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Week Five Chapter: 01 November ~ 07 November 2005 - South Africa

National Flag of South Africa

"Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth." - Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rican athlete, professional baseball player and humanitarian, 1934 - 1997)

"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home." - Australian Aboriginal proverb

"As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate lovingly, our own." - Margaret Mead (American anthropologist, 1901-1978)

Map of South Africa

Taken from an altitude of 1,380 miles (2,300 kilometers), a composited image of the six countries of the Africa Adventure, with the Pacific Ocean to the right, and Indian Ocean to the left.
(Image courtesy of  Google Earth)

Starting location for this week: Return to Cape Town, South Africa
Ending location for this week: Homeward Bound....
Planned mileage for this week: 0 road miles/kilometers, thousands by air

Molo ("hello" in Xhosa )
Goeie dag ("hello" in Afrikaans)

Hallo ("hello" Afrikaans)
Thobela ("hello" in Sepedi)
Dumela ("hello" in Setswana)
Helele ("hello" in Sesotho - there are many other forms)
Howzit? (most common form of greeting I heard when in South Africa)


Out of Africa....

The final border crossing was made last week, closing the grand loop through southern Africa; the riders made it back to Cape Town. Helge's GPS logged a grand total of 6,700 miles (10,721 kilometers), at an AVERAGE  moving speed of 50 miles per hour (or 80 kilometers per hour). At a rough estimate of 32 miles to the gallon, this works out to around 210 gallons of fuel for each of the big BMW twins. Eleven participants and eight motorcycles left Cape Town on October 7th, ten participants and five motorcycles returned. The riders spent a total of 134 hours in the saddle, underway, over the course of the 36-day long tour.

What the statistics can't possibly capture are the smiles and generosity of the people in the Land of the Big Five (the buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino), the rich and desolate extremes of the landscapes, the amazing variety and relative abundance of life - moving, flying and growing, life usually only seen in pictures, through a window or behind bars.

We hope you've enjoyed this collaborative effort, our Africa Adventure Live!Journal 2005. Our thanks and congratulations to Curtis, Debbie, Harrison, Marlene, Joe, Roger, Michael, Bob, Pamela and Steve for placing their trust in us, and in going the distance. Our thanks also to Marius, our ever-capable and affable driver and guide, and to our partners Heather and Harry, who organized and arranged the "ground operations" for the tour.  And of course, a special thanks to our Sponsors, especially Touratech, for their support and financial assistance in running the real-time GPS-based satellite tracking and map rendering systems as seen on our Navigation Page.

Most of all, our thanks to you, the family and friends of GlobeRiders, for following these fortunate riders on their journey and allowing us to share their experiences with you.

Mike, Your Webmeister

* * * * * * * * * *

Unless otherwise noted, all photographic images on this page were taken by Helge Pedersen.

The many forms of "Hello" in over 800 languages and other useful words and phrases are courtesy of Jennifer's Language Page.

To find out what time it is there (or anywhere!), visit The World Clock.

To see where they are now, visit the Navigation Technology Chapter.

For more information about the countries in southern Africa that the riders will travel through, please visit the resources listed below:

- The World Factbook, maintained by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States:

- The Consular Information Sheets, provided by the Department of State of the United States:

- The web-based, free-content encyclopedia entries at Wikipedia, maintained by "GlobeWriters" everywhere":

06 NOV 2005 - Okiep, South Africa

From: Steven Smith

Sent: Sunday, November 06, 2005 11:45 AM

To: Africa Live!Journal

Subject: Steve’s Story

5 November 2005, Saturday

Fish River, Namibia to Okiep, South Africa (and a few thoughts about the last 5 weeks).

We have spent the last 10 days traversing east to west and then south through Namibia. Met warm and friendly, gentle people. Experienced spectacular natural wonders and driven through desert over 100 degrees F and South Atlantic Ocean coastline at under 60 degrees (in the same day!) There isn’t a Gulf Stream to warm up the South Atlantic, unlike near our home in Florida.

This morning we departed from the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort (we soaked in pools filled from underground springs yesterday). Today we will travel only about 300km, including our last 74km of off-road riding and our last border crossing. Funny, crossing back into South Africa feels a little like returning home.

Only 2 riding days left of our 5 week, 6 country, 10,000 kilometer adventure that began in Cape Town, South Africa October 4th. In which time we have also transected the African continent from Port Alfred, South Africa on the Indian Ocean to Swakopmund, Namibia on the Atlantic. By November 7th we will have checked into 23 different hotels or country lodges, plus stayed in 3 different tented campsites while on safari in the Okavango Delta, Botswana—gives new meaning to “living out of your panniers”.

It seems both too soon to end, and like we’ve been gone from home forever. We miss our family and friends; and we have added new friends of our fellow adventurers.

We’ve traveled thousands of kilometers on excellent tar roads (not including in Zambia), as well as several thousand off-road kilometers on rutted gravel or dirt roads—some of those at 50kph and some at 125kph (30 to 80 miles per hour). On the tar, or “sealed roads” (looks like blacktop or asphalt, but the construction is different) sometimes the speed limits seem to be “a recommendation”—there were times we passed patrolling police vehicles when we were exceeding the speed limit without any response from the officers. One theory offered by a fellow rider was that the officer’s 4-cylinder Toyotas wouldn’t be able to catch us—so they didn’t even try (Of course, Helge found out in Swaziland, and I found out in Botswana that the police in those countries weren’t always so passive, and that radar video cameras don’t need horsepower).

In the last few weeks we have driven through rural areas some of which remind me of photos from the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Early in our trip I was surprised to see people on foot miles and miles from any village or residential area, but soon I accepted it as normal. Additionally you rarely see a car or truck with only 1 person inside, more usual is 7 or 8 people crowded into a four-passenger car or 12-15 in an 8 passenger mini-van. As well, we’ve experienced cities (like Umtata, RSA) and outdoor markets teeming with foot traffic in a way that words alone just can’t describe.

Awesome natural beauty with vistas so wide that my mind couldn’t seem to absorb all that my eyes could take in. Incredible wildlife close enough to reach out and touch, if you dared. Like the four elephants crossing the highway in front of me south of Kasane, Botswana. Or, the grazing zebra outside our room in Livingstone, Zambia. Or in South Africa, impala so plentiful, that we became jaded about their presence.

Warm and friendly people. Always wide smiles and friendly waves from children and adults along every road traveled. And then, especially in areas of Botswana, Zambia and Namibia, we could ride 75 kilometers (about 50 miles) and see not another vehicle, or person, or village. Until today, in the last 4 weeks, I have only seen 3 other “motorbikes”, and none that I’ve encountered were touring.

Frequently, when stopping for petrol, the station attendants are fascinated by our bikes, the magnitude of our journey, and that fact that our “accent” reveals us to be from “America” (usually said reverently). The U.S.A. has been universally referred to as America by everyone we’ve met. Even in major cities we’ve encountered very few other American tourists. Many Dutch, German and French tourists, as well as some British.

We have only experienced 1/3 of this extraordinary continent, and know that we will have to return again.

Steve Smith

07 NOV 2005 - Lambert's Bay, South Africa

From: Bob Love

Sent: Monday, November 07, 2005 6:13 AM

To: Africa Live!Journal

Subject: live journal input

I'll bet you never thought you'd hear from me. Well, since the trip was so fabulous, I just had to write!

Africa 2005 Summary

Beaches, mountains, desert, lions, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, zebra.......anyway you get the picture.

Best motorcycle trip ever. Fabulous riding, great scenery, great animal viewing, well organized. For those of you out there who thought about this trip and didn't come on this trip, you missed a great one.

Africa is a super place to visit and travel in. No problems whatsoever. I'd highly encourage anyone thinking about it, stop thinking and sign up for the next one!!!! You will absolutely not regret it.

Bob Love

11 NOV 2005 - Seattle, Washington USA

From: Mike M. Paull

Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005 11:51 AM

To: Africa Live!Journal

Subject: Talkin' About Braais

Those who know me, also know that I am a most enthusiastic foodie.  One of my great joys in traveling is the food, spices and culinary traditions of the places I visit. I'm as happy marvelling at the local markets and food stalls as I am the museums and historic sites. I shy away from stuffy restaurants, snooty waiters and dress codes - been there, done that. Give me instead a local seat in a funky eating establishment with nary a VISA sign, wine list or neon fixture in sight and I'll look forward to whatever is put on the table.

Of course, sometimes, actually eating it is another matter entirely!

On the 2002 pre-run, Helge and I were introduced to what I certainly consider to be the culinary highlight of the Africa Adventure. On a beautiful stretch of undeveloped beach 5 kilometers south of Lambert's Bay, South Africa, is Muisbosskerm, one of the Top Five dining experiences I've had the good fortune to enjoy.  It is an integral part of our Africa Adventure

If my information is correct, Muisbosskerm is the name of a local moss-like plant.  Indeed, the "restaurant" itself is three walls made of plant material, open to the Pacific Ocean, surrounding a stone oven for baking bread, and a huge charcoal-fired grill.

"Inside", magic happens - a South African Braai, with an emphasis on locally-procured seafood:

Yellowtail, White Stumpnose, Snoek, Mullet, Hottentots Fish, Steenbras, Cob, Cape Salmon, Snoek, Angelfish, Mackerel, Kingklip, Hake, Crayfish, Seafood Paella, Rice, Mussels, Calamari, Waterblommetjie, Hottentotskool Stew, Tripe-Potjie, Venison-Potjie, Potato Yeastbread, Homemade Jams and Butter, Salads, Pickled Onions, Sandveld Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Tartare Sauce, Garlic Butter Sauce, Fruit, and Coffee with Koeksisters

Unless you've lived in the lands of the Voortrekkers, I'll bet that most of this "menu" is as foreign to you as a "Moon Pie" is to a Yank. I love a good western BBQ with a mound of sliced brisket and a plate of beans, burnt ends and hot links as much as anyone, but the crew at Musibosskerm seem hell-bent on killing you with sheer variety.

Suit and tie not Recommended!

Bon Appetite!,


11 NOV 2005 - Cape Town, South Africa

From: Helge Pedersen

Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005 8:11 PM

To: Africa Live!Journal

Subject: Last story from Helge

The Last Words

We had come to paradise, according to Joe Hutt. This is why I come to Africa, he would tell you; Riding in the dirt is his passion. I have the same feelings towards the non-sealed roads where I can ride my bike followed by a plume of a dust cloud. Leaving the coastal town of Swakopmund marked the end to sealed roads for the next 4 days or so.

Depending on whom you would ask in the group the description of the road would vary from high-speed, wide, well-maintained gravel roads, to wide, gravel roads with lots of loose gravel and some sandy spots - drive carefully! One thing is for sure; you better keep your attention on where you are riding on this road and not let the wonderful scenery take your eyes of the road for too long.

To my surprise we had hit cool weather on this stretch of our journey, pleasantly cool. Normally Solitaire, a natural stop with a restaurant and petrol pump, would be terribly hot and one would drink gallons of water just to stay ahead of dehydration.

Our destination for the day was indeed a treat for us all, we would spend the following two days at Sosussvlei Lodge. Situated at the entrance gate to the Sossusvlei Park, where one can find some of the tallest dunes in the world, the lodge is a luxury retreat in itself. Members of the group did all kind of activities ranging from drinking beer at the edge of the pool to climbing steep sand dunes and even flying in hot air balloons over the impressive scenery.

Our longest day of riding on gravel came the day we left Sossusvlei and road to Ai-Ais in the Fish River Canyon. It was another beautiful day, clear sky and no wind in the morning. The dust plume after our bikes would hang in the air forever as we road through a rather flat landscape, but still beautiful in its own way. Steve and I spent the later part of this day riding together. Actually I should rephrase this. Steve caught up with me mid-morning and stayed behind for a while until he got tired of my dust, so he passed and headed up front in good speed. First I was surprised and a little bummed that he passed me. But then I realized what I had been doing. As I had Steve catch up with me I thought that I would not ride to fast in the case that he felt he had to follow me and by doing so go beyond his ability to ride the dirt roads in high speed. I am always aware that accidents can easy happen when people try to keep up with others and by doing so go beyond their own ability.

As Steve passed me I understood that I had taken on my mother role and forgotten that Steve was probably the most responsible rider of us all and also the one that has progressed the most during this journey. From being a novice to dirt riding, he was now ahead of me riding like a champion. I just had to laugh at myself and I felt tremendous pride on behalf of Steve for his great achievement. We had a great ride together that day, thank you Steve.

Ai-Ais has some wonderful hot springs; even a corridor right out the back door of everyone’s hotel rooms would lead one to indoor hot pools. This was also our last two days stay before we headed for the main road, sealed road, and South Africa next. But before we truly had completed the circle and returned to Cape Town we had a wonderful stop over in Lamberts Bay. That evening we went to the beach for a seafood orgy. This happening is a treat unlike any seafood meal anyone had experienced before. It was almost as if the tour ended that evening. We were on a high and everyone knew that this was it, from there on the final journey was all about wrapping up the tour, saying goodbye to the group and head for home.

I thank you all for sharing this experience with us all and I sure hope that we get another chance to ride together soon.

For you the reader, thank you for tuning in and I hope by following our journey you have been inspired to go traveling yourself. If for any reason this is not possible we still invite you to join us for a new Live!Journal coming from our upcoming World Tour 2006.

Finally, thank you so much to my partner and good friend, Mike Paull, for his dedication and ever relentless work putting this all together. You are the best and we all enjoy the fine work that you do with this journal. Not everyone understands what tremendous work it is to create and maintain this web site. Thank you Mike.

Until next time, Ride safe!

Helge Pedersen

11 NOV 2005 - Seattle, Washington USA

From: Mike M. Paull

Sent: Friday, November 11, 2005 11:51 AM

To: Africa Live!Journal

Subject: The Container, Re-Loaded

It's almost deja vu, or perhaps just a long rewind to the beginning of our Live!Journal.  Once again, the riders find themselves in the Cape Town freightyard, nailing 2x4's, man-handling bikes, securing tie-downs, and loading all the other loose odds and ends into the container.

Upon their arrival in Seattle, some will be shipped home, others directly to a BMW dealer for maintenance and repair.  Amazingly, of the ten participants on the Africa Adventure, five of them will be joining us on the World Tour in 2006!

Stayed tuned!

Images of Africa by Helge Pedersen

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