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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 1 Jun 2004
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Has anybody done sahara trip in summer?

Hello,

as I asked in topic, I'm wonder is it some kind of horror to do overland trip in summer?

We're leaving for RIM in second half of June and we're going to go inland (Adrar, Tagant). I know that there will be really hot but I hope that with about 10 litres per person a day we can do this.

And what about sand storms? Is it true that in summer period storms are more frequent?

What do you think about? Someone did it in July?

Cheers

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Pawel Kanik
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  #2  
Old 1 Jun 2004
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Morocco in August.

Libya, Algeria, Niger July/August (twice).

All times, though, in 4x4, not on a bike.

I like the fact that you wake in the morning and it's hot - you also have the desert to yourself. Just make sure you know what you are doing, and that your kit (particularly vehicle) is up to the added strain.

Sam.

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  #3  
Old 1 Jun 2004
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You can expect daily maximum temps in the mid to high 40s (in the shade, that is). The day will start with minimum temperatures of around 30 degrees.

Make sure the vehicle's cooling system is up to the job.

June and July is the dustiest month for this part of the Sahara. If you don't experience dust storms then the visibility will be very low owing to the dust content in the first 3 km of the atmosphere. When flying over this part of the Sahara in July at alt of 10 000 m, it is often not possible to see the surface even on a cloud free day.

Happy travels!
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  #4  
Old 2 Jun 2004
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I crossed Sudan in August (hotter then July) and it was doable. It was impossible for the body to absorb enough water and I got more and more dehydrated. After three days I was pretty gone, I could hardly talk and was weak.
There was a lot of wind, but no storms, coming from the north.

Remember that there is no shadow, a flat tyre in 50°+ will set you back 5-7 liters of water. If there is wind there is also a nightmare to patch the hole. The “glue” dries in seconds and it gets full of sand.
Take some spare tubes and plenty of water!

Anyway, it was a nice trip:-)
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  #5  
Old 2 Jun 2004
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Thank you guys for giving me some hope

I've already mounted huge oil cooler for my bike. Furthermore I'll wear camel bag for drinking during the ride.

I believe that everything will be ok.

Thanks again

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  #6  
Old 4 Jun 2004
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Me, now (well, the far south of Tunisia & Egypt next week. Then Jordan & Syria).

Very hot, and pistes being covered by moving dunes can turn easy routes into complete hell - have to ask / wait for others returning to know. Have also been caught in a sandstorm in the Chott El Djerid (no shelter) which was a nightmare, making my face really sore even with a cheche and stripping stickers off my tank...

Agree about more strain on bike!

The instant you stop you have to take off clothes, and you become instantly soaked in sweat. Simple digging becomes exhausting and sometimes you cannot drink enough.

Driving from 0700-1100 and 1500 until dark is not so bad, but the right clothing is vital (I have SixSixOne armour vest, CoolMax shirt, MX lid, light gloves, Hein Gericke tuareg shorts, knee braces and MX boots, and a cheche for my neck).

Getting stuck and ending up in featureless desert in the middle of the day is no fun, and you would be surprised, even if you are well-prepared, how hard it is - like someone said, there is just no shade / respite AT ALL. Scary.

I have the 3L CamelBak MULE bag. As well as the water I carry a Sigg bottle of rehydration solution and my medkit all the time (and some dates and baclava sweets). I have to fill the water up twice per day, just from riding.

For the bike, 20-50 oil and an oil cooler. Try not to work it too hard. Remember that air-cooled bikes radiate heat onto your legs, and stop you from cooling down as much, especially when you are standing & gripping the seat / tank with your legs.

I keep getting vapour locks in my fuel filter, even though it is as far from the engine as I could get it. Wrapping it in foil helps, but even so, I have to squirt mine with the CamelBak sometimes

There is nobody on the pistes, which is wonderful, but a bit more dangerous. If you can (like here in Tn), check out and in with authorities at either end of the piste. Even local people often avoid travelling in the summer!

If you ever find youself thinking "it will be OK" you have to STOP and check again!

HTH - probably more tips as I find out the hard way in the coming months!
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Old 9 Jun 2004
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The bottom line is, although doable if most things go according to plan, you’re not going to have much fun. So what’s the point? To enjoy the desert you have to be comfortable and that will never be the case in the summer. That’s coming from a guy living in Egypt.

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  #8  
Old 9 Jun 2004
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Hi,

Couldn't agree more with A.B. Have been in RIM in September and half the fun went with the heat...

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  #9  
Old 9 Jun 2004
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We spent a few weeks in and around Wadi Rum/Aqaba (Jordan) in Aug, in a petrol Series III. It got up to 50 something degrees in the cab at times. It got so hot that at one stage, whilst trying to extract ourselves out of some soft sand, the fuel was evaporating before it hit the fuel pump. We had no option but to camp where we were. All fine in the morning.

If you don't have a choice about when you go, I would still say do it, it was great fun and we "forgot" it was midsummer. But don't stray far from civilisation unless you are EXTREMELY prepared and experienced.

Mad dogs, Englishmen and Poles...

[This message has been edited by ollieholden (edited 09 June 2004).]
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  #10  
Old 19 Jun 2004
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Hi,
I did Egypt (Siwa area) and Sudan (Wadi Halfa to Khartoum) in August. The cars were not air conditionned. Very doable and we had really nice trips. The bottom line is:
- stop in the shadow between mid day to 4 PM
- be sure to really have much water available. It was not the case in the northernmost part of Sudan, and we had to make clean water by filtering and purifing water from the Nile. Not something I will do again...
- dont wander too far away from settlements. Basically, you should be able to stop at villages every night.

Hope it was of any help

Damien
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  #11  
Old 30 Jul 2004
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I'm back... we did it.

I must agree with all of you told me that there's really hot in summer.

Mauritania is hell on earth at this time.
Much more than 40 degrees in shadow (there was no shadow at all), sand storms, heavy and hot winds. But it was real adventure when we was completly alone in the desert.
It was hard but fantastic experience. I plan to return there but definitely in winter time.

We had to reduce our trip a little inter alia in cause of the weather conditions and our final itinerary was: Guergarat-Nouadhibou-Choum-Atar-Chinguetti (via New Pass)-Atar (via Chinguetti Btah)-Terjit-Akjoujt-Nouakchott-Nouadhibou (via truck piste)-Guergarat. Of course european and moroccan transit also. 14000 kilometers total.

Now resting and planing next sahara trip.
Greetings

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  #12  
Old 30 Jul 2004
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Gratulacje, Pawle. Teraz wiesz, ze zyjesz!

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