Sean Cameron has had hair-raising experiences all over the world. As an ex-military employee with the British Army, he’s ridden in tanks, jumped out of airplanes, caved, kayaked, and gone scuba diving. But nothing prepared him for standing next to the King of the Jungle in Zimbabwe.
Sean and his girlfriend Yvonne Lines were in Victoria Falls for the Waterfalls and Wildlife motorcycle safari and had taken the optional Walking with Lions excursion.
“This is something you don’t get every day,” he said. “It’s incredibly overwhelming. If you think of what you’re standing next to, the King of the Jungle, yawning, and what could happen if he just turned, you realize how small you are in the bigger picture of life. To be able to feel the power of those animals is amazing, and a little scary.”
It’s incredible to reflect on how learning to ride a motorcycle five years ago brought him to this spot.
Looking for community and riding tips, he started attending motorcycle shows and events. He first met Rene and heard him speak at Lawrence Hacking’s Overland Adventure Rally (OAR). Sean’s interest was already piqued by The Long Way Down and Rene’s story sealed the deal. His and Yvonne’s plans for a motorcycle trip to New Zealand were rerouted to Africa.
He and Yvonne, who got her license the year after he did, were road riders, but given their penchant for adventure, dove into off-road training.
“If you’re going to go off-roading, you‘ve got to learn from people who know what they’re doing. I’d rather learn the easy, proper way than the hard way.”
After Rene’s OAR presentation, they headed back to SMART Adventures for the advanced course. The following spring, Sean challenged himself with Rally Connex big adventure bike training before he and Yvonne spent a day with Simon Pavey at the 2015 OAR. In 2016, they returned to SMART Adventures for the BMW GS Level 1 course.
Interested more in wildlife than landscapes, the Waterfalls and Wildlife tour they chose was 99 percent paved. Still, their training came in handy when they arrived at a point where a road was closed due to flooding and they were forced on a detour. Their technical skills got them through the sand and gravel. Later they learned officials had just forgotten to take down the sign.
Their training helped in another unexpected way. One might think the scariest animals are the wild ones you see on safari, or running along the road beside you. Not so says Sean.
“The scariest animal was the cow. The older ones are smart. They look both ways before they cross the road. The younger ones are skittish and will run out in front of the bikes. Our obstacle avoidance training really paid off.
With all that off-road preparation, you wonder where it’s going to take them.
“We’re thinking about Mongolia or South America. We had such a great experience with Renedian. We know we get value for our money and will have a fantastic time. It’s hard to decide.”
Photo Credits: Sean Cameron