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Discussion Starter #1
We are doing some trip planning for an Africa Trip and perhaps a ride the year after next.

We have spoken to some experienced African Travellors through the IBA and have decided that an organized tour is the way to go

After speaking to our pals all expereinced off pavement riders a few things have become clear

1. Travel with an experienced Tour company is critical for your health and safety

2. You would never want to ride your own motorcycle in Africa unless you were a round the world rider

3 It takes a lot longer than 3-4 months to get ready for a trip of that magnitude

4. The lighter the bike the better

5. Guides with African Experience and a built in and established support network are as they say Mission Critical


It was interesting in looked at the John Valk tour price versus that of two internationally known high end tour companies

Edelweiss

http://www.edelweissbike.com/tours/E/CONTINENTS/Africa/South-Africa/price

6,785.00 USD = 7,660.21 CAD Single accomodation or 6500 cdn if you are sharing

Ayres Adventures

http://www.ronayres.com/adventures/af_southerncross.htm

about the same price

These tours do not include airfare

I did a quick expedia search for the Ayres trip

$1,813.88

3:10 pm Depart Vancouver (YVR)
Arrive Cape Town (CPT) 6:00 am +2 days Sun 4-Mar
Duration: 28hr 50mn Lufthansa 493 / 2954
Connect in Frankfurt (Frankfurt Intl.)

7:10 pm Depart Johannesburg (JNB)
Arrive Vancouver (YVR) 2:20 pm +1 day Sun 25-Mar
Duration: 29hr 10mn Lufthansa 2941 / 492
Connect in Frankfurt (Frankfurt Intl.)

We then looked at the JV Tour costs

Lions in Winter Tour (A) $9230.00 per Person, Double Occupancy

About the same price but we lose the use of our motorcycles for at least 5 months while they are at sea. On the tours if your bike breaks they fix it of get you a replacement.

Of course taking your own bike has the extra cost i.e. service costs on the bikes etc before and after the trip fresh rubber etc.

I know some of you may be going to Africa this year with John Valk here are some tips

You are short of time for some of the vacinations if you are planning to go

http://www.cdc.gov/travel/safrica.htm#vaccines

Other things you should take

1. Satellite Phone - there is no substitution for this key peiece of gear. When my wife was on the Baja Trip with JV she was the only one who had any method of communication while on the road

2. MedJet Insurance for Motorcyclists - Do not even consider out of countr travel without this benefit. If you really believe taht a clark at an 800 number call centre for travellers insurance is going to get you out of Africa to NA care ASAP you are sadly mistaken

http://www.medjetassistance.com/plans/motorcycle.asp?partner=default

I would guess that most of the riders in last years Iron Butt Rally had Medjet coverage, I did.

Happy trails
 

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I'd love to ride on multiple continents someday. Maybe my own version of Long Way 'Round or something.

Have you been buying the latest motorcyle magazine 'Motorcycle Escape'?
It's all about touring and adventure touring, with reviews on routes, tours, apparel, luggage, tips for packing light etc. It's now available for subscription as well.

By the way the missing city code in your itinerary for Frankfurt is 'FRA'.
 

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FYI:
You can use GSM compatible cell phones in South Africa and all highways will have coverage.
So unless you dirt bike riding in some deep bush you don't need a satellite phone and I would pack a pistol insead :)

What route are you planning to ride?
Cape Town - Jo'burg - Durban ?

P.S. ....kidding about the pistol
 

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South African roads are built to North American standards (mostly better). Safety is an issue (carjackings in the big cities)..I haven't heard about bike-jackings, but anything's possible. Once you cross into Zim, though, roads deteriorate rapidly. Infrastructure is shaky, and getting parts for motorcycles in any African country (other than SA) will be a challenge to say the least. I once spent an entire day in Mozambique looking for a new tire for my boat trailer, and it was a standard size tire.

Africa is a very different world from the one you're used to. It is populated with millions of people who have nothing (and therefore nothing to lose). A motorcycle tour across Africa would not be for the faint of heart. But it would be an adventure!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Rider One Down In Africa JV Trip

Only 9K+ for the JV tour? Where do I sign up?
I was just talking to my neighbour, his buddy is on the JV Africa trip. A rider has crashed, broken hip and is apparently having a hip replacement done in Africa. Next time buy Medjet - thought parts of South Africa are quite advanced medically -i.e heart transplants are no simple task. Apparently the rider was not very experienced or so I was told.

My neighbour was bright enough to rent a bike while in Africa so at least he will not be without a ride for a while when he gets home.

Hopefully the rest of the riders get home safe. It always amazes me that on these tours there is usually a crash or more with riders getting hurt and often bikes totalled yet the total miles ridden are not that many say 3,000 miles times 20 riders for a total of 60,000 rider/miles in 2 weeks

In the Iron Butt Rally we see 1,000,000 plus miles in 11 days. In 2005 one rider hit a deer and was ok, but bike was written off. In 2003 a rider hit a deer and spent some time in the hospital. Did I mention how much I hate deer

One has to wonder if it is just a far too inexperienced group on average doing these types of trips, if the riders are not used to long days, is it the time change, the prior evening(s) alcohol consumption or simply excessive speed and inattentiveness on the part of some riders.

Let's hope the rest get home safe
 

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Posing with conviction
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Based on what you are saying Bill, sounds like renting or buying a KLR or something of that sort in say South Africa would be prudent. Or is Africa like Asia where you can pick up a POS 70's or 80's style bike for a pittance?

Great info as usual Bill. Made bookmarks already for Medjet and the vaccines pages. I'm pretty sure I will upgrade my medical insurance for traveling in the US. Medjet is too good to pass up.
 

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Fast Pack Slow Guy
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I think that any organized ride where you get a group of guys together who don't know each other runs a greater risk of crashing simply because of the testosterone factor.

Most every ride I've attended last year where riders had just met ended in at least one crash. I'm not exaggerating. Almost every single ride.

I'd imagine that Iron Butt rallies are less prone to crashes because the riders aren't riding in large groups of unfamiliar people and most Iron Butt guys know that long distance riding is all about slow and steady.

Back on topic, I'd actually love to retire one day and start my own West Coast motorcycle tour company. Organizing and going on big rides for fun and profit seems like a dream job.

How much does a fleet of BMWs and KTMs cost these days?
 

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check dualsportbc or the dualsport section of bikeland... several vancouver members just made that trip... the stories are pretty wild..

#1 rule ... DO NOT RIDE A KTM.
 

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Bohica
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I was just talking to my neighbour, his buddy is on the JV Africa trip. A rider has crashed, broken hip and is apparently having a hip replacement done in Africa. Next time buy Medjet - thought parts of South Africa are quite advanced medically -i.e heart transplants are no simple task. Apparently the rider was not very experienced or so I was told.

My neighbour was bright enough to rent a bike while in Africa so at least he will not be without a ride for a while when he gets home.

Hopefully the rest of the riders get home safe. It always amazes me that on these tours there is usually a crash or more with riders getting hurt and often bikes totalled yet the total miles ridden are not that many say 3,000 miles times 20 riders for a total of 60,000 rider/miles in 2 weeks

In the Iron Butt Rally we see 1,000,000 plus miles in 11 days. In 2005 one rider hit a deer and was ok, but bike was written off. In 2003 a rider hit a deer and spent some time in the hospital. Did I mention how much I hate deer

One has to wonder if it is just a far too inexperienced group on average doing these types of trips, if the riders are not used to long days, is it the time change, the prior evening(s) alcohol consumption or simply excessive speed and inattentiveness on the part of some riders.

Let's hope the rest get home safe
I know the rider that crashed in South Africa. He was an extremely experienced rider with over a couple decades of experience. I dont know the cause of the accident. His injuries were very serious but not life threatening and he's spending a lot of time in hospital. He had a broken pelvis and clavicle ...

It's a great thing he had the medical coverage.

BTW, if you ride outside of South Africa beware of unmarked potholes that would swallow an SUV.
 

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A friend of mine actually runs tours (on road, off-road, bikes & 4x4's) to South Africa. I will get some info & post it up for those interested. The last trip he did was over the December/January timeframe. This time round they sent their bikes by container from Vancouver but I believe on a previous trip (or trips) they rented in SA.

As a former SA resident and recent visitor: just to echo some of the comments in previous posts:

1. Roads in SA range from awesome (very often, and I would almost go so far as to say generally, significantly better than what we are used to in southern BC) for main centres and main routes, to poor (in some rural areas) to pretty bad/scary (in out of the way areas). As an example: the five passes route I used to ride regularly near Cape Town is a sportbiker's dream. Some of the best twistys you can imagine on well-nigh perfect road surface through some beautiful scenery. All this in a five hour loop (six if you include breakfast) from Cape Town. Nothing around here comes close to this route. Think a continuous Cascades highway around Diablo right on your doorstep.
2. Infrastructure (medical, banking, motorcycle parts & service) follow a similar pattern. The best is typically similar to or even better than what we are used to here. Don't ask about the worst.... If you have insurance (or lots of money) you will typically be fine.
3. Once you go north of SA things tend to deteriorate pretty rapidly. Namibia also sounds like a good option for dual sport/off-roaders: some of the most incredible terrain in the world.
4. Not that anyone on this forum would be interested, but the number and quality of wine farms with their own cellars and restaurants in the Cape Town area has to be seen to be believed. Think Okanagan times 100 in about the same size area. And the wine is very, very inexpensive. Not that anyone here cares of course...
5. Crime has been mentioned. Don't take that warning lightly: the level of violent crime is unfortunately beyond the comprehension of a BC resident. Sticking to accepted tourist areas helps avoid this, but is not an ironclad guarantee.
6. If you think drivers here are bad.... Last time I looked road deaths per capita were like more than 5 times higher than here.
7. Medical insurance (anywhere outside our borders, not just in Africa) is a necessity of Darwinian obviousness: anyone stupid enough to travel without it deserves to depart the gene pool.
8. Timing: I think spring & fall are the best times (temperatures are moderate, winds are not too bad, not really rainy).

Like most things in life: there are some risks/downsides, but some pretty tremendous benefits as well.
 

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Just Another Enthusiast
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My brother and friend just rented bikes when they got to Africa. Simple, and a lot cheaper, although they use older standards that are duct taped together and when the bike broke down it took a couple hours to get a replacement.

Still, all things considered they had a fantastic 4 months, took plenty of pictures, and did not regret a thing. :)
 

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On a recent tour in Italy with Edelweiss, the rider skill level was very low generally in the group. The tour was listed for experienced riders only yet the riding errors we witnessed were shocking. I am still amazed and thankful that no one crashed in our group. I was asked to lead the group one day due to unforseen circumstances. The group of 16 was split into two groups and set out.
Within 20 minutes the "leader" of the other group was so freaked that he made me lead all 16 bikes. I was praying that no one binned it.

canuck
 

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my brother and sister in law are doing a 2 year trip now and they are doing south america (about half done now). Their website is kellarwt,com. They belong to a group that have done african trips, on their own or in pairs, you could contact them via their website, they could put you in touch with many people who are experienced at these trips and who have don it. It takes about a year to plan a year long trip. GPS is very important and modifying the bike or bikes is a trip saver. They are riding KLR650's, and lots of spare parts. It is more doable and safer than you might think. But contacting people who have done the trip is important.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
my brother and sister in law are doing a 2 year trip now and they are doing south america (about half done now). Their website is kellarwt,com.
Ah I have heard about them. Dick Fish - a true Canadian motorcycle legend set up their bikes. Dick is a friend of Michael's and mine.
 
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