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I was thinking of also starting a thread like this for Africa, as I'm going next year. Haven't done any riding in Africa, only been to Tanzania. So for Tanzania my plan is to climb Kilimanjaro. Did it in 2006 and it is amazing, I get excited just thinking about it. After that I plan to ride to Zanzibar and chill out there for a week and just relax. That's my plans so far.
I got a book "Wonders of Africa" with lots of information and places to visit, but it's all the usual tourist places. Would be nice to hear of some hidden gems of Africa, and there are lots.
Heres some infor Mountainman very kindly emailed me...
Syria - we camped a couple of nights within the ancient abandoned cities like Rasafa. Very cool.
> Jordan - Camping in Wadi Rum. If you are a decent rider of sand, or can leaev some of your weight in the village, you can ride out and camp out wherever you like.
> Sudan - we camped near the Nile on the the way down after the ferry. I would go slow through this 400 km route as after this, you get to civilzation and there are few spots that will be as remote and rugged as this. Stick to the route along the Nile.
> Ethiopia - The road into see the rock churches of Lalibela is brutal, you could do it but it will eat your tires and be very rough on your bike but you should go by plane as they are worth seeing.
> From Gondor, it is worth the ride to head up to the park entrance, 10 km past you have spectacular views.
> In the southeast, definitely worth seeing the Mursi tribe and all the market days in the villages in that remote corner of the world.
> Kenya - it is full on civilization there but the most remote way to enter the country is down the Lake Turkhana route. You can't do it alone, but an amazing route.
> Tanzania - ride out to the village near the park gate for Ngorogoro Crater and start your tour from there.
> Zamiba - I went through Zimbabwe, very cool if it is safe at the time. You also get to come down through Malawi, the lake is great place to hang out for a bit.
> Namibia - If you plan well, you can enter the Sosuvlei park late and then stay after it closes. Bring your bivi sack, and camp on the big sand dunes. You can leave the park anytime you want as you can ride right by the closed gate via the sidewalk.
> South Africa - Baviaans Kluft is a great dirt track that can be accessed off the garden route.
firstly id like to say thank you, as you both know im also planning to cross africa next year and your posts have been very helpful and answered alot of my questions.ted i imagine you will be doing a blog itll be good to see how you get on as my route is quite similar (you crossing the salt flats in botswana? cant find much info on that) ras, hope our paths end up crossing. you still tryin to avoid egypt?
as for places to go, i travelled round SA with the folks a few years ago, best bits of the trip natel, and the zulu battlefeilds of rorkes drift and isandlwana, truly incredible and well worth a visit. Sharka's rocks was a chilled out beautiful place and we went to a small lodge in the drakensbergs called cleopatras. only had electric for about 3 hours a day! was well off the beaten track and not well known. Nice place, the drakensbergs. never been anywhere else on the continent so can only comment on sa.
I can comment on some of them - you'll pick up masses of info en route from other travellers. I assume you're on a bike, so the game parks are out - however, it is worth finding a secure place to leave it and pay for safaris into some of the better parks.
Jordan - Petra is extraordinary.
Ethiopia - My favourites are the Simien (also spelt Simyen) Mountains (spectacular); the castles at Gonder (also spelt Gondar), the monasteries on Lake Tana; the stone churches of Lalibela; the ancient city of Harar; and the Bale Mountains NP
Kenya - Where to start? Lake Turkana; the Aberdare Mountains (here be lions and elephant); the Rift Valley lakes; the Maasai Mara (hire a safari); at the coast - Tiwi Beach is chilled; the creeks (Kilifi etc) are gorgeous; and if you have the dollars, leave your transport at one of the lodges in Malindi and fly to the island of Lamu, hire a dhow and spend a week camping on the islands of Manda Toto and Kiwaiyu.
Uganda - Lake Victoria - the Sesse Islands; Murchison Falls NP; the Semliki Valley and the Great Ituri forest at the foot of the Ruwenzoris; Kibale NP for 14 different primate species; the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for gorilla trekking; Bujagali Falls on the Nile for white water rafting.
Tanzania - Serengetti, Ngorongoro; Kili; Amani in the Usambara Mountains if you are into rain forests and birds; Zanzibar; if you're really after an adventure, take the coast road south of Dar to Mtwara, cross the Rio Rovuma, and then do northern Mozambique (Pangane, Pemba, Nacala) then cross into Malawi and do the lake, Zomba Plateau, Nyika Plateau, and then into Zambia at Chipata.
Zambia - South Luangwa: leave your bike at Flatdogs in Mfuwe and hitch lifts into the park, or just sit and chill on the lawns with a cold Moshi and watch the game drift by. Kafue is also a great park, but impossible on a bike. Livingstone is a chilled party town on the Zambezi at Vic Falls.
Botswana - again, difficult to do the wildlife areas on a bike, and the sand is very thick. Chobe-Moremi-Savuti-Linyanti is one of Africa's great wildlife areas, but you need four wheels. Otherwise head to Maun, find safe parking, and fly or pole in dugout canoes into the Okavango Delta.
Namibia - Kavango, Popa falls area, Caprivi, anywhere on the river, Mamili if the water is low enough, the whole Namib Desert (incredible vistas, good gravel roads); the Skeleton Coast for a whole new meaning to the word bleak. The Naukluft gorge (watch our for thieving baboons); raft the Orange River.
South Africa - Baviaans Kloof, Drakensberg, Garden Route, Cape Town; Namaqualand in August/September for the best flower displays in the world; etc etc etc
Dana National Park, Jordan. If the park is closed for the winter you can camp amongst the trees by the rangers' hut. They are there all year and you will have their wonderful hospitality all to yourself.
Don't know what it's like when the park is open to the public.
Wadi Rum - Climb up to Lawrence's Spring, get there alone if you can and spend a while.
Mount Sinai, ditto
I was lucky enough to be at both of these alone for quite a while.
Ras Mohammed national park southern tip of Sinai.
No tourists camped there (we camped for 4 days).
Boats come in from Sharm but only to a few places, easy to avoid.
The pyramids at Sakkara and Dahshur.
The White Desert. Quite a few tourist 4WD minibuses but still a bit of fun.
When we camped for the night at a designated camp place, there was no one else around.
The Rest House at El Qasr (near White desert).
Wadi Halfa is a NICE place, maybe plan to spend at least one night there.
I've travelled extensively in southern Africa and NAMIBIA is definitely a country to linger in, it's awesome - and if you're keen on wide open spaces, it's definitely the place to go. The roads, even the gravel ones, are in really good condition, which means you'll spend more time admiring the scenery you're travelling through and less trying to keep the bike upright!!
Others on this thread have already mentioned Sossusvlei, which is one of the most amazing experiences ever. I'd also heartily recommend the drive along the Caprivi Strip between Rundu and Katima Mulilo. There are some wonderful villages along the way and your chances of seeing elephants are extremely high - though obviously you'll be hoping they don't galomph out in front of the bike as you're spinning along!
The "best" spots are those that we have each experienced in our own seperate ways. So that means that everywhere is special. Feel free to review our blog Buya Ikhaya for the places we stopped at along the way and would be happy to stay at / experience again. Many mentioned already.
Two per country:
Turkey: Dalyan, Goreme
Syria: Palmyra, Damacus
Jordan: Dana. Petra
Egypt: Solitude of the Western desert route. Magnitude of Luxor and Karnak Temple
Sudan: Take 4 slow days from Wadi to Dongola. Blue Nile sailing club IS better than "National Camping". Weekly regatta on the nile, they are always looking for crew and sail to the confluence of the Blue/White and back.
Ethiopia: The refreshing shock of Metema after restrictive/reserved Sudan. Ethio-German Lodge and Portugese bridge.
Kenya: Remember to stop a few times on the Moyale-Marsebit section to reflect on where the "Hell" you have placed yourself and remeber to take a few photos to help recall the ordeal. Timau River Lodge on the foot of Mount Kenya
Tanzania: Lushoto, Peponi. Riding through Mikuni National Park
Malawi: Senga bay - Cool Runnings
Our greatest regret was the rush from Wadi Halfa to Nairobi. You are nervous because of all the "horror" stories so you end up getting dragged along in a group. To be honest if we did it again we would say chaps, you go on ahead, we will see you when we see you. The road is now tarred pretty much all the way so it is up to you to force yourself not to rush past the many magic placed in Sudan and Ethiopia.
Once you hit Nairobi you are in Southern Africa tourist country and end up lodge hopping and everywhere ends up feeling pretty much the same and you end up yearning for the rough north.
Remember to set your camera to hi resolution and take many video clips. We had a number of requests for these and could not provide them. Also would love to have seen clips of Sudan/Kenya again where we were too pre-occupied with the road
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