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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 10 Mar 2009
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Touring South Africa by myself

Hi all,

I'm looking into a bike trip in South Africa for 2-3 weeks.
The trip I have in mind would start and end in J'burg

Is it suitable for driving around by myself?
Safety wise? Any places to avoid besides the townships in J'burg?

How's the traffic? Compared south east asia or italy/spain? (those are the placed I've driven before)

What would be the best season to have the least rain and moderate temp for a coastal ride to capetown?
june or september?

Hopefully someone can answer my questions...
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  #2  
Old 10 Mar 2009
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DO NOT ride at night and be ultra defensive getting into and out of Jo'burg, the driving around the city is some of the most dangerous I have come across. Apart from that it is a magic country for touring on a moto but June up on the high ground is going to be a bit chilly. Ride safe.
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  #3  
Old 10 Mar 2009
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Thanks for the tips mate!
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Old 10 Mar 2009
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Good choice, mate! June should be allright, albeit a bit chilly at night. But as suggested above, don't ride at night. Animals on the road, because of neglected fencing. September is springtime and thus more possibility of rain.

Generally traffic is not as bad although South Africans usually complain about reckless drivers. I found it to be much more relaxing than in Europe. Johburg is more dangerous than other places, but if you keep your eyes peeled, esp. at traffic lights, it isn't as bad as always said.

Riding down to Cape Town is a good idea, but quite a distance. Besides that, don't just travel all the way just along the coast (Garden Route). If you're used to gravel, rather enter Lesotho from the north, travel along the eastern road via Oxbow to Mokhotlong and Sani Pass, out to S.A. again and maybe through the Transkei along the coast southwards. Before East London turn west via Naude's Nek Pass to Lady Grey and via Graaf Reinet to Oudtshoorn. At Oudtshoorn don't miss the Swartberg Pass and maybe do the trip down to "De Hel" if time allows. Stunning!
From there either south and along the coast to Cape Town, or along the R 62 (the S.A. version of Route 66) via Worcester and Tulbagh to CT.

That'll consume most of your time, but no worries: The return trip to Johburg via the Karoo is flat and mostly straight, hardly any settlements to slow you down. Won't take more than 2 days.

My suggestion: 4 weeks instead of three

Enjoy!
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Old 10 Mar 2009
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Cheers Vaufi!

thanks for your extended reply. 4 weeks unfortunatly is no option for me. My employer wont allow that.

I'm not that experienced with gravel roads. But some gravel wont put me off though, especially because most bikes for rent are allroads.

Gravel routes imply more adventure as well!
Tonight I'll look into the route you proposed
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Old 10 Mar 2009
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Yeah, time is always the limiting factor...

The proposed route through Lesotho is gravel, but fairly easy to ride. You should try to time that part to arrive at Sani Pass top in the afternoon and stay in the chalet. Mokhotlong didn't seem to offer any kind of accommodation, but between Mokhotlong and Sani Pass there is a turn-off to the St. James Mission who rent out rooms to travellers. Very basic, but comfy. In S.A. accommodation or campsites are no problem at all.

The road across Naude's Nek pass is also gravel, but also well kept, like most South African back roads.

Most of this route belongs to the best S.A. offers - remote, scenic and quiet back roads. If you run out of time it's no problem to just switch to the main roads marked "N xx" for National Roads.
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I stayed in Mokhotlong New Year's eve '06/'07 in a hotel with chalets just before you enter the town proper. Nothing to write home about but it was friendly and had a rest. and a bar. The Sani pass was in a hell of a state and very difficult for a pensioner on an overladen 1200GS. I would travel down inland as well, the Zulu and Boer war battlefields, especially Insandwala are worth a visit as is the Ostrich capital of the world and the original roads from the coast inland to Oudshorn where Elsa and Katot Mayer apart from having lots of info on the area, they date their families back to the17C, run a great little B+B. Ride safe.

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Old 11 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maja View Post
I stayed in Mokhotlong New Year's eve '06/'07 in a hotel with chalets just before you enter the town proper. Nothing to write home about but it was friendly and had a rest. and a bar. The Sani pass was in a hell of a state and very difficult for a pensioner on an overladen 1200GS.
Ah yes, in the summer time (rainy season in the Drakensburg) the Sani road is often in a terrible condition, but June should be OK. With a lighter bike than the 1200GS it is doable most of he year

Good to know about the accommodation at Mokhotlong. And yes, contrary to the general opinion in S.A., I also found the people in LES to be very friendly.

By the way, the "Roof of Africa Rally" takes place in this part of LES.
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Old 11 Mar 2009
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Hi,

if your timetable is so short, it would be better to start in Durban and end in Cape Town.

But that time of the year would be better for an Natal, Wild Coast trip. Or even better go up to Mozambique.

Cape Town can be really cold and rainy that time of the year.

The KZN South Coast and the Transkei Wild Coast are perfekt this time of the year. The chances to get rain are very small.

I myself plan a trip up to Mozambique after the 20th July when the winter school holidays are over. Have been there in August 2006 and its was perfekt.

regards

Thomas
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Old 15 Mar 2009
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After Googlingsome weather sites I noticed the weather on the eastcoast of SA is better in the winter then on the west coast. But still I think I will let the weather forecast make the final decision for me....

Well, if the weather is dry I plan on going to capetown, but if not, I'll change my plan or change my route along the way

Last edited by darkhelmet; 15 Mar 2009 at 17:00.
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Old 15 Mar 2009
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Greetings DarkHelmet,

Where are you coming to SA from? I am in SA now and can tell you the countryside and people are quite beautiful. Where to go / what to see depends on your interests, but the south east coast as the others have suggested sounds good. There are plenty of bikes on the road here, but on the highways you'll encounter speeders in the fast lane and walking-speed vehicles being towed in the other. Otherwise, keep in mind they drive on the left here. The cities can be dangerous crime wise, but be aware and you'll be fine. As far as the conditions of the roads, lodging, etc, SA is more like the West than the rest of Africa.

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 15 Mar 2009
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I'm coming from the Netherlands. So I wonder how I can get around with my Dutch

I'll arrive in J'burg the 6th of june and fly back the 26th.

I have a quote from Samatours.co.za for a F650GS.
They're very helpful
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Old 15 Mar 2009
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The Afrikanners will understand your Dutch, but everyone speaks English. If you go down to KZN, learn a couple Zulu words (please, thank you, etc)... like anywhere, the locals will be amazed!
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Old 15 Mar 2009
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Another helpful site might be a S.A. biker forum: Wild Dog Adventure Riding - Index Lots of useful infos and helpful people there. In some posts you can check the Afrikaans lingo
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Old 15 Mar 2009
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Thank you for the URL

I registered, seems like a very friendly and usefull forum!
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