This year has seen us kick off with an amazing ride in Australia, an announcement of an incredible riding adventure in Africa for 2017 – but more to the point a spectacular expedition into South America – which is happening right now. The South American expedition would not have been as cool and professional, if it wasn’t for the help and support of Triumph Motorcycles Chile – an incredible bunch of Triumph enthusiasts whose support and attention to detail has helped us get an awesome set of adventure rides off the ground.
With Billy (Biketruck) doing a pre trip recce to make sure things are as they should be – we were presented with two ultra cool Triumph 800 XCX’s – kitted out with Continental TKC 80′s (The best knobbly tires in the world – me thinks), a Garmin Zumo 660 (Which we use in Africa and Australia – the best of the bunch) and of course some superb Touratech waterproof roll bags – which have served us well now for nearly eight years – those bags last for sure.
The route of the expedition is pretty extensive – Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru – criss crossing the Andes, riding alongside volcanoes, the Pacific Ocean, Lake Titicaca – not to mention the historic Machu Picchu – this is serious travelling. And for those doubters who think organised tours are not the real thing – let me tell you, I’ve done enough of them now to know that you just cannot predict what will happen – they’re organised, but they’re still adventures – we’ve even had an earthquake on one – but that’s another story.
Please follow Billy Biketruck, myself and Triumph Motorcycles Chile on Facebook and Twitter – and keep an eye open for Instagram, to get a feel for the expedition, the adventure and the highs and the lows – because there will be both, for sure. Thanks again to Triumph and to Triumph Chile for all your hard work and support to make this adventure a reality – and finally, a great big thanks to all those who are joining the trip – you’ll have the adventure of a lifetime, and a few laughs and super culture thrown in.
All the best – Charley xx
We’ve been travelling through Africa for many years, leading groups of riders and 4×4 drivers into some fascinating territories. Across Morocco’s High Atlas and down to the Cape of Good Hope. There is truly magic in Africa. All of our trips include time to encounter some of Africa’s most amazing wildlife. From the tiny little Dik-dik antelope, only weighing in at about 3 kilos, to the mighty elephant – the largest walking animal on earth, we’ve had so many moments of pure joy being close to these creatures – it’s been such a privilege. This year we’re going a step further. We’ve decided to make our adventure trips much more clued up and more in tune with nature, you could say more ‘eco centred‘. Yes, I’ve learnt a fair bit about the African flora and fauna over the years – but I think we need more, more knowledge, more detail and increased understanding.
We’ve recently discovered an amazing educational centre in southern Africa called EcoTraining. Their whole ethos is driven by the desire to educate people about nature and the ecosystems that co-exist around the earth that give us the delicately balanced joy’s of wildlife, plants, people and the natural world.
We were so taken by this organisation, we decided to send our hero – Billy Biketruck – to Africa for a few months, to get trained up as an accredited Field Guide. Some of you who know Billy, know that he’s pretty well into that side of our African tours, so who better to send on this mission of discovery and adventure. We’re going to follow Billy throughout his training and keep updating everyone how things are going – right through to his accreditation exams at the end of the course – so no pressure hey, Billy Boy? You can follow Billy’s Twitter @biketruck and also pickup regular updates from here.
Most of this year Billy will be in Australia, Africa and South America – so the 2 months he’s putting into getting his accreditation means he’ll be home in the UK with just enough time to maybe cut the grass – before he’s on a plane again back to Africa. We’re incredibly excited to have this opportunity with EcoTraining and from our perspective, to have Billy as a fully trained up Safari Field guide, will add a whole new dimension to our African adventure rides. The excitement of spending some time in the bush, looking for tracks – maybe even tracking an animal – wow, this will be more than a motorcycle or 4×4 trip – this will make our trips so special – a trip of a lifetime.
Of course, Billy is a bit of a character – so we’re not expecting this to all go smoothly – maybe the best way to collect crocodile eggs for research is NOT by pulling the tail of the 18ft Daddy croc – Billy has a lot to learn. I’m sure we’re in for a few laughs and some fantastic images along the way. If anyone would like to join Billy on his new adventure, it’s an open education centre and they take people from all over the world. Check out their courses and availability here on their website calendar – in our view they’re the leading specialists in this area with a reputation second to none. They are the eco oracle.
Charley Boorman xx
ps. Watch this space for more info and updates as it happens… should be a fun ride!
Have your own Long Way Down with me August / Sept 2017 and have the ride of a lifetime from Cape Town to Victoria Falls and onward through Zimbabwe, Botswana and back into South Africa and Lesotho. Ride from Johannesburg over into Lesotho and down the infamous Sani Pass, and the Garden Route back to Cape Town – or do the whole lot – Cape Town to Cape Town. This is our regular double trip and its getting better and better! Mica, from the USA was one of about 25 who joined our Cape Town to Victoria Falls trip a while back and with nice helmet cam and digital camera, he’s crafted some pretty cool pieces and also ran a trip blog.You can check out the video here http://youtu.be/p4GTmh91tRE and the blog account here http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=725446.
Another couple of riders created youtube bits – here are a few:
John and Val – Photo Montage http://youtu.be/ITJvz8dKh1w
Hope you like them guys. Thanks for doing them – I think we’ll all remember those trips for a long long time! I’ve just finished the 2015 trip before Christmas – which was an incredible feast of riding, socialising and discovering – a great bunch of people and a fantastic adventure yet again.
We enjoyed the life on the road and stayed in some awesome lodges – sometimes way out in the desert or on the banks of the Zambezi river and some right in the swamps – surrounded by crocodile, hippo and lion.
The upward trip starts in August and will cover around 5,000 kilometres and 4 countries, in about 16 days through Africa’s most amazing countryside. Across open plains, through dense bush-land, forest and barren desert – this is a truly awesome journey, the first leg ending in Victoria Falls – on the Zimbabwe side.
The second leg starts just a few days after and heads South through Zimbabwe, sneaking into Botswana through a tiny little bush border and then back into South Africa’s thriving city, Joburg. Leaving Johannesburg we cross an easy border into Lesotho – Known as the ‘Kingdom in the Mountains’ before enjoying the famous Garden Route of South Africa back into Cape Town. The trip uses Triumph & BMW bikes – a combination of 1200′s, 800′s or 650′s. Nobbly tyres and Garmin Zumo GPS’s and we’re off. We will also have room for partners or family who would rather be in one of the support vehicles – or you can just rent one of our 4×4′s and not even ride a bike at all. This means that sometimes family can get ahead of the riders and laze at the pool or explore till the riders get in.
If you want to come – but worry that it’s too hard – it’s certainly not an enduro – it’s sometimes challenging, but well within the reach of most competent riders. Remember, it’s an Adventure Ride – it’s about culture, travel, sights, fun and riding, all wrapped into one!
To find out more – about Africa in 2017, get your name on the list with Compass Expeditions – Contact Jerry email@example.com and view the Compass site here www.compassexpeditions.com – more info will be coming soon…. so watch keep your eyes peeled..
Hi Guys, you may have heard that I’ve been working with a really cool charity lately called United World Schools. Their mission is to bring education to parts of the world that frankly, ain’t going to get it – without external help. Educating the worlds children is what makes the world a better place and gives kids a chance. This mission is quite doable too – it’s not some foggy kind of a mission statement – it’s pragmatic and you can see the physical results. I’ve been so impressed with United World Schools – they make a plan, visit a remote part of the world, get the community on board and give them responsibilities to make the school sustainable – then build the school – what a result. Sometimes, within ten weeks, a community end up with a school, teachers, books and a better standard of life, with more opportunities for these children to develop and expand their horizons. They’ve shown time and time again that education helps break the poverty trap that many isolated villages find themselves in. So – what am I doing? I’m helping to raise awareness, but more specifically I’m helping to build a school! Yes, I’ve visited a beautiful little village in Cambodia, called Tae Le and we’ve had the planning meetings with the community – and we’re up and running. All we need now is some money to help the community help themselves. You can see my recent visit to Tae Le and find out more about the project here – and you can skip along happily to my Just Giving page here to help us build the Tae Le school. Please help, it will be fantastic to watch the school develop and see for ourselves what we can do around the world helping kids who really could do with a little help…
Charley has this week announced an exciting collaboration with one of the worlds leading adventure touring operators, Compass Expeditions. Having worked together for the last four years offering tours across Australia, Charley and Compass will now offer amazing opportunities to have the adventure of your life in South America. Riding through Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile, you can ride alongside Charley as you discover the amazing character of South America. The people, the history, the culture – all from your motorcycle seat – the best way to see life.
The tour dates, routes and pricing will be announced shortly, but suffice to say they’ll be offering two special expeditions, open to all kinds of riders and as usual, Charley’s tours will differentiate themselves by his added touch and input to all aspects of the expedition – adding his wealth of experience as a biker and a world traveller, not to mention quality support and guides, including a qualified medic.
Charley said “All our tours stand out from the crowd by going that extra mile across all aspects of the expedition. For example, having a medic on all our tours gives everyone that peace of mind and lets you just get on with enjoying yourself and the location – they’re handy for sorting out hangovers too! We also do a little bit of off road training for those who perhaps need a refresher.”
To get the info and book a place – before they all go, check out the Compass Expeditions site here www.compassexpeditions.com - The first South American tour will be late August 2016… with the next one following right after.
ps. We’re also doing Southern Africa in 2017 – Cape Town to Victoria falls and back via Botswana and Lesotho – taking enquiries for that, but early days. xx
I’m just on the border of Namibia and Botswana and in a few days time I’ll arrive with a big group of riders, into Zambia – the classic Victoria Falls. We’ve had a great adventure ride from Cape Town, north and look forward to spectacular finish at the falls. The first thing we do when we get there is to visit old Joe McGregor Brooks, the true African Crocodile Dundee, in Livingstone – just a bridge away from the falls in Zimbabwe. Joe, starred in our Long Way Down series and has been a major focus for our annual adventures tours in Africa. Joe, who’s now 87 years old, takes us and our group around his collection of killer crocs, crocs that have been captured due to their ‘bad behaviour’.
What’s Joe’s secret to his long and eventful life? Croc fat! He takes a spoonful of croc oil every day. “When a croc looses a leg, it heals up in days – so what’s good for a croc is good for me.” So Joe claims. Well fair game – I’m ordering mine today! If you want to have a real African experience you wouldn’t do better than to visit Joe’s place. Mention my name, book yourself into one of his incredible castle apartment and enjoy a game drive with him – who knows, you may get a discount if you say “Charley sent me!“. For more info about Joe’s place – known locally as Gwembe Safaris… check out all the details here on their website www.gwembesafaris.com or email Ian, his son for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org. Joe also has his autobiography on sale – which is truly an amazing historic look at how life was back in the day as a young scot arriving in Africa, and living the life of a hunter – now turned conservationist.
Ian or Sue Brooks
P.O. Box 60576,
+(260) ø3 321 733 / +(260) ø3 321 648
+(260) ø213 321 733 / +(260) ø213 321 648 (if calling from a cell phone)
+(260) ø3 321 733
Woema, pronounced ‘Vooma’ like in the ‘Va va Voom…’ kinda way, is a really cool adventure bike travel business based in Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city. With a background in adventure travel TV documentaries, they’re a good fit for Charley. This year Woema is supporting Charley’s adventure rides across southern Africa, supplying amazingly functional kit and some great expertise. From wider off road footpegs to great waterproof and dust proof bags, satchels and hydration backpacks – if you want some adventure gear, this is the place to go in South Africa.
As well as the normal bike accessories they also cover camping and general overlanding. Charley said “…its a great fit working with Woema this year. As soon as I learn how to pronounce the name, we’ll be on a winner!”
Charley will be visiting the shop on the 12th September in Johannesburg for a morning coffee and a ‘hello‘. Everyone’s welcome, so if you’re around – pop in and grab a coffee, and you can join in a BIG TEAM PHOTO with Charley. We’ll have all our international riders with us as we’re en route to Lesotho and the Sani Pass. It will be an exciting stop off for our guys and gals before heading south – come and wish them luck. The shop address is:
Woema, Glen Gables Shopping Centre, Lynwood Gen, Pretoria East, Gauteng, South Africa.
Here we have our glamourous assistant, Billy Biketruck showing off some of the Woema kit we’ll be using in South Africa this year. Tail packs, Hydration bags and mega cool luggage bags – waterproof and dustproof. We’ll report back on how the kit holds up to the rigours of the Namibian desert and the cold mountains of Lesotho – but we’re pretty confident – the kit is awesome!
You can check out Woema’s website and follow them on Twitter and of course Facebook – check them out, click on their logo’s below… And of course if you want to join Charley on his great big African Adventure – keep an eye on our website as we announce dates for 2016.
Guys, I just got to tell you about this gem of a place in Zambia – The Maramba River Lodge. This will be our seventh year staying there being looked after by Brad and his family and staff. The place is just wonderful. It’s not another Disney type commercial place, it’s very real and earthy. Sitting actually on the banks of the Maramba river, you’ll see tons of wildlife. Elephants, Hippo and crocodile are there most of the time – it’s like being on a safari 24 x 7… honestly. Each time we’ve been there we’ve had visitors – several young elephants decided to come into the camp and eat anything – or in fact – everything they could find. We had some great tales to tell regarding how we helped chase them out! Then, each night, if you’re lucky, you’ll hear the munching of grass from the mighty hippos – who stroll around at their night time leisure keeping the grass down – I mean who’s going to stop them! In Ireland we used to use goats – over here in Zambia it’s a bit different.
If you want to get a way from the busy side of Livingstone, then come over to the Maramba and tell them Charley Boorman sent you! You never know, he may even give you a discount (or charge you more!). All the best to you Brad – looking forward to seeing you all very soon – in fact, August! Here is the link to the Maramba lodge http://www.maramba-zambia.com/
If you ain’t been to Dirt Quake before (created by the incredible Sideburn Magazine) well you haven’t really lived! It’s the epitome of what the bike community is all about. Watch top racers – and nutcases – race around the dirt track on proper bikes and not so proper bikes! Last year there was a meat pie racing… Dont ask. This year again you’ll see Guy Martin there, racing his cow fork’d Harley Davison – on the dirt track! Yes indeedy! Alongside Guy you’ll spot Charley Boorman racing his precious Kawasaki 650cc retro bike. So dont delay, cancel your weekend plans and get to the Adrian Flux Arena for this Saturday and have a fun fun fun day! See www.sideburnmagazine.com for more info…
Guys, as we prep for our 7th year of exploring the tracks around Africa, this year we’ll be using the new Garmin Zumo 590LM GPS, the 660 and the Garmin Virb camera. All our BMW bikes were always fitted with the Garmin Zumo 660LM and it’s done us proud for many years. One of the keys to our Africa tours, and a true differentiator is the fact that all the bikes have their own Garmin Zumo. This means each individual on the adventure can ride at his or her own pace. The Zumo’s are all programmed with our customised routes so we all end up at the same lunch stop or iconic photographic spot and at the end of the days ride, at the lodge for a well earned beer.
We never like riding in large groups, so the big advantage of the Garmin allowing riders to form small groups, two’s and three’s, really takes the pressure off a big ride and avoids the stress of trying to keep up with a faster paced rider. If the rider goes off route for a picture, then the Garmin will bring them back – it’s just the best way to manage these big African bike tours and quite simply, we wouldn’t do a ride like these without them.
This year we’re mixing the Zumo 660LM with the new 590LM. This is going to be especially cool this time because we’re also using the new Garmin Virb camera and you can control it from the GPS screen, both for turning the video on / off but also to take stills as you ride. The remote control aspect is a massive winner for us – you don’t want to be fumbling with the camera on your helmet as you’re riding along trying to both film and yet avoid elephants!
We’ll be doing a review of the 590 and the Virb at the end of our big African trip – which is roughly 10,000 k’s, starting in Cape Town, heading north to Namibia’s skeleton coast and then east to Botswana and Zimbabwe, finally heading south back to Joburg before exploring Lesotho. We’ll exit Lesotho south and finish our epic trip along the famous Garden Route of South Africa back to Cape Town.
For more information about the ride and the Garmin Zumo - click on the image below or go to their UK Website http://www.garmin.com/en-GB: And of course if you want to join Charley on his great big African Adventure – keep an eye open here on his website as we make the information available.