2023 Big Red Pigs in Kenya - Season 8! Rise of the Octopig!

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Pack Dog
Nov 8, 2012
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Nairobi, Kenya
Honda XR650R
Welcome to XR650R heaven Pig Fans, and say hello to 2023!

We're back with our eighth consecutive year of Honda XR650R domination in Kenya! Put on new tyres and change your oil, cause we're ready to roll! It’s 2023 and as in previous years, I’ll collect my exaggerated blathering about rides here.


We've already been on our first of what I hope shall be many rides this year, down to the Rift Valley and beyond. I’ve kept track of all the previous seven years, which, for ease of reference for my lazy ass and yours, are linked here:

2016 – Pig Arrival… First impressions and tweaks, Rift Valley exploration, Magadi, Loita hills, Amboseli… figuring out which tyre lasts (answer, none of them), White Caps and kuku choma

2017 – Pig Initiation – New converts to the way of the Pig, more Rift Valley, breaking things, getting faster, new tracks, Shompole and Nguruman, Aberdares, Chyulu Hills & Kilimanjaro, Epic trip to the far north White Caps and kuku choma

2018 – Pig Maturation – A changing Rift Valley, New tracks and new Pig riders, a sunken XRR, wildlife, a Tanzania reunion with the Dar Bikers, North to Ol Olokwe, 5 XRRs to the north for Xmas, White Caps and kuku choma

2019 – Ultimate Pig Fest – Most active year ever, tons of valley, getting properly quick now, lots of solo riding, epic ride to Ethiopian border, epic ride to Suguta Valley, epic ride to the Mountain of God in Tanzania and much more including White Caps and kuku choma

2020 – Hellfire Corona Pig – Discovering Little Lake Magadi, four BRPs escape to Eburru Forest, epic ride to both sides of L Turkana and a return to Suguta Valley, many small ones to round out the year… White Caps and kuku choma!

2021 - Pig Resistance - Suswa galore including new routes, Little L Magadi, Lobomoto to Natron, assembling and breaking in my new XRR, epic ride to the North and Lake Logipi at last, some Spanish Vespa action, more epic riding to Mathews Range, Tugan Hills and Baringo, and finishing up the year by breaking my friend Kolobus' leg... shame!... and riding with Dakar Legend Joey "Juju" Evans... and White Caps and Kuku Choma!


2022 – The Reoinkening – Amboseli early on, some rides in the valley, first camp at clandestine Suswa overlook, farewell to Holesaw, ambitious and beautiful rides in the Loita Hills and finishing up the year with a wicked return to Northern Tanzania. Looking back, not half bad though it seemed at the time like we were never on the bike!

Now without further ado, let’s kickstart 2023!

To be continued...


Pack Dog
Nov 8, 2012
Reaction score
Nairobi, Kenya
Honda XR650R
We kicked off the year with a quick rip down to the Rift Valley for a very special event. Our man Neb was getting hitched, and for some reason he and his lovely lady invited Panic and me! I’m sure it was a mistake, but we never look a gift pig in the snout, so we RSVP’d immediately and etched it into our calendars with a chisel.

The plan would be to send our fancy dress clothes down with some inferior mortal in a 4 wheeled cage while we shred tyre rubber all over the valley’s roughest regolith. We’d camp on the Ewaso Nyiro the night before the wedding and aim to be the first at the posh venue in the morning… results of the previous evenings exuberances permitting.

So, full of piss and vinegar, we took off. Blazing down the well-known track. Bikes felt 100%. My body… not so much. Maybe over did Christmas a bit? I dunno, but in no time I saw my ass in most undignified fashion. Guess 2023 won’t be all drifts, roosts and wheelies!


Above: Welcome to 2023! On my ass in the dust already.

It was just a wee tumble. No harm done. Just rattled the bones a bit. From there we blitzed along, turned down toward Little Magadi and in no time, Panic joined me in the first-of-the-year awards. His trophy will be for the first puncture of 2023! Hongera Panic!


Above: On the track to Little Magadi, panic finds a thorn… or a thorn finally made its way past the Oko


Above: Nice little shady spot to do it though… and there was a half decent breeze

A bit further on and we turn down the wide riverbed before descending into rolling stone chaos. It felt hotter and harder than I remember it, and by the time the lake was within view I was knackered. Still that area just blows me away with its beauty. You never see hide nor hair of humans either, just a few impala now and then and a giraffe or two.


Above: Panic on the hard-packed sand riverbed


Above: A riverbed waterhole dug deep into the sand made us pull out to go around


Above: And cross back over and out the other side


Above: Further down, it’s all hot sunshine, blue skies and stone fields on hardpacked earth


Above: Oh, and a few wait-a-bit branches hanging low to catch unwary bikers out. That one got me right on the schnoot.


Above: In the shade of the trees overlooking Little Magadi. I could have stayed there for the rest of the day, but beers were calling as was the muddy little Ewaso Nyiro River


Above: A few zebras along the lake. Nice to still see a handful of animals around. It has been very dry this year


Above: An hour later we were in Nguruman at the Stop Over for beers. Not just beers, but cold beers! Properly icy ones. What a treat!

With a sixpack of White Caps in our bags, we made our way down the rocky hill to the dusty edge of the muddy river. We put up the tents with a small crowd of kids and a rather forward lady who had to be told with lewd gestures that I was about to get nekkid before she turned her back.

Above: The campsite in the evening light


Above: A damn good pic of my mate Panic if I do say so. 8 years of this so far fella, let’s shoot for 10 at least!


Above: Downstream a pasty crocodile stalks his pray… an innocent White Cap is soon decapitated

Spirits were high. There’s something about the year’s first ride that brings out the hooligan. We had music playing, the weather was great, not long after dark the full moon rose up and confused birds sang all night long. All our beers and half a litre of Black Label disappeared and we hit the tents at 1AM and slept right through the night. In the morning, the red hot eye of the demon rose above the riverbank and shone on our carcasses, getting us moving


Above: An improvised speaker-holder, air guitar at dusk, hangover and instant coffee at dawn. A great night.

We packed up with dizzy heads, but with special motivation. In an hour we’d be swimming in a pool with a cold beer in our hands (ok, we’d wait a bit closer to noon for the beer) at a luxurious lodge overlooking the valley. First though we had to ride back to Nguruman to give the mama back her bottles, grab a bite to eat and put a bit of go-juice in the old red tanks. Scoffing three hardboiled eggs, some rather awful tea and several slices of white bread with BlueBand did the trick. Bring on the luxury!


Above: And luxurious it was. No need to belabour the point, but we are some lucky buggars. Spend a whole day riding some of Kenya’s best and most challenging stuff in order to camp out and howl at a full moon on a croc-free river only to subsequently hit a fancy lodge’s pool and attend a friend’s wedding the day after? I mean, yeah!


Above: A happy couple in the middle. Not to be outdone, Panic and I got a couple of couples shots at the venue as well then the whole group went down to the plains for a dusk ceremony that was really nice. Neb, congrats, you’re punching well above your weight with your lady there! Thanks for inviting two middle-aged bikers to your celebration (sans families!).

Hey, now that you’re hitched, will you come riding with us?

It’s an auspicious start to 2023. Let’s hope our luck holds out!