Travelling Africa on a KLR

Category: South Africa

Cape Town and North to Namibia

2017-01-12

Back at it after two full days of flying and waiting in airports. I got in late the night before so I stayed at a hotel at the airport. Johann picked me up and brought me to his house where I stayed for the week. In the afternoon we went for a ride along the coastline around Cape Town.

We also went to Boulders Beach and saw the penguin colony there.

2017-01-13

I went to a couple of garages today to get the motorcycle’s thermostat fixed. Turns out the shop in Johannesburg put wiring back wrong when they had the fuel tank off so it came loose along the way. With that fixed I headed to the Cape of Good Hope. In Simon’s Town they were fighting forest fires with buckets slung from helicopters being filled in False Bay.

Cape of Good Hope

The view from the Cape light house is pretty spectacular.

On the way back I rode by Kommetjie where some kite surfers were out.

2017-01-14

I went to the Castle of Good Hope which was built in the late 1600’s to defend the Cape after previous fortifications did not stand the test of time.

My timing was perfect as I was able to see the small canon fired and go on a guided tour.

“Dolphin” Pool

Castle of Good Hope from Table Mountain

Afterwards I went to the District Six Museum. The museum documents the forced eviction of District Six from the 1960’s to the 1980’s of Black and Coloured (mixed race) heritage from that area of Cape Town to the Cape Flats to convert the area from a multi-ethnic part of town to a whites only neighbourhood. The area was almost completely demolished save for a few churches and an apartment building. As the evictions were completed in the 1980’s redevelopment has largely not occurred other than the construction of a technical university and the area will be left undeveloped as a reminder of the apartheid era.

2017-01-15

I went to Franschoek and Stellenbosch. Franschoek was an area where the Hugenots settled after being offered asylum from the French Catholic regime as they were protestants and the Dutch regime offered asylum in the Netherlands but they ended up coming to the Cape Colony.

Fransschoek

Huguenot Memorial

2017-01-16

On Sunday I went to Robben Island and visited the waterfront in Cape Town.

Table Mountain from the Boat

Cape Town from the Boat

Political Prisoner Cells

Nelson Mandela’s Cell

2017-01-17

I was finally able to get on Table Mountain as the weather has been quite windy and the cable car has not been running. On my way to Table Mountain I saw a familiar KTM 1190 and Anna who I met near Hoedspruit last year. In the afternoon Johann and I toured some craft breweries in the region.

Lions Head

2017-01-18

Mainly running around shopping for tires and supplies.

2017-01-19

I left Cape Town in the morning and soon found Anna on the road. We rode together through Eland’s Bay to Lambert’s Bay.

Elands Bay

2017-01-20

On Friday I rode through the Cederburg mountains.

Local Brew in the Cederburgs

2017-01-21

On Saturday I rode to Springbok in the Northern Cape finally reaching the last South African province for me to visit.

2017-01-22

I feel a cold coming on so I just stayed at the hotel for a rest and recuperation day.

 

Sorry the internet was horrifically slow and constantly dropping connection in Namibia explaining why this post is so late.

The Road to Cape Town

2016-12-13 to 2016-12-20

As I am clearly behind on my writing I will be brief for this week.

When I left the wild coast I rode in to East London then on to Jeffrey’s Bay. There my tent had a pretty awesome view from it, but it was right by the bar so quite noisy that night.

Nice view from the tent.

The next day I rode to Outdshoorn which was incredibly hot. While in Outdshoorn I rode over Swartberg Pass and out to Die Hel, a former settlement in the valley.

East of Oudtshoorn

Also East of Outdshoorn

Afterwards I went to Mosselbaai then rode to Cape Agulhas which is the southernmost point of Africa. Along the way I was able to take a ferry powered by people pulling it. Along the way I came across Johann whose F800 had blown a fuel pump. I towed him into the next town where we had a late lunch.

Malagas Ferry

People Powered Ferry

Cape Agulhas

Johann and his Broke Down BMW

 

Cape Agulhas

Wreck at Cape Agulhas

After Agulhas I rode to Cape Town where I am storing my bike at Johann’s and heading back to Vancouver for Christmas.

 

Penguins

 

Everything Including the Kitchen Sink

South Coast and Wild Coast

2016-12-03 to 2016-12-05

I ride into Port Edward from Kokstad on the third. The road is being widened so their are frequent road closures and i spend a lot of time waiting in traffic. Port Edward is an on the Indian Ocean so more beautiful beaches.

Port Edward

Port Edward

On the fifth I loop back to Durban (whose traffic I was trying to avoid) to have the rear tire replaced as it is not going to make it to the Western Cape as I had hoped. Unfortunately I was not able to get a Heidenau K60 and I am having to settle for a Mitas E-07 which I am unfamiliar with.

2016-12-07 to 2016-12-08

I try to take the back roads to Port St Johns but eventually get frustrated with the GPS and resort to taking the highway as the GPS refuses to route through the countryside.

As you ride into town along the Mzimvubu river you approach the “Gates” which are two steep flat top mountains. There is an airstrip on the southern mountain (used in the filming of Blood Diamond) that has quite impressive views

Mzimvubu River at the Gates

Mzimvubu River at the Gates

Port St Johns First Beach

Second Beach in Port St Johns

Second Beach in Port St Johns

Port St Johns Air Strip

Port St Johns Air Strip

2016-12-08 to 2016-12-12

On the eighth I ride in to Coffee Bay. This time I am actually able to make it on the back roads. In the Eastern Cape the roads other than the highways are in pretty poor shape, they are mud roads where the hills have been washed out and only contain 3″ plus rocks. On one of the uphills I drop the bike causing the left pannier to pop off. After much sweating and swearing I get bike rubber side down and pointed up the hill again. Given that GPS cannot route through this part of the world I am relying mostly on locals to point me in the right direction. At one point I am advised to go down the road to the right and take the bridge. There is some discussion amongst the locals in Xhosa then again in English that the road will be fine for me on my bike. The road down the valley is a little treacherous with rocks but when I get to the “bridge” I realize why the discussion needed to happen as this bridge isn’t complete. No worries I ride through the river like everyone else appears to be doing and I am on my way.

Aspirational Bridge (it aspires to be a bridge) I crossed the river on the right.

Aspirational Bridge (it aspires to be a bridge) I crossed the river on the right.

As I am approaching Coffee Bay the pannier falls off a few times. I am trying to beat the thunderstorm but eventually cede that the pannier needs to be strapped on and empty the gas can to get the weight off that pannier.

Quickie Fix to Beat the Thunderstorm

Quickie Fix to Beat the Thunderstorm

The storm really starts as I pull into the hostel.

Once there I meet two doctors Josh and Mel from the UK who have been working in Kwa-Zulu-Natal and join them and Cynthia who is also staying at the hostel for dinner at a local pizza shop.

On the ninth Cynthia and I are joined by two Canadians and a guy from Portland who are on a road trip from Cape Town to Kruger Park for a trip to the beach and for lunch. I proceed to get one heck of a Canadian Suntan (burn) at the beach but the water was excellent and very warm.

The tenth is a rainy day but I decide to brave the mud and ride over to hole in the wall. If the weather was better the pictures would be better.

Hole in the Wall in the Rain

Hole in the Wall in the Rain

Near Hole in the Wall

Near Hole in the Wall

Boiling Point

Boiling Point

After I return from hole in the wall I watch some surfers.

Surf School

Surf School

Surfers in Coffee Bay

Surfer in Coffee Bay

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That evening Gian Carlo and Ricardo (cousins from Italy and South Africa) pull in to town from Port St Johns where I had briefly seen them before.

The eleventh brings more rain and I spend the day writhing in agony from my sunburn, I think I am allergic to aloe vera or whatever they put in sunburn creams as I just get an insanity causing itch on my back.

On the twelfth my sunburn has calmed down so I hike to Mtata River with Cynthia, Gian Carlo, and Ricardo. There we see a cave where ANC hid weapons during the apartheid era.

Sani Pass, Lesotho, and Golden Gate National Park

2016-11-28

On Monday I ride from Ballito to Underberg. I ride the backroads to avoid Durban traffic and end up in a very nice town called Wartberg that has a magnificently maintained main street. The air as I ride through the countryside smells sweet, I think it is the sugarcane drying.

Once in Underberg I pull up to a restaurant with an old Honda Africa Twin parked outside. I look for the rider but only see a woman dressed up in café racer gear on the patio, I head inside and get a cold drink as it has been sweltering hot all day. No one inside is wearing motorcycle gear so I head outside and introduce myself to Cindy.

Cindy is from Paris and is riding around South Africa for 6 weeks. Cindy has travelled in Brazil and India with L’èquipèe, a troupe of five female riders from Paris that make movies of their adventures.

Cindy is also going to ride Sani Pass the next day and we agree to meet up the next morning and ride the pass together.

About an hour after I arrive at the hotel the weather moves in starting with hail and progressing to downpour for half an hour all while the sun is shining.

Rain in Underberg

Rain in Underberg

2016-11-29

Cindy and I meet up in the morning and head toward Lesotho up Sani Pass. I have been advised by some fellow riders while at the HUBB meeting I went to earlier in the month that the road can be a little brutal if it is wet. We air down the tires once we get off the paved road for better traction and it is pretty rough so it helps with the bouncing around.

The road is pretty busy with Land Cruiser’s and Defender’s bringing tourists up the pass. Overall it isn’t the worst road I have ridden but the last section of 10%+ gradient tight hairpins on decomposing rock is a little brutal. Thankfully we both make it up without issue.

Sani Pass

Sani Pass

At the peak you go through Lesotho border control, South African Border control is just before the technical section of the ride begins. The pavement starts the moment you cross the border which is a sight for sore eyes. We pay our road fees and head to the highest pub in Africa for a quick drink. At border control we meet a Norwegian couple riding from Cape Town on vacation on R1200GS’s and a pair of backpackers from the Netherlands that have hitchhiked to the top of the pass.

Sani Mountain Lodge

Sani Mountain Lodge

After refreshments we head north on A1 which all I can say is a spectacular road seemingly made just for us as there is almost no traffic on it.

2016-11-29-13-37-54

Litseng Diamond Mine

Litseng Diamond Mine

Afriski

Afriski

Northeast Lesotho

That evening we head in to Clarens, South Africa to go to Golden Gate National Park in the morning.

2016-11-30

After grabbing breakfast in the morning Cindy and I head to Golden Gate National Park. The canyons are pretty impressive and we see Zebras and Wildebeest. After Golden Gate we head back to Lesotho and settle in early in the afternoon in Pitseng.

Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park

Zebras

Zebras

Golden Gate National Park

Golden Gate National Park

When we arrive in Pitseng we go for a horse ride on Besotho Ponies through the village. Cindy is an experienced horse rider and is able to get some nice pictures. I have only been on a horse once 24 years ago so I focus on not dying. The ponies are able to handle some pretty steep terrain as they are bred for the mountains here.

Besotho Pony Riding

Besotho Pony Riding

2016-12-01

Today marks three months on the road. We head south toward Bokong Nature Reserve. Yet again Lesotho is nothing but beautiful roads through the mountains.

Typical Lesotho

Typical Lesotho

Pass Leading to Bokong Nature Reserve

Pass Leading to Bokong Nature Reserve

Waterfall at Bokong Reserve

Waterfall at Bokong Reserve

After Bokong we descend in to the valley that houses Katse Resevoir. Like all of southern Africa they are experiencing a drought here and the reservoir is at 40% of capacity.

Katse Resevoir

Katse Reservoir

Once we reach Katse Dam the road switches to gravel the rest of the way to Thaba-Tseka. After about fifteen kilometres Cindy pulls over. Two of her fender bolts are broken and the vibrations have caused the tire to grab the fender causing damage to both. No stress I take the fender off and we strap it to the back of the bike.

Sans Fender

Sans Fender

As we are leaving Thaba-Tseka we are joined by Jason on a Yamaha XT-660. As the Roof of Africa Enduro races are happening we join him camping that night as all the hotels are booked. One issue Cindy doesn’t have camping gear, so Jason and I share my two-man tent and she uses his one man tent.

Tenting at Romabanta

Tenting at Romabanta

2016-12-02

Cindy and Jason head to Roof of Africa and I head south to Qacha’s Nek. I make it through the borders easily but get held up by the South African border guard at the gate who wants to know all about my travels and adventures.

I ride the rest of the way in to Kokstad, South Africa and shut it down as I didn’t sleep well the previous night.

Lesotho Motorcycle Police

Lesotho Motorcycle Police

St. Lucia and Ballito

2016-11-22 to 2016-11-23

After crossing the border back to South Africa I head south on N2 to St. Lucia which is a resort town on the Indian Ocean. I was hoping to get out on a whale watching tour but the seas are too rough for the boat. So the plan changes and I decide to just relax for a couple of days and try to get out on the ocean later on in the trip.

It's a hard life writing by candlelight with wine on my patio.

It’s a hard life writing by candlelight with wine on my patio.

2016-11-24 to 2016-11-27

I am working my way towards Cape Town roughly along the coast and stop in Ballito just north of Durban for the weekend. Like St. Lucia it is also tourism oriented area with nice restaurants to try along the ocean. The only issue is I can’t find a decent Old Fashioned.

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Boat Wreck

Boat Wreck

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White River and Kruger Park

2016-11-19 to 2016-11-20

I was fortunate enough to be hosted by John and Sue in White River on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday we went on a day long safari through Kruger Park which was amazing. We were fortunate enough to see all of the big five, a cheetah, and fifteen million impala. Which I made sure to point out every time I saw one.

Zebra

Zebra

Warthog

Warthog

Vervet Monkey

Vervet Monkey

Steenbok

Steenbok

Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros

Big Rhino

Big Rhino

Monitor Lizard

Monitor Lizard

Lion

Lion

Leopard

Leopard

Leopard Turtle

Leopard Turtle

Kudu

Kudu

Impala

Impala

Male Hyena

Male Hyena

Hyena Family

Hyena Family

Cheetah

Cheetah

Juvenile Baboon

Juvenile Baboon

Young Baboon

Young Baboon

Hippopotamus

Hippopotamus

Out of the water

Out of the water

Adult Giraffe

Adult Giraffe

Young Giraffes

Young Giraffes

Grazing Elephant

Grazing Elephant

Playing with water

Playing with water

Dung Beetles

Dung Beetles

Crocodile

Crocodile

Last sight of the night

Last sight of the Trip

 

Sabie

2016-11-15 to 2016-11-19

Monday night in Hoedspruit I received a call from Christopher at the Woodsman, he is hosting a party for local orphanages in and around Sabie on Friday. He has asked me if I would like to take part in the event and has offered to host me at his house until then. For me this is a great opportunity to spend time and learn about local life so I happily accept.

On Tuesday, I ride into Sabie via Lydenburg. Shortly after I leave Hoedspruit I have my first encounter with South African police, which I have been warned by locals about a propensity for wanting money. Fortunately I have just pulled out of the gas station so I haven’t even had a chance to do anything illegal. The officer asks me for my drivers license and road tax disc, I provide my license and because South Africa honours other countries road tax I tell him mine is covered by the fact that my license plates are valid until next year and he goes with it. We spend a bit of time chatting about what I am doing and he tells me he wishes to do the same thing, so I tell him to hop on but he doesn’t accept. After handing back my license he asks for lunch money. I say no as corruption is an issue in South Africa and I don’t want to be part of the problem. I also didn’t feel truly at risk as I already had my documents back and he said everything was fine.

After riding to Lydenburg I begin the ascent up Long Tom Pass (in this case a Long Tom refers to an artillery weapon used against the British by the Boers in the Second Boer War not a gravity separation device for gold.) The weather has moved in now and the road quickly enters into the clouds. At first water forms on the visor, no issue, but the temperature is dropping rapidly to point that I am afraid the visor may begin icing due to speed. I make it to the top of the pass and begin descending, which is welcome news as the temperature is increasing.

Once I get into Sabie, Christopher and I have lunch then head to his house where he shows me my room. When the kids get home from school we take them caving at one of the local caves. Nina, Cassidy (the daughter of Oscar, who is a shift manager at the Woodsman), and Joshua are with Christopher in the picture below. While we are caving I try my best to explain cave formation (sorry geology friends, I probably messed this up) to the kids but I don’t think they listened. That evening we have excellent Cypriot barbecue, actually the whole week the food was excellent.

Christopher and I spend the rest of the week preparing for the event by picking up vegetables from local farmers, a large barbecue from Christopher’s parent’s, visiting Nelspruit, and taking the kids to the swimming pool. In the evening we chat about travel and finish a few glasses of beer and scotch along the way.

Friday is the big day. Tabo, Doctor, Norma, Christoper, and I spend the morning delivering the food and barbecues to the fairground. Thankfully the staff at the Woodsman (which also has a catering division) has prepared all the salads and readied the chicken on the rotisseries. Jon and Sue (Canadians from two posts ago) have brought in the inflatable slip and slides and bounce house from White River. Once there we are joined by a few other volunteers to cook the food and entertain the kids. William has brought his Jeep Wrangler for the kids to ride in, I end up as line monitor for the Jeep. The Jeep is easily the biggest attraction, and I am kept busy breaking up squabbles, and keeping something resembling order to the lineup. The local equestrian club has also brought four horses for the kids to ride on. As the kids are eating I start rinsing dishes but am soon chased off by the ladies at the dish pit to get lunch for myself. All in approximately 175 kids from the local communities showed up and had a great time at the event. Chris and I clean up and head back to the house.

Chistopher, Jolene, Nina, Joshua, Dushi (Jolene’s mom), and Gran have entirely incorporated me into their family and when I go on Saturday to leave I feel like crying as I will miss being part of their family and have greatly appreciated every moment spent with them.

This week has been interesting because it brings up the point that I don’t know how I will be able to go back to my regular life and “forget this place” when I go home but I guess that is the point of this journey.

Exploring Caves

Exploring Caves

Christopher and I

Christopher and I

Party in Sabie

Party in Sabie

 

Hoedspruit

2016-11-13

Alex and I head out early in the morning to ride around the lodge and see the animals. After our ride we feed the rhinos and buffalos as the area has had a severe drought and not enough grazing land is available.

Giraffe

Giraffe

Hungry, hungry hippos

Hungry, hungry hippos

Bikes on Safari

Bikes on Safari

Mother Rhino and Calf

Mother Rhino and Calf

Buffalo Chasing Me

Buffalo Chasing Me

Alex, the reason we are being chased

Alex, and the reason we are being chased

Even when they are calm they look annoyed

Even when they are calm they look annoyed

After a morning with the animals I head out to do some riding around Hoedspruit.

I head towards Mariepskop mountain on my bike. Shortly after the first turn off on to gravel  I come across a broken down Land Cruiser. The driver flags me down and asks for a ride to the gas station near the edge of town. I bring him back and while there run into two families heading up the mountain on quads and dirt bikes. The children insist I ride with them so I head back towards Mariepskop with them. To say the least the kids are a little haywire. They are constantly revving their two-stroke motors which is quite annoying as I am trying to have a conversation with their dad.  Within a kilometre the first bike needs the spark plug replaced which is pilfered from the slowest bike, so at least as a group we speed up. We carry on up the hill stopping to wait for the quad and truck to catch up. At one point I wish I was a kid without any fear of breaking my vehicle or myself but to make it through Africa (and because I am a wuss) I will play it safe and take it easy heading up the mountain. We reach a small area of lodge houses and start up the braai (bbq), there is no point carrying on up the mountain as the top is clouded in. While we wait for the braaiwors (sausage) to cook we head to an abandoned military post and check it out. It is three abandoned buildings that are quite eerie looking in the mist. After our braai we head down the hill this results in the quad being flipped over backwards and one of the dirt bikes engines seizing. Proving slow and steady wins the race I make it to the bottom first and without injury.

Dirt Biking

Dirt Biking, this kid was actually a pretty good rider and handled the jumps in the sand pit well.

2016-11-14

Alex and I go out with two other rangers trying to track down two of the buffalo that are in the back forty. This turns into a three hour forced march through the bush. Being on the motorcycle most days has not improved my physical conditioning (not that it was good to start with) and I am pretty tired by the end. We stop for a break to rehydrate and Alex and I opt to stay at camp instead of continuing on tracking the buffalo. I really don’t understand how an animal that big can move through brush like that. Because we never found any buffalos I am attaching pictures of termites nests. I didn’t do anything else exciting that day as I am coming down with a cold.

Termite Nest

Termite Nest

Baboons opened up this termite nest

Baboons opened up this termite nest

 

Panorama Route

2016-11-11

I finish riding to Sabie in the morning and head in to the Woodsman, which comes highly recommended from other motorcyclists I have met for coffee or a beer. I park next to some other motorcycles where I am met by Chris the owner of the restaurant. Once he finds out I am from BC he tells me about a trip he took there with Canadian friends of his. He buys me a coffee and sets me up with a table. The next thing I know I am making plans to meet Sue and John (Canadians) for lunch the next day.

After lunch I check into my tent hotel and drop my bags then head out to the local waterfalls.

Bridal Veil Falls (I wonder how many times waterfalls are called Bridal Veil)

Bridal Veil Falls (I wonder how many times waterfalls are called Bridal Veil)

Lone Creek Falls

Lone Creek Falls

Horseshoe Falls

Horseshoe Falls

Sabie Falls

Sabie Falls

Sabie River

Sabie River

That evening I enjoy a Wildebeest steak and local craft beer for dinner.

Wildebeest Steak and Sabie Beer

Wildebeest Steak and Sabie Beer

2016-11-12

Sue sounds the “call of the north” as she enters the bar, so I figure out who I am meeting pretty quickly. They moved here fourteen years ago when John was working with the UNDP to improve efficiency at a local sawmill. We talk about all the hot Canadian news topics like Vancouver housing prices and Justin Trudeau. John provides a great understanding of the local forestry industry. Here they grow pine trees in a quarter the time it would take in Canada, but much of the industry is ruled by old thinking causing production to suffer.

After lunch I ride to God’s Window, where they claim you can see the Indian Ocean from across Mozambique. I am not sure if I see the ocean but the view is impressive none the less.

God's Window

God’s Window

The Indian Ocean is somewhere over there

The Indian Ocean is somewhere over there

On my way to Bourke’s Luck Potholes I spot a motorcyclist on a KTM 1190 parked on the side of the road with a truck stopped to render assistance. I loop back to make sure they don’t need assistance as I am carrying a wide array of tools and may be able to help. Once there I meet Anna from the Ukraine who has been traveling the world for three years already and have a quick chat. Turn’s out her bike just toppled over when she stopped to take a picture but the bike is already upright so I head out.

Anna and her KTM

Anna and her KTM

http://ihaveadreamtravel.com/en/

Bourke’s Luck Potholes is the confluence of two streams where waterfalls have carved impressive pothole structures in the canyon. Bourke was lucky because he found gold in the holes.

Bourke's Luck Potholes

Bourke’s Luck Potholes

I ride to a lodge in Hoedspruit where Alex, who I met at the Horizons Unlimited event the other week, works as a guide. Don’t worry the next post has impressive wildlife pictures coming.

Johannesburg and Horizons Unlimited South Africa

2016-11-01

My flight lands around 11 a.m. local time after de-boarding I find my way through customs and get a cab to my guesthouse.

There I meet Deon and Merida my hosts. After unpacking Deon drops me off at the agents building to clear my bike through customs.

The agents proceed to run around and get paperwork signed off. They tell me the bike needs to be inspected and there is no time to do this today so I head back and have a nap as I haven’t properly slept yet.

2016-11-02

Back at the agents I am told everything is ready. I inspect the paperwork and realize my Carnet de Passage has been filled out incorrectly. I ask the agent to go back to customs to fix it. She comes back fifteen minutes later and claims it is correct.

I then go to pick up the bike from the cargo terminal. I am told I am missing paperwork, which I am, but after insistence they release the bike anyways.

At this point I am certain the paperwork has been done incorrectly and return to the agent and demand to speak to customs myself. Reluctantly they take me down and get the customs officer. I explain my dilemna to the customs officer who asks for a form which I don’t have. She then apologizes and says no stress, turns to the agent and reams her a new one for not handing in the right paperwork. The paperwork takes fifteen minutes to complete and after visiting the customs officer again the paperwork is now correct.

Now that I have my bike I run some errands and pick up some supplies like chain lube and engine oil that I wasn’t allowed to ship with the bike.

2016-11-03 to 2016-11-06

I ride to Potchefstroom for the Horizons Unlimited South Africa Meetup at Elgro River Lodge. Horizons Unlimited is a website dedicated to overland travel with forums that are pretty essential to anyone doing a trip like this. I arrive early in the afternoon and check-in to the lodge and begin meeting the other attendees. The founders of Horizon Unlimited, Grant and Susan Johnston, are from Abbotsford, 45 minutes away from where I live and have also travelled to the meeting this year. I think the three of us win the prize for longest distance attendees. Kobus Fourie and his daughter Claudine Kidson are the local hosts and put on an excellent and very well organized event. In the mornings we have the chance to go on game drives in the morning where we see zebras, giraffes, antelope, and ostriches. Sorry for the lack of photos, I forgot how to change the focus from area to point on my camera so I have a bunch of in focus trees and out of focus animals in the back ground from the first day, and it poured rain the second day.

Ostriches, sorry they are overexposed.

Ostriches, sorry they are overexposed.

You can't see the Sable on the other side of the road but they are staring each other down.

You can’t see the Sable on the other side of the road but they are staring each other down.

For me the highlight of the weekend is meeting all the other travellers. Many have travelled all around the world, some are just starting like myself but all are great to speak to and have excellent stories and advice, or provide assurance that we all start out not knowing what we are doing and not to worry about it for me while travelling South Africa and Africa in general.

On the first night I eat with Richard and Steph from Australia who are riding two up from South Africa to Richard’s homeland in the Netherlands where they are moving to. I am not sure if a Triumph Tiger is a great moving van but what an awesome way to move from one continent to another. Richard and Steph will be about a month and a half ahead of me for most of the trip and will make an excellent source of up to date information on border crossings and security.

Richard and Steph

The Aussie's and my bike

The Aussie’s and my bike

Two travellers Philip from France and Juan from Spain have recently completed trips through multiple countries in Southern Africa and are an excellent source of current information which is sometimes hard to come by even in the age of the internet. I am fortunate to eat a couple of meals with them and glean as much information as possible from them.

2016-11-07 to 2016-11-10

I take the opportunity while I am back in Johannesburg to have a service done on the bike and get some camping gear on the advice of Juan and Philip. On the 9th we have a very severe thunderstorm which washes away cars. Even I get caught in the storm and have to ride through water above my knees to get where I am staying. Unfortunately the flash flooding results in six deaths as peoples cars were washed away.

On the 10th I am trying to get out of town and begin touring. I am finally able to sort out a local SIM card so I can have access to the internet as hotels here have limited / non-functioning internet. I then realize my headlight is burned out again so I head back to the motorcycle shop and replace it.

I stop by Touratech to get my panniers hammered back in to shape as they leaked the night before during submersion

At 3:00 pm I finally get on the road which is way too late given the thunderstorms come in the afternoon here.

Hoping to make it to Sabie for the evening I come up short and end up staying at a hotel 50km west of Nelspruit as the rain is quite heavy and construction on the road is causing massive delays.

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