Above: having loads of fun in Botswana. GoPro running, of course.

You might have noticed that this blog has been quiet for quite a while. And you would be right. The reason for that was an awesome two week adventure through Botswana in August, followed by a ridiculously busy time with back to back projects upon my return in September. And finally some sadness with my mom passing away a few weeks ago. However life goes on and so must this blog.

Filming a 10-day motorcycle adventure through Botswana away from modern amenities such as running water, a roof over your head and electricity poses some unique production challenges. I wanted to film as much of our 3700km trip through Southern Africa as I could. But that meant keeping four GoPro batteries (three later on as I lost one in Makgadigadi), a set of Sena helmet intercom units and my Android phone charged and powered up. Our journey took us through some of Southern Africa's most dramatic landscapes such as the Makgadigadi salt flats, the Okavango and Caprivi regions, Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls and I was able to return with 60GB of GoPro video, not counting that shot by my friends with their GoPros. So how did I keep everything powered up?

PowerTraveller's Powermonkey Extreme proved to be essential for the trip. I charged the battery from a dual GoPro USB power adaptor from my bike's power outlet during the day. At night I charged all my GoPro batteries and USB devices from the Powermonkey. I always had enough stored energy in the battery to charge everything. The only trick was to start charging the GoPro batteries soon enough in the afternoon as they take quite a while to take a full charge.

The Powermonkey battery itself is a very sturdy unit, surviving some serious offroading and African roads in my tank bag without damage. I was worried about the USB cable port getting damaged but it stood up to some serious daily abuse without any issues (USB hard drive and cable manufacturers please take note!) The unit really lived up to its extreme label as it lived through two weeks of severe dust and hard knocks that actually broke ankles and motorbikes. Too many products are labeled "extreme" to make them sexy to the outdoor adventure market and then don't live up to the name. However Powermonkey Extreme is everything it is advertised to be. It comes highly recommended for life away from civilization.

As for the GoPro? It was awesome as usual. We had a few of them running on different bikes and helmets. Again dust and hard knocks were no issue. I actually dropped my bike right on top of mine when I came off on a sandy track late one afternoon. The suction cup on the GoPro vehicle mount stayed secured to the bike and the housing took the fall without any damage.

Above: Botswana's Makgadigadi salt flats and thrills and spills in the sand belt surrounding it - GoPro cams were there to capture it all.

Above: Elephant close to the road in Chobe National Park. I was impressed by the GoPro's low light as this was filmed shortly before sunset!

My GoPro Hero2 has had a hard life but still goes to work everytime without complaint. I will definitely be looking at a Hero3 companion for it soon.