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The ultimate road trip: 12,500 miles across Africa on a motorcycle
His zigzag tour will take in 22 African nations including South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, the Saharawi Republic, and Morocco. . .
. . .before he ends up skinny, exhausted, and happy at my house in Spain, where my wife will fatten him up with her excellent paella.
Full disclosure: Thomas is a friend of mine. We covered the massive Hindu pilgrimage of Kumbh Mela together in 2001 and barely managed not to get trampled to death by hordes of naked holy men. But even if I didn't know him, this trip is so thoroughly cool I would have reported on it anyway.
Thomas isn't just going on vacation; he'll be visiting innovative grassroots projects that are making life better for the average African. Through his website Africa Heart Beat he'll be telling us about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, such as creating a job center for landmine victims in Mozambique, an AIDS theater group in Botswana, and a Muslim-Christian vocational center in Mali that's bringing the two communities together.
"The idea of crossing Africa came to me when I was 10," Thomas says.
While 20,000 km is a long way to ride, he's done it before in India. His longest journey there was 20,000 km on a 1950s technology 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet. I've ridden that bike and it's a monster-- heavy and tough enough for the task. This time he'll be probably picking up a KTM 640 LC Adventure, a lighter but rugged off-road bike from a dealer in South Africa when he flies there Thanksgiving Day.
He'll be crossing some very remote areas but will keep in touch as much as possible with an array of communications equipment. There will be regular updates on his blog, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. On the day after Thanksgiving, when Thomas is safely in Johannesburg and on the first day of his eight-month journey I'll be writing about some of the gear he's bringing along and share some advice he has for covering your own journeys as you do them.
Know of a project Thomas should cover? Tell us about it in the comments section!
Filed under: Africa, Botswana, Burkina, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Spain, Budget Travel