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Rene

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Ride Africa – FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

 

Shown below are the most Frequently Asked Questions in preparing for a Renedian Adventures African Tour.

If you have any additional questions, please contact me and I’ll be happy to answer them all!

~Rene Cormier
Tour Guide and Founder
Renedian Adventures


 

1.) How many spots are there?

2.) Can we ride two-up?

3.) How much will the tour really cost?

4.) I am a light sleeper, can I choose my roommate? How about a single room?

5.) What are my options for lower bikes?

6.) What if I want to stay later, or come earlier?

7.) Are riders of all abilities welcome? What are the roads like?

8.) How is the food?

9.) Are there any medical shots I need to go to Africa?

10.) How about safety?

11.) May bring my cell phone?

12.) What do you recommend for accessing money?

13.) What clothes should I bring?

14.) What is my motorcycle breaks down?

15.) What about the Support Vehicle?

16.) What about Wi-Fi?

17.) How do we sign up for a tour?

 


 

1.) How many spots are there?

We typically run tours with 8 – 12 bikes in the group, plus guides. Typical group sizes are between 8-16, depending on the number of couples travelling two-up. Pillions are always welcome. We have room for non-riding passengers to accompany us in the support vehicle. If the entire tour is taken by a special group or club, we can take as many as 20 bikes, plus guides.

 


 

2.) Can we ride two-up?

All of the tours have been ridden by my wife Colette and I as a two-up motorcycle, and we have always had at least one two-up couple on each trip. As long as the driver is ok with the roads, and the passenger trusts the driver, all is well. The other advantage of riding two-up is that since pricing is done on double occupancy, the couple automatically has a private room.  Most 2-up couples upgrade to the BMW R1200GS for comfort. In addition to the benefit of  having separate seats for driver and passenger, the R1200GS is the only bike we have the offers a back rest for the passenger.

 


 

3.) How much will the tour really cost?

All the pricing shown on this site – unless otherwise stated – is in Canadian dollars.

Our pricing is laid out so that there are no surprises along the way.

In addition to the tour prices shown on the individual tour pages, there are the following expenses you will be responsible for:

Airfare:
You are responsible for your flight to and from Africa. Flights from Canada to Cape Town can range anywhere from $1,200 – $2,500+ depending on gateway, dates and luck.

Fuel:
Fuel for the motorcycle will come to about $200 for a two week trip.

Traveller’s Insurance:
You will need Traveller’s Insurance for the duration of your trip, and if it is not included in your policy, an emergency evacuation policy like that from *Medjet Assist which is about $150.

Bike Rental Deposit:
The rental motorcycle comes with third party insurance, but there is a deposit for the deductible of approximately $3,000 to cover any damages. This deposit is taken as a credit card approval when we pick up the bikes. The entire amount is removed from the credit card with the return of the undamaged motorcycle.

Misc:
Alcohol and items of a personal nature are also not included in the tour price. Internet and laundry would also be in this category.

There is a more complete list on our Terms & Conditions page.

* Click here to learn more about Medjet Assist

 


 

4.) I am a light sleeper, can I choose my roommate? How about a single room?

The pricing on the trips is based on double occupancy, and the ‘double’ rooms in most lodges consist of two single beds. The best way to ensure a compatible roommate is to come on the trip with a friend/partner/spouse. Some of our favorite lodges are small and popular, taking bookings two years in advance. There are no guarantees that single rooms will be available on short notice. The single room supplement price is basically 50% of the rooming fees for the trip.

A rider who signs-up for a Tour as a solo-rider, and for whom we cannot find a roommate has the option of paying the single room supplement or accepting a full refund of monies paid. If, while on the trip, your snoring roommate is driving you crazy, we can try to change roommates to get a closer match of sleeping patterns. If that does not work, you can request a single room and pay the supplement, but keep in mind that you must convince your roommate to also pay the supplement as we will now be billed for a single room for them. If your roommate is unwilling to pay the supplement, it will also be yours to pay. Bring earplugs, or better yet bring a friend/partner/spouse.

 


 

5.) What are my options for lower bikes?

We only use BMW bikes on our tours.

We do have factory-lowered 650’s available for those that need a lower bike.

The standard 650 with a standard seat has a seat height of 32.3″.

The standard 650 with a low seat has a seat height of 31.3″.

The factory lowered 650 with the low seat has a seat height of 30.1″.

The 1200’s have a dual position seat that is easy to switch around.

 


 

6.) What if I want to stay later, or come earlier?

We recommend it!

If you want to stay longer, we can help with planning pre- or post- trip schedules.

Keep in mind that the flight from North America to South Africa will typically take two calendar days to arrive so flights and vacation time must be scheduled accordingly.

Since our Spectacular South West Africa Tour focuses more on the riding than the animals, we offer a three day safari to Namibia’s Etosha National Park that happens either before or after your tour.

 

 


 

7.) Are riders of all abilities welcome? What are the roads like?

To rent the motorcycle you must be over 25 years of age with a valid motorcycle license. You must also confirm that you have at least two years experience riding a motorcycle as big (or bigger) than the one you want to rent. If you are not comfortable riding on your own or at highway speeds, it is best to continue developing your riding skills at home so when you do get to Africa you can enjoy the scenery around you without stress.

The roads on our tours are either paved or gravel. People are often impressed with the quality of the paved roads, assisted by the fact that these paved roads do not have a harsh winter to deal with. The gravel roads are good quality, wide, secondary highways. They are well crowned, but they are still made with a natural surface which changes with the amount of traffic on them and the amount of maintenance. They are generally in very good condition, however Africa is not the place to discover if you like gravel or not. For those choosing the trips that have gravel roads, please realize that the more comfortable you are on gravel in your home country, the more you will be able to enjoy your time in Africa.

Waterfalls and Wildlife
This tour is only run on tarmac roads. The speed limits on national, tarmac highways in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana hover in the 120 kph range. To keep to our itinerary, we need to travel 100 – 120 kph on these roads.

Victoria Falls to Cape Town
This tour touches on each of the other three routes, so a large selection of roads will be encountered. Paved roads at 120 kph, all-day gravel roads, and windy coastal roads will all be present. We strongly encourage those riders who have been off gravel roads for a while to take a training course (or two) that will allow you to brush up on those gravel road skills and allow you to enjoy all aspects of your African ride. In Calgary we endorse the Too Cool Motorcycle School and near Toronto we support S.M.A.R.T. Training which operates out of Horseshoe Valley Resort north of Barrie.

Spectacular South West Africa
This tour is run on tarmac roads and gravel roads. These roads are secondary highways and are in good shape for gravel roads, but there are sections of sand and loose road surfaces. Experience on gravel roads is critical for group travel and for your own trip enjoyment. Riders should be relaxed and comfortable doing 80 kph on wide, well groomed gravel roads, and an off road skills course for riders new to gravel is encouraged. Africa is not the place to experiment with whether you like sand or not. We strongly encourage those riders who have been off gravel roads for a while to take a training course (or two) that will allow you to brush up on those gravel road skills and allow you to enjoy all aspects of your African ride. In Calgary we endorse the Too Cool Motorcycle School and near Toronto we support S.M.A.R.T. Training which operates out of Horseshoe Valley Resort north of Barrie.

Garden Route
This tour has a few sections of excellent gravel, but is mostly tarred roads.

 

 


 

8.) How is the food?

We have yet to have anybody lose weight by the end of the trip. Meat figures prominently in African diets, and these trips will introduce you to wild game such as ostrich, kudu, springbok, oryx, even crocodile. Breakfasts and dinners in the lodges are often buffet style. Meals taken in restaurants are ordered from the menu. It is not impossible to be a vegetarian in Africa, but it does take planning when we are away from the larger towns.

 


 

9.) Are there any medical shots/vaccinations I need to go to Africa?

All travelers should visit either their personal physician or a travel health clinic 4-8 weeks before departure. Bring a copy of the route from the website to show exactly where you are travelling. Ask your doctor whether you should renew your vaccinations against polio, tetanus-diphtheria and MMR. Your doctor might also advise to take precautions against Hepatitis A and B, and/or Typhoid fever. Some riders choose to take Dukoral to help prevent traveller’s diarrhea.

In the unlikely event that you are arriving from a country where Yellow Fever vaccinations are mandatory, you need to produce proof that you have been vaccinated. Your travel clinic or medical services provider will have the latest advice on immunizations needed for travelling in both areas.

 

 


 

10.) How about safety?

A safe trip is a successful trip and we take your safety extremely seriously. Road selection, adherence to the speed limits, and well maintained motorcycles help to avoid problems. Our guides are cell phone and satellite phone equipped, and the guides are trained in first-aid.

 


 

11.) May I bring my cell phone?

Your phone needs to be an unlocked dual-band, tri-band or quad-band GSM phone capable of functioning on the 900/1800 MHz GSM band in order to accept the SIM card. We will loan you a SIM card for both South Africa and Namibia, which will allow you to receive calls (free), send calls (expensive to overseas), and send and receive SMS texts (cheap). You can buy prepaid minutes almost anywhere, but remember that cellular coverage is not available everywhere.

 


 

12.) What do you recommend for accessing money?

“Cash is king”. The easiest way to pay for daily items is with the Rand, the currency of South Africa. The banking systems in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana use popular ATM systems like Interac and Cirrus, and your card should work in the machines.

You are responsible for fueling costs of the bike, and it is an odd fact that fuel can not always be bought with a credit card, so have access to enough cash for this.

The South African Rand can be used at par in Namibia. Botswana money can be exchanged at the border crossing and money from South Africa, Namibia or the US is most easily traded. The Mastercard System of accessing money is not widely found in Botswana, bring a Visa based card. Zimbabawe runs on USD.

 

 


 

13.) What clothes and gear should I bring?

Renedian Adventures is a firm proponent of A.G.A.T.T. (ALL Gear, ALL The Time). At a minimum, bring your motorcycle-helmet, riding-jacket, riding-pants, motorcycle-boots, motorcycle-gloves.

Bring the gear that you would wear riding in the summer.

When you are off the bike, casual attire is most appropriate, and not too much of it! Don’t forget your swimwear, as most of the lodges have pools. Being the desert, it cools off at night, and a fleece and a few warm pieces will keep you content out at the fire.

In October, Cape Town has an average high of 21C, and a low of 11C. Afternoon humidity is around 56%. Windhoek has an average October high of 29C and low of 15C, and an afternoon humidity of 13%. The sun will be coming up around 6am, and settling after 7pm. There is always a chance of rain on the South Africa coast, so bring your rain gear.

The Waterfalls and Wildlife tours takes place during Africa’s winter. Nighttime lows can be as low as 2 or 3C and daytime highs in low 20′sC. Perfect riding weather, but bring clothes for chilly nights.

 


 

14.) What if my motorcycle breaks down?

We carry spare tubes and tools in the truck. We also bring a spare motorcycle on the trailer in case of emergencies. We are under no obligation to replace a motorcycle damaged through dropping, crashing, or neglect.

 


 

15.) What about the Support Vehicle?

We have a dozen different vehicles for us to choose from when supporting our trip depending on the number of guests and the routing of the trip. When the trailer is attached it provides us with a way to transport your luggage from hotel to hotel, and a way to deal with any motorcycle mechanical issues.

 


 

16.) What about Wi-Fi?

Hotels are slowing catching onto the fact that most travellers want access to the internet. Most of our hotels in South Africa will have Wi-Fi, and most of the Namibian ones as well. Botswana is hit or miss, and even if they had Wi-Fi last year, is no indication that it will be working this year. It is possible to get a local SIM card and buy a data package for your phone.

 


 

17.) How do we sign up for a tour?

Official tour registration takes two steps; online registration and the payment of the deposit. The remaining balance of the money will not be due until 60 days before your trip starts.

1. Registration: Complete and submit this on-line registration form.

2. Deposit: The deposit is $1000 per rider. Here are the options for paying the deposit:

Are you from Canada?

A. Our preferred method of payment is to have a cheque written to RENEDIAN ADVENTURES LTD dropped off for deposit at any Bank of Montreal location, noting our account number which is 1057-663 and the branch transit number which is 05209. Please include your last name with the transaction.

B. If you wish to mail a cheque, make it out to RENEDIAN ADVENTURES LTD and mail to Renedian Adventures Ltd, Suite 305, 11020-99 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T5K 2M2.

C. If you want to use Interac via email, send the money to my email address “rene@renedian.com” When asking for a security question, let’s use “Where are we riding?” the answer will be “Africa”.

D. Alternatively, you can wire the money. This may incur a fee. Email us so we can supply you with the necessary banking details.

Are you from the USA?
A. The easiest way to send money is a check or money order in Canadian Dollars to RENEDIAN ADVENTURES LTD and mailed to Renedian Adventures Ltd, Suite 305, 11020-99 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA T5K 2M2. You are welcome to send the deposit funds in USD. We will submit this to our bank and they will do the foreign exchange for you. 

B. Alternatively, you can wire the money. This may incur a fee. Email us so we can supply you with the necessary banking details.

Once the deposit has been recorded, we can create the invoice to show the monies paid and email it to you.