Interview with CAKE’s Sinje Gottwald
What was your previous experience with motorcycle adventures?
I have extensive experience with motorcycle adventures, having circumnavigated the world by motorcycle from 2017 to 2020. During this time, I traveled overland from Europe to Asia, explored Australia, made my way from South to North America, and traveled from Morocco to Mali, as well as completing several shorter motorcycle trips.
When did you begin your journey across Africa?
October 14th, 2022.
What did you bring with you?
The CAKE Kalk AP motorcycle, two spare batteries, two chargers, essential spare parts such as a controller, display, throttle, chain, and fuses, a set of tools, a laptop for any necessary software updates or remote support, a camera, and personal belongings.
How far was the journey?
It was a total of 13,000 kilometers.
How many days did it take?
125 days. Around four months.
What countries did you pass through?
I began the journey by ferry from Spain to Morocco and then carried on through the following countries until I arrived in South Africa.
• Guinea Bissau
• Sierra Leona
• Ivory Coast
• South Africa
How did you decide what route to take?
My route and accommodations were largely determined by availability of electricity and a place to stay, and I tried to avoid mountainous roads when possible.
Service Issues Encountered:
– Burned a fuse while riding in deep sand (Morocco) but had a spare and was easily replaced.
– Loose cable connection on the charger (Morocco), which was fixed by myself.
– Lost a screw from the sprocket (Guinea), but was found and reattached.
– Over-tightened screw causing damage (my own fault, fixed in Guinea).
– Burned fuse on the battery (likely from a faulty power outlet) but a workaround was found to continue charging the batteries.
Were there any threatening and particularly difficult moments along the way?
It is difficult to determine the hardest part, as each day presented its own challenges and it was uncertain if I would reach my planned destination. Some of the most challenging situations included:
– Crossing from Guinea Bissau to Guinea on a jungle track with mud and water.
– Being surrounded by a large crowd while charging the motorcycle in Liberia, which was eventually resolved by being allowed to bring the bike inside a home.
– A 24-hour delay at the Ghana border crossing. Entering and crossing Nigeria, as the country is not considered safe.
Did you encounter any wild animals along the way?
I encountered monkeys and snakes during my travels, but only saw larger animals in parks or behind fences.
What was the best moment?
There were many beautiful moments during the journey. One of the most memorable was crossing from Guinea Bissau to Guinea, even though it was a challenging journey through the jungle on a track that was not accessible to cars. Despite the difficulties, reaching the other side provided a great sense of accomplishment and boosted my confidence in the motorcycle, as it was able to navigate deep water, mud, and sand with ease.
What was the worst moment?
The worst moment was being stuck at the border to Ghana for 24 hours and having to sleep outside.
When did you arrive at the final destination?
I arrived on Wednesday February 15th, 2023, in Cape Town, South Africa! Almost exactly four months after I began!
A book and several presentations about the trip. More to come soon!
Cake also photos