Ethiopia #2: Over and Out

My usual look, dirty but happy

I have spent a total of 5 days in Addis Ababa, mostly inside the camping area at Wim‘s Holland house. A lot of overlanders go there, since it has space to camp, space for the car, the rooms are cheap, and they serve good food. Exactly what I needed. As always, I took off very early in the morning after sunrise at around 6AM. The ride out of Addis was very peaceful and not much of a hassle. I planned to stay in a town 130km away from Addis Ababa, but as I arrived at noon already, I continued on. Following, the hassle started, people started to become more and more aggressive. I had kids throwing rocks right in front of me, usually they would throw them after I had passed them. Families sitting at the side of the road throwing stones, even adults grabbed fist-sized rocks and threw them at me. Once I passed two young adults, I greeted them kindly and as I passed one guy smashed a stick on my back. Of course, I stopped, and they ran off into the field, it just made me feel said. An adult couple stopped as well and tried to help me, but the guys were long gone. I continued and continued until the sun was almost gone. I did 230km on that day, I was so tired of all the harassment that I just wanted to leave. The hotel I got was nice and also the people I hung out that night were kind and I had good talks with them. Even they couldn’t explain why stuff like that happens to cyclists. The following day I left early again. The next town I passed was Shasharmane, famous for its living rastafari culture. I didn‘t see much of that as people were so aggressive. I cannot explain how it felt, it was just not welcoming. On that day I wanted to make it to Sodo, a 130km ride. After 75km I was mentally so down that I called my mom. Never miss out on a mom’s advice. I couldn‘t handle it anymore, I was so angry, sad and just didn‘t feel safe anymore. Whole groups of people tried to get a hold of me, followed me on their motorcycles, the stone throwing became so bad that I just didn‘t want to cycle anymore. Every kilometre was hell and I just wanted to get out as fast as possible. Luckily, I met some American tourists on the way whom I asked for help. They organized a transport for me to the next bigger city. That was the moment in which I decided that Ethiopia was over for me, but I still had 400km to cover. I had to change the bus 5 times until I finally reached the border of Kenya. Imagine having 6 bags with you, a bicycle and 30 people constantly around shouting at you. I had to do everything myself, carry the bicycle up and down from the bus roof, since they always asked for money and when I said no, they just left. It was very stressful, but I managed to get to the border within 2 days. The reason why I called my mom is that sometimes I am struggling to jump over my ego, giving up is not an option for me but my mom helped me to understand that I was not giving up on anything, that it was just smarter to take the bus, that I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone and that I would regret it if something bad had happened to me which could have possibly ended my trip altogether. That’s what a journey like this is here for. I can improve on myself, my character every day and try to learn learn learn. What is the point of doing something over such a long period of time if you don’t like it? I just wanted to move on so that I have more time to spend in a place I could enjoy.

Chris and Sue, an English couple who travel the world with their Camper. They have already done whole West Africa and are now on their way up to Egypt. Their goal is to start their hot  air balloon in every country they travel to, and yes it is a real hot air balloon that carries people. Think about all the hustle they must have at the border with three big gas tanks in the back. I really love what they are doing.
Cesar and Ida are a Polish couple who travel down to South Africa on a Motorcycle. I have met them 3 times on the road, in Khartoum, Gondar and a last time in Addis. Lucky for me they had troubles with their motorcycle and had to wait for spare parts 😀
The usual travel place for my bike on a bus
I always had to make sure myself that the bike is tightened correctly and that they don’t destroy things. So I rather did it myself.
Please guys, be careful with the belt!!!
A loooong day….
The landscape again was really beautiful and it changed quite a bit from before Addis


Bus rides were really uncomfortable and the busses were usually very packed


First wildlife I saw on the trip, unfortunately this Hyena had a worse day than I did

For some time now, Moyale had been experiencing regularly violent outbreaks. The area is known for tribal conflicts and I planned to get over to the Kenyan side as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, I couldn‘t pass the border in the evening anymore so I had to sleep on the Ethiopian side of Moyale, as the immigration dudes already left work at 5pm. Heavily armed man were walking around, some unrests occurred and big crowds of people gathered afterwards. This was the first time I didn‘t really feel comfortable. Usually, I never felt anything like this in all the other towns and cities I had stayed in. I got into the first hotel, organized a room, got out again to get water and bananas and went right inside the hotel area again. After sunset Moyale was like a ghost town, everything was completely shut down and I couldn‘t even leave the hotel anymore (not that I wanted to, I just checked). My night was peaceful, as always since I sleep with earplugs. I was the first person at Immigration in the morning, got the exit stamp from Ethiopia and went through „no-man’s-land” over to Kenya. As I went over, some Ethiopian guy didn‘t stop shouting at me, almost yelling. I didn‘t pay him any attention since guys have done this all the time. As I entered the Kenyan Immigration office, this guy showed up again, totally in rage, yelling at me, saying that I disrespect Kenyan orders and their law etc. For a moment I thought come on, please don’t make me stay here longer than I am supposed to. Then a really nice Kenyan military lady came, grabbed the man and took him out. As she returned, I asked her, what is if I leave and this guy is waiting outside? She just answered really cool, I locked him up in a cell for the day, you will be fine. This guy was totally drunk and high on Khat, he deserved it.

After I crossed the border I really felt at peace, no more youyouyou, no more moneymoneymoney and not a single rock! It’s crazy, 100% different. Kenya is such a beautiful, peaceful country, and the people are amazing, full of happiness & kindness. The level of English they speak is also exceptionally good and communication is great!

My interesting time in Ethiopia

By no means do I want to offend anyone by my post, but I try to write as accurate as possible on how I felt. Some unpleasant things can happen, but they do for sure not mean that I need to be quiet about it.
Yes, many people travel to Ethiopia, many people love it and have not experienced anything like I have. I can just say that there is a huge difference on traveling through Ethiopia by public transport, car, organized tours etc, and traveling through it on a bicycle. I can share some other stories with you from cyclists who also travelled through Ethiopia.

Link 1: You don’t cycle in Ethiopia

Link 2: Last days in Zombieland

Link 3: And they stoned me; The Joy of cycling in Ethiopia:

Link 4: Welcome to hell

Link 5: Stabbed in the back 

In any case, I would never dare to say that the whole country was bad, Ethiopia is beautiful, and the majority of the people is really nice. It is just that what happened to me cannot be just left away and I also want to share those experiences with you. However, some people ask me now: Lukas, will you continue to collect money for Ethiopia? I absolutely will continue to do so. You cannot throw all the people of a country in to the same basket. I have met wonderful people in Ethiopia as well, I visited places Green Ethiopia is active in and I have seen with my own eyes how much we can help to improve lives of less fortunate people. My bad experiences have nothing to do with my personal feelings towards Ethiopia and the people I can help. I still highly support the foundation Green Ethiopia and we should all take this as an example, not to judge a whole country just by single events and incidents that are occurring. Many Ethiopians couldn’t believe what has happened to me, and surely all of them have agreed that this cannot be tolerated.


Ethiopia – Statistics

Kilometres cycled: 1265

Days spent: 26

Nights wild camping: 0

Cost for food: 194$

Cost for sleeping: 172$

Average daily altitude climb: 1300 Meter


Sudan! 1200 km through the Sahara


Hey Lukas, when you ride to Cape Town, won’t you need to cycle through Sudan? Yes, I do. Ohh… isn’t Sudan a super dangerous country? I got the question asked so many times. It seemed very weird, people telling me how dangerous Sudan was, but they have never actually been there. This happens in so many everyday situations, people thinking they know everything, just from listening to the news, reading journals or even better; someone else told them… Since my preparation time was quite extensive, around 1 year, I had to listen to so many “No Sayers”. Lukas you can’t do it, it’s too dangerous, too hot, too sandy, too unstable, too whatever. I felt like a lawyer, constantly defending myself. So, what now, I have arrived in Sudan, cycled 1200 kilometres across the Sahara during summer. Can’t say it wasn’t tough, or that I didn’t have really long days, or that I slept very well because of the storms at night. However, I was having the time of my life. What an amazing feeling just to be out there, independent from anything. No one has any clue where the hell you are, it is just quiet, the sky and especially the stars were breath-taking.  Mind-blowing, even for myself. This is what I had always been waiting for, the real adventure, my time to discover Africa has finally started!


Sudan – My arrival

Sudan, until now the most hospitable country I have been to. Imagine, for the first 7 days I did not spend a single dollar on food… feels very special. It is crazy how different the people in Sudan are compared to Egypt. Sudanese people are way more relaxed. Every day, I get invited several times for coffee, tea and food. I feel really great cycling through Sudan. All the people give you thumbs up, they cheer you on and just want to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. One time I was standing at a water station, asking a guy where the next restaurant was. It took 3 minutes and I was sitting in his house eating lunch. People here really don’t have anything, poverty rate is high, but still their hospitality seems to be boundless.

They gave me a bed to relax during my lunch break
Lunch break on a praying carpet, people really care for my rest 😀
Morning Coffee with some Truckdrivers


I arrived with the ferry in Whadi Halfa on August 27th. I spent a wonderful night on the deck of the boat, watching the full moon all night long. The whole unloading process took forever, but I didn’t care, I have so much time for whatever, why should I stress myself. I had to show every single bag to the customs officer, they checked it through, but really didn’t go deep. It just took forever, and I hate unpacking my whole bicycle with so many items loaded. It is like I am missing 6 arms to do all the things I have to do at once. Due to political sanctions, no foreign credit card works in Sudan. Travelers know, always carry enough Dollars with you. The situation in Sudan is kind of special. To exchange money, you must do it on the black market, since the official rate is like 7 times lower. Right now, the rate is quite good, it is 1 to 40. Imagine the highest bill is a 50 Sudanese Pound one. Changing 100 dollars gives you a huge pile of bills that don’t fit in a normal wallet. It is illegal to exchange your dollars on the black market. I mean it’s obvious, that’s why it’s called black market in the first place, but still everyone does it. People will ask you on the boat, after you get through customs, or you just go to random stores around town, through some backroom door and an old guy will be sitting there with piles of bills and he will change your dollars too. The rate changes on a daily basis, so bargaining is possible.

This is worth 40 dollars

Some of you might ask yourselves, how did I get a Visa for Sudan? It is super easy. I just wrote to the Sudanese Embassy in Geneva; Hey, I will be cycling from Zurich to Cape-town and I need to pass through Sudan, can I get a Visa? Yes, just send me your passport and 100$, you will get it back within 4 days. Worked great, perfect service! I got a Visa that gave me 2 months to enter the country and 2 months to stay inside, this provides a lot of flexibility.

Sudan has special regulations on taking pictures. In fact, it is just one rule: you are not allowed to take any pictures at all. People love if you take pictures of them, they even throw themselves in pose, but the government just doesn’t want that you take any pictures of some infrastructure stuff. I only got into trouble once. In Karima, where one guy became kind of furious by me walking around downtown taking pictures. Haha, I apologized, and it was good again.

Don’t worry, he wasn’t freezing, it was still around 40 degrees 

After getting a local SIM card, changing my money and buying food and water for the next 4 days, I took off in the afternoon for my first night in the desert.

My way down

Since I had only 12 days’ time to reach Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, before my birthday, I was on a tight schedule. Cycling for 12 days sounds rough, but your body gets surprisingly fast used to it. Out of the 11 nights I slept 3 times in a filthy hotel, costs per night were around 4-6$ so I did not expect much, something I never do. If you have low expectations, you cannot get disappointed. I rather sleep out in the nature than in places where you don’t know when the bedsheets were washed for the last time. Is it maybe 5 months, or rather 10? It’s better not to know those things I guess. The only thing I really take care of is that I always have enough food, for at least 3 days, with me and enough water for 1 full day, which is around 12-14 litres. Carrying more water just gets too heavy. Along the Nile you could find a water station at least every 50km. The water has the most diverse colours, from light to dark brown to grey, whatever colour you want you can find it. I always tried to filter the water. Sometimes when a truck driver handed me an ice-cold bottle of water I was too lazy to filter it. In the Afternoon at around 14:00 I always started to wave down truck drivers with an empty bottle of water. Seriously, 95% always stopped and handed me over water, mostly cold, sometimes frozen or when I got lucky even a cold Coca Cola. When you only had hot ass water for the last couple of hours and someone hands you an ice-cold Coke, you feel like you were in heaven. The next hour just becomes so much more pleasurable then. I usually got up at 4:30, sometimes 5 if I was not feeling it quiet yet. the Sun goes up at 5:15 and it is getting hot quickly after that. I usually took a break from 11 to 14:30, because it was just too hot, and it would have been a massive waste of valuable water. However, it was not always easy to find a good shade.  I started seeking for a nice dune to camp behind at around 16:30, which gave me 1.5 hour to cook, set up the tent, and to put everything away again. I barely had any internet on the way until Atbara. I really enjoyed it and it was nice to just read in my book. 

Seeking shade… not the best lunch break I have had, It was just blazing hot and it didn’t really have a lot of shade
One of the best moments, when I got two frozen water bottles in the middle of nowhere by some truck driver


It is rare that you find a place like this with a bed and no one around
There was too much wind so I decided to sleep in this ruin… bad decision, it was  extremely hot all night long
When I wanted to put away my tent, a scorpion suddenly rushed out from underneath my tent
I really dont know why, but there are so many dead cows laying at the side of the rode
Camping spot
The Pyramids of Karima
A waterstation

The Sandstorms and I 

The first four nights were amazing, there was a breeze going, I only had the inner tent pitched so that I could see the stars, and no clouds at all. Afterwards, almost every night became a little nightmare. When I went to sleep at 20:00, the sky always looked perfectly clear, but at around 23:00, strong winds started to pick up and I found myself in the middle of a big storm. It is not a pleasant feeling, just being out in the middle of nowhere, by yourself, almost blown away by the wind, but what can you do? I wasn’t scared, I had everything under control. I was laying in my tent like a starfish, so the tent could not take off. It is hard generally to pin down a tent in the desert. The sand doesn’t hold the tent pegs. I usually hoped the storm would go away once the sun goes up. Unfortunately, this happened only once. The other two times I had to pack everything together under extremely windy conditions. Everything went well, I just felt it on the bike a bit that I had not sleep at all. During those 6 days, I did a total of 650 kilometres with constant headwinds. On the worst day I had an average of 10 km/h during the first 4 hours, which makes you quite tired on a 9 to 10 hour cycling day. In general, body feels great and I can really push. However, I always check to eat a lot of salt and magnesium. Treating my body well if I am putting so much pressure on it is essential.

Yes, it was quite sandy…

My birthday, Alexander and lots of stories

It felt quite special to celebrate my birthday in Sudan. Surely something not a lot of Europeans can claim for themselves. Due to Sharia law, alcohol is strictly prohibited. So, I guess I will have to drink my birthday beer once in Ethiopia.

Zander is from the UK, currently living in Johannesburg and cycling from South Africa all the way up to Alexandria. I would have loved to cycle with him, hopefully we will be able to do that in the future sometime. It is not that I feel lonely, it is just cool sometimes to have a buddy with you to share stories, cook together or just to push through the headwind. Zander spontaneously decided to stay an additional day just for celebrating my birthday with me. We had great food and lots of interesting talks.

Birthday Dinner with Alexander
When Alex left at 5:30 in the morning, heading towards Egypt

Woman in Sudan

I feel there is a huge difference to the women I met in Egypt. Here, women seem to be way more open. They say hello, smile, shake hands with men, and are not as separated from the male world as it seemed to be the case in Egypt. They also wear colourful dresses and I can tell you: It looks beautiful! I have not taken any picture yet. I always feel kind of touristy doing that. 


Most people barely know any English, my Arabic is really not good but with hands and feet I always manage to get what I want. Usually when I do my lunch break I am surrounded by young guys. I figured out most of them are super into football, so it’s always fun to just name players and compare them. Most favourite one I always get asked is: Ronaldo or Messi? Ronaldo of course 😉


The Pyramids of Meroe

Ups and downs

It is a solid 2 weeks and another 1000 kilometres since my last update. During that time, I mainly cycled in Croatia, passing through cities like Rijeka, Zadar, Split, Makarska and Dubvronik. I was able to experience all of the Croatian elimination games while being in Croatia. The atmosphere was stunning! This was the first time I was in a country while its football team was playing the world cup final.

The most beautiful campingspot I had so far

The scenery along the coast is breath-taking. However, there is simply too much traffic, as the summer vacation have started everywhere. You could also call it the road to heaven…  as the number of gravestones I saw along the coastal road is just crazy. Most of them had a motorcycle engraved and the victims aged from 20 to 35. To all bikers out there: Please be careful on your bikes this summer.

Along the road you also find a terrible number of dead animals which got hit by a car. It’s especially rough for me in the mornings. The smell of decomposition makes you want to throw up.

I am really excited to move on towards the country side, staying off the highways. I have already been lucky a couple of times not to get hit by a reckless truck, bus or car driver. I will leave the coast tomorrow, heading towards Tirana, the capital of Albania and from there further up to the lake Ohrid.

Literally, there were many up and downs along the coast. It’s bumpier than I thought it would be and on average I needed to climb around 1200 meters on a 100km ride. Mentally, there have also been a few ups and downs already. There are those hours where I just ask myself, why am I doing this?

“Streets” where I need to push my bike up, this was somewhere in Croatia

There are thousands of kilometres left to go, and the heat just keeps grilling me every single day. Just to make things clear: I am NOT thinking about quitting, not at all! It’s more like damn, there lie so many more tough days in the saddle ahead of me. However, these thoughts usually don’t last long. I just have to change the music, the podcast, or simply the direction of my thoughts. I am fortunate to do what I am doing, so why would I want it to change? (maybe sometimes a motorcycle would be nice). If you ask yourself what kind of music, podcast, audiobook I listen to right now, here is a list:

Music: Nick, a friend of mine gave me all his DJ tunes, mostly house and hip-hop. What I also really enjoy is the Spotify playlist “songs to sing in the shower”. People sometimes look at me while I am singing on the bike, but who cares?!


-“unsportlich“, this is a podcast a friend of mine produces weekly about sports news all around the world. It keeps me up to date and it’s good to hear some nice Zurich dialect every once in a while

-The Economist & McKinsey to listen to some business and economic stuff

NZZ: 9 Zürcher, 9 Chreis


– the 12 Rules for Life, which is a pretty exhausting book to listen to, that’s why I mostly avoid it.

-Extreme Ownership: good book to learn more about yourself and your mental/physical abilities

-Towers of earth, Ken Follet: really interesting book to listen to, it is like a movie playing in my head


-Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman

Until now, almost everything with the bike went well. No flat tires yet, no crashes, no broken spokes whatsoever. The bike is just too heavy for the bike stand. The screws broke, so I had to get new ones from a local shop. I just got around 10 extra, because it’s probably going to happen again. Unfortunately, when the bike stand collapsed, it snapped the cable of my odometer in half. I was surprised by my craftsman skills but with some duct tape and a knife I managed to connect them again. The cable is a fair bit shorter now, but works again, wuhu!

People of the hostel in Dubvronik looked at me like I am some crazy dude

Material wise the only part of my equipment I sent home so far were my travel boots. I don’t regret it, just unnecessary weight and I already have too much of that. I will check everything again once I am in Athens. I might send home additional stuff I didn’t use.

Before I took off, many people asked me why I do it alone. I usually replied that I will never be alone. So yesterday while I was enjoying a break along the road in Montenegro, Markus showed up. He is a German teacher who cycles from Hannover to Athens in around a month. His average stage is about 150 km per day which is way more than mine. Since I have time, I don’t need to hurry that much. I enjoyed very much having a cycling partner for the day, he really pushed me. Another story happened right after that. I went to the campground and a random guy named Oliver walked right up to me asking if I was Swiss. The guard at the entrance had told him that a second Swiss guy on a bike had arrived earlier that day. Oliver is travelling through eastern Europe with his Nissan Micra, doing skydives and paragliding wherever he can. You can follow him here. By the way, he is a close friend of a good military buddy of mine. See, you meet so many interesting people along the road and the world is actually a lot smaller than we think it is.

With Markus from Germany

Physically I am doing good, my knee pain has gone. I just feel the knee for roughly one day after a break if I push it a bit too hard. However, I do have some issues with my butt now. I think some hair grew backwards and it makes it uncomfortable for me to sit on it for 7 to 8 hours per day. l am looking forward to getting some scarf-skin on my butt.

Regarding weather, I only had sunny days until now. Sometimes it rained during the night, but other than that the sun just keeps roasting me like a chicken every day. Still, I can’t complain since it will only become hotter and hotter the further south I go.

I have now booked my flight from Athens to Cairo. It will be on the second of August. I can’t wait for the Africa adventure to start. Europe is nice and easy to travel but too organized for my taste. It could be a bit more challenging sometimes but I think I will have enough of that once I arrive on Africa soil.