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Cape to Cairo Adventure 2017

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Dispatch Two from Nick Gudewill

The rest of the gang will likely wade in with lots of other trip detail so I will restrict myself to mostly commenting about a unique experience involving soccer ball giveaways. I conceived of the idea before the trip. What would be a good way to communicate with the locals and get up nice and close personally so as to have that exceptional experience that we all want when travelling in a foreign land? I have lots of Canadian lapel pins and balloons which have worked well but the soccer ball idea is a real winner.


I researched it at home first but the transport cost was prohibitive. However, I did bring a simple hand pump along because the actual exercise of blowing up the balls in front of the gathered kids is an important part of the process. In Cape Town I was able to go to a sports outlet mall and purchase a case of 25 pretty good balls for $10 each- would like to have gotten more but our chase vehicle was crammed to the rafters.


The next step was how to give them away for the best benefit possible? The kids typically get a break around 10 am and finish around 1 pm. You need to time a school stop around then and have a teacher or supervisor in attendance so that the ball use gets fairly apportioned after departure. This has all been learned by trial and error.


The joy of giving is quite amazing. The spontaneity and enthusiasm of the kids that see someone on a great big motorcycle arriving all dressed up in mysterious garb is a bit of a revelation to them, like someone coming from outer space! When they see that that person is actually interested in them and has taken time to drop in and say hello is quite incomprehensible, especially when a universal gift like a soccer ball is being delivered for their use. Believe me, a simple soccer ball is a big deal in these parts!


At several of the schools I have given away two, one for the girls and one for the boys and asked that they be marked as such (forgot to bring a good marking pen). At another we had to give way four because the situation demanded it.


Here are a few cut and paste excerpts from my journal and there are a few pictures below which try but do not adequately communicate this experience which has been profound for this writer.


Example One

About a half hour later I come to another village full of kids in blue shirts heading home from school, like a lot of kids. I pull right off the road this time and wait for them to saunter up- ages about 5-10 years, maybe another soccer ball opportunity?

They are all gathering around ‎and I bring out the deflated ball; a cacophony of 'me, me, me, me reverberates everywhere, deafening, at least they know one word of English. Realizing the the ball is useless with no air, when I pull out the pump there is dead silence. I take my sweet time on the pumping process in order to build suspense and survey the sweet little kids looking at me, the bike and mostly the ball; I get an older girl nearby to take a pic.

Finally the ball gets thrown and there is a huge scrum down. I was pleased that one of the smaller boys emerged from the pile to run on down the road. Hard to describe the feeling of this very simple giving process.


Example Two

We pass village after muddy village ‎and Steve stops at one for our highlight of the day, wondering whether we should take a break. It looks pretty sketchy, there is loud music blaring and we are quickly surrounded by locals; as we soon discover they could not be more pleasant. 'Where is the tribal leader, we have something for him?' Takes awhile for him to show up; Steve sees a welder at work with no face mask so we get chatting with him; I have a broken key shaft so ask if he can weld a piece on the end to make it easier to use. Quick as a jiff there is a makeshift addition, not very pretty but functional and I pay him a few kwatchas for his work.

The tribal leader shows up and I give a soccer ball and pump to Steve who pumps it up with the chief's help to large excitement from the gathered crowd.‎ We have made great friends and they love our modern contraptions. I am sure we look like a military detachment from Mars with our imposing machines and gear.

I have learned that the only way to make a fair donation of a ball is via a leader, teacher or someone in authority otherwise there is no telling where it will end up. These balls open up a lot of doors, bring non monetary joy to the recipients; the balloons and pins are pretty cool too because a lot of people have basically nothing besides the clothes on their back (how do you measure happiness but I would say they all look to be healthy and fine).


Example Three


Special, special afternoon, trip highlight for sure. Three bikes (not me) and Andy's chase vehicle head the short distance to a hearing impaired school for 93 kids aged 6-19, approx 50/50 boys and girls; they go from grade 1-8, there are 5 teachers and 8 classes; needless to say it is pretty basic and our visit was a huge success.


Helge has been here twice before and takes pics of all the kids, returning the next year to distribute the prints; every kid came up to all of us with a sweet handshake and a nice smile. We gave them all 'T' shirts, some got bike rides and the big‎ deal was the soccer balls.


We gave out 4, 2 each to the big girls and small girls, same for boys; in a flash they were over to their rudimentary fields with various competitions ensuing; they were in heaven and so were we watching the joy on their faces - some of the guys teared up with the emotion of it. Strangely but not surprisingly all activities were in noticeable silence apart from a few grunts and noises.


The school's motto is "educating, exploring and utilizing talents in learners with hearing impairment". Sadly, government funding at we think $15 per month per child is sometimes not available and they all struggle; we donated about $600 to their cause which should be good ‎for a few months.


So there you have a few soccer stories!


Our lodgings and cuisine have been superb to date. One of our fellows said that the Makuzi Beach Lodge on Lake Malawi was one of the top three places he had ever stayed at; the place we are at now in Tanzania, the Kisolanza Guest House could be just as good.


I have our trip so far broken down into fifths as follows: 20% the joy of riding and motorcycling in Africa; 20% the scenery we get to enjoy; 20% people watching enroute (pictures do not adequately capture either); 20% the great guys (and gal!) we travel with; 20% our fearless leader Helge who keeps us laughing, entertained and on track with our daily responsibilities (mostly!).


This trip is hard to put into words. Simply stated, I feel special to be along on such a journey. If you like to ride motorcycles in far way lands and want to spend time with a great group of like minded individuals and you want to feel comfortable that you are under the watchful eye of the best in the business then this is the place to be. While Africa conjures up all sorts of mystifying thoughts and imaginations, actually being here to see and experience "life on the road" complete with the scenery and the incredible quantity of human interactions around every corner it is a bit overwhelming to this participant and it is a privilege to be here.


So now we are nearing the half way point and get to park our bikes to enjoy ten days of safari activities before continuing on to Cairo.

At my age, it is getting harder and harder to have personal growth experiences in my home environment. Here in Africa they are around every corner!


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Dispatch Two from Steve Smith

In Botswana, the Chobe national reserve gave us our first close up views both by waterway and 4x4 vehicle; elephant, hippo, crocodile, and a "schooling" of birds such as those that feed by walking atop Lilly pads. We were able to gain vantage points for all of these natural animal, bird and plant species from often just a few feet from where they lie.


Filling the cup.

Over a ten year period after purchasing the motorbike I chose for the C to C 2017 journey, my
long term sights for travel was Africa, Africa, Africa.

I'm grateful my trolling for partners fell short.  I have found fortune in new friends by joining the GlobeRiders roster and further remain astonished at the length of work necessary to design and execute so flawlessly a trip of this magnitude. After each new day of discovery, the little green line on the GPS leads us to another surprising gem to rest, share the days wonders with new friends and find continual awe at the natural beauty of this magnificent continent. The leg work involved in creating a tour like this is daunting, to say the least, but not for us, we arrive each afternoon stress free, wondering how it is possible that each day just gets better! Thanks Helge!


For a guy that likes dirt between the teeth at the end of a day, Namibia will stay with me for years to come however, Malawi stole my heart. I can barely lift my left arm at days end, after waving back to the continuous line of all age groups welcoming us with smiles that could grace the cover of National Geo, mile after mile. So much welcoming. So much joy. So much gratitude gifted us in these passing moments the road unveils.

When you stop at a village to rest your left arm, your right arm then gets an equal workout. Men and some women too, and of course those beautiful children, will appear without rush or alarm, reach a hand out, grasp your hand, and warmly welcome you to Malawi. No rest for that right arm yet, after a warm and genuine exchange, you will shake hands again upon departure, and wished a safe and rewarding journey.

Malawi, the perhaps poorest country in Africa, is steeped rich beyond words. The roads time peels away the eyes layers of struggle for daily substance, and we are caressed into re-calibrating our compass of life's riches. Less than a dollar a day to show for ones laborious efforts, and stacks of money at the same days end in smiles, laughter, and never ending courtesy to us visitors.


A simple turn onto a non-assuming dirt road, off this artery of life and nonstop visual extravaganza lead us to Makuzi Beach Lodge, on a pristine and private bay on Lake Malawi. Tasteful bungalows, bar and starlit dining followed the afternoon swim. The water, likely the warmest I've experienced. Fresh and bountiful. Could I have found this place on my own?

The two days spent in this private cove left many never wanting to leave this wonderful country. 


Just when you think your heart strings have moved Into new expression, we take an excursion a few paces down the road to a school for deaf children of multiple ages. Each of the eighty three children greeted us with a welcoming handshake. We gathered in a semi circle, and Helge handed out photos from the previous year to the exuberant and enthusiastic crowd. Nick pumped up soccer balls to hand out, GlobeRiders tee shirts appeared, photos of every student was taken for the return visit, and soccer ensued out behind the classrooms. A few of the kids rode on the back of the bikes around the compound, clad in oversized riding jackets and helmets too. The group made a donation to the struggling school, and  it's hard to know who had the greatest reward from the few hours we were all so taken back by. I dare not attempt to convey the excitement, joy, and humanity we shared as a group. There were no dry eyes amongst us visitors, and nothing less than a chorus of wordless expression from our hosts.

Just another blessed day in Africa...



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Dispatch Two from Tom Botz

The border from Namibia into Botswana was easy and quick.  I was also happy just to be in the homeland of the Botzes.

For a change, we spent a couple of nights at a large lodge, the Chobe Safari Lodge just outside Chobe National Park on a river:


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We had a great safari day, in the morning by 4x4 and in the afternoon by boat.  This elephant seemed angry that we drove him off the road (so we could get through) and threw a temper tantrum way too close to our open 4x4:

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Back at the lodge, the warthogs were not interested in Helge’s travel stories and moved politely past him:





The next day we crossed a more difficult border into Zambia and rode to Livingston, which is only 10km from Victoria Falls, one of the top waterfalls in the world.  We spent the following day hiking around the falls from both the Zambian and the Zimbabwean sides.  The falls are huge and this is only a small corner of them:

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I would say they are (almost) up there with Iguazu.  Very impressive.

We then started riding northeast toward Lake Malawi.  We were now in the “real” Africa, no longer much evidence of European influences, and noticeably poorer than SA, Namibia and Botswana. Radar trap cost me U$25:

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The next day was a full, fast day of great riding through hilly terrain until it started to rain:

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I spent 1.5 hrs with my new friends here at the ranch, waiting for the torrential rain to stop, but it never did.

So I finally went.  Minutes after I got soaked, it suddenly stopped raining. Nice. I soon got to this road closure due to a raging overflowing river:

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I did not know whether I could make it across.  Andy then pulled up behind me with the chase truck and trailer.  He suggested putting the bike on the trailer and trying to cross.  That was enough for me and so I suddenly just went.  I must say this water crossing was terrifying, it got deeper and deeper, the current almost ripping the bike out from under me, and it was very clear that the water was much stronger than my little bike and I.  I had to make a conscious effort not to simply faint and let everything go.  When I got to the other side there was quite a crowd of people videotaping and photographing my efforts.  Andy then barely made it across in the chase truck and later told me that at one point the truck refused to move forward in any gear and he could feel the river lifting the truck up.  He undid his seat belt and got ready to bail when suddenly he got some traction and managed to get through.  


Here’s a shot he took of me when I was almost at the other side:




Dispatch Two from Gary Schmidt

Botswana is noted for its’ abundance of large animals but it started slow for some of us. The largest thing I saw riding through Chobe National Park was a dung beatle.


We stayed at a beautiful resort in Kasane and the next day we had two safaris. The morning safari was in a large 10 person open Toyota Land Cruiser. We entered another national park and things stared slowly. Baboons, mongoose, antelope and a few other animals but not much excitement UNTIL we saw a herd of elephants. These elephants were accompanied by a large bull elephant which apparently took some offense to our presence and he let it be known. There was some excitement as he expressed his displeasure. A few in our vehicle were ready to move out immediately but our driver stayed just long enough to get some good photos.


The afternoon safari was in a 15 person boat and was very enjoyable with lots of birds, hippos, crocodiles and a particularly horny bull elephant.


Next it was into Zambia. This was my first time into Zambia and it is a spectacular country. It’s beautiful and the people are as friendly as can be. I visited Victoria Falls the first day and then early the next morning went on a lion walk. I love cats and being able to walk and touch two 10 month old lions was a thrill I will never forget.


I was sorry to leave Zambia but Malawi was not a disappointment at all. It has much of the same beauty and friendly people like Zambia. We stayed in Lusaka and Chipatal for just a day before we arrived at Lilongwe for 2 days. We visited a local market consisting of very small stalls. They had almost anything you could want except Chapstick. I think you could almost build a car or a house just from the various items sold in different stalls. Each stall seemed to specialize in a certain item. Rear axle - here, leaf springs - over there.


We had a great ride to Makuzi Beach Lodge right on Lake Malawi. A day on the beach was very relaxing and got us ready for the next five days of steady riding. But first we visited a school for deaf children. It was a very moving experience but I came away feeling that the kids were truly happy at their school.


Nick handed out soccer balls and Helge handed out GlobeRider t-shirts. He also had photos of many of the kids from his previous visits. He handed these out and the kids were thrilled to have photos of themselves.


We donated some money to the school and some of the kids got a ride on 3 of the motorcycles. It was a great experience for them and for me.


Next was Tanzania. The border crossing was not as quick as hoped but after a few hours we were in Tanzania. Again, a very beautiful country with friendly people. There’s a lot more traffic consisting of buses, trucks, and small motorcycle. You can tell Tanzania is better off than Malawi and Zambia.


Our second day in Tanzania we rode to Kisolanza Guest House. What an incredible place. It’s a working cattle and sheep ranch with guest houses for travelers. I could have stayed there for a month.


From Kisolanza Guest House we rode to Dodoma, the capital of Tanzania, then Babati and finally Arusha. This second installment of the journal ends in Arusha and our big safari starts there.


Bring on the animals!



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Helge's Dispatch Two Photo Gallery

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