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Geotraveller

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ZWY 635 GP goes north
« on: January 06, 2011, 05:56:15 am »
ZWY 635 GP goes north.
   
“You want to do what! I rode my 230 Yamaha out to the Airport once and had to get a new arse!”
Sid Hayes glared at me from across the wooden table at the Vic Falls boat club. I was up for a visit and the locals had invited us for a dop and a meal. When we had finished laughing I thought about it a bit and realized I really did want to do a bike trip to the Falls.

I had worked in Vic Falls on and off for a couple of seasons as a raft guide and it was a special place then and still remains so.

So a plan was hatched, me on the bike and the family in the car, one night in Nata, two nights in Kasane and three in the Falls. We planned to leave just after Christmas and be back early in the New Year.

I was going to use the 650 GS but it developed a problem with its right hand side cover, so I got the TransAlp ready.

Got into a bit of a wobbly as I heard there were fuel issues in Botswana so hurriedly got hold of some fuel containers which we would fill at the Border.

26 December 2010.

The alarm went at some ungodly hour, pulling me from a lekker sleep I had just fallen into.

Kettle on, TV on Poms wailing on the Aussies, cup of coffee and off I go. The TransAlp seemed eager for the road and I let her have her head, off to the North I saw flashes on the horizon in the dark…….hmmmmm.

It got light not far other side Brits and dawn was a watery affair, damp and windy but great to ride in.

The road to Thabazimbi is a bit potholed and kept my mind from wandering to far. I stopped in Thabazimbi around 6:30 for fuel and a cuppa, the road was wet and I could see rain ahead in the Waterberg. Still being an optimist or a fool, I headed out sans raingear and soon regretted that! About 30 kays later I had to stop and hurriedly pull on the rain stuff!! Good steady rain was falling now. The water on the road made the few twisties near Lephelale interesting

Lephalale came and went and the rain abated around Monte Cristo. I arrived at Grobbler’s Brug at around 8:45, just ahead of the family cage. The border crossing was a breeze and took around 30 minutes.

tbc......
 

Offline letsgofishing

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Re: ZWY 635 GP goes north
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2011, 07:55:18 am »
subscribed - waiting  for the pics   ;D
There is nothing you can do about the past and you can't predict the future...all you have is the now...live it to the fullest.

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Offline Walkaway

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Re: ZWY 635 GP goes north
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 09:57:38 am »
Subscribed. :thumleft:
What would life be like if we had no courage to attempt anything ?
 

Geotraveller

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Re: ZWY 635 GP goes north
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2011, 05:32:03 pm »
I was a bit worried as the petrol station in Tom Burke was closed but we found fuel in Martin’s Drift. A quick chicken burger later Deb jumped onto the pillion and we headed for Francistown.
At Palapaye, I changed pillions and Mix spent time on the bike till Serule, after which I was solo to Francistown. We stopped for fuel and food (Wimpy – fastest service in the world!) and tackled the last 188 kays to Nata, which we reached at around 4 pm.

Mix jumped on the bike with me again but after about 90 kays a little gloved hand started beating my shoulder.

“My Bum hurts!’

Not bad for a 13 year old girl who had hardly been on a bike I thought.

So the last few km I did solo, standing on the pegs to fight the tiredness, pulling into the Lodge at around 4pm and 920 km later.
A long and enjoyable day.








  27 December 2010.

Despite our best intentions dawn found us sitting on the stoep of the chalet enjoying a cup of coffee (filter nogal, prepared in the travelling bodum) and listening to the wonderful bird sounds from the surrounding bush.



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The Lodge is a little oasis set back just from the road about 10 km south of town and is highly recommended. Chalets apart, they also have tents and a great campsite. Birdlife abounds.

I stashed our fuel (50L) with the Lodge as we heard that tankers had passed and Panda as well as Kasane had the amber liquid of motorcycle life.

Mix jumped on the bike with me again (she was turning into a real little biker chick!) and we headed north. Around 30 km out we started the road works which lasts for 135 km. These are not bad and a steady 80 – 100km can be maintained. This is also recommended as the big grey ones are in abundance along this road. In fact the first ellie we almost missed seeing and it was standing 10m from the road.







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From then till we entered Kasane we spotted 26 elephant which was a thrill. I have always had a soft spot for these behemoths of the animal kingdom and to be that close on a bike was a fantastic.



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Bianca and Deb took their turn as pillion and we arrived in Pandamatenga at around 11 am.




 

Geotraveller

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Re: ZWY 635 GP goes north....finished with pics
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2011, 08:17:25 pm »
At the petrol pumps there were two Beemer 800 GS’s. I pulled up and indicated to the one bloke that fuel was leaking out of his bike as the fuel cap was not closed. I don’t know if it was this or the sight of a Honda that pissed them off but they hardly greeted me or Deb and rode off! OK I did not have the designer gear and cool panniers so maybe they did not want to associate with me!
 
From Panda to Kasane the road improved and so did the speed and I loved the cool air of another overcast day. Thunderclouds were building and rain was coming, when we stopped at the Chobe River Lodge.

308 km for the day through an awesome part of the world. I had driven this stretch before and it has never failed to impress.

The next couple of days were spent lazing at the pool and also doing a fantastic cruise on the Chobe River, during which we spotted large numbers of elephant and hippo.


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29 - 31 December 2010

Crossing the border into Zimbabwe was easy except for about a 40 minute delay obtaining a temporary import permit. I had bought third party insurance in South Africa and that saved a bit of time.

It’s a short scenic ride from Kazangula to the Falls and we pulled into the parking area of the Kingdom at around 11:30 am.

 

Of the three paces we stayed it was the place I liked the least but will say it was humming with people out having a great time. It seemed as if the Great Zimbabwean reunion was organized at the Hotel.

It was great to see the town so busy and reminded me of ’94 when it did not have free beds for a week! On the 30th there were 600 odd people rafting the Slambezi.

Activities are what made this town and we did a few. Bianca, Mix, Tom and Deb rode ellies, Deb and Mix did a tandem bridge swing and they let me push sticks on the river albeit only on the flats!.


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1 January 2010.
 
Sadly all good things come to an end and we packed up and hit the road back to Nata.

A vicious rain shower ensured I was soaking by the time we got delayed by a small herd of Ellies. They gave way when a Shearwater bus thundered by them.



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The border crossing as faster except for some officious official from the Botswana Agricultural Department insisting on searching all the bags for spare shoes to dip against foot and mouth disease.  I have no problem with the protocol, but while we were doing this numerous folks wandered around between the border posts without complying. TIA or AWA or AAW, take your pick!

We grabbed some fuel in Kasane and headed south, spotting 41 elephants along the way as well as a truck that had hit an ellie the night before. The cab was completed bent back and the three individuals inside had been badly injured. No sign of the elephant.

We got to the Lodge at about 3 pm. I tried to wrangle another night out of the place but they were fully booked. So we made the best of it at the bar.

2 January 2011

The day stared early again but after lazing on the stoep and a great breakfast we got away just before ten. Clouds were building along the way and about 40 km north of Francistown the first storm hit, visibility closing down to around 20m or so at times. The bike wanting to aquaplane in patches.



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We rolled into Francistown just at around 12:30 and after waiting for an hour and a half for two waffles, a milkshake, two coffees and a coke, decided the rain was not going to go away.

Near Serule I eventually rode out of the rain and we turned east towards Selebi-Pikwe in a vain hope of getting to the Zanzibar Border post before 4 pm. Time was against us so we headed for Martin’s Drift, clearing the Botswana Border at around 5 pm. Then to my horror we got stuck in a queue at Grobbler’s Brug. It seems the “efficiency” of scanning and manually entering passport numbers was slower than filling in a form!   

An hour and a half later with frayed nerves and darkness coming we headed for Lephalale, which we reached around 7:30, and eventually got settled into a place for the night. The Machauka Lodge was comfortable surprise!

I have to mention the two drunken arseholes in the red Toyota Cressida that cut me off and then took umbrage at my language.

520km for the day.

3 January 2011. 

Last day on the road and a short little ride home, which we reached safely at 1 pm. It was great to have Mix on the back of the bike from Harties to the house. I have a strong feeling she is going to inherit the little XR when Deb graduates from it later this year.

Would I do it again? Yes as early as August this year.



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Offline Bring It On

Re: ZWY 635 GP goes north
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2011, 10:08:37 pm »
 :thumleft: :thumleft: Hey there Buddy,... What a really Gr8 RR. Glad you had a Gr8 trip.  :drif: :drif: ....... Oh yes,.... BTW,... that's a pretty Cool TA you got there  ;). I'm so glad that the relationship between the two of you has blossomed & that you're enjoying the bike so much. I gave you my word,.. that she won't let you down & that she really is a wonderfull bike. :thumleft: ;D
« Last Edit: January 06, 2011, 10:09:37 pm by Bring It On »
"Always Believe In Yourself"

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Quote: "I Ride because it can turn the Worst Day into the BEST"
 

Geotraveller

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Re: ZWY 635 GP goes north
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2011, 10:26:31 pm »
Thanks Shaun, join us in August we're going again! :biggrin:
 

Offline letsgofishing

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Re: ZWY 635 GP goes north
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2011, 08:23:13 am »
Great RR Geotraveller - thanks for posting!  :thumleft:
There is nothing you can do about the past and you can't predict the future...all you have is the now...live it to the fullest.

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Offline ROOI

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Re: ZWY 635 GP goes north
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2011, 10:24:36 am »
Great report have u perhaps got the route on GPS or did u slab it mosltly ?
FTS
 

Geotraveller

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Re: ZWY 635 GP goes north
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2011, 03:18:33 pm »
Great report have u perhaps got the route on GPS or did u slab it mosltly ?

Slabbed it. Had a Toyota Verso along with the family so no dust this time.

Jhb - Thabazinbi - Lepkalale - Tom Burke - Grobbler's brug - Palapaye - Serowe - Francistown - Nata - Pandamatenga - Kasane - Vic Falls.

Return ditto to Serowe then Selebi - Pikwe to Grobblers's Brug ( actually better and queter roads and then a gain ditto to Jhb.

The August trip I am planning will have gravel the first two days and then we'll have to see.
 

Geotraveller

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Re: ZWY 635 GP goes north
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2011, 03:19:43 pm »
Great RR Geotraveller - thanks for posting!  :thumleft:

Thanks LGF really enjoyed the ride!