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Saturday, 10 July 2010

Angola into Namibia

It was a welcome relief to finally get to the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola. Not our favorite country to date. As we rode up to the first checkpoint on the DRC side however, one of the policemen told us the border was closed due to it being market day. Having crossed a few borders we were immediately skeptical and bypassed the bloke and soon enough were heading across the border into Angola. We were stoked to have finally made it here after all the dramas we experienced in obtaining our visas. That night we camped just inside the Angolan border.

Our first two days in Angola saw us riding on a mixture of roads ranging from very good to bloody awful. On our first day we were on a reasonable 70km piste from the border to Mbanza Congo. Then the route from Mbanza Congo to N'zeto which was a mixture of good tarmac and fairly good piste. With the gas station in Mbanza out of gas we had to fill up from a bloke on the side of the road in N'zeto. He made a bit of a killing, selling the petrol and two and a half times the price at the pump.

We pushed on that afternoon on the road towards Luanda. This was pretty tough. Quite sandy leaving N'zeto with the road gradually deteriorating as we went along. Some of the potholes were enormous and the road got worse as it became a mixture of old tarmac and gravel which saw our bikes take a bit of a hammering. The next day we hit Luanda and found our first petrol station with petrol. Just after filling up I heard this bloke behind me say, "Hello mate" in a scouse accent. After quickly checking my wallet was still in my pocket I turned around and met Marco, a Portuguese fella who had done his schooling in Liverpool who was now working in Angola. He had spotted our UK plates and very kindly offered to show us the route for the bypass of Luanda and then brought us to a cafe where he shouted us lunch. A really nice bloke.

That night we made camp on the coast south of Luanda. The beach was awesome. Long and pretty much deserted. We made a fire from driftwood and settled down for a night under the stars. Aaaah life is good.

A hard days riding the following day saw us reach Benguela. We were tired and a bit cranky after riding around 500km on fairly good road. That night we slept like babies and were up at dawn the next day, headed for Lubango. Near Lubango we visited Tundavala, a mountain which lead to a shear cliff overlooking the valley below. An awesome sight. We camped at a nearby lake that evening and for the first time since Spain, felt cold at night. Hans reckoned it reached zero degrees and sure enough there was a touch of frost on the ground when we got up the next day.

The following day we headed towards the border with Namibia. Again the roads were of mixed quality. As we drew closer to the border we saw plenty of evidence of Angola's turbulent past. Wrecked and mangled armored vehicles and buildings riddled with bullet holes. Mines were used readily in the conflict here. There are still thousands of live mines in Angola and we were shocked at the number of one legged men on crutches we saw as a result. Quite sobering to think that there was still conflict here only 15 years ago and that tourists have only recently been allowed into the country which has really opened up the overland route through the west coast of Africa.

On the road we met two Spaniards on their bicycles. They had been on the road for two and a half years and had been all over the world starting from Nepal. It was great to stop and chat to them. They had great things to say about Namibia.

Later that day arrived at Santa Clara and the border with Namibia. We crossed into Oshikango, Namibia and all of a sudden it felt like we were back in civilization. There were shops, fast food and gas stations that actually had petrol. It was a bit unnerving! As we left Oshikango we were stopped and our passports were checked by the police. We had a problem. Hans' new passport, which had been issued in Kinshasa, was showing up as being flagged by INTERPOL, apparently having been stolen in Moldova and used for all sorts of dodgy goings on. Hans explained to the policeman that it was obviously a mistake and that the number must have been duplicated at the time his new passport was issued but it was a good couple of hours before he could convince them end we were on our way.

That night we camped near the border. Finding a place to camp in Namibia was quite hard as unlike every other country in Africa we had seen, most places were fenced. The next day we rode south on fantastic tarmac towards Etosha national park. We were both keen to see some wildlife, Hans in particular, who had missed out on the elephants in Burkina Faso owing to his clutch problems. We stayed at a fantastic campsite, Sachsenheim, near the northern boundary to the park and there we were introduced to Donny, a bloke who worked on the farm there and who also made the best kudu biltong and droeworst you ever tried.

We asked, but were unable to ride our bikes into Etosha. Something about the eminent danger of us being eaten by lions. So we found a guide with an open canopied Land Cruiser and visited in the late afternoon. The morning and afternoon are apparently the best time to see wildlife as during the heat of the day the animals are fairly inactive. Our guide, Emelda, the only female guide working in the park was great. She had a great knowledge of the park and the animals. She also had a fully stocked bar in a cooler with her.

As we drove into the park we encountered wildlife almost immediately. First some of the smaller antelope, springbok and black faced impala then giraffes and some of the larger species of antelope, eland, kudu and orynx. Emelda asked us, "So which animal would you most like to see. "Lions", we replied without hesitation. So as we drove through we kept a sharp eye out for one of the big predators. As we continued we had no luck with the lions but came across a black rhino at one of the water holes. We were extremely fortunate to see this rare animal. Soon after our luck continued and we came across a breeding herd of at least 80 elephant. Wow! They were amazing. The herd consisted mainly of mothers and their calves along with the odd bad tempered adolescent male. Again Emelda commented on how lucky we were to see such a magnificent herd.

As the sun sat low on the horizon we started driving back to the park entrance (you aren't allowed in the park after sunset). We were totally amazed at the amount of wildlife we had seen. Me and Hans were talking to each other when suddenly Emelda said, "Lion!", and there walking towards us across the veld was a lioness, off for her evening hunt. She was amazing. Big and graceful. We watched as she came right up to our vehicle, apparently unperturbed, and looked on as she crossed the road in front of us and trotted away. A truly amazing sight. Namibia was certainly living up to the hype.

After a couple of days relaxing at Sachenheim, we continued south west, towards the coast. En route we stayed at another fantastic campsite, Sophienhof near Outjo. The place was owned by a German chap and managed by a really nice couple, Barty and his friend Yvonne. As we arrived and pulled up with our bikes, they said, "Great, you are just in time to feed the cheetahs". Awesome. The next thing you know we are passing pieces of meat through a fence and feeding them by hand. They were amazing animals. Still pretty wild. Each had been caught on one of the local farms. Normally farmers here shoot animals that could potentially prey on their stock. We heard of animals like lions and hyenas being shot by farmers on a regular basis. To their credit Barty and Yvonne had taken three cheetahs in and kept them in a large fenced off field where they seemed quite happy. That night we had a great braai and knocked back a few beers as we overlooked a floodlit watering hole where kudu, wildebeest and orynx came to drink. The next day we left and were surprised when our bar bill wasn't included in our bill. We queried it and Barty and Yvonne insisted it was on them. They wouldn't take no for an answer, really nice, generous people.

We headed further west on fairly good gravel roads. The weather was perfect and the scenery amazing. We stopped at Brandberg, the tallest mountain in Namibia and there visited some ancient rock paintings made by Bushmen. The most famous of these paintings is known as the White Lady. 'She' is actually a bloke, a San medicine man and has been depicted in white. Our guide reckoned that some of the paintings are up to 2000 years old.

Following more gravel roads we headed further west to the Skeleton Coast. We headed north, around 30km north of Henties Bay and set up camp on the beach. It was an awesome spot. We had camped in some pretty cool places throughout our trip but I reckon this would have to be my favourite. Miles and miles of deserted coastline, punctuated by the odd shipwreck.

The next day we headed south to Swakopmund. Hans reckons Swakopmund is more German than Germany with the German colonial past evident everywhere. We stayed at a camp site near the beach and there met an interesting bloke. Tango, a Lithuanian chap who had ridden his KLR 250 all the way from Lithuania down the west coast like us. He had done amazingly well considering he only had 1,500 euros when he was in Morocco and no Carnet de Passage.

He had had a great adventure and was about to embark on another as he had just found a bloke with a yacht who was sailing to South America in a few days. We were a bit concerned as apparently it would be just the two of them and the skipper had only four weeks sailing experience but Tango seemed pretty happy with the arrangement. Hans taught him a few knots and we said bon voyage.

We also met Darren, a kiwi with an old Land Rover Defender who had done quite a bit of traveling through the Sahara and had tackled the west coast like us for the first time. We could only look on in envy at his setup, complete with solar panels, roof tent and fridge. Man we could have done with a fridge in the Sahara.

We stayed in Swakopmund for a few days. Lots of beer and a braai every night for dinner, our bodies enjoying their re-acquaintance with red meat. Hans did a tandem skydive while we were there as well. He had a pretty full on experience when his instructor had to jettison the main chute and go to the reserve at 2000 feet. He didn't even have to pay extra.

Leaving Swakop, we headed to Winhoek, the capital city of Namibia. Hans had the GS booked in for a service at the BMW dealer there. We stayed at Chameleon backpackers and met some great folk there. We had heard of a place there called Joe's Beerhouse which was meant to have excellent steaks and we went there for dinner. Awesome. Hans had zebra, ostrich and orynx while I settled for the ribeye / fillet steak combo. They served beer in proper big steins. Jeez it was good.

The following day, whilst Hans' bike was in the garage, I had a few things to do on the AT. Just as we had arrived in Windhoek the previous day, my tail light, indicators, horn and dash lights had stopped working. I suspected a blown fuse and sure enough found that this was the case. I changed the fuse and tested the lights and horn. Bang. Blew another one. There must be a short somewhere. I remembered Mike had had the same problem when we were in Spain as his vibey KTM had caused wearing on the insulation wire to his headlight causing a short against the subframe. Recalling the fuse had blown shortly after I tested the horn, I checked the wiring there first. Sure enough, I found a small wire which had been trapped between the radiator grill and the subframe which had worn through. A bit of insulation tape and a new fuse and we were back in business.

My Africa Twin. She has done so well the entire trip. Never really missed a beat. If I did the same trip again I'd take the same bike. Yeah it's heavy and tall for me, but what a bike! Tough and reliable. No major hassles and the few that I have had were easily repaired. I lost the pin securing the rear brake pads to the caliper and managed to bodge a replacement with a piece of No. 8 wire and a cable tie. The bolt securing one of the bash plate bolts snapped in Nigeria on the piste leading to Cameroon and a jubilee clip sorted that problem. Apart from these and of course a few punctures, after the 27,000km we have covered since leaving England, the XRV is still going great.

After a few days in Windhoek and a final visit to Joe's Beerhouse, we headed south, first on tarmac and then gravel. Again the weather and scenery were unbelievable. Rugged hills, mountain passes and huge open valleys. We visited a place called Solitaire, a tiny hamlet consisting of a gas station, shop and bakery. We had heard the bakery made the best apple strudel this side of Hamburg and yeah it was pretty damn good.

Namibia had been an amazing place. We feel like we had only just scratched the surface of this fantastic country. After two weeks however, Hans and I were both keen to get to South Africa and see Mad Dog who was still in Cape Town waiting for his bike to be shipped from the Cameroon after his crash. So, we left the gravel and rode on tarmac towards the border. On the 3rd of July, 184 days after leaving the UK, we arrived at the Orange River, the border with South Africa, and crossed over....

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Gabon / Congo / DRC

Okay, so I know I said that my last blog entry would be the last. At the time it didn't seem right to continue writing about this trip without Mike as we had been together from the start of the journey and hence the beginning of this blog. However, it has since been pointed out to me, by person(s) who will remain unamed, that I am pretty crap at emailing and keeping in touch with friends and family and continuing this journal will hopefully keep all updated. More importantly, as Hans and I continue, we see the remainder of this trip as a tribute to Mikey and we would like to share that with everyone who knew Mike personally and those who met him through his own ride report and this one.

We spent an emotional sometimes frustrating ten days in Libreville arranging Mike's repatriation back to New Zealand. The beauracracy and dealing with the African way of getting things done was challenging to say the least. We did however meet some fantastic people who really did help us out. Tim, a kiwi goldminer living in Gabon and his girlfriend Candice, Marante, the wife of the British honarary consul in Libreville and a lovely lady from the Congolese embassy who really sympathised with us and greased the wheels when we reapplied for our Congo visa which had expired. They were all fantastic.

We left Libreville and started out towards Ndjole. This was the fourth time we had ridden along this road and we rode sedately, giving ourselves plenty of time to reach Ndjole. Around 8km from Ndjole we stopped at the scene of Mike's accident, recorded the waypoint and paid our respects to our mate.

We arrived at the Auberge St Jeanne in Ndjole and got a room for the night. This was the third time we had stayed at this funny little auberge, owned and run by an elderly woman who by now we referred to as mama. Her staff consisted of two other gentlemen, even older than her who helped in the bar \ restaurant and provided security. The average age of the establishment was comical and meant that everyone moved with a slow shuffling gait which made the place seem a bit like a cross between Fawlty Towers and Dad's Army. Bless them.

We met a colleague of Tim's, Charles, a South African bloke who kindly arranged for the safe storage of Mikey's bike and eventual haulage to Libreville before it will be shipped back to NZ. Another great guy who really helped us out.

The next day we bade farewell to Ndjole and started out again. It felt like we were back on the road proper as we left the tarmac, joining a bumpy dirt / gravel road which took us deep into the Gabonese jungle. About 10km in, my rear brake stopped working. Damn. Not the best road for this to happen as the loose gravel made using the front brake a bit hairy on the heavy Africa Twin.

So we continued at a slower pace, which suited us fine. The lanscape was amazing. Jungle gave way to savannah and we crossed a huge dark meandering river, the Ogooue. It was a tiring day though, I think we had lost a little riding condition after our time in Libreville so we decided to camp at around 4pm. Before we could find a suitable spot though I got a puncture, my third of the entire trip. Repairing the puncture was a bit of a nightmare. It was hot and sticky as by this time we were back in virgin rainforest. The worst thing though were the clouds of biting black flies which literally covered us, drinking our sweat and leaving itchy red welts on our skin as we sorted the punture out. The locals call the flies mut-muts, but we referred to them as effing little shits!

We camped that night in a small clearing at the edge of the jungle and Hansy whipped up another fantastic pasta variation over the fire. The next day we intended to reach Franceville via Lastoursville. We were up early and started to pack the bikes up. As we did so we noticed a gentle buzzing which gradually became louder. By the time we were ready to depart our bikes and gear were literally covered in bees! They were everywhere and we eventually had to abandon the bikes, head 50m up the track to get our gear on before madly dashing back to the bikes, starting them up and doing a runner. Not our most graceful exit and an interesting start to the day. Back on the road we again passed through some great and varied country. At one point we had to stop as we spyed some huge spider webs in the bushes at the side of the road. Approaching carefully we realised that the web was not built by some insanely enormous queen spider but by hundreds of little ones which had constructed a massive larder.

Late that afternoon we finally made it to Franceville and tarmac. We had done two days and 400km of solid riding on dirt and gravel, us and our bikes covered in a thick film of red dirt. We looked a state but were happy at the progress we made. In Franceville we met a great bloke, Placid, who had been referred to us by Charles in Ndjole. Placid took us out for a few much deserved beers and some food. He told us alot about the Gabon and his family and their traditional way of life in the jungle which he had learned from his grandfather. Curing snakebites and wrestling gorillas apparently the norm for his ancestors.

Placid was also a mechanic and the next day brought around some brake fluid so I could repair my rear brake, in case it needed bleeding. Turns out though that one of the brake pads had come off the shoe so there was not a great deal to be done except change the pads. I didn't have any spare but Hans had an old set with a bit still on them so we fitted them. Whilst not a perfect fit they seem to be working okay. A definite improvement!

The next day we headed for Lekoni, the last town before the Congolese border. We stopped there for fuel and made our way to the piste which would lead us out of Gabon and into the Congo. Well 'piste' is one word for it I guess. Narrow, deep sandy goat track would be another way to describe it. The going was tough on our heavy bikes and Hans dropped his a couple of times. We decided to take it easy and crawled along the rutted sandy track. The going was slow and tiring. Hot for both us and our bikes, cooling fans working overtime.

We managed 14km in about 3 hours and decided to call it a day, setting up camp beside the track. Exhausted and dehydrated we cooked some food and rested up. After dark we saw headlights coming along the track towards us from the Congo side. A bit nervous as we had no idea who they were, we were relieved when they turned out to be, not heavily armed smugglers, but French manganese miners heading to Lekoni. When we told them we were heading to the Congo via Akou they informed us we were on the wrong piste! Arrrrghhh! Doh! Ah well at least we had found out before going any further in the wrong direction.

The following day we returned to Lekoni, taking about half the time it had taken us the previous day, our sand riding skills having improved overnight and found the correct route. The piste was however not too much of an improvement. Again we took it slow and made steady progress. In the relatively cool morning we covered some good ground but as the day got warmer it became more difficult. No more drops however although I did manage to get the AT bellied trying to cross a deep rut. Lacking a spade to dig it out I used my enamel mug and after unloading the bike, Hans and I managed to get the heavy beast free. Later that afternoon we reached the Congo border. It was hot and we were pretty jaded, dehydrated and craving sugar / salts. Imagine our joy when the border guard informed us that a place up the road had cold drinks! Turns out by cold he meant that they were sitting in a bucket of river water and were sorta lukewarm but we didn't care! Our bodies soaked up the sugary liquid and we felt fantastic. We hung out with the 'shop' owner and half the village for an hour or so. My ripped (well ventilated) tee shirt attracting a bit of attention from the curious kids.

Leaving Akou we continued and came across a river just outside the village. Remembering the golden rule, "never pass up the opportunity to swim in a river", we wasted no time in stripping off our gear a plunging into the cool clear water. Man it was good. We washed off the accumulated grime from the last few days and left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. We didn't get too much further that day and camped a couple of kilometers up the road. Another challenging day and our bodies were feeling it but we felt great nonetheless. Our campsite was virtually on the piste as it was impossible to get the bikes over the steep banks so we chose what looked like the most disused of a series of tracks and parked up.

Up at dawn the next day we carried on and again made good time in the morning. At around 2pm it got pretty warm and we headed towards a patch of trees for some shade and a breather. Turns out the trees were just outside a small village called Dzogo. After cooling down for a while we headed to the village to say hello. The people were all very nice and interested in what we were up to. After we had been chatting for a few minutes the heavens opened. Rain. Lots of and a good dose of thunder and lightening. What we thought would be a passing shower turned into an hour long torential downpour. After it stopped we headed back to the bikes to continue on down the road. Turns out we weren't going anywhere as the storm had turned the track into a series of giant lakes.

Not feeling overly comfortable riding in those conditions we opted to sit tight and returned to Dzogo to see if we could stay in the village until at least some of the water had disappeared from the road. Turns out the tiny village was only too happy to host a couple of dirty wayward motorcyclists. In fact we had the honour of camping just outside the village chief's hut. He was a great bloke and only too happy to have guests. That night we cooked up some curried pasta and shared our meal with the chief. He loved it! It was great to be able to repay some of the generosity which had been shown to us. The next day the road looked about the same and we decided to hang tight for another day. We asked the chief if there was a pump or well in the village as we were running low on water. Turns out the nearest source was a small river about 2km away. So we offered to fill up a couple of bottles for the chief, he accepted but insisted he accompany us. So we set off, passing through wooded savannah and Maniok plantations. It was a hot day and when we arrived at the river there was a pool of crystal clear water to swim in. Awesome! So me and Hans and the chief ralaxed in the pool for an hour or so.

That afternoon the piste looked alot better so we decided to leave first thing in the morning. We spent the afternoon relaxing. That day a few villagers had found a wild honey beehive and we watched a they strained the fresh honey into bottles. It was dark, extremely runny and tasted amazing, a strong honey flavour with a malty aftertaste. Later a few of the young lads started playing drums. When I say drums, I mean a hollow log, a small piece of wood and a truck wheel, but the rhythm was awesome and the kids were all dancing around. Not wanting to be left out, Hans and I joined the throng of girating children and treated the locals to a few moves. Not sure if they see too many white men in Dzogo, let alone white men dancing. They thought it was hilarious. Two of the young girls actually fell over as they were laughing so hard at Hans' fusion of Flashdance and MC Hammer shit. Classic.

The following day we said farewell to the village of Dzogo. They had been great hosts. The road had improved alot and in a way the rain had helped to pack down the soft sand so that the riding was a bit easier. There were still some challenging sections and we conservatively walked a few of the larger puddles before riding through.

Late in the day we made it to Oyo and tarmac. It had been a fantastic yet tiring three days on the piste where we travelled just over 120km. That night we slept like babies and were up early the next day. We made Brazzaville in the early afternoon. Our accomodation in Brazzaville was the overlander renowned Hippocamp, a hotel / restaurant where overlanders are allowed to camp for free. It is an awesome place with a great restaurant serving Viatmanese speciaties and a dangerously well stocked bar.

The following day we located the Brazzaville golf course and played nine holes. This was something we had always planned to do with Mikey and it was great to be out on the fairways on a course which overlooked the mighty Congo river.

The following day was a Monday and we decided to head to the Angolan embassy in Brazza and try our luck on getting a visa there. We had already been denied this notoriously difficult visa in Libreville but thought it was worth a crack. No was the answer. Apparently we had too few pages left in our passport (I had three and Hans four). Given the visa only takes up one page we left bemused and a little deflated. The embassy staff had told us to try in Matadi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near the Angolan border.

The following day we left Brazzaville on the ferry bound for Kinshasa and the DRC. The crossing went reasonably smoothly as we had gone to the port the previous day and scouted for tickets, customs and immigration. We had heard mixed reports about this crossing. Some Italian blokes we met described it as like crossing from Soddam into Gamorah. Nah it wasn't that bad. We were duped on the DRC side however when we not allowed to leave the port until our bikes had been 'disinfected'. At $60 a bike we were having none of it but couldn't get away as by now the police had blocked our exit. In the end we paid $20 for both bikes and watched as a bloke sprayed water and bleach on our tyres. It was a bit of a joke really but we took in in good spirits. Thieving little gits.

Finally leaving the port we headed out of Kinshasa and the road to Matadi where we hoped to obtain our Angolan visas. We didn't make it that evening though, only covering some 250km of the 450km road. So as usual, as the shadows lengthened, we looked for a suitable place to camp for the night.

We found a graded dirt track which lead to some sort of pipeline where we found a suitable place to pitch our tents. Just on dark I was cooking up some pasta when down the track we noticed the dancing light of a torch coming towards us. Quite distant we assumed it was just some local heading back to his village. When the light went out we thought nothing of it. Nothing until the first gunshot. Fuck! We were under fire. We hit the deck and started yelling, "Nous son les touirsts, tranquile mon ami, tranquile!". After 10 minutes on the floor we heard nothing and slowly got up. Hans reckoned the shot went well to our left. Maybe a warning? In any case we decided to pack up as quick as we could and get out of Dodge. Hans was packed and I was just finishing when, bang! Another round. This time much closer. We dove for cover again trying to communicate with the gunman. This time he responded and after establishing our number and that we were tourists, we emerged, hands raised. That's when we met Augustine, all things considered he turned out to be a really nice chap. He was armed with an AK47 and kept telling us how lucky we were and that God was on our side. Turns out he was employed to guard the pipeline from people pilfering the aluminium pipe. It seemed he had adopted a very clear 'shoot first and ask questions later' policy. After handshakes and introductions he gave us permission to camp where we were which was very nice of him. Early the next morning he again turned up, this time with one of his mates and we took the oppurtunity to have a photo taken with 'our' gunman. So that was day 1 in the DRC. What would tomorrow bring?

Not an Angolan visa as it turns out. We were refused again and told to go back to Kinshasa. Bugger. So we did and located the Mission St Anne in the city centre where we could camp for free which is a bit of a result as Kinshasa is insanely expensive. You tend to pay for most things in US dollars which is a bit strange. Anyway, we submitted our visa applications and five days later (today) we were granted the highly coveted visa. Result! Hans and I are stoked and tomorrow we head for Angola. Bring it.

Sunday, 9 May 2010


Tragically Mike was involved in a road accident in Gabon on the 7th of May. He did not survive. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all of Mike's family and friends.

Mikey was a much loved friend, son, brother, uncle and colleague.

To us he was our mate, our travel companion. We miss him terribly.

We remember Mikey as a cooker (and eager consumer) of fine curries.

He was our Mr Fixit. In fact he enjoyed fixing things so much we suspect he would secretly break things in order to be able to mend them.

He was our hairdresser, and not a bad one either. He took the role quite seriously and would prance around like some 95kg fairy as he happily snipped away, saying things like, "there you go" and "how's that length for you then". Scary.

He was our scout. At the end of the day, when the terrain looked tough, we would send him and the KTM ahead to look for a suitable campsite. We know he secretly loved doing this little job as he got to show us his superior off road riding ability.

Mike didn't like bullies. Below is an excerpt from his ride report...

"Since Simon's passport was just stolen we kept asking the people to step back from our bikes. The teenagers were trying to play it cool and move the kids on but hang around our bikes themselves. I'd rather they buggered off and the kids stayed put. Anyway, I caught one bully cuffing one lad around the head then viscously pulling his ear. He was a head taller than the kid and made him cry. While Hans angrily told him off I took the poor sod over to my bike and cut off my mascot/toy (a little beanie toy in ktm orange). All the kids eyes got very large when I told them where my toy was from and where it had been... London, France, Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon. The kid was so happy when I gave it too him. Ten minutes later I saw he didn't have it and gave him a look with a raised eyebrow. He nodded sagely and discretely tapped his pocket. No bastard was stealing it from him - good stuff"

To read the rest of Mikey's ride report click here.

This will be the last entry in this blog. Hans and I will continue on to Cape Town once we are done here. We want to do it for Mikey.

Rest in peace mate.