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Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
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  #1  
Old 15 Oct 2001
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sudan and other worries

Hi everyone!
I am planning a motorbike travel from Madrid to Cape Town, starting early days of december. Our direct route starts in Spain, follows to Marseille and Tunisia by ferry, and then the following countries: Lybia, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbawe and South Africa. I have a few Q, I would strongly appreciate some help!
1) Sudanese new embassy in Madrid assures me that there is no big deal with the touristic visa, but they believe it is almost impossible to get the permit for the motorbikes. Any suggestions? I do not see the way through center Africa without crosing to Ethiopia and Kenya through Sudan. Any alternative options, like ferries of any kind or air transport?
2) Algeria seems to have its border closed with Morroco. Anybody succesful on crosing that border? Any other option besides going to Marseille?
Thanks for the help!

Juan Pablo
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  #2  
Old 23 Oct 2001
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Hi Juan

Most people obtain the visa for Sudan in Egypt. Some people have experienced difficulties in obtaining Sudanese visas, others have had no problems. It may depend on your nationality. And people have been going in to Sudan with vehicles, so the Sudanese embassy in Madrid may be misinformed. But the situation is volatile, so it is not possible to be definite.

You should also consider that Sudan is not the safest country to go through, even before the recent terrorist attacks. They have been fighting a civil war for years, and many areas of the country are off limits.

If you are unable to get through Sudan, see posts by Charlie Money with responses in the Trip Transport forum for details on shipping from Aqaba, Jordan to Mombasa, Kenya.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ubb...ML/000143.html

We flew from Cairo to Nairobi with our bike in 1997 because the border between Egypt and Sudan was closed. Our experience is described on the shipping page, but we cannot recommend taking a vehicle into or out of Egypt due to the bureaucracy/hassle involved.
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tri...CairoToNairobi

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Good luck and safe travels!

Susan Johnson
Share the Dream at www.HorizonsUnlimited.com


[This message has been edited by Susan (edited 23 October 2001).]
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  #3  
Old 28 Oct 2001
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Thanks very much for your reply Sue. At last, we´ve decided to fly to SA, buy bikes, drive up to Kenya or Ethiopia and back to SA. It is more realistic, I believe.
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Old 31 Oct 2001
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Juan

That sounds like a much more sensible plan. Several travellers we know have bought bikes in Cape Town with no problems. You can do a circle out of Cape Town through southern and eastern Africa, which I'm sure you will enjoy. How far north depends on how much time you have and what you want to see.

We can highly recommend Namibia, Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe (though Zim is a little less stable than it was in 1997). Lots to see in Tanzania too. Remember it is much slower travelling than in Europe!

Of all the places we've been, Africa is my personal favorite, so I'm envious! See our stories and pictures on Africa and you'll understand why. http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/johnson/Africa.shtml

Susan
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  #5  
Old 31 Oct 2001
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Hi Sue!
Thanks for your new reply, again. Let me ask you a few Q, if you don´t mind (I´ll take a view to the webpage right away).
Bikes: I´ve contacted several people in SA and it seems that buying a BMW GS 80 or 100 should not be a problem. Anyhow, would you suggest to buy them in Cape Town? Johannesburg maybe? Any option better than the other?
On the other hand: route. We know that we will not have the time to visit everything that we want, so, any places to avoid (nothing to see, too boring, bad driving conditions, too difficult...)? I´ve been told that Zambia and Uganda are very much worth it, agree?
We have visas to Mozambique, Tanzania & Ethiopia in advance, but we still have some doubts on which route to follow. We plan to go up north and then south taking another route, but we only have 3 months. Suggestions? Last: any places that are a must?
Cheers,
JP
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  #6  
Old 31 Oct 2001
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Susan, you said driving is slow in Africa. I drove throughout Vietnam last year and it was pretty slow... is Africa slower than that?
JP
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  #7  
Old 2 Nov 2001
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Hi Juan

Gee, lots of questions! I'll try to answer a few.

As to buying a bike - you might have more success in Johannesburg than Cape Town because it's bigger, BUT Johannesburg is not considered to be very safe - carjackings, very bad crime situation. Also, we do have contact info. for Trefco, a BMW dealer in Cape Town that has been of assistance to a number of travellers including us, who you could contact in advance to let them know your plans. They may be willing to agree a buyback price when you finish your trip, or sell the bike on consignment for you.

As to route, we haven't done every country in Africa, so can't comment on some of the ones you mention. Our route was by air into Kenya, then through Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. Highly recommend Namibia for the scenery and the animals, Malawi for the people and some animals, Botswana is more expensive, Zimbabwe was great for elephants in Hwange National Park, also Victoria Falls is worth seeing, but possibly avoid Harare and the bigger towns. Tanzania has the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, as well as Kilimanjaro, but the most popular national parks are hard to get to and expensive.

You can't ride a motorcycle into national parks in most of Africa, only if the main road goes through the park will you be allowed to ride through. So, if you want to see animals, that means find a place to store the bike and go on safari, or rent a 4WD or camper. Best value for that is Namibia in Etosha National Park, our single favorite park in Africa, as you can rent a vehicle and spend as long as you like wandering around. But I am animal crazy, you may not be!

For info and opinions on the other countries in Africa which we haven't seen, you could try Peter and Kay Forwood's website, they're the Aussies who are going round the world on a single Harley, and they went through just about every country in Africa last year.
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~forwoodp/

And, sorry, we've never been in Vietnam so can't compare. There is less traffic in Africa generally, but road conditions in some areas are appalling. Also, they do have a rainy season which varies from area to area, so that may make the roads even worse.

I guess the important thing is just to not be rushed. In three months you can do a leisurely tour of southern Africa, a brisk tour of south and eastern Africa up through Tanzania, or a frantic race to get as far north as Ethiopia and Uganda and back to South Africa. Or, if you didn't want to make the round trip, buy bikes you want to keep and ship them home to Europe from wherever you end up.

Cheers
Susan


[This message has been edited by Susan (edited 02 November 2001).]
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