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Travelling in Southern Africa

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Travelling in Southern Africa Empty Travelling in Southern Africa

Post by peterf on 31st March 2009, 19:34

Hi Folks

I am looking for advice on travelling in Southern Africa, especially with regards to bike clearances such as insurance, 'Carnet de Passages en Douane' and permission from the finance company to take the bike out of South Africa.

I would appreciate any information, especially personal experiences, regarding this.

I have read a number of articles and books on the subject of travelling within the African continent but most seem to deal a lot with the painfull bureaucratic border crossings but there is generally very little on preparations and taking a motor vehicle, in this case a bike, across borders.

Many thanks
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Post by Marnus on 1st April 2009, 15:07

Hi Peter,

Although I haven't undertaken something like this yet, I would love to do so sometime in future. So I can't speak from experience, but I've heard a number of people being referred to Horizons Unlimited. Check out the planning section on the bottom left - quite a lot of information there. Hope it helps.
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Post by LeRoy Olivier on 1st April 2009, 21:39

Speak to Etienne vd Stockt/Colin King - they have planned and travelled extensively in Africa.
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Post by Leo on 12th April 2009, 15:48

Rule 1: Never travel at night, or avoid it as far as possible.

Rule 2: Whenever you find petrol fill up. The only time you will have too much fuel is when your bike is on fire.

Rule 3: Take your own pen. The amount of trouble you'll save yourself at a bordepost is priceless.

A carnet will ease the border crossing, but it's not essential. (depending which countries you're visiting) If you get p$%^ed off when you arrive at a border post and an official charge you for insurance and gives you change from his back pocket, then get the carnet. Have travelled most countries as far as Kenia without a carnet.

The permission from your finance company is easy, just tell them which countries you'll be visiting and when (dates). BMW finance will get the letter to you same day - they're great in that regards.

Ensure your bike is covered in the said countries - insurance.

When you take money in different currencies, don't put it all in your wallet. Put them in ziplock bags and store it under the seat, in the seam of your jacket and all unlikely places. Don't put the large denominations in your wallet. If you have to bribe someone and you open your wallet, he sees that U$100, he will insist on getting that.

A trick that worked well for me was to pretend as though I was lost when stopped at a control point. After greeting politely, start asking directions to a specific town, even though you know pretty dam well where you're going. They'll start explaining the route and forget all about searching for faults on the bike to argue for a fine / bribe. Obviously don't ask for directions to the next town, make it a bit challenging

Don't speed. Calculate your distances at an average of 60 - 80 km/h.

If you travel in a group, give your spare key to someone else and let he/she pin it to the inside of their jacket pocket with a safety pin.

Try and avoid carrying lots of stuff in your hands when you get to a border post. One's natural instinct is to put it down when completing the officialdom, and that when stuff get's nicked.

This is just a few - there's 1000's more tips

As the previous guys have commented, go check the horizons unlimited website. Great info there.

Remember travelling in Africa will always throw you that one curve ball, no matter how well you're prepared. How well you overcome, cope with that curve ball will determine the success of your travel.

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