Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > sub-Saharan Africa

sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11 Oct 2007
HUBB regular
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 73
learning to motorcycle in ghana

i might be going to west africa for a visit and would like to have some independence to travel alone whilst there. my exact desination is as yet undecided, but i am thinking buying a moped/scooter when i get there and then selling it afterwards. the only thing is, i've never ridden one before...

could any of you experts help me with any of the following:

bike - old or new?

i've heared that the honda c90 is a good choice for beginners. i've also seen a cT90 mentioned - is this an off-road version? i mostly want to be able to ride on dirt/gravel roads, and i only want to go slowly so as to admire the views mainly. something that will do 30 or 40 mph will be more than enough. so what do you think - the honda sound good, or something better to look out for? should i buy old or new, and how much should i budget to spend? any tips for reliable dealers in accra or banjul? are helmets available? how do prices compare to morocco?
[EDIT: are there any things i need to keep an eye out for when buying a motor - like common scams, spotting fakes, inferior/switched parts that you know of?]


would you say that a few informal lessons when i'm there would be enough for riding slowly along quiet roads, or is it going to take too long to learn how to even operate the thing? i'm quite a practical person so think i might be OK with the controls providing I just practice loads. what's your opinon?


i think i'm right in saying i don't need a 'carnet' . what about any compulsory insurance i need? how easy is it to get through borders - am i in theory allowed to go through without paying anything?
will i ever be asked to show any kind of license - 'coz i won't have one! should a round west africa trip be pretty hassle free providing i'm cool and know when to grease palms?

all for now, thanks again, dave.

Last edited by panderingpeter; 11 Oct 2007 at 20:09.
Reply With Quote
Old 16 Oct 2007
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: On The Road
Posts: 23
Chinese Bike

Buying a crappy $600 Chinese bike is in my opinion an almost perfect way to travel in West Africa. These are the bikes they use everyday through all their terrible roads and thus the proliferation of cheap spare parts is easy.

You're going to have a great time because although the bikes are a bit rubbish, you'll always be able to get to where you want to go and there's is someone who can fix it on every street corner. Eventually you will be able to do it yourself.

You may aswell buy a new one, its cheap enough.

You will need a driving license because police/customs love to stop you. Do a driving test in West Africa, in Ghana it will only take 1 day or $10 bribe. You will only need to know how to start the bike and stop it again. Its a good idea to get an International Driving License, It took me about 1 day sitting around in Accra (Ghana) to get one.

Buying the bike in a West African ECOWAS country means you should never have issues with carnet, just get temporary permits all the way.

Insurance will be about £10 per year if you buy it in a Francophone country like Mali or Togo and that will give you a Brown card which means it is valid in all ECOWAS countries. Its not worth the paper its written on but at least that makes you legal.

Always wear a helmet, don't be lulled into a false sense of security just because everyone else doesn't bother. There are fatal motorcyclist head injuries every single day in Bamako.
"One man, on a motorcycle, around the world, in A Quest For Gameplay"
Reply With Quote
Old 16 Oct 2007
HUBB regular
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 73
Thanks timoto.

Yeah, it makes sense to have some 'official' lessons once in West Africa - afterall it's cheap enough. I'm sure I will work something out.

Yes, I will wear a helmet - hopefully I will find something white which may reflect the heat a little....

Your site looks great. Once I get my speakers up and running I will watch the movies properly.


Reply With Quote
Old 20 Oct 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ghana
Posts: 289
Just watch the traffic in Accra - where you will find motorbikes are given zero respect from other road users, and everything is pretty frantic. I personally would practise a lot in some quiet backstreets before hitting the road. Out of the towns you will probably be fine, just watch for obvious stuff:
- roaming animals (goats, sheep, cows etc)
- big potholes!

Oh and apart from the helmet I would recommend some gloves, cause when or if you fall over on a gravel road...

Honda cub: millions and millions and millions sold! They are popular. What you will find is that Ghana has much less of a moped culture than the francophone countries, but plenty available in Accra. Good way to travel I reckon!
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Rent Motorcycle in South America? brclarke Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else 8 30 Apr 2014 23:39
South America Motorcycle Adventure Movie: Contest Announceme motorbikewithmike.com Travellers Seeking Travellers 79 12 Dec 2007 21:59
the "do everthing" motorcycle? haolejoe Which Bike? 24 25 Sep 2007 10:58
Motorcycle Insurance: For a Canadian bike in Europe PanEuropean Trip Paperwork 23 2 Mar 2005 11:58
road conditions in Mali, Burkina and Ghana Jose Brito sub-Saharan Africa 5 4 Jul 2004 20:33


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 17:38.