Cape to Malawi 2011

A Motorcycle Diary

Archive for the ‘Cape to Malawi 2011’ Category

6 September 2011

06 Sep

Home stretch!!

Left Richmond at 6.30am for our final run home. The temperature leaving the Karroo at this time was hovering around 0 C so the first few hours was bitterly cold but we were fortunately properly dressed for it so no big deal.

The ride through the Karroo and into the western Cape is truly magnificent and there is no doubt in my mind that this is the most beautiful part of the country BY FAR!

Fernando left us on the N1 to head home to Wellington and we arrived at my home at approximately lunchtime after having completed 650km with few stops other than fuel, roadwork’s and some food, to find Iain’s family ready with Champagne and cameras to welcome back the triumphant rookie who is now no longer a novice and a committed biker to boot! Well done Iain, 8500km under your belt and looking forward to many more adventures together.


Our total ride…(the yellow lines)!!


A proper homecoming!!

Home at last.


5 September 2011

05 Sep

Fernando, Iain and I left Johannesburg at 6.30am for our penultimate days ride. The plan was to get to Beaufort west for the night however some minor bike trouble just before Bloemfontein forced us to detour into the city and visit Honda Central for some emergency repairs.

The chain on the Yamaha had just never been the same since the bucking bronco incident in Mozambique and it hopped straight off the rear sprocket about 20kms north of Bloem. Fortunately no damage was done to the bike.

Paul Manolas and the guys at Honda Central were fantastic and dealt with the problem immediately and professionally. I was concerned that the remaining tread on my KTM would not endure the last 1000km home and therefore decided to change my tyre whilst we were there.

This 2 hour delay meant that we didn’t have enough sunlight to get to Beaufort West and are staying the night and a fantastic bed and breakfast in Richmond in the Karroo called Marinas. The house, staff, service, rooms and food were 5 star! Well done guys.

Shaun NOT in riding gear!

Fernando’s umbilical roadside cord.

Honda Central repairs.

Not impressed!

Paul Manolas and I.


4 September 2011

04 Sep

Quick beautiful Mpumalanga early morning ride from Nelspruit to Johannesburg got us there by 11am. The day is a braai with family and friends and we are staying the night at Shaun’s house.


3 September 2011

03 Sep

We were due to head towards Maputo for the night however because there is a large sport event and the crowds and traffic are due to be manic this weekend, we have decided to skip Maputo altogether and head for Nelspruit for the night instead.

We left Inhambane at 6.30am because we had a 100km stretch of dirt road which turned out to be good fun as we had not encountered much of it on this trip. We managed to get to the Mozambique RSA border at about 3pm and cross into our homeland without much event or delay at the border or customs.

The first thing that is immediatelly noticeable is just how different RSA is from the rest of Africa and Southern Africa. Streets are in good shape, towns, cities and agriculture is organised and there is just a general sense of organised progress and prosperity, its no wonder the rest of Africa perceive this place to be the land of milk and honey! Its great to be home. Tonight we are spending the evening at the City lodge in Nelspruit and having dinner with my sister who I havent seen in toolong.

European couple touring Southern Africa on a Vespa!!! So much for the need for Adventure Bikes!

Back in the RSA at last!!


2 September 2011

02 Sep

Early morning walk on the beach, some exercise, breakfast, shweker, Boulez and beer. Another representation of the kind of tough day on the road.

Sunrise over the Indian ocean.

The beach in front of the house.


1 September 2011

01 Sep

We left Vilanculos at 7am to head towards Inhambane where we are staying the next 2 nights at a magnificent house right on a deserted beach owned by some friends of Shaun and Simon.The ride to Inhambane itself was largely uneventful other than for the usual magnificent surroundings however,on arrival at we encountered a very long very sandy road that was manageable but was also the first VERY close call for Iain who thus far had managed the entire trip largely without any incidents at all.

Riding behind Iain, I noted that he was doing everything that he should have been on this terrain, up on the pegs, looking up and accelerating smoothly and continuously through the deep sandy areas….a very deep sand patch however was obviously unanticipated by him and I watched his bike turn into a bucking bronco for a few seconds whilst holding my breath expecting Iain to hit the dirt with splendour!! Amazingly, he managed to keep the beast upright but the chain did pop off which led to an hour long roadside repair because the Yamaha 660 Tenere does not come with a 22mm socket to remove the back wheel????? go figure!!

Local help fortunately solved that problem and we were able to press on to our destination without any further incidents. We are here for 2 nights so no riding tomorrow.


31 August 2011

31 Aug

Waking up in Vilanculos is truly like waking up in Paradise! Although the towns facilities are super basic the environment is spectacular.

We decided to charter a catamaran for the day and head off to the islands for some sea, sun, food, beer and general R and R….what an incredible day. As Iain said, “you can shove the Cote D’Azur straight up your A***”!!


Vilanculos shores


Heading out to the islands




The boys…some slightly more hursuit than others!!




What a proper beach restaurant looks like!!


….and strike that pose!!






Shaun and Fernando





Fernando, Natasha and I.

Beach restaurant.

Rui and Iain.

Fishermans tales about the one that got away!!


30 August 2011

30 Aug

Woke up feeling strong and refreshed after a great nights rest. We left Chimoi quite late at 11am to head for Vilanculos where Natasha, Fernando’s daughter had arranged accommodation for us at an awesome self catering house on the beach…Unbelievably beautiful is all I can say.

The ride itself was a great combination of mostly fantastic road through some beautiful mountain passes as one heads down the escarpment towards the ocean.

Dinner was a veritable seafood feast with lots of wine and laughter at a seaside restaurant on the beach. Another tough day in Africa!!!


Fernando’s permanent umbilical cord!


Rui and the wild man from Borneo!!


Iain’s now confirmed firm friend. No longer is she “trying to kill him”!!


29 August 2011

29 Aug

We left Senga Bay at 7am to leave Malawi and head to Tete in Mozambique. The day started with the usual magnificent countryside, sights, sounds and smells that is the norm when riding through Africa on a motorcycle…life is tough!

Once we had done the usual border procedure and headed into Mozambique, the skies opened and gave us all a good shower which was not great as Mozambique roads are materially worse than Malawian roads. Kids, animals and cars once again seem to rule the roads here with equal legal rights so riding through this country can be quite terrifying to say the least!

I started to feel cold/flu like symptoms soon after arriving in Mozambique which made the days ride unpleasant but one of those things which you just have to suck up and be a man about! To make matters worse, we arrived in Tete a lot sooner than anticipated and made a last minute decision (as we did last Friday) to press on to Chimoi instead of staying in Tete, thereby buying us an additional day in Vilanculos or Inhambane rather than spending the night in a run down peripheral African town. This led to a 900km day, which was tough to say the least because of people, animals, mountain roads and not feeling great.

The hotel in Chimoi was a welcome surprise, new, modern, clean and great service. I missed dinner and slept like the dead whereas the remaining guys had a meal and hit the sack after a few compulsory games of shweker!!!


Malawi Mozam border


The Boys!


On the road to Tete


Magnificent Baobabs wherever you go…


28 August 2011

28 Aug

Another well deserved rest day after having made up the additional day on Friday. The day has been spent sleeping, eating, drinking and playing shweker! A Portuguese card game that has taken us from matchstick paupers to matchstick billionaires and back again all day long.

Shweker madness.

Beautiful Senga Bay

Senga Bay Hotel