March 10, 2010

South Africa

Sorry about the delay and no, I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth (yet) :-) My bike arrived safely in Johannesburg and the team from U-bag got it easily cleared through customs. Kobles and I managed to put it back together again quite easily. Nothing stolen/scratched/damaged/broken - in fact it all went well - no mess, no fuss. Good start to the trip.

Been a hectic couple of days in Johannesburg doing some last minute organising, whilst awaiting my visa's to come through. I have managed to organise my Egyptian Visa, but not yet got my Sudanese one, which is the one I am a bit concerned about. It apparently takes up to 10 working days to get the Sudanese visa from the embassy in Pretoria - I have heard it is a lot quicker from other Sudanese embassies further up in Africa so I will try and get it from either Nairobi (Kenya) or Addis Ababba (Ethiopia).

Apart from sorting visa's out, I have spent the majority of my time getting the bike ready. I met up with Ray Muller from Cybertech (Tours for Africa) and he has been an endless source of help!! Thanks Ray, Donovan and the rest of the team from Cybertech. The information that you have shared and your immense knowledge of Africa has been a great help. Ray has also helped me get my bike up to "African terrain standards" - I have added on "ultra heavy duty front springs", "ultra heavy duty tubes", jump start connection point, raised handle-bars, rewired the power supply and spot lights, added a master cylinder protection cover, welded/strengthened the panniers, removed the side stand switch etc etc etc ... it cost quite a bit of money (a further R21,000) but I am a lot more confident that the bike will make it! It is me I am more worried about ha ha .. Ayway, lets hope we both last :-)

I spent last weekend with my dad in Klerksdorp which was great! Good to see the old man again. Was great to get out of the hussle and bussle of Johannesburg for a while and to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends in Klerksdorp. Dad is obviously concerned about me doing the trip, but thats what dads are for I suppose.

I saw this sign on the way between Klerksdorp and Johannesburg. The sign is asking people to stay in South Africa and help to build the nation. It is the first sign I have seen of the sort, but I like the enthusiasm. Since 1994 almost 5 million educated people have left South Africa for overseas countries (mainly the UK, Canada and Australia) in an attempt to try and better their lives (me being one of them). To be honest, for an educated person in South Africa there is very little that beats the lifestyle here! Unfortunately South Africa has a very large crime problem (and other problems) that the government is failing to address. Unless there are some drastic improvements in the crime rates in this country, the educated (tax-payers) will continue to leave in droves - simple as that! ... and to be honest, I dont have much faith in the current government.

Well today I am back in the Johannesburg AMEC office in Bryanston. Kathy Bam has organised a "send-off" tea for me, with a few photos with the AMEC staff here in Johannesburg. Everyone in this office (and especially Kathy) have been absolutely great and very supportive. Makes me proud to work for AMEC. Thank you AMEC (Johannesburg)!

Also, thanks to all my family, friends and colleagues in Johannesburg for your guidance and assistance over the past few days. Much appreciated!

I start off tomorrow on my great trek through Africa. First stop is the Kingdom of Swaziland, for a day, before heading into Mozambique. I am not sure when next I will find an internet cafe, but it will hopefully be quite soon. Keep in touch ...

Jaag maar aan



Donna said...

Praying for you! We'll be looking out for your updates... best of luck and enjoy the beauty of Africa (and the craziness!) Be safe. Glen, Donna and famiy xx

Stan said...

Gareth- outdone yourself on the blogging.
Siya Phambile, don't stay too long at the Why Not bar in Mbabane. P.S the cheque is in the mail.

Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful time Bok, and take care of yourself!!! enjoy all the amazing experiences!! I will be looking out for your updates!!
Tam xxx

Doug said...

All the best Garreth, we'll be following your progress as you go.
Doug & family

Richard said...

Wassup bru! You've been away for 4 days and no news... Struggling to find all those internet cafes you were hoping for! Trust you're having a blast, and all is well. Let us know how things are going

Nick Davey said...

Gogs! Wish i could join! You got lots to take in.. take all Africa's beauty with a pause and deep breath! If theres anyone who can make the most of Africa, its you. Look after yourself. Here for any medical assistance/queries etc. Keep in touch bro.
Nick Davey

Anonymous said...

Nice start to the trip mate. Keep the blogs coming...they are a great read :)
Let us know when that big comfy big bike seat starts feeling like you are sitting on a razer blade :P
Nic, Port Hedland.

Pharty Van Vuuren said...


Hamba gahle! Watch the mozzies, malaria is a nasty business! Hope you got a pile of "tong" as it gets kinda lean in some of the places you will be going through. But just enjoy, you will be traveling through some interesting places. Teens, Jay, Jackie and little Rob join me in wishing you all de best.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bok,
Michelle and I are watching from Perff...
Good luck and keep us updated.

Cheers Bilbo Baggins

Shenandoah bed and breakfast said...

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