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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  #16  
Old 28 Jun 2013
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Mali! Plan for two days...stay for a week!!

Next morning I ignored my alarm and only got up around 8:00. I quickly packed up, loaded the bike, thanked the friendly staff and headed out. I filled up with fuel at a Total garage in town and bought myself a Coke and a chocolate bar. My GPS doesn’t work in this area but I consulted my maps the previous evening as to which route I’d have to take to reach the Malian border. If I took a wrong turn I could end up at the Burkina Faso border. In reality this wouldn’t have been a problem as I have an Entente visa which allows me entry into Benin, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. So if I happened to take a wrong turn that would only mean heading through Burkina Faso a bit and then entering Mali from another angle. Though I found the route pretty straightforward, so chances of my taking a wrong turn was pretty much zero.

Forty kilometers outside of Ferke, you have a road splitting off to the left. They even have a sign up that indicates that this is the road to Bamako. Then from the split you have another sixty kilometers to the border. As a delightful surprise the road instantly improves and as soon as I turned left towards the Mali border I found myself on a superb tar road with absolutely NO potholes! If you’re pushed for time, good tar roads always help a great deal.

As I reached the border I rode right past the Senegal customs post, by accident of course. I somehow just didn’t see them and just kept riding. Luckily I was going at a slow pace and when I heard people calling from behind, I looked back and realized that they were calling me back! Oops. No harm done though. The customs officials were very friendly and I had a long chat with one of them who seemed very concerned about my safety in Mali. He asked me whether I was SURE I wanted to ride through Mali as: “It’s very dangerous”. “Do you have a map”? Yes. “Do you know the roads”? No. “But you know where you’re going”? Yes. “Good, go quickly”!

On the Mali side things went quick and easy. I was ordered to sit and eat peanuts with the customs officials whilst they went through my paperwork and stamped my passport. I didn’t argue. Had my passport stamped and then went to have my Carnet stamped. Here I was shown to a yard with a few busses and cars parked next to a building. Obviously the Douane building. I was left standing next to my bike as one of the uniformed officers went to have my Carnet stamped. This is the first time someone had something stamped FOR me! I felt rather spoiled! Whilst standing next to DAX, an array of people came over to have a look at the bike and to chat to me. Some guys gave me their numbers and told me to call them when I got to Bamako. Some offered me tea and others tried to sell me bracelets or clothes. A few minutes later the officer returned with my Carnet in hand. Luckily I checked and noticed that they had not stamped my Carnet, so I had to send him back. Once I had all the stamps in the right places, I greeted the crowd around me and pushed on towards Bamako. The officer who had my Carnet stamped shouted after me to be careful of the potholes in the road!

I am yet to find these potholes, as the roads in Mali are beautiful! Okay, I think I maybe saw ONE pothole on my way to Bamako. From the border I made my way to Sikasso, from here my GPS had information on routes again. The first thing that hit me upon entering Mali is how QUIET it is here! There’s this tangible calmness in the air. In stark contrast to the North! There aren’t as many people on the road as I’ve become used to in Central and the rest of Western Africa. On the contrary I noticed that mostly people are working in fields all along the roadside. You don’t hear anything. People just go about their daily lives, working in the fields. Whenever I stopped for a break next to the road maybe one or two people would walk past me. I would greet them and they’d shyly smile and move along. It’s like I’ve entered a completely different Africa now.



That’s until I reached Bamako! From Sikasso I made my way to Bougouni, heading west. Then from Bougouni I turned north towards Bamako. I underestimated just how big Bamako is and only arrived around 20:00. From about 10 kilometers outside of the actual city I could see long files of traffic snaking through the countryside, making their way in and out of town. I followed my GPS into town and then I got lost! Crazy traffic EVERYWHERE! I was trying to find a good landmark to phone my contact, Valerie, from so they could then meet up with me. But it became impossible and as soon as I found a gap to pull off to the side of the road I phoned Valerie and we agreed that I should make my way back to the “Tour de l’Afrique” statue you see as you enter Bamako. I would estimate the statue/ memorial to be about 12 meters tall, so it’s not like you can miss it! It’s situated in the middle of a big ‘rond-point’. (Roundabout) I found myself a spot within the roundabout and parked off to the side, waiting for Valerie and her friend to meet up with me.



Whilst sitting on my bike, watching the traffic playing ‘ring a ring o’ roses’, a guy stopped next to me on a scooter and asked whether I needed any help in perfect English. I told him that I was waiting for my friends. And so we started chatting and my new friend Ali, told me how he had to flee from Timbuktu with his family because of the violence and unrest in the North. He used to be a travel guide in Timbuktu and showed me pictures of many a traveler he had taken around. He stayed with me until Valerie and Paul arrived. It took them about an hour to get to me and in that time many guys stopped to chat to me. Ali just showed them away. At one point a guy insisted on wanting to buy my bike from me! He obviously loved my bike and hung around up until the point that I left; probably hoping I might change my mind! Sorry buddy!

I thanked Ali for keeping me company, greeted Valerie and Paul and then followed them to my hotel. Hotel le Campagnard. My original plan was to stay here for one night. I would spend the night and then carry on early the next morning to Kayes just before the Senegal border. Little did I know I would spend the next four nights and I’d never get to Kayes either!

The decision came the next morning when I woke up around 05:00 from the prayer calls coming from the surrounding mosques. I promptly turned around, switched off my alarm and went back to sleep. I was tired! I could feel it on the bike since the previous day. I don’t know why I am so tired. It’s not like I have any reason to be after over two weeks rest in Abidjan! But the little voice told me to stay and rest.

The reason would be revealed later that day by way of three strangers who ended up in the bar downstairs from my room, by ‘chance’. I went down to the restaurant/bar around 12:00 for a cup of coffee. Whilst sitting there Paul also arrived and introduced me to some of the people around the bar. The guy sitting next to me starting chatting to me and asking me about my route to Senegal. Whilst chatting to him three more people arrived. They sat down at the bar across from me. Whilst chatting to the guy sitting next to me I overheard the newcomers talking in English, and I recognized the guy’s accent. When I had a gap I leaned over and asked him: “Sorry, where are you from?” South Africa. Then I smiled and asked: “Ja, maar van waar”? To which they burst out laughing. Here in my little hotel I ran into Francois and Janita from Bloemfontein! They were on their way back to South Africa after a three months working on one of the mines near the Senegalese border. They work three months and go home for one.

This is the first time since Namibia that I got to meet fellow South Africans on the road. I know we are all over Africa, but I always seem to miss everyone! So I was very happy when I met Francois and Janita. This also meant I could speak my home language, Afrikaans, for the first time since leaving Namibia. Every now and then it really is a treat to bump into fellow countrymen.

With them they had Pat, a French born Aussie. Now there’s a confused accent if you’ve ever heard one! But an awesome guy! Upon hearing my story he immediately got to work on sorting my visas for Mauritania and Morocco. He phoned a friend at the Moroccan embassy, organized an appointment for me and put me in a taxi. Upon arriving at the embassy I was asked by the security officer whether I am the South African? I was shown to an office and told to take a seat. A few minutes later a lady arrived and handed me the application form to fill in and with that, two photos and CFA 20 000. I was so happy about the opportunity to have these two visas sorted in Bamako. I always feel much more at ease once I have the visas needed for the next country in my passport. Having the next two countries is a bargain! I don’t need a visa for Senegal, so that’s an easy one.

Though, sadly, after about twenty minutes the woman returned with my passport and my CFA 20 000. She told me that they could unfortunately not process my visa application and that I’d have to do it in Mauritania. From what I understand with my little French is that it was because I am not a citizen of Mali. A bit confusing and disappointing. You win some, you lose some. It was worth a try.

I headed back to my hotel. By the time I got back it was already very late in the afternoon and Francois, Janita and Pat had already left. I went to my room and checked my emails, Facebook messages etc. I had an early dinner and then went to bed.

I spent the rest of the week in Bamako. For no reason other than I enjoyed it! I would walk around every now and then, down the street to the bank to draw some money. Then stop off at the garage shop to buy a cold drink. Then explore the area a bit before heading back to the hotel. Downstairs from my hotel there’s always at least five guys sitting and selling their goods. They’ve tried flogging everything from clothes, to bangles (I did buy one…my Mali addition), sunglasses, shoes, cd’s, dvd’s. You name it, they’ve got it! Everyday when I came out of my room they would call up to me, greeting me and asking me if I had a good sleep? Persistent salesmen that they are, they’d throw out the bait to see if I didn’t want to bite and buy at least one CD or one T-shirt. I give them a ten for determination!



Francois and Janita had given me the contact number for one Derick du Plessis who is another fellow South African working in Gounkoto, right on the Senegalese border. Turns out Derick did a stint with his dad last year August/September from Mali to England. Yay, a fellow adventurer! And this is how the route change came in from heading to Kayes to rather heading to Gounkoto. You won't find the route on any map or GPS as the new road leading to Gounkoto only opened in December. When I told my friends in Sali (Senegal), that I’d change my route they told me that I would struggle as it’s a bad road and with all the rain recently I’d only reach Dakar in a month’s time!

Though I had faith that I’d been given the correct information, and armed with a hand drawn map that Pat had drawn me whilst we sat in the bar, I set off towards Gounkoto on Saturday 14 July 2012. And indeed, there is a brand new tarmac road leading all the way to the Senegal border! I phoned Derick on route to keep him updated on my progress. I must just say once again, I find Mali to be a very beautiful country! Beautiful landscapes, lush green grass and trees all over. It reminds me a bit of the Lowveld in South Africa.















I had no issues with navigation. Pat’s map drawing skills proved to be very good. I made great progress and landed in Gounkoto around 16:00 the afternoon. Yay, I reached a town before nightfall! Before you get to Kenieba, which is the town just before you get to Gounkoto, you go through a police control point. Just before this point there is a service station. I stopped here to fill up and as I was about to pull off again a white Toyota Land Cruiser just nicked me from behind, on my right side pannier. But it was enough to just push me over and have me drop DAX. Before I was even up on my feet, three of the attendants rushed to my side to help me pick up the bike. The first time I’ve put the bike down since Gabon! Grrrrr.

After I had passed through the control point a yellow BMW f800gs pulled out in front of me and I immediately knew it was Derick. He had ridden out to wait for me and lead me to their base. On route we saw a guy on one of those 100cc Chinese jobbies with a monkey as pillion!



When we arrived at the base Derick introduced himself and I also met Chrisjan. First things first, they invited me in, gave me a cold and we watched some rugby whilst they asked me some questions in between. I felt right at home. I also met another South African family here; Stefaans and Colette with their three children Jancke (10), Inge ( and little Faans (2). I arrived just at the right time it would seem as Jancke celebrated her birthday on Sunday and the little one turned two yesterday. So we’ve been spoiled with potjie, steak and chips and lots of cake! Yum.






I’ve now been here for almost a week. The guys keep telling me to please stay as long as I want. In the meantime we’ve sent my passport back to Bamako to give the visas one last try. Once I have the visas in hand, I’ll head over into Senegal and on to Sali where I’ll spend my first night. Then it’s off to Dakar, St Louis and finally Mauritania and Morocco. I’ve heard SO many horror stories about the Rosso border between Senegal and Mauritania. I’ll post some here later. And then soon I’ll be in Dakar, with my BMW Dakar. And riding through the desert. Meeting up with friends in Morocco. So there’s still so much to look forward to! In the meantime, I’m enjoying the sights.











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  #17  
Old 28 Jun 2013
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Outstanding Jo

And Allan !!!!! What can i say

Roll part two

Cheers Phil
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  #18  
Old 28 Jun 2013
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Mali to Mauritania!

I had a wonderful time in Mali! Despite all the unrest and turmoil going on in the North, the rest of the country is very peaceful. People go about their daily lives and shyly smile when you greet them. I stayed at the G&S camp on the Gounkoto mine, almost right on the Senegalese border in the West of Mali. I never even planned on riding through Mali! But ended up spending almost a month! It was a good choice!

I had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people! I felt right at home with Derick and Chrisjan who kindly took me in and gave me a place to stay for as long as I needed. On my first attempt I was not able to acquire my visas for either Mauritania or Morocco. Right after I had reached the mining camp a friend in Bamako said he could help out and I immediately sent my passport back.

It took about two weeks, but ‘Pat the miracle worker’ was successful in getting both my Mauritania and Moroccan visas in Bamako. To top it all off he hand delivered my passport back to me and refused to let me pay for anything!

Everyone welcomed me with open arms and made me feel to be part of the family! I got to explore the area a bit, get to know loads of interesting and wonderful individuals, go on rides with my buddies Derick and Chrisjan, and got to meet Mr. Mark Bristow. (Another avid adventure rider and CEO of Randgold Resources)

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I would’ve loved to stay even longer, but my visa for Mali was about to expire. Originally the plan was to ride to Saly (Senegal) and spend one or two days with friends there. Then ride to St. Louis to stay at the Zebra Bar before taking on the Rosso border into Mauritania. Though Mr. Bristow invited me to stay at their guesthouse in Dakar for a night.

I was up at 4:30 to load the bike and get ready to leave for Senegal. The boys at the camp were up early as well and we enjoyed our last coffee together. Derick would accompany me to the border (about 10km away) to see me off. A friend, Abdoulaye, arrived just before 6:00 and took my passport to the border. He sorted everything out before I even got there. I said goodbye Derick (knowing that he was itching to join me to Morocco! I knew how much he misses the road after he and his dad rode to the UK last year) and crossed over into Senegal.







Abdoulaye rode with me to the first town in Senegal (Kedougou), filled up my bike at his expense, shook my hand, wished me luck and turned back. What an awesome guy! I knew what to expect from the landscape and surrounding as Derick painted a colorful picture when reminiscing about his trip.

This new road that was built in December 2011 is known as the Millennium Highway. It lasts pretty much until you reach the national park. The surroundings are beautiful and wild. For the first time in a long time I got to see animals, other than cows, donkeys and goats. I saw monkeys, warthogs and meerkats running across the road.



After exiting the park the land suddenly starts to flatten out and you quickly drop in elevation. On my GPS I could see the saltpans that stretch from the coastline to Kaolack being indicated to my left. The geography changes so dramatically and suddenly you’re riding through flat terrain, surrounded by water and salt mining heaps on both sides of the road. And it’s windy!





The distance from where I was staying in Mali to Saly is about 750 km’s. I reached the town of Mbour (just before Saly) around 6:30pm. My friends Laurent and Sahar Desmarets were waiting for me at the Shell garage as you enter Mbour. First things first, we headed to a local restaurant for ciders to celebrate my arrival! And then I dropped the bike! Hahahaha. (It was before I had the ciders!)



I spent a wonderful day relaxing in Saly. Sahar took me into town because I needed to do some shopping! Saly is a lovely little town with stalls lining the streets with merchants selling their goods. People are extremely friendly and warm and welcoming! Love it! I needed to find a bracelet for my ever-growing collection! I met a Touareg who has a shop making silver jewelry. He didn’t have any bracelets I was interested in, but offered to make me one. I explained to him what I wanted and he said he would deliver it to me later that night. A few shops down the street I met a tailor and an artist who had heard about me from Sahar. They both welcomed me to Senegal and gave me two bracelets as presents! Awesome! I went about shopping for some clothes and by the time I got back to the Touareg’s shop, my bracelet was ready! Hand made, especially for me!









That night Laurent and Sahar invited another South African over and we all had dinner together. I was almost sad to have to leave so soon! I would’ve loved to stay in Saly for a few more days! Though I really wanted to get the Rosso border crossing out of the way as soon as possible! So the next day it was off to Dakar. It’s only about an hour’s ride from Saly so there was no real rush. I only left late in the afternoon and reached Dakar just before dark.

Reaching Dakar…on my Dakar! A joyous occasion! A driver escorted me to the guesthouse where I would spend the night. Later on David and Moustapha arrived so we could discuss how to go about the Rosso border crossing. Mark had asked them to assist me! I was given a contact number for another David at the border who would meet me there and run me through the procedures. Next morning I was up at 5:00 and left Dakar in the dark.

Senegal, to me, is horse and baobab country! All along the roadside there are horses! And they’re well looked after. The baobabs I started noticing from Kaolack onwards, spread far and wide across the countryside. Absolutely beautiful, these majestic giants! Vegetation starts thinning out as you close in on Mauritania and starting noticing old Arabic style structures. And then, I reached Rosso!





I did not stop until I reached the border gate. The street is filled with hordes of people, small bikes and donkey carts. The second I stopped I was surrounded by at least six men. Frantically talking to me in a mixture of English, French and Arabic. I calmly got off the bike and asked for David. I was instructed that once I located David I needed to phone Moustapha so he could talk to him and verify that it was indeed the right guy. I did as instructed and after I was satisfied that this was indeed the David I would be dealing with, we started with processing my paperwork. Within about ten minutes I was standing on the other side of the gates in the holding area where everyone waited to board the ferry to Mauritania. The ferry arrived before long. Though I could not board, as there were no less than 100 camels waiting to be loaded first. A crowd had gathered around me and we stood watching as the men in their white and light blue robes rounded up the camels in small groups to get them onto the ferry. It was a timeous and ‘not-all-that-fun-to-watch’ procedure. I hated how they kept hitting the camels with their big sticks!













On the second round I boarded the ferry with the rest of the camels. It only takes a ten-minute ride over the Senegal river to get to the other side. Though it was a Friday and Ramadan, so by the time we reached the other side I would have to wait for about two hours as everyone was off to pray. In the meantime a couple arrived on a red BMW f800gs. They were from Spain, riding down to Dakar. The man started chatting to me and complained about how bad this border is. I smiled at him and said: “Well brace yourself, the other side is worse”! Which is true, in my opinion. I found the Mauritania side to be much more relaxed.

By the time I had my passport stamped and all the paperwork filled out, it was too late to try and gun it for Nouakchott. I would certainly only reach it by night and Mauritania is not really a country where I felt comfortable riding around at night. Just after you cross the border there is a hotel on your right. Clean and cool, I thought it a good idea to rather spend the night and get an early start the next morning. In retrospect, I should’ve pushed through to Nouakchott.......
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  #19  
Old 28 Jun 2013
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Mauritania to Western Sahara

I settled into my hotel room. It was hot as hell outside and I was really grateful for the air conditioner in my room! I checked in around 05:00pm. Being Ramadan, I knew I would only be able to get food a little later that night. David (the man that handled my paperwork when I crossed the border) kindly offered to bring me some food later on. With accommodation and food sorted, I had a shower and a nap. It had been a long day and I was exhausted! The TV in the room even had movies showing in English! I felt comfortable that I had made the right choice in rather staying than trying to make it to Nouakchott before dark.

Around 09:00pm there was a knock at my door. Yay! David had brought my food, as promised. I was very happy to see him as I hadn’t eaten all day (Ramadan), and I was super hungry! He put the food down on the counter. Grilled chicken with fries and salad!

Though my happy feeling suddenly disappeared when I noticed him closing and locking the door to my hotel room. He then approached me and tried to kiss me. I pushed him away and made it CLEAR that I was not interested. Of course he became even more persistent. He pushed me onto the bed and a wrestling match ensued. I completely lost it and went into ninja mode! I managed to fight him off and started shouting at him and told him to get out! He stood staring at me with wild eyes for a few seconds and then became apologetic all of the sudden, saying: “Excusez-moi. Ce pas moi, c'est mon cœur.” You’re aiming too high asshole! I promise you it’s not your heart! And then he left.

That's him, sitting next to me on the ferry from Senegal



Apart from experiencing intense anger and a few bruises in my neck, I was fine. Even managed to get in some sleep. I was up at 6 again the next morning. I loaded the bike, paid for my room and left for Nouadhibou. I didn’t want to hang around in Mauritania and rode through the country, border to border, in one day. I had been warned about all the security control points on route and came prepared with my “Fiche”. Control points are spaced only a few kilometers from each other and you run into one about every 20 kilometers or so. They’re usually situated before and after towns and villages. What’s different from these control point, in comparison to control points in most of Central and Western Africa is that you MUST stop at the sign that says STOP. This might sound as a given, but all the way up until here I’ve noted that one only stops at a control point if the officer on duty signals you to do so. I didn’t stop at the first sign, but did stop in front of the officer and he asked me why I didn’t stop at the sign? I noted the line of cars that had stopped behind me, behind the sign, and then I understood.

Every time I reached a control point the officer would greet me, and then just say: “Fiche”. Fiche is basically a copy of your passport with details written on it, such as: your vehicle’s make and registration number, your visa number and occupation. I prepared about 20 copies before entering Mauritania. I ran out of copies before I reached Western Sahara!

It’s a very long road leading up to Western Sahara. I was very excited to get into the desert though. It’s a bit of a ‘shock to the senses’ after emerging from Central and Western Africa’s jungles. (Literally and figuratively speaking). The road is in good condition and ranges between light grey shell-grit and black tar sections. The light grey road sections mostly consisting of shell grit and the black sections normal tar road.





The two biggest cities on route to Western Sahara are Nouakchott (the country’s capital) and Nouadhibou. After stopping at no less than fifteen control posts, I finally made it to Nouakchott. I stopped at a Total garage to refuel and asked about fuel availability on route to Nouadhibou. The stretch between Nouakchott and Nouadhibou is about 480 kilometers. I can reach around 360 kilometers on a full tank (17 liters). The attendant assured me that there is no fuel available on route to Nouadhibou, so I filled my two 7-liter fuel bags as well. That ought to do it!

Though I did find a Total garage about halfway between Nouakchott and Nouadhibou with fuel! And a little shop where I bought myself a nice cold Coca-Cola! It is HOT out on the road and I was lucky enough to ride through two sandstorms on route to Nouadhibou. What I loved is watching how the sand gets blown over the road. It never settles ON the road, but would rather just blow across the road in thick streaks or in beautiful patters if the wind is from the north or south.





When entering Mauritania you have proper sand dunes surrounding you. Then as you progress through the country the scenery changes to a more rock desert environment. There are small villages next to the road and nomadic tents that I could spot every now and then further in from the road. The only animals I spotted were camels (of course), donkeys and dogs. There are also a lot of dead animals on the side of the road. Throughout the country I would catch a whiff of a decaying animal on the side of the road every now and then.









The second sand storm I went through was quite intense and reduced my visibility to about 20 meters. A crazy wind blowing in from the coast – west to east. It felt like I had to hang on for all I was worth! And even in that sand storm I got pulled over at a control point. The officer on duty had to hold my bike whilst I fished out my Fiche for him! We couldn’t hear one another but I knew he wanted the Fiche, so I handed it to him and then carried on.

By the time I reached Nouadhibou the wind had subsided somewhat. The sun starts setting around 07:30pm, which gives me lots of daytime to work with. It took me close to 10 hours to ride through Mauritania with all the control point delays. I had the name of a hotel that Moustapha in Dakar had given to me and immediately went about searching for said hotel. After riding around for about half an hour without any luck in finding the hotel, I decided to try a different tactic. I rode right into the middle of town and stopped in the busiest intersection, got off my bike and removed my helmet. Knowing that this would attract attention, two men approached me in no time flat. I told them I was looking for Tiriz Hotel and they kindly pointed me in the right direction. Five minutes later I arrived at the hotel and checked into my room.

Street in Nouadhibou



Next morning when I woke up, I looked out my window and noticed someone was sleeping on the rooftop next to the room I stayed in.



Another wonderful day on the road, exploring, riding and experiencing!
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  #20  
Old 28 Jun 2013
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Crossing into Western Sahara

During Ramadan, the towns are jam packed at night and dead quiet during the day. Which suits me just fine. Makes it easier to negotiate any traffic (though the only traffic you’ll experience around here is when you ride through a town…and towns are few and far apart), and by the time the streets get crazy I’m already cozy in my hotel room.

I had a bit of a lie in and only left Noudhibou around 09:00am the next morning. The staff at Hotel Tiriz were very friendly and helpful. The concierge brought me some food the previous evening (Okay this time I stood by the door and kept it open…just in case). The staff helped me drag all my bags up and down four flights of stairs. (It’s the small things that count, I feel very spoilt when someone actually helps me).

It’s about a 50-kilometer ride to the Western Sahara border. You turn off the main road; cross a railroad track and then about 5 kilometers later you’re standing at the border gates. Then it’s the usual routine. Get out my passport and Carnet de Passage and start getting them stamps. All went fairly easy and without hassles on the Mauritania side. Then when you pass through the gates, you enter ‘No Man’s Land’. The 3-kilometer stretch between Mauritania and Morocco. There is no road! You have to make your way through some rocks and sand and a vehicle graveyard. There are signs that warn you not to wonder off in the wrong direction, on account of you might just run over a landmine! The best way to cross this stretch is to wait for another vehicle and then follow them to the other side!

I made it to the other side, unscathed and rode past customs. Oops! I do that on a regular basis! Hee hee. A group of robed men sitting on the side of the road was shouting and waving at me, indicating that I needed to go back. No harm done though, when I got back to the customs window the officer on duty just smiled and asked: “France or Spain”? “Neither, I smiled”. He tried a few more: “Germany, Italy, Sweden…”? “Afrique du Sud”, I finally replied. “Ohhhh, you’re from Africa”. Ummmm, yes…and you must be from…Uranus??? He was very friendly and efficient though. Even added me as a Facebook friend whilst processing my details.

After having my passport stamped I went about having my Carnet stamped, but then things turned into a bit of a run around. First I had to go to Douane. They then sent me back across the road to the Police who had to search my things. Police searched my belonging and stamped my little blue form, and then it was back to Douane. Where is your insurance form? I don’t have one. Okay, see that office over there? You have to buy insurance. Off to the office, I go to buy insurance. The office is just beyond the border gate entering Western Sahara. I buy insurance (900 Dirham for one month’s insurance). Then it’s back to Douane once more. They process all my information and stamp the blue form again. I ask them to please stamp my Carnet. They stamp both the entry and exit forms. Huh? Okay, whatever, I’ll sort out later. It’s hot as hell and I need something to drink. Finally with all the right stamps in the right places I head towards the boom. There is a long line of trucks waiting to get through. The officer manning the boom asks for my passport. He supposedly cannot find my stamp and tells me to park to one side. I do as I’m told and follow the officer around as he quibbles with the truck drivers. I follow him around for about 15 minutes. He just ignores me. He finally hands my passport to another officer who just hands my passport back to me and tells me I can go. Huh again? Just beyond the border there is a hotel on your left with a little shop next to it. I buy a one-liter Sprite, a buddy Coke and 1,5 liter water and hit the road. I passed the line of trucks and found a quiet spot a few kilometers away where I stopped and downed the Coke and half the bottle of water.

The border is in the background, where you see that cellphone tower



I was now in Western Sahara! Woohoo! There’s just something immensely intriguing about the Sahara. The vastness, the mystery, the world’s largest hot desert!

Next stop: Dakhla! World renowned for kite surfing action! About 380 kilometers from the border and the road carries virtually no traffic. Whenever I’d stop for a quick break, the sudden intense silence that surrounded me would make my ears ring! I could hear a vehicle approach from miles and miles away. Even the simple act of swallowing a mouthful of water made me feel like the nomads might have heard me miles into the desert.

On route to Dakhla you’ll come across camels grazing next to or lazily crossing the road. You’ll see one or two cars and lots and lots of desert! The sun will turn your ATGATT into a cooking suit. But you’ll love it. Because you’re in the SAHARA baby!! Well, the Western part of it anyway.





One of the questions I get asked the most is: “What goes through your mind when you’re on the road, all day, on your own”? Well…if you were to go to a travel agency they would tell you that Mauritania and especially Western Sahara are no-go zones for tourists! It’s very dangerous and you might get kidnapped. So that’s what went through my mind on route to Dakhla. Say I got snatched, dumped in the middle of the desert with only the clothes on my back…how would I survive? How would I survive long enough to reach civilization? This is what I came up with: I would try to figure out at what time I got snatched and based on the time lapse between time taken and consciousness regained I would try to work out how big a radius I’m looking at, based on last known destination. Assuming that I’m still in Western Sahara I would start heading in a northwesterly direction (to reach the coast). And then, maybe I’ll eat that blue camel hovering over there…or maybe I should get out of the sun!















Just before you reach Dakhla you really hug the coastline for some distance. There’s a particular stretch where you can turn off the road (if you want to) and have a great view looking out over the ocean. In some sections it really looks like the earth just broke off into the ocean. Vertical cliffs with about a fifty-meter drop in some sections (guesstimate). Then as you start turning to get to Dakhla you cross over a hill and then all of the sudden, literally hundreds of kite surfers to your left! It’s a pretty awesome site and not quite something you’d expect if you didn’t know about it!



I treated myself when I got into town and booked myself into the Sahara Regency Hotel. A few Italian guys outside the hotel were very interested to find out where I had come from and helped me unload the bike. Turns out they had ridden from Italy to Dakhla a few years ago. Now they were just here for the kite surfing. There were quite a few foreigners in the hotel, here for kite surfing. There’s a camp outside of Dakhla as well where most of the kite surfers stay over.

The kite surfers







I settled into my room and had a view over the main street from the second floor. Later at night I watched as the street filled up and people walked around, kids played on the sidewalks and men sat at café’s drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.



Entrance/Exit - Dakhla



Next stop…Laayoune! (A.K.A El Aaiún)
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Old 28 Jun 2013
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Interview on television in Laayoune. It's all in Arabic though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKCI...layer_embedded
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Laayoune to Rabat

I left Dakhla around 09:00am the next morning. Riding out on the peninsula heading North I noted a train on the tracks to my left. A caravan of camels was lazily shuffling through the desert sand. On top of the train I noted men standing with their robes blowing in the wind, like something out of Lawrence of Arabia! And then I think to myself: just a few months ago, Morocco seemed so far away. I romanticize scenes of being swept off into the desert by an Arabian prince whilst sweeping through the South of Morocco with DAX faithfully roaring underneath me as I steer us further north.



The stretch from Dakhla (pronounced Daghla – ‘g’ as in gooi) to Laayoune is about 540 kilometers and the road leads you all along the coast. For the first time in a long time I am actually cold! Riding next the coastline with the wind blowing in from the ocean turns it into a huge natural air conditioner! The day is fairly uneventful but I am happy riding along with a feeling of absolute contentment. There’s a certain feeling of calmness here.



The ever-present control posts carry on throughout. Though I never have any problems. I get stopped at each and every single one, but I just greet the officers with a friendly smile and hand over my paperwork. They return my greeting and react with astonishment when they open my passport. “Vous êtes une femme?” (You’re a woman?) I smile and just nod. They never ask me to take off my helmet like in Central and West Africa. Seems the guys are more trusting up here.

The coastline is dotted with men casting their lines into the ocean down below. The wind is insistent and I contemplate stopping to take out a jacket. The road is starting to carry more traffic and I can feel myself getting closer to the bigger towns. Whenever I do stop for a break, passersby greet me by hooting and waving, carrying a smile on their faces. I also start passing through small towns more frequently.





Just before entering Laayoune I am stopped at yet another security control point. Here they keep me for almost half an hour. I do not really understand why? They keep asking the same questions over and over – where are you heading? What is your profession? (Always a tricky one – apparently ‘adventure motorcyclist’ does not exist as a profession? Says who??? LoL) I am asked where I will be staying in Laayoune? Luckily I do know where I will be staying as one of my best friends in Rabat, Larbi Sbai, had organized for me to stay at his cousin’s hotel in Laayoune. I tell them that I will be staying at the Parador Hotel and that my contact is the owner, one Abid Sbai. With this they immediately hand back my passport and even give me directions to the hotel. I thought it all to be very odd!

On route to the hotel, a car stopped next to me and asked whether I was looking for Parador Hotel? This left me really puzzled. They told me to follow them, which I did. What happened next I really was not expecting! As I pulled up in front of the hotel a sort of welcoming committee was waiting for me. The owner of the hotel as well as the staff and a television crew. I was a bit stunned. They gave me a warm welcome and then took me on a quick tour of the town with the television crew in tow. In the middle of town there is a big square where, especially in Ramadan, people come together. I conducted an interview with the crew and afterward we returned to the hotel.

I was given the residential suite and the hotel staff helped me unload my bike. Later on I was back outside working on my bike. A strange site in these parts I’m sure. A few men came to stand and watch, asking about my journey. I even met a bunch of guys from Ghana. I had a wonderful evening meeting people over dinner and being taken on a tour of the town at night. A family welcomed me into their home where I drank tea with them (the wonderful Moroccan mint tea I have come to love) and ate all kinds of wonderful food. Once again back at the hotel everyone gathered to watch my interview from earlier on, they were already broadcasting it!





Next morning I was packed and ready to go around 09:00am. Abid was there to bid me farewell and lead me out of town. Laayoune is a small town, but navigating through it can be a little tricky. It’s a bit like a maze and if you don’t know where you’re going you could easily find yourself going in circles. This busy little town remains one of my favorites!







The next stretch was from Laayoune to Agadir – about 600 kilometers. The surroundings started to change a little and instead of flat desert-like typography it now changed to more ‘mountainous’ scenes. The road started snaking through and around more hills and it was a nice change in scenery. I stopped for a break about 200 kilometers into the ride. Next moment a KTM pulled up next to me. He waved (the rider, not the bike) and asked whether everything’s okay? A quick introduction followed as he got off his bike and lit a cigarette. We inspected each other’s bikes. Very little was said. And then, as if we’d been riding together all this time, we gave each other the nod and got on our bikes to carry on toward Agadir, together. (Remember what happened the last time I rode with someone?)



I was later able to figure out that he was a psychologist from Italy and that he had ridden down to Mauritania for a holiday. He had ridden most of Northern Africa and was now on his way back home. He didn’t seem too happy about it though…the having to go home part. He was a real gentleman though. When we stopped for fuel, he bought us each a cold drink. We stood chatting, giving each other the nutshell version of who we are and what we do.





I led our two-man pack as we made our way, snaking through the hills and plunging down into valleys. It was evident that we were closing in on the bigger cities as the road started carrying more traffic. There were two memorable mountain passes where we had to leapfrog a few trucks slowly making their way up some impressive inclines. Riding on these roads can be a bit like playing Russian roulette. Everyone is impatient and you have a line of cars behind you, honking for you to get past the truck so they can pass as well. If you take too long, they’ll shoot right past you with colorful hand signs! No matter if they can see whether there is a vehicle approaching or not. Though, apart from the few close calls, I loved this stretch between Laayoune and Agadir. It really is beautiful!





We finally arrived in Agadir just as the sun was setting. Once again, I had a hotel and contact name and now had to set out finding it. My Italian companion proved to be a walking, talking GPS and had us parked in front of Hotel Royal in no time! Although he had planned to stay at another hotel, he negotiated with the concierge and booked a room for the night. We unloaded our bikes and each settled into our rooms. I had dinner with the owner of the hotel later on that night. I went searching for my KTM friend but could not find him anywhere. He wasn’t in his room and I figured maybe he had gone out to search for something to eat. Being Ramadan, the hotel wasn’t really serving food but made dinner especially for me.



The next morning I was up, loaded and ready to go around 09:00am again. I still had loads of fuel in my fuel cells and decided to fill up the bike using that, seeing as I wouldn’t be needing to carry extra fuel again for the next month or so. I waited around for a while, hoping that I’d see my KTM friend to wish him Godspeed. Alas, I eventually had to get going and left a note on the KTM.

My GPS was directing me to the “old” road between Agadir and Rabat. I decided to take the highway. I haven’t really been on a highway in quite some time and although the adventurer in me was telling me to seek out alternative routes…I was tired and wanted to see my friends in Rabat.

I made my way past Marrakech, through the mountains, past Casablanca and on towards Rabat. My good friend Larbi was waiting for me when I arrived and led me to my new home in Harhoura, right on the beach! I spent a week in their beach house just relaxing and having some me-time. Not like I really need it, I have me-time all the time! After Ramadan I moved in with Larbi and his family in the city of Rabat and this has now been my base for the last three weeks. And what a crazy three weeks it’s been!!!





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Old 28 Jun 2013
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Hi Jo all the best with your solo adventure .
Thanks a lot!
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Old 28 Jun 2013
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Outstanding Jo

And Allan !!!!! What can i say

Roll part two

Cheers Phil
Thanks Phil! Part two will commence next week!
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From Morocco I had to return to South Africa, on account of not being able to get a Schengen visa and/or visas for Algeria and Tunisia. I was told that I'd have to get these in my country of residence.

When I got back, I took part in a number of route scouting outings with friends. On one of these scouting trips I rode pillion on a BMW 1200 Adv. My buddy slipped with us in some mud and put the bike down...on my ankle! LoL





This caused quite a delay, as you can imagine!
But I am happy (read ecstatic) to report that I will be returning to Morocco next week to continue my trip around Africa!
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SH1T !!!!! thats going to sting in the morning

Thanks again Jo , great morning read and i'm sat here nursing a broken rib, bloody bikes i wouldn't have it any other way

Enjoy Morocco and try and get into the High Atlas as well as the desert it's awesome up there , i'll be back there for the 3rd time in Sept/Oct

Ride safe and if you end up North of Toulouse (long shot i know) but you've got a place here

Phil
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Originally Posted by PHILinFRANCE View Post
SH1T !!!!! thats going to sting in the morning

Thanks again Jo , great morning read and i'm sat here nursing a broken rib, bloody bikes i wouldn't have it any other way

Enjoy Morocco and try and get into the High Atlas as well as the desert it's awesome up there , i'll be back there for the 3rd time in Sept/Oct

Ride safe and if you end up North of Toulouse (long shot i know) but you've got a place here

Phil
Haha Phil...I certainly did feel that the next morning!

You never know...I might just pop in. I will be riding through France btw. From Morocco I will go over to Spain and then ride through France and Italy, from where I'll catch a ferry to Tunisia.
Though I'll mostly stick to the coastline. But if I should decide on heading a bit further north, I'll give you a shout!
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Hi Jo. Got your story off the HU latest news letter. Great stuff. I take my hat off to you and am eagerly waiting to follow the rest off your journey.
Take Care. If ever you are back Windhoek side let me know.
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Old 19 Jul 2013
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[size=10pt]
Part 2: Back on the Road!!

Morocco to Spain:


It’s been ten months since I had to leave Morocco and return to South Africa! Can you believe it? Time flies!

I set foot back on Moroccan soil on Saturday 6 July’13 and from the get-go I was in for some fun and games. A friend whom I was supposed to stay with had gotten the dates wrong and thought I was only arriving the next week, so he wasn’t in Casablanca. I phoned my good old friend Madani, who quickly came up with a solution and put me up in a hotel near the Airport for the night! What would I do without Madani here in Morocco?

Fifteen hours travel from South Africa to Morocco and another 2 waiting around on the airport. I was thoroughly exhausted! I settled into my room. (Beautiful hotel. Hotel Atlas near Casa airport). I had a shower and went down to have a coffee on the terrace next to the swimming pool. By 8pm I was back in my room and fast asleep. *

Madani picked me up from the hotel the next morning and we went to watch an enduro race on the beach and camels standing in the waves at Mazagan, a beach resort in El Jadida. Madani showed me the casino in the hotel. We wanted to have a , but seeing as it was just days before the start of Ramadan, we weren’t allowed. Well, I could have a if I wanted. I just needed to get a special bracelet from reception, but Madani wasn’t allowed. I didn’t think it fare on my friend to have a without him, so settled for coffee instead.







The next few days were spent in Rabat, which has now become a bit like a second home to me. I stayed with Madani’s cousin, Momo (Mohamed), in the center of town and he absolutely carried me on his hands! Taking care of my every need. He helped me to sort out my precious Dax. For three days we went up and down between customs head office in Hay Riad and customs in downtown Rabat. Between Momo and Madani they wrote an impressive letter in French on my behalf, explaining my situation and hoping this might sway the chief of customs to drop the fine they had slapped on me for leaving Dax in Morocco for so long. A hefty 10 000 Dirham (USD 1200) fine to be exact. At first we were told that it was not possible to have the fine dropped. But we eventually got it down to 6 000 Dirham (USD 700). Still a bit much in my opinion, but that was the offer on the table and I took it.

Madani paid the fine for me and will try to get a local club to maybe ‘sponsor’ the expenses. If that doesn’t work, I’ll pay him back.

After we had paid the money to customs and got my keys and paperwork back, Madani took me to fetch my Dax! What a joyous moment, seeing my bike again after such a long time! I couldn’t help but get the feeling that she was a little miffed with me for leaving her alone in a strange place for so long. I don’t blame her. She’d get even on day one back on the road…but more on that later.



Madani organized a mechanic who changed the tyres for me on my bike and give her a quick once over. The guys from Speed Moto in Casablanca serviced her for me the last time round, so there wasn’t much to do. New tyres, change battery and we’re good to go!

Ramadan started on the 10th and I decided to also take part. Well, at least until I got to Europe. It’s an interesting experience. I’d say the only thing I really miss during the day is something to drink, like a glass of water or a cup of coffee.
At night, Momo and I would go to eat at a little Italian restaurant near the Rabat train station. A traditional Ramadan meal, consisting of a kind of vegetable soup with chickpeas and spaghetti in it, almost like minestrone. Some dates and Moroccan honey cookies called chebakia. (I love these honey cookies!!) A bread roll accompanied with some kind of meat, it differs every night. First it was chicken kebabs, then fish the next night etc. A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, a yoghurt and a hard-boiled egg. I know it all probably sounds pretty plain, but I found it to be pretty heavenly!

Chebakia
I've been carrying a stash from Morocco.


I also love that, during Ramadan, everyone seems to be out and about at night between 21:00 and 1:00am. After dinner, you walk through the streets and it’s chockablock with people walking around, men lining the outsides of café’s drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, groups of children playing all over. Hordes of men standing in front of the mosque before going in to pray. The city comes alive at night. I guess because during the day everyone is half asleep as a result of no food or drink.





When the time came to hit the road once more, Madani and a friend of his, Patrick, said they’d ride about halfway to Tanger with me. Madani on his Ducati monster and Patrick on Madani’s Harley.





Momo and Dax



We left just after 10am on Sunday. It was absolutely fantastic being back on the bike! Though it did feel a bit like Dax and I had to become better acquainted again after all this time. So we stopped off halfway to Tanger and I had an interview on SAFM (South Africa) and chatted to a friend, Stephen Kirker. We stopped off at a friend of Patrick’s which is a bit off the main road and I got to hit some thick sand on day one of being back on the road again! I was a bit wobbly but all went well on the way in. On the way out though, Dax got her vengeance for my leaving her alone in Morocco for so long and promptly plonked down in the sand.

My friends were very concerned and rushed to help me pick up Dax. I just laughed and said: “This happens pretty often, don’t worry about it.” Now the trip had really begun! I always feel like the trip only REALLY starts after the first fall. Luckily it happened very early on. So no more falls from now on all the way home!



I then bid my companions farewell and set off to Tanger on my own. The road to Tangier is easy and straightforward. When I arrived in Tanger I phoned Hicham, a guy who I met on couchsurfing.com and on who’s couch I’d be sleeping for the night. He gave me directions to a meeting point and I set on through Tanger city to the beach. Hicham met up with me and led me to his apartment. And WOW! What an amazing place he has. Right on the beach on the 4th floor looking out over the ocean and the entire city and port to the left. We got along fabulously! Later the evening I sat with my legs dangling over the balcony, looking over the ocean and the pink limousine down below in the street, squinting and trying to see Spain off in the distance. It was a wonderful relaxed evening, lying on the couch and dozing off to music being played on the beach outside.





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Crossing to Spain

Next morning I had to ride to Tanger Med port. At first I wanted to try and changed my ticked from Tanger Med to Tanger Ville as the city port was right around the corner from where I was staying. But I had booked my ticket with Acciona and they only leave from Tanger Med. Madani and Patrick had told me that Tanger Med is pretty hectic as you have to negotiate your way through so many people. In my mind I saw Rosso border between Senegal and Mauritania in my mind. I had a choice of route between either taking the highway or the coastal road. I’m sure you can guess which one I took. The curvy coastal road of course.

I was pleasantly surprised when I finally got to Tanger Med. Maybe it’s a bit different at the pedestrian entrance, but with a vehicle you go to a different entrance which is clearly marked and easy to find. At the ticketing offices you park your vehicle and get your ticket. There were maybe 50 people in total that I could count and it was very clean and organized. It all seemed pretty new as well as I could see a lot of recent road and construction works around me. After I got my ticked I head off to the ferry. I had to stop at the police checkpoint, then at customs, then at another two security checkpoints. The customs official didn’t fill in my carnet correctly. That irked me slightly but other than that there were no fuss or any hassles.





I arrived at the ferry and rode on. (This ferry crossing is FAR easier than Senegal/Mauritania!) The crew secured Dax and I went up to find a seat. There were maybe 20 people with me and many open seats all over the place. I picked a spot near to the lower deck so I could check on Dax if need be, but fell asleep before we even left the dock. I only woke up when an announcement came over the speakers to inform us that we’d arrived in Spain.

I stumbled down below, still half asleep, and arrived just as the crew was freeing Dax of her constraints. There was another loaded BMW parked behind me and a guy and his girlfriend had been riding in Morocco on his f800gs. They were out before me (still in snooze mode), and when Dax and I rolled off the ferry we head straight for customs. It took all of one checkpoint and 5 minutes to get checked into Spain. Quick and easy and in no time I was heading toward Malaga. Initially I had planned to stay in Almunecar at Patrick’s (In Morocco) mother’s house. But then I also had a potential place to stay in Motril with Jose and his wife. Jose met me on the road at Malaga and rode with me to Motril.

I stayed over in Motril with Jose and his wife in their house on top of the mountain, which is just absolutely amazing! The view from up there is just spectacular. And it’s so quiet and peaceful which is fantastic. We spent the evening eating, drinking, chatting and laughing. I had such a good time.









The next morning we had breakfast in town and Jose helped me to get a local sim card for my phone. He rode with me to the city limits and set me on my way to Valencia.

It was a bit of a stretch at about 600 km to Valencia, but I have a bit of a schedule to maintain as I have friends in Montpellier, France, Genoa and Tuscany that I need (want) to see. *

It was along day’s ride to Valencia. Though I love being on my bike and on the road. I stopped off 3 times to fill up and take a break. I also like that one has to fill up your own vehicle here. (In South Africa you have attendants that do this). It has a kind of ‘Route 66’ feeling to it. Don’t ask me why, that’s just how it feels to me.

From Motril toward Alicante there are a lot of greenhouses and plantations next to the road. For miles and miles you see greenhouses lined next to one another pretty much as far as you can see.

All the way you have the mountains on your left and the Mediterranean on your right. It’s so beautiful! And the closer you get to Valencia, the greener it is all around. Pink flowered shrubs line the road in the middle all the way and you ride through so many tunnels all the way along the coast, from the South of Spain all the way toward France.











Tomorrow, Carlos and his wife Alicia whom I am staying with here in Valencia, will ride about halfway to Madrid with me and in Madrid I’ll meet up with another fellow rider – Alicia Sornosa who has also been all over on her bike. Search for “Amigos de Alicia Sornosa” on Facebook to like her page.

I’m really loving Spain and people are really taking care of me! And I’m really, really, really loving their sangria and paella!!!

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2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

"Ultimate global guide for red-blooded bikers planning overseas exploration. Covers choice & preparation of best bike, shipping overseas, baggage design, riding techniques, travel health, visas, documentation, safety and useful addresses." Recommended. (Grant)



Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ combines into a single integrated program the best evacuation and rescue with the premier travel insurance coverages designed for adventurers.

Led by special operations veterans, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, paramedics and other travel experts, Ripcord is perfect for adventure seekers, climbers, skiers, sports enthusiasts, hunters, international travelers, humanitarian efforts, expeditions and more.

Ripcord travel protection is now available for ALL nationalities, and travel is covered on motorcycles of all sizes!


 

What others say about HU...

"This site is the BIBLE for international bike travelers." Greg, Australia

"Thank you! The web site, The travels, The insight, The inspiration, Everything, just thanks." Colin, UK

"My friend and I are planning a trip from Singapore to England... We found (the HU) site invaluable as an aid to planning and have based a lot of our purchases (bikes, riding gear, etc.) on what we have learned from this site." Phil, Australia

"I for one always had an adventurous spirit, but you and Susan lit the fire for my trip and I'll be forever grateful for what you two do to inspire others to just do it." Brent, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the (video) series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring!" Jennifer, Canada

"Your worldwide organisation and events are the Go To places to for all serious touring and aspiring touring bikers." Trevor, South Africa

"This is the answer to all my questions." Haydn, Australia

"Keep going the excellent work you are doing for Horizons Unlimited - I love it!" Thomas, Germany

Lots more comments here!



Five books by Graham Field!

Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.



Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

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 R80G/S.

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 all over the world with the help of volunteers; 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, or ask questions on the HUBB. 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.




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