A Tour of Southern Africa

The last adventure was a KLR tour of Southern Africa by Jerry, Ted, and myself in May and June 2010. Since then we have all started various residency programs and, alas, we now have limited time for motorcycle adventures. Nonetheless, I do hope to ride my DRZ from Calgary to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, albeit not all on one trip. More on that later.

I thought I would post a quick update on what may prove to be our last adventure for some time. We rode from Jo-burg down to the Transkei (Wild Coast of South Africa) and then along the Indian Ocean to Vilanculos, Mozambique before cutting inland through Zimbabwe to Victoria Falls. We then cut across Botswana and Namibia before heading south along the west coast of South Africa to the Western Cape. Our final leg of the journey was along the garden route to Port Elizabeth for a World Cup match and then back to Jo-burg.

I didn’t post any trip updates en-route for a couple of reasons. One: fast internet connections were few and far between, and two: we covered 10,000 km in only about 3 weeks of actual riding. For Tom, Sam, or Peter this would have been taking it easy. However for those of us that like to dawdle, this turned into hard work, especially since we of course dawdled for the first week and a half anyway, putting added pressure on ourselves to finish our planned route in time. We were partly motivated by the fact that we had FIFA World Cup tickets to a match all the way down in Port Elizabeth on June 12, two days before we had to be back in Johannesburg for our return flights to Canada.

View of Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa from our B&B run by “The Cake Lady”. We watched South Korea defeat Greece 2-0 from the second row.

The trip started with an unfortunate event. Our good friend Andre, who had been working hard on repairing our KLRS, which we had left in his care in Johannesburg at the end of the last adventure, had a health scare just as we were about to leave for South Africa. Naturally we were concerned for him. It was good to see him again, but we would have all preferred that the reunion take place on a motorcycle ride rather than a hospital room. Luckily he made a fantastic recovery. Within a few days, and against medical advice, Andre was back in his shop reassembling our bikes with our “help”. (He only kicked us out of the shop for the head assembly to his credit). I just hope that it wasn’t the silicone he found in Jerry’s engine or the spark plug washers from Jerry’s Egyptian clutch job that finally pushed him over the edge during one of his all-night assaults on Jerry’s bike.

Andre and one of his friends supervise as Jerry installs new tires during one of the late night sessions in Andre’s shop. Andre would let us do a lot of the monkey work, but even then his trust in us was misplaced at times. Jerry managed to pump his brake line full of air and I personally managed to puncture 3 tubes trying to install my tires. The tire irons were too big of course, but it was still embarassing.

Andre also generously lent Ted one of his KLRs. This was an amazing gesture, and I only hope that we can show our appreciation by providing Andre with one of our bikes if (and hopefully when) he comes to Canada for a ride up to the arctic circle to see the Northern lights. We were lucky, under the circumstances, to be on the road just two weeks after landing in Jo-burg. Unfortunately, Andre was not able to join us for part of the trip as we had initially hoped. This left us only 3 weeks to cover our planned route of 10,000 km. Not a problem, right?

Trip Highlights (Chronological Order)

1. The dirt tracks along the western border of Lesotho.

2. The mountains bordering Lesotho


3 The goat trails of the Transkei

4. The beaches and seafood of Mozambique

5. Mist shrouded mountains of Zimbabwe

6. Victoria Falls

7. Botswana wildlife

8. Vast expanses of the Namibian Kalahari

9. Fish River Canyon

10. Winelands of the Western Cape

11. Schwartzberg pass

12. World Cup Match