It started with a phone call from a friend; he said ‘fancy a bike trip?’ I said ‘where we going?’ am thinking a few days in Spain because we had done that a few times before, he said ‘Africa’ I nearly fell of the seat, I said ‘when? He said ‘about 6 weeks’
I thought, how do I explain this to the wife, but from the moment he sent me the link I was in. I’ve always struggled to make the choice of which tour to go with because there are so many new and exciting places to visit and making the decision is always the most frustrating task. From the first email to Alex everything was taken care of, every question was answered, every email or phone call was followed up, the service was great and it really made me feel at ease and took any worries I had away. (I think my wife was more worried than me.) We booked the trip, sorted the flights and we were going.
South Africa is a stunning country full of history, kindness and hospitality. It really is a life changing, once in a lifetime opportunity and one that shouldn’t be sniffed at. With such a range of landscapes, it’s a place that you could explore for years let alone the 12 days I was doing. Once we got out of the city we were on the open roads which went on for miles and miles. We rode through national parks, we visited game reserves, animal rehabilitation centres and were treated to some fantastic early morning jeep safari rides where we were able to see the animals up close and even help feed them. We also had some great night safaris where we were spotting animals such as Giraffes, Deer, Hyenas, Zebras, Hippos, the list goes on….We visited Roukes drift, met local school children, and rode through the full length of Swaziland.
Some of the sunsets were amazing and that’s coming from me, someone who has amazing sunsets on his door step. There is the opportunity to take some stunning photography, I just wish I had a better camera. We had some early morning walks through the bush which are made better because Alex is a qualified Tracker, (Don’t know the proper title ha ha) The food is delicious and despite what some say, it’s not too different to that of our local take away shops. I can recommend the steaks everywhere; never had a bad one and the prices are very cheap compared to home. Everything they cook is fresh and full of flavour. It’s generally a clean country and you certainly learn new things every day.
There were two couples on the trip with us who were some of the nicest people I have ever met, we all got on from the moment we met, and we come from all walks of life but were all there for the same thing, I still laugh to myself now thinking back to what we done and the conversations we had.
Equipment and clothing is a personal choice and what works for one may be dreadful for another. The first few days were a bit cold however it soon warmed up, what worked for me was gortex waterproof lightweight jacket and trousers with removable linings and fitted body armour. This way you could easily make yourself comfortable whatever the weather.
The bikes that were provided were brand new BMW GSA800 which were fantastic and very easy to ride, I was surprised how these bikes performed, they were definitely the right bike for the job and any level of rider can ride them. I usually ride sports bikes and off road bikes and these were both in one.
I would highly recommend this trip to anybody and I will definitely be going back one day.
Happy Riding and stay safe out there.
(Darren Young, Isle of Man, UK)