Day 1 to Day 2 – May 29th-30th

This year’s trip is from Cape Town, South Africa to Alexandria, Egypt with nine additional countries in between. It will take approximately 70 days and cover approximately 16,000 km. The approximate route is shown on the map below.


I’m with the same group of guys that did the South America trip with me two years ago. Here’s Helge Pederson, a Norwegian and the proprietor of Globe Riders, one of the most prominent adventure motorcyclists, together with Vincent Cummings, a Canadian who runs a diving company in Vancouver and Roger Hansen, a builder and entrepreneur from New Jersey.


Helge and Vincent

How can they hope to get all of this on a motorcycle and drive 16,000 km.


It took the best of two days to get to Cape Town from Cleveland via London. The bikes are ready and waiting for us in Cape Town having been shipped by truck to the west coast and overseas via container in May.


We fix all the loose ends – lots of them. Our hotel fronts on a working harbor with perhaps 50 fishing boats and boat repair activity. It adds excitement to the waterfront; perhaps we’ll have apartments overlooking the Cleveland port sometime soon.


The Hotel is fantastic – check out oysters for breakfast:


The Harbor is a bustling commercial area with fancy clothing stores – check out this dress:


In fancy malls, to the best US standards:


Cape Town is a fabulous city and I wish we could have spent more time there. We had scheduled a fish lunch on our first day served only the way you can in South Africa, but plans were changed due to weather:


The trick is to try to lure the shark into the cage so you can have at him.

Here are some interesting South African facts:

  • South Africans are all extremely articulate and spend 8.5% of their GDP on education (we spend 5.5% in the US), but from a purchasing standpoint, their dollars go approximately 4 times further than ours.
  • Their economy is growing 3.5 times the US economy (last five years – 1% vs. 3.6%). But there is a dark side, the unemployment rate is 24% vs. 9% in the US and among the younger population in South Africa it’s approximately 50%.
  • There is rampant violence against women in South Africa - one woman in two will be raped at least once in her lifetime (according to the International Police Association 2004 data). There’s an article in the May 28 issue of the New Yorker that details this situation more fully.
  • Per unit of population they have as many cell phones as the US.

We left Cape Town on the 30th and drove 350 miles on improved roads to Springbuck South Africa. We climbed up out of beautiful well-tended lush farms into a high dessert, reminiscent of parts of New Mexico. The agriculture gradually detonates from irrigated farms to beef grazing, sheep grazing to rocks and sand. I’m having trouble adjusting to the left-hand side of the road, particularly in roundabouts or when I’m in the lead – concentration is the key.

Here we found a neat bed and breakfast with a gated parking lot for our bikes. I need more work on my front and back video cameras which are still not tuned quite right.

As we headed north towards Namibia, the sun is low in the sky and is almost always in your eyes. I can see know why Cleveland westsiders, who have the sun in their eyes commuting in both directions, are so easily irritated!

South Africans speak two languages – English and Afrikaans, an old form of Dutch. Modern Dutch has changed, Afrikaans has not.
Cape Town
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