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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 2 Jul 2004
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Entry to National Parks

I see that most national parks in southern africa don't allow motorcycles in. AS these are some of the best areas and often have good campsites, what have other people done ?

Appreciate any advice

Dave
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  #2  
Old 3 Jul 2004
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Dave,
Seems you might have to join the tourists. Although there are 2 in Kenya that I think do allow m'bikes ( It was a long time ago ). Hells Gate near Naivasha and amother one on a mountain between Nairobi and MT Kenya.

Maybe in other places where there are few big cats or elephants, they let you in aswell.

I'll be interested to see more informative and recent responses.

JT
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  #3  
Old 3 Jul 2004
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I don't think you will find any NP in SA where they let you in with a bike. Namibia is hard to (incl. skeleton coast)..

You can pass Mikuni in Tanzania but you are not allowed to stop other places then a lodge. Usually there is a lot of elephants close to the restaurant (Hmmm, I used six hours through the park...).
You can also pass Chobe (Botswana) but the guards have some kind of radio-contact and they give you a nightmare if you use 4 hours - like me.

I used several months to try to get a permission to go to Serengeti (as a journalist), but I gave up...

For the real stuff you can go to Uganda. They will let you in at both Murchinson Falls NP and Queen Elisabeth NP.
Both parks are nice but I think the only predator in Murchinson Falls NP are crocodiles. (Loads of hippos and Elephants)

In Queen Elisabeth NP you can spot lions and cheetah (with some luck) from your bike. It's absolute fantastic - but not safe at all... Esp where there is a lot of vegetation and the vision is limited..

Take care, have fun!!!
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Old 3 Jul 2004
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Aaah, forgot..
It's not possible to enter Hells Gate on a motorbike anymore, but you can do it on a mountainbike.
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  #5  
Old 10 Jul 2004
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Dave,

check the Beemer (BMW) Club in South Africa. You'll find the link in this forum. They should be able to give you plenty of infos.

Hans
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  #6  
Old 11 Jul 2004
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It is true that you can not enter most NP's in South Africa on a bike.
When I was making a bike trip in South Africa a month ago, I left my bike at Sefapane Lodge in Phalaborwa and I took an guided tour with them for a day.
It does cost money to do that but to have a guide who knows and tells a lot about what you see made the day much more valuable so I think it is worth the money.

Enjoy your trip

Jan Krijtenburg

[This message has been edited by jkrijt (edited 11 July 2004).]
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  #7  
Old 12 Jul 2004
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Quote:
but I think the only predator in Murchinson Falls NP are crocodiles. (Loads of hippos and Elephants)
Actually, there are lions in Murchinson Falls! Several were seen while we were there.
I'd say it was a pretty nice park and worth visiting if bikes are allowed (we where in our LR), and not as crowded as many of the parks in southern africa. Not to mention the most crowded of all: Ngorogoro crater... Which is interesting, but was too zoo like for us.

Erik D.



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  #8  
Old 9 Nov 2004
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You can ride through Chobe Game Reserve in Botswana on the transit route. It runs from the Ngoma Bridge border with Namibia to Kasane. It goes through thick woodland, to the West of the river. I've seen sable antelopes and elephants along it. It has the densest population of elephants of game reserve in Africa. You may, however, not see any animals. Once you get through to Kasane, you can stay right on the edge of the park in the Chobe Safari Lodge (camping, hotel, good restraunts). From there, take the hotel's game drives along the Chobe river front. And don't miss the Fish Eagle river cruise, it is superb. Other good hotels include the Kubu Lodge (great swimming pool, more luxurious, but with camp site), Mowana Lodge (very luxurious), and Chobe Game Lodge (are you royalty?).

[This message has been edited by Roboyobo (edited 08 November 2004).]

[This message has been edited by Roboyobo (edited 08 November 2004).]
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  #9  
Old 8 Mar 2005
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I have now discovered why most NPs don't allow motorcycles into the park, as it is rather bloody dangerous.

Yesterday I rode from Mbeya to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and had to ride through the transit route of the Mukumi National Park. I saw an elephant crossing the road about 15m in front of me, so naturally stopped, but it turned around and started advancing towards me, completely ignoring all the cars behind me, but focused solely on my KTM. I started backpedalling very rapidly, and so it seemed to relax and stood by the right side of the road grazing. So I thought this was my chance to sneak past it on the left, and I started edging by, but it sensed me, reared around and started charging towards me.

Naturally I absolutely shat my pants to see a 2 tonne elephant coming towards me at speed. Fortunately, and I am not sure if this was out of impatience or just blind luck, a minibus coming the other direction started to edge past, momentarily distracting the elephant, and it sort of turned around, and using the bus as a shield I raced past on the left. I kid you not, but before the bus came past, the elephant was less than 5m from my bike and approaching very rapidly.

The moral of the story.....an elephant is really much bigger than your average motorbike, and moves almost as quickly.
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  #10  
Old 11 Mar 2005
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Hi Matt

A quick question or three if you don’t mind.

How long did it take you to ride from Mbeya to Dar? And at what speed? Was the road in good shape?

Glad you survived the elephants! – when I was just a wee lad my family dragged me off to Chobe in Botswana were my dad’s TLC was nearly written off by an angry bull. We were huddled inside and I still have vivid memories of the giant smashing up our vehicle before my dad could get it in gear and speed away.
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Old 11 Mar 2005
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The road is in excellent condition with new tar.

There are a lot of speed humps on the road, both through the national park and at villages along the way. There are also at least a dozen police checkpoints on the way (most closer to Mbeya) that can slow you down, depending if they want to chat or not.

Michelin says that it is 900kms from Mbeya to Dar, but my GPS says it is a bit longer, closer to 940kms. I did it in one day, leaving at 8.30 and arriving at 7.00pm with minimal stops for petrol and a quick drink, and cruising at about 100kms / h. A word of advice, don't time it so you arrive in Dar after dark, as it is traffic chaos on Morogoro road coming into the city, and they have a habit of not turning on the street lights here.

Bike parking is available at both Jambo Inn and Safari Inn on Libya street, although the parking is very small. Both are about 10,000 shillings or US$10 a night for a single with fan. Just follow the road all the way into thge city and turn right at an Oryx petrol station.

Enjoy the ride

cheers

Hope that helps!
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  #12  
Old 11 Mar 2005
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Many thanks. Great help indeed!

The original plan was bush camp off the road or stop off at either Iringa or Morogoro. I am glad to hear it can realistically be done in a single day.
Thanks for the accommodation info… but I plan to leave my bike at Silver Sands Hotel with some of the Overland Trucks and take the overnight cargo ferry to Zanzibar for a few days rest

Don’t look for me on the road… I haven’t left home yet (still need a few $$ before I can take off)

Thanks again

[This message has been edited by LuckyStriker (edited 11 March 2005).]
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  #13  
Old 12 Mar 2005
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You can definately do it in one day, but it is a very long ride. Alternatively, I ran into some people in Dar who recommended you can break your journey at Kisilonza Farm(don't quote me on the spelling) about 350kms from Mbeya. I understand it is supposed to be one of the better campsites in Eastern Africa, but not having been there I can't give it a personal recommendation.

By the time you have saved your $$$ and left, I may still be here, waiting for some tyres to be shipped! (they only sell dodgy V-Rubber tyres here) At least there is always Zanzibar to relax on in the interim.

cheers
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  #14  
Old 14 Mar 2005
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By visiting the South African National Parks website at www.sanparks.co.za and phoning every single one listed I was able to compile the following list on their policy on allowing motorcycles.

It is worth noting that parks that do allow bikes reserve the right to turn you away if you look like a troublemaker!!
Likewise I have found that some parks that normally refuse bikes may allow you in if you phone ahead and ask the park manager nicely.

In time I will post a list of restrictions on other wildlife reserves in South Africa and the Botswana and Namibian National Parks as well.

Addo Elephant National Park - Motorcycles not allowed
+27 (0)42 233 0556/7
Reason given: “Elephants sir… big elephants”

Agulhas National Park – Motorcycle friendly
+27 (0)28 435 6222
Closest city: Cape Town

Augrabies Falls National Park – Motorcycles not allowed
+27 (0)54 452 9200
Reason given: “Motorcycles are not allowed, it’s our policy”

Bontebok National Park – Motorcycles not allowed
+27 (0)28 514 2735
Reason given: “Bikers are hooligans” !!

Golden Gate Highlands National Park – Motorcycle friendly
+27 (0)58 255 0012
Closes city: Maseru

Karoo National Park – Motorcycles allowed after prior arrangement
+27 (0)23 415 2828 / 9
Closest city: Cape Town

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – Motorcycles not allowed
+ 27 (0) 54 561 2000
Reason given: “We have lions sir… lots of hungry ones!”

Knysna National Lake Area – Motorcycle friendly
+27 (0)44 382 2095
Closest city: Port Elizabeth

Kruger National Park – Motorcycles not allowed
+27 (0)13 735 4000
Reason given: “Due to the risk associated with wild animals such as…” blah blah blah…

Mapungubwe National Park – Motorcycles not allowed
+27 (0)15 534 2014
Reason given: “…because we have dangerous animals sir” “…we have giraffe, cheetah and elephants”

Marakele National Park – Motorcycles not allowed
+27 (0)14 777 1745
Reason given: “No, it is the policy of national parks not to allow motorcycles”

Mountain Zebra National Park – Motorcycles not allowed
+27 (0)48 881 2427 or 3434
Reason given: “No!”…*click* - No Reason given – very rude

Namaqua National Park – Motorcycles allowed on all public roads
+27 (0)27 672 1948
Closest city: Springbok

Richtersveld National Park – Motorcycles not allowed
+27 (0)27 831 1506
Reason given: “Motorcycles are too noisy. They disturb the peace and quiet”

Table Mountain National Park – Motorcycles not allowed
021 701 8692
Reason given: “The mountain is inaccessible to all vehicles”

Tankwa Karoo National Park – Motorcycles allowed
+27 (0)27 341-2389
Closest city: Cape Town

Tsitsikamma National Park – Motorcycle friendly
+27 42 281 1607
Closest city: Mossel Bay

Vaalbos National Park – Motorcycles not allowed
+27 (0)53 561 0088
Reason given: “…unsafe due to Rhino and buffalo”

West Coast National Park – Motorcycle friendly
+27 22 772-2144/5
Closest city: Cape Town

Wilderness National Park – Motorcycles allowed on paved roads only
+27 (0)44 877 1197
Closest city: Mossel Bay

PS. If you want more info on the parks themselves you should visit their website
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  #15  
Old 14 Mar 2005
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Wow, Lucky!

now that's thorough investigation!

It is understandable if the game parks are closed for bikers - I don't fancy the idea of ending up as catfood, but I had thought about visiting Richtersveld on the way to Namibia. That means I'll have to get organised some other way.

Hans
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