August 08, 2007 GMT
Malawi, 8 August 2007

The Nairobi broken frame saga made us stay longer than planned. The stay was made comfortable and directions given to the best repair shops by Chris at Jungle Junction, who also allowed me to bodge weld up the errant pannier frames and generally abuse his workshop for free. So we can't really thank him enough for that. I have to stick by our mantra that mechanical woes can provide some of the most interesting travel situations and, though finding out that the bike was near mortally wounded was a huge pain in the arse, the welding shop in downtown Nairobi was a gem. The elderly Indian / Kenyan owner, croaky with tracheotomy, was dewey eyed at the sight and sound of the incoming Bullet and through the repair he regaled me of his tales of riding a Triumph Thunderbird from Nairobi to London back in '61. He had gone through Uganda and then the South of Sudan before there were any roads to speak of there at all. As an arch bike enthusiast he had taken part in street circuit racing in Nairobi back in the 50s and 60s with a Manx Norton and earlier on had raced an Excelsior-JAP in local speedway.

broken frame

Heading North out of Nairobi into the highlands towards Lake Naivasha we had any final illusions that Africa is a continent of sunshine completely beaten out of us by incessant drizzle, fog and general coldness. Our quick diversion North before heading South was mainly down to the possibility of seeing hippos by the Lake and to have a stroll around Hell's Gate National Park. The hippos didn't disappoint but the stars of the show were a rowdy bunch of Marabou Stork, clacking their beaks and revelling in their status as possibly the ugliest creatures in all creation.

ugly bird

With time pressing us to get to Jo'burg for Sascha's flight home we decided to ride straight on through Tanzania to spend a little while in Malawi before motoring on again. Hitting the main asphalt roads through we probably didn't see the best of the country. Big distances and straight, smooth roads didn't make for exciting travel. Our plans to miss the rainy season were pretty much spot on for Tanzania but what no-one had told us is that the rainy season is followed by the windy season and we had four days of battling against morale sapping headwinds. Of course it wasn't all bad, the road took us through Mikumi National Park. It's the only National Park in East Africa that you can officially enter by motorcycle - having a major highway carve through it they can hardly stop you. Our first sight of elephants had us hopping off the bike for photo opps. Then we were told off by a passing warden. On the face of it fair enough as you can't really have people wandering around when lions are on the loose, but were we mauled it could have provided some good 'stupid tourist' stories in papers local and worldwide.

elephant by the road in Mikumi Park.jpg

The ying of frenetic pace through Tanzania has had to be tempered with a yang of langour in Malawi. The lure of beach life lakeside has been too much to resist and we have found ourselves staying at the same village by the lake for nearly three weeks. The time hasn't been totally wasted as we've completed a dive course and Sascha has fullfilled an ambition to see cychlids (the freshwater tropical fish found only in Lake Malawi) in their natural habitat. Our stay here has also seemed to mark the end of the 'gappers' season as they have finished their placements and now loll on the beach all day and get rowdy in bars by night. This temporary importation of young Wills, Harrys, Anushkas and Francescas seems like it may actually be Malawi's biggest source of foreign trade balance. Whole 'upper sixes' of the nation's Public School output seem to be in the country at once busily adding to their curriculum vitaes before entering St Andrews or Durham Universities. Kids pay for their placements and bring the wealth of daddy's credit cards to the country but it's hard to see what benfit they bring in front of training up locals to do the same job.. For the UK however the temporary export of over-confident teenagers can only be good.

kids.jpg

Malawi so far has been hugely enjoyable. On the bike the old 'waving' muscles are being heavily exercised once more and saying hello to everyone on the street and going through the niceties of 'how are you', 'fine thanks and you' means progess through crowds can be slow. Great as it is, with one month now before Sascha flies home, we must press on to Mozambique asap and then to Jo'burg. A stop both rider and machine are eagerly awaiting as we will be hitting the workshop and transforming a slightly twisted, wrong steering and rattly pup back into the gallant steed she once was. Hopefully the next blog will contain glorious before and after shots, and hopefully you will be able to tell the difference...

Posted by Richard Miller at 01:05 PM GMT
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.



Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!