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Offline Single Cylinder

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #240 on: November 28, 2018, 05:50:19 pm »
Marvelous, a great ride   :ricky: :ricky:
I am not lazy, I am energy efficient.
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #241 on: November 28, 2018, 06:03:32 pm »


Day 72 and 73 – Mozambique, Tofinho, Lobster chalets – weds. 8th and Thursday 9th August, 0kms

From the breakfast terrace, every morning around 7:30, while working our way through the B&B's massive breakfast, we could see whales playing in the ocean and jumping out off the water. It was amusing to see, an hour later, when they were all gone, the Zodiac boats, full of tourists, going all over trying to find the whales! We just had to sit early morning to check them out!  :biggrin:


We explored Tofinho, a small and very pleasant village, and had a couple of excellent lunches at a little shack.




Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #242 on: November 28, 2018, 06:05:05 pm »

We also found a bar, the next day that served Caipirinhas! A real taste of Brazil! We spent 2 years living in Rio de Janeiro, and although some aspects were very difficult (insane bureaucracy) the outdoor lifestyle, the friendliness and easy-going nature of the Cariocas was fantastic.

We did not do much other than few long walks around the beach and the village. We had a relaxing time. The area was full of tourists, coming to fish, see the whales, dive, surf and party. As a result, it attracted a fairly young crowd.


Day 74 and 75 – Mozambique, near Chidenguele, Sunset Beach Lodge, 240kms – 10th and 11th of August


Most places I investigated online seemed still fully booked for our dates. I found the Sunset Beach lodge online. They had small self-catering chalets and camping ground at a good price.

So we left Tofinho after a huge breakfast and rode through few miles of sandy trails, then we picked up the tarmac and the main road south.

We arrived at the turn off from Chidenguele early afternoon. Then it was 6 kms of sandy track to the lodge.


Why is it that everywhere we go, we always end up riding few miles of sand to get to camp? I hate sand! Riding sand is hard! This one was usual with sections of deep fluffy sand that sent my front wheel all loose. I managed to keep control and made it to the lodge. The day was incredibly hot and by the time I wrestled my bike through the sand I was drenched!

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #243 on: November 28, 2018, 06:07:03 pm »
The camping area was just deep sand, which was not great. Although our small tent is dome style, and can potentially be used without pegs, using pegs help opening the sides and makes the tent more roomy.  The chalets were 2600 Meticals a night (About $40), so we took the comfortable option!

The place looked deserted but as we took the path down the beach we came across a group of South Africans fishing.




Back at the lodge, a local family with 2 kids (maybe form Maputo?) were lounging by the pool and then having dinner.


By dinnertime, half an hour after we ordered dinner, a large group of Italians (10 or 12 of then) turned up. I knew what would happen. Those organised tours usually pre order their food. While the cook prepared their food, we waited. 2 hours after our order went off, we finally had our dish, after the Italians got theirs.

It was a very long wait for a very disappointed dish or bland undercooked (and raw) chicken and bad rice. I did complain with my (non existent!) diplomatic skills!   >:D Not that the staff gave a crap about it. But I like to complain! I am French, I am good at that!  :angel11:

Big funny looking flower:


Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #244 on: November 28, 2018, 06:08:29 pm »
The next morning, as Alistair was not feeling too well, and our confidence on the Lodge’s cooking skills was at an all time low, we decided to self cater, as the chalet had a small kitchen. We had some left over bread from Tofinho and some peanut butter. So that was breakfast with coffee.

Then Alistair took my bike and rode to the village. From the various little shops, he came to get some onions here, a green pepper there, a can of tuna in another shack, a can of beans and a can of chopped tomatoes. He also found some sort of spicy powder.

With all those ingredients I cooked a nice and tasty dish for lunch and dinner. The onions and peppers were incredibly sweet and full of taste, in this region.

I tried to do some planning, but without WiFi, it was difficult, I could only use my paper map. As it was a big bank holiday in South Africa, we suspected that the border point would be very busy and with very ong queues on Sunday.

I had booked a hotel in Nelspruit, South Africa, for Monday night, and we also had ordered tyres from a motorcycle shop, over there. The town was only 100kms from the border point. We though it would be better to spend the night on  the Mozambique side and cross into South Africa early Monday morning to avoid long queues.




Offline Rotten

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #245 on: November 28, 2018, 09:09:36 pm »
Really enjoying this. Thank you Maria
 

Offline Wooly Bugger

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #246 on: November 29, 2018, 08:50:01 am »
Awesome!
 

Offline Dustbiter

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #247 on: November 29, 2018, 09:09:18 am »
Hi Maria,

Re - "Big funny flower" = a Cycad (the female cone).

This is a really great report with very good photos. I hope we see more of your tours.
Bikeless at present
Previously: 1973 Honda SS50 - Port Elizabeth
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Offline Coxwain

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #248 on: November 29, 2018, 09:48:32 am »
This is the best ride report I have read to date. Really enjoying it :thumleft:
Can't wait for the next installment.
PIG LITE....Honda NX 650
Thel PIG... BMW R 1150 GS
The Black Bitch ...Yamaha XT 660 R Black Magic ....Yamaha XT 660 Z
Found my next ride .....BMW 1150 GS ...a mans bike
 

Offline Oubones

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Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #249 on: November 29, 2018, 11:08:15 am »
Thanks for your effort in writing this for us.
I always listened to my brother about his experiences in Northern Moz without pictures, so finding it very interesting.
Waiting for the next! :sip:
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Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #250 on: November 29, 2018, 06:23:32 pm »
I guys, thanks for all your comments. I am really happy that you enjoy this ride report.  :thumleft:

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #251 on: November 29, 2018, 06:25:13 pm »

Day 76 – South Africa, Komatipoort - Kruger View backpackers, Sunday 12th August, 370kms





We left the lodge early, at 8am, as we had a long way to the border. The road was good and we made good progress, so we decided, on the way, to change our plan and get to the border and cross into South Africa directly. 

The ride approaching Maputo, was slow going, as it was busy with trucks hard to overtake. The road had only 2 lanes and constant incoming traffic. Despite this, we got near Maputo, the capital city, by lunch time. We caught the ring road to join the road going west to South Africa.


The ring road was not fully built. As one lane was cut, some young lads tried to stop us, saying there was a diversion. Alistair, being as usual, very British and polite, stopped.

As I saw trucks and cars continuing, and being French and rude and grumpy, I waived the kids out of my way and continued.

Whatever scam they ran I would be no part of it. An expensive looking saloon car went past and made us sign to follow it. As the road ended, we follow the car through sanding tracks across villages and slums, with the rest of the traffic.

Eventually, we got on the right road, with nice tarmac. The Mozambique driver waved his arm out of the car to signal which way we should go. We thanked him by waving and got on our way. So we did not part with one single Metical! Humbug!

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #252 on: November 29, 2018, 06:25:54 pm »

Soon before the border, we stopped at a fuel station to use our last Meticals. Then we went to the border.

Immediately, as we entered the compound, a crowd of men ran along our bikes and surrounded us as we parked. As you may suspect, with my sunny and charming temperament (*sarcasm*) I was already shouting at them with some very colourful English words!


One guy, with a badge and a hat that looked kind of official, demanded our passports and that I stay with the bikes while Alistair had to follow him. I shouted at the crowd to disperse and leave us alone, in my most diplomatic style.

I knew they were scammers but Alistair was not so sure. The official looking guy kept asking for a document for our bikes. I told him we did not have it as we had carnets.

He also demanded our passports and for Alistair to follow him. Alistair being way too polite gave him the benefit of the doubt and with our passports the guy took Alistair to Customs.

Alistair snatched the passports back and asked the customs official if he knew whom the guy looking kind of official, was. The custom official shrugged, not knowing.

Alistair stormed off and came back to the bikes with our passports. All the scammers were gone. I was relieved the guy did not run with the passports. Never again!

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #253 on: November 29, 2018, 06:26:41 pm »
We walked to immigration and had our passports stamped quickly, then we went to Customs.

 The custom guy did not know what to do with the Carnets but was happy to follow our instructions and stamp and sign them.

So we then rode to the South African border. It was an oasis of tranquillity in comparison with the Mozambique side.

We got our passports stamped in. I made clear we had a flight booked for the 19th of September, so asked for a 2 months visa, ready to produce a print of my plane tickets.


You see, after one spell in South Africa, immigration will usually only give a transit visa these days, unless you come straight from your home country. It seems to be the latest policy to avoid non-residents living in SA doing the border-crossing trip to renew their visa every 3 months! So the policy now is, if you already had a 3 months visa, to only give you a 7 days transit visa only. We got 3 months without any problem. Sometimes I worry too much.
 ::)

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #254 on: November 29, 2018, 06:27:27 pm »

Then we went to Customs. They were not used to Carnets. This is when we spotted that Alistair’s Carnet had not been stamped out correctly and in the right part, when exiting Mozambique.

I usually checked that everything was correct with both Carnets. The carnet is a very important document as we could be liable to massive import tax for our bikes, if our documents are not properly showing that the motorbikes left each country we visited. But this time, I did not check Alistair’s carnet!

So while I got my carnet filled for entry to South Africa, Alistair went back to the Mozambique side to correct the error. He had it done without any difficulty.

We were then stopped at the border zone exit for a quick search of our panniers and a chat with the bored customs guys.

We had, on the way, decided to spend the night at Komatipoort, the border town. It skirts Kruger National Park and had plenty of accommodation.

I had spotted a backpacker place few days before, when we had WiFi. So we rode there. As usual, the GPS took us via the scenic gravel roads rather than the most direct road. This time I did not begrudge it, as it took us through a beautiful road and across a stunning little lake.

So, we were back in South Africa! We still had 5 weeks left to explore and there was plenty of that to do! But first, we desperately needed new tyres and the bikes needed some maintenance!

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #255 on: November 29, 2018, 06:35:56 pm »
We were happy to be back in South Africa and leave Mozambique behind. It was only few weeks later that with Alistair, we agreed that we found the country kind of depressing. There was something sad, a lack of hope in Mozambique, with its crowds, along the road, in central Moz, staring at us with their empty eyes, like ghosts on the edge of the forest, it was unsettling.

It affected me like having a dark cloud in my mind for a while and damping my enthusiasm. Erik Satie Gnossienne 1 (Link here: https://youtu.be/oOTpQpoHHaw would define very well the feeling and my state of mind.

The land on the Mozambique side had been kind of wasteland, we did not see much agriculture. As soon as we crossed the border, it was like a vast garden with massive plantations growing fruit trees and lots of plants and things I could not identify, as I am a townie and know nothing about agriculture, but it was beautiful, plentiful and so full of life!

The contrast, from the stunningly fertile, tidy, beautiful South Africa on one side and the scrubland of Mozambique, just a few hundreds metres away, was disturbing.

Offline GravelFox

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #256 on: November 29, 2018, 07:52:20 pm »
Interesting your mention of the custom officials not knowing how to process a carnet. With our 10,000km trip through Africa in Jul/Aug we had to show so many officials how to complete it and then they messed it up anyway. Even returning to RSA through Beitbridge the lady was baffled with the paper work.

Thanks for a nice and easy reading report-nice to associate with so many of your remarks especially those at border crossings. Wish there could be one process for such crossings - in stead expect anything!


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Offline Fransw

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #257 on: November 30, 2018, 09:03:34 am »
Nice refreshing rapport @maria41, you guys are really open-minded and seasoned travellers!  I was only making a joke about the Frenchies, no harm intended! :biggrin:
 

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #258 on: November 30, 2018, 12:19:23 pm »
Nice refreshing rapport @maria41, you guys are really open-minded and seasoned travellers!  I was only making a joke about the Frenchies, no harm intended! :biggrin:
No worries!  :biggrin:
I have an “entente cordiale” with Alistair   :ricky:

Offline maria41

Re: Around Southern Africa on 2 small bikes
« Reply #259 on: November 30, 2018, 03:57:47 pm »
Day 77 – South Africa, Nelspruit – 110kms, Monday 13th August


I had booked a hotel in Nelspruit (called SUN1), for 3 nights, within walking distance of the motorcycle workshop that had ordered our tyres (Pitlane).

We arrived at the hotel around lunchtime. It was reasonably priced, similar to an Ibis hotel budget or a Formula 1, in term of set up, with a bunk bed above the double bed and a shower in the bedroom while the toilet was in a small cubicle.  It was clean, modern, functional and totally adequate.
It was also across a small shopping mall with a big SPAR and few cafes and restaurant. Perfect for us.

We arrived relatively early but the friendly staff gave us the keys. After dropping our luggage we rode to Pitlane and left the bikes with them, with a list of instructions:

•   Leave the chains setting as they are (mechanics always leave the chain way too tight);
•   Do NOT jet wash the XT250, as water was causing problems with the electrics;
•   Do not touch the oil gauge window on the XT (it was glued in and already fell inside the engine once!).

My bike was leaking oil, as the oil filler cap was not original to my bike, and the thread was now broken, hence it would not close properly, splattering my right boot with plenty of oil.
Luckily, Pitlane found a good replacement.

Over the next day they did a good job. My back inner tube was damaged and they replaced it as well as filling it with green slime (we told them we had slime inside our inner tubes – for punctures).

My stomach was not too good, Alistair was also feeling unwell, so we did not do much else that day.