According to the French, every decent person should speak their language... well, our french contains of: citroen, renault, baguette and sante...
Sorry, completely forgot about PEUGEOT...
It's sunny but cold and windy as we're hitting spanish border South of Argeles. The road is twisted and strong winds almost blow us of the bike. Still, it's fun!
With every Kilometre its getting warmer though...
Not really interested in big cities we still manage to take a few pics at the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona before we continue our ride south.
We've choosen the fast ferry from Tarifa to Tangier City against all odds. Apparently the Customs in the Tangier City port would try to extort some money on the arrival and we were told that the procedure would take anything from 2 to 4 hours, deppending on the "bakschich" given.
Strong winds let the waves rise up to 2 Metres in the Street of Gibraltar and, both of us, didn't like the idea much of travelling 3 hours on a slow boat to morocco considering the weather conditions.
Great surprise, Tangier port is a clean place and the procedures are very straight forward! No payments whatsoever and 30 minutes later we're able to ride through the Customs gate. Very easy border crossing in fact!
Jane with our hosts at the Aicha Hotel in the Todra Gorge
Taking the direct route through the Nomansland gives us the advantage of being the First at the Mauretanian side for Passport control and Customs. Half an hour later we're ready to go!
welcome to mauretania
We arrive early at the very quiet border in Gogui, get the passports stamped and proceed for the Customs to Nioro. It only takes few minutes to stamp our carnet and we're free to go. No one is asking for "presents" or any fees.
As we're crossing the border everything seems to be more easy than in Mauretania. There is petrol in every small town, one can buy vegetables in the market and even beer is freely available.
at the fetish market in bamako
Arriving at a border in the dark is never a pleasure but arriving at the Niger border after sunset seems like a nightmare. Well, we had no choice but to cross the border. The security situation in this part of Mali is more than questionable after the disastrous rescue attempt of the 2 french hostages and the police wouldn't like us to camp anywhere near them... At least the procedures on Mali side don't take long - go with god but GO to Niger!
Its a 30km ride to the Niger Immigration. Here, even its dark and the border closes anytime soon, they want to play some games with us.
We need to produce almost all papers I can think of; and this 3 times! I guess the officers really want to find a problem. As it appears that all our papers are OK, I'm asked to pay 15EU stamp fee! Smile on my side is the only thing the question produces... surely no payment!
Our heads are full of horror stories about Nigeria as we’re riding towards the border, corrupt policemen, nail boards, dash, uncountable check posts, violence outbreaks etc.
From the first day on in Nigeria all this stories prove not to be true for us!
At the border all the procedures are correct, the police officers friendly with no one asking us for money. Instead they’re wishing us a good trip through Nigeria!
at the cameroun border
From the first moment on in Cameroon it is apparent to us that the Cameroonians like to drink… well; this is after our data have been recorded into 4 different books by 4 different immigration officers. We can see the first bar just across the Customs office, followed by many more.
It’s true that, directly at the gate to Cameroon, the road literally disappears. For about 2 Kilometers it is gravel road, and then it turns to a 1 lane jungle track. Consisting of nothing else but red soil, the conditions of this track greatly depend on the weather situation. We’ve been warned many times about this Ekok-Mamfe road and even advised to consider shipping the bike from Calabar to Douala instead.
We’ve been terrified. All the worries for no reason as it turned out. The track was dry and relatively easy to ride. Again, the biggest danger is the traffic on this route.
Almost exclusively there are Peugeot cars from the 70ties. Totally overloaded, with the jerry cans sticking out sideward, they are shooting around blind curves without any ability to stop or even to slow down. Several times these jerry cans just miss our mirror and handle bar…
one more time at the equator
Across the bridge, on the Gabon side, everything seems more modern at first. Well, there is a Laptop in that wooden shack but no electricity within 500kmís. No Customs at the border either, we need to ride some 30 kís to get the carnet stamped.
The road conditions are truly impressive; itís like being transformed back to Spain! Perfect tar, gorgeous curves and fantastic scenery! Dense jungle, awesome villages and lots of bush meat along the road. There are crocs, gazelles, rats and monkeys; all of them ready to take away and cook!
Shortly after the Equator the gorgeous asphalt disappears and I need all the senses for the potholes. Sad enough as the track follows the Ogoue River and the bamboo forms beautiful tunnels. Jane will show me the pics laterÖ
the fun begins right after the border
We’re parking the bike right in front of the wooden barrier, which is apparently the border of Congo. No signs, no banners, no sign. Nobody is around. We have to have a look around the village in order to find the officials. We find the immigration guy chewing on a piece of chicken and flushing it down with a bottle of beer among other villagers. Slowly he gives up the piece of meat, wipes his hands on his jogging pants and shows us to follow him to his office. During the inspection of our passports he develops great interest in our money bags. Partly pretending to check up on our visas he’d squint in the direction of the neck pouch asking what is in there. I quickly get the point and try to avoid showing my purse. Well, we have a camera and here are the batteries. Oh yeah, a ball pen! Not getting any further with us stupid tourists he now needs to be more precise: “You need to give me some money” he’d demand! As I’m offering him my nicest smile asking him why we would have to pay a stamp fee, he just passes the passports to us wishing us a safe ride…
After three more stations at the border including Police, Customs and Gendarmerie we’re free to go.
no space for the passenger
you'd almost need a boat
At the Angolan side of the Matadi border post there are some more books to fill our data in. While the sweat is slowly soaking my clothes I’m asking myself why can’t they just copy all this data themselves? As soon as I’m ready with one there will be another one waiting for me! Leaving the work for me the immigration officers are bored off their heads. I’m definitely not in the mood to answer them all the personal questions they’d shoot at me, any kind of small talk would only extend our time at the border…
The Customs are happy to fill in the Carnet even though Angola isn’t listed on its back side. To us it seems like they know what they’re doing.
Nobody wants to have a look in our panniers and we’re happily off.
The luxury of a developed world strikes us as soon as we're hitting the border!
There are roads in perfect condition, ATM's, shopping malls, internet and many effordable places to stay overnight. From one day to another everything isn't a problem anymore. Suddenly we're able to get money on the first ATM machine, buy nice food in a supermarket and have a good night sleep in clean sheets...
No wonder we just want to enjoy the luxury and relax for 1 week in Tsumeb before deciding what to do in Namibia.
a tour through the Etosha National Park
half of the tour "around africa" is done, we made it to cape point after 25000km through the black continent
The first question we’re confronted with while at the South African border is „What do you have?“ Having no clue what to answer we just say: “nothing”. Apparently that’s the right answer. We can pass and nobody is interested in our (not paid) road tax.
Its 10th of June, bright blue sky and no signs of the rain which was bothering us the last few days. Despite the sun shining down on us it is mid winter in this part of the World and we’re freezing badly. Our cloth bags are almost empty as we’re wearing several layers of shirts and jumpers. At the few petrol stations along the way we’d try to stop shivering while having a hot mug of coffee.
welcome to mozambique
us at the victoria falls
We’re crossing into Zambia on the famous Zambezi Bridge. There are several counters to pass. The procedures are somehow confusing but one thing is clear: on every counter I’d be asked for $$$. Visa fees, carbon tax, insurance, road toll…
everyone wants a photo
jane with mama tukuyu
jane bargaining for an ostrich egg
This time there is no excuses for not paying the road tax. Kenyan border officials know very well what they’re doing. They confront us with printed law. It’s 20$ for the bike for 1 month and 50$ for 3 months… 20 bucks are just enough we decide, even though we’re planning on staying longer than a month. Other than this no discussions and pretty quick progress at the border.
Perfect tarmac all the way to Nairobi with increasing number of vehicles. In Nairobi then a total chaos. Traffic jam all the way through the city limits. Luckily we can reach Jungle Junction before dark and find a spot for our tent in Chris’ garden.
This chapter we'll dedicate to the experiences we do want to forget as they truly were not pleasant. At the same time it should act as a warning to fellow travellers. Ofcourse everyone is making his own experiences so dont blame us if you've seen it differently.MORE...
entering Sudan on Christmas Day!
fixing the 3rd number plate on our journey. after 2 years of riding with filipino plate and 2 years with german plate we're forced to switch to egyptian one.
the first and only sign "Israel" in Jordan is located right at the border...
"The calendar is magnificent!"
"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"
Next HU Events
- Thailand Mini: Jan 9-11
- NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16
- Germany: May 14-17
- Canada Ontario: Jun 18-21
- Ireland: June 26-28
- Colorado: July 17-19 TBC
- Canada West: Aug 20-23
- USA California: Sep 24-27
- Aus Queensland: Sep 24-27
- USA North Carolina: Oct 8-11
- Aus Perth: Oct 9-11
- Germany: Oct 22-25
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