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An African Adventure - 1995

Talk about all your non-Zed or even Kawasaki bikes here.

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kawasaki_man
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An African Adventure - 1995

#1 PostAuthor: kawasaki_man » Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:31 am

Since we are in lockdown I thought I would recount a trip made in 1995 from Oman to South Africa on a Dominator NX650, single cylinder air cooled.

PART-1
As is normal the adventure was dreamed up with fellow work colleagues after drinking a good amount of wine. The idea was to ride from Muscat, where we were working, to Cape Town. Suitable bikes needed to be found, we ended up placing an order for 3 identical bikes with the Hodna dealer in Muscat, bikes had to be shipped from Japan, that took around 6 weeks.

Once we had the bikes quite a bit of off-road riding was done in Oman to make sure we were fully prepared for our trip of a life time. Some pre-departure photos shown below

The bikes
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Getting some desert riding experience in the Wahiba Sands, support vehicle to carry fuel, food and beer.
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Getting some practice riding in the very stoney wadis
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The departure day - bikes fully loaded outside the staff house, me on the left.
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kawasaki_man
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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#2 PostAuthor: kawasaki_man » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:42 pm

Part -2 (Muscat to Dubai - What could go wrong!)
The bikes were now fully loaded and heavy no more fun games riding sand dunes with ease, this was serious stuff and bikes felt very different. Our hard luggage was a home made frame at the local fabricators yard, each bike had 2 jerry cans, one for fuel and the other was a fake jerry with an access panel on the inside and contained are our bike spares and consumables for the trip. We each carried a spare rear tyre and I also carried a spare front tyre.
The fuel jerry was only usually kept half full. We carried a 3 man tent and camping gear including a petrol stove and katadyn water filter pump.

We set of from Muscat on 25th February 1995 and had been instructed by our employer that we must cross into UAE at the main checkpoint going to Dubai at Khat Matmalahat and make sure that our work visas were cancelled by the Omani authorities. On reaching the UAE border we were informed that 2 of us (Dave & Andreas) were not being allowed entry into UAE because they now needed a visa to enter since their Omani work permits were cancelled. Well we never thought of this before leaving since we had all been going to Dubai on a regular basis at weekends. We could not go back into Oman because our visas had just been cancelled. It was now 10pm and we were stuck in no mans land! Great start.

After much talking with border post officials we finally managed to strike a deal with the Omani's. They would allow us back in the country without a stamp in our passport and we must head inland to an unmanned check post and then cross into UAE. Once into UAE we pitched our tent for the first night in the mountains, it was chilly! The next day we rode into Dubai and handed ourselves into the immigration department. They luckily granted us a 48 hour stay in Dubai! Our next task was to get the bikes over to a transport company in Sharjah since the Saudis had previously informed us that we were not allowed to ride through Saudi. Bikes were loaded and on-route for Aman in Jordan. We had to fly and then do the customs clearance in Jordan before our adventure could getting going again...
sharjah.JPG

map1.jpg

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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#3 PostAuthor: Swirl » Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:23 am

What a cool adventure

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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#4 PostAuthor: Swirl » Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:24 am

What happened to the bikes afterwards

kawasaki_man
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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#5 PostAuthor: kawasaki_man » Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:23 am

Swirl wrote:What happened to the bikes afterwards


Only 2 bikes made it to Cape Town, I shipped mine back to UK and subsequently imported it and it now has UK age related plate. I still have the bike and I need to get it running again! The last time it was on the road was 2012 on the Welsh Rally.

nx650_2012_welsh rally.JPG

kawasaki_man
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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#6 PostAuthor: kawasaki_man » Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:23 pm

Part 3 (Amman to Hurghada)
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Thursday 9th March 1995, we arrived at the transport agent’s office in Amman early to clear the bikes through customs before the weekend that starts on Thursday afternoon. The agent was nowhere to be found and eventually rolled into the office at 11am. The bikes were safely with the lorry in the customs compound. After much waving of paperwork and various payments the bikes were released to us ahead of the weekend. We then set off south keeping to the road running along the east bank of the Dead Sea and enjoyed a float in the very salty Dead Sea. From here we took the Kings Highway through the mountains, it was unexpectedly cold for a full days riding ending up at Wadi Musa, the gateway to the Rose Red ancient city of Petra. We spent a few days soaking in the history of the wonderful ancient city of Petra.
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From Petra we headed to the main Amman to Aqaba highway hoping to find fuel before turning off to Wadi Rum. No petrol stations to be found so Andreas went into a local settlement and managed to acquire some petrol in plastic cans that would get us down the road until Aqaba. Wadi Rum is a beautiful location so we camped here and then the next day took the opportunity to practice our off-road skills with a reduced amount of luggage, still quite difficult, I fell off at least two times but luckily no damage done to me or bike. (this was part of our training in readiness for the most difficult part of the journey to come through the Nubian Desert in Northern Sudan.)
wadi Rum.JPG


Passing through Israel on-route to Egypt was not possible so we took a ferry from Aqaba to Nuweiba on the Sinai peninsular. Customs formalities at Nuweiba were slow taking us 3 hours and costing the best part of US$100 each. From Nuweiba (very windy so had to delay departure) we headed to St Catherine’s Monastery and did the early morning climb to watch the sunrise. We then headed north to cross into mainland Egypt via Suez. From Suez headed south following the coast road along the Red Sea until we reached the holiday town of Hurghada, time for a few days rest, beer, food and some snorkelling over the various nearby reefs.

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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#7 PostAuthor: Steve Cooke » Sun Apr 26, 2020 8:16 am

Epic trip! have enjoyed reading about it. :up

kawasaki_man
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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#8 PostAuthor: kawasaki_man » Mon Apr 27, 2020 2:35 pm

Thanks for the encouraging comments.

PART 4 (Hurghada to Abu Simbel & North to Cairo)
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The north part of the trip was not meant to happen, but it turned out to be the only option.
From Hurghada we continued south to Port Safaga and then turned west heading inland towards Qena. However, we made a detour and turned off the road around 80km before Qena and headed on a rough track that followed an old railway line for 30km and was quite difficult to negotiate due to soft sand in places and we found out that more speed was necessary to make it through the sandy sections(50km/hr). After 30km we turned left up a wadi for 10km and then arrived at an “Old Gold mining camp”. In fact, Andreas had worked here 7 years previously for some months. The place was completely abandoned now. We camped here the night and Andreas gave us a guided tour of the old workings. The next morning our water supply was getting low so needed to conserve it where possible.

(Camped at the Gold Mine - tent was far too small for 3 people)
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We headed back to the main Qena road and just outside the town there was a military checkpoint. The north-south Nile road was a trouble spot and the Egyptian authorities were taking no chances with tourists. We were provided with an armed guard that followed us all the way to Luxor. We spent several days in Luxor visiting the fantastic ancient sites of Karnak, Valley of the Kings (Tut An Kamon), Valley of the Queens, took a felucca to Banana island. From Luxor we headed south to Aswan, road was quite dangerous with poor driving, road construction with loose gravel, mud and liquid tar spread all over the road. Aswan being famous for the Dam amongst many other things. From Aswan we went south on a day trip to Abel Simbel to visit the temple constructed for Ramses II, a UNESCO world heritage site. Abu Simbel had to be moved when lake Nasser and the Aswan dam were built!

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abu simbal.JPG

Our plan was to take the Boat from Aswan to Wadi Halfa across lake Nasser, the only border entry into Sudan. However, the boat does not seem to be running frequently. We had been told that the boat would sail on Sunday, but on Saturday night were informed it would not sail on Sunday! So, after spending a week in Aswan we made the difficult decision to head to Cairo to work out options for getting to Sudan. The road up the Nile valley was very dangerous and a hot bed for extremists. The Authorities would only let the 4 of us (a Swiss guy joined us on his BMW for the trip to Cairo) travel with a police escort for 310km. The area around Asyut being very troublesome and we needed a place to stay the night. Our budgets were low so we needed to make a compromise with the army and it was agreed that we could stay in a local school gymnasium. In the evening we were visited by the police chief for Aysut, he came to inspect the guns being used by our plain clothes police that were guarding us for the night. (This whole service was provided completely free for us!) The next day around Mallawi and El Minya our security was stepped up and we had an armoured personnel carrier following us and armed police at every junction. They did a wonderful job at keeping us safe and we arrived in Cairo just before dusk.
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It is quite amazing how green the Nile Valley is, very intensely farmed, but only a short distance from the Nile it all turns back to sun baked desert.

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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#9 PostAuthor: kawasaki_man » Fri May 01, 2020 2:27 pm

Part 5 (Cairo to Mombasa)
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First task in Cairo was to work out how we were going to progress in a southerly direction. Went into Tahrir Square to check out shipping options, Port Suez to Port Sudan, boat sails in 5 days’ time. We then hurry to Eritrean Embassy to find out if the border with Sudan at Kasala is open. The answer is it is closed but maybe open! Visa for Eritrea will take 10 days to process in Cairo. (we already had visas for Sudan). The next day after another visit to the Eritrean embassy we decide that it is too risky to chance that the land crossing between Sudan and Eritrea will be open and also entry to Eritrea via sea routes looks impossible also. We decide to cut our losses and fly the bikes directly to Nairobi and from there head north into Ethiopia. Well at least this was a sort of plan to keep us moving.
At this point in the journey Andreas made the startling announcement that he would be heading back to Europe for personal reasons. This was a huge shock to myself and Dave. Then there were two!
After a great deal of faffing about we managed to get some wooden crates made for our bikes and to reduce the charges we lowered the bike’s height by taking off the front wheel. The customs clearing process for the bikes at the airport was most unpleasant and expensive and horribly corrupt. The airfreighting of the bikes cost us around £400 each. Before leaving Cairo we did the touristy sites of Giza and the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir square where the exhibits of Tutankhamun are housed. In the end it was a great relief to leave the heat and chaos of Cairo and head to Nairobi.
The customs clearance of the bikes in Nairobi was relatively easy and we found some local fixers who helped us for a small fee, all done in a couple of hours. Nairobi was quite an experience and you always needed to be on your guard when the sun went down to avoid confidence tricksters.
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We had a great evening at Carnivores which is a huge BBQ facility a bit out of town. We had Zebra(tough), impala (OK) and ostrich (very tasty). We checked with the British embassy for information about the road up to Ethiopia, border crossing point at Moyale. The information was that the Kenyan road 100km short of the border was impassable at the moment due to rains, but bikes might be able to make it! Good stuff, we dashed off to get an Ethiopian visa, all done in 24 hours. While in Nairobi visited the Kenyan National Museum, very well presented and excellent information about the development of man around lake Turkana.
On 20th April 1995 we left a damp Nairobi and headed north west to lake Navasha and found a wonderful campsite on the shore of the lake and spent a few days exploring and enjoying our first sights of African wildlife (Lake Navasha was where Joy Adamson had lived).
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We then continued north to Nakuru and the soda lakes with numerous flamingos. In the area around Nakuru there were some excellent forest tracks we could drive on and rode up to Menangai crater and the views of the surrounding countryside were excellent.
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Later that day we decided to try to ride to lake Elementeita to get a closer look at the thousands of flamingos. The track we took was very difficult and after 20 km we reached Elementeita and were directed to a farm from where we could access the lake. As it turned out the farm was owned by Lord Delamere and his son invited us to have tea with him and he was very interested in motorbikes and gave us directions on how to reach the lake. The ride to the lake was excellent and exciting riding over the dried-up part of the lake. Finally reaching the flamingos just as it started to rain very heavily, was getting dark and the track was turning to mud very rapidly, we needed to head back to Nakuru.
24th April 1995 we departed Nakuru and headed north on tarmac to lake Baringo and then at Loruk turned right on to a single track gravel road heading to the game sanctuary at Maral some 120km away.
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The gravel road was difficult to ride on, very loose and mounds of gravel on the corners, had to keep the speed down to 40km/hr. There was no traffic on this stretch other than a large old Mercedes truck full of passengers standing up in the back. The truck was going very fast and when the driver saw Dave he swerved and nearly rolled the truck in the process. The result was that the truck passed us just but a passenger was thrown out over the side landing on the gravel right in front of Dave. The truck stopped and we went to see the passenger who had landed on his head and was dead at the scene. This was a very uncomfortable position for us to be in surrounded by a truck of drunken people and then two people from the Kenyan army were also onboard. After much discussion it was agreed that we could proceed towards Maral and they would report the incident at Loruk. We were shocked and scared by the whole event and limped the rest of the way to Maral just before dusk.
The next morning after a sleepless night both Dave and I came to the conclusion that heading on our “announced” route to Ethiopia would be unwise given the previous days happenings. It would be too easy for us to be framed and subsequently picked-up. This was a huge decision and probably very wise. So, we headed south to Archer’s post on a truly dreadful track. It is very remote, no villages/ homesteads however whenever you stop a local Samburu pops out the bushes since he is looking after the animals that are roaming in the scrubland.
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Headed down to Isolo and then round the eastern side of Mount Kenya via Meru and back to Nairobi. We needed a few days R&R after this.
29th April we left Nairobi heading south east to Mombasa on a busy main road to Kenya’s main port city. The road passes through the Tsavo National park, difficult to see any wildlife except for baboons sitting on the road, arriving in Mombasa on 30th April.
Tsavo park.JPG

This is a hot place; humidity is stifling and sweaty with all the bike gear on.

kawasaki_man
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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#10 PostAuthor: kawasaki_man » Mon May 11, 2020 7:45 pm

Part 6 (Mombasa to Lake Malawi)

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Spent a few days in Mombasa and rode out south to the beaches of Tiwi (backpackers paradise) and Dani (package holiday resort). We now had time to remake our plans and we decided that we would head back north west to the Serengeti National Park (in Tanzania) where we would take a safari since bikes were not permitted in the park! The place to head for was Arusha, but we decided that we would stop en-route at Moshi to admire Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 5895m. As luck would have it the summit remained shrouded in cloud most of the time, however we were treated to a splendid view after a few days!
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In Arusha we quickly located a cheapish safari company and booked to leave the next morning. Vehicles used were long wheel base Landrovers with 3 rows of seats and we were now 7 persons; driver, cook, 3 kiwi girls, me and Dave, packed in like sardines with all the camping equipment and food for 4 days in the bush. The night before leaving it rained and rained and when we reached lake Manyara found that the road was badly flooded and a little further on the road was washed away and replaced by a raging torrent. There was no way through this boulder strewn mess, we had to head back to Arusha. The safari company decide to send the vehicle on a very long route around the problem area and we will then cross the river by boulder hoping and transfer to the vehicle that has made a 24 hour detour. This was a great plan because once in the Serengeti it was almost deserted since most other safari companies had not taken the detour.
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First night we were visited in our camp by a Genet and Hyena. I did not see the Hyena, but did hear it sniffing outside our tent. Due to the heavy rains some areas of the Serengeti were quite marshy and we did get completely bogged down and as luck would have it we were rescued after sometime by another passing landrover and dragged out of the swamp. The whole experience of being in the Serengeti was wonderful and we did mange to see most of the main characters! Our last day was spent inside the Ngorongoro crater that has quite a high density of animals so makes it easy to spot them.
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We were on a limited budget due to the length of the bike trip, however I said to myself one day I would return and do the Serengeti experience in a hot air balloon, it seemed such a peaceful way to see the wildlife. (I still have not fulfilled this dream).
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Now it was back to Arusha to find our bikes, we had left them at the safari tour managers house. We headed back to Moshi for some more viewing of Mount Kili, it did not disappoint. From Moshi we rode 550km in the day and arrived in Dar Es Salaam in the dark around 9pm, this was not very sensible since the final 110km was on atrocious roads with some huge potholes. Dar is the gateway to Zanzibar, we tried to get the bikes on a boat but it looked to be a bit risky so we decided in the end to leave the bikes and luggage in a hotel in Dar and catch a passenger Cat to Zanzibar. Zanzibar is a lovely island steeped in history and very tropical. We had a special reason to visit because many of our Omani work colleague had family connections with Zanzibar having originally migrated from here to Oman.
zanzibar.JPG

After a few days we headed back to Dar, reconnected with our bikes and luggage and headed off towards the Malawi border at Mbeya. The road to Mbeya was generally excellent surface, lovely countryside with baobab forests and great bends for bikers. It took 2 days to reach Mbeya. From Mbeya we did a day trip out towards the Zambian border in search of the Mbosi Meteroite, and after some messing around we finally tracked it down by following a narrow dirt track. I must say the meteorite is very impressive and one of the largest in the world weighing in at 12 tons and composted of iron and nickel. The next day we were on our way to Malawi & paradise!
mbosi meteroite.JPG



Some Statistics so far:-
-Been travelling for 92 days
- Ridden 8,000km

kawasaki_man
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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#11 PostAuthor: kawasaki_man » Tue May 12, 2020 4:35 pm

I need to get a move on with the story, bikers lockdown ends tomorrow!
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Part 7 (Malawi )
The road from Malawi border towards the lake was a truly dreadful piece of tarmac, it would have been easier ridding on an unsurfaced road, it was the constant appearance of massive potholes that made the going difficult. I remember that the food was a great at our first lunch stop at Chilumba, some form of bean stew, but so much better than we had been eating in Tanzania. At Chitimba we turned west and headed away from the lake into the highlands, the dry mud road was quite difficult to negotiate with 20 sharp bends to get us up to Livingstonia at 800m above the lake shore, Dave had a minor off on one of the bends, no damage done. We stayed the night at the Government rest house. During the night heavy rain turned the dry red soil into very slippery clay mess, almost impossible to stand up and walk around, definitely not possible to descend down the track so stayed put for the day and explored the area with the aid of a local guide. By lunchtime the next day we decided it was time to venture back down the hill and with some care and patience it was possible to get down without incident.
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We rode the short distance to Nkharta Bay via Mzuzu (needing to change some Travellers cheques). The plan was to stay at Chikale beach, however the road was impassable so ended up camping in Nkharta bay at Mr Phillip’s guest house. All rooms were full so he had no problem letting us camp. Next day bumped into two of the Kiwi girls that we went on the Safari with, the third girl was unwell with malaria. The threat of malaria in Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi was very real and sometimes made things quite unpleasant always having to cover -up as the sun went down. We had to take Larium and this was not pleasant and definitely can make you feel slightly strange.
lake malawi (2).JPG


We rode along the lake shore heading south until Senga bay and ended up camping just in from the lake and a local lad cooked us grilled fish, chips and salad, all prepared on the beach, ended up staying four nights and Godfrey cooked for us each night.
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Headed further south to Cape Maclear and Monkey Bay. At Cape Maclear we performed the 10,000km service, only minor problem was a slightly noisy from brake, fixed by taking off caliper and cleaning it. Leaving the lake we headed to Zomba but being a small town had nowhere to stay so we headed to a mountain road to the Zomba plateau finding the forestry campsite to stay at. Very cold at night. Zomba plateau is a lovely forested area and we stayed two further days riding and walking around all the paths and trails. No one else around and only a few people at the campsite. We then rode to Blantyre, a large pleasant town and full of ex-pats and various “sports clubs”, ie places for drinking and we also did a Carlsberg Brewery tour which provided plenty of free beer at the end. Our main purpose of visiting Blantyre was to apply for a visa for Mozambique. This was issued within 24 hours. We only had one option for getting to Harare and that was going through Mozambique via the Tete Corridor, also known as the gun run.

kawasaki_man
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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#12 PostAuthor: kawasaki_man » Tue May 12, 2020 4:41 pm

Part 8 (Mozambique to Zimbabwe (Vic Falls)

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Mozambique had only recently finished its civil war so there were signs everywhere warning you not to stray off the side of the road due to land mines. We had heard so many stories from other (mainly South African) travellers coming north about the police on the Tete corridor route stopping you and demanding money. We had none of that experience, only being stopped once by the police to check our licence and then offering to share their food with us. A lovely gesture of friendship (it was a great help having an Omani registered motorcycle). Later that day we passed into Zimbabwe spending the night camped at a scrap heap in Mutoko.

Next day we arrived in Harare and camped in the garden of the Wayfarer lodge, a few miles out of town in a very pleasant residential area. Harare was an impressive city and had excellent food and drink and very cheap also. Everyone was wonderfully friendly, such a shame the country has been ruined over recent years. Parking in the centre of Harare meant paying a minder and I always ended with the same person, 100% reliable and cost me US$1 per day. A small price to pay for security.
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From Harare we headed to the Eastern Highlands that run along the border with Mozambique. This is a very picturesque area and great for local hiking, we spent quite some days in the area.
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From here we departed in the direction of Bulawayo but stopped off at Masvingo so we could visit the ruins of Great Zimbabwe.
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Bulawayo was a lovely town with big wide streets, a good natural history museum and Friar Tucks Steak House where we had a blowout meal. From Bulawayo we rode to Victoria Falls in the day, around 450km and camped in the caravan park. We spent a few days enjoying the sites around Victoria Falls, eating plenty of large buffet evening meals. We also did some further maintenance of the bikes, 13,000km covered. I needed to replace the rear tyre.
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Statistics update:-
Days Travelling: 159
Distance ridden: 13,000km
Money Spent : US$ 3,700 (@ $23/day)

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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#13 PostAuthor: sanderz » Tue May 12, 2020 6:21 pm

What a brilliant adventure! Great read and quality photos :up
Wots up DOHC

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Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#14 PostAuthor: kawasaki_man » Tue May 12, 2020 8:50 pm

Thanks for your kind words...… here we go with another instalment.

Part 9 (Vic Falls to Okavango Delta to Windhoek)
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Over the previous few weeks we had met quite a number of people that said they had been to the Okavango Delta and it had been a real highlight of their trip. This was enough to persuade us that we should do a canoe safari in the Okavango Delta (Botswana). So, from Vic Falls we headed west into Namibia and through the Caprivi Strip, a bit of a game park. We stopped to view a heard of elephants and nearly got charged down! We spent a night camped at the side of the dirt road, thinking ourselves safe and a park ranger happened to spot us and dropped by for a chat and his words were “I have not seen any lions around this area today so you should be OK tonight”! The road from Vic falls through the Caprivi strip had some difficult spots with large corrugations in the surface and large patches of soft sand. Looking out for these changes of road surface was particularly difficult in the middle of the day with the sun high, early and late was much better because rutted / soft areas could be easily spotted by the shadows cast.
Leaving the Caprivi Strip we headed south into Botswana and after a short distance the graded road turned to tarmac. The next day we rolled into Maun, a dusty small town just in time to cash some cheques. Maun is the gateway for exploring the Okavango Delta. We quickly booked a four day trip into the swamp to start the next day…my stomach was in exceptional turmoil that night and I’ve rarely felt so ill in my life. Took the Imodium and we packed up early for our short flight into the Delta in a very small 3-person plane. Landing strip was sand. The view was fantastic as we passed over part of the Delta. It is amazing to think that you are in one of the driest places on earth, the Kalahari, yet surrounded by a swamp.
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Once landed we were assigned a “Poler” and went to his Mokoro (wooden canoe). The swamp is generally quite shallow hence a pole being used for the propulsion. We would usually pole for a few hours, eat, rest and then do Game Walks in the early morning / evening. The feeling is so much different from the Serengeti where you have the protection of a vehicle. All we had to protect us was the knowledge of our guide. He was excellent and did not take any undue risks.
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One night we had elephants in the camp, our guide got up and started the camp fire to drive away the elephants, it seemed to work. In the morning the proof was within a few feet of our tent, the elephant had left us a huge smelly present! The experience was so good and I can confirm that it should be a top destination for anyone visiting these parts of Africa.
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All too soon we were back in Maun and ready for the next leg, this was going to be difficult possibly, crossing the Kalahari via Ghanzi. We had spoken to people about the road conditions that we were likely to experience, the advice was if it gets too difficult you would probably be able to put the bikes on a passing lorry. Great! Anyway we prepared ourselves for a potentially difficult crossing of around 450km of desert road. This was one of the few times that we maxed up on fuel and water so we could survive at least three days on our own. We each had an extra 20Litres of fuel (@400km) and carried at least 20litres of water between us, the bikes were now super heavy. Our plan was to start early in the mornings and then rest for 4 hours in the middle of the day and then do a two hour ride in the later afternoon, pitching camp around 6pm. On the first day the going was very difficult and I came off the bike on a patch of soft sand. Luckily I was unhurt but had to unload all the luggage to get the bike upright.
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Once 80km inside Namibia the road was tared so progress was good and we decided to press on all the way to Windhoek, arriving at 7pm on the second day and having to camp in the garden of the hostel since all rooms were full. Next day we moved into the hostel for a rest. Dave was actually quite unwell remaining in bed for the next 2 days. Namibia is a fantastic country and our bikes were absolutely perfect for the next few weeks that we spent exploring..to be continued.

Statistics update:-
Days Travelling: 169
Distance ridden: 15,000km
Money Spent : US$ 4,000 (@ $24/day)

kawasaki_man
Regular Poster
Posts: 84
Joined: 11th Jan 2012
Location: Nottingham

Re: An African Adventure - 1995

#15 PostAuthor: kawasaki_man » Wed May 13, 2020 4:11 pm

Part 10 (Northern Namibia Leg)

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After a few days of recovery we were ready to depart Winhoek and headed almost due west towards the coast at Swakopmund stopping at Rossing Uranium mine, the largest open cast Uranium mine in the world, needless to say we were not allowed in. Initially the weather became very hot and windy as we entered a desert area, however 10km before Swakopmund things change dramatically it becomes cool as the sea air encroaches landward. Swakopmund is a German town both in style and language, a very pleasant place for a day or two. We took a day trip out to Walvis Bay, not much to see, but 10km from the port there are some large sand dunes so we spent the afternoon ridding around them since we did not have any luggage and our off-road expertise was probably at its best after so much recent practice!
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From Swakopmund we headed north up the unpaved road that follows the Skeleton Coast to the Seal Reserve near Cape Cross, plenty of seals to see together with a very strong unpleasant smell.
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We then headed inland towards UIS and camped about 60km inland, however it was still cold and damp with the sea fret still reaching inland. It was a very desolate spot to camp for the night!
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The road from UIS to Twyfelfontein was very poor, corrugated and very rough meaning slow progress, however stopped to admire the rock carvings.
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On this northern loop we have hardly seen any people at all, we have the place to ourselves, so it makes our wild camping very easy. The countryside is now looking much better and very scenic.
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We visited the Petrified forest near Khorixas and then on to Mt Etjo to try and find dinosaur prints, still no one else around.
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After this we headed back to Windhoek to do some servicing on the bikes, 16,500km travelled. We fitted a new near tyre on Dave’s bike and found on a test ride around the block that his bike was running dangerously hot. We quickly tracked down the problem to a damaged external oil feed pipe that had been pinched when servicing the oil strainer. After much fiddling about we managed to straighten out the pipe and restore normal oil circulation. We had been very lucky to resolve this without getting a seized engine.


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