Tanzania – from west to east and back again, 50 days and 2400 km


I finally arrived in Tanzania, the country I will spend the most days of my trip. This has a few reasons. Firstly, if you look on a world map Tanzania is huge! Secondly, I did a longer route up to Arusha where I was fairly close to the Kenyan border again. Thirdly, I spent two weeks on Zanzibar with my family. As time flies, those 50 days passed by quickly. Heading out of Rwanda I hoped that the hills would stop immediately. It took around 150km until the landscape finally turned flat again. My plan was to cycle from Kigali without a day of break directly to Arusha where I will be hosted by a friend of a friend. 12 days, 1200km, this is not how I usually travel but there was no reason for me to just spend a day somewhere in the nowhere to relax. My days were long but not too long, I enjoyed it and it was nice to see how my body just plays according to my plans. More details below:


Border crossing:

 The east Africa visa I got in Moyale (Kenya) is only valid for Kenya Uganda and Rwanda, so I had to get a new Visa at the Tanzanian border in Risumu. It was a one stop border again, I first had to show my yellow fever vaccination card and they took my temperature to check for Ebola. As everything was fine, I could go into the immigration office. First, I had to stamp out of Rwanda, then step over to the next window to fill out the application form for the Tanzanian visa. It took around one hour all in all and I had to pay 50$ for a three months single entry visa for Tanzania. As I informed myself before, the ATM at the border is the last one for some days to come, so I had to make sure I got enough money with me. ATM’s in Tanzania usually only let you withdraw 400’000 Tanzanian Schillings (<200$) at once with a transaction fee of 4$ in addition to the fees you pay to your own bank (rip off). As I walked out of the office, I met two Japanese travellers again whom I first met in Khartoum, what a surprise! Crossing a border with a bicycle is super easy, no customs procedures, I just need to get the stamp and off I go. Those days are always exciting, a new country, new people, new cultures and traditions. It usually takes around 200km to show significant changes, as the border areas are quite similar (exception; Sudan –Ethiopia –Kenya, 100% different right away).


Rain season

 Seriously, I am never quite sure about the rain season, some say it is just starting, some say it is over already, who knows… I just know it has been raining a hell lot more in the last month, than in the first 6 months of my adventure. I started to wonder and googled: rain season Africa. There are different rain seasons per region but the one I am in now until Botswana has its rain season until March. This means: A lot more of rainy days to come.

In terms of clothing it depends how high up I am, if it becomes significantly colder when it starts to rain, I wear a rain jacket to cycle, if it stays fairly warm, I really don’t mind and just cycle through without any changes. What I can say is if it rains in these areas here, it is not just a few drops. Small rivers across the street and huge amounts of water that come down per square meter, sometimes the rain lasts for hours. As I wrote in an earlier blog, time is measured and handled differently on this continent. So as soon as it starts to rain workers usually stop their work. People just wait below a roof and watch the rain. When they see me cycling, they usually laugh and can’t understand why I am doing this. I really started to enjoy cycling in the rain, unfortunately there is no pictures of me in the rain, my electronics are not really built to get wet. Probably the biggest downside of the heavy rain is camping. I love camping and I have absolutely no problem with it, but when everything is wet in the morning and it does not dry all day long and in the evening, you want to camp again and it is still wet, that is just annoying. There is at least one guest house in every small town, and the prices range from 2$ up to 10$.


My rain break at an HIV/AIDS hospital

 During a heavy storm I sought shelter under a roof, apparently it was a medical center for HIV patients. Really young men and women came there to seek help. On the wall was a list which states how much medical supply they received with the last delivery. Around 5% of the supply ordered was actually delivered. Having a little boy laying next to me, shaking, barely noticing anything around him was shocking. This inequality that persists on our planet, where people still do not get the appropriate medical help they need is devastating. It is also saddening to see how many people are infected with HIV on this continent. The further south I go the worse it gets. Eswatini and Lesotho have the highest rates at 25%, followed by Botswana South Africa and Namibia at around 20%. Think about those numbers, every 4th person is infected and alone is South Africa there are more than 100,000 people dying every year from HIV/AIDS. SOURCE

People along the road

Except Ethiopia, all other countries I have travelled to, the people along the road have been really supportive. Even though I barely speak any local language there is always some kind of communication going on, especially through laughing, waving and nodding. Tanzania has brought friendliness to a new level. I had rough days on which I arrived in towns shortly before the sunset, totally worn out and exhausted. What’s nicer than people cheering you up once you enter a town, clapping their hands, applauding? This just makes you feel so welcomed and appreciated. 9/10 towns I stay for the night there is no tourist around by far and the only people who sleep in those towns are probably the few cyclists, because they have to. This is the wonderful part about traveling on a bicycle, you are traveling local and away from the huge tourist streams.

The kids along the road are my biggest fans and supporters. Everywhere I go the little ones treat me like a rock star, shouting from far away, waving and just being super cute. It is really hard to put in words how those kids make me feel day in day out, they spread so much happiness, joy and yes, they are very curious!! From a young age on each of them already carries responsibilities (getting water and especially watching over the goats and cows) and it feels like they are mentally ahead of their age. Their toys are simple, and handmade (like a car on a stick, spinners or just and an old tire).

Thumbs up to 10,000 km!
Having a laughter with the Maasai


National sport


First day in Tanzania


SantaClaus Maasai
Too lazy to walk, so why not ride a sheep 😀


A guy selling fish




 I believe my diet has improved in Tanzania, as I don’t find as many Chapati anymore I had to find something else, which wasn’t really hard. Absolutely every little town has a lady with a small restaurant that offers at least rice and beans and some green vegetables. This is what I basically eat for every lunch and dinner. For one meal I pay between 50 to 75 cents, this varies from town to town. Now you probably ask yourself: do you never get tired of the same food? Luckily, I don’t get tired at all from eating the same thing over and over again, I just don’t like to be hungry, what I eat doesn’t really matter. There are also french-fries or what they call chips-maya, which is french-fries cooked like an omelette with eggs, available everywhere. It may sound weird, but I love it! I still consume peanut butter on a daily basis, but the taste has changed. I liked the stuff I got in Kenya and Uganda way more and once I entered Tanzania I thought that it will still be good so I bought a 1kg jar. Big mistake, what do you do with 1kg of peanut butter if it tastes disgusting? The struggle to finish it was real! What is also annoying here is the bred. I for sure miss the good old swiss bread, however I really don’t mind the white, toast bred they have here. However, all the bred is wrapped in plastic. Being exposed to the sun a lot I need to finish a bred as soon as I bought it, otherwise it will have mould on it within half a day. Bred mould is the worst for the stomach so I have to be really careful.


Comparison to the other East African countries

As Tanzania is my last East African country, I thought about the biggest difference I have encountered so far between Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. Food is always slightly different; however, the basics are the same, people are in general very happy, welcoming and kind. What struck me most is the difference with regard to the level of English. This is an observation, not a critique, since I should be the one speaking the local language. However, in my opinion the people in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya have a very high level of English knowledge. Even in remote towns I was able to have nice conversations with the locals. As soon as I crossed the border to Tanzania, even basic words like bread, water, rice, beans and the prices, were a struggle. It happened a few times that I wanted bread and the guy gave me a Sprite. I must work on my pronunciation I believe. Another difference is that Tanzanian people are very cheeky. They always try! What do I mean by that? Wherever you go to buy something, they will try to charge you more, every time! If you don’t know the local price, you always end up paying way too much! With that comes a certain problem, unlike in the other three countries were prices were always the same (Chapatti, Water, Rize, Soda, Bananas), you never know in Tanzania. This makes it hard for a Muzungu (White Person) not to get ripped off. Chapatti prices for example range from 200 to 1000. Imagine myself going to a store and the lady asks 1000 for a chapatti whereas yesterday at a different store I only paid 200. Apparently different factors play a role, the quality of flour that is used, the size and thickness of the chapatti as well. Additionally, I always need to be fully aware of the change I get from a purchase, seriously Tanzanian’s have tried so many times to give me less than I was supposed to get. I always need to count and then ask for more. They act like the didn’t know, yeah if this happens once, I believe it, but if it happens every day a few times everywhere I go, I grow suspicious.


As Pommi from Kenya who invited me to her place in November put me in touch with her friend Francin, who at the dinner table suggested to me that I should visit Gian once I get to Arusha, I already had a place to stay. She told me that Gian is also Swiss and has been living in Tanzania for his entire life. As always, I didn’t know what to expect, where I will stay and whom I going to meet. As I arrived, Gian came to the gate and showed me around. I was speechless again, what a wonderful oasis they lived in right below Mt. Meru. He lives there together with his mother Barbara, whom I met in the evening. Just wonderful how things sometimes unexpectedly turn out, I had such a delightful time at their place, and they are both such amazing, warm hearted and interesting human beings that I will for sure visit them again. It felt like I am a part of their family and on a travel like mine, this can be so valuable. I believe if I didn’t have to go to Zanzibar, I would have stayed with them for at least a week. If you ever think about going to the Serengeti, don’t do it the tourist way, there are thousands of tourists going to the Serengeti every week and you are never alone. There can be up to 10-15 cars around a herd of lions. HOW BORING! Gian does walking Safaris in the Serengeti, if you ever even think about doing a Safari in the Serengeti, go and do it with Gian, you will have the most incredible experience walking through the bush.

Gian and Me



My ride from Singida up to Arusha led me through some beautiful landscapes. The lakes and mountain ranges and the border of the Serengeti and some other national parks were really nice. Everything would have been perfect if I didn’t have such a strong headwind for half the way. Headwind is just sooo soul crushing. I don’t think there is anything worse on the bicycle than headwind! This area is also Maasai area again, I love to see them, the adults are super friendly and welcoming, whereas the children are very annoying, harassing and begging. I heard from tour guides that there are tourists sometimes driving through Maasai villages throwing money out of the window. Even now writing about it makes me feel so sick! Some tourists really think they help with actions like that, where as they don’t realize that they are actually bringing way more damage to the culture and to the people’s attitude. Also, in Zanzibar I watched people walking up to little kids, giving them sweets and other things and recording themselves doing it. WOW, you are really making the world a better place… NOT! All you do is making those kids believe every Mzungu (white person) just hands out money, sweets, water etc. Those are the kids who then can annoy me all day long. It is not the kids to blame, it the reckless behaviour of those “making the world a better place” tourists.

Maasai on a bicycle


How I got over to Zanzibar

 As I talked with Gian from Arusha about my plans, he highly suggested me to go to Pangani and take a boat from there over to Zanzibar. I wasn’t really sure if I should take the risk, what if I cannot find a boat to take me over, what if the boat I get is suicidal. Many thoughts but Gian promised me he will take care of it and I decided to take the road to Pangani. One of the best decisions so far on this trip, I was able to escape the heavy traffic on the main road and cycle on a beautiful stretch towards the cost. Gian also put me in touch with Mike, a half Tanzanian half Swiss guy who has cottages in Ushurongo, a town next to Pangani. I arrived at nightfall, after having to fix a puncture and some dirt roading which always takes more time. After a quick shower I met Mike, we had a lovely dinner together and a few beers. It turns out he also does big game fishing and he might have customers from Zanzibar he needs to pick up in a few days. As sooo many times already on this trip, just out of coincidences the best things happened to me. I spent three wonderful days at Mike’s place, very peaceful, amazing beach and no tourists. As Mike had to pick up the customers at Zanzibar, he kindly took me with him, and I even had the chance to do some fishing on the way over. This was probably the sweetest “ferry” ride over to Zanzibar anyone could have gotten. Lucky me again.

With a Dorado



This is used for a house wall



 Zanzibar was my first big milestone. I was more than half way through my trip already and after 7 months of traveling I finally got to see my parents again. I was so excited to spend some time together at a nice place. It felt really good to have a clean room, clean bed, clean and warm shower and the best food so far on my trip. I highly enjoyed it but after 2 weeks on that island, doing nothing all day long, this urge inside me came up to get going again. Every good bye is sad again, but it feels good to know that the next time I will see my parents again is not that far away. I plan to be home in May, so only about four more months to go. For my taste Zanzibar is too touristy, the whole island is basically about tourism and it was the first time I have seen so many white people since I left Greece. Personally, I enjoy off the beaten track places more.



Bicycle maintenance

Since my parents paid me a visit on Zanzibar, I had the chance to organize some spare parts beforehand. So far, my bicycle has been doing a great job, and except for some smaller things like punctures I really didn’t have any troubles yet. Still, I wanted to change my back tire, since I got a lot of punctures already and it looked really worn down. After almost 11’000km it was about time anyway. Furthermore, I was required to do an oil-change on my Pinion (Internal gear system). This took about five minutes and was no problem at all. I also checked my brake pads and they surprised me. My Magura brake pads look almost like new and only about 1/4th is gone. Before this trip I read on some pages that people managed to do around 3000km per pair, so I brought 12 spares with me. I kept 4 now but the rest I sent home. Since I am using a belt instead of a chain and I haven’t had a spare one with me so far, I have decided to take one with me from Zanzibar on. You never know what will happen and now I just don’t need to wait somewhere for a package to arrive. I am basically safe from anything now. Furthermore, I got some spare tubes and a spare tire again, just in case. Since I am traveling with 28” wheels I cannot really rely on local supply. Not many bicycles use 28” wheels. For my gear box I had to change all the screws who attach the box to the frame. I had some screws getting loose. This caused the whole box to move while under pressure. As I got in touch with Pinion, the producer of the gear box, they have sent me all the required spare parts and keys within 2 working day, all for free. What a great service!

Internet – A curse or a blessing?!

So far on this trip I had a total of around 5 days without any internet. Internet connection is usually everywhere I go excellent, at least 3G or even 4G. It is really nice to stay in touch with all the people back home, provide them with insights into my travel and inform them about what I am doing. However, I asked myself the question, who are you doing it for? Of course, it is nice to promote your trip, but in the end you need to do the trip for yourself. Nowadays we always have the urge to reply to messages instantly.  This means a huge amount of time every day I spend on the phone talking to people. For this reason, I have decided to go offline. I will still upload all the stories, but not right away, once I get some Wifi again I will have time to do all the internet stuff, but once I am on the road I want to be off the line, being on my own, read and write more and it feels I have gained so much more time during my day. With no Internet I barely even look on my phone, this allows me to focus more deeply on my writings and readings.

Cycling through Mikumi National Park

I have heard stories about this national park already way before I entered Tanzania. It is one highlight on the way down as the chances are high that one can see a lot of wild animals. There are also pictures that show lions and other cats walking over the road at day time. I am not worried about buffalos and elephants, if you keep your distance to those animals and show respect, you will be fine, I just hoped not to see any wild cat besides me on the street. I planned my route ahead of time so that I will reach the National park entry at around noon. Usually during the heat of the day most wild animals are resting. I figured out why… It was blazing hot and I was completely in the sun. However, I didn’t feel any threat from wild animals being on the road, it was just too hot for them to do so. I had all the time of the world to pass through the 50km stretch and I highly enjoyed it. Even though traffic was quite high at times, I had my eyes out the whole time in order to spot some “game”. I was lucky and I saw everything I wanted (many times): elephants, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, wildebeest, pumas.


Insects and small animals

As I was approaching Arusha, riding on the main road from the Serengeti something hit me in the face on a downslope. It hit my lip and I felt a sudden, severe pain. I have been stung by bees and wasps a couple of times before, luckily, I don’t show any allergic reaction at all, usually only a little swelling and it disappears quite quickly again. However, this time I felt a bit different, I am just out in the nowhere and something unknown has stung me right in the face, what is if it was something dangerous? Are there poisonous insects in Africa? Haha, if you are on a bike the whole day you have many hours to think about anything. With all those thoughts going through my head time did no pass at all. I checked my lip every minute. Luckily as I went on the swelling slowed down and after a couple of hours still being able to cycle, I was sure it wasn’t anything bad, I guess it was just a local bee. Other than that, I have been quite lucky with insect bites, a few mosquito bites and that’s it. Traveling along the equator can be quite wild in terms of insects. The most annoying insects are in my opinion ants, they get into everything and just love my food. Once they get a hold of my food the word spreads quickly and my food is completely covered. Every once in a while again I have mice or rats in my room, so far they have just passed by and didn’t get a hold of my food. Gekos are in almost every room I get as well, they come in once it is dark and eat all the insects, so I quite like them, they really don’t bother me as long as they don’t poop on my bed at night. They can be straight above you on the roof, and just pooping down. I had a few bedbugs until now, mostly in hostels where there are many travellers in a small room. Usually the beds I get in local guesthouses are very clean and fresh. Luckily, I don’t really show any signs of bites when I have bed bugs, I know people who get huge areas full of bites. I just see the bed bugs in my bed but usually I don’t see any bites on my body.

Crazies and drunks

 It happens from time to time that I meet some drunk or mentally disabled people on the road. Alcohol is becoming a huge problem as well and there are more and more people who are addicted to it. It is very cheap to get a small bottle of gin or whiskey almost in every street shop. They mostly cost less than a dollar. As I was once riding on a long ans busy road I saw this young man (about my age) walking in the middle of the road, not getting off the street even with all the trucks and busses passing. The people along the road were just watching him and laughing. I had to stop the traffic, and then I took him off the road and set him down. He was completely in another world; on a drunk level I give him 9 out of 10 (K.O.). The crazies can be seen from far away as well, they are usually shouting around and walking in the middle of the street as well. Once you stop your bike, they come at you and just shout in your face, arguing with their hands and just acting “crazy”. The locals around just laugh as well, making signs that not everything is right in that person’s mind. It is sad to see those people; they have no chance of receiving any help. It happened only a few times that one tried to attack me, nothing serious, I just had to watch out. I didn’t feel threatened at all since the locals around would all come and help if needed.

The road to heaven

As I wanted to get out of my comfort zone again, I decided to take a road up the mountain through a national park. For a month I haven’t done any real camping and my last wild camping dates back to my final day in Sudan. I loved it in Sudan but after all I just didn’t feel comfortable sleeping somewhere in the wild by myself with so many people around. I had many thoughts about taking this route up the mountain, it is rain season, the road will be a mess, and it will take me from 1000 meters above sea up to 2900 meters above sea. This is a serious altitude difference, especially with a 55 kg bicycle. Up to my planned camping spot the road was in a good condition, barely any people around and I was able to sleep right next to a river in the national park. Unfortunately, it suddenly started to rain, and I had to hurry up with cooking. As I finished, cleaned all the dishes in the river I headed into the tent. It was just five in the afternoon, but I already fell asleep. I slept like a baby through the whole night, sometimes checking if my bicycle is still there but I really didn’t worry as no one was around at all and it was raining. I think I got at least 11 hours of sleep. My alarm went off at 7, not too early since I only had to cover 20km that day up to Matamba. The climb was around 1000 meters of altitude to cover. It got steep right away and I spent the next 4 hours pushing my bike up the mountain. I didn’t expect it to be that steep but no chance of riding it up. This was the most pushing I have done so far in a day, what a physical challenge. Once I reached the plateau, I thought the nice part would start. However, as the roads up there were so muddy and wet, I ended up stuck because of my mudguards being blocked. It took me some time to remove both, what a mess it was. I left my camping spot at 8 and arrived at Matamba at 13:30. Five and a half hours for just 20km, that is a new record! Haha. For the night I took a big room in a motel. Rain always means a lot of work. After I arrived, I had to unpack everything that was wet, hang it up and let it dry. Since I am still close to the equator and totally in the rain season, all my stuff had a hard time getting dry. I have decided to take a day off in Matamba, since temperature was very nice up there and I enjoyed the village vibe. I also had some time off to write my blog and application for my masters starting in the fall of 2019. From Matamba I had to climb another 800 meters of altitude to reach the plateau of Kitulo National park. The views were stunning and the whole effort to climb over this mountain range, to push my bicycle for hours, was totally worth it. The temperature was so nice up there, could have stayed there much longer if it didn’t rain half the day, every day. Additionally, there was absolutely no traffic. All in all, those 4 days in this area were some of the most memorable of this trip.


Taking the mudguards off



My travel planning

Since I left Switzerland there have always been some fixed points of time, I had on my way down. This required some more or less exact time planning of certain routes. How long will it take me to get there, how many days can I rest in between, which route should I rather take. After Zanzibar I have now decided to not have any fixed, prior arranged appointments, anymore. I planned to do a self-driving safari with a really good friend of mine in Botswana, but arranging all of it puts me on a certain time schedule again and this can be stressful. For the last couple of months of my trip I just want to go with the flow, cycle where and whenever I want to without be calculating any routes. Today I feel like this, so I will do it. This is something I also need to learn, to go more with the flow, organize less and just take it as it comes. I am not really good at that yet, but I am working on it. I have also not booked any return flight yet, I want to keep that freedom to finish my trip whenever I feel like it and I believe those extra dollars the ticket will cost more are totally worth the extra freedom I get. My guess is that I will be back home in the beginning of May, but as of now anything can happen, and it might be a bit later as well.

Cycling through the heart of East-Africa: Uganda and Rwanda, two countries full of hills, bicycles and “Rolex”

Last time I crossed the equator

Leaving Kenya, I felt a little sad since I had such a fabulous time! However, as I entered Uganda, nothing changed in terms of that. Traveling in East Africa is wonderful, people seem to be very happy, relaxed and the level of their English is remarkably high. While entering Uganda, the hills started to come, seriously I have no clue how many up and downs I had but there were soooo many! Even after 8000 kilometres on the bike, hill climbing still makes me suffer. There is basically no flat stretch in Uganda and Rwanda, it is a constant up and down. Mentally, quite annoying as far as I’m concerned. I also found myself in the middle rain season. Supposedly the short rain season should end in October, however it was around 2 months delayed this year that is why I got some heavy rain showers during the day. Initially, I tried to seek shelter and wait until it was over. However, I stopped doing that since it substantially delayed my plan for the respective day. Cycling in the rain can actually be nice, less people on the road, it is quieter, and cars/trucks also drive more carefully. It doesn’t matter how heavy it rains, I am completely wet after 10 minutes anyway. With the constant rain, also at night I became too lazy to camp. Along the equator if something is wet, it stays wet for a long time. It really is no fun to pack your tent in the rain and if a „hotel” costs between 2$ and 4$ I really don’t need to think twice. It is also nice to sleep in small towns since you can have dinner with the locals, have a chat and get all the food stuff one needs for the days ahead. I am all day by myself so having someone to talk to can be really satisfying! Nevertheless, I am very excited to do some wild camping in Tanzania and Malawi again!

Border crossing

Entering Uganda has been the easiest border crossing so far, as I got the East Africa Visa (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda) in Moyale (Kenya, 100$), It was only one house to enter, took around 5 minutes and I got out again. I usually try to avoid having lots of money left over when I exit a country, the small amounts I have left I can easily change at the border. There are moneychangers everywhere and yes, they are annoying! First things I do after I have crossed a border is to find an ATM as well as a place where I can register for a local Sim card. I stayed one night at Busia, the town right after the border, where I was allowed to camp in the yard of a hotel for free. The next day I continued to Jinja, a city famous for its rafting on the Nile. The rafting was great fun and I was one of the last “rafters” to be able to go down the last two rafts. Uganda is pushing its electricity infrastructure and they have just opened another dam. This causes the water to hold up and the rafts diminish. There is also a chance that a swim in the Nile can give you Bilharzia, an infection caused by a parasitic worm that lives in fresh water in subtropical and tropical regions. As I don’t feel anything, I have not taken any medicine yet. The parasite breaks out after 6 weeks of touching the water, that’s when you should take the medicine. As I will swim in lake Malawi again, I might as well take the medicine after that.

One of many lakes in Uganda
The National Bird of Uganda! The Crane
I can watch them doing random things all day long


Like always, people here are super relaxed


I have never seen horns like that on a cow like in East Africa
Local Tea plantation workers
Bülent from Turkey, has been traveling for more than 2 years on his Honda African Twin

My warm welcome to Uganda: Chris and Pommi

My friend Zander, whom I met in Khartoum, told me if I make it through Jinja I’d HAVE to stop at Polly’s and Chris place, As I am flexible with my route I thought I might as well take this chance and pay them a visit. All my invitations so far have been wonderful, and this one turned out to be fantastic as well. Chris is the head of Engineering for a sugar producing factory a bit outside of Jinja and lives in a wonderful estate surrounded by sugar cane plantations. As I got there, I already knew that I would have a hard time leaving again. What surprises me every time is how much love and kindness people show towards a “stranger”. Additionally, Pommi was a passionate cook and I ate like in a gourmet restaurant the whole time. When I am on the road, I burn so many calories that I am hungry all the time. I feel a bit guilty sometimes, eating up the whole fridge and I feel like I have gained some weight again haha. That must be the tons of peanut butter I am eating. I got a tour around the area as well as a look inside the sugar factory. They get tons of sugar cane every day, which they shred, extract the sugar out of it in a sophisticated processe and with the by-products they produce electricity and ethanol. During the last two years the company invested a lot of money into digitalization. Every machine can now be checked through computers and technical issues can be directly tackled. I love this part of traveling.  Since I studied business administration, I am very curious about foreign businesses and economies alike

My first lunch with Chris and Pommi


Kampala and my way to Fort Portal

Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and busy as hell! I have never seen so many minibuses at one spot as I did there at the bus station. Cycling in the city can be quite hectic, and there are a lot of up and downs as well. I was really happy to leave the city again, stayed only one night there and moved on towards Fort Portal and Queen Elizabeth Park. Luckily, I made it out without any accident, I grazed a couple of vans as they passed but nothing too serious. The bus drivers on this continent are maniacs, they show absolutely no respect towards cyclists. From Kampale to Fort Portal it was close to 300km and it took me three days to cover the distance. The last part was full of beautiful tea plantations again, which grow at an altitude of around 1800 meters above sea level. Other than a couple of rain showers and the usual traffic, my ride was not very spectacular. I had a slow flat in my front tire which I had to pump every now and then. On the second day, I was cycling along a not very populated stretch as I heard people singing. Correct Lukas, it is Sunday again and people go to church. I sometimes really forget about the weekdays, just when friends text me that they are going out to party I realize that it is weekend again. So, as I pass on there comes a man walking up to the street and waves me over and shouts: come here, join the mass. For sure I thought, I passed by so many churches on a Sunday already and I haven’t entered a mass so far in Africa. The church was a small clay building with a corrugated iron roof. In there where 4 women, around 4 children and the priest and his secretary. They were singing and dancing for at least half an hour, just for me, because as I wanted to leave, they stopped and wanted me to say a prayer in my own language. The priest followed me out again up to the street and told me he will need a lift to the next church. So, what I have figured out later is that those priests sometimes have various churches which they serve and from where they collect money. Most priests I have seen are dressed very nicely and usually have a nice car and other valuables. So, what they actually do is they seriously go and collect money from the poor village people to forgive them for their sins. Have your own thoughts about it, I have mine, and I highly disrespect those practices.¨

The priest who invited me to mess
A local community church
Maybe not wearing a helmet but glasses instead?
Street vendors trying to get customers from the bus


Bicycles are mostly used to transport goods


Some soda or rather meat on a stick?



Found this little bird in the middle of the road


Rafting down the Nile in Jinja



From Fort Portal through Queen Elizabeth Park

I have heard many good stories about this route and I am happy that I took it! The climbs didn’t stop but the landscape was breath-taking! On my first day riding I only did around 25km to a lake with a camp just next to it. Friends had told me to go there if I wanted to see monkeys, so I did. To get there I also had to cross through some smaller villages. Crossing smaller villages people are more surprised to see a Muzungu (white person) on a bicycle. Sometimes children also run away if they see me, but usually they celebrate my arriving. The little kids are my biggest supporters along the road, cheering me up all day long with chants, laughter’s and waves. I have spent lots of time watching the monkeys (4 different kinds: Black-and-white colobus monkey, Ugandan red colobus monkey, Olive baboon; Patas monkey) the lakes around this area are stunning! I was all by myself at the campsite and I thought it will stay like that. I really didn’t see that many other travellers in those areas. Suddenly a car moved in, a Toyota Landcruiser with a Swiss numbers plate. I couldn’t believe it! I met Patricia and Peter, a couple from Solothurn, traveling around Africa for the 3rd time!!!

Patricia and Peter

Black and White colobus monkey


Their Toyota landcruiser
Cheeky thieves stole my breakfast! (Bananas)
This little fellow wanted to cross the street, my first chameleon


Huge respect for those guys! those bikes are super heavy and the slopes really steep!
Some nice landscapes in Uganda



As I continued my trip further south, I was able to cycle through Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is not that wild animals are just all-around in Africa. You still need to be quite lucky to see some of them close to the road. As I was hoping to see some Elephants again, and I purposely staid at a camp within the national park where they can come up to your tent, I had to leave without seeing one. I have had two encounters with Buffalos, one was two meters away from me grazing in the ditch when I saw it. The other one blocked the dirt road I wanted to take so I had to wait until it stopped staring at me and gently walked away. Seeing wildlife on the road is just so spectacular and gets me excited every single time.

Oh hey there Buffalo! don’t look at me like that!:D


Street food:

So far and I don’t think this will change anymore, Uganda has been absolutely amazing in terms of street food. I need to admit it doesn’t need a lot to make me happy, but seriously in every little town Chapatti and Rolex were sold. A rolex in an egg roll à Rollegg à Rolex. You can customize them yourself, I always got the one with two chapattis and two eggs. Per chapatti and per egg I paid 10 cents. What was also available at almost every street corner was chapatti with beans. I really don’t know what it is with me and that chapatti, but I just love it haha! I could eat chapatti at any time, all the time.

Chapati Beans and Egg

My “Work Away” at lake Bunyonyi

I did a work away at the Amasiko guest house, helping Wilfried out with a financial plan. Lake Bunyonyi is located very close to the DRC border and it is a stunning fresh water lake surrounded by steep hills. Wilfried is the owner and manager of the guesthouse and all the profit from it is used to support the local community. He built a school already, educates teenagers in farming, agriculture and provides jobs for the local people. I was looking for a work-away that is a bit more sustainable than just going to an orphanage for 2 weeks, playing with the kids and then leave them, all sad and alone again. This is just my opinion; you may have your own about it. By no means did I intend to change the world with this work-away, I did it more for myself to learn more about the local lives and daily habits, as well as doing business in Uganda. Many young adults now do this thing called, „going to Africa to make the world a better place“. Really…? They come here, volunteer and when they leave most things will be the same again. Volunteering has become a business in Africa, they charge the people who want to come over even money to help and people happily pay it. WHY NOT!! What really annoys me is that most African countries are not able to get things right by their own, like setting up schools and a good education system. In Uganda, a government school class has around 120 kids per teacher. So, people from the outside come and help. How sustainable is that? Doesn’t change need to come from within a country itself? I see soooo many schools along the road that have all been set up by churches, individuals and companies from outside. When will African countries manage to stand on their own feet? deciding for themselves without the continuous influence from the outside? Just thoughts.


The local butcher


The sad history:

Both countries have been marked by civil wars and genocide, and that happened not too long ago. In Rwanda almost 1 million people were killed within a month in April/May 1994. That’s only 25 years ago. In a country where only 4 million people lived up to that date, killing 25% of the population affected everyone. The Hutus and Tutsis have a long history of fighting each other, the Hutus are the farmers and the Tutsis the herdsman. Of course, the Hutu is not happy when a Tutsi lets his cattle graze on the Hutus farmland. The distinction between Hutus and Tutsis is now illegal in Rwanda, people live all along each other again and the joy and happiness I experienced there was extraordinary. Rwandan people really learned how to forgive and move forward together. It was hard to believe that something this terrible did happen not so long ago. How come, we let events like this happen after the terrible genocide of the second world war? How come it happened again in Kosovo, Cambodia, Rwanda? If you are interested in knowing more about Ugandan and Rwandan history, I highly recommend you the book: The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski. If you want to read a more current book I can highly recommend: The Looting Machine. Tom Burgis exposes the truth about the African development. Traveling and reading a book that takes place in parts you travel through is so much more interesting and I can relate my experience with certain passages way more often.



I was surprised to see a city such as Kigali in Africa. It is very clean, civilized, many supermarkets and all kinds of different stores. the central business district is highly developed, and security is not an issue at all, even in the middle of the night. I felt like I were in some European city. As I am staying in bigger cities, I also eat non-local food, and as it happened to me in Ethiopia as well, I got really stomach sick in Kigali again. I was lying in bed for two days, did a malaria test (quicktest = negative) and just gave my body some rest before I started my 1200km journey to Arusha (Tanzania). Luckily, I haven’t gotten sick in very remote areas, so there is always people around who could possibly help or give me some advice. Furthermore, I had to send postcards again from Rwanda. As everything seemed to work so well and structured in Kigali, I wasn’t really surprised when the postcards arrived 5 days after dropping them off at the post office. Very impressive I must say! If you also wish you receive a postcard, HERE is where you can get one.

Kigali’s Skyline

Cycling in Rwanda was a blast! It seems like the bicycle is the major form of transportation in this country and having so many soulmates around every day just made tackling the 1000 hills way easier! Additionally, the people are extremely welcoming and warm hearted! Even though I only spent a couple of days here, I really enjoyed it! Seriously, what I saw being transported every day on the road is better than any movie, somehow they always manage to do it! Creativity has no boundaries I guess.


My biggest fans

The Gorilla Trek

 It took me a long time to figure out what I want to do with the famous Gorilla’s in Uganda, Rwanda or Kongo. It was from the beginning clear that if I am going to do it then in Uganda. This has its reasons, Kongo is too complicated, unstable and costs the same as in Uganda. Rwanda just this year raised the costs to 1500$. For this price you only get the ticket to enter the park, walk to the Gorillas, sit one hour with them and then leave again. In Uganda it costs 600$, which is still a lot of money for a bit Gorilla. However, everyone who did it was amazed by it and told me to do it as well. My decision was based on many factors, but I think in the end the main reason for not doing it was that I would not as much appreciate it on this trip as if I were coming back solely for this purpose. I have had so many highlights already and it would just be another one out of many. Furthermore, I wanted to cycle there and as it was raining a lot the roads were quite bad which then led to my conclusion of leaving this main attraction out.


fixing a puncture in a hotel


The many faces of Ethiopia

On the way down to cross the Nile, it took me 1 hour to get down, and 3.5 hours up again


So, I have finally entered Ethiopia, the country I have most read about since a lot of cyclists had bad experiences before and either rushed through it or took the bus. The most problematic issue they always named were the kids along the road. It is known that throwing rocks is a national sport, but if you are on a bicycle and kids start to throw rocks at you, every day can be a mental challenge, not to speak of the danger of a rock actually hitting you. My opinion about cycling in Ethiopia was already biased when I entered the country, even if I didn’t want it I couldn’t change it. I had just read to many bad things about cycling through Ethiopia. While cycling the first couple of hours through Ethiopia, I caught myself as being more anxious, more careful and less friendly to people than in other countries I have been before, and I had to tell myself, Lukas, don’t do that, try to make the best out of it and try to see the many positive things this country has to offer. I am still in the process of learning to deal with the Ethiopian people along the road, it will take some more time for sure, but I think that process will also develop mental strength for other situations that might arise in the future. Just to give you a brief insight on what I have to deal with every day. There is a continuous shouting at me, kids can be kilometres away, as soon as they see me they shout YOU YOU YOU YOU, MONEY MONEY MONEY. When I climb hills at 5 to 6 km/h, kids follow me and just repeat the YOU YOU MONEY MONEY over and over again. I am a very calm guy but imagine being on the road for ten hours plus a day, having to continuously listen to that. It can drive you crazy! Since I can’t change it, I just try to deal with it, teaching myself patience and thinking about it in a positive way. I can only benefit from this experience in the future. Luckily, I did not get that many stones thrown at me so far, however, I am always really on the watch and if I see them grabbing a rock, I point at them, step of the bicycle and then they usually run away. I mean they are kids, you can’t blame them, it’s the parents who should take their job more seriously in my opinion. There are also kids trying to take stuff out from the outside of my bags, yes, I always keep my food there… I just constantly need to watch my surroundings which can be very tiring. I also had some adults grabbing my bags while I passed them, this can be super dangerous. I usually stop my bicycle, turn around and tell them in a kind but serious way to stop with that. I believe that after Ethiopia, nothing can bring me off my bicycle anymore haha. I still have over 1500km to go, Ethiopia is bigger than I thought. It is overall almost a 2000 kilometres ride through the country. That’s around the same distance as I did in Sudan, expect the fact that Ethiopia is so mountainous. I am doing on average more than 1000 metres of altitude daily and the road will go up to 3100 meters above sea level at one point. I am in the shape of my life, going uphill doesn’t bother me anymore. It just takes way more time than in the flat terrain, so I kind of need to adjust my daily stretches.

When I was interviewed by the Ethiopian television. I hope I could make a statement for the parents to teach their kids not to throw any stones at cyclists anymore
People just everywhere, population wise Ethiopia is the biggest landlocked country
The Blue Nile Waterfall in Bahir Dar
Little snack along the road, usually prepared by local kids
Women carrying big water tanks every day for kilometres. Usually from the age of 8 to 10 the girls will start to do the same
I haven’t seen any agricultural machines in use. Everything is done like 100 years ago in Europe.
Various things are carried on the head, like this woman here carrying the chickens to the butcher



Some portrait pictures from Debarak

5 days, 550km and 7500 meters of altitude later

This post was written a week of cycling later, and I just got so tired of cycling in this country:

Seriously, I have not experienced this before. Ethiopia is like one village, and there is people EVERYWHERE! This should by no means be a negative post, but the harassment I have to deal with during the whole day is absolutely insane and sad. Ethiopia has developed such a crazy begging culture that is driving me nuts while being on the road for 10 hours+ every day. I know they are poor, but seriously I have been to many poor countries and what Ethiopien people do is in my opinion absolutely disrespectful! There is not one minute passing by that someone doesn‘t shout MONEY MONEY MONEY at me, from babies up to grandparents, just everyone is always asking for money! It continues… the stones… it is sooo dangerous being hit by stones all day long. Usually when I get hit I flinch and turn around, what is if I lose sight for one second and a truck is coming from behind. I don‘t even want to think about that scenario. I get shout and whistled at all day long, I don‘t mind when they shout „foreigner“ at me, but they do it in such an aggressive way that it becomes sooo annoying. I feel being treated like a dog. Whenever I pass a village there is people trying to take stuff out of my outside bags, they try to stop me by just grabbing my arm or my bags. Seriously, the country and its nature is breathtaking, but to cycle through it has been the worst experience so far in my life. I have never been treated like that in any foreign country, and there is still 900km to cycle until Kenya. Please wish me luck and a lot of patience, I hope I do not need a psychiatric doctor afterwords.

On the way down to cross the Nile


Luckily nothing happens, you can see all of the crew to the left. However, I just ask myself how the driver did it.
Stunning views, This picture is taken 2400 Meter above sea level
Young girls carrying heavy loads. All the heavy stuff is carried by femals
The shepherd dress really nice, with jackets, dressshirts and hats
I don’t really agree with his gesture, but that’s just the way the transport the sheep around Ethiopia


Anyone wants a dress?
Ethiopia is very hilly but the views are just amazing
Just Baboons crossing the road
Seems like men are doing the easy work


International Aid – Some possible explanations of what I have experienced

This is just based on my opinion and of what I have seen during my time spent in this country. Ethiopia has been on the list of poorest countries for a long time, they have battled severe famines in the last 50 years. In the famine from 1983 -1985 more than 400,000 people died. I believe since then, Ethiopia has been overrun by international aid organizations and countries who showed their support. Almost every school I pass is built by a foreign organization, all the water stations are donated by the European Union and other organizations. All the roads are either built by China or Japan, and I see so many cars on a daily basis that have been donated by USaid, UKaid, Japaneseaid and the list goes on. What about growing up in a country where almost everything has been sponsored by a foreign country? Ethiopia has become used to be handed everything. In my opinion Ethiopia knows how to cock the fish they have received, but they need to learn how to catch it, and this will be the biggest challenge for Ethiopia in the upcoming years. They need to become less dependent on foreign aid just handed over to them. Now you might say ohhh Lukas so why do you support an organization that delivers aid to Ethiopia? The explanation is simple, Green Ethiopia is not about delivering aid, instead it is about supporting self development, starting with afforestation and ending with people being empowered to sustainably improve their living situation. I strongly believe that is the key for development, aid cannot just be handed over, it needs to be empowered by the people itself, they need to learn how to catch the fish!

Rain season is over 

The rain season lasts for about 3 months and my timing is just great, it usually ends in September. Everything now is so green, flowers are open, and the diversity of colours is just breath-taking. Some free advice: If you want to visit this beautiful country, do it after rain season! Another highlight are the birds. I have never seen such a variety of colourful birds in my life, and if there wouldn’t be the YOUYOUYOU all the time, there would be a huge concert going on from all the singing birds.


A lot of people wear bathing slippers that they can cheaply buy for around 2 dollars. As cheap as they are, they don’t last very long. Surprisingly, Ethiopia is very clean compared to Sudan and Egypt, you barely see any plastic laying around

3 days hike in the Simien mountains

Many people told me that if there is one thing I should do whilst in Ethiopia it is to hike the simien mountains. I arrived in Gondar on a Thursday, didn’t do anything else than cycling for the last 8 days, and the tour started on Friday right away. It didn’t bother me, but I just told myself that I will need a serious break soon after I get back. The 3 days hiking included a guide, a scout, two cooks, all the food and camping equipment. Since I had everything with me anyway, I brought all my own equipment. This was a wise decision; most people were freezing at night and their tent was almost blown off because of the strong winds in the morning. I slept like a baby and my tent was stable as a rock. From Gondar a minivan drove us up to Debarak, where we entered the national park. I did not have any expectations at all, didn’t know what animals to expect and how the landscape will look like. I love doing it this way, doing stuff with no expectations whatsoever so I will not be disappointed at all. It usually turns out to be great anyway, so did it this time as well. We hiked a total of around six to seven hours daily, climbed up to mountains that were 4070 and 4400 meters above sea level. The later one is the second highest point in Ethiopia and the view up there was spectacular. I think the pictures will speak for itself, it was just an amazing three days and I would definitely do it again.

Gelada Baboons in the Simien Mountains. They are really peaceful and let you get very close


Stunning cliffs, sometimes more than 1000 meters steep


Spottet many Walias on the way up to the top


The scout we had to have with us for our own safety, haha!
Climbed up the second highest mountain in Ethiopia, 4,400 meters above sea level


Food in Ethiopia

As Ethiopia used to be “colonized” (Only 4 years) by the Italians, one can find spaghetti everywhere. The waitress usually looks confused when I order two meals, but I think once she realizes I am doing a lot of exercising every day it also makes sense to her haha. I am not a big fan of the traditional Ethiopian food, since it is mostly spicy, has a sour taste and they eat a lot of raw meat. I was suffering from a bacterial infection, which kept me up all night with diarrhoea and vomiting, so I rather try to eat the safer stuff than trying out what the locals eat. Being sick on a solo travel is in my opinion the worst thing that can happen. That’s usually the time when I miss home the most. I had my rest now in Bahir Dar, even though it was kind of forced because of the illness, Bahir Dar is a really nice place to get stuck and it was nice to finally meet some other travelers again.

Eating double portions
This is how my usual breakfast and lunch looks like, bred, banana and chocolate

Wild camping in Ethiopia

Ethiopia seems to be like one huge village. There are people everywhere and seriously no space for any privacy. I don’t like camping at a random place when there are people bothering you, and after being shout at and harassed the whole day, it is also nice to have some privacy in the evening. There is usually a hotel in every little town. They range between 2 to 4 dollars and they look accordingly. What I usually do, to stay safe from all the mosquitos and bed bugs, I pitch my inner tent on the bed. I always sleep with earplugs, since Ethiopians party till late at night and they are always loud. Usually the places I sleep are more used as a brothel where young people meet to have their own room for some action.


This is how I pitched my tent inside the “hotel” rooms

Alcohol, Prostitution, Khat & Glue sniffing children

As soon as I crossed the border from Sudan to Ethiopia, I saw beer advertisements everywhere. When I continued further through the town, I recognized many women wearing short skirts as well as strip clubs. Let’s be honest, I don’t believe it’s the Ethiopians that travel all the way to the border of Sudan to have “fun”. The alcohol culture is huge and I see men drinking beer all along the road, starting already early in the morning. Every village, no matter the size, has at least one pool,  table soccer or pingpong table. I really don’t know what all these young men do all day long, but it seems like most of them really don’t care about work. I have heard from cyclists before that they call Ethiopia Zombie land. I can really understand why now. Young men just running up to me when I ride through a village, having huge red eyes and tumbling around talking weird stuff. Many Ethiopian men are addicted to Khat, a locally grown plant that makes you high. As Wikipedia puts it: Khat is a flowering plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Khat contains the alkaloidcathinone, a stimulant, which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite, and euphoria. Among communities from the areas where the plant is native, khat chewing has a history as a social custom dating back thousands of years analogous to the use of coca leaves in South America and betel nut in Asia.


This guys were already super high on Khat, look at all the empty straws

The first time I felt really sad on this trip was when I arrived in Addis and walked around town to do some groceries shopping. There are so many young kids, really kids, walking around totally high sniffing glue out of cut off PET bottles. They come up to you, can barely walk straight anymore and beg you for food or money. Just made me speechless, they are so young, innocent and determined to die at a very young age. According to the African Child Information Hub, there are as many as 100,000 street children living in Addis Ababa and sadly they are most often involved in the glue-sniffing practice.

Addis street kid sniffing on glue
The guy in the back is already flying high


Green Ethiopia

I have written already over 50 postcards, received more than $4000 in donations and spread the word for almost 2 years now. Finally, I had the chance to visit a Green Ethiopia project in Libokemkem, around Addis Zemen town. I spent over 5 hours in the local community, walking up hills, through forests and talking to the local people about their work. It is impressive to see how much the landscape has changed. Sooooo many trees have been planted and the hills are now terraced so the land is green and fertile. This is all done by the local community. I am super happy to have partnered up with Green Ethiopia and I am looking forward to writing many more postcards for every donation I receive! For every dollar, at least 5 trees can be planted, join all the other donors and help to make Ethiopia greener, also during the dry season!


Where new seedlings are grown. As I understood it the seedlings are cared by the school children
Inside a local house
A woman preparing Injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a slightly spongy texture
Just within one year this plants have grown that tall. The secret is they are behind a cow stall, so the poop really helps the plants to grow
I met the local priest who divides up the harvest between the different families of a town



From Khartoum to the Ethiopian border, my final days in Sudan

When I had my first flat tire, after 5,500 km

From Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, I still had around 550km to go towards the border of Ethiopia. I decided to take a little D-Tour to stay away from the busy main road. I was just tired of main roads. During the three days from Atbara to Khartoum I faced death several times. Bus and truck drivers wouldn’t stop behind me when some other vehicle was coming towards me. While passing, they just pushed me off the road and I sometimes was close to fall of my bicycle. I started to literally do a hand sign every time a truck was approaching me from behind, showing them to “get the fuck over”. It worked most of the time and I was just really happy to finally reach Khartoum. So, the road I took towards Al Quadrif was on the other side of the Nile and I found it to be very peaceful and with barely any traffic. 


After unusual heavy rains a lot of town were flooded
That is how a usual village looks like
For kilometres there was nothing, and suddenly a house shows up again… Imagine living here, seriously in the nowhere


Best way to spend your 3h lunch break, I was lucky this time

The environment started to change quickly. The closer I got to the border, the greener it became. I planned to split the 550km into 5 days, staying in “Hotels” in the bigger cities of Wad Madani and Al Quadrif, and the rest of the days I would sleep somewhere along the road. As you can see in the pictures I found some beautiful camping spots, all by myself, covered by trees. Even though some locals noticed me, I have never felt unsafe in any way while wild camping in Sudan. During my 23 days in Sudan, I only spent 50 dollars on accommodation, so I most of the time slept in my tent. The hotels I had were filthy and really just good for the night to stock up on water and food. In Sudan I paid around 4 to 5 dollars on average for a room per night. When I sleep in a hotel I would always take my bike inside the room. Sometimes, I can barely move within my own room but at least I know the bike is safe. There are for sure more expensive rooms I could take, but what’s the point, I’d rather use that money for other activities than for sleep, and the funny things happen when you get out of your comfort zone. Waking up having a rat in your room or having diarrhea all night long when the bathroom is 100 meters away from where you sleep are stories you won’t forget that quickly.

Nicely covered from the street, and finally some good solid ground again to pitch my tent


Always in use, my camping chair!


Population density increased

The life along the road became busier as I moved on. The agricultural sector is more dominant in the east of Sudan compared to the rest of the route I have followed. The landscape is very green and there are a lot of animals grazing all around. On one day between Khartoum and Wad Madani there were people everywhere, town after town so I decided to stay at a police checkpoint one night. They are safe and the Police men in Sudan surprisingly don’t even carry a gun. They offered me a lot of hot milk and other food.

Night at a police station
The usual daily traffic
I love how that donkey has its tongue out, haha heavy women:P



Sudanese hospitality

The hospitality continued throughout my travel through Sudan. On an hourly basis people invited me for coffee and tea, which I most of the times frankly declined since I had to do some kilometres, and I cannot drink tea all day long. However, I never turned down a food offer, haha, so I randomly was invited by a young guy while I was doing a water break. I first thought he wanted something from me, but as I had already done more than 3/4 of my planned route on that day I just followed him. Since it was Friday (the Muslims holy day), I got invited to a huge breakfast which was just delicious. There were only guys in the room, ranging from the age of 5 up to 27. One guy was fluent in English and it felt good to have a normal conversation. After discussing a lot of cultural differences between Sudan and Switzerland, he kindly asked me to take off my clothes, they wanted to see me naked. I just laughed and showed them my upper body. I laughed even more when they wanted to see more, but I then frankly declined, and they accepted it. Later, I asked myself why they wanted to see me totally naked, is it because of the skin colour? or did they want to see if my penis is circumcised? I really don’t know, I just thought it was funny that they were totally against homosexuality and then asking me to take off my clothes in front of them.

Typical sudanese breakfast
The guys who invited me for breakfast

The African way

I just love spending time in a village or city, sitting somewhere and watch the people doing their daily business. There are special phone charging places where around 50 phones are being charged at the same time. In Africa, more people have access to Internet than to electricity. What I also realized is that people in Sudan really don’t do maintenance on their equipment. The trucks, buses, tuctuc’s whatever you name it, they just use it until it does not work anymore. Seriously they have no profile on their tire anymore, they won’t exchange a tire until it explodes and is completely ripped off the rim, sometimes causing even further damage to the body of the vehicle. In this part I will post some pictures that are so typical to the African way of doing things.

Donkeys are the main mean of transportation in the rural areas


A usual sight in Africa, trucks filled with people, safety is never an issue
They are really keen on keeping their vehicle clean, just the place they do it is a bit….
TucTuc cleaning
Every day I get surprised by things, like this wardrobe in my room
Sudanese “Handy-Doctor”
Exploded tires everywhere, and the spare tires they usually have are as run down as all the others
A typical sight you can see all over, women walking for kilometers to transport things


The Ethiopian Visa

As I did not enter Ethiopia by airplane, I was obliged to get the Visa at the Ethiopian Embassy in Khartoum. I arrived in Khartoum on a Friday, and as the arabic weekend is from Friday to Saturday, I had to wait until Sunday to go to the Embassy. A friend told me to go there very very early. The embassy opens at 8:30 and I arrived there at 06:00AM. Surprisingly, I was not the first one, as I had to register at the “security guard” I was assigned with the number 47. The whole process was so disorganized and no one really had a clue what was going on. There were around 4 different lines, everyone was shouting, holding different papers in their hand and the embassy people in charge of letting people in, made use of their situational power and acted in a really arrogant way. Apparently, the first ones they let in already came to the embassy 5 days before, and as they only let in 100 people per day, the whole process was totally delayed. At 11:00 a guy finally made clear to us that there is no way we would get a visa today, and he put on each of our visa forms a number again and a date, when we will have our visa appointment. I was assigned with number one on Wednesday. So I had to wait three days to go to the embassy again. As I had time and really wanted the Visa, I arrived again at 06:00 on that Wednesday. At around 10:00 I was allowed to go inside, and I was really lucky, as the number I was assigned to earlier did not matter at all. There were people who even had an appointment 2 days before me and again didn’t manage to be let inside. The whole process is just soooo disorganized, and as an embassy worker, how can you deal with that every day without changing it? I had to wait another 6 hours inside until I finally got my three months visa, which cost me 60$.

My struggle with the postcards

On my whole way down in Sudan I tried to find a Post office, but the answer was always no, there is none in Sudan. I asked people everywhere and even expats, living in Khartoum for years told me they have not heard of a post office anywhere. As I checked maps.me, there was a sign saying Post office Khartoum. Well, why not give it a try? Since I write a postcard for every donation I receive, and most people wanted a postcard from Sudan, I had to try it. I didn’t want to let 20 people down, haha! As I arrived at the location, yes there was a big building, looking like a post office, but a guy told me that is a remaining building from the British colonial period. Ok well, so I just started asking around the locals where to find a post office. As usual, no one had a clue, but suddenly one guy seemed to know what I am looking for, stopped a minibus and told the driver where to drop me off. Tadaaa, after a short walk I really arrived at something that looked like a Post office. The mess inside was terrific but it still looked like they were under control of the mess. I checked if they send postcards as well as the price. So, I finally found a post office, but what about postcards? Sudan is not a typical tourist destination, so where do you find postcards? The struggle was real! I already made plans to print out pictures and send them inside an envelope. As I walked out of the SudaPost office, a guy with a little street shop, looked at me and said: postcards?! I couldn’t hold back my laugh, I was like damn, you are my mannnn!! The postcards he had were at least 20 years old but in my opinion they were great, even though they did not look nice at all, they are postcards from Sudan! I mean who has ever received a postcard from Sudan?! What a game changer, I managed to find a post office as well as postcards! As I brought all of them to the postoffice, I really made sure to get the women at the counter on my side. I wouldn’t call it flirting, but as I told them all those cards are for my wife, kids and friends, their heart really seemed to melt and I was pretty sure that they will take good care of the cards. I put all the postage stamps on each card my self and stamped them myself, to make sure that they don’t just take the postage stamps off again after I leave. It took exactly 18 days until the first postcards arrived, and I believe that by now, all the 20 cards have found their way to the recipient. How great is that? It took 6 weeks for postcards from Italy to arrive home, which were sent 200km off the Swiss border! Shout out to SudaPost!!!

The big day at the postoffice
My man!! Hey you want postcards??!!


Sudan – Ethiopia border crossing

Border crossings are exciting, you are entering a new country, a different culture. They speak a different language, dress differently. Just from one day to the next, things can completely change. Nevertheless, border crossings are also a big hassle. People always try to take advantage of you, they want to exchange your money, try to charge you more on food, try to help you getting money from an ATM, telling you where to go and there is like 10 people shouting at you if you go somewhere else.

I camped 50 km away from the border between some trees. I took it easy in the morning because I knew I only had to do around 90 km with not a lot of altitude change. I rode for 2km when I suddenly realized that I had my first flat tire, wuhuu! After 5500 km, riding through thorn bushes, over glass shards and terrible roads, this is a solid achievement I would say. It took me around 30 minutes, as I was in no hurry and I rather did it slow and easy, than twice. I exchanged the tube and fixed the defective one a couple of days later in a hotel room, where it was not as dusty and full of dirt.

Once at the border, I had to go to the Sudanese immigration office to fill out a form, get my passport stamped and I was off to cross the bridge to the other side. The Sudanese officers at the border attempted to check my luggage. I acted like I did not understand what he wanted to do and after a couple of seconds he just waved me over. I then had to go through the exact same process on the other side. The lady who wanted to check my luggage was a bit more eager to see my stuff. She checked like the first two bags in front, but then got tired of it and I talked her out of it. Imagine, it is sooooo annoying if they want to look through your whole equipment. It’s so much and I need to take all the bags off the bike. Passport control is annoying too. Just normal dressed people showed up at the side of the rode demanding to see my passport. Yes, they could be police officers, and probably mostly are but as I cannot know it I usually just pass on without showing them anything. The mostly do not have a car so they couldn’t even follow me.

What does cycling mean to me?

Probably most accurately – Freedome… I can just go wherever I want, any kind of „road“, at any time. I don‘t need to worry about gasoline, stupid taxes, paperwork at borders or any speedcontrols (😂). There are days where I like it more, there are others when I am just glad that the day is over, but all in all after every day you feel you have accomplished something. You are a few kilometers closer to your final destination, climbed up a mountain, fixed 10 punctures, crossed a flooded riverbed, pushed your bike up a hill or through the sand (or both together) for hours…, there are so many moments to celebrate each day. Some of you probably think, how can he still like cycling? Seriously, I don‘t know, but I guess it is all those little things every day that make cycle-traveling so enjoyable!


The kindness of strangers

Arriving at the border I had around 10$ in Sudanese pounds left. As usual I try to get rid of all my money before crossing the border, since changing it always leaves you worse off than getting it from an ATM. Many people told me it is no problem to get money from an ATM right after the border so I did not worry about money at all. As the luck was totally not on my side, the only ATM across the border was out of service and I was told 40km down the road in the next town there is an other international ATM. I left Metama right away since I could not stand the hassle that was going on. Shortly after I saw two overlanders coming at me with beautiful BMW 1200 GS and GSA. I put my hand out to signal them to stop. In these areas you don’t meet that many travelers on the road so it is always worth to have at least a quick chat. It turned out it was a Belgium couple on their honey moon, traveling from South Africa all the way back to Belgium. If there is a woman out there that wants a honey moon like that as well, please get in touch with me! They call themselves the Belgium Gravel Cats and you can follow their adventurous journey here. I told them about my bad luck at the border with the ATM, and with no hesitation they hand me over their remaining Birr, which was around 12$, and a SIM card for emergencies since the next telephone store is on Gondar, 200km away. With the total of 22$ worth of Birr (name of Ethiopian currency) it was possible for me to reach Gondar, where I could withdraw money again. I would have survived without their kind gesture, but it def. made my upcoming three days way more comfortable with less hassle. Thank you for that! The kindness of fellow travelers especially in areas where you don’t really meet a lot of overlanders is always remarkable and I really try to keep UP that spirit.

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The Belgian Gravel Cats

Sudan – Statistics

Kilometres cycled: 1774

Days spent: 23

Nights wild camping: 10

Cost for food: 124$

Cost for sleeping: 98$, including two nights for a total of 50$ (Birthday treat)

Average daily water consumption: 12-14 liters

Favorite food: Sudanese call it Sahan ful (a plate of beans) or ful masri (Egyptian beans). It is a vegetarian protein rich dish garnished with fresh onions, tomatoes, rocket leaves, feta cheese, boiled eggs and sesame oil. It caused the only tailwind I had in Sudan, haha.

Really doesn’t look tasty, but, it’s SOOOO GOOD!

A German version will follow in the next couple of days.


Welcome to Africa


Final kilometres to Athens

The closer I got to Athens, the more excited I became. The days were long, hot, and I’ve had some serious issues with my butt for the last 10 days. So, I was really looking forward to getting to Athens to treat it and give it time to recover. On both sides of my cheeks I had inflamed spots, that made riding seven to nine hours a day really tough. I did a detour to the island of Rovies, which has a beautiful costal line as well as country side, but it turned out to be hillier than I thought.

Back to the mainland of Greece, right before Athens

On my last day before arriving in Athens I got caught up in a big thunderstorm and sought shelter in a warehouse filled with beer and soda. Unfortunately, I still had 40 km to go, that meant no beer for me yet. The guys running the warehouse were very friendly and provided me with water until I couldn’t drink anymore.

Thanks for the shelter guys!

I was glad that after an hour of heavy rain, I was finally able to hit the road again. People keep asking me what I do when I need to do number one or two. I highly enjoy doing it somewhere in the nature. At least then I don’t need to worry about how dirty the restroom might be.

My camping spot in Rovies. It’s beautiful to spend the night next to the sea when you can listen to the waves all night long

Riding into a big city is usually pretty stressful, cars, motorcycles and reckless drivers. Ten kilometres away from downtown, I was able to pick up a cardboard box to ship my bike. I wrote a few e-mails to bicycle shops around 2 weeks ago and Serkosbikes immediately replied me and offered me a box for free. So, I got that settled. However, I tend to be uneasy until I have everything prepared. Taking the bike apart was straightforward, like always if you take stuff apart you believe that it makes sense the way it is assembled. Putting the bike together again needed some more braincells, haha. First, I didn’t believe that the whole bike would fit into the box, since I was told that I should only take off the front wheel. However, it all worked fine until I had to take off the pedals. My mini 22 tools broke while taking them off. I then had to walk for a about a kilometre with half a bike and everyone kind of looked at me like I were a thief. The bike shop was in the middle of a market, so I was able to get the pedals taken off, some extra Allen® keys and pliers. 


Personally, I enjoyed Athens. The Acropolis is not that spectacular because there is a lot of construction going on and there is not that much left of it anyways. It looks way better from far away. What I really enjoyed about Athens were the many cosy restaurants and bars. The food was amazing, and I definitely regained some kilos, Gyros for breakfast was just too delicious. I also needed a lot of rest. I had to catch up so much sleep. The first two days I was constantly tired.  

The Acrapolis


What did I do during my 7 day stay? I slept a lot, walked around the city, did some sightseeing, went to a close by beach and lake but what I probably did most was eating. It also rained very hard a couple of times, which I guess is unusual for that area during the summer months. 

On one evening I also met Markus, the cyclist I had met three weeks ago in Croatia. While he was checking in at his Hotel, his whole bike was stolen with all his equipment. How sad is this, who would do such a terrible thing? I am very glad that everything went well for me up to now. However, this incidence makes me even more careful when it comes to the question of where to park my bike. For sure, I always lock it to a pole or tree if I can.

I replaced my bicycle in Athens

The closer I got to the departure date, the more I started to realize that I will soon be doing my first steps on African soil. What a feeling! However, the uncertainty of the unknown also made me kind of nervous. When all my stuff was packed I thought I was doing just fine with the weight, didn’t seem to be too much. I could take two 23kg bags as a free allowance. Once arriving at the airport, I had the chance to weigh all my stuff. The scale stopped at 60kg, which was a little bit too much… What should I do now? I tried to put as much as I could into my hand luggage, since airport staff almost never checks that. Nevertheless, the bicycle box alone was 5 kilograms too heavy. I guess with a friendly, innocent smile and telling the check-in lady that the bicycle is only 23.5 kg, I got through everything without paying any extra money. Still can’t believe it, but somehow it worked out well! 

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Leaving Athens with all my gear packed up. The 60 kilograms at the Checkin surprised me as well

Arrival in Cairo

My flight was 2 hours delayed, the line at the customs was extremely long and once I got to the front, the officer barely looked at me. As usual they always try to act super serious, either they are very bored, or they are just never in the mood to smile. He asked me where I was coming from, I am like dude, you are holding my passport, what do you think??? Of course, I didn’t say that. He still didn’t like me and told me to wait aside. So, I waited and waited for at least 20 minutes until another guy showed up and asked to follow him to a small office. I was asked a lot of questions; what are you doing back home, why are you in Egypt, for how long, do you have friends here, are you Muslim, why do you wear such a big beard, is your purpose of the trip really traveling and not working? It all seemed kind of ridiculous, and in the end the other guy sitting in the room told me that there was some confusion with my name. I guess Lukas Caesar Steiner does not look as Arabic as my appearance…that confused them. In the end they let me go. Luckily my bike and the bags survived the trip without any damages. To get from the airport to downtown I thought to be super smart and order an Uber, however, it turned out that I got super unlucky and I got like the smallest Uber ever. Of course, my luggage didn’t fit in and I had to take a regular taxi downtown, with the bike being placed on top of the roof. Finally arriving at the Hostel, 4 hours after I had planned, I walked up to the elevator and saw a sign attached saying: Out of service. As you can imagine it was very enjoyable to carry three heavy bags up to the fifth floor.

Finally, with the second taxi it worked out fine

Cairo itself is very hectic, a lot of traffic, honking and people everywhere. Nothing seems to be organized but it still works. I felt comfortable right away, those are the places that I enjoy most. The bigger the difference to Switzerland the better. The food here is amazing too. It is about time for me to hit the road again, otherwise I will soon need some bigger pants. I will head towards the coast of the Red Sea on Sunday morning. it is roughly a 130 km ride to the coast, and I don’t think I want to push it too hard on my first day after the break. I need to get used to sleeping everywhere, all by myself in a country I totally don’t know. It is not as easy as I thought it would be and it needs some time to get over the worrisome feelings. I will sleep somewhere along the road in the desert on Sunday, but since there is nothing out there it is my only option. I will take around 15 litres of water with me as well as 2 kg of food, so it should all be fine. Temperature is around 38 degrees Celsius with a slight breeze going here in Cairo. I am still not sure if I should take the desert road to the Red Sea, or if I should cycle along the Nile. Along the Nile is a very busy road, lots of opportunities to get water, food and shelter, however most cyclists are also escorted by the police on the whole stretch. The desert between Cairo and the Red sea will be very hot (40-45 degrees), as well as no villages and people. I think I will escape the busy road, head towards the coast and do some scuba diving in Hurghada. It is supposed to be one of the nicest diving spots worldwide, and I have time so why not. The people here are highly welcoming, and I feel very safe. Of course, as always in the big cities, many people try to get to your money, that’s why I love traveling on a bicycle, so I have the chance to meet the people outside the big cities.

It’s pretty impressive to finally see the Pyramids live, and not in some Asterix and Obelix movie


Fundraising for Green Ethiopia

Until now, more than 2,000$ have been donated. Seriously, you guys are great. Every day I get so many warm-hearted messages, which really pushes me. It is such a nice feeling to know that people at home care about what I am doing here and that they enjoy reading my stories. As of now I have already written more than 10 post cards, and there are hopefully many more to come. Some people even ordered a post card from every African country I will travel through. I love writing them and I would be more than happy to write a post card to you as well!! You will find all the information about Green Ethiopia and what 100% of the money will be used for HERE:

This picture was taken before my departure when I met my former Professor at the University of St. Gallen, Mr. Pfister, managing director of the foundation Green Ethiopia. 

1000km done – hello Croatia

It’s exactly two weeks ago since I left, I have done close to 1000km so far and I am feeling way better than in the beginning. My body is getting used to the exertions and so is my knee. The last two days from Italy through Slovenia and to Rovinj Croatia I didn’t feel my knee at all, and I had some big hills to pass. Temperature is on the rise the further down I get. It is usually around 30 to 35 degrees and I am losing a lot of sweat every day. Staying hydrated is my highest priority and I try to drink around 7 to 8 litters a day.

During the last few days I passed through some beautiful cities. Especially Venice and Verona were fabulous. I usually camped, however, in Venice I had the chance to stay with Francesca, a friend of my brother Michael. It’s always very interesting to be taken around by a local, they usually know a lot of nice little places.


From Venice on I did a 140km day because I did not want to stay at a super tourist campsite. I stayed at paradise island, sounds great, nevertheless, the only great thing about it was its name. The facilities were super nasty, I was glad I could pitch my tent somewhere on the island, far away from anything. From there I stopped at Trieste, and finally in Rovinj! The way to Rovinj was full of hills and my GPS led me through some spectacular landscapes, however, the roads were about equally spectacular… My border crossing from Slovenia to Croatia was through a small river, no checks nothing, just in the middle of a valley were only 2-3 farmers lived. I had to push the bike a couple of times. If the slope gets steeper than 8-9%, and it’s a gravel road, the pressure on the first gear and the belt is just too high, as well as on my knees. Speed wise I am as fast as if I was sitting on the bike. Feels like back during the army, except that it is me myself who is kicking my ass.

Border crossing Slovenia – Croatia

So, this is my first time in Croatia. I feel terrible about it. My good friend Luka who I spent most of my school and university time with is from Croatia, and I never managed to visit him. Now, Luka is in Havana and I am staying at their house with his Mother Iva.

Luka’s mom and me watching the Croatia – Denmark game

She is really taking care of me. It totally feels like home, which is the reason I decided to stay here a bit longer. Croatia is sooo beautiful!! It’s like a vacation from vacation, and since I don’t need to catch any flight or bus, I am free to do whatever I prefer.Now I have like 25 days left to make it to Athens. I am going to do like 350 km during the next 3 days to make my way to Zadar, where I will meet my good friend Roman and hopefully Nicole, an old friend from school. A saying says that Zadar has the most beautiful sunset… I am really looking forward to enjoying a nice beer and watch it myself.Many people asked me how I eat and cook my food. So, breakfast I usually eat Oatmeal and if I am too lazy to use the burner it’s just some bread with cheese and fruits. For Lunch I usually go to a small store and they prepare me a fresh sandwich with meat and cheese.

Lunch takes me around 45 minutes. I always try to keep it short, as I want to arrive at my sleeping spot no later than 6pm, to have some time to relax. For dinner I mostly prepare some pasta or rice on the stove, to fill my body with energy again. Food wise it’s nothing spectacular, but I am just happy if I can still my hunger. Last week I bought a pesto sauce, since I am all by myself, that sauce took around 7 days to finish, so I had pasta with pesto every night and sometimes even for breakfast.

I am really not picky about anything, food in particular, I just don’t like to be hungry so I eat everything. The water is still not an issue, I just drink tap water until Greece, before I start filtering it.For now, the most valuable piece of equipment I took on my trip is my foldable lightweight chair. It is so comfortable to sit in a chair after a long day in the saddle and relax. Totally worth the extra 500 grams. Usually I spend around 6-7 hours in the saddle every day, not including any breaks etc. If you want to see all the detailed information click here, and click below on the second tab “detailed information” to see all the statistics I am taking

Cheers and thank you for reading my blog 🤟😊