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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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Old 5 May 2006
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Location: Front Royal, VA
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First Post, Big Decision.... Nairobi to Lake Victoria

Hi, for a brief intro, My name is Mark Salowitz, I'm a happy and contented owner of a 1200GS, who ran into a rather unique opportunity to see the world.

Certain members of my family have lived in Tanzania for several years, and are planning a trip back to Lake Victoria next may for 3 weeks or so, I beleive, most likely flying into Nairobi, and heading down past Killenmenjaro, Serengti NP, Nogorogoro Crater, etc. I've certainly thrown my hat into the ring to go, but I have this burning question in my mind: "Should I take my GS or not".

I've never been outside the US with a vehicle, having always rented locally... never been to an 'undevelopped' country.... assets are the rest of the family will be in a land rover or equiv which would make a nice support vehicle.

I have several questions I need to resolve within myself before making a decision to do it, and I'm asking for sane help in them I am totally new to the idea of 'globetrotting with a bike'

What paperwork is required to do this (bike and body), for Tanzania and Kenya? Visa? Passport Only? Carnet? Registration? Title? Baptismal Certificate?

Is it possible to ship the Bike on the same flight I am on both ways, and how do I set that up?

Is it safe?

Should I try and rent a bike locally or take my GS? (And will I have bad GS karma if I leave her behind?)

Do I need shots?

What questions do I not know to ask?

I'm usually pretty resourceful, but takign a first few steps into a new world, I feel liek a stranded babe with only a dream within my grasp and a set of wheels to achieve it.... without any concept of the worldy realities of what I want to do.

Please help Thank you,

Mark aka Belg
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Old 5 May 2006
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Location: Settling into PE, RSA
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Yes it is most certainly possible...anything is possible. Can I recommend that you spend a couple of hours (or days) reading through the various posts on this website. (and the menu on the left). Every single one of your questions has a detailed answer one click of the search function (on the function bar just up and to the right) away.

With very little research you will find more questions to ask and more answers to find etc etc happy hunting. This will also guide you very quickly to any specific areas or concern which people on this site will be most willing to respond to.
If there's a will there's a way so I will anyway!
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Old 5 May 2006
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I absolutely will do that. The idea is borderline becoming an obsession :=) I still haven't pitched it to the ancestors yet, and I'm already seeing visions of Kili through my faceplate... a faceplate I know I won't be using if I go :=)
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Old 5 May 2006
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Step 1 done. Pitched to Ancestors. Uncle's answer pending, Father's favorable and indicative of another one. Looks like the trip is on, but need to discuss the wheels face to face :=) But the idea is on the table!
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Old 2 Jun 2006
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I'm in Nairobi now (have been here for about a month, working), and I get up to Lokichoggio (near the Kenya - Sudan - Uganda border) about once a week.

You could certainly do the trip you plan with a GS - the roads are not the greatest - they are paved, but full of potholes - but that would not be a problem for you or the bike.

The biggest problem you would face is logistics along the way. I think you would need to pay careful attention to where you plan to overnight along the way, and security for your moto when you overnight. You're not going to find any kind of hotel accommodation along that route that meets even the most minimal standards for cleanliness or security.

To put it differently - you don't have to worry about fuel, road conditions, stuff like that, but you will have to pay a lot of attention to the things you would normally take for granted, such as where to sleep, or where to eat. There are NO tourists of any kind who use those routes - everyone who comes to Africa to visit Kenya flies into the game parks, etc. directly from Nairobi via small aircraft.

You will probably also find that importing your motorcycle into Kenya will be a nightmare of unprecedented proportions, even if you get the carnet and all that sorted out ahead of time. I strongly advise that you arrange for some local assistance (e.g. a freight forwarder, custom broker, etc. who has done moto imports before) to assist you with the importation of the moto.

The Kenyan authorities are in the midst of a big crackdown on imports of vehicles that have not had tax paid on them (auto import taxes here are about half the value of the vehicle), and even though you see yourself as just a 'simple tourist', all the authorities at the airport will see you as someone who intends to sell the moto within Kenya before you leave, without paying tax on it. So, don't expect a trouble-free passage through customs.
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Old 2 Jun 2006
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Originally Posted by msalowit
Do I need shots?
Yes, for sure. You don't need shots for exotic diseases - other than perhaps Yellow Fever, which is more of a paperwork issue (crossing borders) than a health issue, but you do need shots for the childhood diseases that used to be common in North America 50 years ago, but are almost unheard of now - for example, measles, mumps, diptheria, tetanus, polio, stuff like that.

You will also need to take tablets of some kind as prophylaxis (a preventative measure) to reduce the risk of getting malaria. Your government has an excellent website that you can consult for advice - it is http://www.cdc.gov/
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