South Africa to Kenya and back in 3-9 Months

TechnomadicJim

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Hi, Just registered here after reading advice on ADVRider.com that this was the place to be for South African (and African in general) riding advice / information.

My Background :
I work online and run a business while I travel. I'm pretty well travelled from backpacking around Asia + South America etc... for over 2 years. I have always hired bikes locally in different areas (India, Thailand, Vietnam, Peru and more...) to explore but wanted to do a pure bike trip. Never been anywhere in Africa.

My Plan :
I fly from the UK (I am British) to Cape Town on Tuesday (24th September). I'm going to buy a bike in Cape Town and explore / adventure / camp my way up to Kenya and back again probably in some sort of loop. I have a return flight for Christmas booked but will more than likely change this to extend my trip to be 6-9 months depending on how I get on. When I'm done I will sell the bike in South Africa and fly back to the UK.

I do have a few questions that I hoped some people here could advise on :

I'm bringing my own camping gear and Helmet + Gloves. I WAS going to bring my leather jacket and trousers (pants) as my safety gear but I'm not so sure now. Bearing in mind the time of year and where I'm going (up to Kenya and back) would Leathers be uncomfortable and too hot ? Would I be better buying cooler textiles when I arrive ?

My budget is about 30,000-45,000 ZAR for the bike. I WAS originally going to buy a Honda XR400 travel light and use my Kriega soft luggage. Now I'm more leaning towards a Honda Transalp with some hard luggage. I imagine I am going to be doing 5 figures worth of km's (mainly tarmac) and a Transalp would be more comfortable and I can carry more gear. The hard panniers would be good security when Im camping too as I have to carry my laptop/electronics with me so I can work occasionally and keep my business running (hence the name TechnomadicJim). Soft luggage wouldn't offer me much security.  What do you reckon ?

I've researched and read its fine for a Brit to own a South African vehicle and they can be driven up as far as Kenya without a Carnet. Is this still correct ?

I have an International Driving Permit (IDP) and my UK license. I plan on getting my insurance in SA which will cover me up to Kenya and back. Any recommendations ?

I'm sure I will have more questions as I think of them and will use this thread to gleen what I can from you (knowledgable) people. :) Thanks in advance!

Jim
 

Fuzzy Muzzy

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Welcome to the forum, I have sent you a PM, top right hand corner you will see you have a message, click on that and it will open

:thumleft:
 

evansv

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It's much easier to go between countries with a Carnet, as there's less sh1t at the border crossings, particularly wrt electronic equipment.

I'm currently working in Tanzania & have worked in most countries in Southern/East Africa. You can't travel at great speed on the roads due to various factors, (cops, animals, etc) and as such I'd go for a smaller bike. You can get spares for the smaller Honda's though out the subcontinent as well. There's no reason why hard luggage can't be fitted to smaller bikes. It's what ever you're most comfortable with!

My 2 pence worth.  
 

Fuzzy Muzzy

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I agree.. carnet books are easy enough to get in SA at the AA, it makes moving between border posts easier. Well worth getting.
 

TechnomadicJim

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Fuzzy Muzzy said:
Welcome to the forum, I have sent you a PM, top right hand corner you will see you have a message, click on that and it will open

Thanks! Im working my way through it in stages.

evansv said:
It's much easier to go between countries with a Carnet, as there's less sh1t at the border crossings, particularly wrt electronic equipment.

I'm currently working in Tanzania & have worked in most countries in Southern/East Africa. You can't travel at great speed on the roads due to various factors, (cops, animals, etc) and as such I'd go for a smaller bike. You can get spares for the smaller Honda's though out the subcontinent as well. There's no reason why hard luggage can't be fitted to smaller bikes. It's what ever you're most comfortable with!

My 2 pence worth.  

Interesting. I didn't realise I would have an issue with my electronics. So a carnet will cover the bike and my laptop + camera's etc... ? I didn't know that. Will probably get one then if it will make things easier.

I do like the idea of a smaller bike. I could probably get away with just a normal top box for security and my US 20 + US 30 Kriega soft luggage. What smaller Honda models would be easier for parts / repair ? I know the basics of bike maintenance but I'm no mechanic. As I'm travelling solo the ability to have the bike worked on by someone else if need be is a good feature.  I also don't necessarily need the big bike as I travel pretty light anyways.

---

If anyone can advise me about my question of bringing leathers vs buying textiles that is weighing on my mind at the moment with my flight fast approaching (next tuesday).
 

TechnomadicJim

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Malibu said:
Textiles... The only way...

leathers are too hot for off-road riding here...

Thanks for the reply. I'm going to leave my leathers at home and buy some textiles when I arrive.

Regarding the bike choice I'm now leaning more towards a Honda XR250 Tornado with a top box. The XR250 seems very fuel economical and easy to get parts for and repair etc... I reckon I will be able to get all my gear on it if I travel light (my tent only ways 0.8kg's). It should be easier to ride off-road. It's also relatively cheap and reliable. Its funny as this was my original choice of bike.
 

Malibu

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I would suggest getting a soft-luggage pannier frame with bags... Weight being lower is healthier for the bike, and you can then strap a soft bag on top if needed...
A top box generally comes bouncing past us on occasion on African roads...
There are guys in all cities here that can help you with gear and equipment...
 

TechnomadicJim

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Malibu said:
Where are you flying into... Cape Town or Jo'burg?

Cape Town.

Malibu said:
I would suggest getting a soft-luggage pannier frame with bags... Weight being lower is healthier for the bike, and you can then strap a soft bag on top if needed...
A top box generally comes bouncing past us on occasion on African roads...
There are guys in all cities here that can help you with gear and equipment...

I'm planning on bringing my Kriega US20 + US30 (waterproof) soft luggage and straps. Hopefully I can pick up a pannier frame to attach them low like you suggest. I mention a top box as I plan to camp and need a secure lockable box of some kind to keep my laptop/camera's in. Nothing I have is particularly valuable (sub £150) but I would rather it wasn't just laying around inside my tent.
 

Malibu

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Couple of guys you can hook-up with in Cape Town... PistonPete, Zebra, AndyXT - all great guys for you to contact, they can direct you to the best places to obtain gear, if they don't have themselves...
Join the Friday Drinks evenings there too... Have a look at the social threads...
There are so many routes and ideas and options for you to follow... Chat with the boys! :thumleft:
 

TechnomadicJim

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Malibu said:
Couple of guys you can hook-up with in Cape Town... PistonPete, Zebra, AndyXT - all great guys for you to contact, they can direct you to the best places to obtain gear, if they don't have themselves...
Join the Friday Drinks evenings there too... Have a look at the social threads...
There are so many routes and ideas and options for you to follow... Chat with the boys! :thumleft:

Wow. Thanks for the tip! I will get in contact when I arrive and have a chat and a beer. Awesome :thumleft:
 

Malibu

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It's a LONG weekend now, many guys will only be back on-line on Wednesday... Many are at the Wilddog National Bash, probably why things are so quiet on-line...
You'll feel the written assault next week on your thread... Probably... ;D
 

TechnomadicJim

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Malibu said:
It's a LONG weekend now, many guys will only be back on-line on Wednesday... Many are at the Wilddog National Bash, probably why things are so quiet on-line...
You'll feel the written assault next week on your thread... Probably... ;D

haha cool :) I noticed there was something big on this weekend. Shame I didn't arrive a few weeks earlier!
 

Malibu

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There is always something happening, but this is the annual bash... ::) on the wild east coast... Where the wild doggies get really wild... And ride exceptional dirt roads and tracks...

Wait for the stories over the next week or so... :)

Just remember, ride reports are required here, so you can't arrive, and then depart with no story... (Just saying) :)

:peepwall:
 

Malibu

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If you need some entertainment, go read the ride reports currently being written under ride reports...
The ones by Fuzzy Muzzy, GSLaaitie, DASKOP and MaxThePanda
Also, anything in the Roll Of Honour reports...
 

TechnomadicJim

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Malibu said:
There is always something happening, but this is the annual bash... ::) on the wild east coast... Where the wild doggies get really wild... And ride exceptional dirt roads and tracks...

Wait for the stories over the next week or so... :)

I look forward to it :)

Malibu said:
Just remember, ride reports are required here, so you can't arrive, and then depart with no story... (Just saying) :)

:peepwall:

Of course. Goes without saying :) I'm a keen photographer and I always film my trips. I have a GoPro and some interesting non-standard mounts.

Here's a short 7 minute video I made of a trip from the UK to the Black Forest (Germany) I made earlier this year with some friends : https://vimeo.com/68397413
 

TechnomadicJim

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Malibu said:
If you need some entertainment, go read the ride reports currently being written under ride reports...
The ones by Fuzzy Muzzy, GSLaaitie, DASKOP and MaxThePanda
Also, anything in the Roll Of Honour reports...

Excellent. Off for a read :)

Malibu said:
Don't have enough signal to watch it now... Will certainly check it out when I can!

Oh, and by the way... Welcome to the Wilddogs! :)

Cool. Thanks mate!
 

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Textiles are better. Try get the ones with a zip on the back that allows ventilation. Wet your T-shirt and as it dries it acts as a natural air conditioner. Lasts about an hour.
 
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