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Offline tomrinbellingham

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2011, 08:08:02 pm »
Hi Carnivore,

Well, I have ridden my bike through Yellowstone National Park and even more risky was riding along the rivers in Alaska when the salmon were coming home to spawn - and the Brown Bears (Grizzlies) were lined up along the river, in the river, and coming and going across the road to get to or from the river. At one point along a terrible gravel road in Alaska a big Brown came out of the brush about 20 meters in front of me and stood up to look me over. I was heading for him at maybe 45kph and (as I had been told to do) stood up on my pegs and tried to look bigger as I slowed way down and considered trying to turn around to run away. But, I'm not a good rider, especially in such loose gravel and might lose it right in front of him! He eventually wandered on across the road and I won.... Could have turned out differently. Actually more people get killed by moose in Alaska than by bears and I also had an encounter on my bike on a gravel road in Alaska with a moose; but she didn't kill me either.

I'm not totally naive about South Africa. I do have a feeling that it is much like Canada with mostly nice people and fully civilized (can I say, NOW). It's the middle and northern parts of Africa that I worry myself about not knowing.

I find it hard to believe that most South African motorcyclists haven't ventured far north like Mzee did a couple of years ago. I only started riding when I was 62 and Africa will be my 4th continent on a moto. Of course, I'm retired and have (just) enough money to do it, but I'm sure I would have ventured off to see the other side of the mountain no matter where I lived.

I do happen to know where the Dakar Race used to be and was lucky enough to be in South America - in Chile- when it moved itself to Argentina/Chile. I think one day I will ride down from Germany (where I plan to leave this bike for a few years yet) over the Alps thru Spain and Morocco and Maritania to the city of Dakar just because. But, first I have to live thru Africa.
Tom
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GreenMamba1974

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2011, 08:48:14 pm »
enjoy your adventure through africa!  i for one am green with envy.  i have travelled to many of the sub-saharan countries by car without encountering anything worse than border officials trying to take a chance.   don't exchange currency on the street.

you seem like a seasoned traveller so your street smarts must be pretty sharp by now, so chances are you'll be just fine.  have a great ride.  :thumleft:


 

Offline tomrinbellingham

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Re: New Stupid Questions...
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2011, 08:39:45 am »
In South America, we resolved not pay any bribes - none of us had ever been in jail and we figured we'd have a great story to tell - and we didn't pay bribes although we were stopped many times by police who wanted only a few dollars from us for speeding or passing on a curve or whatever.

We were very friendly and very good at playing stupid; we just could not understanding enough Spanish to get the point of what they wanted from us. We also had printed up fake drivers licenses and copies of our vehicle documents and passport pages -- If they wouldn't give them back without us coming across with a few bucks, we'd see them in court next Wednesday. They always gave them back - eventually - and told us to slow down and be on our way.

In Africa we can't pretend we don't understand English -- or in some places French. Although I'm American, my bike will have SA licence plate and Pats will have a Canadian plate.

What should we do when stopped for a bribe at a border or along the highways and byways? I've never been in an African jail either, but .... Or, does that sort of thing even happen anywhere in Africa? 
Tom
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Offline Billbob

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2011, 04:11:58 pm »
Other than passport, vehicle papers etc., don't forget your smile, sense of humour and patience. These will take you far :thumleft:
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Offline Archangel

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Re: New Stupid Questions...
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2011, 08:37:46 am »
What should we do when stopped for a bribe at a border or along the highways and byways? I've never been in an African jail either, but .... Or, does that sort of thing even happen anywhere in Africa? 

This happens everywhere in Africa.

Some tips.
1. Know your road rules. (They might have some false accusations about what you can or can't do and they'll try to use that against you)

2. Know your rights. (There are no rules stating that you have to pay on the spot)

3. Be friendly but firm. (Being cocky isn't gonna help you, neither is being a pushover)

4. Never let them take any of your documentation (drivers licence, passport etc). They have the full right to ask you to show it to them, but don't give it to them. They will keep it until you've paid the amount that they've made up.

5. If you were in the wrong (driving too fast, up a one way etc) you're screwed. Pay up.

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2011, 10:05:20 pm »
You seem like a pretty streetwise guy to me. Africa is not very different from South America, except there are shitloads more people in Africa, and its generally a lot poorer. The driving is the same or worse and the roads are the same. I would make colour copies of your licences and laminate, as Im sure you did in South America. Seriously dont stress about the crime levels, be wide awake in the cities but otherwise you will be fine. Carrying a gun as a traveler in Africa is a no-no, it will get you into more shit than its worth in my opinion.

Wild animals are seriously not an issue, unless you start camping in the bush. I have done this many times and been fine, just make a decent fire and sleep inside a tent. Out of the towns and cities you can camp anywhere, but setup camp only just before dark to avoid locals. I typically get 100-200m off the road I am on and make sure I am hidden from the road.  Keep your boots on for a while until you have set up camp and walked around a bit to avoid being bitten by a snake. Drink bottled water or boil it.

Aviod elephant, buffalo and hippos on a bike. You will be lucky to see a lion/leopard/cheetah on your bike, they arent too keen on people at the best of times, but if you do, avoid them too unless they are more than 100m away or behind a tall fence. If you meet an elephant on the road dont stop to near to him. Give him room and dont rev your engine or piss him off, he will move on in his time. Plan your escape route.

DONT ride at night in Africa. Apart from animals, the locals arent easy to see, especially the ones driving without lights.

The mosquito/malaria issue is one to be concerned about. Even the tabbies dont work so well, they make you feel crap and if you miss taking one youre in trouble anyway. Worse, they mask the symptoms of malaria if you do get it and damage your liver & kidneys if you take them for too long. Frankly I hate them.  I worked in malarial africa for a number of years and the best thing to do is not take prophylactics and not get bitten. Wear long sleeve shirts with a collar and pants as soon as the sun goes down. Get mosquito curls to burn while you braai, and use citronella oil as a repellant. In cities and towns the risk of getting malaria is higher, so get a room with an aircon or ceiling fan on high, mossies hate aircons and fans.

If you get a headache in a malaria area or start feeling a bit weird, then you have a good chance it is malaria. Go to the nearest clinic and get a blood test for it, dont think its just a cold/flu or something. If you leave it, it will develop into full blown malaria which is not nice to have, believe me. If you are positive the local clinics will have a "cocktail" of drugs you can take over 3-4 days that will kill it off effectively. The trick is catching malaria early and treating it, then you can basically take a day off and you will feel better. If you leave it you will lose weight big time and need anything from a week to a month to recover (assuming its not the cerebral one).

I would not inquire about malaria at your local travel clinic they are in to rip you off, rather when you get to Musina in the north part of South Africa or maybe Tsumeb in Namibia, check out the local clinic/ hospital and get a couple of doses to treat malaria to take with you when you go further north, just incase they dont have.  Worst case scenario you can self-treat even without a blood test, but at least you wont run out of tablets or miss taking them or something like that, which I think is worse.

Enjoy it, and let us know how it goes.
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Offline Heimer

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2011, 11:11:49 pm »
There are plenty sites like this that give travel warnings: http://goafrica.about.com/od/healthandsafety/a/travelwarnings.htm

Use it / don't use it. I have been into Africa and only afterward seen that there are US or UK travel warnings for certain countries. And had a great time, too.

Rather worry about mosquitos, snakes an hippo's.  :peepwall:
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 11:12:10 pm by Heimer »

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Offline Bossies

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2011, 09:28:57 pm »
Cecil John Rhodes had some trouble with lions but he and his fellow hunters and land grabbers put an end to that annoyance pretty swiftly :peepwall:

Africa is very full of people. By human nature people are scared of lions. People have done a fairly thorough job of removing the threat to the point where now people are more of a threat to lions. As grazing in large parts of eastern africa is poorly managed, during times of scarce grazing the cattle farmers herd their cattle into nature reserves and when the lions start eating their cattle the farmers kill the lions to the great displeasure of the Nature Conservation Authorities.

Everyone else has given very thorough and accurate responses so I wont repeat.

Enjoy your planning and have an awesome trip! And honestly don't worry. Plenty people go up or down Africa every year without incident. The only trouble my wife and I had was me having to hold the bike for her to get on and off. (She's 5'1")...and having her 250cc engine rebuilt in Cairo.

May common sense, basic intuition and a sense of humor prevail  :ricky:
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Offline tmotten

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2011, 07:19:13 am »
Good info being shared here. I'm actually in the same boat but my trip is few years away yet. But being an avid rough camper (the more remote the better) often wandered about the large wildlife. I've camped in heaps of countries where wildlife is an issue (Australia and Caucasus where wolves are  a bit concern as they do roam streets of towns at night), but never in a place where the wildlife is as big as Southern Africa.

My interest is mostly in Namibia because it's like Australia in remoteness (I'm guessing obivously having never been there) plus wildlife and Metaljockey's RR of his trip with his Mrs and kid blew me away. Sure Australia has some of the most deadly creatures, but worst case you wake up next to them having a nap (salties excluded). Not quite the same as having some inquisitive 4 footers poking around you camp site at night. But what I'm gathering is that this is not the case at all.

Isn't it funny, I'd ask the OP the same question about bears, and we get all those questions about snakes, salties and spiders. ;)

Sorry BTW, didn't want to hyjack.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 07:28:03 am by tmotten »
 

Offline Bossies

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2011, 10:47:27 am »
Bigger risk in certain parts of Kaokoland and Damaraland in Namibia are elephants. Every so often you hear of another tourist that was thoroughly trod upon. They move up and down the river beds covering vast distances during the year.

Don't park or camp in their paths
Don't get between a mother and her calf
Don't get too close
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Offline Minora

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2011, 12:52:04 pm »
Tomrinbellingham

If you can get hold of this book, buy it. It is available from Amazon.com

"Around Africa on my Bicycle" by Riaan Manser.

The book will not help you with your planning as he did not plan anything himself but it will give you a very good idea on what to expect from the African Continent, the people, animals,dangers etc

http://www.africa365.co.za/default.asp?pageid=3052


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Offline Groenie

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2011, 01:18:54 pm »
Here you go - http://www.naboom2germany.co.za/Frontpage_Eng.htm

Just bring some common sense and come enjoy Africa.
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Offline immigrant

Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #32 on: February 27, 2011, 05:56:20 pm »


I'm not totally naive about South Africa. I do have a feeling that it is much like Canada with mostly nice people and fully civilized (can I say, NOW). It's the middle and northern parts of Africa that I worry myself about not knowing.


I need to correct you on one thing. South Africans are way nicer than Canadians.
Keep your nose clean and don't do anything you would not do in the USA. Do spend time to learn more about the different cultures and history of S.A. and you will have a much better experience
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Offline Minora

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2011, 08:14:54 am »


I'm not totally naive about South Africa. I do have a feeling that it is much like Canada with mostly nice people and fully civilized (can I say, NOW). It's the middle and northern parts of Africa that I worry myself about not knowing.


I need to correct you on one thing. South Africans are way nicer than Canadians.

:thumleft:

I like this comment
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Offline Phumba

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #34 on: February 28, 2011, 08:32:18 pm »
Ive found when it comes to lions that is not that impotant to be able to outrun them. You only have to outrun your friends. ;D
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Offline g1_

Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #35 on: March 01, 2011, 11:30:28 am »
I can only speak from my experience of Southern Africa, so take it as you will.

The majority of South Africa is civilized, or at least not as media normally depicts it. That's not to say that you can't get the African experience in South Africa.

There is definitely plenty of wildlife in Southern Africa. However like previously mentioned the dangerous animals are usually confined to zoos and national parks.
Chances are that you will run across baboons, game and a few others. You may well encounter elephants, especially a little bit further north.

People can be a problem, keep you wits about you. But at the same time don't shy away from intermingling with the people. Africa is all about the people, so you must spend time intermingling.

I had an accident in Lesotho a few months back and got separated from my bike. My passport (and other paperwork) were with the bike and my I ended up with my passport getting confiscated by the police. It took me almost a week to get it back. So take precautions with paperwork.

Here's a little video from a recent trip around South Africa and Lesotho:
http://www.vimeo.com/graveltravel/trailer

[Edit]
The chirps about having guns, were just jokes.
[/Edit]
« Last Edit: March 01, 2011, 11:36:13 am by g1_ »
 

Offline White Rhino

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #36 on: March 03, 2011, 06:18:11 am »
The beauty of Africa is the thrill of real adventure. There are inherent dangers meshed in with the unknown. That's what's appealing, otherwise you may as well do Route 66.

The foregoing advice and reading others experiences will equip you with more than you need to know. The rest is ..... well who really knows.

I think that every red blooded male has the desire to do what you are going to do. Very few will ever get the opportunity. My mate has done it 6 times so far on a R100 1980 Beemer! He's also had the misfortune of seeing the inside of a few prisons for petty incidences like running over a chicken!

When you disembark the plane at OR Tambo airport in Johannesbug, you must bolt to the terminal, there are still some uncaptured animals roaming around  :biggrin:

Have a gas. Could be one of your most memorable experiences yet.
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Offline Pom

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Re: Stupid Questions...
« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2011, 08:40:27 am »
Welcome to Africa Tom, looking forward to meeting you later today :thumleft:
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