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. micko01

    micko01 another DR650 rider

    Joined:
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    No worries regarding the speaker. Not sure we will catch you in Spain though - we are waylaid at the moment waiting for spare parts. We have been caught by the end of Ramadan celebrations and are still waiting for the couriers to reopen.

    You've got a typo in Anders' website I think: www.voodoochile.se (like the Hendrix song spelling) is the one. We were lucky enough to meet Anders in Brazzaville. Champion bloke and even though he is reasonably new to bikes, he is a very experienced traveller. His website is a goldmine for Africa overlanders and he maintains it all himself. Does all his maps himself. He is a cool fella.

    We spoke about tyres as he changed to a new K60 rear in Brazzaville. I tend to think his setup is far more suitable to the k60 than yours, the major factor being weight. His AT has a massive touratech tank and is seriously loaded. I moved it in the car park, it is HEAVY. Loaded and fueled he must be at 80-100kgs heavier than our DRs. It's a big big unit.

    We tried K60s based on all the hype and I was not impressed. We had the ones without the centre strip which should have been better off-road than the ones designed for the big rigs, and it was pretty underwhelming. I found the carcass just too bloody hard, off-road I'd let out pressure and let out pressure and let out pressure and it still wouldn't hook up. The rubber is just too hard for lighter bikes. And while you've got the 1190 which ain't particularly light, it's definitely a lot lighter than the 1200GSAs and the like that this tyre is really designed for. Plus your soft luggage setup is a fair bit lighter than the average GS hard luggage rig.

    We found the K60 not particularly hard wearing, they were toast with less than a mm of tread left from bald with 11500kms on them. That was after ripping essentially every knob on the rocks around lake Turkana in northern Kenya. The rubber was just too hard. Check out our Turkana posts you'll see some piccies.

    If you do choose to go through with the K60, you'll just have to come to terms with the loss of traction off-road. Just don't believe the hype about the tyres being awesome off-road, reading reviews I tend to think that mostly comes from people on big bikes who have come from road riding background who compare them to tourances and the like. If your coming from the other end of the spectrum, the off-road side and comparing them to decent 50/50 tyres like the TKC80 you've currently got, they suck. Hard.

    Personally, I much prefer the Mitas E07 rear tyre, it's much better off road and in our experience lasts very well. We had some in Southern Africa and got 12500kms on them before replacing. We actually took them off early, they would have gone another 2500kms easy I reckon but we were carrying knobbies and about to ride a lot of sand in Botswana.

    But the E07 front sucks. The TKC80 is a much better tyre to pair with a Mitas E07 rear. A Mitas E10 also a good choice of front. TKC80 front and E07 rear is a great all round combo for 50/50 adv riding.

    Anyway, if you do go with K60, I'll be keen to hear what you think of it. If you're sticking mostly to tar down the west coast you'll probably like it. But if you go exploring off-road here and there.... they ain't so flash.
    #81
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  2. goodcat

    goodcat Changing latitudes, altitudes and attitudes

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    hey Wanted

    read my RR and see my reviews on the K60's and the offroad troubles I'm having.

    I can't stress to you enough.....you will have HUGE problems in the sand your in.

    Be safe and looks like a fantastic ride you're on ma man
    #82
    Wanted likes this.
  3. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    Time to play a little catch up. Togo was perfect to chill for a few days at the beach. I went around a bunch of consulates to suss out which visas are doable in Togo when I return after Europe with Isabel. I met with Tony from KTM Togo who helped me sort out a 15,000km service for the bike, and thankfully a place to store it (hopefully not lose it) for the next couple of weeks while I am away.

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    That’s if I can get out of Togo… see when you enter each country, they issue you with a permit which allows your vehicle entry into the country. It is a piece of paper which typically costs about $5-8. Nothing is stamped in your passport saying you’ve got a vehicle in the country, so unless it’s hooked up to some central computer system, there is no way to know when I exit that I am leaving a vehicle behind. I decided to chance it and after packing the essentials into my 40L duffel, I head for the Togo/Ghana border. I’ll definitely be back to this beach, it was great!

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    These were some people throwing dishwashing liquid and talcum powder into the waves which was too peculiar not to round them up and take a photo of them
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    On arrival at the border, I head for immigration. I didn’t even see a customs post there so no idea if I missed it. The immigration guy took my passport and scanned it, this border was way more up to speed than the Northern border. And by up to speed, I mean they have a computer. He is taking ages with my passport... he keeps looking at it, then to the computer, then to me. After several minutes he calls another guy over. They both look at my passport, look at the computer, and then look at me. I am standing there trying to act as casual as possible. And by casual, I mean I look about as uncasual as you could possibly look trying to act casual. He stamps my passport and hands it back to me. I’m free!! I head into Ghana and now face another hurdle.

    This whole time I’ve been using my moto, so have had no use for public transport to get places. I squeeze into a van ‘aka’ a tro-tro, or “tro” as we now call it on the streets, which might as well have been a can of sardines. 20 cedi (5 euro) will take me the 3 hour drive from the border to Accra. Six hours later and three near death incident, we arrive in Accra, and the driver scams me off to a taxi who scams me over to the hostel. I now just use “scam” to replace any verbs of a menial task such as driving, selling, helping etc, as usually it just ends in them trying to scam me out of money.

    Kids in Accra playing football in the street
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    Long story short I hung around Accra for a week in fear of trotros (bad decision in hindsight), but I met some really cool people. I met a Spanish guy here who had coincidentally run into this insane Japanese guy that I had met in Bamako at The Sleeping Camel. This Japanese guy was a really cool guy, after getting talking I learned that he had been cycling around the world for the last 5 years. He had been doing it on a tandem bicycle with a spare helmet and sleeping bag and just picking up anyone who cared to join him. He left his bike in Senegal because the roads got too rough and bought a crappy scooter he had rode down to Mali. The scooter ended up crapping out on him, he could only ride it at 40kmp/h and had to stop in every village along the way to top up the coolant from their wells. He rebuilt the engine by himself and made it to Bamako, but has since got rid of it and gone by foot instead. What I didn’t know about this Japanese guy until I met the Spanish dude is that while in South America, he had built a boat with his own hands and drifted down the Amazon river for 100 days just fishing for piranha and the like. I said long story short too soon, and it kind of turned into a long story. Here’s a picture of his boat anyway

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    He puts us all to shame. I always feel some kind of solace in finding Asians in obscure places, Not necessarily making contact with them, or even a reassuring nod, but you can always count on at least one being somewhere you really don’t want to be alone, and they’re always so chill about it.

    Flew back to Spain a week early to meet my family for a family trip to Greece. They didn’t end up coming, so was an awkward scramble for a few friends around Europe to act as siblings for a couple of weeks. I won’t bore you with the details of Greek islands, 50cc scooters were rode, swims were swum and fun was had. Back in Africa now as of.. 5 days ago? ready to tackle the leg to South Africa with a chica on the back. Will update tomorrow!
    #83
  4. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    Yay, you're back. Awesome post as usual
    #84
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  5. spaceman_spiff

    spaceman_spiff Long timer

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    Digging this report. I'm getting hitched in October and we're heading to South America on an 1190r with pretty much the same setup you're rocking
    #85
    juno and Wanted like this.
  6. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    Checked into The Sleepy Hippo here in Accra this time round. Hostels tend to be named after tired animals in this neck of the woods. Lucky for us we were the only ones there and had the 10 man dorm to ourselves. While The Sleepy Hippo lacked quality internet, it made up for it with wholesome overpriced food in the bar. We were pretty beat after the flight as we didn’t arrive until 6am, so gorged ourselves on breakfast and got some more sleep before making a start on our Angolan visas.

    The Angolan consulate accepts visa applications Mon-Wednesday, with the pick up day on Friday. We woke up at 11 and needed to get to the Angolan consulate ASAP. We had arrived early on Wednesday morning, so I wanted to make sure we were there early enough to apply. Five Euro and a 20 minute taxi ride later we arrived at the Angolan consulate, joke was on me though as it turns out it’s Thursday and security said there was no chance. This means we’re going to have to stay in Ghana for another 8 days to get the visa, or chance it in the Congo. We decide to chance it later on, and instead went for a stroll down to the market for Isabel to get her first introduction to a West African country. The people didn’t like us taking photos of them but we nabbed this one as well as a couple of mangos.

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    Next day took a ‘tro’ to Cape Coast in order to get the authentic public transport perspective, no surprise the perspective was shit and our two hour drive turned into five and a few more near death incidents. Cape Coast was talked about a lot in Accra, a right gem on the South Coast apparently. The plan is to check in to 'The Oasis Beach Resort’, a poorly named getaway retreat right on the beach. A taxi scammed us from the ‘tro’ drop off point down to the beach, only to find the place was fully booked. There was a foam party here on the beach tonight, and to my disbelief they didn’t just scrape sea foam off the beach, but actually had a foam machine there! We spent the day at the beach, watching the local fishermen bring in their catch

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    Liase with the children

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    And take a beautiful coastal walk

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    What this photo doesn’t capture is the little kid there that sprinted out onto the beach, dropped trou and laid a fresh swirly on the sand. His buddy ran up afterward and perched 'reversy' on the rocky outcrop before laying a cable a 3ft vertical drop to the beach below like a McDonald's soft serve ice cream. Sadly watching kids spray out a sludge onto the sand was more majestic than the kuk littered beach itself. Nothing like the smell of sea spray mixed with the aroma of a nice muddy deposit from the local kids to remind me I’m back in Africa.

    Anyway, Oasis hooked us up with this private guest house about 10 minutes away. I shouldn’t really say it like that, as really a private dump 10 minutes away would be more accurate. It was clean though, and the bed was nice so can’t complain! The Ghanians like to party, and being Friday night we didn’t get much sleep due to the noise across the town. You’ve heard of ‘joke in a can', Ghana (and most of West Africa) has ‘Shower in a bucket’, it’s surprising how well you can wash yourself from a bucket!

    [​IMG]

    Saturday morning we went back to Oasis for breakfast and to organise a trip up to Kakum national park. We had learned through talking with people that there is a tree house in the national park you can sleep overnight in, so once that was locked in, we made a fair deal with a taxi driver who drove us the 1 hour north of Cape Coast up to the park.

    [​IMG]

    We sat around the entrance to the national park as a few minute wait for the guide turned in to a few hours. Eventually he showed up around dusk and led us through the forest to an underwhelming tree house. I say underwhelming as the tree house advertised looked much better and was inside the canopy forest, we later found out they had put us in the wrong one. Sleeping in a tree in the forest is tree house enough for me anyway, so I didn’t care too much.

    [​IMG]

    There was another American student there with us too who was going to do the overnight. The guide disappeared, and 20 minutes later showed up with three more American guys. Two 18 year old volunteers working under a 35 year old guy who was in turn volunteering for ‘Challenging heights’, a volunteer group helping children in Ghana who have been captured/sold/trafficked or tricked into slavery. Mostly fishing on Lake Volta, it was really interesting to hear about modern slavery in Ghana, and in fact all over the world. I guess I never thought too much into it in the present day, we chat for a good few hours into the night until the guide showed up again, this time with 9 medical students and nurses from the USA, UK and Netherlands. We were quietly disappointed this tree house night turned into a 15 person affair, that’s life.

    Everyone was up at 4.30am to go for a walk through the forest to try catch some animals!
    [​IMG]
    That photo was taken at 9am though, as me and Isabel decided to sleep in instead. Good thing we did too as it was raining the other 13 only saw a squirrel. I only had flip-flops so didn’t want to deal with rain, mud, and four hours sleep.

    The Kakum national park is home to one of four (according to the guide) tree top canopy walks in the world. It was very cool, we had hoped to get an early morning walk before it opened as you typically can if you stay the night, but the key to the canopy hadn’t arrived and when it did, our group was up to a cringe-worthy 25 people. Was still happy to get a couple of good photos, and it was worth it anyway.

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    Quick (long) Taxi back to Cape Coast where we had planned to spend the night in the dorm room at Oasis. After discussing visas we had to get in Togo over a coffee, we made the decision to bail on our plan to stay at Oasis and head back to Accra instead, so we could be in Togo early Monday. We have 3 visas to get within 3 days, some of which require at least a 24 hour turn-around, so we can’t mess around or we’ll end up having to wait another week in Togo. We watched some local guys play football on the beach and enjoyed the show before getting a painfully long tro back to The Sleepy Hippo.

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    The bad news was that when we arrived, the dorm room which was empty two days ago was now full, and the other dorm room some other guest had locked while he went out, so there were no beds for us. The good news was that the friendly staff upgraded us to the Kapua suite instead (and by Kapua suite, I mean a very nice room by African standards), all for the price of a dorm bed! We were so happy as the price gap between the rooms was enormous.

    [​IMG]

    Have to get an early night to make it to Togo before 11.30am!



    #86
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  7. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    I ran a couple of of Mitas E07 rears in Australia and thought they were only giving about 70% of the miles of the K60. Yup, I agree that the K60 isn't the best in sand. In anything else I think they're OK, much better than bad, not way worse than the Midas. I air down 10 pounds regularly. Like you I run a front TKC 80 100% of the time, a great tire. I'm 120,000k into my ride (a lot of tires) and half way around, on a HP2.

    Concentrating on what you guys are saying like a hawk since I have Africa and deep sand ahead, argh.
    #87
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  8. micko01

    micko01 another DR650 rider

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    Get used to the shit, rubbish and crazy traffic - thats going to be a common theme until Namibia!
    #88
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  9. Zim1

    Zim1 Adventurer

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    You guys coming to Zimbabwe??
    #89
  10. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    We'll get there eventually for sure!
    #90
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  11. EtienneXplore

    EtienneXplore RTW Wannabe - One Day!!

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    Zambia, for now....
    Hi there Reuben! Awesome trip so far, I will be following closely!
    When you hit Zambia, let me know. I am based in Lusaka, and I live across the street form the only KTM dealer in Zambia. I also met up with Mick and Tan when they were in Lusaka as well as a few other overlanders that pass through. If you need anything sorted, let me know and I can organise to get it for you from South Africa (I am South African, and have good contacts). We did the same for Mick and Tan when they needed stuff from SA.

    Let me know, I will bring beer and meat and we will have a braai!

    Lekker!
    #91
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  12. Zim1

    Zim1 Adventurer

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    100s, I'm in Harare, if you come to Hre and need a bed and beer, let me know..
    #92
  13. young1

    young1 Long timer

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    Looks to be an amazing trip, we travelled around Morocco 2 years ago and loved it. Thank you for sharing your trip.

    Kiwi Mike
    #93
  14. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    long update, have not had decent internet in a while!

    The plan is to wake up at 7am to hopefully get to Togo before 11.30am when the Gabon consulate finishes with visa applications for the day. It was about 11am before we rolled out of bed so that idea went out the window, shame on us. We took a death trap of a 'trotro' from Ghana to Togo, it was 5.30pm by the time we eventually crossed into Lomé, right on the border with Ghana. Once again set up camp at Cocobeach as before, however this time in one of the Bungalows, which turned out to be a rookie error as the mattress must have been made out of coconut shells. We desperately needed to do our laundry, locals were eager to show us their catch too..

    [​IMG]

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    And this has to be one of the happiest little dead guys I've ever seen
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    We spent the next five days applying for the three visas we need in Lomé, which are Congo, Gabon and Benin. Overall it was a very boring week for a ride report, but a stressful one at that. We have come to the conclusion that embassy employees are some of the most miserable people on the planet. They have a minimum wage attitude, but are also irrefutably smug knowing that they have complete power over you, and there is nothing you can do about it. They revel in it while they talk to you, like you're worse than a discarded piece of trash, making you walk across hot coal, all the while you're forced to smile through gritted teeth and say your pleases and thank-yous. We are down to four visas to go, Cameroon, DRC and Angola. I am worried most about the Nigerian visa that Isabel still has to get, hopefully in Benin.

    Breakfast at Cocobeach
    [​IMG]

    I also got the bike back as well! The guys at KTM Togo did a great job servicing it and I was happy to have some tread on the rear wheel again. I rode out of the store and 10 minutes up to Cocobeach, I parked it up excited to be back on my own transportation. Two hours later I went out to start it up but no deal. That was weird... after multiple attempts trying to start it, I realised something else was going on here and not just an amateur mistake I was making. I would push the electric start button but got nothing, no turning over or anything, yet the bike had a full battery, fuses were good, kill switch was good, no warnings on the dash, didn't start in neutral either so shouldn't be the kickstand. I wandered down to the beach, and after punch dancing out my rage and pondering my bike problems, I realized what has to be done. This is the first problem I've really had with the bike, and it just so happened to be 10 minutes from the only KTM store 10,000km in either direction.

    Pondering existence (and bike problems)
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    Isa trying to get a modeling shot on the beach
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    The next day the KTM mechanic drove the KTM van out to the beach with his tools to assess the bike. He had no idea what it was, but was able start it directly with a pair of pliers under the seat by touching two small bolts he had pulled out of the side. He told me to bring it in to the store the next day to take a look. I left it in the store the following day whilst running around trying to get visas, and left him to figure it out. The following afternoon he had located and fixed the problem. There was a bad connection in the electric start wire, unfortunately it took him a long time to find out exactly where it was. He said it was fixed, but gave me a spare wire and showed me how to start the bike under the seat now that he had put the bolts back in. I almost feel ashamed I had no idea how to do that, and even more so that I'm calling it the "electric start wire", where I'm sure there is a better name lol. Either way, the bike is starting up now no problem.

    The camera on my tablet has now deteriorated to this....
    [​IMG]

    By the way this is probably a good time to send a shout out to MoskoMoto. Firstly I spent a long time narrowing down a luggage system for such a trip. I had the AS Magadans for a couple of years but was sick of their setup, it took too long for me to strap them to the bike (until the straps melted and I lost one to the highway).

    But I really like their kevlar inner
    [​IMG]

    I wanted a lightweight system, so knew I'd be going for soft luggage again. I searched high and low for a reasonably compact soft luggage system that could be easily removed from the bike. The best I could find was the Kriega Overlander 60, I loved how quickly they could mount and dismount from the bike, but the 15L bags were tiny.... simply not ideal for long distance. I have no idea how or why it took me so long to come across MoskoMoto, but when I did find them I felt like I had struck gold! The Backcountry 35L bags were exactly what I was looking for and within an hour of seeing these bags online, they were on the way to Spain.

    Since then I still rate these things as top notch, such a well thought out design. The 35L bags take all of 5 seconds to mount/dismount, the time it takes to turn a single latch on the wedge and slide the bag off. The 40L duffel was also a great sized bag on the back, and worked excellent as a backpack with the built in straps when I took it into Ghana then up to Spain and Greece for a few weeks. I was so gutted when the car in Gambia sideswiped me rendering one of the bags useless. Since then MoskoMoto were able to tee up a new saddle bag for me at at-cost prices to them and shipping cost alone, so a massive thank-you to Mosko for helping me out. This was the final picture of the fallen brother before I butchered him for donor parts.

    [​IMG]

    Now that the saddlebag was secure on the bike again and not made out of duct tape, it seemed like a good time go get on the move. By Saturday we were fully loaded for 2up and on the way. This is actually the first time we have attempted 2up on a fully loaded bike. Isa was pretty good in keeping her belongings to an absolute minimum, but either way I had to find a new place for the drone and throw her backpack behind my duffel bag. I was feeling nauseous at the first time being on these dusty roads with this much weight and on such a big bike, with so little room now. Isa squeezed in behind me and we took off taking it easy the 200km up to a small town named Kpalime on the border of Ghana, famous for its waterfalls.

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    We had heard about a really big waterfall, and took a nightmare mountain road out to get to it late Saturday afternoon, once the bike was unloaded of course. The waterfall was a 500m hike down a steep cliff that we immediately regret once at the bottom, as the waterfall was crap. A local guy made us pay 1000CFA (2 euro) each to go and see it too, although he had an official looking ticket book. He didn't have change for a 10,000CFA note, so said he'd give us the change when we arrive back.

    [​IMG]

    By the time we got back to the top, the sun had gone down and we were losing light fast. The ticket guy still hadn't brought the 8,000CFA change and I did not want to be riding that atrocious windy road back in the dark. He was stalling for time and I was getting more and more angry. On top of this, a kid who the guy made guide us down to the waterfall was now asking for money. Twenty minutes past and I was furious, when he finally went off to get the change, I snatched it off him, jumped on the bike and rode out. The kids were running after us as they wanted their guide money. It was now completely dark and it just happened to turn into one of the most fun rides of the trip so far. It was so dark in the forest and the roads were completely potholed and washed out.

    Locals were riding in complete ninja mode, they didn't even have working headlights and were using indicator lights to illuminate the road and also make themselves visible, this is where my aux lights truly... "shined" *cringe. The Cyclops headlight and solstice 2" lights are great aux lights, but high beam is where the magic happens. The light cannons give literally 1000ft of light and the light bar spreads out to the sides. I'd ride up on the locals low beam and activate the 'let there be light' switch lighting up the jungle, they must have thought Gandalf was riding beside them. Knowing that the lights could turn night to day made the ride back to Kpalime a lot of fun. Unfortunately no pics. We finally found out where the actual 'big' waterfall was the next day, on heading out there we discovered it was more or less dry.

    You might be able to see that whispy white line in the distance lol
    [​IMG]

    Now our next issue, our Togo visa is up today so we have got to get to Benin. I was a bit pressured for time, so decided to take a direct path I could see on Maps.me, but which my Garmin was refusing to load. This "trail" essentially turned into what we were riding on last night, except completely mud and dirt for miles and miles through the jungle. My heart was in my throat the entire time, as we were fully loaded now. We found the main road again, and ended up taking 6 hours of another poorly graded dirt road to a quiet border crossing.

    [​IMG]

    I had been really nervous, as the temporary import permit I had got for my bike on entering Togo a month ago had expired way back. I was expecting some kind of extortion at the border, however the customs guy just asked me if I had anything he needed to stamp. I told him no, I don't have anything, and he just let me through. We rode into the night again to get to a town called Abome, 2 hours north of the coast, and capital city of Cotonou. Found a basic little hotel that put us up for 10 euro and fed us well, Cotonou in the morning to try for the dreaded Nigeria visa, and also the DRC visa.
    #94
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  15. Claddaghman

    Claddaghman Adventurer

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    Great report! Been following your travels since early on. I've got a KTM 1190R with Mosko Moto BC panniers and duffle bag as well. Wondering what you do regarding security of the bags on the bike when you're away from it. I think I noticed PacSafe meshes in an earlier post (ferry crossing?) but have seen them in the photos of late.
    #95
  16. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    Hey man, yeah you're right. I did have the PacSafe mesh but have stopped to use them. They take a while to put on and off, and if I'm honest I'm never too far from the bike while the luggage is on, and if I am away for a while there are usually police around watching the bike like at borders and ferry crossings etc. Haven't had an issue yet!
    #96
  17. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    We are in serious trouble. After two days arguing with the Nigerian embassy, they refuse to issue even a 48hr transit visa to Isabel. Time to put the thinking caps on...
    #97
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  18. micko01

    micko01 another DR650 rider

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    What's their excuse? Why you but not her?
    #98
  19. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

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    That's the worst part... there was no real reason. If I was to hazard a guess, it's because we are not residents of Benin. I personally think it was just a case of an African guy finally having power over some Westerners.
    #99
    micko01 likes this.
  20. Wanted

    Wanted Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    361
    Location:
    RTW - Everywhere
    So basically, on arrival at the Nigerian embassy (what they like to poetically call "Nigeria House" to sound fancy), we were put through the ringer. Firstly the man in charge was stunned that I had a Nigerian visa issued in Mali. When he took my passport into his caged office to inspect it he was furious, he started telling me it was fake and it's not even filled in correctly. I genuinely thought he was going to attempt to cancel my visa while my passport was out of reach. He also wanted to see my receipt from Bamako and was asking how much I paid for it. We remained cool and collected, putting our happy faces on even through I was mad enough to go toe to toe. After a lot of stressing our case, he told us to come back tomorrow and he will tell us if it's possible. I knew he just wanted us to waste our time.

    We returned early the next morning, he looked surprised when we showed up. He said he had to go and make some phone calls to see if it was possible. What he actually meant is he was going inside the building to play Pokémon Go or scroll through fat porn for 15 minutes before coming out and practically laughing us away. He told us it was not at all possible, not even a 48hr transit visa. He kept saying we should have got it in Spain and all but calling us fools. I grabbed him through the bars and gave him a titty twister before giving his arm a third degree Chinese burn... Well, it was nice to at least fantasize about doing that, while we said our reasonably polite goodbyes.

    This has left us with a huge problem, Isabel can no longer transit through Nigeria. We ran through a few different options. We could try Burkina Faso, however after reading the prospect of actually getting one there, plus the cost of the visa from Benin ($150USD), we gave up hope on that option. As the Cameroon visa is applied for in Nigeria, we couldn't fly her to Cameroon to meet me on the other side either. There was the option of leaving her in Benin for 5-6 days while I rode across to Gabon, where she could fly to meet me, the flight was only 150 euro. She did not want to be left alone, so that option was out the window.

    Our final option was to fly her to DRC where her cousins live, she can wait there for me to transit down there as fast as possible. We were able to get her a multiple entry visa to DRC (I have no idea how we got so lucky), so that when I arrive in Congo Brazzaville she can cross the river on the ferry to meet me, and we will go to get our Angola visa and explore a little more of Congo. This means her Gabon visa (75 euro) was a total waste, life sucks some times.

    This was all followed by a really miserable day yesterday, neither of us were in a good mood and a whole day was pretty well wasted. We have actually been really happy to get this accommodation right here in town close by to all the consulates. Was run by a nice Swiss man who also spoke Spanish. The dorm room was great and not too expensive!

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    Today we decided to make the most of our last day in Benin away from the visa BS. We went up to a small lake village named Ganvie (AKA The Venice of Africa). This village was built on stilts over the water way back in the day, it's inaccessible by road and was specifically built this way to avoid enemy tribes whose religion prevented them from crossing water, essentially giving protection from an attack.

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    Tomorrow me and Isa say our goodbyes for as long as it takes me to get to DRC, and the Nigeria gauntlet will begin!