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  #1  
Old 8 Oct 2012
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London to Cape Town Jan 2013 via W. Coast (surfing!)

PLEASE NOTE: Trip has been delayed! New departure date set for early October 2013. Still looking for company...

Hey gang - riding London to Cape town starting January and looking for some company.
Awhile back I go the idea into my head to strap a surfboard to my motorcycle and ride around looking for waves. Like this:



After a fair bit of fiddling and research, a more solid plan formed to tackle Africa. On December 29th 2012 I'll fly from California to London to meet my beloved DR650 and head south across Europe and down the west coast of Africa. I'd like to circumnavigate the continent in about a year or so, in search of good waves and good times. Route will be something like this:



The plan is to take about 6 months riding from London to Cape Town beginning in January. If all goes well enough, carry on up the east coast, give the surfboard away to some kid in Tanzania, run up Kilimanjaro, cross the Middle east, and back to Europe. Maybe another 6 months for the return.

This is me:



I'm 36, working as an environmental scientist in Santa Cruz, California mostly trying to solve water pollution problems. I've felt overdue for a trip like this for a long time now. During the past two years, I got myself a bike, learned to ride it on the road and in the dirt, bolted tons of crap to it, learned how to fix as much stuff as possible, lurked on the HUBB, watched Mondo Enduro at least 23 times, and set off on a few short motosurf adventures along the california and Baja coasts (see bugsonmyboard.org).




I'm currently finishing modifications to the bike, getting shots, arranging shipping, organizing a Carnet, and learning what a pain in the arse it is to get a visa for Angola.



I've harangued friends for years trying to get them to come along, but they reckon its a bit of a nutty idea… which is where you come in. Ok, it is a bit of a nutty idea, but you're on the the HUBB so you must have a high tolerance for that kind of thing. Looking for anyone headed my way in January who might want to team up. So..….who's in? :-D
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Last edited by garnaro; 4 Dec 2012 at 22:19.
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  #2  
Old 8 Oct 2012
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How refreshingly mad! Your trip is way off my crazy scale, but if I can help with anything on your arrival in London let me know. Got spare room and workshop about 3 miles from Heathrow.
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  #3  
Old 8 Oct 2012
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Hi GaryUnguided,

Good luck with your adventure... hope you don't encounter mud like Martin (from Germany) did in 2009...





The video clip is here: Cameroon Serious 4X4 - YouTube
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Old 8 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muppix View Post
How refreshingly mad! Your trip is way off my crazy scale, but if I can help with anything on your arrival in London let me know. Got spare room and workshop about 3 miles from Heathrow.

Thanks for the invitation muppix! Careful.. I may just take you up on that..
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Old 8 Oct 2012
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Believe I've seen video of Martin with the board before - part of what clinched it for me that it could be done!

Zero - that looks gnarly!! I haven't done great in the mud so far:

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Old 8 Oct 2012
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A gentle warning - the rainy season hits Nigeria/Cameroon around February/March. Try to get ahead of it, though the rainy seasons are much less predictable now. Ideally you would leave Oct/Nov (i.e.: now) to get the best of the seasons as you go.

Arriving in Namibia in May/June as the rains end down there will be quite good though. Best animal viewing is June/July/August/Sept and maybe October in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa etc (winter dry season).

What the weather is doing makes a HUGE difference to your trip....

Good luck!

(and try not to have any schedule or plans or arrange to meet anybody on a certain date. The most stressed traveller in Africa is one with a timetable, schedule or a plan! ;-)

Oh, and the surf is pretty crap all down the west coast until you get to where the Great Whites hang out!
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Old 9 Oct 2012
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Excellent advice, thanks roamingyak. I think that I'll hand around surfing in Morocco and Senegal in Jan and Feb, should hit Nigeria/Cameroon around April...hopefully I will avoid some rain (?), but sounds like prime time for mud.

Oct/Nov does seem to be the most common time to be heading south. The trouble for me is that the best surf season in the north is Nov-Feb and in the south June- August, so that is the reason for my timing.

! hate sharks.
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Old 9 Oct 2012
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I would suggest leaving the surfing for another trip to honest. The surf is not so brilliant that it's worth enduring months of rain and mud for. I understand the addiction to it though!

Go and enjoy Africa, fly back to Morocco another time to do some surfing.

Travelling in the dry seasons is 5 times nicer than travelling in the rainy season (though its also nice to experience some rainy season as you will in Gabon/Congo as it rains all year round there!).

Try to allow about 9 months for the west coast, as just getting all of the visas can easily take up over a month of your time.

PS: If you don't like Sharks, will you like the thousands of snakes, scorpions, spiders, worms, biting insects and weird shit that comes out during the rainy season? It's a lot safer camping in the dry season!!
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Old 9 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingyak.org View Post
[...]The most stressed traveller in Africa is one with a timetable, schedule or a plan! ;-)[...]
Good one! I`m shure i will remember this sentence

But i will try to see my "plan" more as a concept:

Some weeks more or less...

@GaryUnguided: sounds like a nice trip! Here is a nice graph (thx to mike rutter), in case you want to avoid the rainy season.



I would also suggest, to see the whole trip as target, and not to set the main focus on the surfing. But it is a special plan, if you do it, you can tell afterwards - where the unknown surf spots are.

I have done the same experience with friends - have done with them trips in Laos and so on - but for the bigger on (Transafrica) - they dont want (to long, to expensiv (to stop working), to many kilometers and and...).

Then i plan the trip for myself - and after a short while my Girlfriend wants to join I had`nt ask her, for such a trip...

Surfy
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Old 9 Oct 2012
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Originally Posted by roamingyak.org View Post
I would suggest leaving the surfing for another trip to honest. The surf is not so brilliant that it's worth enduring months of rain and mud for. I understand the addiction to it though!

Go and enjoy Africa, fly back to Morocco another time to do some surfing.

Travelling in the dry seasons is 5 times nicer than travelling in the rainy season (though its also nice to experience some rainy season as you will in Gabon/Congo as it rains all year round there!).

Try to allow about 9 months for the west coast, as just getting all of the visas can easily take up over a month of your time.

PS: If you don't like Sharks, will you like the thousands of snakes, scorpions, spiders, worms, biting insects and weird shit that comes out during the rainy season? It's a lot safer camping in the dry season!!
No way dood! In another life I spent 5 years hauling surfboards around the world on plains, trains, and buses. I've found that surfing (or any mission really) adds a lot to travel experience. Its a way to connect with people (surfers are everywhere), a reason to get off the beaten track, and just something to do while you're waiting for weird and cool stuff to happen. As was mentioned, I think that a mission can be like a schedule in that the key is not to be so rigid or focused so as to miss all the cool stuff that wasn't on the plan.

That said. Riding in the rain sucks! And the comments here have caused me to think a bit harder about my schedule. I was looking at this great sheet that 'JamminJay' from AdvRider put together to see how dry I might be able to stay - very similar to Surfy's above, buy arranged via my route. My path would be similar to the one that Jay has drawn...looks very difficult to avoid rain in CAR, Congo , and Cameroon..

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  #11  
Old 9 Oct 2012
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Gary
Would you consider down the east coast on the way down? if so I would be interested in joining you. I've done a fair bit of adventure riding; last trip was 2 months across south america (nov/dec '12). I'm live in Dublin, 50, good company... blah blah....
Don't surf, but I could mind your clothes on the beach!
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Old 9 Oct 2012
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Originally Posted by Brian Dublin View Post
Gary
Would you consider down the east coast on the way down? if so I would be interested in joining you. I've done a fair bit of adventure riding; last trip was 2 months across south america (nov/dec '12). I'm live in Dublin, 50, good company... blah blah....
Don't surf, but I could mind your clothes on the beach!
Damn! no dice for me, but thank for the invite Brian. Timing for me this year only works if I head down the west coast first and I'll probably ditch the board somewhere after Mozambique....
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Old 17 Nov 2012
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Gary

Great trip - wish you well with it

We did part of the West Coast Africa 2010-11. Saw some cool spots on the way. Its going to be a blast (as long as you time things well with the rain). Plenty of sites you can visit on info (including this one).

We posted a load of FAQs on our trip - you might find it useful.

We live on the coast 100km North of Cape Town.....pop in and visit - we have a couple of surf spots and West Coast of SA has some epic spots.

Safe travels and may every day be a glassy one ;-)

Cheers

Nick
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  #14  
Old 4 Dec 2012
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Friendly face in France

Hi

Sounds like a cool trip. Looking at your map you should pass right by us in Central France (Loire valley) near Blois. If you need a place to crash you are very welcome. Camping in France in January will be a bit iffy. Might be very cold. Local wine always freely available. Mulled wine might be good idea in January! I could probably be persuaded to accompany you down through France for a few days.

Good luck, look forward to hearing more about the trip....love the idea.
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Old 4 Dec 2012
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how are things going? I'm on ferry to Northern Spain on 3rd Jan and will go to Marocco via Portugal, then on to Western africa.
Drop me a line if you would like to meet up...i'm on an XT 600
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