Wanted RTW on a KTM 1190 - Adventuring Into The Heart of Africa.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Wanted, May 16, 2016.

  1. Arthurwg

    Arthurwg Been here awhile

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    Apparently you are riding the standard 1190 rather than the "R". Why did you make that decision? I'm thinking about getting one or the other. In my case I think the lower standard bike would be better, but I also think it has more sophisticated electronics, which might be more of a problem in the bush.
    #61
  2. JHpowderhound

    JHpowderhound Been here awhile

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    It looks like an R to me, because that's what mine looks like.
    #62
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  3. Joinbikergirl

    Joinbikergirl Biker Girl

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    Hey great ride report. This exact same thing happened to another rider in this ride report!! http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/round-africa-with-a-surfboard.922561/
    He didn't mention the guy's name as Eddie, but sounds like a well oiled scam.
    #63
  4. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    Thanks man, I can address both yours and Arthuwgs question with the same answer. It is the 'R' model, you can tell by the white, black and orange fairing. The 1190s is orange or gray. As for the bike itself, I haven't said too much so far because I didn't want to jinx myself (as the only KTM store between Spain and South Africa is in Togo). Not that I'm superstitious anyway, but the bike has just been incredible. It does its job flawlessly every single day. I have had zero problems and that's after every time I've dropped or crashed it. It's taken as absolute punishing through rocky riverbeds, mud, dirt, corrugations, it's been slammed in some of the biggest potholes where I was sure I'd destroyed the front end, it's vibrated to the point I'm surprised the dash wasn't ripped out, it's been filled with low quality fuel for the last 12000km, it's been suffocated in dust, dirt and sand riding behind big trucks, and it's had to deal with every amateur mistake I make but it has not skipped a single beat. The electronics are always going to me something to scare people, but I think they're reliable enough. I believe this bike was built for Africa, it's only a question of who has the experience and skill to ride it. It certainly isn't me, but the bike has compensated for my lack of both and got me halfway down Africa with nothing but a grin on my face. The traction control has saved me countless times off road and the rain mode has kept me confident in the wet. People will tell you all day you need a lighter, smaller bike, and that may be true if you're traveling around the world on single track. But I just say use what makes YOU happy and what YOU think is the right choice. Hopefully I don't eat my words, touch wood!

    See above!

    Ah probably lol, the scams are so commonplace now that you've often read what to expect online before you even arrive at said place. I feel quite foolish now as the Ghana visa has been obtained easily by several people in both Mali and Burkina Faso for a fraction of what I paid. Not sure if I could have got a multiple entry but for a single entry I'd be skipping Dakar next time
    #64
  5. Joinbikergirl

    Joinbikergirl Biker Girl

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    Interesting. I heard Mali and Burkina are pretty dangerous right now though, so maybe you dodged a bullet? Literally?

    And in the end it's only money. Always good to allocate cash to a fuck up fund haha.
    #65
  6. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    #66
  7. GRinCR

    GRinCR Oppressed Nomad

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    You sure wussed out mate. Can't see any reason why you wouldn't want to hit up the Liberian roads in the rainy season:lol3:
    [​IMG]

    It only takes a god damned tank to get through.

    Laughed my ass off a few times catching up today. Great story and glad things are getting cheery as you move past the bureaucracy heavy part of your trip.

    What happened with the lost Passport, happens almost daily to me with my keys.

    :beer
    #67
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  8. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    Bamako is an interesting city, on the outside it looks nice, the “presentation streets”, but in reality most of the streets look like downtown Baghdad with rubble and crap everywhere. I chose to get around by taxi to visit all the embassies because it was easier.

    [​IMG]

    It seemed relatively safe, that was until I I went to get a sim card in the market. It’s a long story but it was a 3 hour ordeal of arguments, into screaming match, into near street-fight. In the end I got the sim card. The scammers never relent, and act offended when they’re caught out in their own game. This is a daily occurrence now, but I love these guys, their determination to make a buck and keeping me on my toes. Always a good laugh in hindsight.

    Bamako
    [​IMG]
    (I’m not going to lie, a German cyclist woman donated this photo for my use, as I was too lazy to take anything in Bamako)

    The Ivory Coast consulate tried to rip me off double the price of the visa (60,000CFA / 90 euro), man seriously can these people just chill with the scams for 20 minutes lol? Plus they wanted me to jump through hoops to get it. The Ivory Coast consulate was actually directly next door to the Radisson Hotel, where last November Islamist militants stormed the hotel murdering 20 people and taking 170 hostage. This made me a bit nervous about the campsite, as it is the local watering hole for many UN and NGO workers. It would be the perfect place to attack. I spoke with a German cyclist woman at the campsite who said she got her Burkina Faso visa for 25,000CFA (about 35 euro) in one day and the consulate was friendly. I scrapped the idea of Ivory Coast and got the Burkina Faso visa the next day instead. Next was Nigeria, this consulate was friendly, and the price was fair, but it took 3 days to get.

    I spent nearly a week there in Bamako getting visas, drinking beer and discovering my new African meal - Bread roll, avocado and tomato - all for about 80 cents at the local stalls. I am ahead of schedule so I don’t really care anyway. But once the Nigerian visa was finally in my passport, I spent my last night and got out of there the next morning. The plan now is to ride from Bamako, into the South East of Burkina Faso - ride a few hundred km and cross the border in the North East of Ghana at a small crossing called “Hamile”.

    The Sleeping Camel!
    [​IMG]
    They had this awesome gizmo that regularly sprayed water mist over the bar, best invention ever

    The route was pretty boring until I had crossed the border out of Mali and got into Burkina Faso. The scenery here changed dramatically almost as if there is an invisible line running along this latitude where the vegetation just gets into full swing. It was really beautiful, the people were so friendly, laughing and usually giving a big thumbs up as I would ride by. These people are living back in the old days I swear, they still till the fields with little shovels/pick axes, and plow them manually with a cow. I met these kids on the side of the road who were busy working the field, so I stayed for a while to take some video of them. They were really happy kids and stoked to see themselves on the camera!

    [​IMG]
    These pictures show the difference between a DSLR (above) and a drone (below) camera.
    [​IMG]

    I’ve been riding all day and still a couple of hours from the border, I am quite far out of the last town and the people have disappeared. I find a good spot to get off the road and ride a few hundred meters, hiding behind some big trees. Nobody will find me out here, awesome! I’m miles from anyone or anything. Perfect to kick back and get some good rest. Joke was on me though - 2 minutes later a guy rode through the grass next to my tent with his bicycle. WTF?? What the hell are these people doing out here? Why? Where? ….What?! there is literally nothing around for miles. It got dark quickly, a group of 30 cows marched in and several people set up camp 50m from me. They hadn’t noticed me yet but when they did they all came around through the darkness. They went away and came back with some fresh milk from the cow, they didn’t speak English or French so after 20 minutes of awkward hand motions and laughter between us, they went back to their fire. Their cows were .…roaring? do cows roar? the whole night. It wasn’t just a typical “moo”, they sounded like they were roaring and screaming which kept me awake all night. These must be African cows. I stopped to annoy some cows with the drone too, annoying people and animals with the drone is a therapeutic escape for me these days.

    [​IMG]

    By 6.30 I was riding for the Ghana border. I saw this really cool flooded area with trees in it so took a video and a picture. It was such a nice ride down to Ghana. Guinea and Burkina Faso is the best looking area of the trip so far. The temperature is mild and the scenery is fantastic!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These kids had seen me doing this, I took a pic of them watching themselves on the tablet.
    [​IMG]
    This is also a good point to add that there are a lot of naked people now, mostly kids, sometimes teenagers. I had recently ridden past a fully grown man walking down the middle of the road stark naked waving his arms around, I think this guy was crazy though. Good for a laugh.

    I arrive at the border and get stamped out no problem, it felt great to be stamped into Ghana, I have so much planned. First visit the hippo sanctuary in the North, then Mole National Park to see some elephants, and down through the country. I went in to get the permit for my bike - no deal. They refused to let me in without a Carnet de Passage. For those who don’t know what this is - it is a letter typically issued from a motoring association in your home country, which acts as a bond to ensure you will take your vehicle out of the country with you when you leave. It varies from place to place, the UK used to cost an absurd amount, many people try to get it from ADAC in Germany, but that still costs about 500 euro, plus a couple of thousand euro deposit for your bike (depending on which bike). I chose not to get one because you can pretty much do Africa without it, only Ghana will give you problems, as will Kenya, Sudan, and more notoriously Egypt. Its Satuday so what are my options?

    Option 1) Cry.

    Option 2) I leave my bike at customs, I travel through Ghana by alternative means and then collect my bike from the same border when exiting. This isn’t really ideal, it will mean having to come all the way up into Burkina Faso again, and I don’t want to leave my bike here.

    Option 3) I pay the duty for the bike, which could be a couple of thousand Euro, take my bike into Ghana and then collect the duty again on exiting from the same border. I don’t have the spare cash lying around to do that, so no.

    Option 4) I spend 2 days at the border and wait until Monday - Then they can get an insurance agent from ‘Wa’, a couple of hundred km away to come up to the border and organise buying insurance on the duty tax of my bike. This will mean I can ride into Ghana, but it’s also going to cost me a hundred euro I won’t get back, and it means I’ll have to wait around here for 2 more days.

    Option 5) I can try my luck getting back into Burkina Faso (even though my visa was only single entry), and ride to Togo where I should be able to get a permit. This way I can ride down to Lomé where the KTM shop is to get the bike serviced, maybe I can leave it there while I go back to Europe (from Ghana). It’s easier from Togo as they don’t stamp anything in your passport that your bike is in the country, so how would they know when I cross the border?

    Obviously I wrote option 5 last as that's the one I went with. This is a serious detour, I got an exit stamp from Ghana and Burkina Faso stamped me back in without question, which was a welcome relief. This now gives me an excuse to explore Burkina Faso a bit. I rode a few more hours and then found a for SURE spot to pull off the road where nobody would be. I set up camp under a big tree couple of hundred meters off the road. No people, and even better, no cows. Then naturally some women walked by 50m away from my camp site with bundles of wood on their head. God damn I have no idea what these people are doing out here. They look confused as anything when they see me, even more so when I am squatting in a bush with my pants around my ankles dropping the Cosby kids off. They usually stand there staring for a few minutes before slowly walking away, constantly looking back to see if I turn into a dragon or something. I don’t know what else they’re expecting.

    [​IMG]

    Again up early and on the road. What a beautiful country! The road is good and I get the bike up sitting around 120kmp/h. I glimpsed something out of the corner of my eye moving quickly toward my bike, too late. There was an explosion of white feathers and I realised what had happened, poor bird left bits of itself all through my light mounts and radiator grill

    [​IMG]

    Another full days ride and I made it into Togo without hassle, 15 euro for the visa. Rode a couple of hours south to a hotel that promised good food and good WiFi. They didn’t have anything on the Menu, and they didn’t have WiFi either. I got a small room with a fan for about 10 euro.

    The last stretch down to Lomé couldn’t have been better. There was about 50km of off-road deviations but the dirt was graded well, and then it was some of the most pristine freshly laid blacktop down to the Capital. Well - most of it. The scenery was amazing, big mountains and valleys, its just so green here! I can not get over how green the grass it, the pictures never do it justice

    Some green grass
    [​IMG]

    Obsessed with green grass to the point of selfie with said grass
    [​IMG]

    Riding into Lomé I was really nervous, the city is a hole, the traffic is horrible and loud and it’s almost a smog of thick diesel fumes. I had heard of a campsite on the beach just on the outskirts of town and I was headed in that direction. It was so loud, even if it is on the beach I’m not sure I want to stay there. I saw the name “Chez Alice” on a board next to the street. I pulled off into a German run campsite and they showed me to a room, 5,000CFA (7.5 euro) per night. I thought this place was supposed to be on the beach? Then I realised I was at the wrong place. I checked my phone application and saw the other place was just down the road. I made up some excuse that I have to go look for “my friend”, took my bike and got out of there. This next campsite was off down several sandy streets, I finally made it! Until about 50m from the entrance where I had an obligatory off in the sand. Have to remember to turn traction control off in the sand!

    [​IMG]

    This place was owned by an old stoner pirate man who was missing one eye. Here he is taking down the gate to let me in.

    [​IMG]
    The quality of the tablet photos are cringe worthy, but sometimes it is necessary!

    And what a miniature Paradise in an otherwise chaotic city. I can hear nothing but the waves of the ocean, and it is so good to be back at the ocean. I grew up my whole life in NZ never being more than a few minutes from the ocean. The longest I have never seen the ocean for before is maybe 3 weeks and it is a really weird feeling for me. Nobody around here though! and I’m free to park the moto and set up camp where ever. I choose to set up a bit further back to avoid the salt spray all over the bike as it was a bit windy. Nothing like the bike rusting away over a few beers.

    [​IMG]

    Considering some future options. As I was amateur and got all my timings wrong, I have arrived here pretty well 3 weeks ahead of schedule. That's a solid 7.8 on the amateur scale for timings. I’m wondering if I should spend a few days here, leave the bike in the KTM store and head to Ghana. I could possibly hire a small moto in Ghana and ride around a bit, but motorcycle hire could be a little expensive? (expensive being 15 euro per day or more lol). Or I could just cross into Ghana and explore by local transport. I need to weigh up the options.

    Either way, I MADE IT! The rear tire held out, although its practically bald now. It took about 11,000km (7,000 miles) on the TKC80 rear. What a crap tire for touring, I’ll be bringing the Heidenau back for sure. People are getting 20-30,000km out of them.

    [​IMG]

    Here, it feels miles away from the city, and only about 2 euro a night to camp. Today the skies have cleared completely to clear blue skies. It is beautiful here and so calm. I could definitely stay a few days here. West Africa man, what an awesome adventure!

    [​IMG]
    #68
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  9. juno

    juno Long timer

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    Great updates! Man, you are running the gamut of border crossings for sure. It sounds like you are settling into the routine of Africa travel and you are a lot less stressed.

    Those are great pics! The last campsite on the beach looks almost worth the trip!
    #69
  10. Roadhawg011

    Roadhawg011 Been here awhile

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    Read this while thing last night. I'm super jealous.

    Welcome to Africa man, it's definitely a culture shock for someone from the civilized world:lol3:lol3


    Are you going to come all the way down to South Africa? Would be cool to grab a beer somewhere!!
    #70
  11. micko01

    micko01 another DR650 rider

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    Hey Reuben. Africa is tough man, but after over 60000kms, 23 countries and 35 border crossings for Tan and I, I'll say this - you catch more flies with honey. The corrupt African border officer/police game is one of patience and determination. You gotta smile, laugh, distract, deflect, talk shit and confuse. When they ask for documents, we talk about where we have come from. Then were we are going. Then where we might get a hotel room. Then the condition of the road ahead. Then we might start pulling out documents. They want insurance? We give them the passport. Then our CDP. Then whatever other shit we can find. As a last resort we've got a fake "certificate of international insurance" we drew up for ourselves. Looks legit and has gotten us out of many a bind. Seriously, these guys don't know what they are looking at, they are just trying to intimidate you until you give up. You gotta make this process so long and confusing and frustrating for them as they are trying to make it for you. That's how you win. You gotta smile, and laugh. At a few checkpoints, tan and I have literally said "no man, we are just silly tourists, we are just tourists" laughed, gotten on our bikes and ridden away. Try it. It works. If they are stubborn; as an absolute last resort lose your shit in grand style. Swear like a fucking sailor with Tourette's, throw your shit and make an epic scene if there is someone to witness it. This is a high risk manoeuvre but it works. It might also get you thrown in prison, it nearly did me in Rep of Congo. Africans, generally speaking of course, don't do well with confrontation. So making a scene will generally work, but the softly softly approach works far far Better. Definitely. Tan and I have tried both and while softly softly is way more frustrating, way more annoying and costly to your self respect, it's the better approach. A firm but polite "no my friend" with a smile will get you far better success than "no fuck off you cunt", although I must admit I've lost my temper enough I've resorted to the latter many many many times.

    Otherwise, keep up the good work! Your writing is sweet and piccies and stories as well. West and central Africa are tough places to travel (hate to break it to you, but you've got the toughest coming; RoC and DRC) but once you make Namibia/Zambia everything changes.

    Good luck!
    #71
  12. micko01

    micko01 another DR650 rider

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    Hey Rueben, one thing I'll add about Nigeria; the Delta State which Calabar is the capital of is not safe. Lots of overlanders go there for their Cameroon visa but that region definitely is not safe. The Delta State is the kidnapping capital of the world. It is probably your best bet to go and get your visa as they issue in 30mins but leave swiftly.
    #72
  13. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    Very true, don't say that on THE HUBB forum though. I made that mistake and people lost their shit saying I'm "ruining Africa for future overlanders" (for continuing to use the ECOWAS insurance issued to me in Senegal, which was evidently fake). I say it's fair game, and the reality is African bureaucracy has always been ruined for overlanders, we have to wait for it to get good before it can be ruined.

    I haven't really updated this thread in a while. I am in Spain at the moment at my girlfriends farm, about to head to Greece for a couple of weeks. I'll update when I get some better internet, but won't be continuing with the ride until July 28th!

    Until the update you can enjoy this picture I snapped whilst playing with my girlfriends dog, it was at this moment.... I knew I fucked up.

    [​IMG]
    #73
  14. micko01

    micko01 another DR650 rider

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    Ruining it? What a load of rubbish. It's just a game, they are trying to hustle you and you just gotta hustle back. They don't play by any "rules", so why should you! In Africa, you gotta fight or you're just meat in a grinder. Everything except running checkpoints is fair game in my books (some countries excepted, like RoC and DRC we ran checkpoints there because the cops were a pain and best avoided, sounds like Liberia and some other west African countries are the same. Cameroon, Nigeria etc I'd suggest don't do it). I tend to think running checkpoints is one thing which DOES make life harder for the overlanders who follow. We see a checkpoint, we slow and nod at the guards/police/whoever, and most of the time they wave back and just wave us on. Two reasons; if they do stop you, you've already shown respect to them and you're off to a good start. If they don't, it'll be easier for the next bikers who follow.

    The HUBB has some seriously experienced and worthwhile contributors but also a lot of self-righteous sanctimonious.... Yeah well, you get the idea. We shared our Van Zyls Pass post there, probably one of the toughest adv routes in Africa and we got called "losers" because we did the "rock ritual", where you get a rock from the top of the pass, write your name on it and carry it to bottom and put it on the cairn!

    People who are ruining Africa for overlanders are those piss weak overlanders who pay up without putting up a fight. They are the ones who put targets on the backs of all of us who follow. They see white skin and think "rich and easy target". If we all fight back and not pay and generally make life hard for them, they will stop with the bullshit.

    Looks like you made an error of judgement with your drone... How is it now?
    #74
  15. PropTP

    PropTP Been here awhile

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    I read that HUBB thread before it was edited. OP asked something about a apostille. If i recall correctly, you stated something to the effect, that africans (border guards) were idiots and you could easily pull a fast one on them with regards to insurance. Someone else took offense to your word of choice, and a third member wrote a sweeping xenophobic statement in reply to the second, and shit spiralled downhill from there.

    I wouldnt generalise by saying "people" on the HUBB were after you. The thread had maybe 3 separate posters all in all :D

    I get where youre coming from, but written words can be misunderstood and/or misinterpreted when lacking all the other cues we get from face-to-face communication. The HUBB is still a treasure trove of information. Many of your posts on the HUBB contributed to that too.
    #75
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  16. KLRalph

    KLRalph Because KTMalph sounds funny

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    Great RR Wanted! This rightfully belongs in the "Epic" forum!

    Your tenacity and steadfastness is truly inspiring. Remember if everything went according to plan it wouldn't be an Adventure!

    We lurkers are interested in mundane things like how well do you keep all of your electronics charged, what books (if any) are you reading on your tablet, how is the beer in Africa, etc.

    As a solo traveler also, my hat is off to you! Best wishes on the remainder of your journey.

    KLRalph

    PS: Is that a drone or a chew toy?
    #76
  17. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    Can't say I share your enthusiasm for the K60's in the sand your running thru. Shit traction off road. Longevity vs traction. Do you wanna stay upright offroad? :imaposer

    Great long lasting slab tire ... as long as its dry

    Great ride your doing
    #77
  18. Pariahtize

    Pariahtize Miscategorized

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    Wanted: You, sir, have moxie. . . a whole shit-ton of it! You must be ex-infantry.

    Great stuff. . . and, congrats!
    #78
  19. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    I pretty much agree with everything you have said, there are the do-gooders who want everything to be done by the book, the problem is there is no book! The drone is doing fine haha, the dog shat himself when he realized what he'd actually done ;p

    Hope to catch you guys in Spain before heading back, thanks again for carrying that speaker for me!




    I just stated the truth, - exact quotes being;
    "The truth is they have no idea whats going on." & "They have no idea what the rules are.", I'd hardly call an apostille a fast one, it's more or less like using the passavants (temporary import permit) instead of the carnet, which 'by the book' should only be issued to West Africans, yet many people use them.

    I like to think ADVrider is for enthusiasts and sharing experiences and bike related stuff, The HUBB to me on the other hand is a goldmine for logistical information, I take the haters with a grain of salt. LonelyPlanet is on a whole different level when it comes to haters :rofl, but you are right, only 3 people got mad about it.


    Done deal, I'll put together a list of the mundane stuff which to be honest can get pretty interesting. There are some pretty cool gadgets out there now to make life on the road a whole lot easier!


    I haven't tested the K60's yet, but there is a great personal website www.voodoochile.se (amazing info on Africa). He gave a solid review on the K60s so I really want to try them, you have every right to say 'I told you so' in a couple of months if they shit on me :lol3


    Thanks for the kind words! hope you enjoy :)
    #79
  20. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    I'm stating this as personal experience.
    I have them on right now and my front tire slipped out on me today in slight sand.
    They are crap offroad and even crappier in the sand.
    You WILL regret having them in Africa !!!!!!

    You will definitely notice the traction loss from your Conti 80's. And I mean ALOT. I have those too.

    Do what you will....but you should listen to myself and Mick01
    #80