About Me

About MeMy name is Andre Els. I was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa and lived there for 19 years of my life. At 19, I moved to the UK and has pretty much been here ever since, about 10 years ago and yeah, that makes me kinda old 🙂

I am pretty new to the motorcycling scene. I always wanted a motorcycle since I was 16, because that is when you could get your learner license back in South Africa, but my dad was not very happy with the idea of me having a motorcycle at the age of 16 so I never had one ! Maybe a good thing ?

My uncle, however, had a Suzuki RM125 (I think, still not sure about that one, could have been 250cc) on his farm and I always used to ride that. I remember when I started with that, I was way to short and we had to let the air out of most of the shocks to lower the bike a little so I can reach the ground. I am not sure how old that bike was, but it already had that faded yellow paintjob … so it was old.

I used to ride that thing without fear, into the powerband most of the times, no helmet, gravel roads, fields and pretty much everywhere. I would never think of riding like that now, maybe when you younger you don’t care that much and that is probably a good thing why I should not have had a bike on the road when I was 16 😉Yamaha YZF-R125

Anyway, here we are and I guess my dad realized I am now old enough, so I did my CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) here in the UK in September 2008 and bought my very first motorcycle on the same day. I bought the Yamaha YZF-R125 (pictured). At first I thought a 125cc motorcycle will be more than enough for commuting to work and back in London traffic (which it probably is), but I soon wanted something bigger, next logical choice, the Yamaha YZF-R6, yeah baby !!

Instead and purely by chance, I ended up watching an episode of Long Way Down on TV, bought the series, watched it all and my mind was made up … Adventure motorcycling is what I want to do and an R6 will not be so great at doing that 🙂

I did my full UK motorcycle riding via the DAS (Direct Access) system and passed on the 15th of January 2009.

Then there was only 3 bikes I was looking at, the Yamaha XT 660 Tenere, which I still think is an awesome bike or the BMW F650GS/F800GS. I ended up and can be seen by the photo at the top with the BMW F800GS which I have picked up only 2 days after passing my license. What a day !!!!

Since then, I have only done 2 trips, once to Wales (The Touratech weekend) and then only recently a 2300 mile trip around some countries in Europe.

… and that is about it.

Our dream of doing UK to Cape Town is on fire and this site is dedicated to that cause, please keep coming back for updates, thanks ….

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Comments
  1. Mark says:

    Andre ,
    I’m following your journey with much interest . I hope to drive Ford Escort Diesel to Uganda next year October time . Via europe ,turkey,israel ,egypt sudan ,ethiopia & kenya .
    Especially interested in the sudan & ethiopia bit . Really appreciate your the tips you are putting on your website .
    Thanks Mark ( Torquay )
    ps
    I have had motorbikes for a long time now . Got a 1998 harley sportster at the moment .

    • Mark says:

      Just noticed your Hillsong Church bit . I became a Christian in 1985 , walking through Turkey with a donkey . PSALM 18 : verses 1 – 6 & verses 16 – 19 .

      AMEN

      • m0ng00se says:

        Awesome .. thanks for following, please pray we get out bikes off the ferry today, so we can get a move on towards Ethiopia 🙂 … cheers !

  2. Charlie says:

    Found your link on http://neils.in/ whose link I found on http://www.touringted.com/ who I know from the UK a few years ago.

    What makes the world even smaller is recognising Pete and Aisha in your photos. We were at school together. Do you have contact details of them please?

    Enjoy the rest of your trip down!!!

    • m0ng00se says:

      Hi .. hehe .. yes how small is the world. Do not have details for them to hand right now .. but Aisha is now working in New York while Pete is completing the London to SA trip … when I have some contact details, I will let you know … thanks for reading my blog, hope to update soon !

  3. Josh Easter says:

    I’m so glad to have found this, although it’s a little late, still going to be great to watch and read through your journey. I too found Long Way Down (and Round) incredibly inspirational but being just 17 when I first saw it, I still have a lot of money to make and riding experience to gain before I can even plan something as fantastic as this. The videos I have seen so far are great, very refreshing to see more people doing a similar adventure to the LWD trip, I look forward to watching more, although I can’t tell you how jealous it makes me.

    Best regards,
    Josh.

    • m0ng00se says:

      Hey Josh ..

      Two things I have found on this journey … much easier than I thought, the most difficult thing was packing up everything again in the morning 🙂 We have found people on route with little or no experience and you don’t need so much money. What do you ride at the moment ? I am probably doing it again someday, taking maybe a little more time … in a few years I think, so save up then you can join in 🙂

      All the best !

      • Josh says:

        That certainly is reassuring, watching LWD makes it seem like you have to have millions of pounds at your disposal and a large team to get through Africa safely, clearly that’s not the case. I would need to save up, I spent every penny I owned last year on a month long trip around America by myself, it was worth it though. I ride a Scooter, A Vespa. Although I’m in the middle of getting my drivers lisence right now so have had to put upgrading to a motorcycle on halt. I have had a love for scooters all my life, my dad used to rebuild classic Italian scooters. But when I turned 16 and got my own Vespa and started watching motorcycling videos on Youtube and becoming interested in the community there, I fell in love with every aspect of riding and it’s been a passion to see the world on one ever since. I have ridden a nice selection of bikes, including some offroad experience (byways) on a dirtbike.

        Then when in America last year, I rode a BMW R1100RT massive road touring monster of a bike along the East coast line for a little way (I have a video on my Youtube channel). I also sat on a number of BMW’s at the dealership just before coming home to England and the 800GS felt about perfect.

        As for the offer to join you, I have been told you often fall into a lucky situation regarding job offers and things where someone will just offer you the chance to do something and perhaps your offer to me is my lucky chance to actually put my money where my mouth is and do something amazing like this. It would be the highlight of my entire life I’m sure.

        I’m following you on Twitter and have added you as a friend on Facebook, so I hope to stay in contact and perhaps join you one day. May I also add that your videos are fantastic, sometimes watching other peoples adventures is the only thing that gives me hope that I can do something like it myself,

        Josh.

  4. Tonni says:

    I read you copliments about jjs, its a great place and i think chris is the only camp /workshop owner that gives guest all and some. then you throw in dirt on chris’s name. if you got your bike fixed whats your beef wit him ,its not like he messed up your bike. with all you wrote am not suprised you got such a great togue lashin.
    Guy like you need to grow up and not cry when they cant get what they think is theres for the giving.

  5. Tonni says:

    ur wrong am actualy chez,al the same truth be told ur comment was in bad taste.

  6. Tobie K says:

    Ek was nou vir eerste keer op jou blog en dit was baie interessant gewees – dink jou trip is baie cool. Groete uit Stellenbosch

  7. shah says:

    Inspiring and wonderful. Thanks for sharing your experience! One day i shall do my own trip as well 🙂

  8. Jamie says:

    Forgive me for asking as I know this could be rude, but what kind of figure would you cost your trip at? Got the bug you see!

    • m0ng00se says:

      Hi Jamie … my budget for the whole trip was £6000, but I think I spent a lot less than that. The most expensive stuff was the Carnet for the bikes, like a temporary import/export permit which you have to obtain via the RAC, think that was about £800 and also the ferry from Venice to Egypt, around £400. The rest of the stuff was cheap, camping around $5-$10 per night, food is cheap and petrol is cheap, especially in Egypt/Sudan.

  9. ben says:

    Hi andre,
    I am planning the same trip but in reverse order, starting from cape town on february, i am looking for stuff like pant, boots and jacket and so what was your feeling about thor products ? I was thinking of alpinestars boot + bmw rallye suit but it’s a very very expensive solution so thor clothes can be a very good deal for me.
    Anyway thanks for your blog, full of nice pictures and advice

    • m0ng00se says:

      Hi Ben … clothes was never a big issue for me and was never anything that bothered me on the trip, I mostly rode in normal MX style long sleeve shirts (because of the heat) and some body armour underneath. Rallye suit is expensive and I think you might overheat, especially when standing still 🙂

      I guess the most important thing is sturdy and comfortable boots, has to be comfortable … camelbak for water, especially in places like Egypt/Sudan although it gets so hot, you might as well drink your own bath water. We used to sometimes stop at little hotels, just to get ice to throw in our camelbaks, but just a few miles later is it hot again.

      In general, I have no complaints about the thor stuff … was comfy, although the trousers got a little warm at times, maybe also cause they were black, so try and get something breathable and just a light jacket for the rain (if it rains) …

      Good luck, wish I could do it again.

  10. Brendan says:

    Howzit Andre, great trip. Ek be plan om mid September 2013 van af Kent weg te trek Kaap toe. Ek gerbruik jou trip as my begin om alles te beplan. Ek woon huidig in Kent en sal dit regtig waardeur as ons kan ontmoet sodat ek oor die fyner details van die trip me jou kan gesels asb. Groete en baie dankie vir die insperasie om die trip te tackle. Bren

    • Jacques says:

      Hey Andre,
      Amazing man, wel gedaan. En dankie vir die insperasie.

      Hey Bren,
      Ek is ook van plan om later hierdie jaar dieselfde te doen. Wou nog altyd maar het eers n paar dae terug besluit om te begin plan maak. Ek het ook op Andre se blog afgekom en dink dis fantasties. Ek bly in Hampshire op die oomblik so nie te ver nie. Beoog jy om allen af te ry of is daar ander ouens wat saam jou gaan?

      Jacques

  11. Craig says:

    Hi Andre, well done, we are planning the same trip, we are having to get our bike from Australia to the UK and then we can travel down to Cape Town …. Northern suburbs .. need a Castle and a Rooikrans Braai 🙂

    Did you keep a record of how much it cost you .. petrol, accommodation, visas, food etc, etc

    Than you

    Craig

    • m0ng00se says:

      Hi Craig …

      Sounds like an amazing trip. Not sure if guys go via Tunisia again these days.. when we did it, the Visemar ferry from Italy to Egypt was running, but I think they have stopped that now because of the problems in Syria as they had a stopover there.

      In terms of costs … it’s difficult, my mate kept quite a detailed journal of expenses, but I couldn’t be bothered 🙂 The most expensive stuff was the Carnet for the bikes (which we obviously had to get in the UK) and the ferry from Italy to Egypt (around 400 EUR). Petrol is not the end of the world, pretty easy to work out based on the miles covered. North Africa is dirt cheap when it comes to petrol, but from Kenya downwards it’s pretty much normal prices comparable to South African prices. In Malawi I paid about £3 per litre, very expensive as they had petrol shortages and was forced to buy on the black market, but only one tank as Malawi is so small anyway.

      Camping ranges from $5-$10 per night, some nights we stayed in hotels which was a little bit more, but not like the $400 per night Hilton in Ethiopia, crazy !! 🙂 Food is cheap and was never an issue. It can definitely be done on a budget.

      Good luck, sounds amazing. When in the UK, let me know, we can maybe meet up for a drink before you guys set off…

  12. Jade Kaaber says:

    Hey Andre,

    I have been wanting to drop you a mail for a few months now, firstly I would like to say that YOU inspired me to get my bike licenses and a bike in preparation of doing the trip that you did – London to Cape Town! Now that the “stalker” part if out of the way I just wanted to reach to you, I am a fellow Saffa and have been in the UK since 2002 and after watching your youtube video of you trip I roped a friend into doing this with me. We are planning on doing this trip in 2015 (partly as we are new to motorcycle riding and partly as I think this trip will take ages to plan). I am based in Hampshire and I think that you are in Kent (having read some of your post in the past) and would like to know if we could buy you a coffee / beer at some stage and pick your brain about this trip (stalker again).

    Let me know what will be the best way to connect with you?

    Cheers,

    Jade

  13. […] A viccet félretéve: a túráról és hőséről mindent megtudhatunk a blogján. […]

  14. Francois says:

    Wow this is an inspiration watching long way down is nice but your trip feels more real

  15. Rachel Ellis says:

    Hey Andre,

    Just stumbled across your blog and have thoroughly enjoyed spending the last hour or so reading over your travel reports. Thanks for the tips section, there’s some really useful stuff in there- particularly as I’m planning (*dreaming) my own trip now.

    Keep up the good work!

    Rach

  16. PS – have you tried our motorcycle route builder?

    http://www.motogoloco.com/map

    It’d be great to know how you get on with it.

    Rx

  17. WOONG says:

    Hi! Andre.

    I am Woong from South Korea, who has dreamed about what you have been doing:)

    I am traveling all round the world with my best bud at the moment and we both definitely make a plan to travel around again on each bike! I am so into what you are doing:)

    It is very inspirational what you do! Go, Andre!

  18. eduarddutt says:

    Hey Andre, i like your adventure. If you want we can share our links. my website: http://www.wwadv.de

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