How to plan a trip from the North Cape, Norway - to Cape Town, South Africa

New episode on the YouTube channel!

Riding our motorcycles from the North Cape, Norway all the way down to Cape Town, South Africa is quite the dream!

Big dreams require big-time planning, and planning a trip of this magnitude is quite daunting, we find! The amount of work involved depends a lot on how spontaneous we would like to allow ourselves to be.

We’d like to have the freedom to explore and go where we’d like, which is why we won’t be booking any accommodation in advance. We prefer a tent in the woods or the mountains to a hotel any day, at least as long as we can stay warm and dry. For such a long stretch of time, we plan to break things up with a night couch surfing when available. It’s such a fun way to get to know new people in new places! Hostels are a third option.

We prefer this to a hotel breakfast!

Things we need a plan for

VISAs. We’ve compiled a list of all the countries we plan to ride through, and the different visa requirements for each one. Some countries do visa on arrival, while others have to be applied for weeks prior to arriving. Now that we have the facts, we just need to make a plan for when to get the different VISAs.

Vaccines. A lot of the African countries require a Yellow Fever vaccine, and will vaccinate you on arrival if you can’t prove you have one. We’d like to have all that sorted in advance. The Norwegian government has a list of vaccines they advise travelers to take, which we’ll comply with. We´ll also get a booster of the vaccines included in the Norwegian Childhood Immunisation Program, so that they are up to date.

Motorcycles. This is the most exciting part, right? The motorcycles need to be strong enough to carry everything we need for a year. They need to be tough enough to get up hill in terrain, but also light-weight. Ideally, Pia should be able to get her bike back up after tipping it over without any help.

Money. Ack, it’s by far the greatest issue. We might be rich in dreams, but not money. For now, we have a little bit saved up and are working extra shifts. Ideally, we should find some way to sustain ourselves while on the road. Our need for luxury really is nonexistent, and that helps.

Time off work. This is also an issue. Kenneth is a barista, coffee roaster, and part-time owner of two coffee shops. Small businesses require a lot of attention and time to flourish, but with great effort, we hope it won’t be completely off the table. I´ll have to hope for an extended leave of absence, or deal with the insecurity (freedom?) if that isn’t granted. Due to a shortage of nurses, finding a new job is very possible - there’s always an opening for a nurse. The problem is, I’m so spoiled with the people I work with now. I appreciate them so much! I fear I won’t know how good it is ´til it’s gone. But who knows? I love nursing, but I might also get an opportunity to find a new career, to love another job.

Offroad riding skills. Sure, there are highways - but where’s the fun in that? For

extended stretches, we will have to expect muddy tracks and bumpy tarmac. The better we’re prepared, the safer (and funnier!) the travel. Our aim is to be "weightless riders", in short to let the bike move freely underneath your body, which is easier said than done. We just have to practice, practice, practice - and trust the physics of the bike. Pia has tipped over countless times due to being too hard on the front break - time to break that habit!

Mechanical training. We don’t have much technical experience yet and need to be able to do easy repair and maintenance on the road. Among the things we know we need to be able to do is repair punctured tires and fix broken chains. Can you think of something? We have some very exciting plans for learning this in the future, and we’re so excited to tell you! Stay tuned :)

Insurance. Both for us and the bikes. We wouldn´t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without a chance of fixing our bikes. Or our bodies, for that matter - health insurance is an absolute must for a trip like this. Especially for somebody as clumsy as us!

Food on the go. We need easy-to-prepare meals that are cheap and quick to cook on a simple gas stove. The heat, an unusual luxury for us Norwegians, means the food will spoil quicker than we’d like. We´ll have to find a way around that. Hydration will also be of great importance if we’d like to stay focused on the road - and we do! Motorcycle clothes are not the airiest items to wear either.

Medicine. This might seem like a tiny thing to think of, but since we both take medicine daily we need to plan for this too. Kenneth sometimes needs a blood sample to be analyzed to make sure he’s within the therapeutic window of his medication. We ´ll need the proper paperwork from our general practitioners and a huge supply. We ´ll be spending quite some time in areas where Malaria is a realistic threat, and need to take precautions for that. We don’t want Ebola either.

Coffee farms. We can’t possibly travel Africa without visiting a coffee farm or two. Hopefully, we’ll be able to connect with some farmers and be able to see their work first-hand. We imagine ourselves sitting on the top of a mountain, overlooking coffee plantations while sipping on a fresh brew.

Ride the Bean | Kenneth | Yamaha XT660 | Sweden |
This was taken in Sweden earlier this year. Time to make an African version of this photo!

I´m almost afraid to ask this, but if you see something we´ve forgotten, please let us know. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!