15th Jan 2007 - 10th Feb 2007
London to Cape Town 15th Jan to 10th Feb 2007
15th jan mon
Off to Botswana! Only 60 kms to a ferry across the Zambezi . Zambia looks much the same here as it did in the north. I have found the motorbiking rather dull in this country. Clive has liked it.! I thought Livingstone had lots to offer and was good. Lusaka seemed okay but we did hear all sorts of stories about the crime. Some good looking big farms all around Lusaka especially.
Our last evening in Livingstone we went to The Waterside (lodge). It had a lovely eating area and bar right by the river edge. We watched the sunset go down over the river, had some drinks and ate. Would have been a nice place to stay but we are not running to $185 per night.
The ferry is small...could take one long truck and us. We have no border problems and the Botswana side is not busy.
Our plan is to stop in the first town, Kasane, check in to somewhere and get ourselves on an afternoon river cruise on the River Chobe. It runs along the edge of the Chobe Nat. Park. We hope to see some wildlife.
The trip is good. Very pleasant way to see the animals and birds. No bumping around! It lasted 3 hours and we nosed up close to crocs and hippos and a herd of elephants splashing around in the water. Lots of Fish Eagles and other lovely birds , inc giant kingfisher and bee eaters.
Quick shop when back and off to our room at Liya guest house. Some whart hogs casually crossed the road in front of us. First impression is that all is more organised and efficient. Crime less? Seem very helpful.
16th jan tues
Leave Kasani and within a few miles on the main road encounter a herd of elephants. Amazing! After that we saw the odd one or two but always the sign of them ie their shit on the road.
This is bush country...not savanah. They have had some rain and so it is green. A couple of really large farms on this flat plain stand out. Otherwise we see no villages, none at all. Goodbye to people on the road, goodbye to people in traditional dress, goodbye to bicycles, goodbye to bags of charcoal. Hello to donkeys again. Dogs roving and untethered animals.
Read that Botswana had a population of 1.6m about 4 years ago. Thats not many people. Perhaps that explains why we see no villages on this road! One agricultural settlement, one woman walking by the road in 150 miles. Very little traffic. A few cars have travelled the road in the past....their rusting remains lie in the bush. Collision with an animal or fallen asleep at the wheel?
We arrive in Nata, a junction village. Thought we would spendc the night there but it seems to be 3 petrol stations and no more. However there is the Nata lodge outside town down the road. It is the only option. It is for tourists and has tourist prices . We opt for a safari tent. It is a tent on a platform. It even has a bath inside it! It has all amenities inside a tent. Birds sing and the sky rumbles. We are beside the largest salt pans in Africa. Maybe we should see them.
17 th jan wed
We have now booked our bikes into BMW Pretoria for Monday morning. This is mainly to sort out Clive"s problem with his back wheel. My bike has the brake problem but with a can of brake fluid its ok. Horn doesn't always work but resets itself (clever electrics).
Having done that we do not have far to travel before Mon am. I have a cold and "funny" throat so not on top of the world. Nevertheless decide to do oil change. Very sandy countryside so old oil is pored down a dug sandy hole. I lie in my bather on a towel on the sand and slowly undo nuts. Its 38c again. The heat saps the energy as well as my cold. Clive assists and together it is successfully done.
In the afternoon we go to see the saltpans. We got that wrong! Firstly wrong time of year and the pan is one metre under water. Secondly thunder rumbles,lightning flits across the sky and soon it is raining. Saw some pelicans from a distance. One springbok! Not great!!
Thunder still rumbling back here. At least cooler.
18th jan thurs
A leisurely drive gets us to Francistown today. After having seen so few villages it is quite a surprise. Proper pavements, smart shopping centres and even a fast internet. Even though crime is not meant to be a problem all shopping centres have guards and houses have electric wire running round them. Everyone friendly though.
We passed through some villages today. Mix of old round mud and smart painted new concrete houses. Occasional cart pulled by 4 donkeys all abreast. Donkeys, cattle, horses wander the roadside. They all belong to someone! Beef is big here. (Clive had the best bit of african beef he has had all trip at the Nata lodge last night. ). Did a bit of reading of the guide and find that diamonds are big here too... We haven"t seen any yet!
Queue in bank for an hour to change some money. Lady in queue tells us about somewhere to stay tomorrow night so time not entirely wasted!
The hotel had said there was a restaurant with a bar that had beer and cider but no wine. When we went along we found there was about 4 tables in a very hot room with a kitchen in the corner. Drink was in cold cabinets. Big fat mama in the kitchen said choice of lamb or beef. We said lamb. We got beef! Tough. Luckily we had brought our own wine. Big fat mama very friendly and sings while cooking our tough ( we had only ordered one plate luckily) meal.
19th jan fri
Suffering now from a cough and cold, I coughed my way through the night. But it is not malaria!
Heading now for the border at Martins Drift. We intend to stay just inside Botswana where lady in bank suggested.
We see one or two donkey carts. One was being pulled by 5 donkeys! Later we saw donkeys ploughing: first saw 3 on one plough and then 6 ( 3 pairs) on one plough. Mechanisation indeed!
We reach the border and wonder where this lodge is. Then see sign ;through garage forecourt and down dirt track. Not far and there it is. As we walk through there is a flash of the most amazing turquoise...some bird !
So here we are for the night. The only guests I think. Out the back is a muddy looking slow flowing Limpopo river, of Kipling fame. Will a croc come out tonight? Seen some monkeys rushing around so immediately took my soft bag off the bike and took it inside.
In the evening we get quite involved in political discussions re the area with the new share holder and an old boer hand electrical engineer. And Clive, relaxed, discusses.....until I drag him away. Late...
20th jan sat.
Left our pretty spot,filled up with petrol and headed the few yards to the border. Out of Botswana, over the Limpopo river (narrow old bridge) and into South Africa, our final country of this trip.
No problems at all except the bureau de change which proclaimed it was having tea (girls were eating on the step outside) and that it would be open in 10 or 15 mins. We gave up on that and changed money in nearest town.
Fences, miles and endless miles of fences ,hits our eyes. Tall electric fences, shorter ones,wire ones, wooden ones etc. To keep animals in or out and provide security. You"ve got to have a fence! There were fences in Botswana too but not with this intensity.
Bush country continues until we see some hills which are the Waterburg range.
We have a good lunch in Thabazimbi a real Africaans stronghold with little English being spoken. Shortly after we set off my bike suddenly dies on me! Not battery this time , must be fuel. Blame the botswanian garage. Only I had petrol there......half a tank full. Rather hopelessly we pull off petrol pipe from tank and check it.. Petrol is flowing but we feel it may have been watered down, it doesn"t smell like normal petrol. We try starting and starts straight away. Off we go only to stop again about half an hour later. Same process same result. Fill up with more petrol to dilute whats in the tank but it makes no difference keeps periodically dying. Taking off pipe does not make any difference. Just have to wait a while and then it will start again. However it does seem to be getting slowly worse, and stops every 10 minutes then every 5 minutes etc. Maybe its the fuel filter? But flows from tank....
We are aiming for Mabula lodge near Warmbad (now Bela Bela). Last 11km is dirt and the bike dies 3 or 4 times but finally makes it. This lodge is in a game reserve and we are not allowed to ride motorbikes from the entrance gates. They have to send a ranger to pick us up. We are not impressed as it means leaving the bikes 4 kms from where we hope to stay.
Clive has done a timeshare swap on this place. It had been booked for the week beginning 26th Jan but we are 6 days early. We are hoping they might have empty units this week so that a further swap can take place. After lengthy discussions they let us do this. However we are going to try and get to Pretoria tonight so that bikes can be fixed at Bavarian Motors . We have booked them in for Monday morning. This now seems rather fortunate for my bike, whilst Clives which we were most concerned about appears to be working fine up to about 120 Kph. ! After our bike repairs we will come back here and can stay till Friday am.
My tickly cough plays havoc in the night, must get some medicine.!
21st jan sun
We get a lift back to our bikes that are parked by the gates. Kindly the timeshare lady has brought along the parks mechanic. We look for the problem. He thinks its electrical management problems and not the fuel. Unable to do anything. So we set off to Pretoria with virtually the whole day free to cover 150 kms.
My bike stops twice before we reach the motorway and then on the motorway it probably stopped half a dozen times. Each time we just have to wait until the engine decides to start. When it starts it starts straight away. No spluttering or missfiring etc. Sometimes it would take 5 mins, sometimes 15 or so. Sitting on the hard shoulder in full sun was not much fun! We do make it and head in to town. Bike then stops outside a McDonalds of all places. In the McDonalds we are chatted to by a nice South African, he is fascinated by our trip. He goes and we sit down to our lunch. About 20 minutes later as we are leaving he is just coming back and wants to invite us to stay with him. He explains he has spoken to his wife and has a separate guest wing etc etc. So we meet Theo and follow him home to his lovely house.. My bike does not quite make it so Clive tows me the last few hundred yards! Theo and Iona are very hospitable. They have a lovely house with a great garden and pool as well as a daughter called Nina ! And a son. They wine and dine us royally with a couple of friends that come round, a great evening.
My cough is still a bore but Clive got some cough mixture and some tablets so hope to conquer it.
22nd jan mon.
Up to get bikes to Bavarian Motors. Theo leads us. My bike stops 3 times, last time not far from workshop:Clive goes on with Theo. It takes about 20mins for it to start again and finally arrive.In the meantime Clive has gone out with pickup and trailer to pick me up! Explain problem and the other things that need doing. Theo then insists that he takes us to Midrand, another bmw dealership. He shows us the Union buildings on the way. Pretoria appears to be a pleasant looking city.
We all end up back at the bike shop and Theo says goodbye. The bikes will be finished today.
The problem with my bike is finally diagnosed...it ends up that it is a sensor that tells the spark plug to spark or to put it another way... that senses the engine is turning. Something like that. There is another sensor on the fuel pump which could have been the problem.
Clives bike had a spacer missing near the bearing causing his wobbly wheel. Did the Tanzanian mechanic lose that?
It is 5pm before all is done. We head back to Mabula, both bikes now capable of going much faster on the motorway! The last bit of road,( dirt) is done in the dark. We are welcomed to a braai (barbeque).
23rd jan tues
A day of rest. We are befriended by a couple from Jo"burg who invite us to their timeshare for the evening. Their place is more remote than where we are staying...good for wildlife. We accept their very kind invitation.
Always wanted to ride a quad bike so take up an opportunity here,in the afternoon. Off go Clive and I behind one of the rangers. We use some special quad bike tracks. Slow start but gradually faster and faster round these tracks. Clive hot on the heels of the ranger and me following in all the dust. It was good fun but Clive and I ended up very dusty indeed!
Our hosts pick us up for our meal with them. They are keen wildlife watchers. Warthogs right beside their terrace (mother and 3 young) are being fed watermelon. Later bush babies creep out of their roof to then leap off into the trees before returning at dawn. Sitting after our meal outside we hear a russling in the grass which grows louder and louder until a very large male buffalo appears out of the darkness. He continues to munch his way through the grass towards us, until he is only about 6 yards away, but is not phased by our presence. Then in the torch light we watch him some more, and when we left an hour or so later he was still munching away and another six or seven were just out of sight.
24th and 25th jan wed/thur
Start the day with our free game drive..Comes with the timeshare. Up early! 04.45! and see a good selection of game including Rhino, but no Lion or elephants.
Make plans as to where to head next. Decide to stay here till friday, ie the end of the timeshare.
I take a horse ride in the bush. It was good but hot. Nice way to see animals. We also do a bush walk. I am feeling so unfit! Bush walk disappointing as far as wild life goes and we see no animals! I have enjoyed looking at Rock Hyraxes out of our chalet window .
26th jan fri
A ranger came and picked us up and took us to our bikes by the gates. We are off again. Down the dirt track and off to Bela Bela first where we buy wine for our hosts this evening. We are heading for Kempton Park near Jo"burg to friends of Paul Howell. Down the motorway to Pretoria (again) and then onto Midrand where Clive is hoping that his bag with a failing zip will be replaced for free. It was! Small ride to Benoni, past lots of new housing on the rolling hill sides ,where we internet before ringing Johan. We are not as close to his place as we thought and he drives about 10kms to find us. He has a very nice place .
Louise, his wife,prepares dinner for us with Johan being the cook at the braai... very tender fillet steak cooked to perfection. We talk about Johan"s pilot work and what the ESV group (Paul Howell) is doing in Mozambique. They are planning to plant up to 130 thousand acres of Jutrophia (?) which is going to produce bio diesel in a very pure form. We hear horror stories of the crime that goes on. He also advises us of where not to go ie the wild coast. His house has plenty of dogs that will bark, security that will turn up in 5 mins if the alarm is triggered and doors that need to remain shut. He has had more than one armed break-in in spite of all this and it is getting worse. He is not as optimistic about the future as Theo. Many thanks to Louise and Johan.
27th jan sat
We leave Johan and Louise after a good breakfast. Johan kindly takes us to the road we need. Its a motorway day. Round Jo"burg and then off in the direction of Durban. Lots of new housing estates cover the rolling hillsides. Modern commercial developments, modern shopping arcades...it all looks as though SA is doing okay. But we had heard from Johan and Louise that all is not so good underneath. Powercuts that have plunged part of Jo"burg into darkness for days due to lack of maintenance at the power plant; local power cables cut and stolen for the metal content and phones lines cut and stolen for the same reason. They themselves had not had a phone line for the last two months since as fast as it was replaced it was cut and stolen again!
The rolling hills give way to open farmland with a few scattered trees a bit like northern France. Main crop is maize. Cattle herds eat grass. A lot of land lies fallow. Before Harrismith we have been passed by a number of fast sport bikes including "the jo"burg pack" a particularly dangerous lot who went by us on the hard shoulder as well as the fast lane at the same time. None of them had number plates on their bikes. Then a very large thunderstorm threatens on our right but we slip past admiring the lightning. Countryside changes and we get more hills . The road climbs up and down. Rain threatens again and this time we have to stop and put on our waterproofs whilst sheltering under a bridge. It pours and my face without a visor stings in the rain. My sunglasses fog up and get waterdrops on both sides. The country then looks like Exmoor in the rain......bleak and grey.! Unfortunately it does not stop raining and the expected sun does not shine. It gets cold, temp going from 33c to 14c. We plug on as we are nearing Penny and John at Howick near Pietermaritzburg. Penny is the daughter of some people I know. We are greeted warmly and are soon in the dry stripping off our wet clothing. We meet the 2 children, Frances and Moses. John is away but makes it back later that night. We chat about their trip by bike from Cape Town to London that they did in 1995.
28th jan sun
The sun is shining...thank goodness. After a great breakfast with Penny,John and children we take our leave. Retrace our route on the motorway for one hour. This time we can see, the rain made it miserable, and enjoy the scenery. Heading off we make our way on a lovely road to Clarans which is just north of Lesotho in Free State.
The scenery is big..big hills and valleys, rocky peaks, flat topped, small ponds and lakes. Trees and forests vie with grassland and fields of maize. We are above 1000m and it is cooler. We go over 2 or 3 wide passes with great views.
Clarans seems very pleasant. Touristy, as this is within reach of weekenders from Jo"burg. But this is low season and it is not busy. Security less of an issue it seems.
29th jan mon
Day to enjoy Clarens. This place was founded in 1912 in memory of Paul Kruger, the first president of ZAR. He was deposed after the 2nd Anglo/boer war and went to live in Clarens in Switzerland. Hence this place is modeled on a swiss village.
We do some white water rafting on the Ash river which has been enlarged because of the Lesotho highland water project. Water has been dammed in Lesotho and then piped for 80 odd kms through the mountains to near here. The water ends up in Jo"burg .
Clarens is a nice little place with pretty little touristy shops. Nice cafes including the Artists cafe which Clive particularly likes as they do a very good pancake stuffed with icecream and topped with caramel sauce.!
Just nearby, parked in the grass is a very old Hills Chalmers tractor. It is a 3 wheeler..one in front and two at the back. It is not going anywhere any more though.
30th jan tues.
Leave Clarens early as rain forecast. Our landlady had grown more and more talkative and was beginning to get on our nerves.
Have decided to take a peek at Lesotho and so head for the Caledons gate. Plan to exit after about 100 miles near the capital Maseru. Pretty hilly landscape but well populated on this route. Good road but lots of minibuses and some fairly ropey cars. Much herding with blanket clad herders. Some donkeys and some cattle pulling carts. Plenty of farming land but not good looking crops. Very friendly people and proud of their country.
Rain had threatened and eventually engulfs us in a very heavy thunderstorm on one of the higher parts of the route. The wind howled and the rain lashed. Clive stopped and I had gone on so he got cross. I turned back and we went on again but now very soaked. Clives waterproofs are on their last legs, my leggings are not great but my jacket would have done better if I had had my pockets done up. As it was the rain could go straight in which it did. We were both wet through. But we did ride out the other side, reached Maseru and then exited Lesotho. Back in SA we head on south and stop in Hobhouse a town on the way for some lunch. Its a bit like a cowboy town...big wide semi deserted streets with the store and church. We stop at the store. Run by whites with a bunch of locals sitting outside.
All friendly and helpful. We get some "takeaway" food and with our waterproofs off sit outside and try and dry out a bit.
Back on with waterproofs and on to Zastron. The countryside is rolling grassland with very little happening. Odd settlements, few herds of cattle, few rocky outcrops and lots of open unused countryside. Reach Zastron, strange american style town too. Hotel has been here 100 years! Very little going on! Internet cafe but it is shut. ATM wont take my card. Bit critical!
31st jan wed
South Africa has thrown up a couple of new phrases. One is "off ramp" which means exit and "robots" which are traffic lights. Another wonder of here is that the hotels have the thinnest loo paper in the world. You need at least 6 sheets to blow your nose on let alone anything else.
Still, our road has neither robots nor ramps. It is good, straight and deserted. We make easy progress through a very empty countryside. Scattered farm houses, few herds of cattle, the odd ostrich, and artesan wells with their windmill for pumping,dot the landscape. Grass as far as the eye can see on the rolling hills. It has now become very dry and today gets very hot, 35c. We understand that it is a heatwave...so unlucky to swelter so.
The towns remind us of the USA still. In Alliwal North we stop for breakfast. Its a busy place with a shanty town on its outskirts. Each town has a township and/or a shanty town on the outskirts...each to their own area it seems.Clive queues for ages at an ATM, partly for my benefit. My card has been rejected the last couple of days. Texted the bank manager last night. Will I get a reply? Poor Clive, when he reaches the machine his card fails. This is worrying. However he tries in the next town and all is well.
Before leaving Alliwal we find an internet cafe. It is in the back of a DIY place in a shopping mall. Not a likely place at all!
We reach Cradock which is a big town but decide to go one town further to Cookhouse. When we get there we find it is no good..rather rough looking so on one more to Somerset East. All these english names! Now on the Blue Crane trail apparently and find the Blue Crane B & B to stay in. Power cut in the evening makes life tricky in the restaurant but we get some food in the end. The Barclays manager texts and says problem sorted. Longing to know what the problem was.
1st Feb thurs
Have excellent breakfast at "Rika"s. Must not eat any more all day!
The countryside has now become less dry looking. We head towards the coast through scrubby country and come down to Port Elizabeth in a powerful wind. The road is good, Little traffic and we head for Jeffreys Bay for a pause. Bit like a retirement town on our south coast or Penzance (sort of). Encounter Brits on vacation or living here? Nice surfing beach.
After the stop Clive selects the more modern coast road whilst I prefer the old one. Agree to meet in Knysna, about 100 miles on. My road had two passes which I enjoyed; baboons crossing the road and lovely forest with dangling creepers. Knysna seems to have plenty of british second homes. Pretty place with a lagoon and island protected from the Indian ocean. Nice houses, modern: and security does not seem an issue. So different to Jo"burg.!
I am disappointed with the Garden Route. It has not been as long as I thought. The road has been widened and modernised so that it is no longer scenic. It cuts through the landscape like a scar. Knysna to Mussel Bay is attractive. Lagoons of sea water lie behind rocky headlands like harbours. Smart houses dot the hill sides. The old road takes a more scenic route (but Clive does not like it). Good looking surf but no one surfing...
After Mussel Bay the road leaves the coast and heads off through farmland. All looks brown...it is post harvest here and the wheat stubbles are being grazed by animals and ostrich. We head for the most southerly point on this continent; Cape Agulhas, across a brown and wind swept peninsula. Stop short at Bredasdorp , an agricultural town.
3rd feb sat.
We have made it to the southernmost point of Africa.! Rocky, misty, a lighthouse and fishermen. Where the atlantic ocean meets the indian ocean.
Next goal to see the winelands just to the northeast of Cape town. Head inland past Blue cranes and Cape vultures on the brown fields. Lots of birds of prey in the sky. Wide valleys with mountains around. Vines and fruit growing in the valley . Water a scarce resource and there are many little private reservoirs. We go over the Bainskloof pass. Not so high but pretty. Stay in Wellington at Bakkies B&B. Security getting tighter as we near Cape Town!
4th feb sun
Not moving far but ride in a circle round the winery area. I have been here in 2001 and want to show Clive bits that I remember. We go to an estate called Boschendal. Founded by Hugenots. We do Franschtoek pass and Sir Lowry pass. Neither high but wonderful views. Lowry pass shows us Cape point in the distance and False Bay...the end of this journey. Good roads.... the only thing to note was broken down cars belonging to the locals! And Cape golden delicious apple! But before we reach Cape Town we want to call on Carla and Andre whom we met just over a year ago on the Epyptian border at Aqaba. They are south african, living near Stellenbosch. They were on a long journey in their landcruiser and we were on bikes doing the round the med trip. Together we worked our way through the border bureaucracy for 4 hours. I then followed the rest of their journey through africa via their diary, travelongravel.tk.
So we met up and had a couple of hours at their home near Stellenbosch before leaving to spend the night in the town.
5th feb mon
We have made it! We reach Cape Town in the morning. 12700 miles ( 20320 kms) We find Anna and Paul"s lovely house and are greeted warmly by them and their huge black labrador Toby. I have not seen Anna for several years.
In the afternon we make the mandatory trip up Table mountain. It has its "table cloth" on it and it swirls around as we take photos. Cable car back down and then we walk the rest of the way back to A and P"s. In the evening they take us to the Waterfront area and we have a good meal.
6th feb tues
Arrange to meet Ian Baker late morning. Set off on bikes and met with Ian and his girlfriend. He looks well. He had to have an operation on his toe but it is now better. He had broken his sternum and pulled lots of muscles and ligaments as he slid down the road. His bike is still awaiting repair in Jo"burg. Nice to meet with him again.
We then set off round the cape peninsula...last bit to do. Reach the Cape of Good Hope sign. A coach load of chinese are swarming all over the sign taking endless photos. We want to take photo of ourselves,the sign and the bikes. We wait, but they start taking photos of us and our bikes! Then we move bikes in front and they want to take themselves and our bikes and then themselves and us and our bikes! One lady speaks english and finds out we are from England. Then it was even more requests for photos! Eventually we get our photo and get them to take us! All good fun and they clap as we ride off! Carry on round the cape and see the penquins on Boulder beach. Home to Anna and Paul who then take us to see Cape Town from the other side of the bay...the side the postcards show. Then out to Panama Jacks, a local restaurant almost inside the container port.
7th feb wed
Off to shipping agent. Unfortunately flying the bikes is just too expensive so its got to be a slow boat home for them. With any luck they will arrive at Tilbury docks in about 3 weeks. Discuss details with CD Shipping and arrange to meet tomorrow to pack them into their crates.
On the way back we go via Zeekovlei, a piece of water near where the Deakens have a house and where I was lucky enough to be invited in 2001 to sail my laser.
Do a complete repack in the afternoon ready for tomorrow . Anna and Paul have invited friends in for this evening. We have a good dinner and end up very late to bed. We are not used to it!
8th feb thurs
We have to clean the bikes before shipping. Luckily it is not as hot as yesterday, 37c, and we are grateful for some clouds to keep things cooler. We are meant to remove all soil.
Anna has rung the local press! They come and interview us and afterwards its off to the shipppers. There, we take off the windshields, mirrors and handlebars so that they will fit in the crate.Strapped down to a pallet, covered in plastic and then 4 cardboard sides and top fitted.
A driver kindly took us back home. So thats almost it. Bikes are on their way back hopefully. Should leave beginning next week on a container ship bound for England. It takes 2 weeks at sea.
9th feb Friday
Relaxing day! No bikes and just waiting for our flight this evening . Anna and Paul entertain us and take us shopping etc. Its actually a rainy day, fairly miserable and cold by Cape Town standards. Preparing us for England! Get worried by weight of my baggage. Two motorcycle panniers went with the bike but I have 2 more heavy bags. Hear that BA are going to charge extra…in the future… if you have 2 bags and wondered how we could have made one bag out of two panniers!!! Paul and Anna kindly take us to the airport and we say our goodbye’s. They really did round off our trip in a very special way. Luggage is checked in …all okay and catch flight at 20.50. Sit on tarmac for an hour before take off. We have kept our exact homecoming secret from my parents and will be surprising them tomorrow….we hope.
10th Feb Saturday
We arrive back to Heathrow. Its raining but not snowing. We are met by my old friend, “Bugsi”. He takes us to King’s Cross station after we have had a good breakfast together. Then to King’s Lynn by train where we are met by my mother. We phoned her when we were on the train. She was in Burnham Stores at the time. Our phone call excited her so much that she could not concentrate on her shopping ( so we are told any way).
We travelled 12700 miles ( 20320 kms) over a period of 17 weeks. We had no punctures. Clive got stuck once and never dropped his bike. I got stuck once but dropped mine several times, twice in water! We have a combined age of 110 years. Clive’s bike, the oldest of the two, had a broken wheel bearing, whilst mine, newer, had an electrical sensor play up. It also lost its back mudguard twice ( never replaced after 2nd time) and small breakages ( mostly to do with being dropped!).
And last but not least.... our special thanks to Henry and Louise in Nairobi, John and Nicola in Lusaka, Theo and Iona in Pretoria, Johan and Louise in Jo'burg, John and Penny in Howick, and of course Paul and Anna in Cape Town all of whom fed and watered us so liberally.....!!