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Sunday 2 June 2019


23rd Dec 2019: Johannesburg (Rest Day)

My flight from Dubai arrived Johannesburg as scheduled. Roger was already at the airport waiting for me. He brought me back to his nice thatched roof home. I was introduced to her sweet wife, Jen. I didnt plan to stay the night here actually, but since I was very tired and Roger insisted that I should stay for at least one or two nights, I decided to accept his invitation. I slept the whole morning until afternoon. I woke up to find the house empty as Roger and Jen went for their Christmas shopping. They came back soon after. We talked about my journey and many other things. My bike which was already serviced and washed (thank you!!!) was taken back home by Roger. That night, Jen made a very delicious halal chicken and pumpkin roast to be eaten with rice. She also showed me her crafts which she made herself. She’s so talented.

24th – 25th Dec 2019: Johannesburg – Potchefstroom (150 km)

Not a single soul failed to question me why am I going to Potch? Its not listed in the travel attraction list at all. Well, the reason is because Grant Johnson, the Horizons Unlimited pioneer whom I met in Indonesia told me that one of HU member owned a game park here where you can enjoy a game drive and see lots of wildlife, and from Grant’s recommendation, I could pitch my tent at the premise for free. Since I had not seen any zebra as yet, this place is my last chance before I made my way back to Cape Town.
I said goodbye and many thanks to my lovely hosts, Roger and Jen with a promise to visit (and cook biryani rice for them) the next time I come. The ride from Joburg was accompanied by some head and side wind which was disturbing. Two km before reaching the game park was gravel corrugated road and slightly climbing. While riding the offroad, I saw ostriches and a group of oryx which made me screamed with joy.

I didnt expect much when I arrived at Elgro River Lodge. In my mind, its going to be free camping and thats it. However to my surprise, Kobus, the owner (thru his staff, as he was away for Christmas) gave me a very nice riverfront glass wall chalet. FOC. I repeat, FOC. A dorm bed in RSA’s hostel will cost you USD20, so how much do you think a nice riverfront glass wall chalet will cost you? I really cant believe my luck.

After resting and cooking, I checked out the lodge. It had a small outdoor swimming pool and a bar. The surrounding was well kept and beautiful. I enjoyed the sunset by the beautiful Vaal River when my eyes caught someone fishing not very far away from me.

I decided to greet him. Pete Goosen is a very nice and friendly guy. He’s Kobus’ friend and always came here for fishing. He said that he once caught a 35kg catfish at this river. His farm was about 4 km from Elgro Lodge. When I told him that I havent managed to see zebra as yet, he offered me a game drive at his farm tomorrow. An offer which I couldnt say no. We talked while viewing the beautiful sunset by the river for about an hour before I had to excuse myself due to mossies.

The next day, Pete came to fetch me at 8 am. We drove to his farm. He showed me his amazing trophy room. Then he drove me around his huge farm. We saw lots of animals - impalas, different types of buffalos, different type of antelopes, giraffes and of course zebras. The zebras were so damn cute. I was very excited and screamed like a little kid. For the first time, I managed to get as near as 50 meters to giraffes. They were beautiful creatures.

Can you count the giraffes?

Pete told me that there are leopards on his farm and he was once attacked. Wow, thats scary. Then, Pete drove me to a bridge which was his favourite bird watching spot. We managed to see some birds here.

After that, we visited Pete’s friend who had 4 beautiful dogs. Thanks Pete for making my day.


26th Dec 2019: Potchefstroom – Bethlehem – Maseru (R501 – R721 – R26 – 8 – A2, 454 km)

I made an early start this morning. The 20 km offroad on R501 was a combination of dirt and gravels. Certain part was very corrugated. I almost dropped my bike once when having to ascend on this kind of road. Luckily I managed to control my bike. I saw some wildlife and again, I saw zebras which brightened up my day.

The first half of my ride today was very nice as I got a tailwind. The road was deserted and the view after Bethlehem was awesome with lots of mountains and green views. However, I got a side wind after that and it was pretty stressful.

I arrived at Maseru Bridge border and exited South Africa without any problem. 

Then I entered the 6th country in my African Ride, Lesotho. It was a very easy border. I only need to stamp my passport and pay the road fund, R40 (approx RM10) and thats it. No need to do customs declaration for my bike here.

I met a local biker at the border (but he was driving at that time). We chatted for a while and he bought me water. Then I rode to Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho. It was only a small town actually. But the funny thing was, I saw Lim Kok Wing’s advertisement board here.

I missed the turn to Maseru Backpackers Hostel which was located just next to the beautiful Maseru Lake and had to turn back. The entrance to the hostel was pretty steep gravel track but I made it alright. I stayed one night here (R180). The afternoon was spent relaxing by the lake and chatting with an advrider from Germany.


27th Dec 2019: Maseru – Bloemfontein – Beaufort West (A2 – N8 – N1, 700 km)

Summer is the windiest month in the African region, especially in South Africa. Riding a bike as mine, its not light enough for easy handling when riding on offroad, and its not heavy enough to fight with the wind. Due to this, I faced a challenging ride as I made my way south today.

I made an early start at 5.20am as today’s distance was huge and since the wind will normally be more fierce especially in the afternoon. Border crossing was very fast as there was no other people except the officers. I got a tailwind for the first 400 km until Colesberg.

A funny landmark which captured my eyes

However for the remaining 300 km, I had to struggle with crazy head and side wind. At times, I felt as if the wheels of my bike didnt touch the ground anymore. Its not the scariest wind that I had encountered, but its disturbing and I hated it. I lost count how many times I screamed when I felt that my bike was already out of control. 

Up ahead, I saw a cloud of dust being blown from the left to the right side of the road. I knew that a storm was passing by. So I stopped at a petrol station near Hanover for shelter and waited for the storm to pass.

After 1 hour, the wind lessened a little bit and I continued. The wind picked up strength once again while I’m riding, and God knew how I struggled to keep my bike upright. I can only ride with the 3rd gear, and could only manage the speed of 60 – 70 kmh. It was a very exhausting ride that I no longer could enjoy the orange and yellow mountains of the Northern Cape, even though the view was stunning.

Finally, I made it to Beaufort West after riding more than 11 hours, which 6 hours of it were spent fighting with the wind. Then I rode to an accommodation which I had booked earlier. It was quite difficult to find the house and I had to ask passers-by. When I found the house, no one responded to the doorbell. The wind was blowing fine sands into my eyes and it was very annoying. Especially because I’m dead tired and desperately need to rest. I had to ask the neighbour for help. Luckily the neighbour knew the owner and rang her. The owner came 10 minutes later. I felt so relieved when I finally settled down in my comfy room with A/C.

28th Dec 2019: Beaufort West – Gordons Bay (N1 – R43 – R45 – R321, 465 km)

Again, I made an early start to reduce the wind impact on my ride today. The wind was still blowing fine sands which were annoying. Todays ride was quite okay and the view was very beautiful. As a matter of fact, among all the countries I rode in the South African region, to me RSA is the most beautiful, followed by Namibia.

Here are some pics on the scenic N1 Highway, Hex River Pass & Theewaters Nature Reserve on R321. I really love the vineyards, mountains and the blue waters. I stopped too many time for pics. I just couldnt help it. Fortunately, the wind was not as disturbing as yesterday.

I rode to Andy’s house (my agent) in Gordon Bay. Andy was out riding, but his wife, Anne was at home. The wind was blowing crazy again, but Anne said that this is normal at her place.

Anne took me out for sightseeing in her car and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset at False Bay. 

That night, Anne received a message from Andy, saying that he fell off his bike when trying to avoid colliding with a goat on the offroad. His bike was badly damaged. I felt so sorry upon hearing this.

29th Dec 2019: Gordons Bay – Cape Town (N2 – M7, 50 km)

At 9 am, I said goodbye to Anne and returned to Sam’s house in Cape Town. It was good to be back here again after riding approximately 8000 km crossing 6 countries – RSA, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho. Sam repeatedly told me how relieved he was that I had returned, safe and sound.

With that, the first phase of my African Ride was completed.

Before I fly back to Msia on 31st Dec, Sam and his family took me to a weekend flea market at Milnerton.  I managed to buy some souvenirs to take back home. Thank you very much Sam and family for the kind hospitality.


Below are some basic info about riding in the 6 countries:

- Carnet required
- No entry fee for self and bike
- Vehicle insurance not compulsory
- Bikes also hv to pay tolls on certain highways
- Currency is Rand which is widely accepted in Namibia & Lesotho.

- Carnet not required
- No entry fee for self
- Road fund for bike NAD188
- No need to do customs declaration for bike
- Currency is Namibian Dollar

- Carnet not required
- No entry fee for self
- Road fund for bike P110 (per entry), but I had an unpleasant experience and had to pay more.
- Bike insurance P50
- Currency is Botswana Pula

- Entry fee for bike & insurance USD31
- USD is widely accepted

- Carnet required
Payments for Zambia: Carbon Tax - 70 Kwacha, Road Fund - US$ 20, Toll - 20 Kwacha, Insurance - 103 Kwacha (minimum)
- Currency is Kwacha

- Carnet not required
- No entry fee for self
- Road fund for bike R40
- No need to do customs declaration for bike
- RSA Rand is widely accepted

RSA sells the priciest fuel, approx R15 – R17 per liter. The cheapest fuel was sold in Lesotho, R12. you can find lots of petrol stations in RSA, but a lot lesser in other countries. So, always check if theres any petrol station in your route, or bring spare fuel.

Accommodation is pricey. As a matter of fact, everything is pricey at this part of the world, especially RSA. The more popular the attraction is, the pricier it gets.  Camping @ lodge fee is about USD10 - USD15 per person. So if there are two of you, you must pay double even though you shared the same tent. Dorm rate starts from USD15 per person. Only for a pre-booked private room on Air BnB or, the price starts from USD25 per room (not per person).

Border crossing in Africa depends on your luck. If you meet a good officer, good for you, but if not, you need to have patience and some humour to tackle them. Most of them are poorly paid so they see tourists as a source to earn extra income. Same goes to the police.

- There are lots of speed camera in RSA, so watch your speed.
- Policemen in Botswana are very strict.
- Always stop at the STOP sign even though you didnt see anyone there.
- Potholes in certain road in Botswana. Lots of animal crossing as well, so watch out!!!
- Drunk driving is common.
- Lots of checkpoints especially when you are entering town @ province.
- Lots of unmarked speed bumps.

Its a good experience riding in Africa even though there are slight hiccups. So, am I done riding here? NO. My bike stays in Cape Town. I will return later to continue exploring this unique continent.

My utmost thanks to all my sponsors, Sam & family and Roger Davidson and DMD for all the help, Uwe for the route advice, Andy for my bike's shipping & clearance, Anwar Omar and Gavin in Cape Town and Msian Embassies in Pretoria and Namibia for the support. Till we meet again :)


19th – 22nd Dec 2019: Emirates Travelers Festival, Dubai

This festival is my 5th international event for 2018 after Overland Expo in the USA (May), Horizons Unlimited in Indonesia (Sept), Givi 40th anniversary celebration and EICMA Autoshow in Italy (Nov) and ZafigoX in Malaysia (Nov). I met many world travelers from all around the globe, including Juvena, the Wandering Wasp whom I host way back in 2015 when she first started her Singapore – Europe ride. The uniqueness of this event was the mode of transportation used by the travelers. Juvena and I represented adventure riders. Other speakers traveled the world by bicycle, 4WDs, caravans, walking, hitchhiking, backpacking but the most unique to me were Alvarro from Spain who traveled on his jet ski, Ahmad Al Qashemi from Yemen who went around the world by riding his camel and Alessandro from Italy who is a blind backpacker.

During this event, we were taken for culinary and cultural experience around Dubai. The local cuisine was very very tasty. I just cant get enough of the lamb biryani. 

I also managed to meet my ex-student, Syafinaz who took me and Juve for a half day Dubai tour near Dubai’s famous landmark, Burj Khalifa. There were lots of tourists here. She also treated us lunch at a nice restaurant. Thank you Enaz for the treat.

At the festival venue, each speaker had their own corner where the visitors can come and talked to them about their journey. I was met with not only local and international visitors but some Malaysians who resided in Dubai as well. 

I also need to entertain lots of local and international interviews. One of them was Las Vegas International Media. I was sooo tired but happy to introduce my country and to speak about Givi products as well.

I was given an hour for my presentation which went very well. There were lots of emotion and ended with me in tears of happiness. Why? Let it be a secret for the time being. If the organizer honour their promises, its going to be my biggest wish fulfilled. After that, I was surrounded by some of the audience, especially the local women, telling how much they were inspired by my story.

On my last day in Dubai, I managed to meet my brother Wissam Al Jayousi. He was a RTW advrider and I met him twice when he was in Msia. Wissam and his beautiful wife, Gorana, treated me and Juve at a fancy Lebanese restaurant and later brought us back to his big beautiful home. Thank you both of you for the hospitality.

I also wished to thank the Emirates Travelers Festival committee for having me here, especially Mr. Awad, Madam Najwa and Mr. Hasan.


Band: NASTIA, Title: ANGGUR (taken from EP 'EKSPRESI')