Egypt

Egypt

December 06, 2017

Egypt was our 25th and final country in Africa. We arrived at the Wadi Halfa border to cross from Sudan into Egypt on the 14th November. We arrived with supplies because this time we knew for sure that we could be camping at the border. We had travelled Africa without a Carnet de Passage (basically a passport for your vehicle) and for many countries we either passed through without any documentation required for the motorbikes or we completed a Temporary Import Permit (TIP) at the border. Taking the path of the TIP is a bit more effort and at times risky in Africa but it saved us a lot of money. Stu's research online indicated we would most definitely need to purchase an Egyptian Carnet at the Wadi Halfa border and we had all the contact details and costs to organise it. Our supplies were basic and for a few days in case we couldn't get access to shops. But what we had read online quite consistently said people could leave their vehicles at the border post and take public transport ...

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Sudan

Sudan

November 14, 2017

It was by no means a secret to anyone that the thought of entering Sudan both excited Stu and made Janell quite uneasy. And even she would be the first to admit that there was no reasonable explanation for this feeling other than a link to the war torn country of South Sudan where Stu had deployed for 6 months on a peacekeeping mission during his service in the Royal Australian Navy. As is so often the case on this adventure we were both surprised and delighted by what we saw and who we met and left Sudan with a genuine fondness for the desert country. The border crossing from Ethiopia didn't quite go as planned and resulted in a 2 night camp at the border. We were travelling without a Carnet for the motorbikes but had been advised that we could get an 'in/out' (transit) permit at the Sudan border which would allow us to cross Sudan in 48 hours. You can imagine that 48 hours to cross a country is not ideal, you see very little other than the tarmac and there is the risk of a breakdo...

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Violent Riots in Ethiopia

Violent Riots in Ethiopia

October 29, 2017

Ethiopia proved to be unique amongst african nations from the get go. At the border crossing we were invited to have tea with the officials while they worked out how to import our bikes without us having a Carnet. The process was easy in the end, they just completed a customs declaration form, which included all our electronics (phones, laptops etc.) and added the bikes to this. There was no fee, we just had to show the items on the way out inorder to get our passport exit stamp. Ethiopians are a proud people, most people would bring up the fact that Ethiopia had not been conquered by a European nation at the start of any conversation. We thought the people smiled naturally instead of having a downcast look that so many African's and other ex-colonials have from the poverty and gross class division forced on them. Ethiopian culture was warm and inviting and their food was an absolute delight. As part of their very unique take on Christianity, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has over 1...

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Uganda and Kenya

Uganda and Kenya

October 09, 2017

Uganda was the only country in Africa that we had both travelled to before The Pack Track. In February 2013 we spent a few days in Kampala, squeezing in a one day safari, before heading off on a cruise of the Canary Islands. Riding our motorbikes across the border and onto Ugandan territory felt poles apart from this past memory. How easy it is to fly in and out of a place, stay in a resort and then boast of having been there. If any country put our overland travels into perspective, to appreciate just how far away from Australia we were, it was Uganda. We crossed into Uganda at Kyanika. We had to obtain an Exit Confirmation certificate for the motorbikes in Rwanda and then pass through the Police checkpoint where they registered the bikes leaving the country. Uganda had a one-stop border post which is always a sight for sore eyes, everything in one building is so much easier and quicker for us. At the Customs Office we imported the vehicles where we needed to pay 73,000 Uganda Shil...

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A Modern Genocide, Rwanda

A Modern Genocide, Rwanda

September 20, 2017

The Rusumo One Stop Border Post Customs and Immigration (-2.378747,30.778526) as the name suggests, is a one-stop border crossing from Tanzania to Rwanda. This particular border crossing was mostly uneventful, but they did ask for the permit to bring live animals into Rwanda. We weren't aware of such a requirement, this was the first time anything like this had come up since the Southern African Customs Union. The customs official told us that he'd let us through this time but in future we were to visit the Department of Agriculture website and register with e-rabis. It would probably be unlikely that there would be a next time but we took note anyway. That night we stayed at the Urugo Women's Opportunity Centre. We had initially just stopped in for a coffee and to use their WiFi to book accommodation in Kigali, but something about the place just spoke to us and so we asked if it were possible to camp in their grounds. The entire site had a spectacular view of the valley. The site ...

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Zambia and Tanzania

Zambia and Tanzania

September 06, 2017

We crossed from Zimbabwe on the seventh of August and no sooner were we in Zambia and Janells beloved GS was on a truck again, 250km to Lusaka where we could get assistance and parts. It was actually Stu who had broken down this time and after a few hours of tinkering on the roadside he discovered his fuel injector was broken. We decided to swap injectors around on the bikes and see if we could at least get to Lusaka. We probably got another 20km and then Janell's bike stopped (with Stu's faulty injector). Our travel angel sent us Matias. Matias saw that we had broken down and pulled over to see if he could be of assistance. He was returning from dropping off produce to a supermarket near the Zimbabwe border and his truck was empty, he quickly suggested that we load the bike into his truck and he take it to Lusaka where we'd find someone to make the repairs. A group of local guys helped us load the bike. Stu followed behind the truck with the dogs on board and late that night we arr...

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Facing Court in Zimbabwe

Facing Court in Zimbabwe

August 02, 2017

We had honestly intended to spend more time in Botswana but looking at the map we noticed that we'd be crossing National Parks if we crossed too late. We thought it would be unlikely we'd be allowed to cross with dogs. We also felt that we weren't going to anything particularly new staying in Botswana and so we after only one night we decided to forited our 30 day vehicle tax and head for the border. We knew that there would be difficulties getting fuel in Zimbabwe so we filled all of our tanks, including the Touratech long range tanks which would mean that we'd easily make it to Zambia before needing fuel again. Exiting Botswana went smoothly, cleared immigration and exited the bikes without issue. There was about 2km of road between the two border posts, not completely uncommon and not the furthest we'd travelled between landports but is always indicative of the cooperation between the countries. Naively, we'd thought that because the Zimbabwe economy was failing and that they had...

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Pet Movement through Southern Africa

Pet Movement through Southern Africa

July 27, 2017

We'd had issues entering South Africa from Namibia due to the dogs, but it was easy enough to overcome. What was needed was an animal import permit. Once issued this document could be used to import an animal into any of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries and was valid for 30 days. Getting the animal import permit in Namibia had been straight forward. We visited the state vet near the South African border and they checked our paperwork and produced the permit on the spot. But our stay in South Africa had extended beyond the 30 days, which meant we'd need a new permit to continue travelling through the customs union. Obtaining the permit in South Africa proved to be a little more bureaucratic than Namibia. We visited a local vet who explained that they would normally conduct a preliminary examination and then send off the documents to Johannesburg for the permit with a turnaround time of up to 3 weeks. The local vet suggested that if we had time we could walk the doc...

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Vineyards & Wildlife, South Africa

Vineyards & Wildlife, South Africa

July 25, 2017

We spent two fantastic months in South Africa. But it almost didn't happen, sorting out paperwork problems for the dogs took us three attempts to cross from Namibia into South Africa. Tensions were high for two very important reasons. Firstly, we'd sent Janell's motorbike ahead to Pretoria after its breakdown in northern Namibia. And secondly, Janell's mother (Pauline) was flying into Cape Town on 11 June to spend 5 weeks travelling with us. So we needed to cross into South Africa one way or another. The most direct route to Janell's motorbike in Pretoria was via the Ariamsvlei Border Crossing. We arrived at the border and started processing our checkout of Namibia and then into South Africa. We were almost through when the customs official asked us for the Animal Movement Permits for the girls. We didn't know what they were and simply showed the EU PETS Passports. The official explained that we should have obtained the permit in Namibia before attempting to cross the border, we beg...

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Namibia

Namibia

May 24, 2017

The Republic of Namibia reminded us of central Australia. There is so much untouched country, desert left to the animals that can survive there.  It was the first time in Africa we really felt remote, away from people and infrastructure. Namibia is a large country but with only a small population of 3 million yet it's in a better economic situation than its northern neighbour Angola. I think what we enjoyed so much was the 'western' luxuries in towns and cities but then being able to leave those behind to be in the wild. The best of both worlds. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Namibia, even with the breakdowns we experienced. We did a lot of camping in Namibia and we seemed to have the campsites to ourselves. Using iOverlander for recommendations/reviews we chose campsites set up near known waterholes where wild animals would frequent at certain times of the year. We were again on the lookout for elephants. There were plenty of road signs indicating their potential presence a...

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Engine Rebuild in Central Africa

Engine Rebuild in Central Africa

May 07, 2017

The first night in Mainland Angola was spent in Quibala, about 4 hours drive from Luanda. Quibala was inland and over 1,200m, so a little cooler than the coast. Luis had read something about the town being a tourist destination, but it didn't seem like much to us. We found a campground and pitched our tent before going for a drive into town for something to eat. We found a bar serving food and sat down at a table. It wasn't a typical bar, it was full of women, young women, almost girls. There were all drinking and giggling with older women walking around to make sure they looked like they were having fun. It was quite obvious what these girls were, it wasn't our first experience witnessing the sexual exploitation of young girls at the hands of men and women with no moral compass. A culture that accepted abuse and showed no respect for girls and the financial incentives for the orchestrators of the abuse from local and foreign workers. What we had seen was horrific, it started in Sen...

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Hitchiking with the Angolan Air Force

Hitchiking with the Angolan Air Force

April 27, 2017

Mar and Luis, our new friends we'd made in Pointe Noire, where much more organised than we could ever be. They'd begun their journey with all the visa's they'd need through Africa so while we were often stuck waiting around for a consulate to produce our visa they were able to move on. After meeting us in the Republic Of the Congo (ROC) they were supposed to head through the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) (yes, very much a different country and neither very democratic). The DRC is fairly lawless, it's not necessarily any more dangerous than its neighbours, but it is more chaotic. The government doesn't have great control over its military or police and so they don't fear retribution for their actions, short of any serious offence that is. So while checkpoints throughout Africa will often ask for a bribe they will quickly move you on from fear of who you might know. But in the DRC this is not so much the case, if an official asks you for money and you don't want to pay then y...

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