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Offline LuckyStriker

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Botswananananaa!
« on: July 11, 2007, 04:21:35 pm »
DAY1 ‚?? Thursday 28 June 2007
Cape to Upington ‚?? 761km

I was having a key problem morning. First the damn front door wouldn‚??t lock properly, and then I struggled with the damn tri-circle on the garage door. Damn rusting piece of Chinese junk!
When I finally got going I was in a sweat and barely registered the chilly morning.

We got together at the Engen Winelands One-stop outside Kraaifontein. It was 06:20 on a June morning. After a quick coffee and visual inspection of each other‚??s bikes we lit up the dark road north.


Cold and wet morning in the Cape
S33 49 40.3 E18 45 42.3

The temperature seemed quite pleasant at first. After a short while on the N1 we were confident that we wouldn‚??t in fact succumb to an Eskimo death.
We circled around the back of Paarl Mountain and entered the cold, cold town of Wellington where people were smacking their bedside alarms out of hazy spite.

Up and over the Du Toitskloof Pass. By now my knuckles felt like granite and my fingers like bleached bone. Out of curiosity I cycled through the onboard computer to the ambient temperature display. It was 2¬įC and my arms were stiff as oars. Negotiating the sharp turns felt unnatural, almost as if I was moving my limbs via remote control. The pitch blackness only served to unnerve me even more.

We stopped at the single lane bridges that cross the Breerivier and each had a cigarette.
I suppose we were to discuss trivia. Perhaps about the interesting fact that the source of the Breerivier is just a stones throw northwest. But we could only talk of the cold‚?¶the coooolllldd.
I wondered out loud what a minus temperature feels like on a bike. I should have kept my bloody mouth shut‚?¶

After witnessing the dawn of our father sun from Michell‚??s Pass we filled up in Ceres (Beautiful Goddess of Agriculture) and headed off to the magnificent Ceres-Karoo dirt highway. A road that is best appreciated just after the crack of dawn.
The temperatures we dropping lower as we crossed into the Kouebokkeveld. Hello -2¬įC! My fingers felt like they were on fire!
At Hottentotskloof we stopped to let down the tyres. Normally you can ride the great Ceres-Karoo highway on regular pressures but recent rains probably did awkward things to the surface. We would take no chances this early on in our trip, and indeed, now and then we splashed through puddles and muddy patches.


S32 34 11.0 E19 41 31.2


S32 30 21.9 E19 41 17.3


S32 10 02.3 E19 42 44.8

Kaboef took out a 1.5litre coke bottle filled with Sedgwick‚??s Old Brown sherry. Always a winner! The fag felt foreign between my numb lips but the warm heat washing down my thought was reassuring.
On we went on that most beautiful of dirt highways. The sun was a hands width above the horizon and the mica in the ground glittered like precious metal, the quarts flashed brightly and the green lichen was spread out like small pools of emerald.
The cold and beauty of the landscape was intoxicating‚?¶okay I‚??ll come clean‚?¶the OBS was really to blame. We had finished the 1.5litres waaaaay before we even came close to Calvinia.



In Calvinia we had mutton pie and red bull. Snow capped the low mountains outside town. We didn‚??t want to linger.

North, always north. That spirit breaker that is the R27 fought us all the way to Brandvlei. Its long straight tar taps into your skull and bleeds your mind dry. The distance between Brandvlei and Kenhardt is only 148km but once we finished it we were mentally drained. It is the most boring road I have ever ridden‚?¶this was the second time Kaboef and I suffered it, thrice for Butch.
It is for that reason that we felt obliged to custom the Kenhardt Hotel. Eaton (the proprietor) was away in Upington to restore a vintage Chev bakkie, so his wife kept us company. She tried her best to engage us in conversation but it took at least two beers to drive away the ghosts of the R27.

We stocked up in Upington and made our way to our first overnight spot of the trip: Monate Kalahari Rest Camp.
The camp is located 12km Northwest of Calvinia‚??s town centre along the R360. The gate is directly opposite the entrance to the Spitskop Nature Reserve. The campsites are quite good with brand new roll-on lawn and small saplings.
Every spot has a built-up braai and a lamppost. The ablutions are clean and had 24hour hot water on tap. All of the toilet seats were intact and the mirrors in one piece.
We appreciated none of it. As soon as our tents were up we started celebrating the opening day. I don‚??t remember much but there is video footage of me and Butch doing a karate Kata and performing scenes from The Lord of the Rings. When we exhausted our entire stock of alcohol, (it was meant to last for approximately 4days) we called it a day and went to bed. The temperatures hit -5¬įC that night. We were blessedly unaware of it.

Monate Kalahari Rest Camp is at: S28 22 42.3 E21 09 30.2
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2007, 04:22:13 pm »
DAY2 ‚?? Friday 29 June 2007
Upington to Tshabong ‚?? 461km

Oh my head‚?¶
We were supposed to cross the border soon but our tents were still up. The next 460 odd kilometres were not kind to us. At Sishen we saw the multi-kilometre long train leave the mines on its slow journey south to the port of Saldanha. Everything was covered in red iron dust. Like invaders from Earth we rode through the Martian landscape.

I put out my hand and dropped it again. Picking up that box of wine from the shelf in Hotazel was a matter of supreme faith that my hangover would eventually pass. We fuelled up for the last time in South Africa and made our way to McCarthy‚??s Rest border post.

The road there is tricky to say the least. It starts just outside the small community of Black Rock and cuts through the soft ground. Large sections had the consistency of sugar. Shallow gravely sand rutted into mad tracks. Before you knew it you were on hard bedrock with nasty potholes. We could weave around the traps but it made the going slow. About halfway along the 110km road the sand came. Not terribly deep but tricky to ride below 80km/h and scary to ride above it. Rolling the throttle on off was the only cure.


Taking it easy on the hardpack
S26 38 14.7 E22 42 17.0

We made it to the border with only 30 minutes to spare. The border guards were quite taken with our bikes and wasted our time by admiring every aspect of them. Their intentions were good but the result somewhat inconvenient.

The border opens at 07:00 and closes at 16:30
You will have to fill in a small leaflet as well as a register. Take your own pen. Two separate fees are payable: 40pula for the Short-Term Permit (a visa for non-South Africans is more but I don‚??t know by how much) and 20pula for a Road Safety Levy (all told about R95.00). Expect to spend about forty minutes clearing both sides of the border.
You may pay the border fees in Rand or US dollars but this is the last time those currencies are worth anything. The Motswana except only Pula, and why shouldn‚??t they, theirs is the strongest currency in Africa.

Passing through the Botswana border was hassle free except for the fact that Kaboef‚??s GS had a puncture that needed fixing. Originally we were to spend our second night in Kang but that was quite out of the question. So we headed for the nearest town of Tshabong.

Tshabong is an ugly nest of scoundrels and villains (or so we later learned). There was no fuel and cars queued up at both garages. Outside one of the garages we spied a sign promising accommodation. Berrybush Safari Camp.

Located 10km up the Sekoma road and 3km into the Kalahari desert. The sun had already set and less than 30minutes of visibility remained. Riding the sand to a place that may or may not be a hellhole was an interesting prospect.
When we got there our fears were dispelled. A lady dressed in a large poncho with skin toughened by years of service in Africa greeted us warmly. When she heard of our plans to pitch tents, Jill Thomas vehemently refused and offered us two rooms instead. We were on a tight budget and expressed our concern. Undaunted she cut her price of P360.00 to P200.00 and threw in all the wood we could burn in the deal. It was too good to pass up and we relented. We made a big old fire that night but retired shortly after we finished out meal of pasta, bully beef and cheese sauce.


Dis lekka by die see


Kaross blanket made from the nose hairs of a thousand hairy pigs‚?¶


You don‚??t believe me? Blanket material!


This pic was actually taken in Kaboef back yard. We just wanted to make you guys think we rode in sand.
S25 57 12.5 E22 26 29.2


The turnoff to Berrybush
S25 57 28.5 E22 27 06.6

Berrybush Safari Camp is a great place to stay over. The staff are friendly (Afrikaans speaking even though they are native Motswana) and the accommodation comfy. Were it not for the bad road leading into it I would recommend it for every biker on any bike. A regular family sedan should be able to drive it though, but I can‚??t guarantee it.
Facilities include cooked meals, ablutions for campers, en-suites for roomers, a pool table, a dart board, DSTV, game viewing drive-outs, swimming (Apparently, though god knows where) pets welcome and children under 12 stay for free.

Berrybush Safari Camp is at: S25 56 47.5 E22 25 40.9
« Last Edit: July 11, 2007, 04:22:45 pm by LuckyStriker »
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2007, 04:23:21 pm »
DAY3 ‚?? Saturday 30 June 2007
Tshabong to Ghanzi ‚?? 644km

Fuel were delivered to Tshabong during the night so we returned there to fill up. The road northeast hugged the Molopo river. Botswana seemed flat and featureless. All the hills appeared to be on the South African side of the border.


Welcome to flatland. You think this looks flat? Wait till you see what‚??s behind that‚?¶flatness?

We were headed for Sekoma for a fuel stop but instead we were fortunate to find one earlier on in Werda.
This allowed us the opportunity to cut roughly 80km from our journey by opening up the shortcut from Khakhea directly to the A2.
The road was quite sandy. Not fine beach or Kalahari sand but rather a course gravely sort. Fortunately I have a little experience with the stuff and found it quite enjoyable in a sadistic sort of way.


Sand thy villainous surface!
S24 29 57.7 E23 25 58.1

Butch did not like it at all. It might have something to do with the fact that he crashed at a moer of a speed and nearly maimed himself. It took him a while to return to his senses and even longer to lift his heavy KTM. The sand monster had spoken.


Butch kissing the Trans-Kalahari Highway, not worshipping his bike‚?¶
S24 17 12.2 E23 21 30.4

We puttered up the great Trans-Kalahari highway on deflated tyres at a 100km/h. At Kang we filled up with fuel and chicken pies while conversing with the locals about the area.
At almost every stop we had to explain the workings of our bikes and the motivation behind our trip.

Quite early on in our trip we discovered the magic sentence: ‚??Hello, how are you?‚?Ě
At first I merely replied with: ‚??Fine, thanks‚?Ě and continued with a line of inquiry. Later on we discovered that spending an extra few seconds with pleasantries opened up huge possibilities and opportunities. If we were able to shoot off those four words first we were rewarded with warm smiles and good service. The Motswana are an extremely friendly people who don‚??t perform well when being rude to. More on that later‚?¶

Have I mentioned how flat Botswana is? The long tar road ran straight for a kilometre or two, turn a degree and continue again for a kilometre before once again sweeping back a degree. Large invisible objects must cause the lazy twists in the road because we saw no hills or mountains.
After an hour or so on the utterly flat road we saw a sign proclaiming a valley of some sort ahead. I got all excited and sat up straight in anticipation of this visual marvel.
We sped through a dip in the road and 15 minutes realised that that must have been it. The dip was the valley‚?¶okay.

Ghanzi promised to be a large town judging by the increasing number of billboards staggered along the road still several kilometres outside town. We heeded one such billboard and took the turnoff to Thakadu Rest Camp.
I could see Butch cringe at the sight of more sand. That fall earlier in the day really shook him up for he toppled over once more and despondently smoked a cigarette in disgust.
The sand soon gave way to a very hard dirt road littered with rocks. My bike shuddered and clapped noisily. I had no idea what was wrong with it.

The management of Thakadu Rest Camp were great. We were guided to a great camp spot called Carl‚??s Campsite off the regular path. This site was close to the bar and far from the other campers. Perfect!
Once the tents were up we moseyed on over to the bar and ordered steaks, big ones. We stayed until closing time and sang our way back to camp. We once again emptied or liquor supply and retreated to our tents at around 3:00.
Bikes and an iPod with speakers is all you need for a party.


Three drunken stooges and a burning bush


Packing up the next morning

The entrance to Thakadu Rest Camp is roughly 4km south of Ghanzi (pronounced Gan-tsi with a guttural G) along the A2. From there it is another 3km along a nasty sand/rocky road to the camp itself.
The ablutions are fine and the bar well stocked. The camp spots are devoid of any lawn but covered by canopies of shady thorn trees. Watch out for punctures!!
Camping fees are 35pula per person
A wheelbarrow of wood costs 20pula
Large evening meals are between 30 and 40pula

Thakadu Rest Camp is at: S21 44 19.5 E21 40 48.0
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2007, 04:24:34 pm »
DAY4 ‚?? Sunday 1 July 2007
Ghanzi to Maun ‚?? 308km

While we zombied around the campsite we were laughed at by other campers as they walked by. We surmised that we were quite loud the night before and kept quite a few people up past their bedtime. Seeing us stumbling around in slow motion must have offered a feeling of justice or revenge.

We rode into town and found an open grocery store (S21 41 40.6 E21 38 55.2) where we bought some chicken pies and spicy Russians. It was heaven sent.
At the garage a guy came up to be and pointed out an oil leak near the front of my bike. After a quick inspection I discovered that the front shock absorber was leaking fluid. The bike still rode fine except when I hit a bump in the road, then it made a distinct metallic noise‚?¶not good. Since it was a Sunday and I would find no shops open, we decided to push on to Maun as planned.

It was only a short hop to Maun and we got there in the early afternoon. We were considering two options for accommodation. The well known Audi camp 14km north of Maun or the hotel camp grounds on the outskirts of town. Audi camp won because they were located on the banks of the Thamalakane river and lawn to camp on‚?¶a luxury in Botswana.

We entered Audi camp along a short sandy road. If you don‚??t like riding in sand, don‚??t bother coming to Botswana. There is no avoiding it, it‚??s everywhere.
After checking in at the friendly reception desk we made our way to the designated ‚??budget camper‚?? area. There we met Gerd and Gerd 2, two guys from the black forest in Germany.
They were on XT600‚??s and had already spent 6months on the road. We immediately hooked up, as like minded people tend to do.


XT‚??s for sale. Slightly used

Camping on the lawn proved to be less inviting than we thought. There with tiny sharp thorns everywhere and they threatened to puncture our inflatable mattresses. On one end of the campsite stood a large thatched boma. It was empty inside and presumably used for a kitchen in the rain season. We took our tents and moved right in.


Our private villa


Nice and cosy with the covers down ‚?? warning: Farts linger in enclosed spaces. Quadbike!

With time to waste before supper, Kaboef and I removed the shock from the front suspension. Not and easy task since the bike was not designed for such field repairs.
The only way to get the shock out was to lean heavily on the bike to compress the suspension. Then we tied straps around the contracted coil spring to keep it from expanding again. Next we put the bike on its centre stand supported with bricks under the bash plate. We then unbolted the shock and slipped it out of the cavity. It took a while to figure out the sequence but it worked a treat.
The shock had definitely blown a seal and it was sticky and wet with fluids.


One leaky shock

I made a plan to take it to town the following ay to have it repaired, although I could see no way to open it up. The shock appeared to be a sealed unit, all the seams welded shut.

After cleaning off the grease we headed over to the bar where we had another great opportunity to blow money. The food was great and the company even better. We met up with ze Germans again and they invited us along on a chartered flight over the Okavango they managed to organise.
Back at our chalet we finished the last drops of whiskey while playing dominos Cape Flats style‚?¶ ‚??Snake Eyes!‚?Ě whack! ‚??Threinspore!!‚?Ě whack! ‚??Die Drie Enigheid!!!‚?Ě whack!

I know what you‚??re thinking‚?¶no, we were not a nuisance to other campers.

Audi camp is probably Maun‚??s best know camp. It has a luxurious open-air bar and restaurant. Next to the reception is a tour operator who will try to rip you off and a curio shop with exorbitant prices. The ablutions are rustic and has hot water 24/7. The flow of the hot water is a little unpredictable though. A strong hot stream would suddenly be replaced by a lukewarm trickle and then suddenly by a spurt of cold water and once you touch the taps the hot water comes back on with a vengeance. The cycle repeats in a random order so you are forced to dance around and constantly tune the taps like a DJ on ‚??E‚?? at a rave party.
Camping is 35pula per person (South Africans pay 28pula) and a 20pula tourist levy each day. This equates to 48pula (about 67 ZAbucks) per day per South African.
There are campsites with individual power supplies but they cost a little more.
Top Tip: The un-powered campsite does have power. There are several active sockets in the boma shared by all.

Audi Camp is at: S19 56 02.9 E23 30 32.6
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2007, 04:25:25 pm »
DAY5 ‚?? Monday 2 July 2007
Maun ‚?? Rest day

We got up at nine and I prepared for an embarrassment: Butch was kind enough to lend me his KTM so that I could take my leaky BMW shock absorber to town.
Unfortunately it was a public holiday and most of the shops were closed. The industrial area was almost devoid of activity with only a few private workshops open. One such workshop was manned by two Zimbabweans with a blow-torch.
I was a little reluctant to hand over a R5,000.00 shock (and my only way of getting home) to them. After a quick and expensive call to BMW Assist I was told that the shock is not rebuildable and any attempts to work on it will result in the destruction of the shock. And no, they would not come and get me‚?¶

So Kaboef and I rode back to Audi and refitted the shock to the bike. There was one more person I could call for help. Adventurer!
Ever the gentleman, he organised a contact at Lyndhurst Auto to phone me back. Allen Matthews listened to my sorry tale and immediately set to work to get me a replacement part. What a great guy! After a few more calls from my two benefactors the bad news was laid upon me: There were no replacement shocks in South Africa. None!
The official party line is that these things don‚??t break‚?¶ I was the first recorded case. Bullshit!
Lyndhurst Auto tried their best to assist me but alas BMW Motorrad SA is just too stubborn to listen to its clients, a sad statement but evidently true in my case.

But enough complaints. It was time to get pro-active. I took that C-spanner and cranked up the load on the coil spring to maximum. Riding on a pogo-stick is better than squirting oil all over the place!

Off we went to the airport and checked ourselves in at the charter company, Kavango Air. We paid 320pula each for a one hour flip over the Okavango. The plane was a Cessna CE-206 ‚??Stationaire‚??. A rickety piston driven single prop with a Scottish pilot by the name of John Cox.
John joked that the plane was the Landrover of the skies. That did not bode well‚?¶


At the airport


Our bird

The flight was a bumpy one and I got air-sick about 15minutes into the flight. I managed to keep my lunch down and bravely gave a thumbs-up very time one of the lads made a joke or gave each other a high five.
Never have a wished for a flight to end as much as that one. I got a few pics of the wildlife though‚?¶in between moments of deep breathing and puke backwash‚?¶


Pachyderm wading in the delta


We took the sunset flight. 16:00 ‚?? 17:00


Buffalo. Apparently the source of Bovine Foot and Mouth disease


Where the Swamp Thing lives!


Elephant


Hippo ‚?¶either that or very large ticks


Boro river at the Moremi Wildlife reserve


Animal crossings between islands

We saw several Elephant, Giraffe, buffalo, antelope, hippo and birds from the plane. It‚??s not a lot of money and well worth the expense. Do it!

Back to camp we went after getting supplies from town and wood from a nearby house. That night we stayed up late again, listening to the travel tales of Gerd and Gerd2. You can visit their website by clicking on this link: von B nach A.
They are currently in Nam but should arrive in Cape Town in early August. Their bikes are for sale if anyone is interested and they are in need of a job for the duration of their stay.
I gave them the forum address and hopefully they will register.
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2007, 04:26:02 pm »
DAY6 ‚?? Tuesday 3 July 2007
Maun to Francistown ‚?? 539km

We left Maun as early as we could and made our way along the A3 in the direction of Francistown. I desperately wanted to visit the Makgadikgadi pans. Particularly Bains Boababs on the Nxai pan or Kukonje island on the Sowa pan. Alas my shock was still weeping intermittedly (which bothered me) and after speaking to some travellers who had just returned from the pans, we decided to skip it. I was very sad but the travellers told of rutted sand tracks (which bothered Butch), roaming lions (wich bothered Kaboef) and incessant sand storms (which bothered us all).


Veterinary Control Checkpoint ‚?? one of many


Cattle hazards


Donkey hazards


Planet Boabab. I thought it was a bar‚?¶turns out it‚??s only an enormous anteater


Roads, trees and skies ‚?? thousands of miles of it

So on we went to Francistown to look for a place to stay.
What a dump! If I never see Francistown again it will be too soon. After spending an hour riding around in mad traffic, searching for a place to stay, Kaboef took us back out in the direction of Maun to where he saw a promising signboard.

The turnoff for Woodlands Stopover is at S21 07 11.8 E27 26 43.9
We followed and bumpy gravel road that made my shock rattle like a gorilla in a cage. After about 7km in the dark we arrived at Woodlands Stopover. Oh my, was it worth it.
The helpful staff booked us into a nice little cottage for not much more than it would cost to camp. They sold us braai packs and wood, condiments and snacks. We built a huge fire and ate heartily. Kaboef went to bed early, proving once again that the young ones may have the energy but the old ballies have the endurance.
Butch and I stayed up until the wee hours, stoking the flames and talking pop philosophy.



Woodlands Stopover is at: S21 04 53.8 E27 27 52.4
 

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2007, 04:26:46 pm »
DAY7 ‚?? Thursday 7 July 2007
Francistown to Sun City ‚?? 648km


Our little cottage at Woodlands Stopover

In my limited opinion there are only three places worth seeing in Botswana. The Central Kalahari ‚?? Where bikes can‚??t go. The Okavango Delta ‚?? Did that, The Makgadikgadi pans ‚?? Didn‚??t do that. We rode one and a half thousand kilometres inside Botswana without any visible geological or biological changes.
Don‚??t get me wrong, the trees are beautiful but did there have to be so damn many of them? I love the flat openness of the Karoo but the whole of Botswana appeared to have no topographical variance (i.e. flat as fcuk!). And after the horror that is Francistown we had no appetite for the bustling Gaberone. So we decided to head over to the Tuli Block. At Serule we swung left to the mining town of Selebi Pikwe. There were no traditional houses and huts in SP. All the homes were of western design and had lush gardens. Obviously this place was heavily influenced by South African mining companies.
After the habitual chicken pie at the garage we rode south to Martin‚??s Drift/Grobler‚??s Bridge border post.


Butch getting a 50pula fine for speeding
S21 59 59.4 E27 50 49.8


Look!! A hill! The first one we saw in Botswana. Sing it with me: ‚??High on a hill was a lonely goatherd. Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo‚??
S22 24 00.6 E27 46 14.5

Passing through the border was effortless and quick. Fuel was available at the Botswana border and at Tom Burke 10km inside South Africa.


Grobler‚??s Bridge
S22 59 53.0 E27 56 31.1

We headed south through the Limpopo province via Ellisras (sorry, Lephalale) and Thabazimbi. Wow, what a change. We were immediately surrounded by hills (but I‚??m told the locals call them mountains hahaha) and twisty roads. Twisty roads! I had forgotten what they are like and almost didn‚??t make the first bend, I was that out of practice!

When we reached Thabazimbi it was already dark and we decided to spoil ourselves. I don‚??t know who came up with the Idea first but we made up our mind to visit Sol in his gambling mecca.

It was dark and miserable with rain. Cars rushed between Thabazimbi and Rustenburg. We couldn‚??t see much through our wet visors and the blinding oncoming traffic. The penetrating cold didn‚??t help things along either.
We got to the gilded gates of Sol‚??s Pleasure dome at around 19:30 and was asked R65 each to come inside. The Gatekeeper looked unsure if she should allow the three dirty and wet bikers inside.
We made it in nevertheless and rumbled up to the Cabanas resort first on your right. The very cheapest room they had cost R1500 per night and it was tiny!
So the receptionist spoke to the manager on our behalf and gave us a larger double room with a lake facing view at the same price. She even allowed the third person in for free. How nice is that!?
After unpacking our pikes and donning more acceptable attire we explored the Casino and Valley of the Waves. It was dark so not much could be seen.

We then made our way to the Famous Grill and Butcher for a humongous meal. Aperitif, Entrée, main course, desert and Irish Coffee! All washed down with bottles of red wine and Jack Daniels. The meal cost almost as much as my entire Botswana budget but it was worth it.

Perhaps in size but not in fleetingness, we wobbled back like MTN blimps. A movie was on the TV but deep sleep was the only thing we sought.

The Sun City Cabanas are at: S25 20 55.4 E27 06 08.0
 

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2007, 04:27:45 pm »
DAY7 ‚?? Thursday 7 July 2007
Sun City to Britstown ‚?? 829km


We woke up to a beautiful dawn over Sol‚??s lake.


The Lost City ‚?? can‚??t go there, ain‚??t got enough money


Kaboef ‚?? probably missing his chick again

Breakfast was included in our accommodation fee or so we thought. In fact only two breakfasts were included and Butch was bullied into paying R90 for his crackers and cheese.

Butch needed to be back in CapeTown by Friday evening but there was nothing chasing Kaboef and I. Yet the desire to go home was growing strong.
We rode down to Koster and on to Lichtenburg where we posed our horses next to one of South Africa‚??s famous horsemen.
An Afrikaner legend who turned a decidedly average Afrikaans musician into an overnight success.


Generaal, generaal. Soos een man sal ons om jou val‚?¶

From Lichtenburg we cruised down to Vryburg, Taung and Hartswater where my Dad‚??s office is. I had a quick visit with my old man and promised to come see him soon again. Next time for a longer visit.

After Warrenton came Kimberley. Next fell Hopetown and Strydenburg. We invaded Bristown around eight.
I had achieved a personal fuel consumption record with my 1200GSA. 653km on one tank averaging a speed of 120km/h. It took 33.3litres to fill up the tank. The tank takes 33litres. Not bad considering the bike wore those boxy Touratech panniers.

We booked ourselves into the Transkaroo Hotel. A very strange place!
We thought we‚??d get a cheap room in a dingy dive and get to guzzle beer with the locals but alas the hotel had no bar and the d√©cor told of recent renovation.



The hallways were dimly lit with pictures of schoolchildren posing for sports group photos. Strict faces of headmasters lined the walls of one room. The dates below their names going back to the 1800s.
The kitchen staff were friendly if a little bewildered. They kept on accidentally dropping food as if they were recently trained and let out on their first unsupervised mission. The rooms very comfy with thick duvets and heaters. We took a bottle of fine wine from their cellar and enjoyed it in the courtyard.


My room


Milk carton kids! Where have they all gone?



The Transkaroo Hotel is run by Rian & Adlene Potgieter (originally from Malmesbury).
Accommodation is R100 per person. Each person gets a private room with two beds. A communal shower, bath and toilet is located in the passage.
Family and executive rooms cost more but they have their own en-suites and are apparently lavishly furnished.
The dining room is cosy with a wealth of foodstuffs on sale. Three course dinners are R90 per person and include a selection of deserts.
Secure undercover parking is available at no additional cost.



The Transkaroo Hotel is at: S30 35 16.7 E23 30 18.6
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2007, 04:28:37 pm »
DAY8 ‚?? Friday 8 July 2007
Britstown to Krige‚??s Pub ‚?? 683km

There‚??s not much to say about this leg of the trip except that passed fairly quickly probably because we were in familiar territory.
We stayed on the N1 all the way to Bellville. From Bainskloof Pass we could see a huge wall of a cold front advancing from the Atlantic Ocean.

By the time we got to Brackenfell our two groups clashed. We the bikers returning home against the Cape‚??s relentless rain. It was not the warm welcome we had hoped for. Driving to Kriges was an experience. It was rush hour and everyone was returning home from work. We three bikers looked travel weary but proud.
We drew quite a few envious glances from cagers stuck in their afternoon commute, I must say.
At Kriges we sat outside under the densest tree while it rained softly around us.
The familiar waitresses came to us and enquired where we were this time. Nothing surprises them anymore and they merely brought the usual glasses of Old Brown without being asked.
We reminisced on our trip and laughed at ourselves, the stupid things we did and the mistakes we made.

Checking the GPS showed that we travelled 4900km (give or take a few miles) in the eight days. We probably did too much too quickly. On our next trip we‚??ll take more time off work.
On the second glass of OBS we were contemplating a trip to Mozambique. Stand by, it‚??ll probably happen soon.



Thank you, I am LuckyStriker and I like chicken pies!
 

Offline LuckyStriker

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2007, 04:30:32 pm »
Extra Info
10 things I didn‚??t mention earlier

1. Manners
Please be courteous to the Motswana. I can‚??t tell you how embarrassing it was when one angry South African started to shout at a Stanbic Bank employee about their bad service. He included me in his ranting dispite the fact that I didn‚??t want to be associated with him. Always remember that you are a guest in another man‚??s country. Whatever you do, don‚??t swear and exclaim: ‚??Typical Africa!‚?Ě

2. Electricity
I saw three types of sockets during our brief travels. Some establishments use an American socket and some the standard South African three-prong type socket. I Maun I saw a three-prong socket that was smaller than the standard South African plug. The most prolific was the South African standard, the least common was the European two-prong socket. They run on 220v.

3. Money
Credit cards can be used in all major town both in shops and at garages to pay for fuel. Visa and Mastercard is the only thing that works. We had some trouble drawing cash with our debit cards since their network was down frequently.
2000pula was adequate spending money for each of us. Keep in mind that we used that money for food, lodging, fuel, booze and touristy things like the Okavango flight and gifts.
The 2000pula did not include the money we spent in South Africa. That is another kettle of fish entirely. Let‚??s just say that the entire trip did not cost much more that you‚??d pay for this year‚??s GS Challenge!

4. Fuel
Fuel is not really a problem. Only one town had fuel problems but it was probably due to late delivery. One other town had no unleaded but sufficient LRP.
Fuel cost around 5.50pula per litre (R7.60) so it‚??s rather costly.

5. People
The Motswana are a friendly bunch if you behave yourself. Always greet them and smile when they smile. Saying: ‚??Hello, how are you?‚?Ě goes a long way. Answering: ‚??I am fine, how are you?‚?Ě does the same.
When exchanging money it is customary to give/receive with your right hand and gently touch the inside of your elbow with your left hand. Don‚??t worry, it‚??s not expected of you to know this and even when I did it a couple of times I perceived no extra appreciation.

6. Police
What a friendly country. The truth is that Botswana borders on being a Police state. Cops are everywhere and the main occupation seems to work for the government in one form or another. The police are mostly friendly but don‚??t backchat or quibble when you are stopped. Bribes are not uncommon (Butch paid a on-the-spot fine for which he received no receipt).

7. Foot and Mouth disease checkpoints
Good grief! These people are paranoid to the Nth degree about food and mouth disease. There are innumerable checkpoints you have to pass through. They can become quite irritating.
First you queue up and dismount. Remove your helmet and wait for the dude to come to you or beckon you closer. They usually rummage through your belongings but not always. Sometimes they expect you to ride your bike through sheep dip and wash the soles of all your shoes in buckets of extermination agent.
Experiences at these checkpoints vary from a quick stop with a friendly: ‚??Hello, how are you?‚?Ě ‚??Hello I am fine, how are you?‚?Ě ‚??I am fine, thank you‚?Ě ‚??Okay bye‚?Ě ‚??Thank you, bye‚?Ě to a half hour long quiz about you destination, your travel itinerary, your occupation, your bike, etc‚?¶
Take it all on the chin and bare it. It‚??s their job and you‚??ll just have to get used to it.

8. Industry
There‚??s not much they can do for bikes in Botswana. Except for in Gabarone you won‚??t find many mechanics who can work on a complicated machine. The large tourist towns like Maun do have some 4x4 specialists who survive on fixing Landies but I doubt they can reprogram the CDI of a KTM 990. They certainly couldn‚??t fix my BMW shock.
Welders are a dime a dozen and tyre fixers are equally common. If you have serious trouble the best bet is to head for Johannesburg or Windhoek.

9. Journalist?
I don‚??t think so. I will rewrite this story substantially and take out all the things not so kosher while focussing more on things I think will sell. This whole report was actually finished moments ago and I have not even re-read it.
After I‚??m done I will try to flog it to a magazine and see how it goes. Goodness knows I can use the cash!

10. Roaming Animal Hazards
There are no fences in Botswana. Cattle, goats and donkeys roam freely. Be very, very careful when you ride after dusk. The cattle (especially the calves) can be quite skittish and as you approach them they will sometimes dart across the road. The donkey are the more stupid of the lot. They will freeze in the middle of the road as you near them. You can actually pat them on the rump as you ride past before they bolt out of your way. Goats are clever. Unless they are actually in the road at the time, they won‚??t generally pose a threat. They even stop and look twice before crossing the road. Clever buggers.

Click on the link below this sentence to download our GPS track log. It includes the intended route and the actual track as well as waypoints, visited or not.
 

bobnob

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2007, 04:55:02 pm »
brilliant report!!!!

looks great!!!

and britstown is my home town  ;D



1984 my brothers might actually be on that photo ;D
« Last Edit: July 11, 2007, 04:55:34 pm by bobnob »
 

Offline Trailrider

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2007, 05:16:30 pm »
Wow. Nice report. You certainly have a way with words! It felt like I've just been there.

Thanks for sharing!  ;D
 

Offline Hidalgo

Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2007, 05:19:55 pm »
Great report.

The pics are amazing, makes you want to climb on a bike and just go there !!

Thanks
Difference between cars and bikes - Driving in your car is like watching a movie, riding your bike is like starring in the movie.

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Offline Watty

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2007, 05:20:59 pm »

 

Offline sweerhe

Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2007, 05:31:20 pm »
Sweeeeeeeeet Report!  Thanks for posting!  :hello2:
1200GSA. It's like the girl you marry, reliable, maybe a bit overweight but you know she will always look after you even though she may not be the most exciting ride.

HP2. Itís like the pole dancer you have thoughts of running away with, you know at some point it will end in tears but you just have to come back for more, at times it makes no sense but when you get down and dirty who cares about sense."
 

Offline brettp

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2007, 05:48:26 pm »
LS, as always, a damn fine report..... Thanks a million!!!
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Offline Doggone

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2007, 06:33:09 pm »
Lovely report! Have you found out what caused the shock failure yet?
"Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the Courage to Continue that Counts"  Winston Churchill
Bike History: 1976 Yamaha Chappy-50cc; 1978 Yamaha RD50; 1979 Suzuki TS125; 1980 Suzuki GS 400; 27 years of bikelessness ; 2007 BMW R1200GS - 125 000 km's , 2017 BMW R1200GSA LC (Lowered)😁 WOW!
 

Offline Oetie

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2007, 06:58:16 pm »
Wow, this is definitely a report worth waiting for!!

Well done ;D
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Offline the_wes

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Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2007, 07:01:02 pm »
wow. nice one guys. double thumbs up. nice report too. you guys inspire me  ;D
 

Offline Leo

Re: Botswananananaa!
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2007, 07:46:12 pm »
Thanks LS.

Well worth the read.

Glad you all made it back safely  8)
Grey Haired Riders Don't get that way from pure luck!