Scootering through Africa

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Scootering through Africa

Postby Yogi » Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:23 am

Okay, might not be the right place to ask these questions but you never know.

So, my wife and I are off to Africa for 4 months and are travelling from Cape Town, South Africa to Nairobi, Kenya (about 5000km's). Originally we were planning on using public transport the whole way until I heard of someone who had travelled the length of Africa on a scooter in the 1960's. Neither my wife or I have riden scooters before but are used to riding bicycles (road and mountain) and thought this would be a great idea as we wouldn't need to rely on buses etc that depart at 4am, we won't need motorcycle licenses, and we wouldn't have the costs of owning or renting a car. However I have hundreds of questions, most that won't be answered until we've completed the journey, but maybe people here might be able to help with some of them.

Has anyone here ever done this before or a similar distance in one trip? If so any tips?

Before we test ride scooters here in NZ, how dodgy are scooters on gravel roads?

It'll be dusty and rough in parts and in other parts it'll be on well formed roads. What sort of wear and tear should we be most prepared for in order to do running repairs?

How clogged up to air filters get in general riding? I presume they're easy to clean out.

We'll be travelling lightly with a pack each. Not knowing what type of scooters we'll purchase in Cape Town, are there any recommendations on carrying gear on a scooter. I know you can get panniers for motorbikes... what are these like for scooters?

Any suggestions, tips or questions welcome. Cheers!!
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Postby Hybrid » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:48 pm

Sounds like a real adventure! i was in Tanzania a few months ago, and lots of the main roads are tarmac, but ONLY the main roads. If you are wanting to visit the Serengeti or any of the other National Parks you might find it a challenge on a lil scoot, the roads are all gravel and rough as hell, not to mention there are lions, elephants..etc...roaming around the place. There are entrance gates to the most of the parks, and the guards may have something to say to a 'mzungu' (white person) on a scooter :D

Travelling on the gravel roads will effect the air filter massively, the dust over there is like nothing we've got in NZ. You'll need to have washable airfilters. The airfilter on a scoot is much lower than the big 4WD's over there. It might be worth making some sort of adapter to put the air filter under the seat of away from the dust, or at the end of a long pipe that picks up air away from the tyres.

There are also extremely long distances to travel between gas stations.... you MIGHT cope on main roads going from town to town, but you'd need to travel with super big tanks, or a support truck with extra gas.

The gravel sections would hard work doing more than 30-40kph - I've never ridden my scooter on the gravel...but I'd say it you'd get used to it. Prop a good idea to get a scoot here and drive it to Cape Reinga or something similar...with gravel roads.

The front forks and rear shock would need to be upgraded..the Jap scooters can hardly cope with your average white man, let alone a big white man and all his/her stuff for a trip around africa.

Here are some pics of the roads in Tanzania from my holiday.

Image

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Postby Yogi » Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:09 pm

Cheers for all that Hybrid!

Hadn't thought about the suspension. Is it more of an issue of comfort or performance? Ideally we'd be looking at spending as little as possible on modifications. Modifying the airfilter system sounds like a goer. With fuel I'd thought of carrying spare fuel but will have to look into this further, i.e. fuel range of scooters... it sounds like we should expect up to 500km's between petrol stations on a bad day.

In regards to wildlife, surely a scooter can outrun a lion! :) Actually, I figured we'd hire a car or do an organised safari type thing when we're anywhere to dodgy.

Had you hired a 4WD whilst over there? What were the drivers like?
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Postby Hybrid » Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:29 am

re suspension, depending on what scooter you get - it may cope, but normally the suspension is pretty soft, and bottoming out over the judder bars and gravel road may be an issue potential causing breakage of scoot and riders back :) esp if you've got tonnes of weight hanging off.

IF you are going to do a safari then do one with one of the local companies, they do it all, food, bedding tents..etc... I used Soko Adventures http://www.sokoadventure.com/ which are locally owned and really cheap and good They are based in Arusha. Did 7 sevens through all the top National Parks of Tanzania. Lots of the companies are owned by Uk or US people, and all the money goes to them with only a small amount going back into africa, so use local companies if you can.

The drivers were awesome, safe friendly good english.
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