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Kentz Cairo to Capetown
Cycle Challenge

Cycling From Cairo To Capetown: Zambia & Botswana

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The Smoke that Thunders I eventually make it into Livingstone and see Victoria Falls or Mosi Ao Tundra as the locals call it. I took the bungy jump - stoked it was an amazing drop. The waterfalls themselves are breathtaking and one of the most beautiful things I have had the fortune to witness. Of all my journey this is the most memorable moment. The spray shoots all around you on an island which faces the falls. The noise of the water falling is deafening. Neither words nor pictures can do Victoria Falls justice so this part of my journey I will leave you to use your imagination.

Bungy jump Vic Falls Tomorrow I make my way into Botswana. I am to expect flat roads and lots of desert and tailwinds. Please tailwinds. I should ask that nun in Tanzania (Fr. Mister) to remember the tailwinds in her prayers tonight. If the winds aren't blowing right it will make the roads impossible as the distances to cycle are really high - up to 207kms in one day !

Tuesday 15th April : Botswana

There were rumours of tailwinds in Botswana since Cairo. They were there but only if you were going from Capetown to Cairo. The first 2 days were head and side winds and you really notice it when the terrain is flat. We made it to Maun which is a popular spot to rent a canoe and take off for a few days on the Okavango Delta. It's the only river in Africa which does not run into the ocean. Instead it runs into the desert. It changed direction millions of years ago when tectonic plates moved apart. Not as fascinating as the Amazon river changing direction (originally flowed into the Pacific Ocean) due to the rise of the Andes mountains, but still good fodder for cocktail parties.
Monkey in Botswana
Free Ride I did manage to sneak onto safari on the river Chobe, saved me $35U.S. There were nearly a hundred elephants at once drinking and cleaning themselves at the river, as well as hippos, crocs and monkeys. Actually, I have been noticing a lot of random monkeys on the road these days too.

I didn't take any safari trips in Maun, to be honest I was very happy to get the time to chill the bones and recover. I spent a lot of time at the campsite swimming pool and bar ! I did go out to a local nightclub - it was free entry so that's where the people who couldn't get into the nice places went. It was a classy joint with a wire fence to protect the barstaff. The guys were all dancing with each other and spirits were high. My only beef was the rap music which is ever-present in Africa (except for Ethiopia.)

Elephants walking on road 855 Kilometres in 5 days it's true, that just happened. Sometimes a few days pass and when you cycle huge distances each day blends into the next. If you asked me to recall any specific day I would give you the fishhook eyebrow and walk off. Botswana is very sparsely populated so you actually need to look for people when you cycle. The more people you meet the easier it is to create memories. When it's only the Kalahari Desert you see, each memory is the same.

I cycled through Botswana and met only a handful of people on the way. Those I met were very nice but not very trusting (no offence to any Botswanian readers). The landscape tended to repeat itself making it impossible to tell how long I was cycling for and difficult to imagine one specific place or time. The only thing that stands out is the day I saw wild Elephants and Giraffes at a watering hole. I was cycling through a nature reserve which is part of the "Elephant Highway".

Corn crickets Botswana 207kms The longest distance of my ride in Africa. I have to say I have had harder days and mental preparation and chocolate helped me through this. It took about 10 hours but that was peppered with coke and beer stops. I've had much tougher days and the winds were in my favour. The last kilometer brought us across the border into Namibia.

Jesus Wept Here's a Zambian flashback. I pulled into a coca cola stop on the way to the capital of Lousaka. I began talking with the girl called Jane there and she began to ask about my journey. I told her what I was doing and she was really interested. There was another customer there who screamed "Jesus wept" at the task ahead of me. He then informed me that it is the shortest passage in the bible. This is valuable info for me as this is one of my dad's fondest statements in times of despair, anger & joy. Perhaps he is only quoting. Jane asked if I was doing this for myself or for a cause and I told her I was doing it for an aids charity in Ethiopia and Tanzania. Immediately her ears pricked up and she began to ask questions all about it. The work, how things are run, how people are kept interactive in communities, the counseling provided. We were having a real nice conversation and I would be lying if I said she was not very beautiful. In fact she was an amazing looking woman and working in a really nice shop.

Zambian drinks I asked her if she knew anyone with aids and she discreetly replied "yes". I asked who it was, she whispered "I have aids". There was a silence for the longest time and I knew I had to fill it. Maybe it was only a second but facial reactions are a language onto themselves and that time follows no rules. "Jesus wept" I heard from my religious fellow customer. Then he asked some business related question and the conversation followed a new direction.

I spoke with her about how she copes and what has changed for her and her family. Who are the people who help. It was a really positive message and it's always an eye opener. Just because you are not dealing with aids everyday because you are consumed with camping, water, food, drink etc. It's always there. There's no large neon signs, so you may not know it but it can be right in front of you. This was a nice reminder of a bad situation and how people work through it with a good attitude.

There are also hundreds of corn crickets all over the roads in Botswana, these guys eat each other and if you cycle over them they explode with yellow goo- true story.

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