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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  #1  
Old 3 Aug 2007
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Question Am I getting myself in to trouble?

I was wondering if anyone has any advice from experience in traveling through Africa.
I'm a videographer planning to fulfill a long awaited dream and travel Africa on a bike. West Africa that is. Moroc down to SA. I've also had a dream of filming in Africa and it seems as though I'm going to combine the two in Sept.
My worries are that I'm carrying video equipment worth over $5k. The camera is not a big shoulder held camera but it's expensive. I'm assuming that my insurance will cover the package if stolen, my question is my personal safety. Am I adding to the risk of being robbed forcefully?
I feel as though I wouldn't hesitate to go through east Africa but west and central seems less predictable.
I know it's a dumb question, but I just wanted to hear some thoughts from people who have traveled Africa on a motorcycle.
David
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  #2  
Old 8 Aug 2007
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no your not!

just be with yourself....
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  #3  
Old 8 Aug 2007
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Thanks for the word of confidence.
I'm becoming braver about it as the days pass and the set off date nears.
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  #4  
Old 8 Aug 2007
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golden rule

Anybody who's travels through Africa, bike or car, is carrying a fortune in hardware according local standards. I was travelling in a car with a prof. photografer with 2 camera's and a bunch of lenses, plus 2 laptops, plus video equipment and a couple of thousands in cash! We did the suggested route down the west coast and returned back to Europe via the east coast. The east is not perse safer than the west side. We had no trouble on either side. There is one golden rule though ; NEVER DRIVE AFTER SUNSET ! Make sure you get to your days destination well before it gets dark. One big advantage on a bike is that you are much more agile than a car. You maybe able to turn around swiftly at a suspicios situation. By car that is not so easy. When you are filming during daylight in villages or cities, nobody wil bother you. Just use your common sense and don't go into quiet area's and narrow allees alone! I filmed with a small 3CCD camera for a year and had not a single incident related to theft or robbery.

Don't worry but stay alert!

Cheers,
Noel
exploreafrica.web-log.nl
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Old 9 Aug 2007
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Looks like you had a wonderful adventure Noel. You make it seem easy.
I wish I could read more of the text but my dutch is non existent. Wonderful pictures though. I really want to take a very similar route but I'll see what my inexperienced bottom will endure.
My initial idea of a video tripod was not really inconspicuous on a motorbike but I decided to go with smaller, lighter less eye catching equipment.
Thanks, and best of luck with the video.
David
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  #6  
Old 9 Aug 2007
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You can make your camera to look less desirable if you cover brand names etc by tape. You can make it to look older and cheaper.

Overall I think it all comes down to people and how you look and act. You can look less rich if you don't have brand name clothes, "rolex"-like watches (even cheap copy), jewellery etc. Be a simple guy, then there are less reasons to be jealous about your stuff. I think that works everywhere, not only in Africa. Keep low profile.
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  #7  
Old 10 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assafdv View Post
Thanks for the word of confidence.
I'm becoming braver about it as the days pass and the set off date nears.

That's great that you feel better! Ajah!
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  #8  
Old 10 Aug 2007
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low profile good or bad?

Its true about the low profile. But a low profile is not necessarily better. We crossed the stretch Cameroon / Namibia with 2 different bikers (not at the same time); one was on an old shabby looking Yamaha TT600, with a surfboard on the back! (not really low profile!) and the other one on a brand new shiny orange KTM 640. The reactions to the bikers were very different. The Yamaha triggered amazement, laughter and waving hands. The KTM triggered silent distant admiration!

Our car was not really low profile too with all the stickering. It looked like a semi rally car. My experience is that the ' tourist ' profile is not bad. Esspecially with police we learned that its best to immediately disclose that you are a tourist and not some NGO f....r. We got thumbs up when we said to be tourist and on one occasion in Angola a police officer salluted us officially when we said to be tourist. Amazing!! They seem to like the fact that tourist have an interest in their country. Not everyone is after your money! We only had some negative experiences with corrupt officials in Cameroon and that was the exception, not the standard. But now I am wandering of topic, or am i?

cheers,

Noel
exploreafrica.web-log.nl
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  #9  
Old 11 Aug 2007
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Red face

"The KTM triggered silent distant admiration"
You just prophesied a bleak and lonely future for me. I’m riding a terribly orange 640.
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  #10  
Old 11 Aug 2007
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Ktm

The KTM guy made it from the UK to Johannesburg without any breakdowns !!
Superb bike! Maybe camouflage it a bit with sheep skins and stuff!

Cheers,

Noel
exploreafrica.web-log.nl
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  #11  
Old 12 Aug 2007
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Good idea with the sheep skin. I think it will be easier to do it in Morocco so I'll wait and do it there.
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  #12  
Old 14 Sep 2007
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Thats the spirit!

Thats the spirit
hmm....
camouflage it with a sheep skin,
why not a zebra or maybe a leopard instead
predator instead of prey
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