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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 15 Feb 2007
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Recommendation- tour group or not

I have thought for quite a while that I would like to visit Africa. I'm 63 and I've only been by bike from the U.S to Panama. I've noted that there are a number of "tour companies" that provide bikes and the necessities for optional length rides in Africa. Would anyone recommend just an option? I'm not really experienced enough to try an independent ride. Although I did consider C.A. to be rather a rough experience, I'm sure it doesn't compare with Africa. I would appreciate your thoughts.
Bob
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Old 15 Feb 2007
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Ayres Adventures

Hi Bob,

Jamie Elvidge (editor of Motorcycle Escape) recently did Southern Africa with her daughter and strongly recommends Ayres Adventures. ( Ayres Adventures - Guided Motorcycle Tours ). The price starts at $6750 which includes airport transfers, chase van, bike (650 and 1200GSes), guide , lodging, breakfast, most safaris and most dinners. Length of tour is 16 days.

They did Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

From the photos in the magazine they sure looked like they were having a good time.

Norm
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Old 15 Feb 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forsellini View Post
I have thought for quite a while that I would like to visit Africa. I'm 63 and I've only been by bike from the U.S to Panama. I've noted that there are a number of "tour companies" that provide bikes and the necessities for optional length rides in Africa. Would anyone recommend just an option? I'm not really experienced enough to try an independent ride. Although I did consider C.A. to be rather a rough experience, I'm sure it doesn't compare with Africa. I would appreciate your thoughts.
Bob
Dont pay people to do what you could do better on your own. Whats biking about if someone is paid to lead you by the hand?

Good roads!!!!!
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Old 15 Feb 2007
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Two conflicting views above, and in some ways both are right..

sometime when I visit a new country or region, i will do a 'paid tour', that way you get a feel for the place and probably wont miss anything of great significance. Afterwards, I go back and do again the bits I enjoyed taking my time. I fully understand anyones reluctance to do something that may be uncomfortably close to your limits, whether they be mental or physical limits, eg can you pick your bike up alone?

for the first part, to avoid missing out on something. It could work if you check out some tour companies intinery and emulate that. But it is far better to go as a fully paid up member than not go at all. As an alternative, maybe find a riding partner. In my opinion it is always better if there are two of you, because then if a bike breaks you are still mobile, and for anything else you will always have help at hand.
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Old 15 Feb 2007
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The experiences are always more intense travelling solo. That means the days are both far better and far worse than travelling with a group. Personally I think Africa on a bike is best done solo, because you can travel at the pace you want, meet the people you want and experience life on the road with your timeframes. You can't do that on a tour. After a week or two on the road by yourself you will be an old hand and it will all come naturally!

The very fact you want to travel by motorbike in a new continent means you are ideally suited to DIY travel. Don't feel you need to do it with a group, because the experience will be far less rewarding!

Good luck
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  #6  
Old 16 Feb 2007
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If you just want to ride a moto in another country with most all problems handled for you, do a tour.

If you want an adventure on a moto, do it yourself.

Obviously, there's much more to this than just that, but that's my short-and-sweet of it.

I really think a joining tour would be very frustrating for me. Not as bad as a cruise ship, maybe, but.....
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Old 16 Feb 2007
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I don't see anything wrong with taking a tour.
You don't have to ship a bike or repair it.
The BMWMOA has a list of touring companies at
BMW MOA: Beyond Europe
Scroll down the page.
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Old 16 Feb 2007
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Great replies

Wow. Thanks for the wide range of thoughts and advice. You guys pretty well covered the subject. I have a bunch of thinking to do.
Bob
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Old 16 Feb 2007
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To group or not to group?

There is a lot in between doing it all yourself and going on a guided tour with big groups, backup vehicle, luggage transport and the whole lot.
I am based in Cape Town and hire out motorcycles and organize self guided tours in South Africa. (Yes, now you can shout at me for promoting my own business!!!)
I get a lot of people in their 60's although most of them from the U.K. and Germany (doesn't really make a difference?). Many come back or send friends.

The advantage of the self guided tour is that you go whenever it suits you and whereever you like as you can chose your dates and get your itinerary customized and you don't have to go with a big group.
While you enjoy the freedom of travelling on your own or with the partner(s) of your choice you don't have to worry about where you will stay for the night and which way to take not to miss out on scenery and beautiful riding.
Of course you can also just hire a bike and go. You will have to do all your route planning yourself which (in South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia) is fairly easy but time consuming and you might miss out on good places due to th lack of local knowledge. IMHO you will always be able to plan a trip to the main attractions like the big tour groups are doing them yourself. I think the big companies like Ayres pack too much into too little time and you end up rushing past the best part of your trip.

If your planned trip exceeds five or six weeks in duration you should think about buying and selling a motorcycle or shipping your own bike.
Both options have a number of advantages and disadvantages. Welcome to ask for details if this is the way you want to go (or ride).

Welcome to ask here on the forum or PM or e-mail for more details.
And of course have a look at Le Cap Motorcycle Hire

And then have a fantastic time in Africa!
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  #10  
Old 19 Feb 2007
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tour or not tour

I think it's surely depends on personal preferences. But being in tour you could be safeand you for sure could see the best places of the country. Paying to the tour company for guided or self-guided tour to safe you time. But if you are jobless and have enough spare time, you could study thousands guidebooks, forums web-site to find most interesting hidden places not to miss them during your free-ride trip.
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  #11  
Old 19 Feb 2007
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Decisions, decisions................

Hi Bob

it all depends upon whats in your comfort zone. Some want to do it solo/unaided and others feel more comfortable with a tour or guide.

My advice is decide where in Africa you want to visit - if SA, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Bots and Namibia I would say this is fairly easy solo - there are other bikers/travellers around and parts should not be a major problem to find/source, however central, north and east Africa will be more challenging, although East Africa not much more so.

In SA and Namibia bikers are more common place, there are plenty of places to sttay and like minded people to meet. Zim, Zam and Bots are a little more spread out in this regard and less bikers on the roads, but still fairly simple to travel and hardly anywhere you couldn't travel from A to B in a day comfortably.

IMHO, I would say arrange and do it yourself - it will be far more fulfilling and your cash will go alot further.

Whatever you decide enjoy the ride, look up and take it all in.

signed jealous bars..d
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Old 20 Feb 2007
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Maybe useful?
http://www.wildfrontiers.co.uk/index.htm

regards
Cuppa
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  #13  
Old 5 Mar 2007
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hi there,
the only one whe can decide is you!

If you're not sure, you might wanna consider booking a short trip in a group just to get the feel of africa, and to see if the 'hey I can do that much better and cheaper myself' tickles your mind while in the groups. if this pops up, come back on your own with your bike.

I guess the most underrated downside of the solo-ing is simply lonelyness. We've met some very lonely travellers on our whereabouts. Don't go lightly over this.

Why not take the best of 2 worlds: make your friends come too and do your own tour.
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