... or at least the first half of the trip? We've just launched a way for you to do that.
An idea that was born in the first few days of the trip - that others would probably want to experience the things we were loving - has taken shape in the last few weeks. Through a new start-up, Ride Down South we've planned a trip for 4 riders that tracks 4200 kilometers of the Cape2Kigali ride through South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
... with a few extras thrown in - like a day of paddling down the Orange River, a visit to the Fish River Canyon, the sand dunes at Sesriem, and two nights at the world-famous Etosha National Park, home to Africa's Big Five.
Till now I’ve enjoyed Andy’s trip updates as much as I hope you have. I can vouch for his well-told stories. Almost all of them are true.
This post comes from Kasungu National Park in Malawi near the Zambia border. It took my dad and I two hours of bumping along some patchy dirt roads to get here but it’s already been totally worth the effort. I’m sitting next to a lake watching herds of hippo and elephant graze along the shore, two fish eagles building their nest, ground hornbills pecking at whatever ground hornbills peck at, and pied kingfishers hovering over the shallow waters giving local fish good reason to stay hidden in the reeds. Leopard have been spotted in the campsite recently so we’ll see what happens tonight. There is no one else around. It is so peaceful.
Tomorrow I start the long haul back to Johannesburg and then Cape Town via Zambia and Zimbabwe – three legs of about 750k’s each. It’s a bit disappointing to have turned back from heading towards Rwanda but I’m also feeling good about the decision not to carry on.
There were a few reasons behind the decision: first, I had some really good times reconnecting with youth and church leaders in Zimbabwe – most of whom I had met on our first Wordspace tour through Southern Africa in 2013. It brought home to me that, in terms of forging connections with local communities, the Youth Hub’s focus really is more in Southern Africa than further north. Second, we have a brand new staff team who have been working bravely on their own for the past three weeks. It’s time to get back and be part of shaping the next phase of the Youth Hub’s work with them. Third, our fundraising efforts didn’t go as well as I’d hoped which meant the costs of carrying on – and getting myself and the bike back home again – would have been harder to justify. Fail well and carry on, right?
It’s been good (and – I can’t lie – hilarious at times) watching Andy progress from newby bike rider to someone who is more than capable of cruising through just about any kind of road Africa can throw at you. The KLR 650 he’s clearly grown to love has once again proved its reliability. I’m looking forward to hearing the stories of his last leg through East Africa. Let’s see if he can break my 1150 km single day record. I might have a go at that too.
Two things I’ve loved about the Cape2Kigali journey: the space to rest and reflect on the Youth Hub’s mission of helping young people figure out life with God in a challenging culture; and seeing my broader home through Andy’s eyes, realising again what an incredibly beautiful part of the world this is – the landscapes, the animals, but mostly the people. So rich in many ways – even through the more obvious poverty we’ve been riding past for so many k’s.
If you’ve been following our journey and wished you could have been on a bike with us – stay posted, Andy and I have been sketching out plans for trips with guests based on our route around SA, Namibia and Botswana.