This is our second trip with Motoaventures. Our hosts Su and John really know how to lay on a fantastic trip. Our first trip in 2010 took us from the Zambian side of Victoria Falls, through Namibia, into South Africa and ended in Cape Town. Five years after that trip we were still talking about our holiday with as much enthusiasm as the day the trip finished. Sixteen days of the most spectacular roads through equally spectacular country, each day filled with wonderful surprises. A holiday of a lifetime is really an understatement!
So we approached our second trip with a little trepidation. How the hell are they going to better the last trip? In fact, how could it possibly be any better? Here’s a diary of our trip.
Flew from Sydney to Johannesburg then a connecting flight to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe. Booked into our hotel at Victoria Falls two days prior to the trip to acclimatize and get over the jet lag.
Took an evening “Booze Cruise” on the Limpopo, spectacular sunset, wildlife including Elephant, Hippo, Crocs and a various antelope.
Next day walked from the hotel to the falls. I am not one to look at fast flowing water tumbling over the edge of a cliff and think ‘wow isn’t that great”, but I must admit the Victoria Falls are absolutely awesome.
The day prior to our departure we were assigned our bikes, given an operational briefing on the GPS and allowed to make personal adjustments to the bikes. The bikes were all 2016 BMW R1200GS with between 4000 and 6000 K’s on the clock, sparkling clean and shod with new tyres.
The evening prior to departure was our first bonding session over some excellent food washed down with a couple of cold Zambezi’s.
Vic falls to Nata.
After a small stretch of tar our first bit of dirt. Dusty and rocky but easy going. We were stopped at one point because elephant up ahead had winded us and were getting a little agitated because they couldn’t work out where we were.
Apparently, they desperately wanted to stomp Rick the Canadian for his unsavory comments about elephants made over dinner. Having safely negotiated the irate Jumbos it was on to our first border crossing into Botswana. Zimbabwe side of the border quick and easy, guards in good spirits. Botswana side, passport and document stamping went easy and we all had to walk our shoes through a dip (foot and mouth).
We, on the bikes, left for fuel but got called back because the luggage truck had to unload the luggage and dip the shoes packed in our overnight bags. Lunched at Elephant sands. Parked at the entrance and driven in to avoid the deep sand on the track in to the lodge.
The lodge surrounds a water hole where elephant come to drink. Elephant come within meters of where we were having lunch, an amazing experience.
After lunch straight tar section to Nata lodge. Very nice accommodation in thatched roof huts with a wonderful outdoor shower.
Nata to Limpopo.
Straight tar road but interesting country side and so different to what we experience here in Australia.
Incredibly bad drivers you MUST remain vigil at ALL times. Strangely enough there were loads of speed traps. God only knows how the locals pay fines because they can barely afford to feed themselves…maybe they don’t speed!!!
Saw a dead cow on the side of road being devoured by vultures, just incredible. Accommodation at Limpopo was fine, beer was cold and food excellent.
Limpopo to Pretoria.
Border crossing on both sides went smoothly, again great natured immigration officers. Shortly after the border we stopped at the turn off to “the little patch of sand”. I do not like riding sand on big bikes, so I chose the alternate route or the “whimps” route. As it turned out the “little patch of sand” turned out to be “not so little”. A few people took a tumble, nothing serious and it was deemed the two “whimps” probably made the right decision.
Rode past numerous game farms and saw the biggest Kudu bull ever.
Arrived late afternoon at the overnight stay, really nice country club style accommodation.
Pretoria to Katsi Dam (Lesotho).
I missed the turn after morning fuel up. Followed what I thought was a couple of our guys and when I got closer noticed they had panniers!!! Zoomed out on the GPS, found the track, cut across and joined the track again.
Enjoyed the rest of the morning ride with Rick the Canadian. Lunch then border crossing into Lesotho. First real taste of old Africa. Unbelievably beautiful country.
Started raining and we started climbing. What an epic road, snow at the top of one pass and a rather chilly 2 degrees. Stopped to take some photos and a ute came past at warp 9…thought “accident waiting to happen”. Ten minutes later came around a corner and there it was, on its side, load of tiles strewn over the road, mud, dirt, bits of car everywhere. Helped extract the three people in the car who amazingly were OK. Continued my ride being very careful to avoid fallen rocks, horses, donkeys, sheep and people on and near the road.
Caught up with Garry the Scott, whom I’d met in 2010 on our first trip and rode that last stretch with him. What an awesome day and I am so looking forward to the ride tomorrow.
What an awesome day and I am so looking forward to the ride tomorrow.
Lesotho to Himeville.
This has been the BEST day riding I have ever had.
The mornings ride before the fuel stop was superb, up and down dale, beautiful cambered corners and just breath taking scenery.
Fuel stop involved buying fuel from roadside vendors selling fuel in old cooking oil bottles. The locals had a sit on the bikes photos were taken with their phones (yes they have phones but no money for food!!!!). Great fun had by all.
The ride after that was on dirt THE BEST dirt roads I have ever ridden on. I stopped for one photo after another. I got to the stage where I said, “That’s it, this is the last photo”, round the next corner and I was repeating myself!
Just fantastic riding on really well surfaced dirt roads, onto snow sections, mud sections and then onto the tar for just the most unbelievable cambered sweepers with fast straight sections.
The Chinese have gotten in here and built some amazing roads in exchange for mining rights and such. Lunch at the top of the iconic Sanni pass. Mist moved in, started raining and visibility dropped to 10 meters.
Passport stamped in Lesotho then down the pass. Tight turns on dirt, raining, thunder, lightening and more than a little puckering. SA border at the bottom then on to our accommodation at Moorecroft Manor, beer cold and a welcoming fire.
Everyone turned up for dinner in their room dressing gowns very funny, not so much for the other guests!
Really looking forward to the rest of the trip.
Himeville to Tinfendal.
Another brilliant day ride. They say bad things come in threes. One…nearly hit a duiker (small antelope) on the road then some idiot in a lorry decides to overtake another lorry at the bottom of the hill. I pulled off the road and he was still overtaking as he came past…two! Lunch break and fuel around 11:30…nice piece of chicken for lunch. Said chicken did not sit well in my stomach was ejected shortly there after…that was number THREE.
The scenery was stunning starting down low and climbing up high. Amazing sweeping roads with kilometers of vision up ahead.
Came across only four cars on the dirt all day. Two of the climbs were truly epic.
Last climb was to Tiffendale, at 2760 meters it’s South Africa’s St Moritz!!
Arrived and the staff at the lodge asked who we were and what we want! “Well there 21 people coming tonight to drink, eat and sleep”. They got their dates mixed up but in true SA spirit they got two lodges ready, the bar opened, a ripping fire going and food brought up from the bottom of the hill.
What a day, what a night.