How big is Africa? – The standard world map does not give it’s true size due to the way the Earth is flattened to put on paper. A guy called Kal Krause has produced this image which gives a better idea of the scale.
I have been watching the blog of an Australian Patrick Davey who is travelling a similar route to me. He left the UK this week on his way to Cape Town. Here is his facebook page:
And he has a satellite tracker plotting his current location:
I have moved the site to a new domain www.john-barrett.uk/africa Please update your bookmarks.
I have designed a new logo for the trip, I hope to make stickers and badges to swap with fellow travellers and Scouts I meet on the road.
I have now fitted a set of heated grips to the bike as well as an auxiliary power socket and USB charging point. I have also done a test pack of most of the kit to check for space – I need not have worried, I have plenty of room.
I have set myself two challenges for this trip. One is to raise money for Street Child who work in Africa to help kids who are for whatever reason left to fend for themselves. One of the outcomes from of the Ebola outbreak is that thousands of kids are left as orphans and in desperate need of help and support.
You can donate via the Virgin Money giving site.
My second challenge will be to meet as many fellow Scouts as possible on the way. If you are a scout in Africa please use this web site’s contact page to get in touch.
A lot has changed since I put up my original route planning post so I thought it best to post again.
The current plan is to leave the UK at the end of March/beginning of April 2015. The route will be:
UK – France – Spain – Morocco – Western Sahara – Mauritania – Senegal – Gambia – Senegal – Mali – Ivory Coast – Ghana – Togo – Benin – Nigeria – Cameroon – Gabon – Congo – DRC – Zambia – Mozambique – South Africa
The route avoids the Ebola effected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, I would aim to be in Cape Town by the beginning of July 2015.
All are subject to change as borders open/close or local situations develop or subside.
I have been to see the practice nurse at the local GP surgery and come away several hundreds of pounds lighter, an arm full of needle holes and an appointment to go back for more.
My tetanus/diptheria/polio was boosted a few years ago and I did receive the usual childhood jabs so those are all OK.
I am getting/have been given:Yellow Fever, Rabies, Hepetitis A and B and Typhoid jabs. I will get oral cholera protection shortly before I go and will take malaria tablets with me, I have chosen Mefloquine. I have not yet decided about the menengitis jab.
As I have had a needle phobia all my life, I am really pleased with myself. I think I should have been given a gold star or a lollipop!
I took the bike out for a ride today to test a camera mount I have added. I have a Nikon AW120 digital camera which is very robust and waterproof – I did a thorough test including dropping it from the bike at about 10Mph; not deliberately – note to self, do not fiddle with camera whilst moving !!
It works really well at low speeds but at high engine revs there is a lot of vibration which is to be expected with a single cylinder bike. The picture gets blurry when this happens but is still viewable. All in all I am happy with the setup.
Some still photos taken with the camera:
Preparation for the trip has started in earnest now. Mainly this has involved spending large amounts of money.
So far I have:
Bought the bike, a 2012 Yamaha XT660Z Tenere with 9000 miles on the clock but in showroom condition. The bike came with Yamaha hard panniers and hard top box. I have had a few ride outs on it and am getting used to the height. I am used to riding a large sports tourer which is lower. I have even been out with Amy on the back.
Bought a new helmet – a Caberg Tourmax. I have also bought a bluetooth headset for it so I can listen to music from my phone and the GPS voice commands. I also installed a mount and waterproof case for my phone (used for GPS as well) and wired in a charger lead for it.
Replaced the side lights and number plate lights with LEDs for improved longevity and reduced power consumption. I am not going to bother with the indicators as I understand they may need ballast resistors as the bike has blown bulb detection circuitry for these.
Installed a Scotoiler.
Installed a trickle charge battery conditioner for when parked in the garage.
I have ordered the touratec side stand foot and the pannier mount base plates and water/fuel carriers that I will attach to the Yamaha panniers. This will allow me to externally mount a fuel can and a water can to the back side of them. I have also ordered the Yamaha centre stand.
Spares: I am starting to collect the essentials (filters, bulbs, tubes, chains, cables etc.) at the moment these are all going in a big box. I will eventually try to find small crevices and spaces on the bike to store many of them.
ROUTE PLANNING AND DOCUMENTS
I have finalised the route down the West coast of Africa that avoids the areas now effected by Ebola. I have also researched visa and inoculation requirements for each country en-route. Most visas area valid from date of issue and can be obtained in surrounding embassies so are best obtained en-route. Exceptions are the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria which seem to be best obtained in your home country. I need to do these a month before I go. I have also applied for a second UK passport due to the number of visas required and the length of time taken to get each one.
I have contacted my doctors and filled out a form about the trip. I now have to wait for them to come back with a programme of inoculations.