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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 5 Feb 2004
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Crossing Africa on 2 motorbikes - Start September 2004

Dear friends,
is anybody crossing Africa too?
We will start September 2004 with our XT 600 Ténérés and ride more or less down at the "westcoast".
We think, it is good to to know, who is on (or off) the road at that time.

We will although thank you for good infomations etc.

------------------
Best wishes - RalEva

http://www.Motorradnomaden.de

The homepage has a translation service!
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Best wishes
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Ralf & Eva

http://www.Motorradnomaden.de
around the world on 2 motorbikes

The homepage has a translation service!!
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  #2  
Old 5 Feb 2004
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Hi Ralf and Eva,

me and my girlfriend are planning more or less the same. Most probably we'll spend august in Spain (getting used to a jobless life) and hop to Morocco around the beginning of september.
We also want to travel down the west coast (all the way down to SA) and go back up on the east coast. Don't know if our timetables would match: we want to take it slow as we have two years available (not sure yet if we'll spend all this time in Africa).
Anyway if the timing would fit it could be interesting to have some company at least for some parts of the trip (especially Congo and Angola).
In case you hear about two Belgians in a short Mercedes 508 van, that's us!
Greetings,

Koen
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  #3  
Old 5 Feb 2004
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Hi, me and my girlfriend are doing the same in August 2004 on our 2 Transalps. Also want to go down the west coast to SA - maybe work there a bit to supplement our funds. Then back up the east coast. We want to take as long as it takes. Would really like to share info during this preparation time and also would be great to meet up with you all somewhere along the way!!!

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My website
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Africa Trips web journal
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  #4  
Old 3 Mar 2004
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been down that route last year, if you need any info just ask. enjoy.......
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  #5  
Old 4 Mar 2004
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Hi Mavis,

do you have some kind of route description or diary about your trip? If so i would be really interested in a copy of it (especially any info on the route you took from Nigeria to Namibia would be welcome).

By the way, did you travel by motorbike or by car? Me and my girlfriend want to do the journey by van, but i'm not quite sure yet on how to cross the Congo river.
I've read some travel reports about putting cars on a barge and unloading them in Kinshasa by crane but i don't particularly fancy this idea. The barge trip could be a great experience but it seems the rate for using the crane is outrageous. Anyway, if there's no other option...
Greetings,

Koen
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  #6  
Old 5 Mar 2004
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Koen,

Just happend to be in the same party as Mavis, there is a (short) travelreport on

http://www.travelmaniacs.nl/
"Reisverslag Meindert Baars Afrika"

which also includes a map of the route taken...

At the time we also met a discovery whom used a barge to get accross the congo river to Kinshasha... I'll have a look for their website...

GrtZ
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  #7  
Old 6 Mar 2004
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Found it;

http://www.camelworld.com/

Talk to this guy
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  #8  
Old 11 Jun 2004
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Hi,
Myself and my friend (Dominator and NTV650 respectively) travelled from Lagos, Nigeria to Dublin, Ireland in 2000, without any major problems.

We travelled through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Spain and France.

Any specific questions, just ask.

I also have a spreadsheet with all the information regarding route, equipment, costs, etc. If you're interested, mail me and I can send it on. Some info might be of use; if nothing else it might help you organise your own information.

Enjoy the trip!
Ken (mad jealous, to be honest)
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  #9  
Old 12 Jun 2004
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Hi Guys,
Down the West Coast and up the East Coast of Africa in 2000 on a BMW F650, in 4 months and 7 days. Wrote a book about it with exact distances and maps, and places to stay, and other niceties, incl. color photos. Check out "Books" on this site. Author: Werner Bausenhart. Title: Africa Against the Clock on a Motorcycle.
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  #10  
Old 15 Jun 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by KenKeller:
Hi,
Myself and my friend (Dominator and NTV650 respectively) travelled from Lagos, Nigeria to Dublin, Ireland in 2000, without any major problems.

We travelled through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Spain and France.

Any specific questions, just ask.

I also have a spreadsheet with all the information regarding route, equipment, costs, etc. If you're interested, mail me and I can send it on. Some info might be of use; if nothing else it might help you organise your own information.

Enjoy the trip!
Ken (mad jealous, to be honest)
Greetings, Ken

we have a plan to travel in Marocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania and possibly in Mali too in this august. I have a question about the road conditions in Western Sahara, Mauritania and Mali - was it doable on the streetbike too as with enduro? I see your fellow had a NTV650. I have a similar Suzuki GSX 600 F, with full touring equipment and taking girlfriend with me as well, so the bike will be quite heavy.
What tyres your fellow used under NTV, was the bike reliable on the open sand with full luggage in Mauritania and Western Sahara? What roads were in that part of world mostly - gravel roads, paved ones? How much sand paths had to be taken?

Hope you can give some information about that. With the Sun, Margus
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  #11  
Old 16 Jun 2004
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Hi Margus,
I've answered your questions (IN CAPITALS) below.

I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE ROAD CONDITIONS IN WESTERN SAHARA, MAURITANIA AND MALI.

Western Sahara:
The main North-South road along the coast, through Laayoune and on to Tarfaya, is tarred, single carriageway and generally in good condition. It has some potholes, but nothing like as much as in parts of the main roads in Mali, for example. However (travelling north to south: opposite to our direction) there is a police checkpoint a few kilometres from the border on the Western Sahara side, and beyond that the the road deteriorates. As far as I am aware this section of the road is known as the "Spanish Road". It was once tarred but now badly potholed, but still quite easily passable, albeit at a slow enough speed. There is a further army(?) checkpoint at the border and beyond this point you are off road on sand and rough, gravel tracks. Again it is passable, but we did get bogged down in some of the softer sand.
This section is reportedly mined and staying along the 'official' route is highly recommended. (Grant can you confirm this please?) Having said that I was travelling with a French overlander in a jeep who had traversed this section several times and followed GPS waypoints that, as far as I know, did deviate from the 'official' route, so I can't comment on the condition of the surface along the 'official route'.
I am not recommending deviating from the 'official' route. I would recommend you find out the latest information relating to this section before you depart and be sure of where you should ride. There have been casualties in the last number of years, to my knowledge.

Mauritania:
Once you cross the border, it's off-road all the way to Nouakchott.
The exact type of terrain varies: soft sand, compacted/firm sand, some rockier areas, beach (when the tide is out). All of this was negotiable, but the soft sand was problematic. We got bogged down many times and needed a push from our friends in the jeep. At least there will be two of you-one to ride, one to push!
Once in Nouakchott you're back on tarred roads with the odd pothole, but you won't encounter any difficulties.
We travelled to Mauritania from Senegal sticking to the coast: you mention Mali, so I'm assuming you're travelling eastwards in Mauritania into Mali. I have no experience of these roads.

Mali:
We travelled along the road from Bamako to Kayes, (on the Mali-Senegal border) and it's almost entirely off-road. We went through Kita, Mananntali, Bafoulabé and Diamou. The surface is some sand, but mostly rock, dirt. It is also corrugated for long stretches. It's a difficult road but is passable without major problems. It took us 4-5, long, physically demanding days, but was hugely enjoyable and one of the most satisfying parts of the trip. The scenery is beautiful and it's hard to beat camping in the wilderness. Real overlanding!
Some sections of the road would be problematic if there was heavy rainfall. We were, strictly-speaking, travelling during the rainy season, but there was no rainfall and the roads were dry.
Prior to reaching Bamako we were travelling on the main route running north south that runs from Abidjan in Cote d'Ivoire. It's tarred, but quite badly potholed. It's still very passable, only requiring slowing down to 1st-2nd gear for the worst sections.


WAS IT DOABLE ON THE STREETBIKE TOO AS WITH ENDURO?
There was no significant difference between the two bikes over these routes. It is quite an eye-opener to see just what you can negotiate on a bike, and that includes street bikes. They both progressed well along these roads.


I HAVE A SIMILAR SUZUKI GSX 600 F, WITH FULL TOURING EQUIPMENT AND TAKING GIRLFRIEND WITH ME AS WELL, SO THE BIKE WILL BE QUITE HEAVY.
I reckon my bike plus luggage and extra fuel weighed 240-250 kg, without me on board. I had no problems with that weight on all surfaces (tarred, rocky, dirt, corrugated). The only place that was difficult was soft sand.
I completed the off-road section from Nouakchott to Nouadhibou ( at the Mauritanian-Western Saharan border) with no luggage. Our friends in the jeep carried that for us. I have to confess I would be apprehensive about this section with a full load of luggage. Having said that, plenty of other overlanders have traversed this section without much complaint. I have a feeling it might have been down to my tyres. See below.


WHAT TYRES YOUR FELLOW USED UNDER NTV
On my Dominator I had standard-issue Bridgestone Trail Wings: a sort of middle-ground tyre suitable for on-road and light-off road. By the time I got to Nouakchott though, most of the rubber was worn away and my tyres were almost smooth and didn't offer much more grip than street tyres.
My friend had regular street tyres (predominantly smooth with some tread for traction in the wet).
Like I said, we did bog down a lot. We met some Italians that were running on Michelin Deserts and they seemed to have a lot more grip on the sand. If I were to do the trip again I would either fit specific sand tyres from the outset, or bring a set with me and swap them over for those sections that are predominantly sandy.


WAS THE BIKE RELIABLE ON THE OPEN SAND WITH FULL LUGGAGE IN MAURITANIA AND WESTERN SAHARA?
Yes, it (NTV650) was quite reliable, but not 100% problem-free. It did start to smoulder due to an electrical fault caused by a corroded electrical connection. (The bike had been soaked in sea-water as we rode along the beach--avoid at all costs!!) We got the connection repaired in Dakhla.
Also the steel frame that supports the headlight, front fairing, etc. did snap over the off-road section from Nouakchott to Nouadhibou, but I'm sure the damage had been accumulating a long time before that. We also got that repaired in Dakhla.
No reliability problems with the Dominator.


WHAT ROADS WERE IN THAT PART OF WORLD MOSTLY - GRAVEL ROADS, PAVED ONES?
In a nutshell:
Lagos to Bamako: paved, badly potholed in places; no problems.
Bamako to Kayes: dirt, rock, sand, corrugated; passable; no major problems, just slow, tiring and fun!
Kayes to Tambacounda: superb; brand-new road; sheer bliss after what we endured before!
Tambacounda to Nouakchott via Dakar: as Lagos to Bamako.
Nouakchott to Nouadhibou: off-road; mostly sand, some soft and problematic, remainder firm and no problem; some rocky sections, no major problem, but again slow, tiring and breath-taking. My own recommendation here would be sand tyres though.
Nouadhibou to Tangier: tarred; some potholes, no problems.


Grant suggested I mail him the spreadsheet I mentioned previously and he will post it in the Countries information section. I will do that over the coming days, hopefully.

Hope this helps. I'll do my best to answer any more questions.

Best regards,
Ken.
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  #12  
Old 16 Jun 2004
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Just want to clarify a small point in my previous post above:
I mentioned "The bike had been soaked in sea-water as we rode along the beach--avoid at all costs!!"

I meant avoid getting your bike soaked in sea water at all costs, not avoid the beach at all costs. The beach is the main route through this part of Africa. There's not much of an alternative.

Ken.
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  #13  
Old 17 Jun 2004
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Ken,

thanks a million for a very informative answer!

Now i'm not sure wheather to go with GSX witch i know good from technical side and on stickytires or swap it for some smaller enduro (Dommie, KLR) witch i don't have time to learn it's technical side but just to hope it works.

Margus
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  #14  
Old 23 Nov 2004
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Hello!

See that the question above is quite old but.. we are on our way from the Netherlands to South Africa, in Ghana now, and planning to take the west route down (Niger,Chad,Cameroon,Gabon, Congo,Cabinda,DRC,Angola...).
From other reports we heard there is a suspension bridge over the Congo River at Matadi.
Is there anyone who wants to join for this part?

Julian & HJ

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  #15  
Old 1 Dec 2004
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Hi Julian,

Christine and I are currently in Lagos (Christine is Dutch also), drop us an email. We should chat etc

Ben & Christine
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