"From Isiolo to Moyale at the border to Ethiopia is one of the most challenging and feared roads by all travellers doing a Cape to Cairo trip due to a very bad gravel road and reports of bandits in the area. This stretch of 260 km gravel presented to us - rocks (many!), sandy patches, desolate desert scenes, even green valleys with trees, camels, donkeys, a jackal, bushbaby, mud and even some rain! The terrain is really harsh and we marvel at the fact that people can survive in this area. We managed to successfully complete this section in three days and the bikes survived the battering with only one flat tyre along the way. Nevertheless I was very relieved when we finally crossed the border into Ethiopia."
Tania and Francois Steyn, South Africa, in Kenya, 200cc Motomia road bikes
"Three skiffs were nosed up to the bank, engines still running to keep them together and in place against the strong current. We unload all our gear, then Wade takes the plunge and rides down the muddy bank first. It takes 5 guys to man handle Smokey onto the boat. Half and hour later, Aialik and Kev's bike are tied down. We are ready to go! It doesn't look right. It doesn't feel right. The bike makes the boat look tiny, and how the centre of gravity is low enough to prevent capsizing neither Wade nor I have a clue. Our little boats gingerly pull off the bank. Everyone, including the drivers hold their breath. They are looking pale, palms sweaty. I am happy to see Wade's boat backing out first. As it floats off, everyone sucks in a long overdue lung full of air. We just might make it after all!"
Wade Stubbs and Philip Atkinson, Australia, crossing from Mexico to Guatemala by boat
"Honestly, we started to doubt whether we should go south into Mexico after all the warnings! Someone really asked us whether we would carry a gun on the bikes, and if not, we should definitely not drive into 'scary Mexico'! The prediction by most people was that we would be shot, raped, murdered and robbed within the first week. Now that we are in Mexico for just over six weeks, I think we owe the Mexican people, country and wonderful hospitality this story; this country is great and the people are even better! To whomever is in doubt: get your ass on the bike and drive up here! ."
Daan Stehouwer and Mirjam van Immerzeel, Netherlands, in Mexico
"...Top tip for anyone travelling to Cairo: Do as the locals do, and let Allah guide you through the maelstrom. Alternatively, leave your bike at home. I'd heard all the stories, but had taken them with a pinch of salt. But the locals are maniacs - I've never seen such poor driving. As long as your horn works, you have a right to the smallest of gaps. Even if your car doesn't look big enough for the space, you have to fill it, otherwise someone else will. The badly-maintained pick-ups that act as buses, and the minibuses, coaches and lorries are seemingly all out to kill you, and even if there are only two lanes painted on the road, it doesn't really mean two, it means four, and sometimes five if there's enough space. And the horn isn't used aggressively in general, it's more of an 'I'm here' beep, or an 'I'm coming through' indication. And just because you're on the correct side of the road doesn't mean you won't meet someone coming the opposite way straight towards you, just because it's quicker for him to get where he wants to go. The only rule is that there are no rules. Learn that and you'll be fine. ."
Bob and Sheila Oldfield, UK, in Egypt
"Not that I wanted it to happen, but it simply had to - just too long time since my last stunt. I must say, it was a thrill and still is riding down those gravel roads! Feel the bike sliding from side to side when the rear tyre is about to pass its limit and grip on the gravel, while a sky of dust is raising behind me as long as the eye can see. I would kill myself if I had a 990 Adventure! Bump and there I lay in the curve with the bike next to me, it all went so fast... It means work in Santiago. In fact I was thinking about having an accident that morning when I got out of the bag."
Mick Hoy, Denmark, in Chile
"I was on America's loneliest road (route 50) heading across the Nevada desert in the middle of a thunder storm. I was by far the tallest (and only metallic) object in the desert. A sitting target for a bolt of lightning. And then it happened, a huge crack of thunder and then I saw a streak of lightning off to my right. I was stone cold petrified. I heard another roll of thunder. A few seconds later two bolts of lightning. One some way off to my left and the second much closer. It cracked right across the sky ahead of me and right across the road from my right to left. I actually ducked down on the bike (as if that was going to make any difference). Should I speed up? Slow down? Get off the bike and lie down in the middle of the desert???"
Dom Giles, UK, in Nevada
"We come upon our biggest and deepest water crossing on this trip. Mike tests the depth of the water first to determine the best route to take. Then he confirms with the locals that we are heading in the right direction. The locals watch with great interest as Mike starts the crossing. We did not realize how far the motorcycles were submerged in the water until watching the video. Luckily the motorcycle does not suck in water or stall."
Mike and Ruby, Canada, in Mongolia
"Leaving Magadan, my first day on the dirt roads, incredible people living a really rough life who housed us for the night...We rode last night until Midnight... really pushing my limits.. Exhausted both mentally and physically from the rough roads, but we got there.. I get slower as I get more tired.. and poor Walter is very very patient with me.. he will deserve a medal if I can make it to Irkutsk ;-) He is a really good teacher, and I have learned so much riding in the last 2 days."
Sherri Jo Wilkins, Australia/USA, in Siberia
"We were feeling pretty spooked when we went into Guatemala. Everybody we'd met so far regaled us with tales of violence. Checking it out on the internet only added to our concern. The US government website lists in detail over a hundred serious armed robbery and assaults on US citizens alone over the last year, the last being a couple of weeks back – all in the areas we planned to visit...
In the morning we woke up to find hundreds of big bikes in the church plaza, so we loaded up and joined them and were immediately surrounded by bikers chatting and taking our photos. My attention was caught by the sight of four burly, shaven-headed, heavily tattooed bikers, heads bowed as they and their bikes were blessed by a diminutive priest. However, something told me not to get my own camera out at this point..."
Sheonagh Ravensdale and Pat Thomson, UK, in Guatemala
"I spent my last night at The Outpost in Arusha, and early the following morning, set off for Kenya. It was raining again, and I debated whether or not I should get my rain gear out, but decided against it. It seemed that the rain was just part of a few isolated showers that would clear up north of the town...
I spent the first half hour trying to extricate myself from this frontier town, and by the time I finally got onto the A104, the Garmin Girl and I had 'had a few words' and were no longer on speaking terms. She had taken me on what seemed like a tour of the entire town. down dirt tracks, through areas that were awash in mud and puddles of dirty water and around just about every traffic circle in Arusha. In exasperation, I finally resorted to ignoring her altogether and asked directions from half a dozen people, before managing to point the Big Fella in the general direction of the Kenyan border."
Ronnie Borrageiro, South Africa, in Tanzania
"Just wanted to extend congratulations on the 100th edition of Horizons Unlimited e-zine. You've certainly played an important role in uniting the global community of adventure travelers and given them all a home away from home. Always an excellent read. Great job." John Campbell, Canadian Biker Magazine
"Another fine issue of the e-zine! I think I was one of the 170 subscribers to that first issue and I've loved every single one since. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration, ever since that BMW MOA National Rally in Missoula in 1998 Audrey and I have been absolutely captivated. Life changing? For sure!" Ekke, Canada
Are you an Overland Adventure Traveller?
Does the smell of spices wafting through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing Guatemala? Then this is the site for you!
Hosted by Grant and Susan Johnson, RTW 1987-1998