Yashar Khudiyev From Azerbaijan Travels Around Africa on a Bicycle: Here Is What Happened…(Part 1)

-In South Sudan A tragic event left me lying in the hospital bed and left a bad taste and horribly bad memories. -Morocco: It’s Mountainous, Filled with Nature and Lovely People -Kapoeta town: A Night in the Police Station with the Police Officers -Egypt, Cairo: US and Europe ride was a "piece of cake" compared to riding across Africa

Josh 7

I am 32 years old adventurous bicycle traveler from Azerbaijan. I have cycled through a lot of US, European and just recently African countries. My trips have taken me to places I never thought I would ever see let alone be there, I have created so many friends and at the same time I have also experienced difficulties which have tested many of my abilities, fortunately I am still strong and moving on.

First things first, please call me Josh, It’s a nickname I was given by the Moroccan people the first time I entered Morocco. I have no idea why they chose Josh but I have since accepted it, I have kind of like gotten used to it and to be honest I like it, hence call me Josh, ‘Josh Africa’ to be specific.

Here Is the Introduction to My Story

I started this bicycle trip on the 1st of May 2015 from the capital city of Azerbaijan, Baku, however, it is not my first bicycle trip considering that in 2014 I had gone across the US on my bike and during that time there was a big hunt for the freedom fighters, especially the young members of NIDA civic movement by the oppressive Azerbaijani government. These brave people were sentenced to 6-7 years in jail for trying to organize peaceful demonstrations against the Azerbaijan government. Their goal was only to facilitate a political change as well as try push the corrupt Azerbaijan government to step back or at least make some reforms as well as to release political prisoners. Since then, I decided to combine my love for bicycle riding with political activism.

I am cycling for a cause, for democracy and for freedom. I am trying to bring order as well as awareness to the current political situation in Azerbaijan.
There were over 70 Political Prisoners in jail for expressing their rights in Azerbaijan when I started my trip, and during the course of my trip some of them were released but I hope at some point during my trip all of them will be set free.

From the 1st of May 2015 I have cycled across many countries around central Europe starting from Azerbaijan. I have managed to ride through Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France and Spain.

I am currently still cycling through Africa and I will keep you updated on my journey, my experiences and adventures through articles on AfricaMetro, please follow me on my AfricaMetro profile for more information and updates.

Part One: Morocco: It’s Mountainous, Filled with Nature and Lovely People

In August 2015 I put my bicycle no the boat and crossed Gibraltar to Morocco and it was my first time to step foot in this beautiful continent called Africa. I knew that it is going to be my biggest adventure and once in a life experience.

Before this big adventure I was about to embark on, all the things I knew about Africa were through TVs and Books, especially through the eyes and notes of one of my favorite writers-traveler Paul Theroux who wrote; “Dark star safari”, it’s a must read if you haven’t already done so.

Back to my journey; I cycled around Morocco and enjoyed every bit of it, it’s mountainous, filled with nature, lovely people, mint tea, food and hospitality.

Egypt, Cairo: US and Europe ride was a “piece of cake” compared to riding across Africa

After my Baku – Morocco trip came to an end then came the Cairo, Egypt adventure. Even though I knew before taking the challenge that it was not going to be an easy task, the environment, climate, atmosphere around Egypt gave me a reality check. This part showed me that the US and Europe ride was a “piece of cake” compared to riding across Africa. Egypt was a whole lot different from what I was used to but nothing was going to stop me from undertaking the challenge I set upon myself.

To tell the truth, Egypt was not so friendly with me and too me, for some reason my camera was confiscated by the military, all my photos were deleted and all my bags were thoroughly searched by the mighty Egyptian military.

The most disappointing factor was that they gave me no reason or explanations why they were being so aggressive with me and my staff but I think they probably thought I was a spy or something…’a spy trying to enter Egypt on a bike…funny!!..I think everyone knows I am no James Bond…maybe Josh Bond!!’

In Cairo I travelled though the red sea coast, I rode all the way to Aswan, from there I was escorted by the police to Abu Simble where I took cargo boat to the other side and rode to Wadi Halfa the first town in Sudan where the real adventure began.


North Sudan: I chose a plan to go through South Sudan. Yes, I knew that there was a civil war going on in South Sudan

North Sudan from the start was more than brilliant but the climate was a challenge too is was all sand, landscapes, less vegetation, less nature, less animals, the atmosphere there was completely new for me, all desert and finding water was a mountainous challenge. It even went to an extent that I sometimes had to stop and ask for water from the passing cars. However, my heroes (the ordinary local people) helped me a lot and I am proud to say Sudanese hospitality rocks, they picked my bills, invited me a lot of times to have food with them, drink tea with them and even invited me to sleep at their places, houses, cafeterias, petrol stations and etc.

When I reached khartum in November 2015, my next destination was supposed to be Ethiopia, unfortunately the consulate office rejected my visa application and they told me the only way I would managed to get an Ethiopian visa was through Turkey, That meant I have to fly back to Turkey (the nearest Ethiopian embassy to my country) and apply there but that was not an option for me or let’s say it was impossible, so I gathered myself and started to look for other alternatives since my plan was now in jeopardy.

I started looking neighboring countries. One option was to go through the eastern side of Sudan, crossing complicated part of Darfur to central Africa then to Democratic Republic of the Congo, after thorough evaluation and consideration I dropped that option and chose a plan to go through South Sudan. Yes, I knew that there was a civil war going on in South Sudan, the fighting between Dinkas, the Noer and other tribes however that was the only option that made sense at that moment.

I was determined to avoid taking an airplane, I wanted to do my trip on a bike. It took me almost a month to obtain a South Sudanese visa in Khartoum and it was really not an easy task I had to provide them with numerous amounts of documents, documents I never knew they were needed for anything. I knocked on so many doors but finally I got a 3 months multiple visa stamp on my passport.


South Sudan: A tragic event left me lying in the hospital bed and left a bad taste and horribly bad memories

South Sudanese Atache Butrus (An official at the visa offices) became a good friend of mine, after he saw how determined I was to go through South Sudan on my bike. I was not going to step back easily after coming so far.

Before I got my visa Atache Butrus tried his best to discourage me from going through South Sudan. He explained to me countless time how dangerous it was for anyone let along a stranger on a bike.

After getting the visa approval, before stamping the visa on my passport he (Atache Butrus) tried again to convince me not to go to South Sudan but as I said before, my determination and zeal was just too powerful, so I refused stuck to my guns and asked him to stamp the visa on my passport and I promised to take all responsibility for any actions which happened on the way.

Atache Butrus drew me a map, gave me a detailed explanations which routes to take, which ones to avoid, he also gave me a about all the information I needed to know before embarking on my dangerous journey. He gave me facts about the situation in South Sudan as they were without filtering, and yes I was a little shaken.

While North Sudan was all desert and sand, South Sudanese Republic was marvelous, all green and I experienced one of the best hospitality in my entire life.

I do not need to sugar quote it because its public knowledge that people in South Sudan are living under brutal conditions and I saw it with my own eyes but what surprised me was their generosity, their willingness to help a stranger. They did not even think twice or hesitate to help me, they did it all at first instance without me even asking.

They (South Sudanese locals) offered all the help they could from providing shelter, food and information so as to make my journey easier and safer. I am highly indebted to the Sudanese people for their compassion, love, self-less-act and ability to offer help to a stranger like me.

Josh 4A friend of mine(Thanks for the good times mate!)

Even with all the help from the South Sudanese people unfortunately things went really bad for me in that country later on when I uncounted some not to helpful people.

Everything which I had been told about by the friends I met on the way about the danger possessed around that country came into light in a matter of seconds and all I can say is South Sudanese people are wonderful people but it’s a very dangerous country to be in.

The more I traveled through the country the more the people carrying guns (AKs to be specific).From nowhere all of a sudden everybody around was carrying guns and be mindful I said guns, not a gun because they seemed to be carrying more than one gun each and the guns were fully loaded, the worse part of it all is that these people were not military guys but rather normal civilians, very young boys and teenagers among them (I saw all this with my own eyes).

In some places or villages I was forced out and escorted away along the road to some further distances by people carrying guns. The roads over there in South Sudan are horrible, really very bad to be honest I didn’t see any proper tarmac road until I reached the capital city in Juba, where I stopped for some big and well deserved rest.

On December 24th I was stopped by Lovri village people before reaching a town know as kapoeta and they offered to spend Christmas with me. What a blast? I said to myself, that is why I am in Africa, to be a part of this beautiful community, culture of wonderful people. We danced all the night, drunk locally brewed malt beer-kwache, ate bush meet which was hunted by the guys. I also ate dried gazelle, antelope, and sang a lot of local songs, to be honest it was one of the happiest moments of my life. The fortunate part is that I took so many photos as well as filmed the activities with my camera. When time came for me to leave it was so hard to say goodbye and heart wrecking because we had bonded so well together. I will always remember that beautiful night in Lovri village, surely one of the best days of my life if not the best.

josh 5

Kapoeta town: A Night in the Police Station with the Police Officers

I finally reached Kapoeta town (Kapoeta is a town in South Sudan. It is located in Kapoeta South County, in Eastern Equatoria State, in southeastern South Sudan), equatorial state on the 27th of December evening and went straight to the local police station. I was very welcomed there and invited to spend a night with them and had the opportunity to talk to the police officers all night.

The police officers were very interested in my story, they couldn’t really understand, believe or picture how I could have rode a bike from as far as the edge of Europe to their town. They asked me a lot of questions concerning how I managed to ride across South Sudan and make it all the way to Kapoeta safely and the only answer I could give them was that it was through the help of the great, Good Samaritan local people

Kapoeta town was the last town in South Sudan I would ride across as it was 80kms away from the Kenyan border and that’s where I had set my sights towards. I asked about the safety from the police officers in Kapoeta and was guaranteed that all was safe from there on considering I had already passed the most dangerous part of South Sudan Tonj-Rumbek-Yirel.

I was now fascinated and looking forward to the next country Kenya and hence I started riding my bicycle towards the Kenyan boarder. I can still remember the feeling because I was so happy and proud of myself because I had done it all the way from Majok, South Sudanese border to Kapoeta across the beautiful but at the same time very dangerous country in 25 days without a single accident or should I say regrettable incident.

Josh 3

The most life threatening incident in my life happened…To be continued

However, the next day, one of the most tragic as well as most life threatening incident in my life happened. After being so happy of averting the most dangerous part Of Sudan without a scratch I was faced with one of the most dangerous time on my entire life which I never imagined.

The tragic events left me lying in the hospital bed for a very long time and the events which happened left a bad taste and horribly bad memories in my life.

To be continued……..

    Finally, I would like thank my Heroes (the local people I met along the way). They are the most interesting part of this Africa bicycle trip. I call those people my heroes because they made my journey way easier and fun, I really cannot imagine how it could have been without them but I am sure that I couldn’t have come to the point where I am at the moment.
    I will continue to tell you about my journey on Africa Metro, Please feel free to follow me on my AfricaMetro Profile and if you have questions leave comments below and I will get back to you there. I appreciate everyone who has read my story and for the continued support. By the way at the moment I am in Zimbabwe, Yes on my bike!!!

Disclosure statement

Yashar Khudiyev aka ‘Josh Africa‘ does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

More Pictures of Yashar Khudiyev aka ‘Josh Africa’ in Africa

Josh 11

Josh 2A friend of mine(Thanks for the good times mate!)






Josh 22

josh 33

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Source: AfricaMetro

19 Responses to Yashar Khudiyev From Azerbaijan Travels Around Africa on a Bicycle: Here Is What Happened…(Part 1)

  1. Mahmoud June 25, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    You a re brave young man, you the hell passes through South Sudan even Africans themeselves do not want to go anywhere near that country.Its great to also know that Africans are helpful

    • josh africa July 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      Thanks Mahmoud!!! yes they are…

  2. Chelsey June 25, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Went to Africa once in South Africa, we saw a lot of animals and the wether was nice but we did not get to talk to the locals that much. I want to go back without my family after I graduate from High school

  3. Peter George June 25, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    This is some inspiring staff, looking forward to read more from you. You are from Azerbaijan that’s so impressive, I have never even met anyone from that country. This give a new look or impression about your country.

    • josh africa July 2, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Thank you, Peter!!!

  4. Cherly June 25, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    The first and 2nd pictures are just perfect.The picture of that kid deserves an award.

    • josh July 2, 2016 at 11:36 am

      thank you, Cherly…those are my favourite pictures as well…

  5. Jaring Veenstra June 25, 2016 at 11:06 pm


    You gave me the strength to push on through! My challenge is to travel from the African equator to the eastcoast of Tanzania all the way to the westcoast, Swakopmund, Namibia. Thats where i’am currently right now! Down to Cape Town again. But for you I have a lot of respect! I hope to meet you again somewhere around the world!

    Stay safe!

    • josh July 2, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Hey Jerry!!! thank you , man! keep goin man, keep doing the right thing…we should meet again, meet again, and remember that wild camping under full of stars, bottle of beers,fire and good music:-)

  6. Roger June 26, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    This is some fascinating staff, brave or death wish? I still can’t make up my mind

    • josh africa July 1, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      If you mean south sudan, Roger, no, it was only because of no to ethiopian visa…no death vish at all..follow tje second part 🙂 coming soon

  7. Kibwana July 3, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Am proud to have such friend ,am happy to read your story once again bro so amaizing will miss you Josh.

    • Yashar Khudiyev July 7, 2016 at 9:25 am

      Thank you,friend for the warmest words…I miss you all, I miss beautiful Dar!!! From zimbabwe

  8. Cosmic Ray July 20, 2016 at 5:29 am

    Excellent Yashar, I greatly enjoyed reading about your adventures and wish you all the best in the future. Great stuff. Keep writing!

  9. Leyla August 3, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Hi Yashar,

    I am an Azeri living in Botswana. Heard that you are this side, can u give me your number so that we talk and possibly meet? Thanks!


    • josh August 3, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      Leyla, it is so nice that you are in Botswana! are u in Gabarone?
      i dont have mobile…can u pls writw me now to khudiyevyashar@gmail.com ? thanks

  10. Safwat Davids September 27, 2016 at 10:01 am

    It was an honour for my cousin and myself to cycle with for the last few kilometers of your journey. You are an inspiration

    • Josh Africa November 4, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Thank you, man!
      greetiings from windhoek, Namibia> was great to know you…


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