Are We There Yet?
27 May 2022
If you’ve been following our last few posts, and you have my respect for that, you’ll know we’re nearing the end of our lightning tour round lower Africa. Anything further north than Victoria Falls was looking a bit scary and as we never earned our Explorer badges we kept our ambitions to following our leader. Most days. We ducked out of a few of the 550k to 650k days, using the planned rest days to split the journey in two; wooses that we are.
It wasn’t until after a few borders and hundreds of kilometres that we realised Africa is actually, quite big. In fact, it’s about a thousand times the size of Belgium…… and a bit more interesting although, on some of the long straits between African towns……and when I say straight, imagine the Romans equipped with theodolites, lasers and GPS, parts of Belgium might put up a good fight in the Interesting stakes. Nonetheless, you couldn’t take your eye of the road just in case an elephant on walkabout chose exactly the time of your passing to cross the road and, well, almost make it the time of your passing.
As regular readers and/or SV Time Bandit YouTube followers might know, we’ve spent most of the last few months off topic; sailing, and off the boat, riding around on our own, making donations to various coffee stalls and eateries along the way. These essential and frequent stops means our average mileage has been relatively modest, maybe a couple of hundred miles a day. On the tour, we’ve been doing somewhat more. Over twice as much. As I said, it’s a big place.
However, if you want to see parts of Africa that aeroplanes, most other modes of public transport and crucially mass tourism can’t get to, and all in a shortish period of time, one has to press on. Which is what we’ve been doing for nearly three weeks so far.
Wake up, eat more for breakfast than your bike jeans really want to allow in, mount up, possibly for a game drive to see furry animals, some cute; some nasty; all ready to eat or be eaten at a moments notice. Or, possibly we’d be messing about on the river, aboard a river boat or in a plastic home-made canoe.“They’re not very stable”. Exactly what you were thinking and what you don’t want to hear as you set off looking for crocodiles and hippo. We eventually find them, chomping down on the river grasses or possibly it was a tourist that inadvertently slipped over the side.
On days we’ve not been playing Daktari or Attenborough gawping at the beasts we mount the iron horse and go steel ourselves for a long day in the saddle, “voyeuraging” at passing locals, their villages and lifestyle.
When you see the locals walking goodness knows how far to collect water and wood for heat, carrying ten to twenty kilos on their heads and get an enthusiastic and friendly wave you do feel a bit guilty about moaning about your sore shoulders. Not that I’m one to complain.
Here’s a preview of what’s to come……. Send out for popcorn now!