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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 7 Oct 2009
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Uganda, Rwanda, & Burundi

Hi All -

A friend and I just booked flights in/out of Kampala, Uganda for February.

We have a month to travel and we want to ride down to Rwanda & Burundi and back. We're hoping to buy bikes in Kampala within 1-2 days of arrival. We're looking for 250-400cc dirt bikes, either new china bikes or used branded bikes. Our budget is $2,500 USD/bike.

Would love to get an opinion on whether that's realistic or not? Any issues with foreigners owning motorcycles in Uganda, licensing, crossing borders, etc?

Also if anyone has a contact or knows a dealer there who might be able to help, or even the name of a neighborhood where we should start shopping, that would be much appreciated!

Thanks guys!

Pete
Hood River, OR
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  #2  
Old 7 Oct 2009
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Hi Pete, I rode through Rwanda and Uganda a while back and had a good time. In Kampala there is a high end place called Speke Hotel. Next to this hotel is a pizzeria owned by an Italian fellow. When I arrived at Speke Hotel I saw a large bike (650cc maybe) out front. It belonged to the Italian. He invited me to his pizzeria for a glass of wine and a chat. He can hook you up with other Ugandan riders (a club I think). His mechanic installed a new tire I had carried from Namibia for a couple $$. This guy is in the know and can set you up. On the other side of the hotel is a notorious disco. If you go there, watch your wallet- and I mean it! There were serious troubles in Burundi when I was there. Refugee camps dotted the countryside in Rwanda. Have fun. Kampala is a great town.
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  #3  
Old 7 Oct 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hook View Post
Hi Pete, I rode through Rwanda and Uganda a while back and had a good time. In Kampala there is a high end place called Speke Hotel. Next to this hotel is a pizzeria owned by an Italian fellow. When I arrived at Speke Hotel I saw a large bike (650cc maybe) out front. It belonged to the Italian. He invited me to his pizzeria for a glass of wine and a chat. He can hook you up with other Ugandan riders (a club I think). His mechanic installed a new tire I had carried from Namibia for a couple $$. This guy is in the know and can set you up. On the other side of the hotel is a notorious disco. If you go there, watch your wallet- and I mean it! There were serious troubles in Burundi when I was there. Refugee camps dotted the countryside in Rwanda. Have fun. Kampala is a great town.
Hell yeah!!! That's the kind of info I'm looking for. I will track down the Italian and/or the moto club. And I will definitely hit the disco (with my cash in my sock). Thanks Hook!

I've heard Burundi has settled down considerably in the last few years. We will ask around carefully before heading that way.

Seriously man, great tips! Thanks!
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Old 8 Oct 2009
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Pete, the name of of the restaurant is Mammamia Pizzeria. It is actually built into the Speke Hotel. Safe trip!
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  #5  
Old 8 Oct 2009
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I think you would have better luck buying a bike in Kenya as the selection will be much bigger, and it is only a long days ride to Kampala.

My info is a few years old, but if you do go to Kampala there are a few bike shops around with some tatty 250s etc. I can't remember the exact location, so I would suggest you try John, the Australian owner of Backpackers and he should be able to point you in the right direction.
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  #6  
Old 9 Oct 2009
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Thanks for the tip Matt. We've already booked flights in/out of Kampala so a couple of worn out 250s are probably in our future I've got an email in to John so hopefully we'll hear back from him.

I did track down the motorcycle club that Hook was referring too. It is called the Uganda Bikers Association. Uganda Bikers. It is a motorcycle club made up of both expats and ugandan nationals. The club has a charitable mission.

These guys have been really helpful and friendly. I'm feeling much more confident about our ability to secure a bike with their help.

Thanks again guys.

Pete
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  #7  
Old 9 Oct 2009
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Just check on your VISA regulations...

At some point, if you had a Burundi stamp, you had issues being allowed in other countries after that. I'm sure Rwanda and Uganda is fine. I'm convinced DRC will not allow you entry after Burundi...

Just make sure.
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  #8  
Old 14 Oct 2009
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Chris at Jungle Junction

It may be an idea to speak to Chris at Jungle Junction in Nairobi, Kenya.

He's the go-to-guy for all things overlanding with motorbikes. Helluva knowledgeable. Has an amazing overlander campsite with a fully kitted out bike workshop.

Don't have his contact details I'm afraid.
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  #9  
Old 17 Dec 2009
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I'm planning on heading up through burundi to rwanda from tanzania, it would be great to know if you did actually end up going or any other info about the current situation you may have

cheers, mike
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  #10  
Old 18 Dec 2009
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Hey man, yep we're definitely going. Flights booked, vaccination shots taken. Found bikes through a guy named Donato Laboke who's with the Uganda Bikers Association. He's charging a flat rate advisory fee that's quite reasonable and then the rental and deposit go to the bike owners. We've got one yamaha 600 for sure, and we're still waiting to find out if the other bike will be an XR600 or a 750 Africa Twin. Probably the XR but they're still trying to get it through customs. Current plan is to loop through northern uganda, then go down through rwanda and burundi, across to tanzania, and then either cut back to kampala through western tanzania or if we have time, complete a loop around lake victoria through kenya. If we go for the lake vic loop option, we may leave the northern uganda tour for the end of the trip instead of the start. We'll stop and do some touristy stuff en route like check out the gorillas, rafting, safari, etc. Plus we'll want to make sure we toss back our fair share of s at night. So time might run a little short. We haven't done much planning yet aside from flights and bikes. Will figure out the details when we get to kampala and can chat with some folks who know the terrain.
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  #11  
Old 18 Dec 2009
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oh yeah, trip dates are jan 30th to feb 28th... so check in with me in march and I'll have some info for ya.
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