My 2011 Africa Bike Week started on Tuesday the 26th of April when I collected the BikeSA truck from the Hartbeespoort Resort. Three O’clock Wednesday morning I hit the highway to Margate, arriving at the sea-side town just after 1pm. After getting my relevant permit I drove to my designated parking area and set up ‘camp’ for the Week.

Simon and Sharon had organized me accommodation at the Marlon Caravan Park in Sunwich Port, so unloaded the BMW R1100S from the back of the truck, grabbed my kit, jumped aboard the Beemer and rode the 30 clicks past Port Shepstone to Sunwich Port.


Entrance to Africa Bike Week 2011

this guy rode all the way from Joburg & back on his Harley couch

on the way down


Next morning, the official opening of the 2011 Africa Bike Week, it was back to Margate, with hordes of motorcyclists and people milling through the streets and sidewalks of Margate, the place was thundering with leather-clad bikers on their big, steel, V-twin cruisers, some on screaming carbon-fibre superbikes and a few on plastic scooters, lots of local folk and googly-eyed holiday makers dragging their bewildered kids behind them. Mostly everyone was smiling and having fun. I remember thinking ‘what more could a man ask for? The beach, blue skies, thousands of very lekker bikes and a multitude of interesting people, all together in one great place – Margate, on the East coast of Sunny South Africa.


At the Main Stage in the center of town they had the likes of Jon Delinger, Black Era and Naranjo doing their thing, while up where I was, at the Harley Village,  a DJ was pumping his music out of multiple mega speakers (right into my ears – I was parked right next to the H-D Stage). Before I knew it it was getting dark, and yet the party had only started.


I was looking for Suzuki street...

Hardcore Suzuki cruiser


Friday morning I had to fetch Dylan in Durban at 6am, so donned my jacket and helmet, grabbed the spare helmet and bulleted the 200-odd kilometers on the N2 to the Durban beachfront (Dylan had caught a coach from Joburg the night before). We were both chilled to the bone at that time of the morning, so rode around looking for a place where we could get a hot cuppa, finally finding the Milky Lane under Joe Cool’s open. Sipping our hot-chocolate we watched the sunrise enol, hopped on the BM, rode back to Sunwich, dropped Dylan’s kit off and then ambled into Margate.


Dylan and I having Hot-Chocolate at the Milky Lane on Durban beach


Friday was definitely the busiest day for Dylan and I - we were working the BikeSA truck thingy, whereby bikers could drop their kit off with us for safe keeping, while they could walk around without the bother of carrying their helmets and heavy, hot, biking-jackets. When things were quite at the truck, we would take turns in going out to experience the festivities for ourselves... and take the photographs you see here, to share with you J

The best thing about an event such as this, is all the different people and all the different bikes. It’s a fact that almost every single motorcyclist on this planet, will do something to his or her bike, to change it, customize it, even if its just changing the mirrors for ‘better looks’, fitting motion-detectors on their Harleys, or lights that shine on the motor from under the tank, everyone changes something, to show their individuality.


great looking and sounding Harley chopper

all motorcyclists were welcomed

Fantastic custom Suzuki M109 Boulevard

Harley Bobber

a mixture of motorcycles on the Margate beach-front


And we bikers are different to other people. We have a certain brotherhood feeling towards each other, like Christians and other groups, no matter what you ride, which brand of helmet you wear, whether you have long hair or no hair, doesn’t matter if you ride a Honda that can do 120kph in first gear, or a Harley that will cruise all day at 120, we all have an affiliation with one another. Sure, there are some things that will piss some of us off about our brethren, like revving their bikes to smithereens, but generally we acknowledge each other as fellow bikers and live in peace and harmony.


Trevor Beck of Easy Rider Pretoria with one of his creations

Harleys and BMWs and Hondas and Yamahas and Suzukis and...


Africa Bike Week is hosted by Harley-Davidson, and it showed with all the Harleys in a fifty kilometer radius of Margate. There were thousands of Harleys, in all shapes and forms, from classic air-cooled Pan-Heads to modern-day liquid-cooled V-Rods and factory-built Harley Trikes. Some still had standard paint while others were works of art. Some had big, long, chromed pipes, while some had none (well almost). And the people were no different. Some were short, some were tall, some pleasantly plump, while other looked like they were bordering on Anorexia (hehehe), but all were beautiful (in their own way). Sometimes Dylan and I would just sit and stare, at the likes of hard-core Hells Angels (who were camped right next to us with their Tattoo Studio) rubbing shoulders with coffee-drinking CMA members. There was a nice mix of bikes at ‘The Week’, Singles, Twins, Triples, Fours, Six-cylinders and even the odd Vee-Eight, all in different colours and all making different noises.


an ultra expensive Ecosse motorcycle

Harley-Davidson rules at Africa Bike Week

nice 'n neat Harley motor


Saturday was more of the same, but the weather was even better, jam-packed with sunshine, bikes and babes everywhere along the Margate beach front. That night at Eleven bells we packed up, tied the BMW into the back of the truck and slipped quietly out of town. At six on Sunday morning we drove out of Sunwich Port (30kms north of Margate) and hit the road home.

This was our (Dylan and mine) second Africa Bike Week and although we enjoyed it immensely (2010 more so than 2011), next year we’ll definitely be back, but without the truck. See ya there.


 a herd of Harley heading home on the N3 (near the Tugela Plaza)

the 2011 Africa Bike Week draws to a close (near Johannesburg) for us


Words and photos by Kenn Slater