Mat and Trace Ward

MandT W

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 » South Africa » Western Cape » Cederberg December 23rd 2013

Jaap’s tyre was not only down to the canvas, but through a couple of layers. As a result the 120km ride to Springbok was a rather tentative one. We did however arrive safely around lunchtime, and were hopeful of being able to track down a tyre for Jaap. However it was a Sunday and the day of Nelson Mandela’s funeral, and the tyre outfit was of course closed. Miraculously we met someone who knew the owner and called him for us, but less miraculously he did not hold the tyre size we needed. We spent that afternoon and the Monday phoning around trying to find some way to get a tyre to Springbok urgently. I was running out of time before my flight to NZ, and was keen to explore the back roads on the way ... read more
Terminal tyre
They went all out on the design and materials for this sign.
Near the Cederbarg Oasis.

Africa » Namibia » Fish River Canyon December 15th 2013

After the relaxed and efficient Namibian border formalities, we covered the 50km of gravel to Tsumkwe in 30 minutes. It was great to have some pace after battling the morning road. We were very low on fuel, so it was a relief to roll into the Tsumkwe general store and fuel station to fill up. I noticed that most of the locals had very similar facial features – small flat faces, with high cheek bones and wide-spaced heavily-lidded eyes. As the local teenage guys were checking out the bikes, their speech was riddled with clicks. It was one of the times during the trip where I put together stuff I’d seen on TV with a concrete location – “this must be the area where the San people come from”. Heading in to the store we encountered ... read more
The Hoba Meteorite - the largest known meteorite in the world. That's a block of solid metal that until 80,000 years ago was flying through outer space.
3L Stiefel (glass boot)
The nocturnal Palmato Gecko

Africa » Botswana » North-West » Maun December 7th 2013

The usual group of “helpful” men surrounded us as we pulled up at the Zambian border post. I brushed off the offers of help, and scoffed at the threat that I would not be able to exchange Zambian Kwatcha once in Botswana. There was no reception on my phone to check the exchange rate, and I wasn't about to trust the money-changers' "best rate". The only thing was that they were right, once we got into Botswana I couldn't exchange my Kwatcha anywhere. In the end I rode back to the border from where we were staying, and aware of the irony of the situation started pestering a line of people leaving Botswana by offering a competitive rate for the exchange of Pula to Kwatcha... Before the realisation that I might be stuck with my Kwatcha, ... read more
Impressive lightning, less impressive photography
Dung Beetle
KTM and Elephant - a beautiful sight.

Africa » Zambia » Livingstone December 3rd 2013

Despite having to ride an extra 200kms, Jaap had arrived in Kabwe before me and his bike was parked up outside the hotel we had agreed to meet at. The reunion was emotional: "Looks like your front fork is leaking Jaap". "Godverdomme". The next morning Jaap used a £4 piece of plastic I had purchased before the trip called the "Seal Mate" in an attempt to clean out any gunk that might be causing the leak from his front suspension. After he had spent a while on it, and uttered more than a few Godverdommes, I wandered over to check how it was going. He gave me the bad news - it wasn't working - but showed me the resealing process by giving it one last shot. Worked like a charm. No leak for the rest ... read more
Parked up at the backpackers in Lusaka
This guy was wearing these Aviators in the dark nightclub so I had to give them a go.
Devil's Pool

Africa » Congo Democratic Republic » South » Mokambo November 29th 2013

Any country with "Democratic" in its name is bound to be dodgy as hell. As I crossed the Luapula River towards the DRC border post, I was expecting to be well and truly worked over by the border officials for as much money as possible. The chief of the post ended up being a relatively friendly guy, but wouldn't budge from his demand of $50 for the transit stamp. Paul who had suggested that I take this road had also been stung for this amount, so after a while I relented and paid up. But he was then insistent on a "souvenir" from me, so I offered him a photo from the portable printer. This worked well because I got a photo in his awesome cave of an office, and he was placated. A dollar to ... read more
Head immigration guy
The Pedicle road
Termite mound and village

Africa » Zambia » North-Western November 29th 2013

Zambia, our ninth African country, and my first crash. The 20kms from the Tanzanian border to Mbala was tricky mud. Just when you'd build a bit of confidence and pick up the speed, you'd lose control momentarily, and the jolt of adrenaline would raise your heart-rate, and lower your confidence. Often tentative riding is counter-productive as you don't have the drive from the back wheel to keep a bike under control, and mud tends to clog up the tread turning it into a smooth donut with zero traction. But when your front wheel is wandering off by itself, or you begin to awkwardly fishtail, it's easier said than done to keep the power on. However, at one particularly greasy section the bike started to squiggle uncomfortably, and in a moment of bravado and frustration I wound ... read more
Campsite at Tanganyika Science Lodge
Shower being filled.
Fish feast.  Man it was tasty.

Africa » Tanzania » West » Kipili 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 » Eastern Province » Moyale 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

Tot: 0.277s; Tpl: 0.009s; cc: 37; qc: 158; dbt: 0.1604s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb