Daily Rider in Tanzania?

Discussion in 'Africa & Mid East' started by Hamamelis, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Hamamelis

    Hamamelis Adventurer

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    Hi there inmates,

    As I go into my mid-20s on a gap between college and graduate school, I'm now free to go do one of my lifelong dreams for a year or two: doing teaching and/or NGO work in Tanzania. I'll only have a modest budget to work with going in, and am not expecting to get paid much for a stipend, so I'm working now and saving up.

    Long and short of it is, I'd like a set of wheels while I am in country (I could certainly rely on buses or whatnot but that's booooring and there are plenty of places they don't go), and a 4x4 is gonna be out of that modest budget, so I'd like a single cylinder dirt bike of light weight, mechanical durability, and modest displacement. Budget to a maximum of $2000. Looking at in-country classified ads, this probably means I want a Honda XR or XL of some kind. Maybe a Yammie XT, but those seem rarer. A KTM or heavy adventure tourer seems like more a liability than an asset for what I need, if the roads are anything like I remember from ten years ago.

    I am aware that the process of buying a bike in Africa is notoriously fraught with stolen merch and shadetree mechanic jobs, so I'm curious if anyone knows any reputable shops that might have what I'm looking for. I am most likely to end up in the area around Dodoma, or perhaps up near Arusha or Lake Victoria, but I know all things must flow through Dar Es Salaam at some point, eh (oh god that ride out of Dar is gonna be terrifying)
    #1
  2. Hamamelis

    Hamamelis Adventurer

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    After some more looking at local availability I'm thinking THE bike to have in TZ at my budget is the XR250 MD30 - seems to have by far the highest availability and maintenance base.

    Found a few dealers' emails and it may be a matter of asking around as plans get a bit more official
    #2
  3. WilliamArcher

    WilliamArcher Been here awhile

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    XR250R, XLR250R or XL250R is probably the way to go with your budget. Any will have parts availability in the larger cities. I wouldn't worry about model or year within that group. Just buy the one in best shape that you can find.

    Consider buying gear before you go. It's hard to find quality safety gear or medical care in Tanzania, and it's easy to crash.
    #3
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  4. Hamamelis

    Hamamelis Adventurer

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    Yeah fortunately I have health insurance and safety gear taken care of already - the biggest hassle at this point is that my work contract (at least officially) needs me to get my boss to sign off on a vehicle purchase, which is basically a Schrodinger's Cat at this point, but I am optimistic
    #4
  5. WilliamArcher

    WilliamArcher Been here awhile

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    Who are you working for? That's an odd contract stipulation.

    I knew one guy in Tanzania who wasn't allowed to even ride on a motorcycle because he was volunteering with the Peace Corps. He ended up buying an XL250 and riding it all over the place for two years. Everyone in the whole town knew that he had it, but nobody at the Peace Corps ever asked.
    #5
  6. Hamamelis

    Hamamelis Adventurer

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    Technically I am working for the Anglican Church through the American Episcopal Church, and the approval clause *is* part of the contract for the latter rather than the former, so my boss on the African side might not even know... Your story may have some legs! As it stands the wording of that American document is more automobile-centric, haha

    I am technically a missionary per my contract, though the truth is (at least compared to what most folks think of as a missionary in the 1880s evangelical sense) closer to that I am a Church-sponsored NGO worker
    #6