Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category

Well, I have posted anything for ages and a lot of people still seem to find my blog mainly because of my trip from London to South Africa. It has truly been one of the best things I have done in my life, my journey starts here in London back on 21 Sept 2010. One of the most popular videos is the one of Malawi, not sure why, but it has over 80,000 views already

 

 

Recently I have just been mainly focussing on practicing for the Dawn to Dusk Enduro next month. I have been into this Enduro racing now lately and really enjoying it. I am competing in my first 12hour Enduro race down in Wales over the August bank Holiday weekend. Below are some of my latest Enduro videos. I am still a beginner, been riding enduros for only a few months now.

 

 

… and some not so good ones ๐Ÿ™‚

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This morning around 7am, I left Strand in the Western Cape heading for Ceres. I took the R44, through Stellenbosch over the N1 highway to Wellington. I filled up all my tanks at Wellington, about 13L including the fuel that was in there already.

I headed straight for Ceres via the Bain’s Kloof pass, beautiful scenery, sweeping bendy roads through the mountains.


While taking photos, I noticed the rear Rally Raid aux tank is wet, looked like it only seeped through the cap. I have noticed though, that when you fill the two front tanks, the level drops quite quickly and it pushes up the level of fuel in rear tank. I opted for the clear tanks, so you can easily see the fuel levels which is a big help.

I soon arrived in Ceres and then headed for Sutherland. The tarmac soon stopped and it was pretty much all gravel from there on until I reached Sutherland.


In Sutherland, I filled up again, stopped at the local butchery for some “droe wors” and a coke. I then noticed fuel dripping from the rear tank, it looks like it is leaking from the top mounting holes.

I will have to check out the leak when I get to Bloemfontein, in the meantime, I will not completely fill it. So far, it is difficult to judge how much I can get out of all the tanks, but after 250km, I only filled up around 11L, so I am sure you can easily reach over 500km with the tanks.

After reaching Frasersburg, I decided to change my route again, instead of doing 250km of gravel to Victoria West, I got on the tarmac road for Beaufort West. I am currently sleeping over at Haus Holzapfel, heading to Bloemfontein tomorrow morning.


So far, I am very happy with the KTM 690, it easily sits at 120km/h and with the new seat from Guts Racing, Rally Raid fairing and the extended range with the Rally Raid tanks, it makes a great travelling bike. It’s also feels very agile and light to maneuver on the gravel roads!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Beaufort West,South Africa


I arrived in Cape Town a few days ago. Saturday morning, I went through to KTM Cape Town to drop off the Guts Racing seat foam/cover and the Rally Raid rear aux tank.

Yesterday and today, they got the sear re-covered and fitted the aux tank for me. I have to say, I was really impressed with the work done and I am very happy with the bike. I signed a few papers, paid for the Akrapovic exhaust and I was on my way. Did only around 60km today in a very windy Cape Town.

I plan to get up early tomorrow morning and go for a ride along the coast before it gets too windy.

Friday, I am off to Bloemfontein … more pics, tweets and eventually videos to follow.

Location:Strand, Western Cape,South Africa

The time is almost here … tomorrow night (snow-willing), I will be on a plane heading for South Africa. KTM
Cape Town confirmed that Rally Raid is sending my stuff down to Cape Town today, so should be there later this week for them to build and prep the bike before the weekend … very excited !

I will stay in Cape Town for a while, then the plan of action is to leave Cape Town around the 16th, heading directly to Ceres and from there head to Victoria West in the Northern Cape using only secondary roads, no motorways for me thanks !

The first day is about 600km with a mix of tar and gravel roads (I think) .. sleep over in Victoria West somewhere, which I am yet to look into to, so any suggestions of a good place to sleep over in that region would be great !

… on the second day, I will head to Bloemfontein in the Free State about 500km of mixed roads again. I should be able to do that on one go, the Rally Raid tanks, 9.5L up front and 4.5 at the back with the addition of the stock 12L tank, should give me a range of about 500km.

Looking forward to riding in South Africa again, such a beautiful country, just a shame these holidays are so short.

This blog was mainly dedicated to my London to South Africa expedition on my BMW F800GS, but I have decided to still use this blog for any other motorcycling tours/adventures I might do.

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I recently purchased a KTM 690 Enduro R from KTM in Cape Town. It is a bike they nicknamed the Oryx since they do a Rally Raid fairing and tank conversion.

I have also locally (in the UK) ordered some other Rally Raid products like the rear aux tank, tank bolts, GPS bracket, etc … which I plan to take with me to South Africa in Feb 2012 so that they can fit them before I take delivery of the new bike. I have also purchased the Rally graphics kit, so when I am done with it, it will look something like this:

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So, in the little mini-African adventure, I will be riding my new, what I like to call, KTM 690 Rally bike from Cape Town to Bloemfontein about a 1000km away. I am going to try and avoid any motorways and/or toll roads, planning to sleep over somewhere halfway.

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I had a quick look at Google maps and most of the roads I plan to take will be gravel or some form off “off-road”.

I plan to take my helmet cameras and document as much of it as I can, tweet and blog as well … so watch this space. I will depart Cape Town around 15 feb 2012.

It’s been a few months now since I have returned to the UK after my trip down Africa. I have now finally settled down in Kent and all my computers are set up and stuff … so when I’m bored I’m slowly doing some videos of the trip … the two most recent ones are Ethiopia and Malawi … others will follow soon, enjoy !

Well, it almost feels like it. Back in London, UK and I am absolutely freezing. The bike is still in sunny South Africa due to board a Virgin Atlantic flight on Monday night, so should have my wheels back my next week. I also ordered some handlebar muffs, I do not care if it looks stupid, I am not going to have freezing fingers again this year !!!

I still don’t have a place to stay in London, living with friends at the moment, but as soon as I find something, I will start editing videos of the trip. I have in the meantime, uploaded all the photos which can be found here:ย http://bit.ly/fFoGVB

I have also uploaded some “unedited” clips to Youtube …

for more … check out my Youtube channel : http://www.youtube.com/user/andreels

I left the lovely Madidi Lodge in Lilongwe, Malawi for only a short little 140km ride to the Zambia border.

Upon my arrival as usual, you get overwhelmed by all the money changers, this time, I am ready and equipped with an iPhone app with all the currencies, bargained with them and changed my 11000 Malawi Kwacha to Zambia Kwacha.

After they eventually left me alone, I walked over to immigration, stamped out of Malawi, got my Carnet stamped and rode off into Zambia. Same process, immigration, passport stamped, but this time it took a little while to get the carnet stamped. Mostly due to the fact that this is now African time, the customs official is there, but he doesn’t seem to be bothered to do any work.

He finally came round to stamping my carnet, 50000 kwacha please … what ? why, what for ? “Carbon emissions tax” he said … hmmmmm, first I have ever heard of this, but then again, what do you do, pay up and get the hell out of that hot smelly office.

As I rode off into Zambia, I noticed quite a few changes. Kids do not really wave, they just stare … goats and chickens everywhere. Chickens must be the dumbest animals in the world. Instead of running off the road, they always decide with little wings flapping to run straight out in front of you over the road … stupid ! Only good for eggs and chicken burgers ๐Ÿ™‚

Very first town you get is Chipata, BP petrol station, Shoprite and Barclays bank ATM … decent town. I stopped for some cash and then headed straight for Mama Rulas, a camp site and B&B just outside Chipata.

I was the only one there … friendly staff, especially Raphael at the bar. Also the first time I could find a Black Label .. so immediately went for a Schweppes Granadilla (also first time I had this in ages) and a Black Label. Set up my tent, got changed and back at the bar for some more drinks …. ohhhh Fanta grape as well, yummy !

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At Mama Rulas in Zambia, bar in the background and about to pitch the tent

Just as I thought I got the whole place to myself, a big overland adventure truck pulled in with 21 foreign “teenage” passengers … damn !!

While these overlanders prepared their own food, I ordered a Rump Steak and Chips from the menu … massive compliment to the chef, probably one of the best steaks I have had in my life .. and massive portions as well … all for only around ยฃ10, good value ! Great camp site, big place, so was well away from all the other campers, lots of toilets and hot showers ! Definitely recommended !

Next morning I set off for Lusaka, the Zambian capital. I normally use my GPS to find places to stay at my destination using Tracks4Africa. One place that caught my attention right away was Southern Sun Hotel, so I thought I would go check it out.

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At the hotel in Lusaka

Arrived in Lusaka and again, nice city. They also have a few malls with the normal shops we are used to in South Africa .. they also had an Ocean Basket, I knew where I was having my dinner that night …. As programmed, the GPS took me to Southern Sun Hotel Ridgeway. They were willing to do me a discount at $130 per night. Quick glimpse over the shoulder of the check-in staff, I saw their normal rate is $280 … what the hell, you only live once, Do you accept VISA ? Ok, I’ll take it .. in fact I ended staying for 2 nights ๐Ÿ™‚

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After a swim at the Hotel

Next morning, I went to Munda Wanga Park (http://gpslog.cc/-15.5609,28.2719) , a local Wild Life Sanctuary, most of the animals are rehabilitated and released into the wild. They said 14h00 is feeding time, so wanted to check that out.

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Some of the animals at Munda Wanga Park

Last night in Lusaka, I decided rather to go out for dinner (Ocean Basket and some Windhoek lagers like last night), I will stay and have some food in the hotel bar … not the best I have had, but ok … I also enjoyed a few Mosi’s, local award winning Zambian lager which is not bad. I like to try all the local beers wherever I go.

This morning I got up early, went for breakfast at 7am, packed the bike and set off for Livingstone. Good roads, nice ride, although I was a little tired, sometimes struggling to stay awake. I was watched a movie the night before as the hotel had all the DSTV movie channels. Stopped halfway at this “unfinished” but still inviting lodge next to the road near Choma for some chicken and chips, coke and a muffin … and then pushed on towards Livingstone. They also did a brand new road just before Livingstone … beautiful and smooth, so thought I would stop and take a photo for you guys … and to change the playlist on my iPod ๐Ÿ™‚

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The beautifully smooth road to Livingstone

I headed for Fawlty Towers (http://gpslog.cc/-17.8545,25.8545) backpackers in Livingstone, nice location on the main road, but yet still very shielded and behind guarded gates. Right opposite are a few shops, a Shoprite and most importantly an Ocean Basket again which I will definitely visit for dinner …

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Fawlty Towers Backpackers, Livingstone, Zambia

I will stay here for about 2 nights … and then head off towards Botswana … update later.

Today was actually a rest day for us all, not by choice, but very welcoming. We are staying at a lovely hotel, called the Sara Hotel. We had to be in Aswan yesterday morning early to book and pay for the ferry tickets and with all that done, we had a day to spare before the Monday morning ferry departure.

We slept in a little, I only woke up around 9:25am, realising everyone has left me in the room as they all went down for breakfast, the bastards ! I got up and went down to have something to eat.

We then went for a swim in their lovely pool to decide our plan of action for the day. We visited some market in the early afternoon and then through a guy (Mohammed) that Peter met, we arranged for a trip on the Nile river.

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Day out in the market

The trip on the Nile was lovely, I really enjoyed it. Mohammed and his friend, Sherif took us around the Nile as our personal tour guides. We eventually ended up on some “beach” where we went for a swim in the Nile.

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Sherif and Mohammed

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Trip out on the Nile

Mohammed then took us to a Nubian village on the other side of the Nile, his auntys house. Very nice and interesting house, fitted out with some arts and crafts at the back. They also had crocodiles which they raised and then released into the Nile … wait a minute, I swam in the Nile ??? Would not have done if I knew then what I know now.

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The Nubian Village

Mohammed then took us back, we went back to our hotel past this giagantic Christian church in the middle of Aswan. At the hotel, we went for a lovely buffet style dinner followed by some drinks, “sheesha” (hubbly bubbly) by the pool overlooking the Nile … awesome !

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The Christian Church in Aswan

We called it a night, as tomorrow will be a big day. We have to go the the traffic police to give our number plates back, then off to the ferry port to load the bikes and ourselves on this ferry … must say, not looking forward to it.

Some more pictures from the Nile

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We decided to wake up and hit the road at 4am the morning to miss the desert heat and get some miles done. The problem is that Lindsay and I stayed up a little late, so only got about 4 hours sleep, which meant we were a little tired on the road.

As we left, riding through the little town, there was a very oily patch in the road, very slippery and I didn’t have enough time to warn Delilah who was riding behind me … I soon heard a yell and she came off quite badly … or so it seemed, but she was fine ! Thank goodness …

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early the morning in the desert

We stopped to have some breakfast next to the road and soon some kids joined us, we gave them sweets and biscuits, but they probably already had a breakfast of their own, so it seemed like they rather wanted some money ๐Ÿ™‚

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Delilah admiring the sunrise at breakfast

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Money please !

After breakfast we hit the road again, but I was so tired, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, so it was time for a power nap. We stopped at the first little abandoned building we saw (for some shade) and had a power nap for about an hour or so. In that whole our, we probably only seen one car go by …. really not much going on, on this desert road … except road blocks … loads of them.

Just as we started to get ready again, we saw a very welcoming site …. in the distance was a car, not thinking much, but as it got closer, we recognised it … Pete, Matt and Pete’s wife Aisha in the Land Rover … very glad to see them again. Obviously seeing us next to the road, they pulled off and we were re-united again since Alexandria. Pete very generously offered to carry my spare TKC80 rear tyre in the back of his Landy … saving me about 10kg on weight.

We deciced to head to Dakhla to have some lunch and we stopped at Arabi Restaurant. He had Stella beer … and prepared some nice food for us.

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Catching up with Pete and the gang at Arabi Restaurant

After lunch we headed to the next town on the desert road, called Kargha, but the police followed us all the way from the checkpoint and made us go to the police station, where they wanted to copies of our passports and we had to report to the station at 10pm that night … the hotel was also very expensive, but at least we could buy some more beer and some water and ice cubes for our camelbaks. We decided to rather leave town and head to a little town called Paris ๐Ÿ™‚ What a dump !

No campsites, no hotels .. just what almost seemed like an abondoned building, but the locals insisted it is a “hotel”, but we ended up sleeping rough outside in our tents rather … employing one of the local boys to be security guard for the vehicles .. sorry no photos of this, too tired … couldn’t be bothered and it’s late already …. done loads of kilometeres today, long day !

Tomorrow we head for Luxor … and then the final stretch to Aswan on Saturday.