Loïc: After Lesotho we meet Gary in Johannesburg (Aurel was in contact with him through the Aventure Rider forum). He kindly offers to host us until our departure to Argentina.
Aurel: Thank you Gary for your welcome! This week spent with your family was very nice. I will not forget the pounds of Biltong I ate with you, the evening at the Casino with Gary Jr. and Casey, Tiger Park, the hockey game, the museum on mankind history, the biker church, etc.;)
Loïc: Thanks Gary!
Aurel: But this stage is mainly a technical one! After 29.000km in Africa our bikes needed a little maintenance ... Again through the Adventure Rider forum I met "Blue" who recommended I go to the Ultimate Performance KTM dealer in Pretoria (a city close to Johannesburg). You told me that the manager Thomas would take good care of us and you were right!
Loïc: The dealer had ordered all the parts we asked by email for our big post African maintenance and to renew our stock of spare parts.
The welcome is incredibly warm. The whole team is very caring for us. Note that the best cappuccino in town can be found at Ultimate Performance! The range of motorcycles on display is amazing as they offer the KTM range but also Ducati, Aprilia and Bimota. A dozen new Bimota are dispersed in the showroom. There would not be as much Bimota even in a major international bikes show. The workshop has also impressed me not only by the kindness of mechanics but also by their advice, which quickly put me at ease.
So a big service for our bikes whose maintenance has sometimes been a bit neglected for lack of material or suitable place. The latest changes of sparksplugs and valve adjustments for example, were made in France, 29.000km away. The bikes' striped off and the engine check show no sign of weakness. You can check all the work done and parts changed on the page the bikes. In the end it's a 24 hours work!
Aurel: Now that the bikes are maintained we need to send them to Argentina for the next step of the trip, South America! And as it is not easy to find reliable and recent information on "how to send a motorcycle from one continent to another" here's how it was done.
1. Air or Sea ?
The boat is a priori less expensive but here's why we did not choose this option:
- Delays are very long, do not hope to get your bike in Argentina before 1 month
- Delays can be very very extended compared to the original contract (for example, it is supposed to be four weeks but transportation can actually take up to 3 months)
- Landing fees are unpredictable and often very high (similar to the fare paid on departure)
We therefore decided to send the bikes by plane.
2. Which airline?
It seems not possible to deal directly with airlines. We must go through an agent. Even with the Internet it is not easy to find an agent because some do not work with individuals or refuse to carry bikes because it is a specific product from a customs point of view and considered as dangerous (gas, battery, etc.). We finally found a very helpful list of agents.
3. Ask for a quote
The price mainly depends on the volume and / or weight. From the volume they calculate a "volumetric weight" with the following formula:
Volumetric Weight = Length x Width x Height in cm/6.000
The highest is used. The volumetric weight or the actual weight.
4. Estimate the size and weight of the "package"
Usually we put the bikes in a crate. Often the Volumetric weight exceeds the actual weight so you should try to have the smallest crate as possible and so to disassemble the bikes a little before putting them inside.
So we thought of a way to reduce the size. The best solution we have found is:
- only one crate for 2 bikes
- taken off wheels
- taken off panniers
- taken off crash-bars
- taken off handlebars
- bikes side by side and head to toe
We estimated the weight with a margin to take into account the thickness of the crate and we asked for the quotes.
We've got the best quote with FreightWell (PTY) LTD in Johannesburg. You can contact Karien Behr at: firstname.lastname@example.org or: +27 11 706 7545
The Volumetric weight and the actual weight are measured the day we drop the bikes at the transport company.
5. Put the bikes in a crate
There is still an obligatory intermediate between the agent and the airline. It's the transport company. This company is responsible for making the case for the bikes, handling (bring cash to the airport) and Customs. In our case we were sent by Karien to A.M.I.. Over there we were welcomed by George Rautenbach who took great care of us! You can reach him at this address: email@example.com or at this number: +27 (11) 979 3900. George was so excited about our trip he gave us a discount on the final price he charged to our agent, Karien of FreightWell.
Note that in our case, with South African Airways, we could leave up to 25% of the tank filled withfuel. Better to leave the airport in Buenos Aires.
George of A.M.I. took care of everything for us at Customs while we put the bikes in the crate! The simplest and least expensive (if we forget the deposit for getting it) is to use a customs passage booklet. It must have been stamped upon entry into South Africa . This is not compulsory so you need to specifically ask for it if you know you'll send the bikes by air out of South Africa.
7. The final price
In this configuration, the volume of our crate is 220 x 137 x 127 cm. That's not bad knowing that in this crate we have 2 KTM 990 Adventure, 4 wheels, 2 spare rear tyres, 4 suitcases, 2 crash bars sets, 4 crash bars bags and a helmet.
With these dimensions we obtain a volumetric weight of 638kg.
The actual weight of 672kg it. Knowing that we estimate the weight of the crate to 100kg.
So we paid based on the actual weight so 16166 ZAR (1673 EUR) for 672kg. Payment is done by bank transfer (the crate does not leave until the transfer has arrived).
At reception in Argentina we had to pay 95 USD(70 EUR) to South African Airlines to provide us with the Airwaybill, a document required to get the crate back. We also had to pay for the guarding of the crate during the weekend at Buenos Aires airport 1200 Argentine Pesos (221 EUR, reduced to 900 pesos on condition not to request an invoice...). We also had to give the custom officers a bribe, 200 Pesos...
Finally we chose to ask Sandra of Dakar Motos to help us with formalities in Buenos Aires. She accompanied us for 3 hours at the airport for 330 USD (241 EUR)! Certainly without her it might have taken the whole day or even two days but in my opinion (Aurel) USD 330 for a morning's work is too much.
The final cost in our case is 2200 EUR so 1100 EUR for each bike.
Now it's our turn to travel to Argentina where other adventures wait for us!
To be continued...