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Saturday 25 October 2014
News / Parow / Majesty of Africa on two wheels

ANDRE BAKKES

She sits on a lonely rock next to a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

All around her are the rolling mountains of Spreetshoogte a particularly desolate and beautiful part of central Namibia.

Lying beside her is a bicycle which has carried her through “unpleasant Egypt, lunar-like Sudan, crazy Ethiopia, safari-central Kenia, friendly Tanzania, bumpy Zambia, flat Botswana and now the breathtaking Namibia”.

While waiting on the rock for the rest of the team, she fiddles with her camera.

The silence is sporadically broken by the tweets of birds.

“What did I do to deserve this?” she thinks to herself.

“How did I get to be so lucky?”

Tour d’Afrique’s Catharina Robbertze hears a car approaching in the distance.

She waves at the quizzical faces in the passing vehicle before absolute peace embraces her once again.

Robbertze’s Spreetshoogte experience is the highlight of a tour full of highlights.

TygerBurger caught up with the entourage of 55 people as they headed through the northern suburbs near the end of their adventure.

The very idea of summing up this unforgettable endeavour in a few pitiful words is absurd...

It is, in some aspects, even more challenging than cycling through Africa, because one is possible and the other not.

On 14 January at 10:00 the journey to Cape Town started in freezing temperatures at the pyramids in Cairo, and at 13:00 on 12 May they arrived in Cape Town to hugs and tears.

That is a heavily-laden ellipse...

The only way one can truly fill that ellipse is to refer the reader to www.tourdafrique.com/blog/tourdafrique where there are pages after pages of golden moments.

One could also just use one’s imagination with the following parameters, which Robbertze penned in her blog: “The craziest, dirtiest and most memorable ferry crossing ever; scorching days in Sudan and being invited into strangers’ homes for tea; travelling back in time to Ethiopia; Ethiopian coffee and juice; Tanzanian hospitality, friendliness and parties; the sight of the glorious Victoria Falls; the silence falling over camp when an elephant strolled into camp; the beauty and desolation of Namibia; and ultimately friendships made.”

Squeezed in between the highs were the inevitable lows, such as when one 60-year-old cyclist broke her pelvis, collar bone and a couple of ribs when she took a short, sharp trip from her bicycle seat to Mother Earth.

Another noteworthy inclusion must surely be that the oldest cyclist on this 12000km tour was 65 years old and the youngest just 20.

The 10th Tour d’Afrique, the longest timed stage race in the world, came to a conclusion on the Saturday when 37 full tour riders crossed the finish line on a picture perfect day in Cape Town.

Loved ones urged the riders on as they crossed the line and then once the hugs commenced, it was very difficult to let go again.

Robbertze concludes: “Champagne was flowing and tunes pumping and the dancing continued until the early hours of the morning as Cape Town lived up to its reputation as one of the best party spots in South Africa. Despite feeling a little worse for wear on Sunday everyone agreed that it was a fitting end to what has been an absolutely incredible and unforgettable trip!”

There will be another similar tour through Africa again next year, so for all those adventure-junkies out there, go to the website to register.

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