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Old 10 Feb 2011
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Southern africa on a budget

Hi all,

I'm looking into doing a 3-months trip through south africa, namibia, botswana and maybe zambia, malawi and mozambique. Starting and finishing in Jo'Burg. I'm a 26 year-old male travelling solo. I have experience with backpacking in South America and South East Asia, but I have never done a trip on a motorcycle.

My budget is 4000€. (airplane ticket not included) Will this be enough?

I'm considering 2 options:
- buy a new Chines bike (Zhongchen or something), 200CC. Costs around 1000€. Try and sell it when I'm finished.
- buy a 2nd hand bike in Jo'burg.

This leaves me with a ton of questions on which I would appreciate your opinions:
1. Are the Chinese bikes strong enough? I read they are quite reliable, and since it's simple mecanics it's possible to fix almost anything yourself or with the help of a decent mecanics. But no need to import new parts. Is this right?
2. What kind of bike can I get for about 1000€ in Jo'Burg. (I suppose that 3000€ for the trip itself is the absolute minimum, or is this not enough?)
3. Has anyone got a rough idea of what it will cost me to buy all the necessary insurances?
4. How do I transport all my stuff: I suppose that carrying my 60L backpack on my backpack is out of the question? I suppose I would need to buy hardcover motorcycle suitcases... How much are those? Ideally I can lock them up, because otherwise I suppose I have a problem everytime I wont to leave my bike unattended for an hour...
5. What kind of risks am I exposing myself to: what if for example I have a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, with the nearest village being 100km away? How long before I see a truck pass by with enough room for my bike in it? I'm planning to bring a tent, but I'm guessing it's not such a good idea to pitch that by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere?
6. How long in advance do I need to book campingsites? Is this the case with all campingsites or just a few of the best ones? It's just that I really hate planning such things...
7. I don't want to sit on my bike every day, I just figured it's the best way of transportation (cheaper than a car, more flexible than public transport in namibia and botswana it seems). Is doing the whole trip (from SA through mozambique and Zambia all the way to Namibia and back to Jo'Burg) too much driving for three months or should I limit myself to SA, Namib and Bots...?

Thank you very much for all answers, opinions, etc.
I really want to do this trip, but I'm expecting it to be either too costly or too risky; in which case I will just go backpacking in Indonesia for three months :-)

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Old 10 Feb 2011
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Location: Seychelles
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Hi Quentin

Lots of questions. Sounds like you have to start with making the decission on buying the bike.

Here is a website in South Africa where you can browse for bike prices
Classifieds – Gumtree Cape Town Free Classified Ads – Gumtree Cape Town Online Community this is Cape Town, but you can flip between cities from this site

Good Luck!
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Old 10 Feb 2011
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: istanbul
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South African Andon just completed his journey Pretoria-İstanbul by bajaj-200.
His website is full of up to date information, advices for african countries etc.
I think better check his blog and get in touch with him.


wish you all the best.
Mehmet Zeki Avar
''Friendly Pit-Stop in İstanbul'' https://www.facebook.com/mehmet.avar.12?ref=tn_tnmn
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Old 11 Feb 2011
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 94
Ad 3: third party insurance should be very cheap -comesa yellow card.

Ad 4. Get some softbags that you can throw over any motorbike seat. it's a slight trade-off on security, but who's gonna want to steal your smelly underwear anyway.

ad 5. a flat tube can be exchanged or repaired on the spot, tubeless tires repairs are even more easy. Should not worry you.
I think the greatest risk is having an accident on the road.

ad 6: no need for booking.

ad 7 : you'll find out when you're there.
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Old 12 Feb 2011
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Umtentweni, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa
Posts: 193
A new made in China bike I would only ride from the dealer straight to the scrap yard.

And I guess if you come back with it from your trip it will be difficult to sell.

For 1000 Euro will be difficult to find a bike that works.

But I am sure you can get a working bike for 2000 € spend a bit over the 3 month on it and sell it for 1500-2000 € after your trip. www.600.xt.ms - WEB.DE MyPage

1000 Euro budget per month is short when travelling. Camping and selfcatering in Backpackers could help you get your costs down. Coasting Africa For arrival in Johannesburg is would recommend "In Africa Lodge" good, clean, close to the airport.

Hope you have a nice trip on an japanese bike :-)


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Old 13 Feb 2011
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Location: Cape Town - South Africa
Posts: 110
Budget Bike

There are some good chinese made bikes that are able to do the trip. You can buy a motomia 125cc, 150cc or 200cc all for less than 1000 euro. A courier company has clocked 100 000km the Motomia.

A university professor and his wife bought two 125cc's (558 euro each) and toured around South Africa's borders 6000km in 19days and had no trouble with the bikes. See Steyns around SA on 125cc's for their story.
A few months later they decided to tour up the West Coast of Cape Town, bike still going strong. They are amazed and respect the little fuel sippers.
What is cheaper than a 125cc for fuel? You are on a budget right? For the bikes check : MotoMia Home , I think that they only have branches in Cape Town though. A bus ticket from Johannesburg to Cape Town would cost about R400 (40 euro) on way.

Selling them second hand once the trip is done should actually be easy, in an earlier post the Gumtree web site was mentioned, you could sell it there probually for 400 euro at least.

Bike choice is a funny thing each person will have their own preferences and likes.
Whatever you choice, keep us posted on your progress.
To those who say it can't be done - stand aside for those who are already doing it.
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