Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Sideoff, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Just back from a month long dualsport trip through Uganda, Rwanda, & Burundi.

    Actually it kinda' turned into a month long "triplesport" trip since we had some mechanical issues and ended up doing the rwanda/burundi stretch via motorcycle taxi, public bus, shared taxi, private hire, and matatu... but more on that later. Simply getting from point A to B WITHOUT your bike should qualify as "sport" in Africa :)

    Pics coming.
    #1
  2. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    Bring it on. Sounds like an exciting journey.
    #2
  3. XDragRacer

    XDragRacer Long timer

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    Provocative title, Sideoff; sounds like the title of a United Nations Security Council hearing!

    Looking forward to your RR and images.
    #3
  4. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    :1drink
    #4
  5. BlackBeast

    BlackBeast Been here awhile

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    Can't wait to see the pics of your trip. Are you going to keep us in suspense?:ear
    #5
  6. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    Cool...

    I'm in for this one.
    #6
  7. PartyOfOne

    PartyOfOne Adventurer

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    Ready. :lurk
    #7
  8. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Some background. We knew we wanted to check out this corner of the world on bikes but weren&#8217;t exactly sure how to get bikes in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Uganda</st1:place></st1:country-region>.
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    Shipping our own bikes from the states looked like a PITA and super pricey. The only place we could find in <st1:place w:st="on">Africa</st1:place> that rents big dualsports is in SA and I&#8217;d already done a trip there. Rob and I wanted to do something a bit different this time. Plus the rentals in SA were priced at $3-4k apiece for the month and a big security deposit, a real problem for a couple working stiffs like us. Esp since we figured even a little scratch on a shiny new bike could be a real blow to the security deposit.
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    Option 2: arrive with cash, buy bikes in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kampala</st1:place></st1:City>, and figure it out from there. That would cost less though we&#8217;d lose time dealing with logistics. The locals we found on advrider told us the most common bike in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Uganda</st1:place></st1:country-region> is a 100cc Indian-made Bajaj that cost about $1,200 brand new. So worst case we figured we&#8217;d just buy two of those and sell them at the end. The Bajaj was/is a decent option, just not that much fun for ripping around the dirt. Slow on the tarmac too.
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    So we booked flights in/out of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kampala</st1:place></st1:City> basically just planning to take a helmet, a pack, and a pair of jeans and go with the bajaj. We reserved some hope that we might find a couple used thumpers for sale in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kampala</st1:place></st1:City> but we weren&#8217;t exactly counting on it.
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    Then we saw a reference on HUBB about a motorcycle club in <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Uganda</st1:place></st1:country-region> called Uganda Bikers (www.ugandabikers.com). It&#8217;s a club with a charitable mission that is made up of Ugandans and expats who ride big bikes and do a variety of activities in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Uganda</st1:country-region></st1:place> supporting HIV awareness and safe driving.
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    These guys helped us out BIG time. Great guys. Huge thumbs up to Uganda Bikers!!
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    The UB Chairman, Donato Laboke, said he&#8217;d arrange a couple bikes for us to hire from the members. He said they wouldn&#8217;t necessarily be brand new and shiny, but at least we&#8217;d be on something bigger than a toaster, and that sounded like fun to us. The price was fair and Donato seemed like a good dude. So we packed up our &#8220;real&#8221; riding gear&#8230; watched &#8220;hotel rwanda&#8221; and &#8220;last king of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">scotland</st1:place></st1:country-region>&#8221; (of course!)&#8230; took a few thousand USD apiece&#8230; and flew to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kampala</st1:place></st1:City>.
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    As it turns out, Donato is awesome. He totally hooked us up, pulled a rabbit out of a hat when things went haywire, and became a great new friend in the process. Same thing for friend and fellow UB member Godfrey Pule, who among other things helped negotiate (via cell phone) our cameras back from an armed soldier who only spoke Luganda. And Deo, the kick-ass macgyver-style field mechanic and part-time bicycle racer who rode out to meet us all over <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Uganda</st1:place></st1:country-region>. And Milton, who we never actually met but who donated one of the bikes, and even lent Deo a second bike to come meet us when we got stuck.
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    Good thing too&#8230; because two 6&#8217;4&#8221; dudes riding around <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Uganda</st1:place></st1:country-region> on 100cc Bajajs would&#8217;ve been a total crack up.

    Route we ended up taking:

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    Portland Airport

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    Entebbe, Uganda

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    F-Yeah! We're in Africa. Stayed at Red Chilli.

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    #8
  9. lefteris

    lefteris fat daddy

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    Come on, we need more of this!

    Lefteris
    #9
  10. Sniff800gs

    Sniff800gs Adventurer

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    MORE MORE......please!!! :lurk
    #10
  11. EricD10563

    EricD10563 Been here awhile

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    This looks like it's going to be a good one.
    #11
  12. uean

    uean n00b

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    Rakai, Uganda
    Hell yeah! (<--- location :D )
    #12
  13. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Donato didn't waste any time... rode over to meet us at like 11pm when we got to the hotel. Hit it off immediately.

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    Went directly to his house to check out the bikes. A 1989 Africa Twin and a later model TT600. Hell yeah those'll work!

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    Next morning, Red Chilli. Rich the guy who runs this place is actually on advrider but I don't think he posts much. Rich helped us out with advice before we showed up and also helped map out our initial route. Thanks Rich! Red Chilli is a great place to base out of in kampala and launch a trip from. Secure parking too.

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    First thing the next day got a quick briefing from donato on the bikes and set out to ride around the city, explore kampala, get used to the bikes, buy a local cell phone, change some currency, find some whiskey, run a few misc errands, and just generally check out the city.

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    Godfrey

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    Godfrey's tenere. Why didn't/don't they sell these bikes in the states? Same for the africa twin?

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    Kampala

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    We missed R. Kelly by only two days... bummer... that would've been a trip.

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    The Bajaj, moto-standard for uganda and also extremely common in rwanda and burundi. Not much to look at but man those things are impressive little machines. They can climb and carry anything, parts available everywhere, easy to fix.

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    Matatu & taxi stand

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    This was pretty cool. Owino market I think. If you keep walking in past those shoes its like miles of interconnected little corridors with shoes and clothes and stalls of every kind. Didn't pull out the cameras in there, tight quarters and lots of pickpockets.

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    #13
  14. Thorne

    Thorne Sherpa-ing around

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    :lurk
    #14
  15. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Took the bikes down to Deo's shop (that is Deo in the blue slacks in the middle) for some new tires/tubes and a quick once-over. How Deo manages to wrench on cars and bikes all day dressed to the nines and still not get a speck of dirt on his clothes I have no idea.

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    Had to wait out a thunderstorm with all the boda drivers at a gas station

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    Went to visit with Donato at his office. He manages the pepsi account (mountain dew in particular) for Fireworks, an ad agency in Kampala.

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    Went out for drinks. Godfrey and Donato. Donato "livin' the brand" with a tall glass of mountain dew... i think he's their best customer!

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    Tomorrow we hit the road!
    #15
  16. TheMule

    TheMule Been here awhile

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    Great Start!! Can't wait for the rest....

    thanks,

    Todd
    #16
  17. Sniff800gs

    Sniff800gs Adventurer

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    Keep it comming! Thanks 4 sharing with us! :lurk
    #17
  18. KalV

    KalV Adventurer

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    Nice, continue PLS :lurk
    #18
  19. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Hood River, OR
    Thanks for the comments guys. Lots more pics to come. Just getting started.

    Next day we hit the road. Took a bit of time to get our s*** together, load the bikes, and get out of town. As usual rob packed a lot lighter than me.

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    12k from kampala the africa twin cut out. Good thing we had a tow strap with us... towed back to the nearest place with shade and water. Deo ripped out on his 250... clogged fuel pump was the culprit... then the battery died... he had us back on the road in a bit.

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    Passed the time entertaining and being entertained by local kids. Rob had a bunch of photos on his iphone which were a great icebreaker throughout the trip.

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    Short, easy day of all tarmac riding. Just taking in the sights/sounds/smells of a new country. The fuel pump issue set us back and we had a late start so we ended up finishing the last hour of riding in the pitch dark. A bit sketchy for day 1... lots of people, shadowy objects, and animals on the road at night... and of course vehicles without headlights.

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    We were recommended to a great hotel, new court view. Met some UN workers there. Drank beer.

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    The map showed the tarmac ending in Masindi so we were both looking forward to the next day's ride.
    #19
  20. Sideoff

    Sideoff Been here awhile

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    Hilarious :) True!!
    #20