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Thread: Gael back in Africa.

  1. #33
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    I didn't know any main dealers in SA but I did know one in Namibia and I wondered if I bought a bike in Namibia it would be possible to register it in my name and store it in Namibia. Simon and I had stored our bikes in Namibia for 6 month during our African trips but had to pay temperary import duties, which were never refunded. I asked my friendly dealer if a bike could be registered in a foreigners name in Namibia and he assured me he had arranged it in the past. Based in this positive information I looked around for a bike.

    I signed up to various Namibian bike sales sites on Facebook and waited. I was looking for a 250cc bike, as I'd seen the benifit of having a light bike which was also economical to run, but this time I was looking for a bit more power than my 125cc Suzuki, and a bike which was more capable off-road. After some time I saw a Yamaha XT250 for sale in Namibia, a few years old and with low milage.

    I enquired of the seller where he was located and he said Windhoek. I then asked where the bike had been serviced and he told me it was in Yamaha Windhoek, this was fortunate, as this is the Namibian dealer that I know. I'd had my little Suzuki EN125 serviced a couple of times by Tommy in Yamaha Windhoek. I asked the seller to take the bike into Tommy and if he said the bike was OK, I'd buy it. Tommy checked out the bike and we agreed a deal. Later, in watching Itchy Boots, Noraly's Honda developed a fault in southern Namibia and she rode 500km north to Windhoek, to have it fixed by Tommy, such is his reputation as a mechanic in Namibia.



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  2. #34
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    Looking forward to hearing more about the XT when you get there Jim!

  3. #35
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    Jim, great build up and as said before not even a teeny weeny bit jealous


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  4. #36
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    Easy now guys, still a week to go

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  5. #37
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    I’ve really enjoyed your other trips and I’m following this one with equal enthusiasm.
    Brian




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  6. #38
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    With the bike bought I then pursued the plan to have the bike registered. The dealer gave me the name of a guy who could arrange it. This gentleman started discussing registration with the authorities in Windhoek, the initial answer was not encouraging, so he escalated to management. Sadly the answer did not change and I was told it would not be possible to register the bike in my name in Windhoek. This was a low point, as I now owned a bike in Namibia but apparently could not register it there.

    I discussed leaving the registration till I got to Namibia and hoped that being there in person could change the decision, and was encouraged by the Windhoek dealer that this may work. It now seemed my best option but I wasn't confident this plan, so chatted to Simon. He wondered if the Yamaha dealer in Swakopmund could help. So I called the dealer directly and he assured me registration was possible in Swakop, even if not in Windhoek. I also put the question out on the Overlanding Africa page on Facebook and again was assured Swakop was a good place to register a vehicle and that Windhoek registration department were difficult. Lastly I contacted a friend of the Windhoek dealer, a guy who runs a vehicle storage centre near the airport and he said he could get it registered in my name, also in Swakop. I was now feeling quite relived and the project seemed back on the rails, so I started making plans.

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  7. #39
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    The bike would need to be fitted out as an adventure bike and I could not rely on finding the parts and equipment in Windhoek. In fact the dealer told me he could not source a rear rack and pannier frame for the bike. The XT250 is not sold as a new bike in UK, nor do I believe in Europe, however they are sold in the US and there is a thriving community. The XT250 owners run a thread on Adventure Bike Rider forum with a lot of tips and information. I trawled through this thread for equipment recommendations. Most of the
    suppliers are in the US, with high shipping and customs costs. A lot or shipping has taken place in the last few months and I now have a large part if my dining room floor covered with equipment for the African bike.

    Those readers not interested in motorbike accessories, could pass this section...

    So I have a rear rack and pannier rails from Happy-Trail which are strong and substantial. I've a screen from Parabellum that is recommended. I decided on soft pannier bags and was fortunate to find a set of Walter Colebach's Magadan panniers by placing a wanted add on this GSer forum, thanks to Archie Adv. I also wanted a top box for convenience and security and a Givi Trekker aluminium topbox came up for sale on GSer. Kitting out a bike, that you don't know, which is 5,000 miles away, is not an easy task, but I learned a little when I did this on the little Suzuki in the Congo a few years ago. However I'll not know how successful I've been till the parts are fitted to the bike.

    One feature with this bike is the small fuel tank of 9.5 litres. My last Africa bike, the little EN125 Suzuki, had a tank of 14 litres which allowed me to ride for many hours without a fill-up. So I'll need some extra fuel with the XT250 and have got a 2L Touratech can and intend to mount it on the inside of the pannier frame on the opposite side to the exhaust. I wasn't sure if there would be enough clearance between the can and the wheel, and put a question on the XT250 forum. The reply I got, was an offer to phone me to discuss. I then got a call from New Zealand from an XT owner, originally from Hampshire, who did some measurements on his bike and reassured me the petrol can could be mounted successfully. The length some bikers will go to help others, astounds me at times.

    I'll also have a couple of 1L fuel bottles which will fit into the pockets of the panniers when I'm in a fuel restricted area. I plan to navigate with BMW Navigator 6 GPS, which has Tracks 4 Africa(T4A) maps loaded, thanks to a good friend, with a Navigator 5 as backup. I have lots of other bits to fit to the bike, but this technical section is getting too long already. However, I will bring my Garmin Inrange tracking and SOS device for security. More on rigging out the bike when I get there.



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  8. #40
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    Nice to meet you in Leanne Jim
    Yourself & the long fella did very well on your ‘unsuitable’ bikes

    I’ve an XT225 (Serow) in the garage & have often thought it’d be a great bike for the likes of Africa. I think you’ll really enjoy the 250.

    Safe travels, looking forward to following along
    Just 'cos you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you !

    Remember, experience only means that you screw-up less often.

  9. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jockser View Post
    Nice to meet you in Leanne Jim
    Yourself & the long fella did very well on your ‘unsuitable’ bikes

    I’ve an XT225 (Serow) in the garage & have often thought it’d be a great bike for the likes of Africa. I think you’ll really enjoy the 250.

    Safe travels, looking forward to following along
    Thanks Jockser, we did enjoy our few days in Leenane and I only skimmed over it in this RR. I think you may be right about the XT250/XT225 in Africa. We'll see when I get to use it in anger.
    Thanks for a great weekend and a special tour of Achill.

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  10. #42
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    Jim - a useful contact might be an outfit called "Gravel Travel" (www.gravel-travel.com) based at the Windhoek Mountain Lodge a few miles north of Windhoek. They are a tour operator running motorcycle tours around Namibia and South Africa on a fleet of various Yamahas. The owner also has (or at least had) a Yamaha dealership in Germany. They have a well-equipped garage and mechanics at the lodge and I'm sure would help you out with advice and/or practicalities if needed.
    Good luck with your trip, I'm enjoying the report so far!
    Birgit

  11. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hildasay View Post
    Jim - a useful contact might be an outfit called "Gravel Travel" (www.gravel-travel.com) based at the Windhoek Mountain Lodge a few miles north of Windhoek. They are a tour operator running motorcycle tours around Namibia and South Africa on a fleet of various Yamahas. The owner also has (or at least had) a Yamaha dealership in Germany. They have a well-equipped garage and mechanics at the lodge and I'm sure would help you out with advice and/or practicalities if needed.
    Good luck with your trip, I'm enjoying the report so far!
    Birgit
    Thanks for the information Birgit, I'll keep them in mind, though I normally plan my own trips.

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  12. #44
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    Getthing close to departure now. Been out and bought Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and of course Immodium as well as rehydration tablets in case of dehydration, a risk when crossing deserts. Got a new first-aid kit, as the ones in stock have seen better days but luckly have had little use.

    I've colour copied important documents like passport, travel vaccination record, International driving licence and had my covid jabs certificate laminated and I also have spare passport photos. It seems strange not to be getting copies of the bike documents and then I remind myself these are waiting for me in Namibia. I keep original and copy documents separately and also keep credit cards and keys in different secure places in case of loss or theft. I suffered a stolen passport in the past and it was good to have a copy. I had my Travel vaccinations reviewed last week, some like Yellow Fever are for life, but I needed boosters for Typhoid and Rabies.

    I travel with 3 cameras and upgraded my phone, my main camera to benifit from the latest phone camera technology. The other cameras are a helmet camera and a compact zoom and these are both freshly charged. The helmet camera is a Drift Ghost XL which claims to run for around 8 hours on one charge and I'll put that to the test on some of the longer runs. I use this camera to take still photos and not video, triggering it from a button on the handlebars. The Panasonic Lumix zoom camera is mainly used for wildlife photos, birds etc.

    I've also charged my inRange Explorer satellite tracking and SOS device. The SOS function allows the user to summon emergency assistance in any country in the world, using a Satelite phone signal. inRange have been taken over by Garmin who are now building the inRange technology into their GPSs, so one device can do both jobs. I'll be taking a spare phone to house a local SIM. I'll buy a Namibian SIM with data and set the spare phone to generate a WiFi hotspot, then connect my main phone to that hotspot when local WiFi is not available. The spare phone is also useful for making local phone calls.



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  13. #45
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    Have you watched the Itchy Boots episodes in Namibia - looks like a crackin’ bit of the planet

  14. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kritou View Post
    Have you watched the Itchy Boots episodes in Namibia - looks like a crackin’ bit of the planet
    You'll have noticed I mentioned Noraly a few times above and I have ridden in Namibia before. I saw her Series 5 videos on Southern Africa. She's an experienced and skilled off-road rider and I'm not, but on this visit I hope to explore a few of the more remote locations.

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  15. #47
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    Good luck, Jim...really looking forward to following your new travels.

  16. #48
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    Thanks for the good wishes Barak!

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