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Right across Africa - on a Vespa

2011-10-11 10:00

DOING IT THE HARD WAY: Agnieszka Flak and Alberto Rinaldi crossed southern Africa on a Vespa LX 150.

A journalist and a photographer have proved that a 9000km trip across Africa can be achieved on two wheels - even the little ones of a 150cc scooter.

Writer Agnieszka Flak and cameraman Alberto Rinaldi, having already tested the Vespa LX 150 on trips through Europe, decided to embrace the spirit of a true African adventure and aimed the little Vespa from South Africa through Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and back to South Africa.

According to Andy Reid of Vespa SA, many people have accomplished similar trips on a 300cc PX model but few are prepared to rely on a belt-driven baby scooter.
 
The journey is testimony to the scoot's reliability; there were several punctujres but no mechanical problems along the way.

'WE GOT CLOSER'
 
Nevertheless, averaging 80km/h, they covered between 400km and 600km a day, depending on the quality of the fuel and the condition of the road. The Vespa was doing between 70 nd 140km a tank so the couple carried two containers in reserve - 10-litre and a five-litre).
 
Rinaldi said they chose a Vespa because the two-wheeled ride allowed them to "get closer to people".
 
He explained: "On a scooter, people don’t see you as a threat. This allows you to get closer and really feel and be part of the African experience. The reaction from the people as we passed through villages was priceless. People working in the fields would drop their ploughs and stare at us in amazement.”
 
'ONE VESPA, 20 COWS'

"Even though many people could not believe we were on a trip across southern Africa on such a small scooter, with such tiny wheels, they were quite taken with the Vespa.

"We had many offers to buy the scooter. One guy, at the Zambian border, offered us his car in exchange for our Vespa. When we declined, he offered us 20 cows!”

Flak admitted she wondered if they would make it on a scooter. “On a scooter anything can happen. We didn’t know if we were going to make it, and that made it more exciting. Getting through each day, and reaching our next destination, felt like a real accomplishment.”

The two explorers hope to complete a journey up western African from Johannesburg through Morocco to Spain and Italy.

You can check out the pair's upcoming journeys on their blog here!

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