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Motorcycle Tours in Africa

Motorcycle Tours in Africa

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2004 Pharaons International Rally, Cairo Egypt

2004 Pharaons International Rally, Cairo

Getty Images/Giuseppe Cacace

Motorcycle Tours in Africa

Africa offers motorcyclists the adventure of a lifetime. Whether you're interested in riding through the Sahara Desert, taking a motorcycle safari in Tanzania, or enjoying the beautiful South African coastline on a Triumph -- it's all possible. Below you'll find recommended motorcycle tours in Africa, tips on what equipment and expertise you need, advice on choosing the right motorcycle tour and more. Page 2 lists tours per individual African country and region.

Motorcycles - Bring Your Own or Rent?

Depending on your level of expertise and how long you plan to ride it's usually up to you whether you bring your own motorcycle, or rent one on location. Most motorcycle tour companies will be able to rent you a motorbike or help you with the paperwork to ship your own from home. If you live in Europe and plan to ride in Morocco or Tunisia, it will save you some money if you bring your own bike, but you will need quite a bit of paperwork.

If you're planning on riding solo, it may also be a good idea to bring a bike with you that you're familiar with and know how to fix. But if you're simply planning a two week motorcycle tour through Ethiopia as a one-off experience, then save yourself the hassle and rent.

What Should You Bring?

Whatever tour you book, the company will have detailed information about what you have to bring with you and what they can provide. A general list of things to bring will usually include: Motorcycle gear so you're sure to have a helmet, boots and gloves that fit you properly. If you're off-roading you'll want some kidney and back support. A camel-back drinking system is also very handy.

You will need personal medical insurance, evacuation coverage, up to date immunizations, visas and other regular requirements. Make sure you tell your insurance company that you're going on a motorcycling tour, some medical insurance doesn't cover this type of activity automatically.

Why Join a Tour?

The benefit of a tour is that you'll have a mechanic with you, which is very important in Africa since often you'll have to improvise on spare parts. Safety is a concern, especially in remote parts of Africa, and being in a group can offer more protection, especially if you get sick. Local knowledge on where to get parts, fuel (gas), food and accommodation is also very useful especially when you're out in the middle of nowhere. It's also nice at the end of a rough day of riding to have a cooked meal and a tent/hotel set up in advance. And lastly, a support vehicle will help you with excess baggage so you can enjoy the ride without worrying about your recent purchase of a 6 foot carved wooden giraffe falling off the back of your bike.

The drawback of joining a tour is that you may be traveling with people you don't necessarily like and obviously it's not as flexible, as your daily routes are by and large pre-determined. If you decide to do an independent motorcycling trip you must be very well prepared in advance and always consult someone who has done the trip before you.

Experience Required

You will always need to have experience riding a motorbike and a motorcycle license to prove it before you join a tour. In many cases, especially for desert trips, you will also need significant off-roading experience. South Africa is a great destination if you only have minimal road experience (and no off-road), since the roads are generally in good condition.

Trans-Africa Motorcycle Tours

If you have the time and a good sense of adventure (as well as humor) check out these amazing tours that cover the entire African continent:

  • Kudu Expeditions offers a 4 month Trans-Africa trip from Morocco to South Africa (starts in the UK). It covers approximately 18,000 miles and you'll get to enjoy Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Dem Rep Congo, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa.

  • GlobeRiders have a nice 6 week tour of Africa, riding through South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Zambia, and Namibia.

The Sahara Desert

The Sahara is one of the most popular destinations for motorcyclists keen for an ultimate off-roading adventure. If you want to see what it's like, check out this YouTube video.

  • Beast of Burden expedition company specializes in motorcycle expeditions across the Sahara with unique trips through Mauritania and Mali. They will organize the logistics and support for bringing your own motorcycle to Africa.

  • Kudu Epeditions offer a 3 week Paris to Dakar traditional route. It's designed for all levels of skill and the company offers training for those not used to off-roading.

  • Trans-Sahara Challenge, is a 2 week tour through the Shara offered by Kudu Expeditions. It covers 3,000 miles and starts in the Gambia, before heading on through Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, and Spain.

  • Overcross is a German based company that offers lots of different tours, this one crosses through the Northern Sahara including Tunisia, Algeria and Libya.

Motorcycle Rallies in Africa

Rallies are really for professionals only and you have to have a lot of experience under your belt.

The Dakar Rally
The ultimate motorcycle endurance test is of course the Dakar Rally. Sadly the event was canceled at the last minute in 2008, and for the first time in its history, the Dakar Rally will not end in Dakar, Senegal but in Buenos Aires. The race has been shipped over to South America and will run through Chile and Argentina instead. More about the Dakar Rally.

Morocco hosts a week long Rallye du Moroc in September every other year or so, with routes looping through the Western Sahara.

Page 2 -- Africa Motorcycle Tours Per Country/Region

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