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My Tips and Suggestions if you are doing the KE Adventure Out of Africa trip or generally if you are mountain biking in East Africa

bulletMake sure that you visit your doctor well in advance to go over the medical issues for your trip. If at all possible at least two months in advance. Depending on your previous vaccinations you may require four or five visits, and some vaccinations require a two week spacing.
bulletTake thick walled Kevlar belted tyres. There are thorns everywhere. I took light weight competition tyres and I wish I had taken thicker tyres. You can waste so much time and energy on punctures.
bulletUse puncture proof tubes with Kevlar belt lining inserts. I used lightweight tubes with Kevlar inserts and it was not enough. Like the others on the trip, I hardly went any day without a puncture and some days I had three or four punctures. Others without Kevlar belts had more punctures. Pete who had puncture proof tubes went for eight days before his tubes punctured in a gooey mess. Take at least one spare puncture proof tube plus spare conventional tubes.
bulletMake sure that you have a really good fast easy mini pump on your bike, for all those punctures and repairs.
bulletConsider a long sleeve shirt or some arm protection. I thought that the blackberries in Australia were bad. The thorn bushes in East Africa are ten times worse. Plenty of 30+ sun cream will protect you from sun burn but the sun's heat is so intense. A long sleeve shirt will reduce that burning feeling. But be prepared to have it ripped to threads by the thorns.
bulletTry and organise one chain cleaner device amongst the whole group. It is so dusty you need to clean the chain every day. A chain cleaner will be faster and do a better job. You are depending on your bike for 10 hard days, it will pay to look after it.
bulletTake at least one really good bike cloth to wipe down components.
bulletTake a hat or a cap for when you are not on the bike. Especially crossing lake Manyara. There is no shade.
bulletI took two pairs of bike shorts, but there was limited opportunity to wash them so three would have been better. On the other hand I only used my thermal under top once, combined with my cycling wind rain proof jacket. Otherwise I did not use my thermal underwear.
bulletI found my chamois towel invaluable for drying off after the daily wash. Due to the limited amount of water, it was more a wash down than a shower. Often it was too late in the day for a normal towel to dry.
bulletDo not take any type of inflating mattress. It is certain to puncture no matter how careful you are. Despite the nuisance of travelling with a bulky closed cell foam hiking mattress, it is the only way to go on the African plains.
bulletTake plenty of warm clothing when you go into Ngorongoro Crater, it may turn colder than you expect in the open top jeep.
bulletBe sure to fit in at least a couple of days in Zanzibar. Take your bike over and ride around Old Stone Town. If you are coming from Australia then you will be flying Emirates as it is the only airline with good connections to East Africa. Emirates fly into Dar Es Salaam so it is a short ferry ride from there to Zanzibar.
bulletFlying Emirates from Australia, it is worth considering one of their Dubai stopover packages. They are excellent value. I was surprised how interesting this city in the middle of the desert was. Both the half day tour and the morning riding around were worth while.
bulletEmirates stop at Nairobi, so it is closer from Arusha to fly out of Nairobi, although not that much quicker. It would be easy to have a stop over in Nairobi as well. However from the couple of hours that spent looking around Nairobi I would not put it high on my list. Taking the bus all the way from Dar Es Salaam through to Nairobi gave me a good chance to compare how much better the conditions in Kenya seemed to those in Tanzania.
bulletIf you are taking the bus from Arusha to Nairobi then this is your best opportunity to purchase bargain souvenirs. The bus will stop for twenty minutes or so, after you leave Tanzania and as you enter Kenya. If you hold your nerve and inquire but not purchase immediately you can bargain general souvenirs down to half or a third of the best price in the Mto wa Mbu markets, and a fraction of the price in the large souvenirs shops. Check with the other passengers as to when is the best opportunity to buy, and how long you have got. Best to get off the bus and look at what the street sellers have to offer and get their prices. Do not offer them a price, just say you are not really interested. After they have sold to the easy prey they will come to the window of the bus to try and do a deal. Of course if on your travels you see something very special and are happy with the price then buy it when you have the opportunity. But if you are just looking for something to pacify those family members and workmates who think that you travelled half way round the world carting a bike with the main objective of lugging souvenirs then this is the pace to pick up the best bargain at the very end of your trip.

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Revised: April 01, 2006