South Africa

I was across the border and riding through South Africa right in time for the mid-day sun. I headed for the town of Springbok about 110 km from the crossing and found a shack in a campground to call home for the night. Here I met up with a fellow adventure rider from Holland named Jaap. Jaap and his buddy Mat have also been riding through Africa but have always been a few weeks ahead of me.

Jaap has been in Springbok for a while awaiting a new rear tire for his KTM. Mat had decided to ride on towards Cape Agulhas. I had dinner that evening with Jaap and some friends of his at their home where I was filled in on some of the recent history of South Africa.

The next morning I headed off for a place near Stellenbosch about 40 km outside Cape Town. I had to ride through a couple of Townships to get here which made the ride a little exciting. I had been warned not to stop for any reason while riding through these places. Stopping here could the last stop you ever make. I skipped through every opening in the traffic and ran all the red lights, something I had been doing since Italy anyhow. I even ran a red light in front of some cops but they couldn’t have cared less. It was easier to let me go than have to deal with a robbery and perhaps murder.

Here I met up with a guy called Duncan who runs a shipping business and a camp-ground called African Overlanders (http://www.africanoverlanders.com). Duncan has been arranging to ship my bike home for me. Here I met a few other overlanders who were camped out for the holidays before heading north in their 4×4’s. I pitched my tent, unloaded everything from the bike and set up camp.

I had been so lucky to make Cape Town with the bearings as bad as they were. Actually I couldn’t believe I had made it but I still hadn’t finished what I had set out to do. I wanted to ride from the very north to the very south of Africa. This meant I still had 200 km to go to reach a place called Cape Agulhas on the southern tip of the continent where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. I was confident enough with all the weight removed from the bike that I could make it but just in case I organised with Duncan that if I broke down he would come rescue me with his trailer. Just before dark and the electric fence being switched on Jaap arrived at the camp-ground having received his new rear tire earlier that day.

The next morning Jaap and I set off together on the last 200 km ride of this epic adventure.  Along the way I stopped off at a BMW garage to see if they could fix my rear wheel but they had little to no interest in helping me. They told me it would take 3-4 days to fix it and would cost $700-$800. I bid them good day and headed off with my fingers crossed that the last 150 km wouldn’t kill me.

We reached the town of Cape Agulhas around 10 am and  met up with Jaap’s buddy Mat from New Zealand. From here it was only 5 km to the end of the continent. There is a car park on the point with a board-walk to the actuall end. There was a sign forbidding bicycles or anything else from riding to the finish line but after riding all this way we thought it best to ignore this sign and rode right to the southern tip of Africa. There was a large crowd here already but they all moved aside to let us through when we arrived. We celebrated with some champagne and got a round of applause from everyone.

I rode back to Duncan’s that afternoon a little pissed but without any hassle. Here I spent another night before taking the bike apart and getting it ready for the shipping. I then moved into the city for  three nights of rest and celebration before boarding a flight home.

The ride through Africa was defiantly the hardest one I have undertaken to date but it has also been the most rewarding. Each country and its people are unique. From the Arabic north to the Dark centre and the Western south. From the mountains to the deserts, the wilderness to the cities, the remoteness, the jungles, the poverty, the overpopulation, the crime, the hunger, the wild animals, the weirdness, the strangeness, the friendliness, the danger and the excitement, I loved it all. I will defiantly be back one day.

I hope you enjoyed the journey.

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