Warren Ellwood

Warren was originally born in Yorkshire, England, in 1967, but has been a resident of South Africa from a very early age, and considers himself completely 100% South African.

Growing up in the former Transkei near a tiny place call Kentani, he was exposed to motorcycles at a very young age, in fact he started riding around the age of 10, and naturally, living out in the middle of nowhere, his passion for exploring also developed during these early years. He, together with his younger brother Dale, would often disappear for days on end as they explored the hidden secrets of the Transkei.

Thanks to their parents, they both were able to take part in various forms of motorcycle racing during their school years and after they moved to East London, Warren was one of the 50cc gang for many years, using the small bike for school, sport and recreation, never losing that urge to explore and see new places.

When he eventually left school, he spent his mandatory two years in the armed forces, and then started work, and along with that, a twenty year drought without a motorcycle in his life.

“You start work and move out and suddenly there are new words in your vocabulary, like rent, times were tight for a long time” says Warren.

Warren was sort of the “team mechanic” during the racing years and after getting married and settling down, he eventually missed “tinkering” with engines so much that he souped up his weed eater. After not being able to extract more revs or performance from said weed eater, a strange turn of events would lead to him acquiring a jet ski and this eventually led to the resumption of his exploration of this beautiful land, in a roundabout way.

“I battled to get the jet ski on and off the beach, so we bought the cheapest 4x4 we could find, a Lada Niva. We then got invited on a Lada Niva weekend to the Mont Eco Nature Reserve, and the 4x4 / camping bug bit us both again, big time. The Lada didn’t last too long after that and we soon acquired a Toyota Raider 2.7i 4x4, and our lives changed forever”.

After spending a few years exploring and driving with various 4x4 organizations, Warren completed the Masazane Expeditions Overland Tourist Guide Course in 2006 and thus became a qualified and DEAT registered Overland Tourist Guide.   He did part time work for Cederberg 4x4 for a few years, taking groups of Cederberg clients out almost every second weekend,  before a visit to Canal Walk one Saturday would change his life again.

“We were out doing the usual Saturday shop, when we came across a Yamaha exhibition in the middle of the mall. I sat on one of the bikes and that was that, the love for motorcycles was instantaneously reignited and within a week, there were two TW200’s in the garage. The TW’s were the perfect bikes, firstly to get me back on a bike and to get my wife on a bike, as she had never ridden a motorcycle, well not a real one anyway”.

Within a year the TW’s had been traded for BMW GS motorcycles, mostly caused by bumping in to an old 4x4 mentor, and it wasn’t long before Warren was using all his knowledge and experience gained in the 4x4 years to put together some pretty amazing motorcycle rides in and around the Western and Northern Cape.

In 2012 Warren qualified as a DEAT registered History, Site and Culture Guide, and started including this knowledge in the rides and tours he puts together, taking folks on a different kind of motorcycle journey.

And so the idea for “Look What You’re Missing” was born, because for Warren it’s not so much about what you see on a motorcycle trip, it’s about what you don’t see.

His love for the gravel roads? “Well, while tarred roads are a lot of fun on a motorcycle, there is a whole lot of South Africa that you will miss if you stick to them”, just one of the reasons he is drawn to the network of gravel roads in South Africa, the more remote the better.

Watch on Ignition TV - DSTV Channel 189