Five crazy years: Swiss couple goes on an adventurous journey in Africa

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Final preparations, including tents, sleeping mats, spare parts and much more, were completed in Switzerland in May 2017.
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Corine Turrini FluryEditor Life

It’s hard to stop Corinne Anliker and Oliver Beccarelli when they talk about their adventurous journey in Africa. The couple speak highly of river cruises that lasted several weeks on a raft on the Congo River, a year-long time as game wardens in Namibia, their last encounter with the Bushmen in Tanzania, jaunts through the jungle or desert, and spectacular mountain climbs. .

«We have many videos and photographs describing encounters and experiences. Maybe a book will be published at some point,” Beccarelli said in an interview with Blick. For now, they are sharing the experiences of five crazy years as “Slowriders” on tour with a live show.

A long awaited wish came true

Briefly, their adventures can be summarized as follows: In 2016, the couple bought a Ural motorcycle with a sidecar to travel around Africa. “This was a typical Swiss compromise. I wanted to travel on a two-wheeled motorcycle, while Corinne preferred to travel on a four-wheeled Landcruiser. “So we agreed on a motorcycle with a three-wheeled sidecar,” says Beccarelli, who explains his unusual touring vehicle decision with a laugh.

Africa was a dream destination because Beccarelli’s grandfather had lived there for several years and when he returned to Switzerland, he had intrigued his grandson as a child. After Beccarelli watched a documentary about Mount Kenya, it became clear to him: He wanted to see Africa’s second highest mountain range, above 5,200 meters, once in his life.

Beccarelli has traveled to more than 40 countries in Africa and also offers tours and camps. «The views, the nature, the open and friendly people are incredible. “You need to experience this,” she enthuses. In 2010, the childless couple planned to travel the continent in a Land Cruiser. For personal reasons, they had to cancel their trip after a year and a half and return to Switzerland. “But the dream never left us and we wanted to make up for it,” says Corinne Anliker.

Vehicle pitfalls and operating difficulties

The freelance consultant and marketing manager responsible for leadership and team development saved up for his long-awaited dream and searched the internet for a long time to find the right tool. They found it from a collector in Germany for 6,000 francs. The tumultuous first test trip to Italy ended prematurely with clutch damage.

Beccarelli found that some of the lessons about the old motorcycle’s mechanics and features made sense ahead of the planned trip to Africa. “Without my experience, it was not easy for me to ride a motorcycle with a fully loaded sidecar on roads and mountain passes, understand the mechanics and be able to carry out repairs myself,” he says.

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The duo found a tenant for their flat and started their adventure in June 2017, saying goodbye to their relatives and friends.

We went overland to Dubai, where it was planned to cross from Oman to Somaliland by wooden boat. “But due to visa problems, we were stranded for longer than expected and despite all our attempts, no boat wanted to take us due to pirates and unrest. So, weeks later, we had no choice but to build a box for the motorcycle and fly it to Ethiopia for a lot of money.”

Compromises along the way

This unplanned first phase made the adventurers’ job easier, so that they could no longer be disturbed so quickly if something didn’t go right right away. This happened over and over again. “But we had time and let ourselves drift without planning,” says Corinne Anliker.

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Although he was always in a good mood relatively quickly, he often preferred to stay in one place longer with the locals. “We both had to compromise there too,” says Beccarelli.

20 liters of water for drinking, cooking and washing

They spent most of the night in their tents. “There are cheap places to stay, but they are very basic and often do not have running water. We felt more comfortable in our tent. That was our home,” says Anliker.

The Swiss in Africa have repeatedly realized how valuable a commodity water is. The couple always had a jerrycan containing ten liters of water, and their drinking bottle contained the same amount of water as the water source. This should have been enough for cooking and personal hygiene. “We got into the habit of washing in the evenings. “It would make more sense to wash off the dust and sand from trips before sleeping in the tent,” says Beccarelli.

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During the rainy season, adventurers collected rainwater, and when there were no other options and water was scarce, water from the rivers was also used for washing dishes and, if necessary, for cooking and drinking. “It’s okay. “I haven’t had any health problems,” says his wife, laughing. Sometimes people cooked on the fire in front of the tent or bought food from the locals. Oliver Beccarelli: “We didn’t always want to know exactly what it was. The bushmen took us to hunt monkeys, and those who were killed defeated.”

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A week-long journey on a raft

The Swiss built a simple dwelling on a raft with their motorcycles, with the advice and support of the harbor master, and spent the night in self-made bunk beds with camping mats. “You can’t tie a tent to a metal raft. Special tarpaulins that can withstand wind and heavy rain are better,” says Beccarelli.

All food and clothing trade takes place on water, and locals use boats to offer their goods for sale. The aim of the Swiss’ 850-kilometer river journey starting from the Congo was to find the last living dinosaur in the barely explored heart of the Congo. The duo does not want to reveal whether they found what they were looking for in the forest and refers to their conversation with a wink.

New plans in Africa

After returning to Switzerland in the summer of 2022, the two got along well again. Traveling has become more expensive and more difficult, especially during and after Corona. «Sometimes things are good and it’s hard to travel like that. The return journey in Morocco, where temperatures were over 56 degrees and sandstorms dominated, also demanded a lot from us and I missed Switzerland and my family,” says Corinne Anliker.

Today, when he stands at the window and it is raining outside, he is always happy to have a roof over his head again, to be able to turn on the tap, and to quickly find a job again. For now, the couple will need to earn money, then they will travel to Africa again. Oliver Beccarelli: “We have made many contacts over the years and we have a new project in Zimbabwe. “There’s still a lot to discover in Africa.”

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Source : Blick

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Malan

Malan

I am Dawid Malan, a news reporter for 24 Instant News. I specialize in celebrity and entertainment news, writing stories that capture the attention of readers from all walks of life. My work has been featured in some of the world's leading publications and I am passionate about delivering quality content to my readers.

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