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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 5 Apr 2007
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Trans Africa the newbie way: east or west?

Hi There,

After done the Silk Route to Nepal on motorcycle I am motivated for an African adventure.
Done Europe to Senagal in order to sell cars I am now planning Europe to Cape Town solo by motorcycle. Departure scheduled at the end of august from the Netherlands.
I've heard about muddy conditions the West African route, and the hassles from bureaucraty in Egypt and Sudan the East route.
The challange of reaching Cape Town will be difficult enough. What will be the route less demanding in terms of bad roads?
I guess it will be the Egypt - Sudan - Ethiopian - Kenia route. is this correct?
Of course overlanding Africa will include some very bad roads, wich I expect my Africa Twin will cope with.
I'm wondering about your comments on the best route to fullfill the trip.

With kind regards,

Guido
The Netherlands
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  #2  
Old 5 Apr 2007
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I've decided to do it the other way around. So i start in South africa and ride up Namibia, the west route, then cross Zambia towards the Eastern route. Becouse i think thats the best of both way's but only one way to find out for yourself i guess!
Your departure is scheduled soon, i'm planning for October myself.
What bike do you plan to bring? Perhaps it's an idea to share some preparations some time becouse where not located so far from each other.
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  #3  
Old 5 Apr 2007
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east or west

ive done both east in 2004 west in 2006...its "easier" on the east because yu get to the soft part (nairobi southwards) earlier..difficult to choose on the beaurocracy front although ive heard of people not actually getting angolan visas as opposed to just being messed around for the lybian and sudanese visas

certainly the mud is bad on the west but then the corrugations are bad in the east. all in all i couldnt in truth recommend one rather than the other although my wife preferred the eastern route..not very helpfull but ive written about both trips on my web site..good luck

jeff watts

Gone wandering
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  #4  
Old 5 Apr 2007
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Hi Both,

Steven you've got a PM
Jeff, thanks for your reply. The fact that after you did the east route you decided to come back to do Africa again gives me already some info!

Considering road conditions the hard part on the east route will be mostly found between southern Egypt and central Kenya, if I understood the readings well.
And since I riding a heavy Africa Twin I would like to avoid muddy conditions which will damage both my clutch and travel fun.
I will take notice of your website.

Any comments still appreciated

Guido
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  #5  
Old 6 Apr 2007
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east or west

hi

im a soft 4x4 man so cant really comment on motorbikes..

but if you go the west route and the roads are too bad couldn't you just put it on a lorry and ship it over the worst bits?? thats the way the locals do it!!..just athought

e mail me if yu have any particular questions!!

jeff
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  #6  
Old 6 Apr 2007
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hello guido

theres quite a few of us going down the east coast. all leaving around the same time. im doing a round trip of the med. turkey, jordan syria, egypt, sudan then all the way down that side.

send us some details and maybe we could hook up somewhere at some point for a and maybe some travelling.

chat later,

robin
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  #7  
Old 7 Apr 2007
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Robin,

Certainly a good idea to have some fellow travellers. No doubts about the right attitude if the '' word is spoken!
And always comfi tot have some socializing as well as backup in camping and bordercrossings.

I'm planning reaching Egypt through east Europe and Turkey as well.

As soon as planning becomes more solid I will let you know.
When is your departure scheduled? You're part of a group?

Guido
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  #8  
Old 8 Apr 2007
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i am also planning to cross africa as a part of my RTW on 2008. as far as i see the biggest different between east and west coast is: in west you have to cross a lot of countries and that means too much beaurocracy and visas which is a waste of time. in east you dont have to cross that much countries. I am still planning the route and really dont know which route do i have to choose.
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Old 8 Apr 2007
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I'm working my way up the east coast route at present. All I can say is I'm LOVING it! (South Africa-Namibia-Zambia-Malawi-Tanzania-Rwanda-Uganda-Kenya-Ethiopia-Sudan-Egypt). I can't say what I expected to find in Africa. I think I expected more difficulty and hassle. What I have found are some of the warmest, friendliest people on the planet. I have always moved slow- I have very low blood pressure and have never even come close to getting angry about something here in Africa. In any event, I fit right in here. I'm in Addis at the moment, finding it hard to push on as the food and people here are just fantastic. Comments: I tried to go to Angola but after 11 visits to the Angolan embassy decided to give it a miss- very sad as I have some fun friends on the beach there! While in Windhoek I met a Brit who had been waiting for a visa for more than 2 weeks, that's when I decided to skip Angola. The borders are easy here in Africa, though after graduating from the school of Central American borders, I guess they would be. I was told I didn't need a carnet for Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia but I did. The border dude in Uganda explained that if I were crossing at a larger border crossing, I wouldn't need one. I crossed into Uganda at a remote place in the mountains however. There have been a few tough roads along the way, nothing dramatic yet. The stretch from Isiolo to Moyale slowed me down- and the heat was brutal. Oh well, it's a desert after all. Things will only heat up more in Sudan. Best wishes to all of you guys preparing for your trips. I'm sure either route will give you what you're looking for- this is a magnificent continent! (TIA) Ride safe, Hook.
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Last edited by hook; 9 Apr 2007 at 12:17.
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  #10  
Old 8 Apr 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hook View Post
I'm working my way up the east coast route at present. All I can say is I'm LOVING it! (South Africa-Namibia-Zambia-Malawi-Tanzania-Rwanda-Uganda-Kenya-Ethiopia-Sudan-Egypt). I can't say what I expected to find in Africa...........<snipped>............ There have been a few tough roads along the way, nothing dramatic yet. The stretch from Isiolo to Moyale slowed me down- and the heat was brutal. ............. Ride safe, Hook.
Hi Hook,
I am planning a similar ride but going south from Algeria (Oran). Just to get an idea of "timing" ; how far north have you gone and how long did it take? I know this is all relative but I have 3 months to do this thus any information of what might slow you down is greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
Norman
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Old 8 Apr 2007
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Hi Norman, 3 months should be a comfortable time-frame. I'm in Addis now and have spent around 7 months riding here from Capetown. Obviously I'm going slow. I like to spend a week or so in nice areas and spend my days riding around without all my luggage, meeting locals and hanging out with them, etc. Even the bad roads I've been on only took a few days to push through. South of Kenya there's plenty of pavement, though I took some rough back-roads in Tanzania- like the small road to Dodoma (wow!). If one wants to stay on pavement in Tanzania, I believe you can. North Africa to Capetown in 3 months shouldn't be stressful at all- unless you break down and need a part somewhere remote! Good luck Bro!
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Last edited by hook; 6 May 2007 at 16:31.
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  #12  
Old 8 Apr 2007
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Thanks, Bro. Short and sweet but very informative!

Norman
ps. very nice picture of the silverback.
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Old 10 Apr 2007
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East or West!

Hoi Guido,

Having done both routes I can say both are feasible on a bike, even in the wet season. Not easy though! Best is to time the trip in the dry season. We did it by car but on the West coast we traveled with several bikes. The east coast is interesting but the west coast is adventure. Moreover, the north western part of Africa (Mali, Niger, Burkina) we found by far the most interesting part. You will miss out on that if you take the east side. Although the east side is challenging enough in a different way (burocracy) compared to the west coast (nature and elements), we found the east coast relatively easy if you have done the west side too. East side has more travellers. West side you will be on your own devices soem of the time. You can read about our trip (2005/2006) on our web log in Dutch.

Have a good trip!

Noel Di Pietro
exploreafrica.web-log.nl
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Old 10 Apr 2007
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Hi Noel,

Thanks for the specific info. This is what I was looking for. After some research on the webb I think I prefer the East route. As you mentioned this route will be challenging enough... but less compared to the roaring west.
The fact there will be more overlanders on the East route is also taken in consideration.

Readings the posts on the HUBB I'm getting the idea that Egyption bureaucracy is getting less worse than it used te be. Reading stories about Tourist police on the borders....
For some this may cut out a bit of the 'overlanding experience', but I think this will be mainly thought by those done Egypt in worse days.

I will study your website both for ammusement and for addtional information.

Thanks for the reply.

Guido
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  #15  
Old 10 Apr 2007
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for guido

ciao guido

yes, dead keen. let me know your plans. im going solo at this point. there are three other groups leavig europe for cape town, going down east. so will be hooking up and travelling in bigger numbers when the going gets rough. also got rought plans on travelling with george from turkey onwards through to egypt, then just before sudan we'll all hook up for the big northern sudan corssing.

ja, we've all met on this site so nobody is really familiar with anybody else. just the common goal and journey really.

send us your contact details. my studio phone is: +39 (0)11 19715254. give me call during work hours and we can chat better. otherwise my email details are on my profile page.

ta and speak soon!

robin
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