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. Read 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? Read 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. Read 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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Suusitasin kolmandat korda elus Libreville poole, ühe furgooni järel. See oli seitsme Libreville baikeri saateauto ja veeti sellega Krissi, Kristot ja Kotildat.
Meie esimene katse reisi käima saada lõppes 36 km kaugusel Ntoumi külas, teeäärse hotelli juures, Kotildal läks seal vänt puruks, starter töötas tal juba ammust aeg nii, et algul pidi vändaga starterile õige asendi leidma, siis seal miski haakis. Vahel haakis muidugi ka ilma vändata. Read More

Libreville: aluminium is weak

Eleven months have passed, but Africa didn’t miss us. It is the same hustle and bustle, as if we just woke up another day. The roadwork that last time we thought was just paused for the weekend was still in exactly the same state. The arrival reminded that the brain remembers selectively and romanticises the past. The heat. There was no recollection of the unrelenting humid heat that doesn’t stop in the night. I fail to comprehend how do they bother to wake up in Congo and for years go shooting at each other in this sauna, rather than find a shady mango tree and tough out the heat.
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Prologue to stage 3: Gabon-Namibia

Months before our wedding, my then-future parents in law asked us where would we like to go on a honeymoon. I didn’t have to think for a blink – the answer was DR Congo. Well we had to go to Hawaii instead, t’was okay.

Now starting stage 3 of our African expedition. On Thursday we shall be reunited with our bikes that have spent 11 months in a makeshift shed we built on a parking lot in Libreville, Gabon. We’ll be heading to the Congo river basin in the footsteps of the apocalypse, on to the plains of Angola and hopefully hitting the deserts of Namibia in January. Read More