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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 3 Oct 2012
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Cairo to Nairobi - how fast?

Having done Cape Town to Nairobi, I would very much like to do Nairobi to Cape Town. My only problem is that, as always, I will be pressed for time and will need to travel fast. Leading me to the following questions?

-Flying my bike in and out from Norway - is it better to start in Nairobi and finish in Cairo, or the other way round? Please comment?

-Which is the quickest "safe" route?

-Riding 6-8 hour days on a f650gs Dakar, with no resting days, how long would this take and how many kms/day should I expect to average including border crossings?

-List of towns/places good for spending the night - so to help me "plan" legs and contingencies.

-Time expected to spend at various border crossings and suggested towns to spend the night on each side of the border to avoid riding after dark

-Considerations regarding ferry crossing? I.e. special time tables, etc?

-What pace I should be able to expect on various stretches?

-Is three weeks possible without being overly ambitious? Please comment.

-Any particular time of year that I should avoid, i.e. muddy roads in Ethiopia?

-Time I should expect for the logistical nightmares of getting my shipped bike out of storage, and then getting it shipped home. Last time, getting the bike on the road after having it shipped to South Africa only took a couple of hours. Sorting the shipment it out of Nairobi on the other hand took three days, even though it was all supposedly sorted out before hand.

-Riding Cape Town to Nairobi was a breeze. Even on a classic Vespa scooter it only took three weeks... I expect this to be tougher. Then again, I will be riding a much more suitable bike with more grunt, longer range, better reliability, better comfort, etc.

-Any good ride reports?

-Any advice and comments would be highly appreciated...
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Old 3 Oct 2012
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelie View Post
Having done Cape Town to Nairobi, I would very much like to do Nairobi to Cape Town.

-Any particular time of year that I should avoid, i.e. muddy roads in Ethiopia?
You probably dont want to go back to Cape Town but rather go to Cairo dont you? Ethiopia has quite good roads so dont worry about mud only about animals on the road. The hardest part will be the 300 km Gravel road north of Kenya calles Marsabit Road. The road north of Sudan should be finished bay now so this will avoid you the three days of sand ride i had:

Transafrika - Motorbike travel tour through africa part 1

To get the Visa for Sudan and Egypt takes time also to cross the boarders you will lose at least one day each and from Sudan to Egypt you will have to take a two days ferry wich as far as i remember only goes once a week...

Have fun, Tobi
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Old 3 Oct 2012
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One thing to keep in mind when choosing a direction are the logistical pinch points that can dramatically alter your ability to finish your trip in your alloted time.. One, is the Aswan to Wadi ferry which only runs once a week. Two, is customs clearance through Cairo.

On the face of it, one would think that it would be easier to make a ferry that is at the beginning of your trip rather than at the end so starting in Egypt makes sense from that perspective.

The big wild card in all this is that clearing customs at the airport is something that you should really research. Stories abound about people having a terrible time clearing customs when arriving with vehicles as sea cargo, i.e. days. Strangely enough, when arriving by ferry from Jordan, it's a slow process but reliably can be done in a few hours.

The conundrum is that the exporting process from Cairo might be as difficult which means that you are simply postponing the unknown to the end of your trip. Leaving ahed of your bike is never a good feeling.

You may want to consider shipping into some other country such as Jordan instead and then taking the ferry across. At the other end, you have already experienced shipping out of Nairobi so you know how that will look like.

Perhaps someone will chime in and confirm that shipping by air into Cairo is doable and then all will be golden. However, Egypt is one place where clearing customs can be a huge wild card.
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Old 3 Oct 2012
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Your argument makes sense...

What about the Aswan-Wadi ferry... vehicles go on the barge that takes 2-3 days, plus up tp a day to unload if things go pear shaped...while passengers go on the passenger ferry that takes 18-24 hours??? Is it possible to get the bike onto the "people ferry" to shave off two days?

Here is a write up of the process by car (fantastic post by 2cvfred) http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...fa-ferry-32630
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Old 3 Oct 2012
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Wheelie,

if you go North, the barge will "usually" go on Wednesday (no bet on this!), arriving in Aswan on a Thursday or Friday, meaning that you can only start your customs rallye on Sunday, probably not being able to leave Aswan before Monday. And you will have to be in Wadi Halfa as early as Monday night / Tuesday morning in order to do the paperwork.

The way Southward with the ferry leaving Aswan "regularly" on a Monday (again: no bet on this!) is therefore usually better, arriving in Wadi Halfa on Tuesday afternoon, making it possible - if everything works out - to leave Wadi Halfa on Thursday, before the weekend.

Greetings,
Achim
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Old 3 Oct 2012
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My impression is that bikes usually go on the passenger ferry. We loaded six on at once but that was the max. that they could squeeze on as they sit basically in the central passage way.

If the numbers were higher, I suppose they may try to make you put your bike on the car ferry, if one is running that week, but you would be pretty unlucky to rock up and have that many bikes leaving on the week you decided to go.
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Old 3 Oct 2012
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MountainMan,

how and how early before departure did you go about getting the tickets. And, what is the risk not getting the bike on the ferry? Are there a lot of bikes going this way once a week?

Can anyone else confirm this?
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We bought ours a day or two before, you have to return your Egyptian plates and stuff before you leave and that takes most of a day.

I would say your risk is low that you would not get on but when it's a week delay and you only have three I would try to secure/buy a ticket ahead of time. You can track down a number for the guy in Aswan and see how you can reserve a spot as best you can, but as you can imagine there's not really a internet site where you can pre buy your ticket.
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