Cape to Malawi 2011

A Motorcycle Diary

Archive for the ‘Cape to Malawi 2011’ Category

27 August 2011

27 Aug

Rest day today! Lounging by the pool, cleaning and maintaining the bikes and updating the blog as people are beginning to complain that it starting to feel like “groundhog day”!


26 August 2011

26 Aug

Today was supposed to be a 500km ride to Chipata, however, because we were on the road before 7am we got to Chipata through beautiful countryside by 1pm and made a prompt decision to push on to Senga Bay another 350km away and get a 3 night stay in one spot rather than riding again tomorrow.

The idea was good however, the border took nearly an hour to cross and I had forgotten that the Malawian roads are in fact narrower and more populated and congested than the Zambian roads and the going is therefore slower. We got to Lilongwe at 16:45 with less than an hour of sunlight left and still 110km of road to cover. It was risky but we decided to push on and although it was perhaps a little danegerous because of the, mountainous road, the people, traffic and animals and the speeds we were pushing, by the time we got to the Livingstonia we were all on such a high that we didnt even bother to change out of our riding gear and went straight to the bar…..It turned into a very long, hot and hilarious night after that!

Luanga River bridge stop..






The lineup..

Getting ready for a big night.




25 August 2011

25 Aug

We left early for Lusaka this morning and met up with a Belgian rider, Dominique, who has come down the west coast of Africa and rode with us to Lusaka.

Our riding style has become a lot more structured over the last few days so in order to cover large distances quickly we ride 250km, stop for fuel and then another 250km to eat. Lusaka was only a 500km ride so we got here by lunchtime.

We are spending the night in an ex presidential home that belongs to the family of the current President Banda as Simon and Shaun are friends with Simon Banda and his wife Barbara. The home is massive and beautiful and we are very grateful for their hospitality.

Dinner was with the Banda’s at the new Manda Hill shopping mall in Lusaka which is truly world class (and I believe belongs to Zenprop (if so, good job boys!!)) and we had an awesome evening.

Iain has taken on the new nickname of the “Albatross” as he has learnt to manage the Yamaha’s height by tiptoeing his way to a particular acceleration before lifting his feet onto the pegs.

It is fantastic to spend this time with 4 other incredible guys!

Leaving the Royal..

Smoke break Simon…

The home of the Banda’s for the night.


24 August 2011

24 Aug

Because I had such a great time white water rafting when I came through here last time on my way to Cairo, I convinced all barring Fernando that it was definitely worthwhile and a great way to spend the day. It started with a 20 minute hike down the gorge which was not pleasant although the white water rafting between rapids 10 and 25 was fantastic and highly recommended.

Although Shaun was initially unsure of this, we all had an absolute blast.

Back on the bikes tomorrow heading for Lusaka.


Vic Falls


The bridge that links Zambia and Zimbabwe.


23 August 2011

23 Aug

We left Camp Kwando at about 8am for a short run to the Zambian border followed by another short hop to Livingstone where we are spending the next 2 nights at the Royal Livingstone on the banks of the Zambezi. Shaun and Simon have now also met up with us here and we will be riding the rest of the way as a 5 man crew.

The Royal always lives up to its reputation and we are looking forward to 2 days of rest and relaxation.We are now 3100km from home.


Iain and Shaun at the Royal Livingstone..


Royal Livingstone sunset deck..


Zambian sunset.


22 August 2011

22 Aug

Today was a short 450km ride from Rundu, up the dead straight Caprivi strip to Camp Kwando where we are spending the night. The last 30km is, once again, a treacherous soft sand road and Iain is doing brilliantly. The only problem Iain seems to have with his bike is that it is taller than him so stopping is an entertaining mix of watching him fall over time and again (once in front of the cops) and the terrified concentration on his face as he tries not to.

It is fantastic to be up in Africa again, the scents, the sounds and the vistas that are uniquely African remind me why regardless of how frustrating this continent is, it will always be home.


Messing around on the Caprivi strip road..note the washing drying on the back!


Iain developing road skills..






My all day long vista…

Arrival at Camp Kwando after a long sandy road.

Iain after arrival.

Fernandsh doing the Beezy Cafe beeshnees from afar.


Camp Kwando…AWESOME!!


21 August 2011

21 Aug

Today was our third and last BIG ride for the first half of our journey. We did 750km from Windhoek to Rundu and managed to get there just before 4pm. The last 10km to the Kaisosi river lodge on the Kavango river is made up of soft river sand roads and anybody that rides bikes knows, the stuff is treacherous to ride on.

I was half anticipating having to go back and pick Iain up off the floor but in fact it seems our novice Iain is a natural pro. Although ones natural instinct is to climb on the brakes when things start to go wrong, the principle in soft sand is counter intuitively to “stand up, look up and gas up”. Although we explained this to Iain, often nerves and fear gets the better of one in those moments but not our Oscar. He is ready to take on the Paris Dakar at this rate.

Kaisosi is fantastic, beers are cold and food was good. Other than Iain turning into a pyromaniac that needs restraining after about 10 beers, the night was largely uneventful.

The Ladies after a long day…

Kaisosi River Lodge, Rundu, Namibia with Angola on the opposite bank.

At Kaisosi, Rundu.


Very little beats an African sunset.


20 August 2011

20 Aug

The road from the Orange river on the Namibian border to Windhoek is long, straight, hot and desolate, the perfect recipe for testing ones ability to sleep whilst riding. Because today was an 800km day we decided to split it into 4 sections of stop and fill up, stop, fill up and eat, stop and fill up and then get there.

We managed Windhoek in approx 8 hours including a stop for lunch. We were rushing the last stretch as we were wanting to watch the 5pm game between SA and NZ only to get to our lodge harried to discover that they have no TV. Fortunately, we had wonderful hosts who agreed to let us borrow their car to go into town and we managed to watch the second half of SA trouncing the All Blacks.

Immanuel lodge is comfortable, the hosts are great and the food was awesome.


…long, straight, hot and desolate


19 August 2011

19 Aug

Today Iain and I left Cape Town to meet Fernando in Malmesbury at 8.30am. In typical Capetonian fashion, we got rained on for the first 350km before the skies cleared and we got an opportunity to settle into our long 700km ride to Felix Unite on the Namibian side of the Orange river where we spending the night.

Although there is the regular Sunday ride around the Cape that can be as much as 500km in any one day, I had forgotten what it means to be in the saddle for such long stretches. The Namaqualand countryside is as beautiful as I remember it and being late winter there are already sprouts of colour coming through.

Iain has done remarkably well today considering that he is a novice. Spirits are high as we settle into our first night of the ride.


Loving the road….


Namaqualand Splendour.


More Namaqualand.


The novice made the first leg!

Camp Felix Unite for the night.