Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: American riding through southern and eastern Africa  (Read 1033 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Johnny-B-Good

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: BMW F650GS / Dakar
    Location: USA
  • Posts: 76
American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« on: September 03, 2010, 10:54:03 am »
I am an American, originally from California, but been away for the better part of a decade. I have lived in South Africa for the last 18 months or so, and now that my contract is ending I am planning a ~6-week trip around southern and eastern Africa. I am sure I'll be back to South Africa soon, but for now I start a new job in San Francisco come November.

The 6 week itinerary will include: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya (southern only), Tanzania (again), Malawi, Swaziland and Mozambique before returning to South Africa. I am looking forward to Sani Pass in Lesotho; the Garden Route in South Africa; the salt pans in Botswana; the Caprivi strip and Okavango delta in Nambia; Victoria Falls; gorilla sightings in Rwanda; meeting up with a few friends in Uganda and Kenya; visiting Dar es Salaam and trying to hop a ferry to Zanzibar; camping along lake Malwai; and endless sand roads, beaches and an old friend in Mozambique before returning to Johannesburg to catch a flight to the other side of the world.

Ready for the punch line: I leave in a week! My 2004 BMW F650 Dakar is mostly ready to go, but due to a last minute failure from my supplier in Pretoria, I am searching for some luggage and crash bars to replace the ones that Tourtech couldn't get to me on-time.

I probably don't know enough to pull this trip off on my own. Any help would be appreciated.

Cheers.

Johnny-B-Good
 

Offline Snafu

  • Grey hound
  • ****
  • Bike: Honda XR125L
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 9,006
  • Thanked: 92 times
  • Brackenfell Bricket
Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2010, 11:23:01 am »
Contact Adventurer or Runner on the forum fro your luggage needs.

I cannot give you any advice, but enjoy!! :)
Rimtape: Sounds like something in the first-aid kit of a gay-porn movie set. - Jaco
 

Offline Adventurer

  • Deleted Users
  • Gentleman Dog
  • *
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 17,087
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2010, 06:33:47 pm »
Good to meet you today, no stress, we'll sort out your requirements. :thumleft:
If you can keep your head in the midst of all this confusion, you don't understand the situation!
 

Offline Johnny-B-Good

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: BMW F650GS / Dakar
    Location: USA
  • Posts: 76
Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2010, 06:40:11 pm »
Impressive response from all, even better service and assistance from Adventurer. Looking forward to the trip and will keep the forum updated as it progresses...
 

Offline >>Thump°C

Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 11:04:00 pm »
enjoy
Boys will be Boys.
And girls are darn thankful for that
 

Offline IDR

  • <insert bias disclaimer here>
  • Administrator
  • Grey hound
  • ***
  • Bike: NER-A-CAR
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 8,999
  • Thanked: 133 times
Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2010, 08:33:00 am »
Enjoy!

If you need a place to crash in Pretoria, PM me!
The three things you need to fix anything in the universe: duct tape, WD-40 and a hammer.  If it moves and it shouldn't, use the duct tape.  If it doesn't move and it should, use the WD-40.  Otherwise use the hammer.
 

Offline greatdane

  • Newbie
  • Bike: Kawasaki KLR 650
  • Posts: 6
Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2010, 07:49:27 pm »
Hey Johnny,

I did 5000 km through Eastern Cape, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique this winter in 4 weeks. You have an amazing trip outlined, but it might be a little ambitious. My experience tells me that you can comfortably do about 250 km per day if you take the back roads. You also need to take some time to relax your behind and to experience people and landscapes along the way. My friend did a trip similar to what you outlined and it was 20,000 km and took three months.

This year I used a Wolfman duffel bag (semi-water proof) and had about 30 kg of luggage including one set of extra inner tubes and (lots) of tools. I carried one set of clothes - all quickdry and washed at the B&B at night. As for camping gear, then its nice to have, but not absolutely necessary as long as you can afford B&B's. You save quite a lot of weight and space without camping gear.

If you have any questions please dont hesitate to ask
Henrik
 

Offline >>Thump°C

Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2010, 08:37:28 pm »
Glad to hear you made it through ok Greatdane

When can we expect the RR??
Boys will be Boys.
And girls are darn thankful for that
 

Offline Leo

Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2010, 08:12:36 am »
You have an amazing trip outlined, but it might be a little ambitious.

+1

Plan to spend some time with the people, cultures and the places. No need to race through africa.

Plan on rest days, even if you don't plan on resting, but it gives you some room when you run into trouble.

Any trip in Africa will throw you a curve ball.

The way you deal with that will determine the success of the trip  :thumleft:

Don't book in advance, if you can't find accommodation at one spot, find a next or ruff it

« Last Edit: September 12, 2010, 08:13:53 am by Leo »
Grey Haired Riders Don't get that way from pure luck!
 

Offline Phacochoerus

Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2010, 05:20:42 pm »
IMHO from experience, give Zanzibar a miss, just a tourist trap and not worth the hassle. If you really want to go, leave the bike on the mainland and fly. Tell them that you are an expat and the airfare is really inexpensive. Rather take in the NGORONGORO CRATER. Thats quite a hectic ride you've planned, not much time for sight seeing. Take the previous advice of built in rest days you might need them for unexpected emergencies. Be aware of donkeys and game in Botwansa, pigs, goats and bicycles in Zambia, Malawi is laidback and busses and heavy transport in Tanzania and Kenya. Get your third party insurance for all the countries you want to go to at one go before you leave SA. Good luck.  I envy you
But remember, please, the Law by which we live,
We are not built to comprehend a lie,
We can neither love nor pity nor forgive..
If you make a slip in handling us you die!
Rudyard Kipling - The secret of machines
 

Offline Adventurer

  • Deleted Users
  • Gentleman Dog
  • *
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 17,087
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2010, 05:37:58 pm »
Bear in mind this SA route is a shake down, he is leaving SA after this route for a few weeks, doing Nam, Bots, Zam, Mal etc...for about 6 weeks...
If you can keep your head in the midst of all this confusion, you don't understand the situation!
 

Offline Trailrider

  • Southern Cape
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: Honda TransAlp XL700V
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 11,238
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • "Africa Twin Lite"
    • Trailrider
Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2010, 09:06:21 am »
Was nice meeting you Johnny :thumleft:
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

  • Vendors
  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: Honda CRF-1000L Africa Twin
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 3,380
  • Thanked: 160 times
Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2010, 10:50:46 pm »
Hi Johnny

Good luck and looking forward to your RR.

Keep 'em rolling but don't rush through Africa... there is only one.

 :)
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

Old bike: '82 Eddie Lawson Replica Replica.
Other bike: '05 Honda Varadero 1000
New bike: '16 Honda Africa Twin.
 

Offline Johnny-B-Good

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: BMW F650GS / Dakar
    Location: USA
  • Posts: 76
Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2010, 09:43:58 am »
I am back safe and sound in South Africa now.  Got back late Tuesday evening last week and have been spending the past week getting over what I can only describe as post traumatic stress I gave myself over the 45 days before.

I promise, promise PROMISE a full ride report in the coming weeks.  I am busy trying to piece a few things together (as I lost my travel log book on day 14) so I can get things right. I owe Adventurer, Tagsy, TrailRider and many others at least that much - it will happen.

A few stats and highlights:

Total kilometers: 17298
Total time: 45 days (including shakedown)
Total countries: 12, Tanzania and RSA twice

The Good:
+ Making it to Sani top and having a beer at the highest pub in Africa
+ Riding through Baviaanskloof
+ TrailRider sorting me out when I was cold and wet in George
+ The back roads along the Garden Route
+ The coastal route near the cape
+ Adventurer sorting out my bike with me after the shakedown took its toll
+ Enjoying the pans near Nata in someone else's vehicle ;-)
+ Seeing elephants right on the road along the Caprivi
+ Getting hit on by Zambian university students while staying at the Waterfront in Livingstone before seeing Vic Falls
+ Camping outside Lusaka, meeting a Belgian who did the Americas on a bike and was so pissed to be in a overland vehicle with his girlfriend rather than on a bike
+ A R50 hotel in Igunga, allowing you to sht and shower at the same time, but I could not have been happier to see
+ A day without riding in Kigali, allowing me to really see the city and tour the Genocide Museum
+ The most beautiful breakfast run of my life, from Kigali to Ruhungeri through curvy mountain passes on beautiful tar roads before, during and after sunrise so I could make it to see the gorillas in time
+ Jungle Junction - an oasis for anyone crossing Africa in Nairobi
+ The Honey Badger in Moshi - the owners Jenny and Joey kept me sane at a very low point in my trip
+ Lukwe Lodge (Livingstonia) Cool Runnings (Sange Bay) and Fat Monkeys (Monkey Bay) that made Malawi so pleasant
+ Making it home a day early (very homesick) save and sound on day 45

The Bad:
+ Knocking the bike off the centre stand the day before I left, dropping it again 200 m before the bar on Sani Top (idiot), and one small fall in turn 6 going back down
+ Big crash on day 2 when a baakie drove me off the road - almost canceled the whole thing
+ Riding 35 km through the Karoo to get to Kenhardt with only hazards (lights and brights had gone)
+ Paying 6 times to get into Zambia
+ Folks trying to sell me fake insurance (at least twice)
+ The 'short' road between Iringa and Dodooma in Tanzania forcing me to camp in the bush on Masaai grazing land
+ The roads and 'fck you trucks' on the eastern side of Uganda
+ A difficult hydraulic fault in the rear break line that kept me in Nairobi an extra day
+ Being in Moshi, 500 km from Nairobi where I could fix the bike and 500 km from my girlfriend in Zanzibar with stripped waterpump gears
+ Hot, sweaty and 9+ hour bus rides between Moshi and Dar and back
+ Getting stuck in the middle of political violence in Tanzania - only resolved with a knife and a crazy look in my eye ;-)
+ Jumping the bike for 1000 kms before forcing myself to spend half a day finding a battery in Iringa
+ The phrase 'Mzungu, money?' that plagues eastern Africa and a few neighboring countries
+ Fuel shortage from Nkhotakhota, Malawi until Tete, Mozambique
+ Getting things stolen from my tank bag outside of Vilanculos - luckily I found a way to get it back
+ Anything withing 35 km radius of Maputo

The Ugly:
+ Sprockets, chain, tyres, 3 turn signals, a mirror coupler, bent pannier frames and some scratches on the plastics on the shakedown ride - oh and a sore neck, scuffed helmet, bruised shoulder and hips ;-)
+ A rear break line, another mirror coupler and much needed TLC to sort out my front suspension again once in Nairobi
+ A set of waterpump gears, impellar, seals and a clutch gasket 500 km down the road in Moshi (thanks again Adventurer) and a dead (and difficult to replace) battery as I left my parking lights on for 4 days in Moshi
+ New filters and fluids, a new fuel filter and a change in the fork oil just yesterday for the bike's 60,000 km service - still working on one small electrical issue that appeared 2 days ago

Overall there was much more good than bad.  Still, I am getting used to being able to sleep soundly and not having a knife to reach for when things go pear shaped.

Now I am moving back to the US (flying out on Saturday) and busy trying to sell the bike.  I am asking 50,000 ZAR, here are the details and the extras:
+ 2004 BMW F650 GS Dakar - 60,000 km on the clock and full service just completed, including new fuel filter
+ Wunderlich front spings, tourtech fork guards and radiator guards, SW-motech crash bars, barkbuster handguards and bar raisers, K&N lifetime washable air filter, accessory hilux plug point in dash, BMW top box
+ This bike made it up into Africa and could do it again - the only thing I have taken off is my tank bag and paniers (which I hope to put on another bike once back settled in the US)
 

Offline Trailrider

  • Southern Cape
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: Honda TransAlp XL700V
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 11,238
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • "Africa Twin Lite"
    • Trailrider
Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2010, 09:59:01 am »
Wow J-B-G seems like quite a trip! Looking forward to the RR!
 

Offline Adventurer

  • Deleted Users
  • Gentleman Dog
  • *
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 17,087
  • Thanked: 1 times
Re: American riding through southern and eastern Africa
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2010, 05:52:54 pm »
Cool, looking forward to the brunch and chat on Saturday, with no wrench swinging in between... :biggrin:
If you can keep your head in the midst of all this confusion, you don't understand the situation!