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Author Topic: Africa our way !! ( Complete...... or is it? )  (Read 39011 times)

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Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Africa our way !! ( Complete...... or is it? )
« on: December 09, 2010, 05:17:14 pm »
ok ok.. I cant take the moaning and groaning any longer, I figured if I get started on it I have no excuse but to carry on.. so here it is. Africa our way !!

I am one of those okes.. always wanted to ride a bike, but was never allowed one so this RR is dedicated to all those okes who never had a bike growing up, to the okes who take the miss on a weekend away and when 5 KTM 990's roar past your heart leaps and you think to yourself " one day I will be doing that", you see my mom has worked for an orthopaedic  surgeon for as long as I can remember and my attempts at obtaining a bike throughout my school days was just impossible, I remember the day I bought home a Gamma 50.. the next day there was a note saying sorry with a pile of cash on my pillow.. MOM !!

Fast forward to age 35 and my mom gets a phone call.. “ I have bought a bike and I’m gonna keep it”.. the reply “ I knew this day was coming”,it was done,  the brand new Transalp 650 was mine!

And so it was on.. since I could remember I wanted to ride a bike as far up into Africa as I could.. I was born in Zim and spent my childhood in the bush.. so I wanted to get out of Cape Town and back to the elephants, feel the earth and smell the rain.. before I get too old and cranky. It has to be said that I did’nt buy the bike with the intention of doing this trip, it was a sequence of events that just seemed to make it all happen. It all started when I went to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro. While riding in a bus from Kilimanjaro international Airport to our hotel I saw a guy riding his bike and I thought.. " I should'nt be in this bus, I should be on a bike" and the seed was planted.

A little while after I got my bike a friend of mine Wayne was looking to upgrade his bike.. he was set on buying a VStrom 650.. hmmm, nice bike, but I had a plan. If I can convince him to buy a Transalp as well, we can share tools, spares etc on longer trips. It was no easy task but eventually Wayne got a deal of a lifetime bagging a good condition, neat as a pin TA for a steal.. The plan comes together a few months later when I was chatting to another mate of mine Martin.. he missed out on climbing Kilimanjaro with me a few months prior and I knew that there was no way he was going to miss out on the next adventure, so armed with a few maps and an idea I paid him a visit.. if he could also be convinced to buy a Transalp we would have 3 and maybe this idea could move to a planning stage.

So while we waited for Martin to ponder the proposal and look for a bike I set about learning how to ride these things, I remember picking up my TA for the 1st time.. it was large, powerful and intimidating, but I knew that I would just have to get over this, get some saddle time and pay my school fees. I can still remember screaming WOOOO HOOO !!!!!! as I rode out of Honda’s showroom floor, oh my God ! can it be true.

My mate William was the main man in the Honda workshop when I bought my bike, he was a great source of information on upgrading the bikes to suite the riding conditions we wanted to ride.. I think the 1st thing he put on for me was my crash bars, that was not a good sign.. then came the hand guards and more gear than I knew even existed, pants, jacket, gloves, helmet, neck brace, knee guards, boots WTF !!

With my budget klupped it was time to give this thing horns and over the next 12 000km I had the benefit of meeting so many okes on Wild Dogs who have organised rides, day trips, Atlantis dunes, geocashing  trips.. the bug had bitten and best of all Martin had found a mint TA with 12 000km on the clock for R32k.. holy moly !! lets start planning. I was starting to feel comfortable on the bike, we had done a little gravel and about one days riding on sand, but exactly how much riding preparation required for a trip like this is a gray area.

So the idea was to ride off into the distance and see what Africa had to offer.. ‘ Lets setup a war room” I suggested with Glee.. “ you know like on Long Way Down where they have an office with maps on the walls and hot chicks organising visas”, one dining room and a map of Namibia later and we were set to start planning the 1st leg of the tour. Ok.. we can do this, how long do we have? And hello, we have our 1st problem. Wayne only has a limited amount of leave.. he has to be back within 4 max 5 weeks, there is no way we can fit an Africa trip into that, we had to make another plan.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 11:03:10 am by Fuzzy Muzzy »
Africa trip, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania & Moz rr http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=61231.0
 

Offline Waynan

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2010, 05:26:46 pm »
Quote
Fast forward to age 35 and my mom gets a phone call.. “ I have bought a bike and I’m gonna keep it”.. the reply “ I knew this day was coming”,it was done,  the brand new Transalp 650 was mine!

What was wrong with you bud I did that at 25 :P

Quote
before I get too old and cranky
Umm there is a Reason we call you grumpy  :peepwall:


Okay I will behave now, seriously bud it is about bloody time to got around to this one...

 

Offline Brakenjan

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2010, 08:02:46 pm »
<subscribe>

Great start - keep it coming.  :thumleft:
 

Offline zetman

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2010, 11:44:16 pm »
Lekr:-@
Hou die Tyres op die Grondpad...
 

Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2010, 12:41:13 pm »
Leaving the planning of the route for the time being our focus turned to the bikes and equipment. We knew that we would have to be completely self sufficient for the entire duration, this means we would carry everything.. eish ! I figured that if we can agree on a detailed equipment list we would have a good idea on how to prep the bikes.. 1st step would be to setup a workshop for Martin and although we were going to keep the bikes completely standard these bikes needed a luggage system that makes setting up camp easy and makes everything easily accessible while on the move. looking at the options on the market we were not satisfied that anything was going to suite our requirements, and with respect, the prices of panniers was just out of our budget, we needed to find another solution.

Martin showed his strength in this field, the man can formulate, design and create almost anything.. trusting in his abilities he was tasked with designing up complete luggage systems for the bikes, a task I think we completely underestimated and would ultimately lead to delays. Myself and Wayne started comparing kit lists covering everything imaginable. On the bikes we made sure that extra clutch and accelerator cables were plumbed in, 12v charger, check, we had complete list of spares and tools that should see us through anything thrown at us. One thing we paid special attention to was the medical kit, it was comprehensive and covered everything from major burns to plasters, we had meds for every situation.
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Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2010, 12:46:34 pm »


Finally my garage is turned into a workshop, we had to make our own sheet metal bender to start making the panniers.. we did not make provision for the time it would take to do this..



Martins GF pays us a visit with some icecreams..



Muz and Martin show off the home made sheet metal bender.. at last
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Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2010, 12:48:41 pm »
As we went on the list grew.. coffee, mugs, clothing, washing powder, spices, knives & forks, towels, sunblock.. it was starting to look a little long and I was starting to scratch my head, not giving up so easily I put my head down and continued to just add everything I could think of.. the idea being that once we had thought of everything we could always trim down, this was starting to become testing as we tried to figure out weather patterns, disease risks, cultural taboos.. we all had our say in what to take.

Eventually the last items to hit the list was the electronic equipment, battery chargers, cell phone chargers, cameras and we were done, or so we thought. Upon actually gathering everything together I realized what Wayne had been saying all along.. I was nuts. There in front of me was about 70 – 80 kg each of sheer necessity that would’nt fit into a 4 x 4 yet alone a bike. You want to be prepared, some things you throw out for weight, some for size and some cos there just is’nt place, I felt myself become less prepared and more uneasy with every exclusion but I knew, this was what it was all about, and I found my doubt turning to excitement as I realized what we were about to take on.. This is what I had dreamed of, this is what I wanted to do whenever I saw those okes riding with gear, covered in dust hammering it home after a days riding. I wanted to feel what they felt, then it hits home, reality sets in and I felt dejected, there was so much still to do and I cant even get the equipment streamlined enough to be light and effective, so back to the drawing board, now we had to take into consideration what we would be able to source along the way, what we could do without, we even considered the possibility of pre shipping supplies ahead to specific destinations. Either way, we had to get the weight down.

Things were all systems go, ahead of us lay weeks of grinding, cutting, drilling, fitting and refitting the bikes, we organized visas, carnets and insurance but then disaster struck, I had not taken into account I only had my learners license, and I was’nt the only one, with 3 weeks to departure this was not proving to be something that could be solved easily. I could’nt believe it, weeks of planning and the whole trip may have to be cancelled or delayed by up to 2 months because the traffic department just had no space to fit us in.. there had to be something we could do but I was hitting a brick wall on this one.

I could’nt believe that we had missed this one, and now the whole trip hung in the balance. I was’nt going to take this, I was angry, e-mails started to fly, and I started right at the top.. the Mayors office. That was not the only thing not going our way, even with working in the workshop every evening till 4am, we were terribly behind schedule, I was starting to feel the strain of the last few days, stress was starting to show and emotions were getting the better of us, we still had no detailed route setout.. things were looking down and I could’nt see our way out of it, I had to make a call to Wayne, “ dude, speak to your boss, we are going to have to push the departure date back, we are just not going to be ready”. I don’t think Wayne was very happy, he was the most organized out of the whole bunch and smarty pants bought Oxford panniers which means he was good to go and I was still slamming pop rivets into panniers I had no idea would work or not.. they sure weighed a ton.. but it was too late in the day to be going back to R&D to manufacture a lighter canvass equivalent.

I had no idea if we were going to get this right but we were not going to give up now, we are doing this, we are in It, so suck it up and get things done. We were due to depart in September, we had 4 months to achieve our goal of riding around lake Victoria to be home by Christmas, now we had a delay, every week we were delayed decreases our chances achieving our goal aaargh, this was frustrating, lets just go already.
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Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2010, 12:56:23 pm »
Over the next few days I started getting phone calls from the provincial police chief only too happy to help as he got a call from the mayors office.. it was a mad rush but they squeezed us in just a few days before departure.. it is amazing that you can ride thousands of km in preparation for a 12 000km trip around Africa and all of a sudden you have a wave of doubt that you may not pass your license.. WTF !! just to be safe we booked ourselves into a bike school and like kids we went for a lesson just before the test, it was money well spent because guaranteed I would have failed. A flood of relief came over us and myself and Wayne passed.. I can’t believe it , we are back on track for leaving, all our paperwork is in order, we have had medicals, my bike and Waynes bike were done, we were just waiting for Martin to finish making is own tank bag and make adjustments to his bike, tyres were fitted and we have come up with a simple solution for the route planning.. we did’nt have one !!

We knew that we would go into Namibia and try to make it up to Angola, we would then backtrack down through Nam to the Zim border so that Wayne could gap it back home, his leave would be up by then.. myself and Martin, both basically unemployed at the moment had a lot more time, we would then head up, destination…Uganda. The idea was to head up Botswana, cross over into Zambia, trek up the Western side of Lake Malawi, into Tanzania then turn slightly NW and head for Burindi , Rhuanda, Uganda, sweep around Kenya and back down into Northern Tanzania.. I wanted to ride past Kilimanjaro again as we headed south along the Tanzanian coast into Mozambique and then follow the path less traveled by down the 3000km Mozambiquan coast to SA !! we had just on 90 days, 11 countries bring it on !! but there was a twist, we were doing this blind. NO GPS, NO MAPS, we were going to experience whatever it threw at us, we would use information from backpackers, locals, tour operators and overlanders, the main reason for this is because we did not want to be tied down to a schedule, we did’nt ever want to feel the need to race through somewhere to get somewhere else, it did’nt seem like chasing km’s was our intention, it was all about meeting the people, tasting the food and if it means we see a place we really like, then we will stay a few days without feeling guilty or rush off and take unnessary risks like traveling in the dark, if we travel 50km that day, so be it, but if there is a few hundred km of nothing.. we give it horns, rain or 45 degree heat, mud or dust, we head for the next destination.
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Offline Gat Slag

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2010, 12:59:06 pm »
 :happy1:

Nee hierdie moet ek sien...  I am also one of the few who were neber allowed to ride or own a bike when I grew up, just because my mom's fiance died in a bike accident and my dad fell his arse off on a gravel road years ago... so enjoyed the first part of your tale!
 

Offline TheAnt

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2010, 01:00:16 pm »
Subscribe!!!  :thumleft:
 

Offline Waynan

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2010, 01:03:37 pm »
Quote
the main reason for this is because we did not want to be tied down to a schedule, we did’nt ever want to feel the need to race through somewhere to get somewhere else, it did’nt seem like chasing km’s was our intention, it was all about meeting the people, tasting the food and if it means we see a place we really like, then we will stay a few days without feeling guilty or rush off and take unnessary risks like traveling in the dark, if we travel 50km that day, so be it, but if there is a few hundred km of nothing.. we give it horns, rain or 45 degree heat, mud or dust, we head for the next destination.

Slight contrast to the last Nam trip :P
 

Offline onderbroek

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2010, 01:04:37 pm »
 :happy1: :happy1:
hak vrystaat
 

Offline Totos

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2010, 01:28:06 pm »
Subscribed......... :thumleft:
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Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2010, 01:35:35 pm »
Three, two, One… there is nothing else we can do, myself and Wayne had taken a weekend away to Beaverlac situated in the Olifants river Mountains above Porterville.. the idea was to test all the tents, sleeping bags and gear..everything passes, everything works and we are good to go !

Here we are going on out full kit test ride..



Muz standing next to Waynes bike.. spot the nice new Oxford panniers.. I was using some soft panniers I had but somehow I was still convinced that the alum panniers we were making up would be much better in Africa, they were hard, they could lock and could carry double the capacity.





« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 01:48:01 pm by Fuzzy Muzzy »
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Offline Waynan

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2010, 01:41:35 pm »
Quote
I was still convinced that the alum panniers we were making up woul dbe much better in Africa, they were hard, they could lock and could carry double the capacity.

You forgot "they can do serious damage to your body" ....
 

Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2010, 01:42:30 pm »
Martin, Wayne ( yes he is really wearing a reflective vest on sand training day )and Myself braving sand training at Atlantis dunes in 32 degree heat. At one stage it was such tough going we had to open the bikes up while pushing, it was tough work, I took my new Arai helmet off and tied it to the bike.. a few 100m later I realised it had fallen off so I had to slog it back through the sand.. oh fuck, it has been stolen !! I was not impressed with my sand riding performance, it was hot and now my R6k helmet was gone.. I had to ride home without a helmet !! awesome experience but I may never see atlantis dunes again.



One new helmet later and we are GOOD TO GO GO GO..

um.. well nearly.. Martin was hitting delays as he tried to perfect his luggage system, this is a major problem, we cannot afford another delay, Wayne has leave constraints and I have a freaking lake to ride around, it’s time for a tough discussion, and it is one that does not make us happy.. this is a very emotional time, NOT again, not after everything we have been through, myself and Wayne have a discussion about the situation because it is at number ninty nine now and we have to make a decision, it is a tough one but after everything is thrown on the table we decide that the departure date stands, ready or not, we are leaving. The decision does not sit well with myself or Wayne, the idea of leaving without the whole team goes against everything we believe in, this would mean that Martin would have to play catch up, riding alone means bigger risks, but he assures us that he is only a day or 2 behind and the 1st leg is mainly tar as we head out of SA and into Namibia, so we agree that myself and Wayne, just to keep our sanity would get on the bikes and take it slow, within a day or 2 Martin would catch up to us, hopefully before we are too far North, it has all become too much, the anticipation of leaving, family and friends are all phoning to wish us well, stuff it.. LETS GO !!.

« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 02:31:29 pm by Fuzzy Muzzy »
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Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2010, 02:16:56 pm »
It is so close we can taste it.. My brother Glenn comes over to wish us well and to apply the reflective stickers onto the bike which he made up for me, the final touches are applied. All our hard work paid off on those panniers, they worked out awesome, it was tough to get them in the right position but we were happy with the performance of the bike with them on. Everything is packed, ziplocked, colour coded and stamped.. the documents are in the tank bag.. I cant help thinking we have forgotten something but we will be in SA for a while so we can always buy it along the way if we need.



We kit up.. I push the button and the beast roars to life.. it is only a beast now because fully packed it looks massive. We pull away, this is it! The bike feels well balanced and as we hit the road I yell a massive WOOO HOOO into my helmet, so loud I almost scare myself. It is a strange feeling as you depart on a trip like this, leaving my house I felt free of the workshop, the endless hours prepping the bikes, our bodies and our minds, it is just us and the road, it was a huge relief, I take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. It is hard not to notice the expression on some drivers faces as you pass by.. and I think to myself “ yup, I used to be you in that car thinking the same thing… enjoy work sucker!!”
« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 02:19:53 pm by Fuzzy Muzzy »
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Offline ktmrules

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2010, 02:40:28 pm »
Holy........that is some serious packing :o
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Offline Johnnie Bok

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2010, 03:00:10 pm »
Hier kom 'n ding!
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Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Africa our way !!
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2010, 03:17:17 pm »
Destination.. Namibia, and we cant wait.

We were supposed to hit the Nam border within a day or 2 but leaving Martin behind was playing with our minds, so we decided that the best way to do this was to take it slow to give him a chance to catch up plus we will get a feel for the bikes and their motherload while enjoying what the west coast has to offer. Our intention was never to be doing any offroad in SA, we had pretty much seen most of it anyway but I was starting to regret not going the offroad route it would have been just as quick and would have been a lot softer on the tyres.

Which tyres to use was a big debate, we slipped on one new set and took a spare set with us - in the end we went with Heidenau K60's on the back, a decision that would plague us in the end.

We stumbled across Vanrynesdorp with plenty of daylight left, but in the spirit we were in it seemed like a good place to pick a spot and setup camp for the 1st time. It was quick and painless but I could'nt stop thinking that this was going to be the 1st time of plenty that we have to unpack and pack the bikes, I expected the 1st few times to be a bit clumsy but overall I was happy.



Checking out the reflective stickers



Brandy, coke, big fire, meat, friendship.. I cant wait to get on the bike again tomorrow.


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