Namibia: the African ranch

On the second attempt we succeed in crossing the Namibian border and have agreed to stop a few km outside the border town. While in Angola it was at times hard to find a bar-shed or a cafe-shed, now the problem was opposite. In every village of 10 sheds, 8 of those sheds were bars with cute names.

The first impression couldn’t have been more wrong. 100 km into the country the bars disappear and are replaced by long straight roads with perfect tarmac, bordered by endless fences. Namibia could be mistaken for an African Bundesland or a German version of Arizona. The Ordnung is everywhere. Having been through the chaos of Nigeria, Congo and the places inbetween, the western-like orderliness of everything in Namibia was unexpected. (more…)

Angola: less dance more work

Once the crazy Lagos-like traffic of Luanda clears, the road going south is good tarmac and 50km out you can hardly see any other cars on the road, just endless straight lines through much less vegetation than the north. The scenery changed quickly, the steaming rainforests of Gabon gave way to patches of savannah in Congo and now the plains of angola remind of southern Spain. (more…)

Angola: back in the USSR

The ramp in front of me is steep. Marat from Tatarstan already calls davai, davai. So I go up fast enough to warrant a little jump off the end of the ramp landing into an Antonov 12 military cargo plane. It is a four-prop classic, built some time between ’59 and ’73. It is also our ride out of the Angolan enclave of Cabinda, courtesy of Angolan military and 250 USD. (more…)

Väikse valge tüdruku seiklused Gabonis

Kristo esimene mõte, et teeksin nendega Gaboni osa ise motikal kaasa tundus mulle parima naljana (minu kogemus on ukerdada parkimisplatsidel). Teine kutse kaasreisijana oli aga juba väga ahvatlev. Olin ta kirjeldustest aru saanud, et Gabon on väga sobilik koht esmakordse musta Aafrika külastamiseks. Ma olin uudishimulik, miks Kristo Aafrikast nii sõltuvuses on? Mis on see, mis teda nii väga sinna ikka ja jälle tõmbab, et isegi meie üllatus-pulmareisi lootis ta Kongo DV-sse saada? (more…)

Congo: fixing the Austrian

I open the throttle, but the thump of the 640cc cylinder doesn’t save me. The bike skids into the mud. I pick up the bike, kickstart and try to get going, but the rear wheel spins and Kotilda doesn’t move more than an inch. I try pulling back and it moves an inch, no more. The reason I crashed wasn’t just my incompetence – my front wheel is stuck. (more…)

Gabon: arbeit is for others

The time spent in the workshop with Deleure, my favourite South African mechanic, presented an opportunity to learn about life in Gabon. Deleure had moved here for work. Salaries in Gabon are 3 times what they are back home for him. His workshop was surrounded by million dollar superboats, jetskis, quads. I quizzed, who are the rich folks in Gabon? Apparently 90% of GDP is controlled by 20% of the population. He explained it is mostly the Lebanese, who own the mines inland and have some stake in oil production.
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