Tips from our experience
1. Travel Light – Everybody say it but we all fall in the same trap. When you overload your bike it will increase the chances of break downs – pannier brackets and shocks takes a beating. 2. Spare Tubes – Take at least one front and back spare tube with and make sure that you pack it properly. Do not throw it in a pannier or top box, because it will chafe through with the vibration of the bike. A good place is to pack it amongst your clothes or to tie it with cable ties on the outside of the bike. 3. Alien registration in Sudan – When entering Sudan you have to register within three days as an Alien at an Alien office. This is done for a nominal fee and an official stamp will be endorsed in you passport. 4. Residential stamp in Egypt – You also need a residential stamp in Egypt put into you passport. This can be done at a Hotel or at the Immigration and Passport offices. 5. Fixers in Sudan/Egypt – You need assistance from the locals at the Sudanese and Egyptian border posts. They will make your life much easier to book tickets, fill out forms and translate at the control points.
6. Resting stops. – It is important to rest enough and not do to long distances between rests. We found that a 10 min rest every 100 km or after 1 hour was enough. On slow riding gravel roads we rested every 30 km.
7. Roadblocks – There are many roadblocks throughout Africa, often after every village. Have your Passport, drivers licence and road use certificate handy to produce without having to park and open panniers or top boxes.
8. Early morning riding – We have found that we enjoyed riding the most, early mornings or late afternoons. Photo opportunities are also better at these times. It becomes unbearably hot at midday the further you travel north of the equator.
9. Bike Intercom – We have found that it worked very well as long as you keep the batteries charged. It does make the ride more interesting if you can talk to one another or listen to music on an iPod.
10. Carnet de Passage – Do not attempt to ride through Africa without a Carnet de Passage. This document you can get with the assistance of the AA.
11. GPS – The use of a GPS has saved us a lot of time and made the journey more enjoyable. Make sure that the maps on the GPS are current and if possible get additional street maps software for big cities on your route.
12. Throttle lock – We have found that this little device has made our journey a pleasure and we used it a lot on the long open tar roads.
13. Air hawk seat – This definitely works and will help the lame less that one tends to get from sitting long hours on the motorbike.
14. High Screen – The high screen has also made the ride more comfortable and does take a lot of the wind buffering away when doing reasonable speeds.
15. Tool Kit – Make sure that you have a comprehensive toolkit amongst the group. There is no need to duplicate tools and have the tools handy to be able to get to them without having to unpack everything.
16. General things not to leave at home – Cable ties, Pratley Steel, Insulation tape, Chain lube, Tyre repair kit and Compressor.
17. Spares to take on a long trip – Sprockets, chain, throttle cable, clutch cable and a collection of different size nuts, washers and bolds.
18. General – Cable tie spokes together of front and back wheels.
19. Petrol – We had to regularly buy petrol on the Black Market in Malawi and Ethiopia. It can cost up to double the normal price. Keep an old stocking handy to pour the petrol through when filling you tank, to keep dirt from entering.