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Press Release – MZUNGU RIDES!

Press Release

After 22,000 kms I made it to Cape Town. Departing from Cresswell Quay in Pembrokeshire I went through Spain, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia, South Africa.

I was running out of money as I entered into South Africa and after a bad robbery I ended up flying back from Cape Town ending what was nearly 6 months on the road.

 

I stopped updating this website on the move, it proved too difficult with the lack of wifi. However I did try and upload photos etc at

https://www.facebook.com/mzungurides/

https://www.instagram.com/mzungurides/

If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to call on 079399 14731 or email/facebook

If you would like to publish any picture from my facebook/instagram please get in contact. I can also provide higher definition images.

Charity page is https://www.justgiving.com/mzungurides

 

Struggles

The trip got off to to bad start when the original bike I bought (DRZ-400 with huge amount of adventure upgrades) was stolen. Its now nearly 10 months on and MCE still haven’t agreed to an acceptable pay out. If they had paid the money that I am owed I would have been able to get the whole way round Africa, not just to Cape Town.

 

Road conditions at times were hugely challenging. In the Congo’s hard topped roads were few and far between. Flooded laterite tracks in the wet season occasionally proved too much and I took a few tumbles. At certain points all I could see for hundreds of metres was water.

One section on the way to Brazzaville was completely flooded by a stream. The road was four feet underwater. Locals watched whilst I built a dam by the road side with mud and sticks and then proceeded to build a drainage channel. After a couple of hours I’d got the water level low enough to proceed.

Corruption was the other main issue I encountered. Police regularly held me up at the roadside demanding cash. All of which I resisted, some times this would take over an hour of negotiating. A good technique was to sit down with a paperback and roll a cigarette, this showed that I wasn’t phased by the intimidation and would happily wait until I was allowed through.

I kept an expired driving license in my wallet just in case I couldn’t get it back. This saved my skin in DRC. A policewoman decided that I shouldn’t be in the country and confiscated my license and instructed me to follow her (she was on a scooter) to the police station where my visa was to be suspended and I was to be sent home (this was obviously just another ploy to extort a bribe from me)

The border to Angola was closing in three hours and I knew that if I went to the station and went through the tedious process I wouldn’t make it to the border that night. It wasn’t safe to wild camp in that part of DRC due to a recent rash of kidnappings and I had only had enough local currency to get me to the border. After following her for a mile I decided to pull a U turn and just race to the border. I knew she couldn’t keep up with me so the only problem would be if she called ahead to the border.

Fortunately the border was complete chaos. Hundreds of lorries exploiting Angola’s economic collapse and thousands of people in a tented encampment meant that the immigration officials and the police had their hands full.

Sacrificing an expired Welsh driving license is a small price to pay in that situation!

 

People

By and large I found everyone not wearing a uniform to be incredibly friendly despite some language barriers. I was looked after by many people and showed lots of hospitality (highlight was sleeping in a tiny village in the Congo just after the Gabon border)

Before South Africa I only locked my bike four times and left all my bags on the motorcycle overnight and never had anything serious stolen (bottle of water etc)

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A photo posted by Mzungu Rides! (@mzungurides) on


Interview in ‘Bike’ Magazine. Page 18. June issue available from Wednesday 27th April.