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30.4. Thu (295) Bubi, Zimbabwe South Africa

General information about South Africa.
Wake-up at 5.40 am. I loaded the things quickly on bike. No breakfast. I was on the road after 6 am, then nearly 80 kms to the border. In the Zimbabwean border there was lots of people. I thought "do I ever get to the bike shop". It was a surprise for me; the border formalities took only a few minutes.

Next to the South African border. I had bad luck, the officers happened to be on a lazy mood. And what a bureaucracy! The officer asked me to give four (yeah, 4!) addresses into some form. I had only one home address!! Amazing. And they asked me to visit commercial section (to pay taxes of the bike). What! I answered: "My bike is under Ghanaian registration and is tax-free." Carnet (CPD) was the correct answer. The formalities took 1.5 hours. Then on 120 km/h cruising speed towards Pretoria and Jo'burg.

On the way I visited a town called Louis Trichardt, to see if there is a bike shop. No, there wasn't. Then next chance was Pietersburg. There was! In Pietersburg I visited Honda center. There I found proper Michelin tyres!

I got (again) good discount. Michelin Sirac tyres cost both together R750 (150 USD) including changing work. Very good! There I got also good information on tyres: warmer climate was the reason for shorter life-span of tyres. The life-span doesn't correlate much with speed, but a lot with the temperature of asphalt.

1.5. Fri (296) Potgietersrus, S.A.

Resting of last days 500 kms riding. I built an additional light system to the bike. It is useful for example in camping conditions. Sometimes in the campings there aren't lights... The bike's 55 watts front light was too clumsy and powerful too. So it would drain the small 14Ah battery quickly empty. This lamp was only 5 watts.

Just one fuse, one plug, 4 metres of cable, switch and the lamp. In camping conditions it was a better system than a torch. I considered of going back to Zimbabwe and then Zambia, Malawi. I had the idea, that East Africa was very beautiful area. But also the distances were vast. About 2,000 kms to Malawi. I decided to give up (what a pity) and head to Botswana. I had also set some kind of limit for my stay in Africa. I had planned this bike tour to last in Southern Africa some 5 to 6 weeks. Half of it gone. So I decided to see what kind of place is Botswana.

2.5. Sat (297) Potgietersrus Botswana

Klick to hear the <a href=national anthem of Botswana">
General information about Botswana.

In the map Botswana looks quite yellow, so it means the area is like a desert. The nature wasn't as dry as real desert, like Sahara. It was like Sahel: arid terrain, dry yellow grass. Long distances between towns, 300 kms was typical. Boring riding. If I wanted to find something positive in that: the traffic was maybe the safest in the world, since there was nearly no traffic. Good roads, continuous 150 km/h was of no problem.

Going towards Francistown, Botswana.
Can you pronounce all the town names?

Camping to Francistown. Like European (good) quality. Cost 20 Pulas (5 USD). There was a South African group (3 guys) who had travelled for 2.5 years. They had worked sometimes and got money for further travelling. I knew I had to do the same thing later, since travelling two years without working would become very expensive. Having good sponsors would, of course, be another alternative to fund travelling. I have to try to find some. I heard that a computer engineer could earn 25 pounds an hour in London. That's good money!

3.5. Sun (298) Francistown Maun

I could still feel the last days 500 kms riding. I felt my arms and legs were heavy like lead, but on the road again. 510 kms to Maun. Again boring, straight tar road. Dry nature, flat sceneries, just yellow grass... I felt bored.

I didn't have any superfast street bike instead of my DR800, for example a GSX-R 1100, which would take me sooner away. But street bikes are useless in dirt tracks... I was going to visit the Okavango Delta. My idea was to see some wildlife there.

Settling to Crocodile Camp. It was a camping near the Okavango region. Fairly good,swimming pool and a good bar. Camping cost 15P. I heard that visiting Okavango Delta would require a convoy and good planning. So, if there were as difficult conditions as in Sahara, it wasn't possible this time.

5.5. Tue (300) Maun Namibia

Klick to hear the national anthem of Namibia
General information about Namibia.
New, round figures: 300 days on tour :)
I planned to leave Botswana and head to Namibia. Botswana was some kind of disappointment. No problems, but nothing special either.Bike stuff: In Botswana the fuel consumption was the lowest during the whole trip. That's because the roads were good and also no traffic: no reason to stop or accelerate. Lowest was only 4.1 litres/100 km. Incredible. 800cc bike and lots of luggage!

The drive chain's lubrication lasts usually some 500 kms. Because the chain spray was hardly ever available, I had always used gearbox oil and 20 mm wide paint brush for that purpose. A half litres bottle lasts for 15,000 kms riding. Gearbox oil has been planned to last on fast-spinning sprockets (in gearboxes), so it works well also in the chain. If there is added engine oil in it, it goes out faster from the chain. That's why because engine oil contains some washing compounds. Cheaper too: I did the first 30,000 kms by using oil (1 l, 1.5 USD) that I had bought from Poland!

I had planned to go to Namibia and along the Northest road, near Angola. To Windhoek was more than 1,000 kms, maybe 1,300, so I had to go that distance in two parts. Because the distances were vast, just before exiting Botswana my tank was empty. Luckily in a village near the border there was a 'Brigade'. Name sounds like an army unit, but it was a vocational school. I could buy some fuel from them. One litre cost 2.25 pulas. Border crossing was easy. In the Namibian side was the most exact filling of the 'guest book':)

I had to fill in the engine and chassis numbers of my bike. I admit, I had some sympathy for Namibia. It is because of the fact that when when our president Mr. Martti Ahtisaari worked for United Nations (before his presidency), one of his important projects was to help the Namibians in their attempts for independence. That was around 1992. I was joking and asked the border officers, do they know who is Martti Ahtisaari? And they knew!

Staying in a nice camping at Rundu. It is near the Okavango river. On the other side is Angola. I met a nice German couple, Kai and Monika. They were travelling in Namibia and nearby by a rented jeep. When the discussion sometimes turns to profession and work, I have told that I've worked previously for Nokia. Then every time people have thought it's a Japanese company. I have corrected, that it's a Finnish one, founded in 1865 at town of Nokia, Finland.

6.5. Wed (301) Rundu, Namibia

Kai and Monika were going to Livingstone, Zambia. I decided to rest. The Okavango river wasn't any touristic thing. In some areas there were crocodiles and some other areas the river was fished empty by the local people. So, canoe trips or fishing didn't make much sense.

42,000 kms ridden, so it was time to do some maintenance. In Cape Town should be a bigger maintenance (48,000 kms). Thoughts: "I should go to Windhoek and send some material by e-mail to Heikki. Updatings are 2 months late, like always. I've been too lazy"

7.5. Thu (302) Rundu Etosha national park

There was 400 kms to Etosha. That national park is quite a big one, some 300 kms long. When I arrived there in Namutoni, the guards didn't let me enter the park by motorcycle. I could guess that :(

I had no other chance than to leave my bike at the gate and lock it well. But I could leave all the luggage at the guard's office. Great. Just the camping stuff with (and cameras) I hitch-hiked into the camp.

Namutoni is the eastmost place of Etosha park. The gate is 12 kms from the nearest camping. Camping cost 130N$ (26 USD). The park is a very big touristic attraction. Inside the Namutoni camp there is a luxurious hotel, good restaurant, bar, shop and campsite. Gas station too. At the reception the woman greeted me:
- "Mitä kuuluu?"
That is: "How are you?" in Finnish.
I met an elder couple, who invited me to their barbeque occasion. Very nice! They told me how their son worked as a guard in a national park in Zimbabwe. Once happened that a lion chased him (he was by motorcycle). He had his exciting moments... Maybe I had good luck in Matusadona, when the lions had already left!

8.5. Fri (303) Etosha

The national park was open from sunrise till sunset. During the night time all the gates were closed. The sunrise time is also the best time to go for watching the wildlife. I was waiting for a hitch-hike again, just after 6 am in the Namutoni campgate. I didn´t like to be dependent on other people, but now I had to. A group of young people, travelling by a minibus, took me with them. Great, very nice!!! There were about a dozen of them and they were from Cape Town.

Very nice group, and I could enter the park with them. We visited the area for some hours and saw... Pictures tell more than thousand words:

First we saw lions, but they were quite far. Unfortunately my camera's 115 mm zoom didn't make it. 500 mm would have been good.

A giraffe,
an elephant and
a kudu.

Very interesting park, but because camping was that expensive (26 USD/night), I decided to leave. The visor in my helmet was a bit broken and now it broke totally. It was a bit difficult to ride without any protection on face. Stones or sand flying from on-coming cars was a reason to be careful.

9.5. Sat (304) Okahandja Swakopmund Walvis Bay

Okahandja was just a small town, I continued towards the coast. Swakop seemed to be a very boring place: just sand (it is near Namib desert), cold wind (it was the cold season) and a small town. I visited a camping nearby, called 'Mile 4', that is four miles from Swakop.

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