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The Longer Road

Adventures across Southern Africa
By Greg Beadle with Foreword by Charley Boorman


Covers the regions best motorbiking routes On- and off-road routes | Scenic routes | Mountain passes What to see | What to do | Parks | Accommodation and much more



Foreword by Charley Boorman 4 About the author Overview map Preparation and planning Route 1 Cape Town to Windhoek by Greg Beadle Route 2 Maun to Windhoek by Stefan Boshoff Route 3 Maun to Harare via Victoria Falls by Greg Beadle Route 4 Harare to Mbombela via Ilha de Moambique by Wayne Sheppard Route 5 Die Groot omTrek round trip from eMkhondo by Theunis Nel Gear guide 5 6 8 16 42 70 98 126


Getting to know some famous riders Charley Boorman 186 188 Clint Pienaar 190 Alfie Cox Zelda la Grange 191 192 Theunis Nel

Wayne Sheppard

Preparation and planning

Im a spontaneous person and there is nothing better than just deciding: now is the time, jump on your motorcycle and head on out into the Karoo with nothing more than your credit card and perhaps a change of clothes. When it comes to 810-day adventures on a motorcycle in Southern Africa, it needs a little more thought. Riding around South Africa is almost intuitive. We know what to expect on the roads, we have a sense that we will always find fuel, decent accommodation and reliable sources of food. When exploring further north these factors do change, hence the need for some planning and preparation. Should you not have a clue on where to start or have no idea what it is like to ride your motorcycle through remote parts of Southern Africa then you may want to consider joining a group hosted by a professional touring operator. This is generally a more expensive way of exploring on a motorcycle but you do eliminate many of the variables, including accommodation, technical support and food, that could see you not enjoying your inaugural motorcycle adventure. their standard bike of choice, and theres the possibility of a F800GS if they are available. Twenty R1200GS are available per group. The 4x4 back-up vehicle is an eight-seater, allowing pillions the option of some time in the vehicle if the weather is bad or if they get tired. This vehicle takes all the luggage and also tows a spare motorcycle. There is a second assistance vehicle, towing a second trailer with spare bike, and this transports the doctor and mechanic. Each bike is fitted with a GPS with the days route programmed in, so clients are free to travel fairly independently or in small groups staying on the GPS tracking. This means enjoying an adventure rather than riding in one large group all the time, with a sense of security and peace of mind knowing you have medical and technical support should you need it. Moto Aventures has three tours running consecutively from August to October:

Cape Town to Vic Falls

travelling via Namibia Total distance is 5,000km 14 days travel, which includes a day off in Swakopmund 70% of the route is off-road on good-condition gravel roads Cost per biker = R7,950; pillions and 4x4 = R4,500.

Tour operators
Moto Aventures offers a comprehensive package including using their bikes as well as space for passengers to join in a 4x4. The BMW R1200GS is

Vic Falls to Johannesburg

via Malawi and Mozambique Total distance is 5,000km 16 days travel, which includes

two days off at Lake Malawi and in the Bazaruto Archipelago off the coast from Vilanculos in Mozambique 30% of the route is off-road Cost per biker = R8,950; pillions and 4x4 = R4,500.

Moto Aventures is a small, personalised, family-owned business, offering quality motorbike adventures off-road in Morocco on KTM 450EXC and adventure touring on BMW R1200GS in Southern Africa. They are the longest-running company of this type in Europe and Africa, with over 16 years experience and an annual average of over 60% returns and referrals, which proves they are delivering what their clients want. Safety and satisfaction are the two most important aspects of their tours. In 2010 they partnered with Charley Boorman to brand their

Southern African adventures and started with two tours from Cape Since then they have added a further two routes and others are planned. Check out for more info. Karoo Biking, owned by Jurgen Muess, offers a selection of tours around Southern Africa. Jurgen offers multi-day adventures that encompass what Southern Africa has to offer, on either a BMW 650/700GS, 800GS, 1200GS or 1200RT. Focusing on South Africa, Jurgen also offers certain trips into Southern Africa and

Johannesburg to Cape
Town via Lesotho Total distance is 3,200km 9 days travel 80% of the route is off-road or it can be 100% on road Cost per biker = R5,950; pillions and 4x4 = R2,900. Included in the price is an optional two-day Level 1 off-road course with Si Pavey in Wales, UK. If not taken, R400is deducted from price. This 2013 pricing includes luxury lodges/tented lodges, sometimes with half board, and assistance at all times during the adventure. Charley Boorman will join you as your guide/entertainer. Additional activities such as game drives, sundowner cruises, whale-watching cruise, sharkcage diving, a lake cruise with snorkelling and feeding Fish Eagles, etc., is included depending on which tour you take. The price includes the use of the BMW R1200GS. What is not included are your flight costs should you be flying into the start point and out at the end, fuel (about R3,000 maximum), visas, vaccinations, border charges, alcohol, medical insurance, biking gear and bike excess deposit of R15,000.

Town to Vic Falls

and back.

Shaen Adey

Stefan Bo


lazy Limpopo River as well one trip in Europe. More details available at Kwanokeng Tours specialise in Botswana, offering shorter tours including a two-night tour through the Tuli Block and a four-night tour into the Makgadikgadi Pans. Clinton and his team are pros at setting up a very impressive camp in the middle of nowhere and serving delicious food and cold beers. Clinton can customise a tour to suit your needs and is the perfect host. He is the ultimate entertainer and adds great value to each of his tours. All tours start at their Kwanokeng Lodge located on the Botswana side of the Limpopo River at the Martins Drift border post. The lodge offers comfortable accommodation including grass camping sites, permanent luxury tents with decks overlooking the as multi-roomed chalets. We stayed in a chalet and found it clean and very comfortable with air-conditioning on hand as the temperatures stayed rather high throughout the night. The lodge makes the perfect overnight stop on your way in and out of Botswana as it is located on one of the quickest routes to the northern half of Botswana from Gauteng. Clintons family own the lodge as well as the neighbouring filling station, the busiest retail filling station in Botswana, according to Clinton. You will find a bureau de change at the filling station (although the South African rand and the US dollar are widely accepted in Botswana) as well as a convenience retail store that stocks almost everything you may have forgotten at home. Last time I checked, fuel was cheaper in Botswana than in


South Africa, so plan your fill up stops accordingly. Should you, for whatever reason, not be interested in joining a group on a motorcycle adventure, then there are a few key things to work out before you head out on your own or in a smaller group of riders.

featured online. Sites such as share guests feedback and comments, giving you a real impression of what the establishment offers and what you can expect for the price you will pay to stay there. When I look at where I want to go, I normally base it around a few highlights or dream destinations. For example, in Namibia any trip will include a few of the many impressive destinations the country offers, including the Namib Desert, Skeleton Coast, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei, the Ugab River, Van Zyls Pass, E Etosha National Park, Epupa Falls, etc.

the additional weight of a pillion and/or luggage, before having to re-fuel. You always need to allow for extra mileage between fuel stops, including the small but real possibility of having to turn back along the way as you may forget something important at a drinks stop on the side of the road and double back to get it an hour or two later. I cant stress enough how important it is to make sure Africa its easy enough to find a filling station almost anywhere. In Southern Africa it is different and you need to know where you can get fuel and if they will have fuel in stock when you need it. Auxillary fuel tanks or extra fuel plastic packs as mentioned in my gear guide later on in this book are essential on these longer trips into remote areas. When purchasing maps, I always recommend sourcing at least two different maps from different publishers. The Tracks4 Africa maps are essential and the MapStudio maps are good too.

The first part of the plan for most of us is when we can find the time for a multi-day motorcycle adventure! How many days can you afford to be away from the grindstone? What time of year do you wish to travel? Certain parts of Southern Africa are a no-go zone from November to February due to excessive heat, mosquitos, tsetse fly, etc. Parks like Mana Pools close over this period so be aware of when you wish to travel and how that affects where you can go. Google is a wonderful tool when it comes to starting your research. You will find blogs, tips and articles shared by fellow adventurers. The images you find online will start to paint a picture of what you can look forward to. Online research will also greatly assist you in comparing accommodation options should there be a choice where you are going. Some of the smaller villages may only have one option that may not even be
Greg Be

Route planning
Once you have your list together and you can see some sort of an accessible route to follow, you can knuckle down into the detail planning, which must include understanding what your motorcycles fuel tank offers as a range of distance you can travel, with


you have enough fuel.

In South


The Tracks4Africa maps show most of the fuel stations and give you accurate mileage and estimated travel times, greatly assisting in your planning.

You will need to pay cash for

fuel at most remote filling stations and you can pay with a card in some major towns. How much cash do you need to carry daily for fuel?

Looking at costs and managing a budget when planning your trip is probably the least fun element of the overall process but it has to be done. Motorcycle adventures should be less expensive than doing the same routes in a fourwheel-drive vehicle, based on fuel consumption, but the accommodation and food costs could well change this estimation. I break it down into these definitions with a few of the relevant questions to be answered and costed for: Transport to get there and back Accommodation options

What type of accommodation

do you want to use? Camping E or lodging?

Do you need to pay a portion

of the cost upfront as a booking deposit?

Will they accept card payment

for the balance of the cost as well as for food and drinks?

If they only accept cash payments, which currencies do they accept?

How much will gear cost

should you choose to camp for a few or all of the nights? Food options

Are you flying to a destination

to start your adventure?

Are you driving and trailering

your bike to a start and finish point? Fuel for trip

Where will you find food along

the way and what will it cost?

What food can you take with


What can you budget on

spending per day on food as an average cost? Emergency provision

What is the average fuel consumption of your motorcycle?

How much heavier will your

bike be for this trip and how much more fuel will you use?

Which is the correct travel

insurance product to suit your needs and what will it cost?

How many kilometres will you

be riding?

Are you taking a towing/backup vehicle along with you?

What amount of cash do you

need to carry for emergency needs? This could include medical supplies, a lift to get help or to transport a bike to a town nearby, border crossing complications, etc.

What is the average fuel consumption of this vehicle, including towing a trailer with bike/s?

What is the price of fuel in

each country you pass through?


Emergency planning
I see emergency planning a bit like the way I see insurance. You dont want it but you definitely dont want to be caught without it. Its best to know what to do should you find yourself or one of your group in difficulty. Generally the most important plan is to know where the nearest hospital or medical base is to your current location as you travel through the day. Check with lodges or camp sites when you make a reservation to see if they have a qualified medic on-site, as well as what medical
Stefan Bo shoff

supplies they have. It doesnt hurt, pardon the pun, to complete a first-aid course or attend a refresher course before heading out on an adventure sans medical back-up. Carry a first-aid kit that is compact but includes what you need. I am not qualified to advise you as to which first-aid kit is best for you to use, but I can tell you that you will need to customise a kit to suit your needs. You can add painkillers and personal medication and perhaps take out certain items that you believe to be nonessential. You can search online or visit a selection of outdoor retailers to compare what they offer. Cape Union Mart and Safari Centre both stock a range of fairly relevant first-aid kits as they cover the requirements of the outdoor and 4x4 markets. You will not always have cellphone coverage, so make

As a general rule I try to book only the first and possibly the last nights accommodation before heading off on a trip. I dont like the feeling of having to be at a certain destination by a certain date. It just adds stress to my trip and I much prefer to wake up in the morning, see how far I feel like riding, ride a few hours and then decide on how far to go that day. The freedom of choosing day to day how far you want to go (or not) is an important part of my personal experience of any motorcycle adventure. Riding in a group you lose that sense of freedom and need to keep up with what the group is doing every day. Depending on when and where you are travelling you may be able to arrive somewhere with no reservation and still get

accommodation. Sometimes you wont be so lucky, particularly at popular tourist spots, like Sesriem camp site in Namibia, during high season. When doing your research you will need to ascertain whether you feel you need to make reservations upfront or not. Also make sure that motorcycles are welcome for your night stops. We arrived in what we thought was a private nature reserve in Namibia, riding in the park for 30 minutes (slowly) to get to the reception, only to have them tell us bikes arent allowed in the park. We managed to stay overnight at a very nice riverside camp site before leaving the park, and I do hope that one day soon they will let bikes into national parks.


its toll on the whole groups experience. In case of emergency (ICE) identification is important should you lose consciousness. ICE ID make a durable identification tag bracelet including your chosen information for in case of emergency situations. Blood type, allergies and an ICE contact are
Greg Bead le

good items to include, as well as your name, of course. You can order one of these online at sure you have an idea of how best to get help to a patient or get a patient to the help they need. Every case is different and the circumstances will more than likely require improvising on the scene. Without being too selective, do attempt to include group members that add certain skills like mechanical and first-aid knowledge. Having said all of this, I do often ride on my own but then will do my utmost to have a recovery vehicle me or try not to spend too much time outside the network of communication technology. Common sense must also be used when riding solo or in small groups. Is it worth attempting to ride down a challenging cliff face when you still have five days left of your trip, with no town nearby and no communication to the outside world? Accidents do happen but you can do your best to minimise this risk by ensuring that you and your riding group get the most out of the whole adventure and not just a quick thrill that could take Copy these details onto a card, laminate it and place it in a place of high visibility, like in the transparent map pocket on top of your tank bag or in the transparent pocket on your Rallye 3 jacket sleeve.

Documenting your trip

Whether you are going to submit your next adventure to a travel or superbike magazine or if you just want to bank memories from this trip, its important to have a camera and a notebook packed. Being a professional adventure photographer and author I find it necessary to carry a pro camera body with one or two lenses packed in my tank bag. The tank bag is one of the zones on your bike with the least vibration. If you pack your camera or gear in your luggage, be sure to wrap them in clothing and pack them snugly to minimise vibration as much as possible. You also want to have your camera within reach so that you can capture those images as you see them and



before they disappear. I pack a Canon 1DMark4 and always pack the Canon 1635mm lens for those jaw-dropping landscapes. If I have space Ill include the Canon 70200mm for candid portraits and story-telling images. I catch a lot of great images on my iPhone too, as it is always easy to get to, being located in a jacket pocket, and I dont have to take off my gloves and helmet to look through the viewfinder on my SLR camera. A compact camera like the Canon S90 fits in a jacket pocket and also takes high-quality images and video. The way forward though must be with a GoPro camera: you get videos and stills from a small body with a waterproof casing that comes standard with the camera. Fixed focal length on a wide-angle lens means you will catch everything along the

way. You will need a backpack long-life battery to ensure you that get a few hours out of the camera, and try to shoot footage only when you are riding through special scenery, which will save you space on your memory card as well as saving editing time afterwards. With a large variety of attachments, you can mount a GoPro to almost anywhere on your bike or body. Recharge batteries with your solar-powered charger after the days ride. I usually pack an iPad in my tank bag for making notes at the end of a day, depending on space as I always have a small notebook and pen packed too. The iPad allows you to carry a lot of reading material, including books and magazines, all on one device, as well as cool apps, like Stellarium, which tells you the

name of a constellation of stars just by pointing the iPad at that particular constellation. Another useful app, called SunSeeker, tells you which path the sun follows during the day and what time it will meet the horizon, allowing you to plan for riding time left in the day and to plan the best location for your sunset

Greg Be


photo opportunity.


The Longer Road

Adventures across Southern Africa
The exciting sequel to the popular Bike Tar & Gravel Adventures in South Africa takes the rider across eight countries, following longer routes and providing more detail of what to do and see along the way.


Includes detailed route maps

B 1


Richtersveld National Park

Alexander Bay
Alexander Bay Aerodrome


Norotshama River Resort D212 River Rafting Dolomite Peaks

Blind Rises Beware of Game Crossings

Hot Springs

ang e




Border Post
N 7

Port Nolloth



N 14


Dorin g


s rie

Shifting Dunes

Orbicular Diorite Koppie

Miner's Memorial

Goegab Nature Springbok Reserve

Burke's Pass



lk sko be




Kabo ep

Namaqua National Park

Skilpad Wildflower Gardens

Pypmaker se Poort

GPS co-ordinates at start and end points Routes clearly marked Hazardous spots along the route are highlighted Things to see along the route Filling stations indicated Distance markers Topographical relief
N 10


Augrabies Falls National Park




Barter's Grave 1902






The Letterklip 1902 Ottaspoort Rooiwalspoort


Windmill Museum




Scan this QR code to view the MapStudio website



Bloukrans Pass

I S B N 978-1-77026-506-6


Heerenlogement Cave




The South African Astronomical Observatory

Lambert's Bay
Kreefbaai Elandsbaai

Pakhuis Pass


Tankwa-Karoo National Park


781770 265066


Cederberg Wilderness Area


MapStudio and the MapStudio device are trademarked to New Holland Publishing (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd. 1st edition MapStudio 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, elecPiekenierskloof tronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission in writing from the Copyright owner.
Stompneus Bay

Ta nk wa

Middelberg Pass


N 7

R355 R303 Olif an ts


Club Mykonos


Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area

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