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Motorcycle trips are very much about space and weight. I learned a few lessons on a 16-day summer trip from Cape Town to Maun and back. Pulling a bike out of the mud is no fun if you have:

5 pairs of underwear, 4 T-shirts, 5 pairs of socks, a wind proof jacket and a fleece. The only chilly night was in the Cederberg and a whiskey or two put paid to that. The rest of the time it was hotter than hell. Cold beer put paid to that. (2 of everything would have sufficed. There were plenty of opportunities to wash clothes and they dried after an hour in the heat. 2 T-shirts were donated to a Tswana kid  – apparently Iron Maiden is huge in Botswana – but I wouldn’t expect anybody to accept my underwear or socks)

2 books. I took “In Patagonia” by Bruce Chatwin and that did me fine (wonderful book. Read it twice before). I was either too tired to read at the end of the day or I was enjoying people’s company. A 600 page John Irving became ballast so I left it at Audi camp in Maun. Enjoy it if you ever visit.

A GPS (what, you say? I must be out of my mind!) I have Tom Tom on my iPhone, it works well, but I never turned it on. Maps are fine. They’ve been used to meticulously carve up Africa for over 100 years. Without a GPS there is no fiddling, plugging and unplugging when you leave the bike. It’s also nice to chat to people if you do need directions. On the confusing dirt roads around the Makgadigadi pans, local knowledge is best.

A DSLR camera and two lenses (85mm and 17 – 55mm). I must remind myself that it’s the eye, not the kit that dictates the photo. I found it frustrating lugging the heavy bag around when I wasn’t near the bike or shooting. My shots were, at best, average and I would have probably done better with a great compact like a Canon G11 or Fuji X10.

An emergency can of tire fixin’ foam. I used it as a temporary fix on a tiny puncture 50km from Keetmanshoop in Namibia. It got me no further than 7km. It’s rubbish. Never, ever buy it unless you need moose for your hair. Spare tubes, patch kits and tire spanners are a must.

And an emergency can of bully beef. I would have rather eaten my socks.



3 Responses to “What not to pack on an African motorcycle trip”

  1. Jared

    Excellent stuff Anton,

    Call me brave or stupid, but the SillyBuggers are planning to do Put Foot Rally on scooters this year. We are gonna have to learn to leave alot behind! 🙂


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