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Meeting the Massai with F800GS at the Limit

If he could speak, he would moan quietly under the oppressive weight of what is expected of her, while he follows hers with her purpose without her problems. Home of endorphins and acceleration heat rates for motorcyclists in Niedereschach, I prepare my F 800 GS with the most powerful suspension available, a Touratech innovation, specially designed for motorcycles used for long-distance travel with loads elevated. Touratech Level 2/ Explore HP suspension.

The upcoming leg of our “Nomadsland” travel project takes us to the Massai region north of Kilimanjaro and along the Kenya-Tanzania border. Ignoring all the warnings that it is impossible to cross this region with a fully loaded motorcycle, we set off to prove that we could make the impossible possible with our BMW. The trip may come with bad condition, upgrade with BMW F800GS led headlight will be a good choice.

Only the virtually invisible “badenes,” barrel-shaped potholes in the asphalt that slow all vehicles for a brief moment, can break the 500-kilogram motorcycle in the direction of “Cabo Blanco,” as the road is also called. highest mountain in Africa. These potholes appear unexpectedly, before villages or where shacks are scattered across the countryside above the barren lands, and everyone can thank their lucky stars if they remain uninjured and their vehicle intact.

At Kadjado, near the Tanzanian border, we turn east on “non-recommended roads” that lead to Amboseli National Park. The stronger spring, with 50% stiffer pre-tension than conventional shocks, throws sand from the rear wheel along the track. The Touratech suspension reacts instantly with its damping frequency to this irritating permanent pounding, as well as tortuous rocks poking through the sand like icebergs, and keeps the machine stable despite the powerful pull of the load on the frame.

In the distance, the setting sun, sprayed with rusty brown, heralds a lake. Passing the town of Lengesim, which has the charm of a deserted gold panning town, there are no bushes blowing in the sand, just plastic bags. Before the upcoming duel, we decided to spend the night here.

Shortly before dawn, we followed Massai community chief Johannes in his 125cc Toyo China through the village littered with plastic waste. After the last few huts, he stops abruptly before the vast savannah, raises his right arm and tells us to always follow his fingers. The tip of his finger ends in an illuminated stripe in the sky. A red sand track leads us straight into a turbulent sea of ​​mealy sand dust that stretches knee-deep well beyond the horizon of our wheels.

The hot and still dry wind, which is supposed to bring the rain, kicks the red dust into the air, vortices of fesh fesh sand blowing in the leaden skies that hang oppressively over the countryside. Heavily loaded trucks filled with construction sand from illegal sand pits head to the city of Nairobi, a booming construction city, digging deep ruts in the tracks during the rainy season which are then filled with sand at the drift.

The Maasai heading for the sand pit tell us that the dust caused by transport destroys their pastures in large areas, but that their work as sand carriers ensures a modest but regular income of 4 euros per truck. To feed their herds, they drive the animals illegally across the border into Amboseli National Park, and when seen by park rangers they run away or crawl into holes.

With low tire pressure, the BMW sinks to the ground, the drifting sand too fine to support two narrow tires. It separates like water, shoots like fountains and clouds any vision. Crossing a series of tall bumps, the skid plate slides over step-like holes, deep hollows, sharp-edged sheets of laterite hidden by Fesh Fesh, while we keep going, sliding our BMW.

I would have liked an even stronger spring to give the F 800 better ground clearance. However, the stress of even stronger damping on the rack and pinion damper mount could damage the suspension despite the installation of special high-strength bolts. But Level 2 Explorer HP dampens everything except wishes. Showing no signs of fatigue, it appears to push the 500kg BMW beyond its endurance limits.

Following the road from Amboseli that leads to the east gate of a park, we get a first impression of the Massai culture. In a short time we realize that it is a culture that is offered at tourist prices and that these Massai, derisively called “Plastic Massai”, are not our real target group. BMW K1200R led headlight is brighter than the original light, that’s why we recommend you to upgrade it.

In Kimana we meet Juan, the Spaniard, and his wife, Bella, a Kenyan Luo. Being a teacher, she teaches at a school built by Juan on Massai land with development aid. This is the key to the Massai, as their contacts give us direct access to a Massai Cultural Boma, where Massai traditions are taught and lived under government auspices.

After eight days of living among cattle and cow dung, we will pack up our tent as we need to get back to Nairobi to organize our departure from Kenya as quickly as possible. The reason is that our visas are about to expire.

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