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Offline schalk vd merwe

Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« on: December 20, 2011, 09:18:35 am »
Just thought I will revive this tread that my son and I did in 2010-2011. On this trip I fell off the bike 16 times and my son fell 21 times. Enjoy the read.


My son Juan 31 and myself 60 at the time travelled through 7 countries along the 4 big lakes. We travelled through Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, back to Tanzania on a different route and onto Mozambique and back to Johannesburg. On the trip we travelled along Lake Kariba, Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria. We also travelled past the Serengeti, Masai Mara, Ngoro Ngoro, and Kilimanjaro. We also visited the Island of Zanzibar. The total distance was 13 350 KM. I used the same bike on my trip to Egypt and back than on this trip, I only changed the colour from black to red before my across Africa trip.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 05:03:42 pm by schalk vd merwe »
1/The only way to get experience is to get experience-Schalk                
2/Ride Reports>Long Tours>Africa Tour To The Equator And Back In 40 Days
3/A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet
4/Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe in and enthusiastically act upon must come to past-Paul J Mayer
5/Use the rocks in the your way to build stepping stones-Herman Zapp
 

Offline Vis Arend

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Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2011, 10:59:54 am »
Sounds nice, can't wait.

Enjoy your camping.
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Online Snafu

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Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2011, 11:12:48 am »
Schalk, you will need to brush up on "how to use the forum". Hopefully you will share the trip and lots of pictures with us :)
Rimtape: Sounds like something in the first-aid kit of a gay-porn movie set. - Jaco
 

Offline schalk vd merwe

Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2011, 01:20:35 pm »
We took about 1000 photo's on the trip, hope to put as many as possible on, see you guy's cheers Schalk
1/The only way to get experience is to get experience-Schalk                
2/Ride Reports>Long Tours>Africa Tour To The Equator And Back In 40 Days
3/A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet
4/Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe in and enthusiastically act upon must come to past-Paul J Mayer
5/Use the rocks in the your way to build stepping stones-Herman Zapp
 

Offline schalk vd merwe

Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2011, 04:44:10 pm »
To Snafu- Sorry I was born BC-before computers but I will try my best. Cheers Schalk
1/The only way to get experience is to get experience-Schalk                
2/Ride Reports>Long Tours>Africa Tour To The Equator And Back In 40 Days
3/A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet
4/Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe in and enthusiastically act upon must come to past-Paul J Mayer
5/Use the rocks in the your way to build stepping stones-Herman Zapp
 

Offline Justin

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Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2011, 02:21:27 pm »
Cannot wait. I'm planning a similar trip ,but would love to hear about yours.
How long in advance did you plan the trip?

Subscribed!
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Offline MJS

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Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 10:44:31 am »
Subscribed!!    :thumleft:
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Offline KiloBravo

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Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2012, 10:49:51 am »
Mooi so Schalk. Ek het gewonder of julle die trip sou doen. Nou weet ek. Sien uit na die fotos.
 

Offline Fuzzy Muzzy

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Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2012, 09:29:35 am »
You did an awesome trip, from Northern Malawi we cut across to Kili but you went straight up and hit lake Victoria.. You did it in a record breaking time as well shaving 20 days off our time and you only did 2000 odd km less.. that is very good riding.

I am suitably jealous and VERY keen to see your pics and route from Malawi to Kenya.

Did you go around lake Victoria through Uganda or did you just touch the southern tip.. how did you navigate through all the parks there?? All the parks around that area don't always let bikes in, actually I would love to see your route from lake victoria to Kili.

Muz
Africa trip, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania & Moz rr http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=61231.0
 

Offline schalk vd merwe

Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2012, 03:44:04 pm »
Sounds nice, can't wait.

Enjoy your camping.
1/The only way to get experience is to get experience-Schalk                
2/Ride Reports>Long Tours>Africa Tour To The Equator And Back In 40 Days
3/A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet
4/Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe in and enthusiastically act upon must come to past-Paul J Mayer
5/Use the rocks in the your way to build stepping stones-Herman Zapp
 

Offline DirtRebell

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Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2012, 09:46:59 pm »
Subscraaib!

Now where's them peechas?
 

Offline schalk vd merwe

Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2012, 05:40:54 pm »
Hi Guys and girls, I am back from overseas and would like to start to tell you about our exciting trip but I don't know how to download the photo's. I can help myself on Facebook but I don't know how to do it here, can anybody help please ? Schalk vd Merwe
1/The only way to get experience is to get experience-Schalk                
2/Ride Reports>Long Tours>Africa Tour To The Equator And Back In 40 Days
3/A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet
4/Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe in and enthusiastically act upon must come to past-Paul J Mayer
5/Use the rocks in the your way to build stepping stones-Herman Zapp
 

Offline schalk vd merwe

Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2012, 06:58:31 pm »
Planning the Trip
1/Juan and I started to plan the trip about 6 months before we eventually left. What we were looking for was a real adventure trip. We both are adventurers. Juan was about 3 months old when I put him into the front of my jacket and zipped him up with just his head sticking out, we then went for a spin around the block on my XS 1100 Yamaha. I think that already got him hooked. OK now came the planning of the route.  First of all we had to decide whether to do the Joburg to Cairo route or to go from JHB to the equator and back on another route . If we go to Cairo we would have to ship the bikes back where if we go to the equator and back we donít have that problem. To the equator and back is further than Cape Town to Cairo. We decided on the equator route. This route would also be more scenic as north of the equator it is more dry with a lot of desert. We both decided to stretch our leave to 40 days. That would be the longest that I ever took off from work in my working life. Juan could also not take off longer than 40 days. We decided to travel along the 4 big lakes. The route would take us to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya, back to Tanzania, Mozambique and back to RSA. We also wanted to do as much as possible off road or dirt road.
2/Now we had to decide on what bikes to take. I already had a Yamaha XT 660 R with about 23000 KM on the clock. A friend of mine had a KTM 950 Adventure which he wanted to sell as he imported the latest super enduro. He told me I can test drive it for as long as I like. I kept it for 2 weeks. On tar the bike was a pleasure but when you go off road  it was too heavy for me as I weigh in at only 78 KG and I am only 1, 72 meter tall. The bike was also too high for me although the ride even off road was nicer than the Yamaha. I also priced the service parts. On the KTM the two fuel filters were R6000. On the Yamaha I could service the complete bike myself for less than R400. Juan and I decided to get bikes that weigh not more than 165 KG. Juan had A BMW Dakar before but it was also too high for him although also a very nice and reliable bike. I then did a bit of research on the internet and there I read about a guy who would rent a whole lot of bikes in Europe and then take groups in to North Africa mainly into the desert parts.  All the bikes he would use was Yamaha XT 660 R. Although the Yamaha looks like a micky mouse little bike it had very advance electronics. You can adjust the timing and fuel injection on the little control panel next to your speedo if you know what you are doing or you can leave the bike to do it by itself.  If you go to a high altitude the bike would adjust the timing and fuel injection. The same if you put Africa fuel in (Super instead of unleaded or fuel mixed with paraffin).  So we decided on the Yamaha. I sold my 2004 bike to Juan at a good price for him and bought another 2008 XT 660 with 8000KM on the clock in PE. The bike was in immaculate condition.
3/Now comes the riding experience. I have been riding road bikes since 1965 and still have a Yamaha 1000 Genesis in the garage but adventure biking only for the 18 months before the trip. As you guys know it is two different things. You can almost forget what you know about bikes and start all over again. Juan had more experience on off road bikes than me. So we thought we would go and practice a bit. I did a bit of riding on rocky 4X4 terrain with friends and came right no problem. Then Juan and my younger son and I went to ride at Witsand (brul sand) close to Upington. From there we went to a farm next to the Orange River also close to Upinton to ride in the Kalahari sand. Although we fell a lot we came right to a fair extend. We then went to practice in the mud a bit south of Johannesburg. Now we thought we were ready to tackle Africa right. We only discovered on the trip later how wrong one can be.
4/Gear Ė Juan and I made a list of all the gear to take along and bought stuff every month.  I read both Ted Simons books namely Jupiter Travel and Dreaming of Jupiter and I knew that you must not take too much stuff along(Ted Simon travelled around the world twice. The 2 nd time he was 68 years old when he left and ended the trip when he was 72 years old. I also read Lodie de Jagers book called Noord van Naboom. He has by now travelled from Naboomspruit  to Germany a couple of times. On his first trip he send half of his stuff back. I think the book that inspired me the most was Riaan Mansers 705 page book called Around Africa on my Bicycle. I read that book with a map of Africa next to me checking every little village that he went to. Sometimes his bicycle would break down about 50 KM from the next town, he would then catch a lift on a truck and have the bicycle fixed and then pedal back to where he broke down and then ride back to the same town so he can prove that he cycled right around Africa.
I arranged a Carnet de Passages for every country and a Visa for Tanzania only. All this saved a lot of time and money on the borders. Our total luggage in the end was 40 KG each. All the stuff that we took along was used on the trip and the only mistake we made was tyres. I spoke to somebody who has travelled through Africa and he said dual purpose tyres are fine. Only a third into the trip I understood why he was using dual purpose tyres, it was because he was traveling only on tar. There is a fairly good tar road right through Africa.  With hind sight I would have taken a set of knobblies along on top of my luggage as there are no tar roads on the western side of Tanzania and December/January is raining season in Africa. We both saw a part of our anatomy quite a few times that I never saw before.
1/The only way to get experience is to get experience-Schalk                
2/Ride Reports>Long Tours>Africa Tour To The Equator And Back In 40 Days
3/A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet
4/Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe in and enthusiastically act upon must come to past-Paul J Mayer
5/Use the rocks in the your way to build stepping stones-Herman Zapp
 

Offline schalk vd merwe

Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2012, 07:27:45 pm »
The first photo was the morning we left with spanking clean bike.
The 2 nd photo on the Tropic of Capricon
The 3 rd photo was just across the border in Botswana at Groblers bridge
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 05:17:51 pm by schalk vd merwe »
1/The only way to get experience is to get experience-Schalk                
2/Ride Reports>Long Tours>Africa Tour To The Equator And Back In 40 Days
3/A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet
4/Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe in and enthusiastically act upon must come to past-Paul J Mayer
5/Use the rocks in the your way to build stepping stones-Herman Zapp
 

Offline schalk vd merwe

Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2012, 07:33:02 pm »
Across the border in Botswana at Groblers bridge
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 05:21:42 pm by schalk vd merwe »
1/The only way to get experience is to get experience-Schalk                
2/Ride Reports>Long Tours>Africa Tour To The Equator And Back In 40 Days
3/A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet
4/Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe in and enthusiastically act upon must come to past-Paul J Mayer
5/Use the rocks in the your way to build stepping stones-Herman Zapp
 

Offline ChinaPete

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Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2012, 08:10:36 pm »
 :happy1:
 

Offline schalk vd merwe

Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2012, 08:57:20 pm »
Day 1                5/12/2010 Johannesburg- Groblers Bridge 471 KM
Finally the 5/12/2010 arrived. We got up early in the morning with the bikes already packed the night before. The adrenalin pumping as this was the big day and we donít know what was laying ahead. We duly said bye to mommy and off we went leaving Johannesburg behind us. The air was fresh and smelled nice. We stopped at Kranskop at the Engen garage on the N1 North to have a Wimpy breakfast. From here we branched off towards the Waterberg. This route is always very scenic with some nice bends for a biker. From here we saw thousands of beautiful butterflies. Eventually we were pushing it up to 140 and 150 Kph. At that speed the bikes returned a fuel consumption of about 18 K/litre which was not good. Without luggage and at normal speed the bikes normally return a fuel consumption of 25-28 KM/litre. We filled up at Lephalale (Ellisras). We discovered that the 2 exhaust on Juan bike burnt two holes in his waterproof bag. We then found a plank which we installed between the bag and the exhaust. From here we stuck to 120 Kph. The fuel consumption improved dramatically. At the Tropic of Capricorn (this is where the sun will be 90 degrees above on the 21 of December) we stopped for photos. We made it to the border about an hour before sun set. We encountered no problems at the border at Groblers Bridge. Just across the border we found a beautiful campsite and lodge on the banks of the Limpopo river  little knowing that we will not see many more places like this on our way up further into Africa. We pitch our tents in the campsite while listening to all the beautiful bird sounds. As Juan was a hiker as well he brought along R 1500 worth of hiking food. This bailed us out many a time up in Africa. I in turn carried all the tools. We decided to eat at the lodge to save our food for later on the trip. We had dinner by candlelight on a beautiful timber deck overlooking the Limpopo River.  After dinner we went straight to bed as we wanted to be up at 6 am. the next morning. We had light rain during the night.
1/The only way to get experience is to get experience-Schalk                
2/Ride Reports>Long Tours>Africa Tour To The Equator And Back In 40 Days
3/A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet
4/Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe in and enthusiastically act upon must come to past-Paul J Mayer
5/Use the rocks in the your way to build stepping stones-Herman Zapp
 

Offline schalk vd merwe

Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2012, 09:44:32 pm »
We came across these elephants in the northern parts of Botswana on the road from Nata.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2012, 05:46:53 pm by schalk vd merwe »
1/The only way to get experience is to get experience-Schalk                
2/Ride Reports>Long Tours>Africa Tour To The Equator And Back In 40 Days
3/A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet
4/Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe in and enthusiastically act upon must come to past-Paul J Mayer
5/Use the rocks in the your way to build stepping stones-Herman Zapp
 

Offline Hinksding

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Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2012, 10:05:54 pm »
Oom Schalk, ons wag virri res!
Eet vleis! 'n 1 000 000 jakkalse kan nie verkeerd wees nie.
 

Offline schalk vd merwe

Re: Africa tour to the equator and back in 40 days
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2012, 11:15:36 pm »
Day 2           6/12/2010   Groblers  Bridge to 100 KM before Kasane    696KM
We got up at 6 am as planned made breakfast, washed the dishes, broke up camp and loaded the bikes. All this took us about an hour and a half. We then hit the road. Before Selebi Phikwe we hit our first rain storm of the trip little knowing that many, many more are to come along in the next 39 days. At Selebi Phikwe we drew money at the ATM. Their currency is called pula. Juan had a Master card and I had a couple of Visa cards. Visa cards work better in Africa and very few ATMís in Africa take Master cards. We then filled up with fuel including the 10 litre can that we had on Juan bike. We had a cold drink and then we hit the road north towards Francistown. The road was nice.  The weather was semi cloudy with the sun breaking through now and then. At Francistown we turned more west towards  Nata. As the road was good we tried to cover as much miles as possible as we had to average about 350 KM per day over the whole trip. If we do more KM per day it will give us some rest days in between. At Nata the road turned more north again towards Chobe National Park. This road was under construction and we travelled long distances on gravel road. Once back on the tar road again we came across these elephants (see photoís on top) next to the road. The one gave us a mock charge. As I know elephants it did not scare me too much. As it came close to sunset we looked for a camp site on the GPS. It showed one about 10 KM away. We arrived there in good spirit having done 696 KM for the day. The owner was an Austrian who was married to a South African Afrikaans lady. They stayed in Edenvale before and came to start this place after their house in Edenvale was burgled 3 times in a row. It was more of a Lodge than a camp site. We camped under a thorn tree a fair distance away from the bathroom. They had quite a nice bar and dining room. We had a couple of drinks and decided to save our food supplies once more and had dinner. There were about 8 directors from Nampack in Johannesburg. They were on a fishing expedition and when they heard of intended trip into Africa they paid for all our drinks although Juan does not really drink alcohol. They told us that there company has open a branch in Zambia due to the demand for packaging  material that was created by the Zimbabwean white farmers  now farming in Zambia. We had a couple of good jokes and drinks before we went off to bed. The lodge was only 2 KM away from the Zimbabwe border post and the Hwange National Park which we intended to travel through the following day.
1/The only way to get experience is to get experience-Schalk                
2/Ride Reports>Long Tours>Africa Tour To The Equator And Back In 40 Days
3/A stranger is just a friend you have not met yet
4/Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe in and enthusiastically act upon must come to past-Paul J Mayer
5/Use the rocks in the your way to build stepping stones-Herman Zapp