will notice that, like everywhere else, people are glued to their mobile phones. Zambia is no exception:





At 4pm, we got into the safari car, with 7 other guests and 2 guides, and drove to the park. The park entrance was very close to our camp. The park was much more impressive than Etosha, in Namibia, we thought.

It was forested and had a higher density of wildlife. We saw many elephants, giraffes, zebras, hippos, crocs and many different sorts of antelopes. We also got incredibly close to them. They did not seem bothered by us.









 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #189 on: November 21, 2018, 05:16:39 pm »


By 6pm it started to get dark. The safari car had a massive torch that a guy used to highlight the bushes. Predators are active at night so we were looking for them. The previous day they had seen many lions and a leopard. We were quite keen to see big cats. Unfortunately we saw none. We came across few solitary hyenas though. One of them was just lying down next to the road, totally ignoring us. It looked rather cute actually. They were smaller than I thought, the size of a biggish dog.




Back to camp around 8pm, we went to the kitchen to prepare our dinner. We met the unfortunate owners of the tent that had been flattened by the baboons the day before. It was a Canadian / US couple. They told us that the baboons had also urinated all over their tent and covered their car with poo. Nice!

We had a drink at the bar and went to chat with them again, around their campfire.



Online Noneking

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #190 on: November 21, 2018, 05:42:59 pm »
(I can always post the ride report in here if there is enough interest).


Yes please!!

ah? ok then!
Just need to load photos into Flickr and see how many I can load there before they ask for money. The write up is pretty much done, loading photos is usually the big job. But I am not working at the moment so plenty of time  :angel4:

Although my idea, if I can find enough free platform for photos,  would be to integrate my year around south America followed by all  the others long overland trips. That would combine quite a world exploration. I will think about it. First, we finish this trip :)


Why not use Google Photos?
2007 KTM 990 S
2019 KTM 790 R

NONEKING'S RIDE REPORTS - http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=226099.0
 

Offline Sam

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 752
  • Thanked: 97 times
Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #191 on: November 21, 2018, 05:48:00 pm »


About 200kms from Lusaka we crossed over a massive bridge over the Luangwa river.



A little bit of history from a different era...….that bridge was destroyed twice, once in 64 (Zambia was supporting rebels in most of their neighbouring countries), and again in 79 by the Rhodesian SAS (amongst a few other road and rail bridges in the country), to throw a spanner in the works of a planned ZIPRA invasion of Rhodesia.(once again, Kenneth Kaunda supporting rebels...)
 
The following users thanked this post: maria41

Offline Xpat

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #192 on: November 21, 2018, 05:54:00 pm »
(I can always post the ride report in here if there is enough interest).


Yes please!!

ah? ok then!
Just need to load photos into Flickr and see how many I can load there before they ask for money. The write up is pretty much done, loading photos is usually the big job. But I am not working at the moment so plenty of time  :angel4:

Although my idea, if I can find enough free platform for photos,  would be to integrate my year around south America followed by all  the others long overland trips. That would combine quite a world exploration. I will think about it. First, we finish this trip :)


Why not use Google Photos?

Flickr you whould have 1TB for free. Google Photos about 15GB, which includes all your mail if you use gmail, as well as anything you might have on Google Drive.

So purely from storage cost point of view, Flickr is superior.

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #193 on: November 21, 2018, 07:15:21 pm »


Flickr you whould have 1TB for free. Google Photos about 15GB, which includes all your mail if you use gmail, as well as anything you might have on Google Drive.

So purely from storage cost point of view, Flickr is superior.
Unfortunately Flickr is now going down the paying route and will only allow 1000 photos free. I had an emaill from them recently. Although my website is supported by Aabaco, same group than Yahoo and owning Flickr too.... so maybe I won’t need to pay extra. I hope!

Anyhow,  i will find a way. A lot of work ahead for me if I write up all my long term overland trips. But why not? I like a challenge.

South America was amazing and very challenging as our first year travelling on motorbikes, Russia and Central Asia trips have been very challenging for other reasons... to compare, this trip around Southern Africa has just been like a big holiday, fairly trouble free. But I enjoyed it tremendously!

Offline Xpat

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #194 on: November 21, 2018, 07:31:02 pm »


Flickr you whould have 1TB for free. Google Photos about 15GB, which includes all your mail if you use gmail, as well as anything you might have on Google Drive.

So purely from storage cost point of view, Flickr is superior.
Unfortunately Flickr is now going down the paying route and will only allow 1000 photos free. I had an emaill from them recently. Although my website is supported by Aabaco, same group than Yahoo and owning Flickr too.... so maybe I won’t need to pay extra. I hope!

Anyhow,  i will find a way. A lot of work ahead for me if I write up all my long term overland trips. But why not? I like a challenge.

South America was amazing and very challenging as our first year travelling on motorbikes, Russia and Central Asia trips have been very challenging for other reasons... to compare, this trip around Southern Africa has just been like a big holiday, fairly trouble free. But I enjoyed it tremendously!

Whoops - I see it now as well. I do not use that yahoo email for anything, opened it only to register for Flickr, so missed that. Bummer than - it seems like eventually we will have to pay some money to keep our ride reports still working  >:(

And I already have over 5000 photos up there, so it seems soon many of my RR will stop working...
« Last Edit: November 21, 2018, 07:34:51 pm by Xpat »
 

Offline Sardine

  • Senior Member
  • ***
  • Bike: Suzuki DR650
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 2,654
  • Thanked: 227 times
  • I am not a dude.
    • The Flying Fish
Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #195 on: November 21, 2018, 10:03:41 pm »
In term of food, tins and bread are easy to carry and pack small. In Mongolia we ate often pot noodles and Russian tinned sardines with stocky Russian bread (I can always post the ride report in here if there is enough interest). Again, it was easy and small to pack and carry those. And after few very dubious meals we avoided all meat in Mongolia and would get eggs and rice as breakfast anywhere we could. We stuffed our face once we went back into Russia!

The Biltong I found on the road was not very tasty and super salty, and Alistair is (usually) vegetarian. Also when breakfast was on offer, it was usually huge, which was enough food for 24h. None of us is  a big eater, as you may have noticed.
We had great meals and toasted sandwiches everywhere we went. Sometimes, even the Malawi version of fast food (in Lilongwe)!
 But for camping in remote locations, tins were useful and could last long. 
To be honest we both expected to lose weigh in this trip, but instead, Alistair put on 5 kgs! Especially once we crossed back into South Africa! All those massive breakfasts!  :biggrin:

Also what I forgot to add is that we often can find snacks on the road: pies, samosas and "food in Pastry " parcels everywhere in the world, named Pirojky, pastries, samosas, pies, empanadas etc... they all have the same idea: some pastry with food inside, usually very hot!

They are usually very nice as well and filling and are easy  to find in supermarkets, fuel stations, corner streets etc.
We had many of those in all our trips.

Why carry lots of cooking stuff (oil, rice, salt, pots and pans etc) and lots of food when you can buy ready to eat food anywhere, cheaply, on the go? Cooking on a fuel stove is not great either. Also this keep us with minimum luggage and weigh.
In south america we used to take the full set menu at lunch time which was incredibly cheap (1$) tasty and very big. It really depends on the country and price of eating ready made food.

Please do share your Russia trip!

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #196 on: November 22, 2018, 06:04:37 pm »

Please do share your Russia trip!

Can do. I have few months to work on these projects.

And if this is permitted: if anyone is coming to the UK Horizons Unlimited meeting in Wales, this next June, we will be doing 2 presentations: one about Southern Africa, and one about Russia and central Asia.  :) It will be more about practical information, rather than "look the photos of holidays" type of thing.
 
The following users thanked this post: Sardine

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #197 on: November 22, 2018, 06:05:52 pm »

Day 53 –Malawi,  Lilongwe – 290 kms - Saturday 21st July

I woke up around 6am. I could not hear any monkeys around so I decided to venture to the loos.

As I came out of the shower blocks and walked into the canvas tents area, built in a circle with the shower block at the exit, a large antelope, with very beautiful markings on its back and big sharp antlers, was standing in the middle of the camp. I was as startled as it was and after a moment of surprise, looking at each other, we decided to ignore each other. I walked slowly to my tent, and it walked slowly and gracefully to the other side.

10 minutes later, tucked in bed, we heard a rumble. It was not the hippos, which kept rumbling all night. The tree near our tent was being pulled. Alistair unzipped the window on his side. We saw large tusks. There were few large elephants eating from the tree!

We found out later that a group of 40 elephants had crossed the camp. And also that a leopard was lying by the chalets around 5:30 am!

Asking the staff about the notice to check the pool for crocs and animals, they confirmed that they had pulled out snakes from it and that indeed the older pool had attracted crocs, hippos and elephants! But there was no much risk at this time of year, as the water is too cold.

All I can say is that Croc Valley Camp was an amazing place to see wildlife. It was magical! Definitely worth the detour!
 
The following users thanked this post: wilfwalk

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #198 on: November 22, 2018, 06:08:06 pm »

We left quite early as we were planning to cross the border into Malawi.

Back at Chipata, the border town, we stopped to buy fuel and some food for an early lunch at the same SPAR than before. After that, we avoided the moneychangers hanging around and rode the 20 kms to the border.

We parked the bikes near the office. We got our passports stamped out then the next window was Customs. They filled and stamped the carnet for the bikes, gave us a Pass to exit the border and told we were good to go. Then we dealt with the moneychangers there.

We had checked the rates the day before. We had about 450 Zambian kwachas left, and got 40,000 Malawi Kwachas. It was a good rate.

Then we handed our pass to exit. Except that there was a local tax to pay. In Zambian Kwachas only! Argh!  >:(
Moneychangers again. I stood by the bikes, grumbling under my breath, while Alistair dealt with the tax.

Then we rode to the Malawi side, surrounded, once again, by the moneychangers.

We filled a couple of forms and pay 75$ each for the visas. We could pay with US dollars for that.

Then we went to the custom office to get the Carnets filled for the bikes. We were told we also had to pay a road tax of $20 each and needed proof of third party insurance for the bikes. Obviously there was a guy from the insurance desk hanging around. We paid 25,000 Kwachas each for the insurance. We changed $50 dollars as both the road tax and the insurance had to be paid in Kwacha (MK).
All that back and forth took about an hour and a half.

After the border we rode into Malawi!

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #199 on: November 22, 2018, 06:11:32 pm »
I hope I don't bore you too much with my detailed description of the border crossings. This is something I pay particular attention to, when doing my research before a trip, and some people may find this as useful as I do.  :angel1:

Malawi looked ok. The villages along the road seemed to have better housing, built in bricks rather than wood. The roofs were metal rather than thatched. I guess, as there were less forests and more agricultural land, there is less wood available for construction, so locals have to buy bricks to build homes. Many were painted in white or blue and looked fine.

On the road we saw some tribal men wearing non European style costumes.

We arrived at Lilongwe. The town was confusing, with forest surrounding everthing, the  streets built across the forest, with far away buildings we could barely see through the trees. It was hard to find our way round or a precise address! We had selected a guesthouse that had good ratings in booking.com and made the error of not cross-referencing the address on another site. As usual with booking.com, the guesthouse probably exists but somewhere completely different, 80kms away!

Street in Lilongwe. Confused? Me too!





After that, we went in search of another guesthouse called Japan House. It had good ratings in booking.com. It was on the GPS. We arrived at a gated community. No signs of hotel. We asked one of the guards at the gate. He took us to a house! Hmmm! It had an A4 sheet saying Japan House. Hmmm.

It was actually a house where 2 Japanese young guys lived in.

It had a spare bedroom with 3 bunk beds and an en-suite bathroom.

The guy receiving us made us wait a good 15 minutes while he prepared the room. We had to remove our shoes inside. Not sure why as the floor was filthy. The house was a tip. 2 you lads living there, no cleaner, the bathroom was in such a state that I did not want to touch anything. At least we had clean sheets. The floor was sticky and dirty and covered in hairs, the kitchen a health hazard… we got changed and walked to the nearby shopping mall, as we needed cash.