EP76 | Tour or Adventure? A Conversation with Joe Fleming of BONAFIDE Moto Co. South Africa

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Episode Description

When trying to figure out a plan for your next vacation, are you interested in booking a “tour” or experiencing a real “adventure”? To begin with, maybe you’re wondering exactly what the difference is between the two. 

Joe Fleming, owner/founder of Bonafide Moto Co. based in Southern Africa is on the show to explain how the ADV motorcycle experiences his clients share with him are more than just a trip or a tour; they are a “bonafide” moto adventure. Hosting riders from around the world in places as extreme as Namibia and India, Joe and his team create unique travel experiences in which challenges and exploring the unknown are the norm.

While some have the ability and desire to embark on a years-long, round-the-world overlanding journey by truck or motorcycle, many of us only have a one to two-week window of vacation each year in which we can have a shot of experiencing the adventure of a lifetime. So it’s no surprise that overland tourism is on the rise. “Fly and Drive/Ride” experiences are now available in many parts of the world, and we’re interested in sharing what these look like with our listeners.

Clay and Rachelle met Joe Fleming on the XOVERLAND team’s recent trip to Southern Africa. They were impressed by Joe’s enthusiasm for the region, passion for his work, and extensive knowledge of the area, so we decided to feature Joe on our first podcast episode featuring the subject of overland tourism. 

An American by birth, Joe Fleming moved to South Africa full-time 10 years ago to pursue the love of a special woman. Since then, Joe has fallen deeply in love with Africa, making a whole new life for himself as the owner/operator of an adventure motorcycle touring company. Joe is eager to candidly share what his clients experience on their journeys with him along with his thoughts on how to best prepare for an adventure of a lifetime–wherever you’re headed.


Part 1 (0:40-13:22) Episode Intro:  Welcome Joe Fleming of Bonafide Moto Co. from South Africa! Joe and Jimmy discuss how they got connected to do the podcast, relating XOVERLAND’S recent experience in Africa, and Joe shares stories of how he came to meet Scott Brady, publisher and founder of Overland Journal.

Part 2 (13:23-17:59) Who is Joe Fleming and how did he get to Africa?  Who is Joe Fleming, and how did he get to Africa? Jimmy asks Joe to share his origin story as a leader of adventure motorcycle tours throughout Southern Africa and finds out it was more than a love of motorcycles that brought Joe Fleming to Africa in the first place! 

Part 3 (18:00-23:30) Finding Your Purpose in Life Looks Like This: Beyond following his love for a special woman, Joe explores how he ultimately found what he now sees as his purpose in life:  to lead adventure motorcycle tours exploring the wonders of Southern Africa. Joe also takes a look at his first business, “Bonafide Beards,” and how this led him down the path of motorcycle touring and adventures with others.

Part 4 (23:31-32:04) Why is Joe Fleming in Love with South Africa?  Jimmy wants to know why Joe loves South Africa so much and Joe can’t wait to explain why. Joe shares the variety of reasons he has developed such a passion for exploring South Africa. Jimmy wonders about wild camping in South Africa, what the dirt roads are like, and Joe shares his experiences and knowledge around these subjects. Joe also shares what he enjoys about the people and the community he has become a part of there.

Part 5 (32:05-45:17) What is the Bonafide Moto Co. and What Does the Bonafide Moto Co. Experience Look Like?  Joe and Jimmy discuss the difference between a “tour” and an “adventure” and Joe provides details about what a riding experience with Bonafide Moto Co. is like. Joe also explains the “adventure mindset” and how this can be helpful for riders joining him in Africa.

Part 6 (45:18-54:43) Should you get coaching before you travel overseas to ride? What kinds of bikes does Joe recommend for riding in South Africa? Jimmy mentions his recent episode hosting off-road riding coach, Jimmy Lewis, and Joe discusses why it is wise to get effective training as a rider before joining him in Africa. Then Joe gets into the types of bikes he prefers for his moto adventures throughout Southern Africa. 

Part 7 (54:44-1:08:21) What happens when things go wrong on a Moto Adventure? Joe shares the precautions he takes on his riding tours, including, at times, having a team doctor following along in a support vehicle and his own certification as a Wilderness First Responder. Then, Joe shares a harrowing experience of when things really went south and he had to call for a rescue with his Garmin inReach.

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Part 8 (1:08:22-1:18:20) The Importance of Community, Sharing, and Teamwork on a Bonafide Moto Co. Experience:  Joe explains how important community and teamwork are for the moto adventures he leads, noting key elements like gathering together around the campfire each day to share likes and dislikes, any developing issues or struggles, as well as highlights of the day’s adventures. Joe also shares some details about some of his favorite support crew.

Part 9 (1:18:21-End) Beyond Africa:  A Look at the Other Exotic World Destinations for Bonafide Moto Co. Joe shares the wide variety of places Bonafide Moto Co. travels, including exotic destinations in India as well as Southern Africa.

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