Yeah, here we are again!
In 2002-2003 I did a trip on a Teneree from Ulvenhout, NL to Capetown, SA.
I reported most of my preparation and adventures along the way on www.crossing-africa.com
However I managed to loose the domain after I came back from Africa to some domain grabbers, as apparently it was visited well enough to place and advertisement site on.
Now three kids later and a new home there and the visitor rates gone the domain became available again.
I plan to get the site back online with all my diary notes and previous posts. Try to scan some slides etc.
Expect this to be a multiple month (year) project that will slowly get more and more info back online.
However this might be outdated info for a future traveller doing a similar trip.
I will advise you one site in particular for now which helped me prepare and on the road!
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com and especially there forum the HUBB (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/)
Catch you soon!
Hello to you all,
So I write you, not from Namibia, but from the place I wanted to go in the first place, Bulawayo Zimbabwe.
After a couple of tries, I think it was the third time again, I managed to leave Zanzibar. Instead of going to the mainland by dhow, this time I decided to take the ordinary ferry from Stonwe town to Dar Es Salaam.
loading the bike onto the Dhow.
I can now tell you, take a dhow! It’s much easier, and a lot cheaper, even if you have to pay a bribe to the police arriving on either side.
I left Zanzibar with Andy, one of the other Dive Masters in training that can call himself Dive Master now, on the night ferry.
The next morning we arrived in Dar and all of a sudden low deck became high deck on that side of the harbor so the bike was 5 meters up.
ofloading the bike in Dar.
With a bridge lifted to that height I managed to drive the bike of.
After that all kind of harbor paperwork and such was coming my way, so there and then I decided that if it is possible to fly my bike back home, that’s going to be the way.
In Dar my passenger for the next few weeks was waiting. Jip, I am going to try to go 2-up for a while. She hopefully will make the tarmac stretches ahead of me a bit more interesting.
A short into:
Her name is Josette and met her in Nungwi Zanzibar, was on a Oasis Trans Africa overland truck and got tiered of sitting in the truck so…
We spend most of the day in Dar looking for a proper helmet which was found after going through most of the city. Apparently there is a Yamaha dealer in Dar, but never found it, so if somebody has the GPS-coordinates, PUT them ONLINE.
Leaving Dar the next morning we where heading for Morogoro or Iringa. Driving into Morogoro and stopping there for an afternoon drink, I thought that Morogoro sounds familiar, but where from. Grabbed my little note book and remembered, there is a Horizons Unlimited Community there, dialed the number and told Steve I was in town. We where very welcome to stay at his wonderful house but as he had to finish work if we could meet him there around half past five, no probs of coarse.
We drunk an other couple of drinks and played some card games, when I became very tiered, shivered and had a slight temp. That evening I found out that Malaria had hit me. And in the end found no better place to get it… After starting the treatment it went well quicker and apparently I noticed it in time, as I did not get this slap in the face as you normally get when you first get malaria.
We spend three nights at Steve’s place and left for Iringa.
Steve I can’t thank you enough for the great help we received!
On the way to Iringa the road took us through a National Park, where we saw, Zebra and Elephant next to the road, great stuff. After Iringa it was one go to the border between Tanzania and Malawi.
Josette next to the huge bike on one of those beautifull views.
Trying to get out of the crowd in Iringa.
There is a nice mountain pass to climb that goes up to 2300 meters. We stayed at a place near the border and had to welled the exhaust there as it broke off.
The border crossing the next day was as easy as it can get in Africa and did not need any visa for Malawi so that was a great. The road took us to Chitimba that day, on the wonderful, but not close to often-called Caribbean, Lake Malawi.
We ended staying there for three nights of which two up on the cliff, with a great view over Lake Malawi and some adrenaline pumping rope swings and abseils.
The next stop was Nkatha Bay, one of the places to be and the location of a Dive Center so we went in there to book a dive for the next day. As I was parking the bike Josette asked me is this Florians? I did not know what she meant but as I walked around the corner it all became clear to me, Iris her motorbike was standing there. (Iris and Florian helped me out after my accident and I copied their luggage system after the crash AND I drove from Addis to Lake Baringo with them) Josette knew about them as I told them about my travels with them.
So that was a fun to see them at first and to see them do a dive course!
The dive there, for both of us the first fresh water dive ever, was a bit disappointing as the visibility was very bad, but still a nice experience. Also I was hoping to meet Andy there again but he left 6 days before us, so he’s traveling down south with public transport very quick.
Lilongwe was the last destination in Malawi and as the city looks very American, it wasn’t, there was really nothing to do except some quick and cheap Internet.
Trying to leave the town early, to make it into Zambia and to South Lulangwa National Park that day, did not work out, but we made it to the National Park in time and no visas again as we pre-booked a game drive with Flatdogs, the camp where we stayed. Which was a really great place to stay.
South Lulangwa is one of Africa’s to National Parks, though not to us this time, but as it was my first real game drive on this trip, definitely worth doing. The road to and from the park is terrible though that on the way back my luggage frame broke of.
After 5 minutes a car past by and of Josette and my luggage went. I tied up the frame and was so light that I could really play around with the bike again! I quickly took over the car and arrived in Chipata to find a welder to fix the frame. Next to the welding shop was a tailor to fix my tank bag and opposite to the welder was a cafe that did breakfast. So all in all it was not bad at all, but Lusaka was the destination that day, a whole 750-km and this was the first time in Africa that I had to do some night driving.
On the wall in the Backpackers hostel there was a painted map and it said there was a Spur restaurant in town! (For all those non South Africans – Spur equals Big Fat Steaks) Jumped in a cab, to find no spur there anymore, AGGGGGGRHHHH. So instead we ate Italian.
So where to go from Lusaka? Livingstone!!! Vic Falls. ZIMBABWE! It was a place of mixed feelings. At first I was almost where I planned to go, but had to leave Josette behind so she could go and see wonderful Namibia, that I am going to skip as I have a lot to do in Zimbabwe.
Now for the first time in this writing I am truly going to recommend a place!
It’s called Faulty Towers Backpackers and is probably one of the nicest places I have stayed in that’s located in a town. And the biggest plus: It has very HOT showers with PLENTY of water coming out of the tap!
In Livingstone I bought two 30 liter jerry cans, which made my total fuel capacity 100 liters and gives me a range of something between 1500 and 2000 km which is enough to cross, fuel lacking, Zimbabwe.
The border was very easy again, no problems with the fuel, you are allowed to import 500 liters per person a head, so if you want you can carry 1000 liters, the kind official said.
In Vic Falls Josette met up with the truck and I set the compass to Bulawayo where I arrived at sunset and found my way easy as really nothing changed except that there where no traffic jams anymore. At the SAA-office I phone my cousin who kindly escorted me to his house. I AM THERE! Which is a really strange feeling.
The first few days in Bulawayo I took it easy, fixing the bike as there was a small oil leak. Can’t fix it here at the moment because I can’t find any copper rings that fit here, shortage in Zimbabwe is noticeable in every way.
After that I went up to Gweru to crate a glider I bought from the gliding club there.
It took me three days together with Martin Naude to put it in a trailer that was designed for an other glider (Skylark 2). But after those two days all peaces of the goevier that was built by Fokker just after the war fitted in the trailer.
Now the restoration process can begin once it arrives back in Holland after 40 years.
One obstacle still lies in its way and that is to get the trailer to Harare from where it will be shipped as there is hardly any petrol in the country.
During my stay in Gweru I got a bed in the Antelope Park just south of Gweru, where you can ride on the back of an African elephant or walk with Cape Lions, which of coarse, I did both, and both where absolutely amazing!
At this moment I am back in Bulawayo trying to organize some petrol and after that I will head for South Africa although I don’t know what to do exactly so if you can help me out?? The options are:
- Ship the bike together with the glider from Harare
- Drive to Jo’burg and fly it out from there
- Drive from Jo’burg to Bloemfontein to Durban and follow the coast to Cape Town and ship from there
* But keep in mind I want to meet up with my, now in Namibia, passenger.
* Do diving of the coast in SA (Sardine run is going on)
* Have to do it all before the fifth of July…
Hang in tight for -maybe the last- next newsletter!
CU under the Cu
I write to you after a too long absence, but I have this really good excuse…
At this moment I am writing the newsletter in Cholo’s Bar in Nungwi, Zanzibar. Let me try to describe what it is like here!
As I don’t have any pictures of the place, developed at the moment, I will try to explain in an other way.
Most of my readers have Windows installed on their computer. All though it might not be there main operating system, I am sure there is like a version of windows installed on an other partition, to run the nice games you cannot play on Linux or so!
Okay right click on your desktop, the click properties. Go to the Tab sheet Backgrounds and select in the scroll box the background called “Paradise” or alike after that click on Apply.
Now that’s where I am and that’s why I didn’t write earlier.
So what has happened since I last left you?
I finally managed to get my butt out of Nairobi the end of March. Every time I went into town shopping I always forgot to do one thing so I had to go back the next day. My bike got a new rear tire and on the way back I visited the Giraffe Sanctuary. I developed some of the pictures of which I uploaded a couple to the site.
Also I made an enlargement of a picture on which some very good craftsmen where repairing my bike 70 km south of Addis Abeba. This pictures was put into a frame and send to that same little town by some Danish travellers on there way up.
Just a few days ago I received a letter, scanned by my dear mother, that was written by one of the guys there! Telling me they received it and I should say thanks to my “postman”. Guys I should thank you repairing my bike!
Together with Denis an Irish guy on a Beemer 1100rs that got stuck in Nairobi after he couldn’t get into Saudi Arabia (war was starting and all), I left Nairobi with the compass on south, and the destination: Arusha, Tanzania.
Arusha was a great place for me. The day we arrived Denis wanted to meet a friend in The Arusha Coffee Lodge (Redds) and we ended up there for the night (complimentary, LOL) The day after we moved to Massai Camp and had a great time watching Nairobi play Arusha in Rugby. This set the atmosphere for the rest of the night, drinking. Starting in Stickies that normally is a ex-pat bar now turned into a nice mix with live music. After we moved a whole 100 meters down the street to Collobus a real nightclub! The first I have seen since Holland. The club was packed, a perfect night out .
After trying to get me and somebody else’s butt to Olongo Langay (An active volcano 150 km back to the Kenya border) I gave up after making excuses not to go there for the last two days. Instead I visited the UN trials in Arusha regarding the Rwanda Hutu-Tutsi massacres. Which was really something “different”.
The compass was set on east the day after leaving Denis in Moshi and me going back into Kenya, crossing my first National Park with the Motorbike (Tsavo West). Not that I saw any wildlife, they only appeared after I left the park. But it was a beautiful drive and the shortest to Mombassa. Arriving at Mombassa it was only an other 120 km to my destination, Watamu.
I had to go to Watamu for two reasons. No1 being diving, which I did, one dive. No2 being that there is a lady in town breeding cats, Sokoke cats.
Now it also happens to be that a good friend and cook (Yep I miss your food Marja) has a Sokoke Cat and wants to breed them. Sokoke cats come from the Sokoke forest (duh) and that forest is near Watamu.
So I visited this lady and saw that two of her cats where expecting kittens soon, so good news for Marja, pick them up in September.
After I finished my chat there and my coffee I pushed down south again to the sleepy town of Pangani, that’s in Tanzania again. There I spend three whole nights after deciding I was going to take a Dhow to Zanzibar. This was a great experience and after 4 hours I landed on the beach of Kendwa. Now being in a place like this is; one, having to drive your motorbike down this white sand beach with turquoise waters for 5 km to get your bike of the beach is… f*&%ing unbelievable!
Nungwi is the little town I spend the last 20 days or so, doing my PADI Dive Master. Yes, I know what you all think now, he never wanted to dive! He always wanted to go Gliding and always made up excuses not to join his friends on a diving holiday, you are right… But now having the time… and so why not go all the way? Bad excuse? So be it
This place is absolutely amazing, nice and tranquil. All though it gets busy when overland trucks come into town.
I met Martin here again, a crazy Englishman I met in Nairobi and popped up here again, he owns a bar in Mallorca and has only 5 month holiday a year in which he travels. He introduced me to Karin and Kicki from Sweden which whom I spend about two weeks drinking in Cholo’s and Mangy’s.
It’s a pity Karin got like really sick so they had to leave to Dar el Salaam to visit a qualified and proper doctor. I went with the two to Stonetown getting them on the ferry, Easter Monday that was. And that was more difficult then expected but we managed. I also, after 18 days on the Island, got a entry stamp in my passport. You don’t get one when you arrive with a dhow…
Just two days after I was really glad I had the stamp, as the police was looking for me in town.
Someone reported me to them, as I was riding an un-registered bike in North Zanzibar Region and why I did not report at their police station? How could I know I had to register, no one told me to! They could of course register my bike… for a small fee. Of course NOT. Nobody told me when I passed “customs” so why should I pay? I will provide all the information you need and do everything necessary but I will not pay any money! Ha!
After that I got all my papers back and they told me they had all the information they needed after writing down my name and number plate only (duh), but they came all the way from the police station to Nungwi for me and how where they supposed to get back there. On the back of my bike, I said. Apparently that was not funny… so I had to pay them the Dalla Dalla back, probably being the 10th person today doing that, my first bribe all the way from Holland is now, a fact… and I have the feeling more are on the way in Zanzibar.
Till I do so, I will enjoy the view, konyagi, dodo’s and diving!
It was also a nice surprise seeing Iris and Florian again. they did not take their bike to Zanzibar but had a great dhow ride of 30 hours on see getting from Pangani to Nungwi… Pole Sana travellers.
But you made it and it was great speaking to you again!
That’s all for now. Hang in tight for the next one, which I will probably write from Namibia!
Feel the Love, Frank
So finally some info on Egypt.
Visa: Applied in Jordan, 3 hours, 12JD -> 16us$
Visa for onward travel.
Sudan in Cairo, (56 us$ cash) open from sunday to wednesday be there befor 11:00 AM and you might be able to get it the same day and otherwise the following day. Valid for a month a month after issue.
Note: From a reliable source I heard it is possible to get your visa in Aswan under a cup of coffee with the Council there. (who’s going to confirm?)
Ethiopia in Cairo, (63 us$ cash) the same day! If you are there before 10:00 AM
Border crossing from Aqaba – Nuweiba
Tourist Police will help you through the troubles at the Egypt side. (He will want some Bakshis but you can get away without)
Costs for the motorbike with carnet 90 us$ in total and about 3 hours.
Car is about double that and double that again if you don’t have a carnet.
Money: 5 pounds in a Dollar (12/2002) and ATM’s everywhere.
Petrol Prices: 1 Epound/Liter.
Beer Prices: Between 5 and 12 Ep
Overnight cost: Between 8 and 25 Ep, low standard but clean.
Leaving the country.
At Aswan to Waldi Halfa, Sudan.
Ask in Aswan for Maghmoud Idris, he normally is in the Aswan Moon Restaurant after noon. He will help you sort things out.
Cost of ship is around 300 Ep in total for motorbike and yourself, but I can’t remeber exactly.
Ship leaves every monday get there on Saterday afternoon to sort things out.
Finally I am forgetting dates and all and as I don’t have my diary here I only know when I left you last and therefore what to tell you aprox.
Khartoum was a quickly, met Didier there on his way up on a F650 Dakar and he even met Iris and Florian, so I am getting closer to them. Didier has a website: http://www.ride4kids.t2u.com
I rode from Khartoum to the customs town in Ethiopia in one day, sleeping in the customs house there and trying the local food called Njera and only paying 1 us Dollar to get the bike in, I like this country.
As I tried Njera, today I was going 10 km faster then the bikes max speed as I was helping it go in the right direction. I drove to Gonder as after 30 km’s I caught up with Tour d’Afrique, http://www.tourdafrique.com, some cycle tour I heard of in Cairo meeting one of the truck drivers. They are cycling from Cairo to Capetown in 100 days. I joined them for the day and night celebrating one of the cyclists 40th birthday.
Driving little km’s yesterday and wanting to catch up with Iris and Florian who are probably in Addis, I opened the throttle for two days on unbelievable bad roads hitting stones and almost hitting kids saying “youyouyou” all the time as I raced by. On the way I visited the Blue Nile Falls which are only on half it strength because they build a dam right before the falls! AFRICA. After crossing the Blue Nile Gorge, another African piece of road construction I raced to Addis over some new Chinese Tarmac!
Arriving in Addis at the brothel and Backpackers place called Bell Air. I met Iris and Florian including same 3 Dutch couples with cars including Bert and Francouise who I met in Dahab.
3 days in Addis where enough to quickly check some mail, fix the bike as one of my valve covers broke in two when checking the valves, I glued it with liquid metal. I tried to find something on the Merkato – the largest open air market in the world, where you apparently also be able to buy an AK47, which I would love to have to lay down same “youyouyou”-ers – to fix the cover. I did but they wanted too much for it (60 birr) so I walked away. Some streets further they came with the piece again and I took all my change out of one pocket (5,5 birr) and they said okay!!! My best bargain so far!
Iris, Florian and I agreed to travel together for a while so of we went and after 60 km my glued valve cover broke making me loose a nice spray of oil. We pulled over at a hotel, had lunch and had a look at what to do. Behind the hotel the three best fabricators of Ethiopia where working and reproduced a valve cover with the piece from the Merkato. Afterwords I wanted to give them 10 birr each and they said no to it. Send us the picture you just took… This was magic!
We drove more down south staying a few nights in Arba Minch watching the big Croc’s there and loosing the way on our go to Yavello. Which made us drive through some of the most unspoiled county sides of Ethiopia where the “youyouyou”-tribe did not exist and some even run away as a whiteface asked them for the way! One problem was we did not fill up (STUPID) as it was only a 150 km to Yavello. 20km before the petrol station mine gave up but Florian and Iris had enough giving me a liter… I felt so stupid! I even read Chris Scott’s book, AMH, which tells you to always fill up even if you only drove 20kms.
We slept in the little town of Agre Marjam and set of to Kenya the next morning.
The most boring stretch in a long time is from Yavello to Moyale, all tarmac! We crossed the borders without many hassles and start on the most dangerous part of the trip tomorrow.
As there is no convoy anymore we left on our own, without others as the trucks now a days don’t go via Marsabit but via Wajir. They call it a road and it is the transit route to Ethiopia but you can hardly call the football-sized boulders a road! We arrived in Marsabit in time but tired and stayed in a mission got some cash the next day and only drove 100kms to Laisamis as we started late. From Laisamis we made it to Maralal out of the danger zone apparently. No, we did not go to Isiolo as we wanted to do some more off road! So we made a Circle to Lake Baringo, where Florian and I did some work on the bike and I decided to go to Mweiga to see if there still was a gliding-field around and Florian and Iris went to Uganda.
Tarmac again to Mweiga but nice and interesting views so worth it. Arriving in Mweiga it was easy to find the strip, a bit more difficult to find the house of Peter, the owner. I could fly on Thursday, so I waited a day, drove the other day around Mt Kenya a very beautiful circle of 360 kms!
Thursday was the worst day of the week to fly, but at least I made three short flights again after 4 month! And I can still do it. The gliding club is for sale BTW (I tell you, VERY tempting!)
And from Mweiga I tried to cross the Arbedele National Park to Hell’s Gate NP, as there is a road through the park that is a “main” road, But they would not let me Dam iT. So I drove around and as I was on my way south I decided to skip Hell’s gate now and go to Nairobbery to have a check up in the Hospital as since I entered Kenya I have severe abdominal Cramps and the running waters. So here I am…
In the last days I crossed the equator 5 times, passed the planned halfway route! 13000km and having shit loads of fun! See you all probably from Lake Malawi!
In the mean while I will try to develop some pictures in Nairobi and put them online.
CU under the Cu
As I don’t feel up to writing you all a long story of what happened everyday, I will keep it short of what happened in the last 18 days.
I left Dahab finally after getting all the work done on the bike and went to Luxor and Aswan.
The boat to Sudan was two days late because of a holiday (The call it Islamic X-mas)
So stuck in Aswan I had some fun with a Dutch chap driving around de Med. on a Honda ??
And met the two cars that will go to Sudan as well. 2 Italian couples.
On the 12th it was finally leaving and loading the bike on the ferry was quite a story… as it was almost at the bottom of the harbor!
That’s filmed by the Italians so I will try to get a copy…
On the ship I first noticed I left the real Islamic country for the first time in three month as the woman stared at you so long it made me shy… Only then I realized that it did not happen really the last three month in the Islamic area’s where most woman look the other way, if they are on the streets. (Exception of coarse was Lebanon)
I prefer it the way in Sudan!
Getting of the boat, which was easier, Kamal was waiting for us… He is the guy that makes you pay more to enter Sudan but does all the paperwork as an official there should do. Prices vary and he made me pay 20 bucks as it should only be 4, the rest goes in his pocket! Just an advise for other travelers, don’t give him your papers! You will only get them back after you paid. And if you ask for a receipt you will never get it even if he promises… He knows we know we don’t have to pay but just doesn’t care.
After that, as I forgot to fill up in Aswan. I tried to find petrol, which took some time. I found it at a private dealer after I asked where there was a hotel in Aswan, but instead of a direction, I was made to stay at his place for the night, for free. This hospitality is genuine and all over Sudan. I experienced it three days later in El Goleid again, man Sudan is all but good to you! (Leaving Kamal out of the picture of course.)
After leaving Aswan I joined the Italians for three days, as it was my first real piste which went really well for me! Camped under the stars in the desert two nights and the second night had the best meal since I left home! As one of the guys turned 59 we had wine, fresh made pasta, nice sausages and cheese, a very nice steak with cream sauce all in the middle of the desert, LIFE CAN BE TOO GOOD… but you need a woman at your side…
After reaching Dongala we split up as I though the worst part was done… WRONG!!!
The trouble started the day after… I left El Goleid and it was 4 hours and 80 km of pure pain. Deep sand, with tracks of trucks and cars making my front wheel climb out of the track all the time turning my bike 90 degrees around and so on. I fell 5 times but with low speed in soft sand. I must thank my nice diving instructor Emei for teaching me Rescue diving and EFR, in which you learn when something happens underwater to Stop, Breath, Think and Act. When it is 32 degrees in deep sand, after you fell with a heavy bike, you just change the line to: Stop, Drink, Think, Act and its all going to be okay. I was actually amazed with my own temper that day, as I normally get pissed when it doesn’t go the way I want…
After the 4 hours I reached the tarmac to Karthoum! Which I did with 130 km/hour as I was so happy to see tarmac!
In Karthoum I am now and I will leave for Ethiopia tomorrow, trying to catch up with Florian and Iris who are together with two Dutch in a car and a SA on a Teneree in Adis tomorrow!
That’s all for now…
29 till 31-12-2002 Dive and Relax, what else?
The last days from this year I spend what you can do best in Dahab, Dive and Relax.
I also went around town to arrange some transportation for me and my bike to get to Cairo. As my bike was running so poor and couldn’t find the problem I thought it would be the best for the bike getting it on a pick-up to Cairo. I found a pick-up that would take me there for 250 EP (50$). After that we started to make plans for new year. That was me, Paul, Florian and Iris… But new year abroad is more strange then X-mas abroad. At least that’s how I experienced it… X-mas was not at all difficult for me as most of the time it “has” to be a family thing. With new year I always make my own plan on where to go and what to do. But doing it in Dahab never crossed my mind. And New Year in an Islamic Country is not really the same.
You get a bunch of Westerners together in a pub with swimming pool outside dancing and drinking beer (mind you, my foot was not dance proof yet .) Then the last ten seconds of the year arrive (1 hour earlier as back home) and of course a count down starts: 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,…. and then really… nothing happens… Nope give me the New Year back home or just don’t celebrate it at all.
But a new year started and a great year it will be! Although my journey will end this year, it will also take most of this year! I had almost all the problems I could have so, could I have more?
01 till 04-01-2003 On my way to Cairo
As Florian and Iris planned to move on, I got the energy to get on the move myself as well. They where heading for Cairo, and so was I the next day by pick-up. Through the Horizons Unlimited website I made contact with Ahmed (AB) and he pointed out a great guy in Cairo that used to race my type of bike in Dessert Rallies. So I figured that’s the guy I would need.
Raed Baddar wasn’t the type you will imagine sitting on a bike any more… but still rides them occasionally but changed to cars for his desert exploring. He is amazingly friendly and great to meet. I crashed at his place for 2 nights and after the first we worked on the bike. As it had no power, huge fuel consumption and was overheating, we first cleaned and changed carburetor settings, but that was not it… he could hear (I couldn’t) so the search went on and with a little basic mechanics we found the problem. The second stage of the alternator was not working. Not that the alternator it self was gone but the wires connecting it where almost gone. How little big problems can be! So it runs again and I was happy! Thank you very much Raed!
So if anyone needs help on Teneree’s or XR’s get this point in your GPS: N30.05.151 E31.20.319 or logon to www.saharapioneer.com (please do not mistake with sakarapioneer.com )
05 till 07-01-2003 Getting my frame fixed and parts made
After leaving Read I went to meet Ahmed who pointed me to this guy to thank him for that and to ask if he knew any good welders in Cairo as I needed to really make my frame for the cases and to lineout my bike frame. He did! So on my way I was again to the southwest of Cairo. Not because the Pyramids where there but there was a great welder there and the camping spot that Florian and Iris where. After chatting with the welder he agreed on doing the job and I told him I would drop by later this week with Florian to show him exactly what I wanted and would leave my bike in Cairo while I was going around Egypt with Oedske in a few days time.
Meeting up with Florian and Iris was great and there was an other German there on his cycle, about who I will keep my mouth shut.
With the two we went into Cairo to arrange visa and so, they first went to the Sudanese embassy and me to the Ethiopian. In the end there choice turned out to be the best, as they had everything in two days time and me only the Ethiopian, but I would be back in Cairo to pick up my bike so I had a little more time.
Coming back to the camp ground wasn’t so pleasant as for the first time this travel I left my digital camera and gps in the tent as I wanted to travel light in Cairo and the batteries where empty anyway… And now I do not have them at all, stolen… and we did not get them back… after search, threatening and so on… After a phone call to Oedske she would get me a new GPS and an other camera that I left back home.
GroSe Sch^&se again, but now I am traveling as an African, no electronics at all. (I think someone tries to tell me to do it without technology!)
Then it was a quick drive to the welder to show him Florian’s bike and leave mine and to hop on the bus to Hurgada as Oedske was arriving there on the 8th!
Why do busses arrive in such strange times? Mini arrived at 05:30 AM in Hurgada, all hotels closed of course and no one on the streets. At six I found a hotel and dropped my stuff there and slept till 11AM as I did not get much on the night bus.
Then it was time to grab a taxi to the airport to pickup Oedske. Who arrived on time! (It CAN happen!) It was great chatting with someone from back home and as she only had a week we had to make some travel plans. As I really wanted to see Paris Dakar and if possible Luxor there actually was little choice. But Luxor became Dahab, as Oedske tends to be lazy
After deciding what we would do we went into town, I tried to get hold of Omar Mansour (The Egyptian Community Contact from the Horizons Unlimited website) I already emailed with him and had one short phone call in Jordan, so I really wanted to meet him and the other way around. So we agreed on dropping by there and go to Paris Dakar with him in Siwa!
09-01-2003 Diving in Hurgada
Today was a relax day again… No the ferry to Sharm El Sheik was only leaving tomorrow so we went on a boat dive/snorkel thingy in Hurgada. As I was warned for the dead coral at Hurgada the shock was not too big, but… I hope Dahab will never be like this! Also Hurgada on land is just a horrible place, except for the old town center. I was glad I could leave this place tomorrow.
10 till 11-01-2003 Dahab 2nd time
Why do ferries leave so early? And do you have to be there so much time before? Yes by now you figured out I prefer my bike travel over Public Transport! But Dahab it was again, in the afternoon. There is not much to tell as the stuff you do in Dahab is dive a little, relax a little, drink a little, eat a little, and…
We took the very nice night bus to Cairo to arrive nice and early in this metropolis and got a taxi to drop us off at the hotel and drive us to the pyramids where we did the horse riding around the pyramids area and see the local cop bribe in action and getting into a misunderstanding with the taxi driver and after that with my female companion, that combined with a nice pain in my foot as it is not horse ride proof yet and the pyramids not what I expected of it made it a morning to forget. So I did and went shopping in Cairo in the afternoon and took the train to Alexandria in the evening. (Don’t tell us we did not try all kinds of public transport and not using it a lot!)
In Alex we met Omar who was even better as I imagined over the telephone. He got us into a free apartment that wasn’t so great he said… I was VERY happy with a room like that for the night and as we would go to Siwa tomorrow we had a beer and went to sleep early.
700km to see a bunch of madman cross the desert? Or to see 5000 people move through the desert? Including 20 airplanes, 140 bikes, 20 trucks and, 100 cars? It is definitely worth it!
Siwa is the most western oasis know for its olives and dates and has about 5000 inhabitants, now it doubled in one day! That’s a bit weird to see. I found Raed being there as well and Oedske trying to get all the guys naked. (As she wanted the T-shirts, of which I got two now) Oedske was in top shape arranging things with her beautiful smile and naughty looks.
14-01-2003 Paris Dakar in Action
Today was the special around Siwa and we found a great spot at the start and a great spot at the finish.
Yeah they know how to drive… It was a bit of a pity that the truck of de Rooij which was in first place had a serious accident, but no people hurt, but the truck was a write off am I bringing bad luck to this place as well?
Anyway I loved it, it is a bit difficult to describe but photos tell more… no? Have a look. (Florian had a good description: 100 times better then Giza)
And in the afternoon it was a long way back to Alex after we visited the airport where base camp was.
15-01-2003 Cairo again
In the morning we went to Cairo and had to leave Omar in Alex. (Omar I can’t thank you more for the great time you gave us, but I hope that was clear already. Your welcome anytime if your thinking of traveling to the cold north.)
But as Oedske was leaving tomorrow we had to arrange some stuff like getting her on the bus to Hurgada in the evening, which worked out fine and she made it back home. I stayed in Cairo to get my Sudanese visa and fix my bike with the spare parts Oedske brought and the welding that should be finished.
16 till 21-01-2003 Cairo sucking out all energy
All I did in these days was fix the bike at Ahmed’s garage, paint the frame after all the welding, got new lights for the bike, have a laugh or two with Ahmed and get my visa for Sudan!!! So I was happy with myself and want to thank Ahmed so much for his help! (I can tell Grant and Susan your website works!)
This is a day I looked forward to; finally I was on the road again with a good working bike for 600km at least. This is what life is all about! Although I have seen my destination before, I will go there via a different road and meet Omar on the way as he was on his way back from…. Dahab. So why Dahab again you would think? An other friend of mine is flying in with his girlfriend (Gillis and Kiona) and he will bring me my new luggage cases!
The drive it the end was a bit stress as I got a puncture (No. 1) in a shit hole. But fixed the inner tire and changed the outer to my Pirelli T21. As I was planning to put it on in Aswan it’s only a few km’s more now and my back tire was REALY gone…
23 till 31-01-2003 Getting new boxes
I drove to Kiona’s and Gillis Hotel and it was RAINING! They brought Dutch weather! I thanked them for that but it was great to see them and my new luggage cases of course. In a few days time I will be ready to move on!
I made a deal with the dive school I did my advanced open water with that I would do there website if they gave me a Rescue & EFR course for free and so I started that course and building their website (www.divedahab.com) and meeting Eimi and Thomas who do Photography, Video and Diving Instruction. (www.scubatoe.com) So I got some of my dives filmed!! I will send a copy back home so you see that you absolutely should not be jealous of what I am doing….
Also Eimi thought me the Rescue diving and Christiana who was doing a Dive Master course was helping us out. Her final exam was so funny. Thomas and Eimi pretended to have done their Open water and had 5 dives. They did the course online via www.divers-r-us.com and she was a little claustrophobic. I had to be Eimi’s buddy and be also a rescue diver. If you can think of anything that can go wrong in a dive it did on this one. Those two Open water divers where SO bad! Its a bit hard to describe what they all did, but a short summary follows: Stealing flippers, kicking out regulators, not knowing signs, going too deep, touching coral and fish, collecting stones, going in passive panic, go in claustrophobic putting on masks upside down, swimming away, going into caves…. and all I forgot. This really was a “fun” dive.
But all this results in the fact that my boxes still don’t fit my bike… I will do that this afternoon hopefully.
-Finish luggage system ASAP
-Go to Sharm El Sheik on the 4th for a ferry to Hurgada
-Go to Luxor on the 5th
-Go to Aswan on the 8th
-Grab a ferry to SUDAN, Wadi Halfa on the 11th
-Cross Sudan and Ethiopia in 5 weeks aprox.
First of all sorry I did not wrote a news letter sooner, but there where some other things on my mind.
06 till 14-12-2002 Getting better in Madaba
As I cannot remember when I did what, just a small a brief story of what I did these days.
There is not much to tell also as I had to give my foot a rest any way. After a couple of days Florian and Iris came to help me on the bike and to look what was wrong with it, which seemed not to much after a serious accident like this.
My back brake was broken, there was a dent in the back rim and my rack and cases where almost gone.
We decided to do the rim first because then it would be able to drive again. After that we went to a local garage to make the rack fit on the motorbike again and that I could tie at least my tires to the rack again. The day after we went back as my bike frame was 5 cm out of line at the back and re-bend it so it was nice to drive with it again.
That was that and all we could do on the bike without spare parts.
Two days later an American guy on a KTM dropped by, Florian and Iris met him in Damascus and told them about me. He is absolutely an amazing guy! Nick is his name and we had some rally good laughs together! As he was carrying two helmets, just bought a new one, he gave me his old one, THANX FOR THAT, it is a terrific helmet! (And I will definitely drop by in Montana after this trip!) Nick it is great traveling with a helmet that did not have a crash jet!
So after this all three left for Petra, leaving me behind to get my foot better or so small it would fit into my boot again. . . This took till the day I had to go to court.
15-12-2002 Bye Bye Madaba!
I had to appear in court again today to see if something changed in the fine they gave me. And they said no but in the end I only had to pay 12 JD instead of 30JD so apparently something changed although I still have no clue what it was. But this meant I had my papers back, my foot fitted inside my boot and I could leave this place!
Nick send me an e-mail about the nice kids on the way south, throwing stones at you and trying to get your attention when there is danger ahead.
So after passing the gorge that was absolutely beautiful the trouble started. For with I decided not to stick around Kerak but drive on to Aqaba the same day.
All though the bike was getting warm it did not overheat so I was happy to just make some miles again! The road next to the Israeli border was very straight and boring but the views of the desert were sometimes amazing.
As I found out my bike loved Petrol as it was doing 9 liters per 100km, so there is something seriously wrong. But we could find the problem in Aqaba, hopefully.
16 & 17-12-2002 – Aqaba
Some relaxing these days, with finally, some nice sunny weather again.
On the second day Florian and Iris arrived and we did some shopping around in Aqaba, got an Egyptian Visa because we did not want to have even more paper work at the Egyptian border in a few days.
18 & 19-12-2002 Bike work
These two days Florian and I worked on the bike to get them ready for Africa and tried to find my problem, which in the end we didn’t, so I will have to find a good garage in Egypt as they don’t know $#!& about bikes in Jordan.
20-12-2002 On the way to Petra
I decide to wake up early, leave my stuff in the camp site and take my bike for a spin to Petra as a test drive. Only 30 km up the mountain I whished I took a bus as the bike was having loads of trouble. Overheating and still no power. Only the engine sounded fine.
As there was a customs post 30 km out of town I spoke to the Police about leaving my bike with them and taking a bus to Petra and pick it up in a few days, which the agreed to after a couple of teas.
As it was Friday, not many busses go that direction. But for a change I was lucky and only after 15 minutes there was a minibus going to Petra! On the bus I met Tom, with whom I shared a room that night in Petra.
On the way to Petra I was glad that I had left the bike behind as it started with a sand storm and a few km after that water drops where flying by horizontally!
In Wadi Musa, the road was a river, so the plan to go into Petra that afternoon was cancelled. Instead we saw the new James Bond movie, which I bought in Madaba for 1,5 dollar! It appeared to be the Arabic version though, so we missed the “sexy” parts.
After that it was an early sleep as we wanted to wake up as early as possible.
21-12-2002 Snow in Petra
The alarm clock went of at 06:00 as Tom and I wanted to avoid the rains that usually come in the afternoon. We got a free bus ride to Petra and from there had an amazing walk around. I can probably write a couple of lines about Petra, but you will have to go there yourself to see it anyway, so I won’t. Just that it was hard on my foot, but I survived. If you read the Lonely Planet, it says that snow is not uncommon in Petra, I saw snow in Petra! So it is true. At 14:00 hours we saw most of what we wanted to see and as it was getting wetter, we decided to go back to our hotel to watch Indiana Jones. . .
As we went into the hotel we found out that there was a bus going to Aqaba in half an hour so we decided to hop on that bus, so I could go to Egypt the next day.
That was a not so wise decision as the roads in the mountains were very icy and the clouds where so low visibility was 50 meters. Thank God the bus drive was a cautious one (which is really rare) and that prevented us going of the cliffs by 1 meter. After 2 hours we hit the customs post near Aqaba where I left my bike and drove back, just not overheating the bike when I reached my camp site.
22-12-2002 Finally Africa!
It seemed as I was never going to hit African soil but today I did, the ferry from Aqaba was leaving early today so I had to hurry myself through customs at the port to catch it, which I did, just in time.
After almost three hours the boat hit the coast of Egypt, where a guy from the Tourist & Antique Police was waiting for ME. He guided me through all the customs steps. That resulted in a new number plate, 100 US$ lighter and a cup of tea in between.
As it was getting dark I decided to go for Dahab anyway, as it was cold and my motor might not overheat for a change.
It became hot but not TOO hot and after 85 km I hit Dahab and the German Couple again, who arrived the day before.
23-12-2002 First day in Dahab
This place is to be described as RELAXED. Okay it lives of the diving and so but it has a very laid back feeling. So nice to do just that.
I only needed to find out some things for transportation of the bike and where I could get a good repair shop.
After some internet-ing, I found a place in Cairo, but the guy is also a tour operator and is out at the moment so I will stick around in Dahab for a while till I know when he is IN Cairo as I don’t want to stick around that place for too long.
And I also found a pickup that will take me and the Bike to Cairo for 50$ so not too bad, and this way I know that I will not damage the bike more.
24-12-2002 Dahab is making it self ready for X-mas
Fun to see all the Islamic people prepare X-mas for the tourists here, getting dressed as Santa in the hope they will attract more people that way. But I am trying to avoid X-mas for a change! But we couldn?t. . . We (Me, Iris and Florian) had a nice X-mas dinner and a few beers.
25-12-2002 X-mas Day
Sorry to say, but a X-mas without family and friends and therefore no obligations is very good (for a change) And ofcourse the weather here made it a very “different” one.
Actually it was another day of doing nothing!
26-12-2002 Advanced Open Water Course
Today I start my advanced coarse for diving, we did two dives, “El Garden” which is also a very nice snorkeling place, and after that my navigation dive, where I lost my compass half way! But found it again, so did some good navigation
Further I did some relaxing, as that is the second best thing to do here in Dahab.
27-12-2002 Diving into the Deep
Today my Multilevel and Deep dive are planned for my advanced OW course.
Had to wake up even earlier then yesterday, as I was expected at the Dive School at 08:15.
As the two dive sites are rally nice and therefore busy ones my diving instructor wanted to go early. . .
And she actually did a great job as there where almost no other divers by the time we went under. The first one was the Canyon, a deep dive, that has a very large Murray guarding the entrance of the Canyon, absolutely amazing!
The second was “The Bells – Blue Hole” which is a very nice entry site and nice corals but less fish and I had a good practice on my buoyancy as they did a bad job in Lebanon teaching me that, now it is fine!
In the afternoon it was relaxing and an early sleep as I really was finished. . .
28-12-2002 Boat Diving
Had a very bad sleep of say 5 hours and there are 3 dives planned for today.
The first one was a dive around “The Thislegorm” an English ship that was sank by a German Bomber in 1941.
Mr. Cousteau says its one of the three best wreck dives in the world? And it was!
The second dive took us inside the wreck and there are cars, trucks AND motorbikes inside. . . so I took some spare parts for my bike out. . . but it seams to be all English sizes. . . (Kidding)
Then it was a three hour journey back to “Ras Mohammed” Natural Park to do the third dive there. In between there was some sunbathing and a terrific lunch.
Dive three was at Shark Reef, but no sharks. . . but the corals garden there was just too beautiful to describe.
At sunset we sailed into the harbor of Sharm El Sheik, glad that I don?t stay in this town! It?s really touristy on by far not as relaxed as Dahab, so back into the bus to go back to Dahab, to meet some Dutch Over Landers (Bert and Francoise) who did this first stretch in 20 days! (As my planning was. . .)
Had a few beers with them and it was really funny to talk Dutch again as I haven’t done that is 2 month (except a little in Turkey after the first week) I think in English now and to hear me speak Dutch was VERY strange. . .
And after my 4th beer that day and three dives it was time to move to my bed as it was a feeling as if I was still on the boat
25-11-2002 UN (UNIFIL)
As the diving instructor did not have time for me today I decided to go to the south of Lebanon. There is a UN mission there called UNIFIL and as I had an invitation from a Indian UN-worker there I decided to go and meet him.
On my way down I drove through the town of Saida. And As I crossed the check point entering the town a sleepy military officer started Jellying at me after I crossed. I pretended I did not hear him and just drove on. In the middle of town I was stopped by a police officer that only spoke Arabic and I still don’t so… But some bystanders spoke English and told me that Bikes are not allowed in Saida. (I all ready knew that as the Dutch Embassy told me but I just gave it a try. Only I did not know the reason.) After waiting 20 minutes he just waived me on and I was on my way to my final destination for the day.
The roads got worse as I was heading south but Dipak (the Indian guy) was waiting for me at the UN post and showed me around the place and had some great Indian food with some of his friends. (The next day the food was not so good any more… at least not for my stomach). I slept at his place and went back to Beirut the next day.
26-11-2002 AVOIDING SAIDA
On my way to the south I could pretend not to know about bikes being forbidden in Saida, but on my way back I could not fake that any more. So I decided to head into the mountains and avoid Saida that way. By now I also know the reason bikes are forbidden there. . . It is because the killed five judges from the back of a bike and never caught the guys who did it because they where too fast on the bike.
So without a map I headed into the mountains where they’re no signposts so locals helped me out to find my way back to Beirut.
In the afternoon I did a nice dive and was finally able to clear my ears properly! So now I loved it.
27-till-29-11-2002 NOT MUCH
Strolling around Beirut, doing some shopping, Internet, Diving and Movies, as there is the European Film Festival in Beirut. Went to two of them, one German movie Called “Berlin is in Germany” and a Dutch one “The Black Meteor” Both the directors where there and you could ask them questions about the movie, which was really good.
And further, I relaxed!
30-11-2002 TO SYRIA AGAIN
Called the Sudan Embassy in the morning and they still have not heard a thing so I decided to go en route again and call them from neighbouring countries as they will send it to Cairo anyway. Plan was to go to Damascus and stay there for the night. Only 200 km so no hurries.
In Damascus I tried to fiend the “Lonely Planet – cheapies”, which took me quite some time but a friendly German Cyclist told me where it was and also told me there where to German Motor bikers in the some hotel! The first Overlanders they met and I met!
The are on there way to Australia, but don’t know yet if they will go via India or Africa. (They decided in the end it would be Africa! Good Choice!)
01-12-2002 AROUND DAMASCUS
Did some work on the bike in the morning as my all my lights broke down and visited the Mosque in the Old City and a Hammam in the evening which was really good and should have done that way before! Had Dinner with the four Germans.
Went to one of the most southern towns of Syria, Bosra. Known for its Roman Theatre where you can spend the night as well. What I did! After the visit I went for a stroll through the Old City and met a French girl there and was in Bosra for here studies, being Photography. She had all this equipment and till the moment I met here I did not miss my Reflex Camera but NOW I DO! Spend the evening with here and some locals talking about whatever.
03-12-2002 BAD LUCK
From Bosra, Syria I wanted to go to Dana Nature Reserve in Jordan.
About 50 dollars less in my wallet I was in Jordan without much hassle, only that they forgot to stamp my carnet when I entered Syria for the second time and they did not know what to do with it at the exit, but waived me through after 15 minutes.
From the border I drove through very busy Damascus and from there to Madaba, headed for the Ma’in hot springs as the road to there is one of the most stunning in Jordan (And it was!)
But I wanted to go further south so from Madaba I went en route for my night stop, what I wanted to be Kerak.
BUT 5 km outside Madaba I decided to overtake a truck and as I was at his side he decide to overtake a car and pushed me of the road at about 70 km/hour.
I don’t know what happened all after that but as I opened my eyes again, I saw all my gear spread over almost 200 meters with my spare tyres the furthest.
The Tesch boxes and the X-travels frame to fit the boxes completely ripped apart.
After 30 minutes Ambulance arrived and after another 30 minutes the police. They took my stuff to the police station and I went by ambulance to the Madaba Hospital.
At the hospital they took some X-rays and nothing was broken, only a bruised finger and very bruised left foot. (I should have bought the real off road boots and nothing would be wrong ;-( )
The police came to pick me up to see if I had all my stuff and take a statement and transported me and my stuff to a hotel in town. And been told to report at the police station the next day at 0900 hours.
I had a good sleep as the painkiller they gave me did its job very well!
04-12-2002 They gave ME a fine!
Woke up to late and got at the police station around 09:30 but nobody seemed to bother, they are all so friendly to me, I could not believe. From the station I was transferred to court to explain my accident.
They told me that I made a sudden move and therefore caused an accident (the report in Arabic says that) I explained it was not I that did that but the truck driver! But no the report said it was me so pay 30JD or go to jail! (30JD is 45 dollar). I said I would like to speak with the Police officer that wrote the report because he wasn’t even there when it happened and I explained to him what happened, so %$^%$^*(*&.
The told me to come back in a month time! NO WAY, it is now the 15th of December but I think it is cheaper to just pay the fine and move out of this place! So I decided to come back tomorrow and pay the fine and get all my papers back.
As I come back to the hotel they forgot to tell me that as Ramadan finishes today all the shops and government are closed for 5 days, THANKS!!! (Everybody seems nice, don’t they.)
So now I am stuck here till Tuesday, to pay the fine and go on! And give my foot the best of rest till then.
After that I gave the German bikers a call as he appears to be an expert on bikes and they planned to go south as well. The told me that they will help me out thanks god! That’s a real booster for me! So I will try to make the same luggage system as them as it is SO simple, I wonder why I did not think of that before!
In Holland it is Sinterklaas today, something you celebrate with the family and my first special day without them.
I slept till 14:00 hours and did not do a thing, except that I met some Belgium’s that are going to take some broken stuff home, like my laptop. (The second time I send broken stuff home and I hope the last!)