A 10,000km solo jaunt around southern Africa

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by dtour_adv, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. dtour_adv

    dtour_adv Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    By the time I had reached Tofo, aside from a handful two night stays, I had essentially been riding for something like 32 days straight, racing across the continent. The same routine... wake up, pack up my bike, ride all day, arrive somewhere around sundown, unpack, hang out, sleep, wake up... Riding like that eventually wears on you and it's not longer fun.

    After two nights there in essentially paradise, I looked at my map and calculated the time it would take to get back to Cape Town - if I rode all day every day for another week.. racing through the Garden Route.. I would make it back there just in time for my flight home. I decided to instead stay on the beach a couple more nights and drop my bike off in Johannesburg instead. The Garden Route could wait.

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    Camping in the backpackers backyard.

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    My backpackers, Mozambeat Motel, was booked out for the duration of the trip, but my last night there one of their rooms/cabins had opened up - probably one of the coolest hostel rooms I'd ever stayed in.

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    Sundown on Tofo Beach.

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    Back on the bike after 4 nights rest.
    #41
  2. dtour_adv

    dtour_adv Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Missouri, USA
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    After Tofo, I didnt get very far, and ended up staying on the beach in Xai Xai. It seems that Xai Xai is a tourist destination due to all of the resorts, but it must of been off season because all of them were earily empty, including the hotel I stayed at. To access the hotels, you have to ride down a very sandy beach road. With clouds rolling in, I got worried that if it stormed, it would become very difficult for me to ride out, so I had my fingers crossed overnight, but luckily there was no rain.

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    I don't really remember too much about the ride from Xai Xai to Maputo, but I do remember that the roads were much more busy as I approached the biggest city in Mozambique and the capital. There were a ton more Chapas (shared mini busses) and trucks on the road, and the constant stream of tolls made the days travel slow.

    I had mentioned earlier that people had warned me that I may be stopped by the police often in Mozambique. I did actually very often see police check points, sometimes every 10km or so. It seemed that they stopped all of the trucks or minibusses, but they always just waved me through. Through the first couple checkpoints, Id hesitantly slow down and pretty much stop and wait for them to walk over or wave me by, but it never came, so I would ride on. There was however one time I did get stopped and the police officer just told me that he wanted to check out my bike, and that was all.

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    I rolled into Maputo and stayed at a pretty decent chain hostel. While sipping a beer and catching up on some WiFi, I was invited for dinner with some group of travelers.. an American Peace Corps volunteer, an English woman and a German guy. It seemed that was often the mix at all of the hostels/backpackers that I stayed at, the only person missing was someone French. We had a good dinner, shared war stories of traveling in Africa, played some pool and had a couple drinks at a bar. Maputo is not unlike any other big city, and reminding me somewhat of Miami... but probably just because it's a city in a warm climate on the ocean.

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    Downtown Maputo.

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    The joys of border crossings.
    #42
    MrKiwi, yokesman and knight like this.
  3. dtour_adv

    dtour_adv Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2019
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    I'm not sure how much I talked about it before, but border crossings are always a process and every country is a little different. You pretty much always have to "check out" of one country, and "check in" to the new country, and usually you have to do that not only for yourself, but also for the bike, so you're typically stopping at 4 different offices/desks, if I remember correctly. Throw in a visa or insurance or anything else, and it starts to get real confusing. At the complicated borders, there are typically fixers who, the second you pull up on your bike or car, all come and try to help for some cash. I had gotten pretty good at navigating the mazes by this point, so by this point I just say no thanks and get on my way.

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    The stack of bike paperwork that I kept inside my one of my maps. Of all the things that I carried on my trip, the maps were the one thing I never opened once. They were large maps, and I had one for each country, so they took up quite a bit of room. I cant say that in hindsight I wouldnt bring them, but they were more or less useless now a days with a GPS and an smart phone, and pretty much cell signal or WiFi almost everywhere.

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    The loads on the minibuses were absolutely insane and was probably the worst in Mozambique. I definitely kept my head on a swivel. About a week earlier, I saw one hit a pothole and the trailer flipped sending everything spread about the road.

    After the border crossing, I was happy to be in South Africa. The roads arent horrible in Mozambique, for the most part, but they did have your occasional pot hole, lots of police checkpoints, long stretches with no gas, crazy minibus drivers and were usually only regular 2 lane roads. Crossing into South Africa, I was treated again with typical nicely paved highways and frequent gas stations. Too bad it was my last day riding.

    It was a long ways from Maputo to Johannesburg, so it took the whole day, and I rolled into my guesthouse just after dark.
    #43
    MrKiwi likes this.