Mat and Trace Ward

Mat and Trace

Mat and Trace Ward

We have 3 1/2 months in South East Asia before we head to the UK. Apart from heading to Malaysian Borneo for the first three weeks we have no set plans. Check this blog out for updates!


Since we left NZ

Africa » Tanzania » West » Sumbawanga November 26th 2013

The road to the Tanzanian border was a rutted, hilly affair, filled as in the rest of Burundi with locals carrying produce or pushing laden bicycles. The Tanzanian border post seemed organised and well resourced compared to the Burundi one, but unfortunately, despite the assurances of the officials at the Kenya/Tanzania border, our $50 visa didn’t cover re-entry into the country. There was no swaying them, so after waiting around for a while pretending we didn’t have the money, we begrudgingly forked out another $50 each for entry into a country we had only left a couple of days before. We had better luck at customs, where we managed to talk our way out of paying the various customs charges again. That night we had planned to stop at Kigoma, so after a trip to an ... read more
Jane Goodall Education Centre campsite
What a ride
Hippos in Africa, hippos for Africa.

Africa » Burundi » North » Ngozi November 21st 2013

After being taken to lunch by a Burundian customs officer we rode west towards the top of Lake Tanganyika and the capital of Bujumbura. Lush hillsides swept past us covered in an intricate patchwork of crops. People were everywhere. Bicycles passed loaded high with produce, other cyclists held on to trucks as they were pulled up hills, roadside stalls and brick kilns lined the road. At one point I passed two guys hand-sawing a massive log into planks with a saw that looked like it was from the 1800s. Each minute included moments of eye contact with half a dozen people. Sometimes I received wide mouthed stares, sometimes a friendly wave, and on more than one occasion a spontaneous dance. The corners kept coming and coming as we wound through the fertile hills. Ahead of me ... read more
This passes for legal tender in Burundi

Africa » Tanzania » North » Mwanza » Kesesa November 18th 2013

Another border, another country: Tanzania. I hate border crossings. I love border crossings. They can have you stuck in the heat trying to a fulfil some idiosyncratic and bureaucratic process while draining you of money, but they also bring the excitement of a new country. Riding away from a new border always gives me a buzz. New people, new customs, new landscapes, new... unknowns, and on a motorbike it is all there waiting to be explored. Once in Tanzania there was an immediate change in vibe from the locals. Rather than being crowded by people when we stopped, the locals were pretty chilled out. Hard to describe, but Kenya had an edge to it that Tanzania thankfully lacked. Maybe they were a little too chilled out at times however; we stopped for a quick feed on ... read more
Mwanza Yacht Club
Life is good

Africa » Kenya » Central Province » Nanyuki November 16th 2013

The border process between Ethiopia and Kenya was smooth and friendly, which was a relief after the hassles we experienced in Egypt and Sudan. We were knackered after a long day, but the hotel we checked out was a bit expensive so we trundled off to find something cheaper. We succeeded by finding a guesthouse for locals who allowed us to ride through their restaurant to store the bikes in an area down some stairs. Tricky to get to, but nice and safe for the bikes. Soon after we arrived the skies opened. Proper rain. The first we had experienced since Europe. A novel buzz in some ways, but also pretty concerning as we were to face the most notorious road of our trip the next day, the two day "Hell Road" from Moyale to Isiolo. ... read more
Morning on the Moyale to Marsabit road

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Lalibela November 8th 2013

What a change! Women in public. Guys and girls holding hands. Beer! The roads also changed almost immediately, twisting up in to the Ethiopian Highlands. The temperature was cooler too, which was a welcome relief after our time in Libya, Egypt, and Sudan. We stayed in Gondar on our first night in Ethiopia. Like many places in the area it was well over 2000m above sea-level. The following day Jaap was under the weather, so I headed north for an explore in the Simien Mountains. After 100km the map said to turn right if I wanted to reached the Simien National Park. But the road was just a rutted dirt path, and I wasn't convinced. However I tried it, and it improved to a rocky dirt road. I was stopped at the gates of the park, ... read more
The National Park guard that accompanied me on the bike.
So cool

Africa » Sudan » North » Wadi Halfa October 30th 2013

Our ferry from Egypt chugged in to Wadi Halfa in Sudan just before lunch. Wadi Halfa is a dusty hot border town, with not a whole lot going down. Apparently we stayed in the room that Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman used during their Long Way Down trip. The bikes hadn't arrived so we headed into town to kill a little time. A large group of young guys in green khaki came striding past us a one stage, then a few minutes later one guy in police uniform came sprinting past us, with the group in hot pursuit. They caught him, gave him a bit of a beating, and then took him away. We found out later that the police guy had arrested one of the army guys for drinking, and this had obviously backfired on ... read more
Jaap stuck at the hotel in Wadi Halfa
Meeting the mad cyclists in the Nubian Desert
Arriving at the port in Wadi Halfa

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Aswan October 23rd 2013

After the week-long emotional high of Libya, we were soon brought back to earth by the worst place on earth: the Egyptian border offices at Salloum. Suspicion, arrogance, repeated searches, requests for "tips", and endless bureaucracy was the theme of the day. We were ushered into the dark, grime-smeared corridors of a rotting building to get our passports stamped. Shifty characters loitered about, eyeing us up with what seemed to be a mixture of curiosity and resentment. Finally we were issued through to a dark room with a large desk where three uniformed guys sat. We were introduced to "The General" who with incongruous politeness informed us that we would need to purchase our visa on exit from the country and then waved us away. I had organised a fixer to travel from Cairo to sort ... read more
Near Tahrir Square

Africa » Libya » Benghazi October 9th 2013

As we approached Misrata there were burned out hulks of tanks, and the buildings were regularly pockmarked with bullet-holes, or burst open by shells, rockets, or bombs. The war that had ended two years ago felt close. It felt real. But it was this backdrop of armed revolution, the resulting lack of governmental structure or services, and and the instability of the country that served to highlight the generosity and enthusiasm of the people we were meeting. In Misrata we met Moftah, a friend of one of the Tripoli guys, and spent the evening with him and his uncle. Misrata was were the bulk of the fighting had taken place during the war, and we gained a first-hand account of what it had been like. The people of Misrata had decided to resist Gadaffi, which resulted ... read more
Tank.  KTM.  Good.
Smells like a revolution
Tank in the back yard

Africa » Libya » Tripoli October 2nd 2013

"You want adventure? Libya is the real one" advised our fixer Masoud with a big smile. He was helping us complete the various formalities at the border, while at the same time giving us our first insight into life in post-revolution Libya. The clear message that came across was that there was real excitement about the potential that a Gaddafi-free Libya held for the people, but also frustration at how slow progress was. As a far as safety was concerned, he felt that the main issues were between Libyans (different provinces / militias), and as tourists we would be welcomed. And welcomed we were. At the outskirts of Tripoli we were met by half a dozen guys on Harley Davidsons, and escorted into town as the sun set. It was the start of a week of ... read more
Libya is as good a place as any for my first ride on a Harley
The balcony above the bikes is where Gadaffi used to make speeches

Africa » Tunisia » Sousse » Port El Kantaoui October 1st 2013

We rolled off the ferry in another continent. The ride from the northern-most part of Africa to the most southern stretched out ahead of us, a blank canvas of potential. Jaap and Fre were stamped through the border in about 2 minutes each. It took me 3 hours. For some reason as a New Zealander I needed a visa. A mysterious and protracted immigration process culminated in me being presented with a full page visa, complete with a photo of me in green. The Indelible Hulk. Morsi had invited us to his family home in Sousse, so we headed south, and were treated to half a dozen incredible dishes cooked by his mum. Their hospitality blew us away. Morsi, you're a good dude. We went for a beer after dinner, and checked out a crazy hotel ... read more
Me, Morsi, Jaap, and Fre.
Djerba camp
Star Wars country

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