Trip risks a worry for motorcyclist

By Daniel Jackson

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Mat Ward on his trip through South East Asia in 2009. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Mat Ward on his trip through South East Asia in 2009. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Bandits and revolutionaries are some of the risks Wanganui ex-pat Mat Ward will face on his motorcycle ride across Africa.

The Wanganui High School old boy and son of former Wanganui lawyer Rud Ward is packing up his modified KTM 990 for a three-and-a-half month ride across the continent at the end of the month.

Mr Ward, 37, is a dog and cat behaviour specialist in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has a Bachelor of Science with a double major in psychology and zoology, and has previously trained animals for television and movie roles.

The trip would be a break from routine.

"I don't have any grandiose justifications for doing the ride. Just a bit of adventure."

He previously travelled through South East Asia on a motorcycle in 2009 and said the journey opened his eyes to what was important in life.

"For me, travel provides a sense of perspective."

He said the recent unrest in Egypt and Somali bandits on the Moyale road in North Kenya were a bit of a worry as they "occasionally rob and kill people" but otherwise he was not too concerned.

His wife Tracey had suggested the trip and he bought the motorcycle and added an extra fuel tank as well as beefing up its clutch, adding an engine protection plate and lowering its gearing for the tough roads ahead.

He will ride from Edinburgh to Genoa in Italy before catching a ferry to the Africa, landing in Tunis. Then he will ride east into Egypt, down through Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.

At least part of the way he will ride with a mate but he said the trip's itinerary was only loosely planned.

"Well that's the rough plan anyway, it's pretty much locked in to Kenya but from there we'll what takes our fancy."

He would get a chance to practise his photography along the way too.

"Travelling by motorbike means you can get to most places, and you feel more connected to the surroundings than being in a car."

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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