The plane landed to Johannesburg 5.20 am. I could see at
once (this was my first time in South Africa), that this was much more
modern place compared to West Africa.
Check-in for the next flight: Johannesburg-Durban. Bike should also
arrive there some weeks later. Airport terminal was modern, everything
told about a modern place. Great! Withdrawal of 300 Rands (60 USD)
from the machine. Everything works.
Flight SA503: Jo'burg-Durban took off at 8 am. Landing there 50 minutes
later. The weather was cold anyway! :) Temperature was around
20°C and windy. Cold for me, as I was used to nearly 40°C (what
kind of a Finn was I? Finns belong to a race that should survive
in freezing conditions ;-) Such as 40 degrees celsius below zero
Tourist information advised me well about accomodation facilities.
Good, as I didn't know anything about the city. Airport bus took
me to the center, I hopped off at a backpackers' hostel and booked
in. Cost R40, ok. Everything was so easy.
I wanted to go for a walk, to take fresh air. In the next door there
was a bike shop. Good :) They guided me to go to the Suzuki dealer
as they didn't have those spares I needed. On the way I saw for
example some whorehouses. Generally, the atmosphere in the city
was also a bit rough. I thought: to what kind of place I've come?? :)
The women greeted me: "hey, come in". No thanks. Maybe next time :)
At Suzuki dealer they said the spares would arrive in one week. I was
surprised of the modernity of the place. I had seen such thing last
time in Europe, six months ago. No material misery. But soon I
understood that the society was guite rough. I could see from
people's faces that they were cautious because of the crime.
19.3. Thu (253) Durban, S.A.
Some people gave me advice, that it's not good to wear a waist wallet
because criminals can see at once that "that's a tourist". (Easier
target for mugging).
Also I was advised not to walk alone in the night. On daytime ok,
but in the night reason to beware. In West Africa that problem
didn't exist... They said that Cape Town would be among the safest
cities in S.A.
I found a nice Internet cafe (best so far) Java@java. R 9/half
22.3. Sun (256) Durban
Writing an article for the newspaper (Kouvolan Sanomat) of my home
town. It has been late only for two months, but now I've more things
to tell :)
24.3. Tue (258) Durban
I tried to find out about the arrival of TANA ship. That was supposed
to carry my bike to Durban. They said in Ghana it would leave for
S.A. on 28.3. but I didn't have any idea of the date of arrival.
One export manager had told about "3 days" and another of "9 to 10 days".
I asked these people in that MSAS freight office to ask the missing
'bill of lading' document also for me from LINER. They were very
Because there were at least two weeks to the arrival of the ship, I
decided to visit elsewhere meanwhile. In the afternoon to the
backpackers' hostel came a long-haired girl with her heavy backpack.
Later in the evening she asked me to go with her for an evening
walk. We had a romantic evening. It was attraction from the first
moments :) She was a Swiss girl. Beautiful.
25.3. Wed (259) Durban
Kitty, the Swiss girl was leaving back to her place, to
Cape Town. She was going to take a flight back home to Switzerland
in a couple of days, so she had to leave. She was going there in
Cape Town by hitch-hike. What a thought! A young woman hitch-hiking
alone?! Wasn't she concerned about her safety at all?? We tried to tell
some sense to her, but of no use. Stubborn girl! :)
26.3. Thu (260) Durban
Cape Town (1754 kms by bus)
Happened that her flight was leaving almost two weeks later, so then
there was plenty of time. She invited me for a visit. I had already
planned to visit elsewhere. So, cancelling the first bus ticket and
then rushing to the bus station. Bus to Cape Town was leaving soon.
I went that nearly 2000 kms by bus, to see her again! Sitting 19 hours
in the bus.
27.3. Fri (261) Cape Town
Arrival at 8 am to Cape Town. I met her soon :)
Cape Town seemed to be quite nice city, more tranquil and more beautiful
than Durban. As there were some mountains nearby, we bought good hiking
boots for me. Next Sunday I would need them...
28.3. Sat (262) Cape Town
Early in the morning we left for a visit to Cape Point. On the way we
saw penquins. I told her that in Helsinki there are also penquins.
They are sometimes a nuisance for the traffic! Cape Point is one
of the southmost places of the continent of Africa. There is a
national park, it is a beautiful place.
Cape Point divides the Atlantic from Indian Ocean. The place was quite
mountaineous and steep. I could imagine how Bartholomeo Dias and
James Cook and other world explorers went just nearby from
the Cape Point by their wooden sail ships. 500 years ago world
travelling was really a tough thing.
Now the place was quite touristic, anyway it was in the nature park.
There was a beach nearby, but the water was quite cold, as the
Southern Pole is near, just some 2,000 kms away.
29.3. Sun (263) Cape Town
This day we planned to go hiking/climbing on Table Mountain.
It is very near from the city, a beautiful mountain 1083 m
above sea level. There goes also a cable car up, but we wanted to
climb it up, of course!
There are lots of hills and mountains around
the coastal area
and Table Mountain.
The nearest mountains are Table Mountain, Signal Hill,
Lion's Head and
I admit, sometimes it was exciting for me, when there were very
steep walls. We climbed sometimes 6, sometimes 10 metres high
walls straight up. Sometimes 0.5 metres broad place like a floor
(near a steep cliff), next to it 50 metres free fall. Brrr...
I had met a dangerous woman :)
There were chains installed, which helped the climbing. As Kitty
was from Switzerland, she was an excellent mountain climber. She
climbed easily and quickly. I tried to follow her. As she was a
vegetarian, we had only vegetable food for us. But it was a great
surprise for me, how strong food it can be! We hiked and climbed
whole eight hours and had just vegetable food!
I became convinced, that meat is not definetely necessary to be used
We visited her friend's place. It was a beautiful farm in a mountaineous
region. The friend Jeanne, an elder woman, had visited Finland
a couple of times, in 1954 and 1963. She was attracted to Finnish
culture. She asked me to resitate Kalevala. In these kind of situations
I felt I should know at least something about literature.
4.4. Sat (269) Cape Town
Kitty took a flight back home to Switzerland, so we said goodbye.
I had to move to a backpacker's hostel. Yuck.
6.4. Mon (271) Cape Town
This day I wanted to check the freight matters of the bike. When it
should come from Tema (Ghana) to Durban (South Africa) and how can
I get it later from Cape Town to Buenos Aires? I visited some freight
companies. Taxi cabs are very expensive in S.A. For example 15 km
drive cost 70 rands (14 USD). Cheapest offer for shipping was 160 USD
per cubic metre (totals 640 USD). That's ok, but from Cape Town all
the freight ships go first to Holland and then to Buenos Aires.
That trip takes 6 to 8 weeks! No thanks!!
In an air freight company, Safcor they offered freight for
the bike with some 3000 rands (600 USD). Ok!!! Less than 1/3 price
compared to freight Accra-Nairobi. That was even cheaper than shipping
and there is no need to wait! Great!! Safcor was a discovery.
9.4. Thu (274) Cape Town
I took a bus ride back to Durban. It meant 19-20 hours
sitting in the bus. Urgh. This is one example of the vast
distances in Africa. Distance between those two cities is 1754 kms.
In Africa it's an 'ordinary' distance, but in Europe it would be a
long one. From Central Europe to Westmost or Eastmost side.
11.4. Sat (276) Durban
I made a record: e-mailing 7 hours at an Internet-cafe
Java@java. 130 rands spent.
14.4. Tue (279) Durban
At last these religious holidays were finished :) I went
to MSAS, one of the local freight companies. Glad news, my
bike had arrived last Saturday!! Great! So it took exactly
14 days from Ghana, as I could guess :) They started to
arrange the customs formalities and that paperwork.
15.4. Wed (280) Durban
Waiting for the bike. Days just pass by.
17.4. Fri (282)
At eight o'clock I went to MSAS. This day I should get the
bike!!!! A month's waiting time was finished! I paid R1000
(=200 USD) of the harbour & documentation costs. Then we went
to fetch it. The bike had stayed 6 days in the harbour area.
When we arrived, it was a bad surprise for me: bike was covered
with bird shit!
The bike was also a little bit damaged. The harbour personnel
in Ghana didn't bother to take care at all. In the front
some damage, front signal lights were pointing up and down
and other rear signal light smashed. Contact information
written by permanent pen on the bike seat... they possibly
didn't have paper in Tema, Ghana. Luckily nothing was stolen!
The MSAS guy was very helpful and took my luggage by his car
to the backpackers hostel. Great! I went to ask for the
spares to the Suzuki center that I had ordered one month ago
(at the day of arrival to S.A.). Unfortunately they had the
wrong parts. Those belonged to Suzuki DR750, so they wouldn't
Then I had to take care of the oil change. I did that at
(yard of) a fuel station. So I made preparations for leaving next
day towards North and East Africa. There I met a manager of a bike
workshop Trevor Mann, he invited me to finish the maintenance
at their workshop! Great! As I had to do the 36000 kms periodical
maintenance, I needed to check some things, such as valve clearances
of the engine.
We went to the workshop of a courier service company, WhizzKids.
They had almost 20 bikes in operation. In their workshop my
bike was maintained well and also washed and cleaned from that bird shit. Also the workshop manager, Trevor made
spare parts orders for me from Swaziland!! Great!
I heard that DR800 model is not imported to South Africa, but to
Swaziland it is! So there in Swaziland was the only possibility to get spares for DR800 in Africa.
As I was leaving next day (Saturday) on the road again, he arranged so
that I could fetch the parts in Swaziland, at town of Manzini. Trevor's friend worked also in the local bike shop. Trevor asked his friend to take the needed parts to his home from the shop and then I could get them from him. This arrangement was done because it was going to be a long weekend, extra holidays. Otherwise I would have to wait some days for the shop to open again. ...and I could get also good discount! Great! Incredible!
I could say that this was the first real travel day this year!
On the road again!!! I had lots of energy for travelling, so
much that I missed the right junction and rode a lot too
far. Anyway, before the dark I was in Manzini :)
19.4. Sun (284) Manzini
Rocky Drift, S.A.
In Manzini I met the Trevor's friend and I bought the
highly needed spares (air filter and rear brake pads) from
him. I had nothing special to do in Swaziland and as all
the places were closed, so I decided to go back to South
Africa. The sceneries were beautiful, so mountaineous and
roads were curvy, nearly no traffic. Perfect place for