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18.3. Wed (252) Accra Jo'burg Durban, South Africa

Klick to hear the national anthem of South Africa
General information about South Africa.
Second visit to South Africa

The plane landed to Johannesburg 5.20 am. I could see at once (this was my first time in South Africa), that this was much more modern place compared to West Africa.

Check-in for the next flight: Johannesburg-Durban. Bike should also arrive there some weeks later. Airport terminal was modern, everything told about a modern place. Great! Withdrawal of 300 Rands (60 USD) from the machine. Everything works.

Flight SA503: Jo'burg-Durban took off at 8 am. Landing there 50 minutes later. The weather was cold anyway! :) Temperature was around 20C and windy. Cold for me, as I was used to nearly 40C (what kind of a Finn was I? Finns belong to a race that should survive in freezing conditions ;-) Such as 40 degrees celsius below zero (just kidding).

Tourist information advised me well about accomodation facilities. Good, as I didn't know anything about the city. Airport bus took me to the center, I hopped off at a backpackers' hostel and booked in. Cost R40, ok. Everything was so easy.

I wanted to go for a walk, to take fresh air. In the next door there was a bike shop. Good :) They guided me to go to the Suzuki dealer as they didn't have those spares I needed. On the way I saw for example some whorehouses. Generally, the atmosphere in the city was also a bit rough. I thought: to what kind of place I've come?? :) The women greeted me: "hey, come in". No thanks. Maybe next time :)

At Suzuki dealer they said the spares would arrive in one week. I was surprised of the modernity of the place. I had seen such thing last time in Europe, six months ago. No material misery. But soon I understood that the society was guite rough. I could see from people's faces that they were cautious because of the crime.

19.3. Thu (253) Durban, S.A.

Some people gave me advice, that it's not good to wear a waist wallet because criminals can see at once that "that's a tourist". (Easier target for mugging).

Also I was advised not to walk alone in the night. On daytime ok, but in the night reason to beware. In West Africa that problem didn't exist... They said that Cape Town would be among the safest cities in S.A.

I found a nice Internet cafe (best so far) Java@java. R 9/half an hour.

22.3. Sun (256) Durban

Writing an article for the newspaper (Kouvolan Sanomat) of my home town. It has been late only for two months, but now I've more things to tell :)

24.3. Tue (258) Durban

I tried to find out about the arrival of TANA ship. That was supposed to carry my bike to Durban. They said in Ghana it would leave for S.A. on 28.3. but I didn't have any idea of the date of arrival. One export manager had told about "3 days" and another of "9 to 10 days". I asked these people in that MSAS freight office to ask the missing 'bill of lading' document also for me from LINER. They were very helpful.

Because there were at least two weeks to the arrival of the ship, I decided to visit elsewhere meanwhile. In the afternoon to the backpackers' hostel came a long-haired girl with her heavy backpack. Later in the evening she asked me to go with her for an evening walk. We had a romantic evening. It was attraction from the first moments :) She was a Swiss girl. Beautiful.

25.3. Wed (259) Durban

Kitty, the Swiss girl was leaving back to her place, to Cape Town. She was going to take a flight back home to Switzerland in a couple of days, so she had to leave. She was going there in Cape Town by hitch-hike. What a thought! A young woman hitch-hiking alone?! Wasn't she concerned about her safety at all?? We tried to tell some sense to her, but of no use. Stubborn girl! :)

26.3. Thu (260) Durban Cape Town (1754 kms by bus)

Happened that her flight was leaving almost two weeks later, so then there was plenty of time. She invited me for a visit. I had already planned to visit elsewhere. So, cancelling the first bus ticket and then rushing to the bus station. Bus to Cape Town was leaving soon. I went that nearly 2000 kms by bus, to see her again! Sitting 19 hours in the bus.

27.3. Fri (261) Cape Town

Arrival at 8 am to Cape Town. I met her soon :) Cape Town seemed to be quite nice city, more tranquil and more beautiful than Durban. As there were some mountains nearby, we bought good hiking boots for me. Next Sunday I would need them...

28.3. Sat (262) Cape Town

Early in the morning we left for a visit to Cape Point. On the way we saw penquins. I told her that in Helsinki there are also penquins. They are sometimes a nuisance for the traffic! Cape Point is one of the southmost places of the continent of Africa. There is a national park, it is a beautiful place.

Cape Point divides the Atlantic from Indian Ocean. The place was quite mountaineous and steep. I could imagine how Bartholomeo Dias and James Cook and other world explorers went just nearby from the Cape Point by their wooden sail ships. 500 years ago world travelling was really a tough thing.

Now the place was quite touristic, anyway it was in the nature park. There was a beach nearby, but the water was quite cold, as the Southern Pole is near, just some 2,000 kms away.

29.3. Sun (263) Cape Town

This day we planned to go hiking/climbing on Table Mountain.

It is very near from the city, a beautiful mountain 1083 m above sea level. There goes also a cable car up, but we wanted to climb it up, of course!

There are lots of hills and mountains around the coastal area and Table Mountain. The nearest mountains are Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Lion's Head and Devil's Peak. I admit, sometimes it was exciting for me, when there were very steep walls. We climbed sometimes 6, sometimes 10 metres high walls straight up. Sometimes 0.5 metres broad place like a floor (near a steep cliff), next to it 50 metres free fall. Brrr... I had met a dangerous woman :)

There were chains installed, which helped the climbing. As Kitty was from Switzerland, she was an excellent mountain climber. She climbed easily and quickly. I tried to follow her. As she was a vegetarian, we had only vegetable food for us. But it was a great surprise for me, how strong food it can be! We hiked and climbed whole eight hours and had just vegetable food!

I became convinced, that meat is not definetely necessary to be used in food.

30.3. Mon (264)...1.4. Wed (266)

Travelling together with Kitty.

Some bush fires along our route.

2.4. Thu (267) Wellington

We visited her friend's place. It was a beautiful farm in a mountaineous region. The friend Jeanne, an elder woman, had visited Finland a couple of times, in 1954 and 1963. She was attracted to Finnish culture. She asked me to resitate Kalevala. In these kind of situations I felt I should know at least something about literature.

4.4. Sat (269) Cape Town

Kitty took a flight back home to Switzerland, so we said goodbye. I had to move to a backpacker's hostel. Yuck.

6.4. Mon (271) Cape Town

This day I wanted to check the freight matters of the bike. When it should come from Tema (Ghana) to Durban (South Africa) and how can I get it later from Cape Town to Buenos Aires? I visited some freight companies. Taxi cabs are very expensive in S.A. For example 15 km drive cost 70 rands (14 USD). Cheapest offer for shipping was 160 USD per cubic metre (totals 640 USD). That's ok, but from Cape Town all the freight ships go first to Holland and then to Buenos Aires. That trip takes 6 to 8 weeks! No thanks!!

In an air freight company, Safcor they offered freight for the bike with some 3000 rands (600 USD). Ok!!! Less than 1/3 price compared to freight Accra-Nairobi. That was even cheaper than shipping and there is no need to wait! Great!! Safcor was a discovery.

9.4. Thu (274) Cape Town Durban

I took a bus ride back to Durban. It meant 19-20 hours sitting in the bus. Urgh. This is one example of the vast distances in Africa. Distance between those two cities is 1754 kms. In Africa it's an 'ordinary' distance, but in Europe it would be a long one. From Central Europe to Westmost or Eastmost side.

11.4. Sat (276) Durban

I made a record: e-mailing 7 hours at an Internet-cafe Java@java. 130 rands spent.

14.4. Tue (279) Durban

At last these religious holidays were finished :) I went to MSAS, one of the local freight companies. Glad news, my bike had arrived last Saturday!! Great! So it took exactly 14 days from Ghana, as I could guess :) They started to arrange the customs formalities and that paperwork.

15.4. Wed (280) Durban

Waiting for the bike. Days just pass by.

17.4. Fri (282)

At eight o'clock I went to MSAS. This day I should get the bike!!!! A month's waiting time was finished! I paid R1000 (=200 USD) of the harbour & documentation costs. Then we went to fetch it. The bike had stayed 6 days in the harbour area. When we arrived, it was a bad surprise for me: bike was covered with bird shit!

The bike was also a little bit damaged. The harbour personnel in Ghana didn't bother to take care at all. In the front some damage, front signal lights were pointing up and down and other rear signal light smashed. Contact information written by permanent pen on the bike seat... they possibly didn't have paper in Tema, Ghana. Luckily nothing was stolen!

The MSAS guy was very helpful and took my luggage by his car to the backpackers hostel. Great! I went to ask for the spares to the Suzuki center that I had ordered one month ago (at the day of arrival to S.A.). Unfortunately they had the wrong parts. Those belonged to Suzuki DR750, so they wouldn't fit.

Then I had to take care of the oil change. I did that at (yard of) a fuel station. So I made preparations for leaving next day towards North and East Africa. There I met a manager of a bike workshop Trevor Mann, he invited me to finish the maintenance at their workshop! Great! As I had to do the 36000 kms periodical maintenance, I needed to check some things, such as valve clearances of the engine.

We went to the workshop of a courier service company, WhizzKids. They had almost 20 bikes in operation. In their workshop my bike was maintained well and also washed and cleaned from that bird shit. Also the workshop manager, Trevor made spare parts orders for me from Swaziland!! Great!

I heard that DR800 model is not imported to South Africa, but to Swaziland it is! So there in Swaziland was the only possibility to get spares for DR800 in Africa.

As I was leaving next day (Saturday) on the road again, he arranged so that I could fetch the parts in Swaziland, at town of Manzini. Trevor's friend worked also in the local bike shop. Trevor asked his friend to take the needed parts to his home from the shop and then I could get them from him. This arrangement was done because it was going to be a long weekend, extra holidays. Otherwise I would have to wait some days for the shop to open again. ...and I could get also good discount! Great! Incredible!

18.4. Sat (283) Durban Manzini, Swaziland

Klick to hear the national anthem of Swaziland
General information about Swaziland.

I could say that this was the first real travel day this year!

On the road again!!! I had lots of energy for travelling, so much that I missed the right junction and rode a lot too far. Anyway, before the dark I was in Manzini :)

19.4. Sun (284) Manzini Rocky Drift, S.A.

In Manzini I met the Trevor's friend and I bought the highly needed spares (air filter and rear brake pads) from him. I had nothing special to do in Swaziland and as all the places were closed, so I decided to go back to South Africa. The sceneries were beautiful, so mountaineous and roads were curvy, nearly no traffic. Perfect place for motorcycling.

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