South Africa, Country #17 and counting…
Setting off from the family home on the west coast of Cape Town, South Africa felt as if I was going for a leisurely ride in the city I grew up in, the reality however was that I was embarking on phase two of an attempted forty nations to be conquered by human pedal power and this time making tracks up the east coast of the continent. 16 countries and 12 000 km’s through Europe and West Africa were firmly secured over 7 months of ups and downs that saw a tricky but successful solo crossing of the Sahara desert and the navigation of Ivory Coast on the verge of civil war.
A cold wet and windy start to phase two as I snaked around Baden Powel drive and False bay, making my way past Cape Town’s largest squatter camp Khayelitsha in search of the coastal route north east. Cape Town bidding farewell with one of its trademark gusty winter mornings. The names of towns all too familiar making country 17 on the list somewhat surreal as I’ve become so accustom to navigating foreign sounding names in faraway lands
Through Strand & Gordon’s Bay hugging the rugged coastline and infamous whale route of Southern Africa, I would spend my second night back on the road seeking refuge from the harsh winter elements in the broom cupboard of the security office at Kogel Baai campsite a mere 25 km’s outside Betty’s Bay. Unbeknown to me at the time, the broom cupboard that I would call home for the night would leak like a sieve and with hindsight pitching the tent for the night would have been a better call.
Past Pringle Bay and Kleinmond, touching down in Hermanus for the night unfortunately a few months too early to catch the annual migration of Southern Wright whales that helped to put this quaint coastal town on the map. The only problem with cyclo-touring in your own country is that you feel a lot more like a homeless person than an adventurous soul when you pitch your tent in the bushes at night.
Rolling out of the farm town of Napier to link up with the N2 and much acclaimed garden route is next on the agenda, battling rolling hills, strong winds and cold mornings; I forgot just how harsh the Cape of Storms can be.