Biking to the Pits
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Bikes: 1991 Rock 'n Road with two wheel sets, 1980 Univega Viva Sport with TA triple
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I'm writing to tell you of my own experience, riding in the wee country of Djibouti. I was drawn to Djibouti because of its geography: Lac Assal is the lowest point in Africa, 500 feet below sea level. It's a spectacular pit, but a hot one, too - I wouldn't recommend visiting in June.
However, I'd recommend Djibouti. It's for the independent cyclist, for sure, but the people were friendly and smart, curious and kind. The border lands are dangerous, because of tensions with Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia, so you'd have to stick to the center. But if you get the chance, go.
Your list of countries encompasses an enormous area, so you need to pick your favorite point to begin, and let the winds, politics, and geography decide the rest. As well as your personal fears and goals. I, for one, couldn't camp in the land of Big Predators - I'd never get to sleep!
One more thing: check out Derva Murphy's books on touring in Africa (The Ukimwi Road: From Kenya to Zimbabwe, Muddling through in Madagascar, The Ukimwi Road: From Kenya to Zimbabwe; Paul Theroux's Dark Star Safari, and, I'll immodestly add, my own, Into Thick Air, which describes my Djibouti experience (and other low points).
I look forward to tales of your own adventures.