Our spiel...the lowdown on the gang of misfits that got Turkana Gear a reality.
Five friends and a passion for adventure and travel came together with the same belief for offering products that will add value to other adventure overlanders. Our métier and that of all the people and businesses being part of this biz depends on your love and happiness with our product.
We never forget or take it for granted.
Michnus & Elsebie
Way back when (was it 10 or 12 years ago? who cares!) South African couple Michnus and Elsebie realized that they were suitably set-up – read: financially independent – to virtually drop everything, leave most of their sh*t behind in their hometown of Gonubie, South Africa and do what everyone always dreams about – go travel the world!
They of course went one step further and started on the back of two old, heavily loaded BMW F650 GS Dakar’s.
Part of the “things they left behind”, was a successful adventure gear & outdoor accessories business, which they founded, built up and eventually sold off prior to departing on their ride around the world. Being avid adventure motorcycle riders for most of their life, this business was initially founded through the design, development and sale of their own brainchild, soft luggage for the adventure motorcycle industry.
Fast forward about eight years into their travels (by the way, if you have not checked out their A - M - A - Z- I - N - G travelogue/blog, you can do this here - www.pikipikioverland.com) they met up with Peter & Leonie on a deserted beach in Mexico’s Baja California, where the Turkana concept was borne.
In their former life, both Elsebie and Michnus hails from the corporate world, with Elsebie being a successful accountant and Michnus an insurance consultant. However, after a few years of married life, they both realised that there are more to life than working your butt off for another person, and jointly made the decision to become serial entrepreneurs. While this is not easy or for everyone, through hard work, a bit of luck and sheer determination they started several businesses, one being the adventure motorcycle luggage and outdoor accessories company.
Being financially independent assisted in crafting their view of what the important things are for them in life, sold of the business and in the words of Dr Alban’s song, “Hello Africa tell me how ya do’in” head north and left behind their life on the southern tip of the great African continent. These life skills and experience mentioned above are now being utilized with the others in Turkana to develop our products.
While riding around the world after a few hundred thousand km’s, they have realised what works and what does not from a travel and luggage perspective, and with their belief that a combination of passion for what you love, hard work, nagging determination and all your experience, you should have what it takes to get a successful business and product off the ground!
Michnus and Elsebie are still travelling and is currently somewhere on a continent, taking beautiful pictures of their bikes in the most amazing remote locations.
Peter & Leonie are two Dutchies with a few joint passions in their love of living life – the great outdoors, adventure motorcycles, functioning gear and drinking beer. Just to name a few, of course. It is, therefore, no wonder that it was easy (although difficult!) for them to make that big decision: “let’s quit our jobs and go ride the world”. Peter, a mechanical engineer and Leonie, a corporate lawyer, saddled up their two modified Honda CRF250L’s in 2013 and after leaving Amsterdam, spent 3 years riding around the world, missing out only on the Australian and Antarctic continents.
They both harbour the same mantra, namely “you only live once”. For them, it means that you should do everything that you can, while you can before you can’t.
With that free-spirited attitude, and their lust to see, smell, hear and taste the world they set of – after all, they can still work for the rest of their lives.
So, as fate would have it, one evening on a beach in Mexico, they met fellow travellers Michnus and Elsebie and it did not take long for the four of them to realize that their shared experiences and similar views on a few important things in life can lead to great things – so Turkana was born!
After three years, many a mile on their trusty Honda’s and riding alongside the beaten path on their own adventure trail, feeling what it is to live and basically going wherever they wanted to go, they returned home with new ideas and views on life. Read all about their travels here – amsterdamtoanywhere.nl
Back in the Netherlands, they decided to start their very successful motorcycle accessories business called Bartang (www.bartang.eu) and with their combined experience of travelling hundreds of thousands of kilometres on the back of an adventure bike, that knowledge is put to good use in developing and creating our Turkana products.
Piet is a South African by birth, grew up in the Freestate province and learned to ride a Yamaha XT500 at the ripe old age of 6 years. So, from an early age adventure riding and the adventure itself, made him count his currency, not through the size of his bank account, but the places that he has travelled through and the experience gained doing so.
While at school he was able to support a part-time job, and this paved the way for his first real travel into Europe at the age of 16. A few years later right after high school, he backpacked through North America, Europe and the mid-east, before returning home to complete his studies at Stellenbosch University. After university, adventure beckoned again and this time he headed to England, to work and save up for some more adventure, which came in the form of an overland trip in a beat-up 1973 Series III Land Rover from the United Kingdom through Africa. After this trip, the reality of life caught up and he had to support himself through his day job, which started off as a lawyer and eventually ended up working in a commercial bank. During that time, he met the love of his life and got married.
His job supported his serious addiction of, among other adventure fixes, adventure motorcycle riding. While living in Cape Town, he explored Southern Africa extensively on the back of a motorcycle and as a result, gained experience with the use of various accessories in the adventure riding cycle industry. Piet and his wife decided to leave beautiful Cape Town for thrilling California, where he continues to pursue his passion in life for adventure – today he is a partner in Renedian Adventures (www.renedian.com), a company offering global motorcycle expeditions in Africa, Mongolia, South America and Canada. Piet formed part of the inception of the Turkana idea while visiting his lifetime friends Michnus and Elsebie in Guadalajara, Mexico, on their round the world travels.
Written by Rene Cormier - Renedian Adventures