Category Archives: Africa

Day 2 Biking Africa Jeffreys Bay to Fynbos, Eesterivierstrand

Who have thought with my dislike of golf. That I would cycle the best part of 50 miles to stay on a golf course 🙂 As the saying goes when “needs must the devil drives”.

I started the day with no grand breakfast as Funky don’t do food and none of the neighbouring restaurants were open. I pedalled up the 300ft hill to the shopping centre which conveniently had a McDonalds interestingly price wise it was nearly as expensive as my fish & chips last night. Good job I did stop though as the only place I went through, Humandorf, seemed a right dump. After that not a shop or cafe for 40 miles 🙁

The R102 1-IMG_1531is very undulating with some quite big valleys to cross as well. I seemed to spend hours through pine forests with a range of mountains to the right. A bit like Scotland although sunny & red hot. In fact I think I may have caught the sun a bit so maybe I will have to succumb and buy sun cream.

Training for Namibia
Training for Namibia

The last few miles was down an horrific dirt track with a corrugated service, loose sand and rocks plus cars and trucks bombing past throwing up huge dust clouds 🙁

The golf centre is a really pleasant modern building with the proprietor doing the cooking (peppers & spinach fresh picked from his garden). The shower has the most incredible pressure you could use it as a pressure washer.

So Strava says 49.5 miles and 2,595 feet of climbing.

Africa biking Day 1 -Summerstrand to Jeffreys Bay

After yet another magnificent breakfast I tore myself away from GB’s superb B&B. How some folks make everything look easy is amazing, true professionals at work.

I managed to squeeze all my belongings into the three bags. A bar bag, single pannier laid flat on the top of the rear rack (On this trip firmly held down by a rachet strap) and my lightweight backpack bungeed on top of that. Still to much but in my defense I have a tent, sleeping mat & bag,plus a mosquito net and hat.

Moves said I finally left at 8.24 into a strong wind and a 800 foot climb with me (82kg) and my 39kg of bike and stuff.

Our little prison with satellite TV
Our little prison with satellite TV

Totally fascinating riding here seeing all the huge walls, razor & electrified fences that folks surround themselves with. I loved this picture of the row of satellite dishes peering over the wall as if to say the only contact they want is via a microwave link! Compare that with the guys who display their skills waiting for work by displaying their 3 foot spirit level or a decorator showing their extended paint rollers. A pair of security guards had a good laugh when I asked then what its like living in paradise and getting paid for it. They just had never thought about just how lucky they are living in a perfect climate the shelves groaning with food.

I eventually made it onto the Old Cape Road (R102) which is now a very quiet backwater dropping down into stunning wooded valleys and crossing an old bridge built in London by Westwoods in 1893.

The car chelsea tractor driving leaves something to be desired getting a bit to close for comfort but the big trucks are very courteous. A JCB driver forgot that his jib stuck out beyond the side of the vehicle. Hopefully, I’m on quiet roads from now on.

Thorougly enjoyable day. The town, beaches and Funky House hostel are also very good but alas no breakfast.

Strava says I did 57.9 miles and 2,430ft of climbing.

The pics are here

A day of safari with the animals.

A bit of a long day today visiting Addo Elephant park in the morning and the neighbouring Schotia Safaris private reserve in the afternoon. Both trips were organised by Alan Tours.

Baby elephants playing
Baby elephants playing

Luke the driver & guide picked me up at 7.30am and whisked me the 30 miles from GB’s to Addo National Park for my private tour. As luck would have it a huge elephant was trying to leave as we entered so a good start to the day 🙂  This was quickly followed by one of the smallest, a dung beetle 🙂

We toured around with Luke being very knowledgeable about all the fauna and creatures in the park, the 600+ elephants were in hiding so we only got to see a couple more playing by a water hole but to compensate we saw numerous other birds and animals.

Rita & Freddies truck
Rita & Freddies truck

At coffee break we came across Rita and Freddy Reick who have been driving around the world for 8 years in their jumbo converted truck. All I could think about after coffee  was how hilly the terrain was for cycling 🙁 After an excellent lunch the second part of the day began with Luke dropping me of at Schotia Safaris,

Safari vehicle
Safari vehicle

This was certainly not a private tour! 70 of us piled into 7 special Land Rovers to go and see what turned out to be, for the big ones only semi wild animals so really a bigger version of Woburn except of cause this is their natural habitat so the giraffes are eating the trees and the lions are eating the giraffes! Pretty interesting overall with the highlight seeing the pride of lions very close up in their natural environment doing what lions do the most 😉  & it’s not eating! with no barriers.

I had to admire the young drivers handling of the vehicle – more like the Land Rover proving ground especially with 9 folks up on a raised platform. An excellent evening meal was served by the drivers.

We covered 145 miles in the 14 hours I was out. So a tough & tiring day clicking on the shutter.

Tomorrow my Garden Route bike ride starts assuming I can pack everything in the bags…..

Today’s pics are on Google here

My next bike ride (Africa) begins.

After 68 years I’ve finally made it to South Africa and If first impressions count then I like it 🙂

Since my last little biking trip to Cuba I’ve enjoyed a week in January snowboarding,  Total luxury and perfect conditions, staying at the superlative Chalet Du Coin at the centre of Les Gets, boarding with fellow residents  from Jersey & Colchester.

This was followed in February by two weeks in El Medano, Tenerife with Sally. We rented bikes for 6 of the days and managed 8,800 feet of climbing in one go by climbing Teide.  During the stay I became addicted to apple crumble from Rosmarino which no doubt contributed to my 2kg weight gain whilst in Tenerife.

Now to my latest mini adventure which is 56 days in Southern Africa where I’m hoping to bike The Garden Route to Cape Town and to visit Victoria Falls a total of 2,500 miles biking this is highly unlikely in the 56 days I have, So some hops by faster transport are called for 🙁

The 10 hour overnight flight to Jo’burg was a bit of a nightmare sandwiched between a rugby prop and a family with two crying babies 🙁 Immigration was rapidly cleared (visa required line) I then was charmingly ripped of £20 by two porters transferring the bike and checking me in for the flight to Port Elizabeth. Whilst waiting for the flight I bought a Vodacom SIM for about  £10 per GB.

Nearly missed the flight after waiting at the airport for 7 hours 🙁 I was successfully met at the airport by Angelika from GB’s Guesthouse, after a quick burger by the sea I finally collapsed in bed at 11pm only to be woken by a violent storm at 1.30am 🙁

Bike waiting to start its Africa trip
Bike waiting to start its Africa trip

This room, accommodation and the breakfast this morning are outstanding, easily deserving its 9.2 reputation. I quickly assembled the bike, not damaged at all even though the wheel nuts had broken through the cardboard box. I did a little spin in the 30+mph winds around the town with the South African Army and Navy putting on a show of strength ready for The President’s visit tomorrow, unfortunately he won’t see me as I’m of to the Addo game reserve 🙂

Cape Recife Lighthouse, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Cape Recife Lighthouse

The afternoon was a gorgeous walk along a 2 mile boardwalk and sandy beaches to the lighthouse at Cape Recife after a coffee at the SAMREC cafe (who knew that penguins can catch avian malaria/) I returned in pouring rain 🙁 🙁

Roast Veg Wellingtom
Roast Veg Wellington

Tonight was an awesome meal in the presence of all The President’s Men (he apparently dined in his room). Amazing two courses and two pints for £10