B2B Manager from CAKE, Sinje Gottwald, is crossing the African Continent, from Europe to South Africa on a Kalk AP. Two batteries, a satellite telephone and an adventure spirit beyond limits. THE PACK asked very kindly if we could publish her (electric) travel diary, and she said yes!
Sing Gottwald: “I’ve had this dream of crossing Africa on an electric motorcycle for many years now. When I approached my employer CAKE with this idea, instead of telling me I was crazy, they decided to support me – even though my role has absolutely nothing to do with an adventure like this. I am very grateful I get this chance to go for my dreams and to push the limits of sustainable overland travelling.
All pictures & texts ©Sinje Gottwald
NEW ADVENTURE!! Leaving Barcelona on the ferry to Morocco now after a few very hectic day. I‘ll be riding south along the West Coast of Africa on this electric motorcycle.
It is the best feeling when a dream finally becomes reality. 3rd day riding today and I still can’t believe this is really happening!! I’ve dreamt of long distance overlanding on an electric motorcycle for many years. I was even contemplating taking one for my trip around the world in 2017. It was a bit too early then, but now I feel it is the right time.
Road side battery swapping. My current rhythm is to go for roughly 50km, then change the batteries, go another 50km and then find a place to charge both at the same time. It takes 3 hours to charge them 100%, 2 hours for 80%. Then I go another 2x50km, so 200 per day under good conditions:) the batteries each weigh 17kg – I guess I’ll be very strong at the end of the trip. So far not a single person asked me to pay for electricity, even though I offered.
The journey is going great so far and I will cross into Mauretania today! I’ve ridden over 2000 km within the last two weeks, on average almost 200 km per riding day. The longest distance per day was over 300 km. By now it is a challenge to find places to charge – especially in the remote areas in the Sahara – however every place but one let me charge the batteries so far and the general interest and curiosity is immense wherever I stop. Often I hear: ‘This is the first time I’m seeing an electric motorcycle’! I already met many interesting people, one being Ali who is building charging stations in this region and Yazid who invited me to share about the trip and CAKE at an eco school in El Aaiún where I was also interviewed by a news channel about this adventure. The support I’m receiving by locals is overwhelming!
The bike and I made it to Senegal after riding more than 3000 km! We crossed the desert in Western Sahara and Mauritania, I once had to put the bike in a local van as the next available charging point was too far and I coincidentally got to meet German Ambassador to Mauritania Isabel Henin on my way to the border to Senegal. I left the desert behind me now and the landscape is starting to get greener.
I arrived in The Gambia, the smallest country within mainland Africa and with English as the official language – while I do speak some French, communicating is so much easier now especially at the border and when applying for visas. It is the first time I have to use an adapter for the power outlets, which works perfectly, however there have been power outages every night so I try to charge the batteries immediately after arriving at my accommodation.
I crossed two borders this past week and I am now in Guinea-Bissau. After more than 4000 km of riding, it is incredibly beautiful to see everything from people to nature, language and colors changing. It is very humid here and in general the infrastructure is not great – planning, researching and organising is taking up a lot of time at this point. I am trying to cross into Guinea today, the road I’ll be taking will be the most challenging of this trip so far.