Lonely Planet Writer

From Germany to Dubai on a motorbike - with a rescue cat on board

Back in September we caught up with Martin Klauka and his rescue moggy Mogli as they travelled by motorbike from Germany to Dubai. Now that they’ve reached the end of this journey, Martin talks to us again, with an update on how the pair fared and what the unusual journey entailed.

Mogli takes her place on the bike. Image by Martin Klauka

The journey took 102 days and they’ve now settled in Dubai. Martin’s trusty motorbike (which he refers to as ‘The Queen’) took himself and Mogli to the port in Bandar Abbas, the last stop before entering into the UAE safely and without complaint. But then, with a bang and a cloud of black smoke, his steed gave in to the dirty fuel it had seen on the way. Because of that, they had to follow the recovery truck for the last few metres from Sharjah into Dubai. Although it was probably the best time during the journey for a breakdown, it was frustrating for Martin to get so close and not have the triumphant arrival he had envisioned.

The pair in Patras, Greece. Image by Martin Klauka

This minor disappointment aside, Martin truly enjoyed the journey and all of the countries himself and Mogli visited along the way: ‘while some of the places that I’ve seen were so incredibly beautiful that there is no way to capture or even describe it to anyone, sometimes, something as simple as a campground would take a special place in my memory because of what I have experienced and, more importantly, because of who I met there.’

However the trip did involve a few more hairy moments. The duo almost literally bumped into another four-legged friend along the way – while on the way to Tatvan in Turkey, Martin and Mogli almost hit a cow which was in front of a truck Martin overtook. By the time he saw it, it was almost too late. The bike also got stuck in the desert, at night while travelling from Esfahan to Yazd in Iran.

Martin, Mogli and the Queen in Iran. Image by Martin Klauka

‘That day I started way too late and was trying to make it at least half way to my destination. The lake that I found on the map and decided to camp at, turned out to be a five-centimetre-deep patch of salty water, in the middle of nowhere and by the time I found out it was already too late, my bike had sunk into the wet clay and wouldn’t move an inch. There was literally nothing there, no one to call for help, no mobile reception, no streets, no shelter, no wood and I was cold from the last two hours of riding into the dark. I got all my strength together and after struggling for almost an hour, freed the Queen and set up camp.’

And, obviously Mogli got lost a few times. In Albania, Martin thinks she got locked in in a camper, while fearing that she had been locked in with somebody who had driven off. In Zanjan in Iran, he found her locked up in a toilet cabin, and on the 100th (and second last day) of the trip she went missing in Bandar Abbas.

Martin says if were to do it all again, he would: ‘I guess, because of the experience I have now, there would be a few minor changes. I wouldn’t dare to take those crazy roads through the Bosnian woods on my own again (glad I was naive enough to do though) and take a bit more time in the beginning…But that’s it, really, I have no regrets.’

Martin plans to continue his journey through Asia. Image by Martin Klauka

And when asked about their future travels, Martin and Mogli have lots planned: ‘at the end of summer, when temperatures here will drop below 45° again, we will continue our adventure. The plan is to go through Iran and Pakistan to India. We’ll probably visit Sri Lanka and Nepal too since we’ll already be very close but let’s see what life has in store for us, there’s no point in planning ahead too far.’