2-play-on-earth


BACK TO MAIN PAGE

--- News and reports ---

 

Nr.IV: AFRICA SOUTH

17.09.2007 (Equator) - 09.01.2008 (Cape Town)

 

 

14.01.2008, Perth (Australia): After some relaxing days at the southernmost tip of Africa, we load our bicycles again and head towards Cape Town. Not long that we keep this direction, as at the parking area of a supermarket we are invited by a family to their holiday house in Arniston (into the opposite direction at the beach). We welcome that invitation and spend two days at their seaside place. A beautiful but stormy coastal road leads us to Betty’s Bay. There we stay for a few wonderful kitschy sunsets and a New Year’s Evening at the beach with new friends. We try surfing for the first time (Philipp still has pain in his back from crashing into the waves…) and hike in the mountainuous surroundings. Via Stellenbosch, the famous wine and university town we finally pedal into Cape Town. In the big city we are also staying with people, who we got to know on our way. Hospitality and blind trust in us is unbelieveable! House keys, Internet-Login and a brand new car is there for us to be used whenever we like. As our bicycles are already packed in boxes, ready to fly out of the country, we exceptionally take a trip by car and drive down the peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope. We leave Africa on the 9th of January and fly to Perth, Western Australia. Here we are cordially received by a 9!-headed family and get the change to catch up on our lack of sleep during two days in the air and at several airports, (making friends worldwide and staying for free: www.hospitalityclub.org, www.couchsurfing.com, www.warmshowers.org). We do some sightseeing in Perth and deal with our equipment: the bikes are upgraded with new parts and we arrange all our stuff, reduce and replace some things. We are slowly getting organised, finally beating the jet-lag and ready to start our journey around the “new” continent….

 

   

 

  

 


24.12.2007, Cape L'Agulhas - the southernmost tip of Africa (South Africa): After a few relaxing days in Windhoek we are rolling again southwards. It is awfully hot, dry and the distances between the possibilities to stay overnight and filling up our food supplies are getting extremely long. It gets quite normal to ride 150 kilometers per day. Tailwind keeps us company when we are cycling through the soft hills and blows us across the Tropic of Capricorn. There are no more shrubs and bushes, just dry grasses are the only plants "growing" around here. But anyway, there is still agriculture. Like in the whole country we are riding day after day along endless fences - bushcamping is almost impossible. In the north it was farming cattle, here in the south it is farming sheep, that separates the whole area into huge fenced areas - for only one sheep you need 11 ha and you need at least 300 sheep to make any profit! Here in the middle of nowhere we are riding our longest day-distance so far on this trip: 216,24 kilometers (see superlatives). As a treat we reach a special location for our nightcamp: between granit boulders and quivertrees. Towards South Africa the landscape gets more exciting. Granitblocks and mountains are forming the surroundings. We are staying overnight at the shore of Oranje River, which marks the border between Namibia and South Africa. It is a green oasis in the dusty and dry land around. On the next day we are crossing the river and suddenly already are in the last state we visit in Africa on this trip. Still there are almost no villages on the first few hundred kilometers, but anyway there are things that changed drastically in the new countr: Massive, steep, long uphills and the road is meandering through and across the hills and mountains. There is a strong wind permanently blowing in our faces from the south, which is breaking our speed on the downhills to 14km/h and in the flat down to 8 km/h. Riding is a big fight and the 150 km which we were riding in Namibia easily before early afternoon become a surreal number for here. But the landscape is exciting and changing a lot. Mountains, small valleys, different rock and weathering formations. Also the vegetation has changed drastically. No grasslands any more, but a colourful carpet of succulents with thick leaves and low greenish bushes covers the hills. Summers are hot and dry in the Western Cape area, but anyway we get surprised by two days of quite some rain, when heavy thunderstorms are showing their power. From the cars people are waving, signalling thumbs up and sometimes they even stop and want to give us a lift to the next village - unfortunately we always deny :-) Wherever we stop people are interested and friendly. We sleep in a village at an artist- and environmentalist-family, who invited us to stay, and get stuck in Vansrhyndorp a day later, because the southerly wind is blowing "unbikable" against us. In the next days the windsituation is better, but too many trucks are on the too narrow road without a paved shoulder. If there are two trucks coming towards each other, it gets tight - no space for cyclists. The road is winding around mountains and hills - it is one of the most dangerous parts of the trip so far. All of a sudden it is getting greener and greener. Huge wine plantations and fruit orchards, pumpkinfields, trees and grass. Finally we turn off the main track and ride small roads with almost no  traffic along fertile valleys through the south african wine region. Alpine landscapes - yes, real mountains!!!, nice campsites, great wines. South Africa is a strange country. Public life is white. Huge farms with white owners, big cars, which are driven by (mainly) white people, campsites and backpackers, where the white owners meet you in the door... Black are (seen in a simple way) the ladies at the cassiers, the guy at the petrol station, the cleaning personal and the folks hanging around the entrance of the bottle-shop and the supermarket. The villages are in tip-top conditons and dominated by whites. There are townships around: settlements of small, hut-like houses, garbage and no cars. Something is completely wrong in this country... A car stops. An old, friendly man is hopping off and gives us some peaches. As a goodbye he is warning us: "Take care of the people!" We don't understand. "The ones with the thick lips and the curly hair, those are bad!" Then he drives off and leaves us standing beside the road with an open mouth and a questionmark in our faces. Sometimes we think we don't hear right - what some of the "thin lips" are talking is scarily racist. Although we have lots of side- and headwinds, driving goes quickly. We leave the mountains behind and get into the hilly areas in the south. We plan to meet Bruno, who we were cycling with for a month (see bikers we met), at Cape L'Agulhas - the southernmost point of Africa, that can be reached by road - again and spend Christmas together. In Bredasdorp, a small village just 45 kilometers from the Cape we look for the campsite. By one tree we see a bicycle leaning. Bruno is here! So we already meet one day before it was planned, and cycle on the 23rd of december the last kilometers to Cape L'Agulhas together against muscle-killing headwinds. Around lunchtime we are standing at the Cape and look towards Antarctica!! A great feeling!! A hard breeze in the face with a spray from the huge waves in the sea - a good atmosphere! We have been riding 22.745 kilometers from the beginning of the road in Norway (North Cape) to the end of the road in South Africa (Cape L'Agulhas)! Time for some relaxation: today we will - sweaty and with dusty bikes - check in the best place in town and stay for two nights - thanks to Eva for this marriage-present (drawing by Alexander Zernin, www.kiwicomics.at)! We will celebrate Christmas together with Bruno at the Cape, and then ride some easy days up to Cape Town, from where we will catch a flight to Perth. 2008 will be the Australia-year!

  

  


05.12.2007, Windhoek (Namibia): It is a fast drive from Lusaka to Livingstone and the Victoria Falls. Nice tailwinds and the land is fairly flat. Every day we are followed by dark clouds, but fortunately they seldom catch up with us. We are still travelling as a trio and check out the Vicfalls - which are quite dried out at this time of the year, but the gorge is spectaculous anyway. Leaving from Livingstone there is only one day left to ride together with Bruno. After a whole month and more than 3.000 kilometers with him, he is taking a left turn towards Botswana (check out bikers we met). We have chosen the longer route via Namibia to Cape Town, but however, if there is a chance, we want to meet Bruno at the Cape again. We cycle through flat landscape, bushland is lining the roadsides. On our last kilometers in Zambia the screaming and shouting of the children gets rare - there are almost no villages. We are riding fast and cross the Border into Namibia at Katima Mulino. Already at the bordertown we notice a huge difference to all (!) african countries, which we have passed so far: well maintained sidewalks, street lights, relatively many cars, clean parking areas, ATMs in airconditioned rooms and huge shopping centers where you get everything you want and what advertisement makes you think you need. Right after the border we meet Tom again. We met him and his friend Michael on the „killer-track“ in northern Sudan, when they were riding their motorbikes up north, and spent a night together at the shore of the Nile (see other vehicles, post from 04/05.05.2007). Now Tom is travelling with his wife Angela in their Hi Luxe around Namibia (see other vehicles, new post). We spend three nice days together and camp on beautiful spots on the rivers Zambesi, Kwango and Okawango. We get up early every day and hit the road with sunrise. Around lunchtime Tom and Angie are catching up with us and we have a „service stop“ with coke and cheese-sandwiches. We could easily get used to that! They are driving ahead and we meet in the evening on the campsite. Life in Namibia is easy for us: In every village (sometimes there is only one on our way per day) we get all our food supplies, and the campsite-facilities are more than great: they often include a kitchen and sanitary house, a roof for shade, lookout platforms and a swimmingpool. Hundreds of kilometers we are moving westwards at the Caprivi stripe, through a flat and monotonuous bushland. Just bush on the left and more bush on the right side of the road. Small and surprisingly poor villages and huts along the way until we turn southwards and pass the Mururani Gate. It is a border ment to stop animal diseases. But also the end of the "real" Africa. After the gate: No more huts and villages, but hundreds of kilometers of fences and huge farms. Welcome to the white Africa! Suddenly there is a shocking black and white contrast: Wealthy white farmers, black workers and bushmen (and women) - obviously the lowest in social hirachy - walking the sides of the road, looking for empty aluminium cans and PET bottles. In front of the supermarkets black children are begging in dirty clothes. To us people are more than hospitable. Did the following ever happen to you? 1 - Just on our third day in Namibia a car stops and the young man is inviting us to his camp in the National Park. 2 - We are stopping at a lodge to camp there for the night. The two women, who are running the place, are so fascinated by our story that they put us in a room free of charge and demand that we have to stay and relax for at least three days! We stay for two, and get grumpy comments as we cook for ourselves and not accept the option to eat for free in the restaurant. 3 - We are camping at a beautiful lodge at a nice spot in the bush. Valeska has diarrhoea and we decide to stay another night. We do not need to pay for that. "Because you have a long way ahead and ... just enjoy being here!" says the owner. Nowhere before did we have so many invitations! Since we took the turn southwards, we left the rainy season behind. Humidity drops down and it is hot (up to 40 degrees) and dry. Before we get to Windhoek we stay at Axel and Susanne’s place – friends of Tom and Angela, who invited us to their home. They live at a farm near Okahandja. We see colourful sunsets and watch Zebras, Kudus and other deer, which is meeting at the waterhole. A great place to relax! Two days later we arrive in Windhoek, a supply-town. Shopping Centers – so big – that you can get lost. We get here everything we need: Philipp’s bicycle needs a new rim, the old one finally broke. Our stove has also finished his life (sick of cooking pasta?) and we buy a new one. Again well-equipped we continue into the final stretch towards South Cape...

  

  


 

09.11.2007, Lusaka (Zambia): After a day in Lilongwe we start towards the Zambian border. On the same day we reach the crossing and we get a visa for a month without any problems. As in Malawi, there is almost no motorised traffic  in Zambia – a bikers dreamland. People are laughing and waving and the kids are queeking "Howareyou? Howareyou?" The "Giv-e me" mentality has stopped as we crossed the border. But the beginning of the rainy season seems to get us. At least one heavy shower every day. We are biking hard and for the almost 800 kilometers from Lilongwe to Lusaka we need only 6 days. First the landscape  is somewhat boring – long rolling hills with bushes. Then it is getting more exciting – steep hills, small gorges, limestone rockfaces.  It is exhaustingly hilly, the first time on the whole trip that we bike more than 10 hours effective biking time on one day (see superlatives). Since Sudan, Zambia is the least dense populated country we are cycling through. After all the masses of people (especially in Ethiopia and Malawi) this is really relaxing. Bruno (see bikers we met) is still with us. It is good fun to ride together and we are a good team… 

   

 


03.11.2007, Lilongwe (Malawi): While leaving Dar Es Salaam in a horrible traffic chaos, we bump into Bruno, a french cyclist (see bikers we met). He cycles in the same direction and after meeting him in the morning, around lunchtime and in the evening, we decide to go together the next day. The road slowly climbs up to the tansanian highlands and leads over many hills. A highlight on the way is the Mikumi National Park, where we see buffalos, elephants, giraffes, warthogs and some more animals just from the bicycle! Travelling into Malawi finally is not as easy as we had thought: In Dar Es Salaam we could not get a visa at the embassy, because they had run out of visa-stickers (how can that happen? Well, it can…). They hand over a letter to us, stating that the embassy has no stickers… At the border to Malawi we present this letter. But also here it’s impossible to get a visa, because they don’t issue visas at the border. After asking nicely several times, we finally get another letter, saying that the embassy had run out of stickers, the border does not issue visas and that we need to get a visa within a week in Mzuzu – the first immigration office on our way. We reach Mzuzu on a weekend – not good timing – the office is closed… and everything else too. We cannot even check our emails, internet cafes are closed on Sundays. On Monday it just takes several hours and finally by lunchtime we have our visas in the passports! On our way south we stay at the shore of Lake Malawi several times. Beautiful landscape: nice forests, bush land and the blue lake. But it is damn hot and humid. After a long day of cycling it is always the highlight of the day to jump into the lake and cool down. Malawi is green and fertile, when we leave the lake shore it becomes quite mountainous. Hardly any motorized traffic, the roads can be called big cycling paths. Yes, this shows that we are again in one of the poorest countries of Africa. Malawi is different from Tansania and Kenia, not only traffic-wise: for the first time since we had left Ethiopia kids run after us, hysterically screaming: "Giv-e-me! Giv-e-me money!!" Too many kids sometimes... Fortunately all grown-ups are friendly and helpful, just nice! After a long day uphill we arrive in Lilongwe. It is a planned town without traffic. A spoke breaks out of Philipp’s bicycle rim (back rim). Even in the capital city a suitable rim is not available. Finally a professional “bicycle doctor” changes the front rim to the back and the back rim to the front. Consequently there is not so much pressure and weight on the weak rim… Tomorrow we will continue, still as a triple, towards Zambia…


 

   


14.10.2007, Dar Es Salaam (Tansania): It is a short ride (3 days) to the border of Tanzania. Another easy entry into an African country, without waiting time or other problems. We came through 22 countries so far (see list of countries). Our cycling computers show: 1.000 hours of effective cycling time – well, no wonder our butts are hurting! Since we have left Addis Ababa we permanently encounter head winds. It is almost unbearable in Tanzania, because it gets hotter and hotter at the same time! We have left the highlands and push the pedals just a few hundred meters above sea level in humid heat through a friendly hilly landscape. In Arusha (at Mt. Meru) and in Moshi (at Kilimanjaro) we stop and enjoy the comfy atmosphere in our first small towns in Tanzania. We see Kili for 5 seconds, before he gets covered with clouds again. Along the Usambara mountains we head southwards. Beautiful fertile landscape, pineapple plantations everywhere. We meet another cyclist (see bikers we met) and exchange experiences. On the 9th of October we celebrate – its one year ago that we have started at North Cape! That’s worth an extra huge portion of rice and vegetables (beer is not available in that village…) A dirt road leads to Bagamoyo, where we reach the Indian Ocean: white beaches, palm trees and fishing boats. Another day cycling and we are in Dar Es Salaam, where we visit our friend Minou and enjoy the advantages of a big city (e.g. internet access)… Minou is working on a great project – see Help for Africa.


  

 

 


29.09.2007, Langata bei Nairobi (Kenia): We are invited by Basecampexplorer to the Masai Mara. Basecampexplorer is the same company we were working for (several seasons) on Spitsbergen (you can find pictures of Spitsbergen on www.philipp-schaudy.net). Basecamp Masai Mara is one of only three Eco-Lodges in Kenia and the only one in Masai Mara. Water is recycled, solar power is used for electricity, garbage is separated and much is done to keep the human impact on nature as small as possible. A great project! We want to cycle to Masai Mara, but people tell us not to do so. Too many animals in the bush, which could be interested in nibbling on cyclists… Therefore we leave our bicycles in Nairobi (strange feeling!) and take some public mini busses in order to reach the Mara. A horrible experience! The road is very bad (turns into a dirt road after a while) and the “style” of driving… no comment! We reach Basecamp still alive and move into one of the luxurious tents. We can join some tours and see lions, giraffes, cheetahs, buffalos, zebras, hippos,… One night we spend in Basecamp’s bush camp – a tented camp out in the wilderness close to the animals. On a “walking safari” some Masai guides lead us through the savannah. All in all – an absolute highlight in our journey so far!! (For adventures on Spitsbergen or Kenia – have a look at www.basecampexplorer.com). Back to Nairobi by mini-buses, this time fortunately not with killer speed. We spend some time at Anette’s place (who we got to know in the Mara) and organize our stuff, before we head towards Tansania…

  

  


22.09.2007, Nairobi (Kenia): We zig-zag along the Equator and cross it two more times. Exhausting cycling against the wind and over many hills… but beautiful landscapes and we see giraffes, antilopes, monkeys and zebras close to the road. Compared with Ethiopia, Kenia seems to be a lot more “developed”: there are real houses, cars and trucks drive on the roads and shops offer more than tomatoes and onions. We travel through Hell’s Gate National Park and finally come to Nairobi, where we relax in the outskirts of the town on a campground…

 

 


17.09.2007, Nanyuki (Kenia): We are leaving Addis southwards. Strange, but the rains are never catching us while biking :-) We stop for a day in Awassa - for us the most relaxed city in Ethiopia. Afterwards it is really going for business. It is extremly hilly (physically exhausting) and for several days there is no minute (we have checked on our watches) without ten to hundred children "you-you-youing" and running after us (psycological exhausting). Anyway, people seem to be much less aggressive here than they were further north. Not a single stone was ever thrown after us! On the last three days before the kenian border it becomes dry and fairly unpopulated - oh gosh, how relaxing! Crossing the border is easy. Driving on the left side now and the asphalt stops. 534 kilometers of dirtroad ahead - that is the "Trans East African Highway"! Big gravel, fine gravel, big stones, small stones, sand and dust. Almost impossible to drive on that stuff. On our worst day we had an average of only 6 km/h and just 50 kilometers done in the evening. In addition to the roadconditions we are facing heavy headwinds, hundreds of Tse-Tse-flies are always around us and the desert heat of more that 40 degrees. Only a few villages on our way where we can get water, basic food and can sleep at missions and schools. In the middle of the track we reach Marsabit. We are stopping for two days and relax our legs. Then we hit the bumpy path again. After altogether 10 days we reach Isiolo and the asphalt starts again. People are friendly along our way and compared to Ethiopia it is almost a holiday to pass through villages. We skip our idea to climb Mt. Kenia due to the permanent bad weather on the mountain - heavy rainfalls every day - and keep heading south. At Nanyuki we cross over the Equator. From Northcape to here it is 15.000 kilometers :-)

  

  


  

  

kostenlose Counter bei xcounter.ch