Shipping the bikes and alternatives

The bikes are ready to go now. We just need to test the luggage and set up, before we deliver them to the shipping agent next week.

I have been asked few times how much shipping the bikes to Cape Town will cost us and if it would have been easier to rent or buy the bikes over there.

The quote is rather complex and there are many fees. Shipping out of the UK to Cape town is about 500 pounds per bike. But then we have to add the port fees, cost of agent dealing with custom in the other end, and many more stuff. So in summary, I count on about £1,000 pounds per bike per leg of the trip. That is a crippling £4,000 to ship the bikes back and forth; and trust me, there were much more costly options when I started looking into this.

Now you probably understand why, in 2016, we decided to go back to central Asia instead of shipping to the Americas or elsewhere!

But this time we had no choice. Crossing the whole of Africa is out of question, so we need to ship the bikes. You must also add to the shipping cost, the price of the Carnets. This document is required if you ship a motor vehicle to South Africa.

With these costs in mind, I looked into the possibility of buying locally and selling at the end. One hurdle (apart from finding 2 adequate second hand bikes) is the difficulty of registering a bike to your name if you are non resident. It is hard.

Then the second problem, would be to get the bikes ready for the trip. Finding someone to build a luggage rack, finding a bigger fuel tank, and preparing the 2 bikes. The cost can pile up very quickly: new tyres, heavy duty inner tubes, new sprockets, new chains, valve clearances, wheel bearings and sometime much more…

As for renting, for 4 months, it would be prohibitive, with the added problem that the rental market provides huge “elephants” like BMW1200, BMW800 etc and none provide smaller bikes.

At least the shipping costs will be spread across several months, making it more palatable I suppose. And we know our bikes. We carry the tools that are strictly for them, the few parts that we need…. So we deliver them to the shipping agent on Thursday. Next time we will see  them will be at the end of May, in Cape Town.

The camping gear will go with the bikes. I have checked the inflatable mattresses and the tent to make sure all is in good order. We will be camping a lot, as the other end of the market, the lodges, are beyond our price range.

So we are nearly there, for the bikes. Then we will have few weeks to sort out the house, the dog and visit few friends and family before we go.