Gareth & Derrick’s Q&A with News24

Thanks so much to Louzel Lombard from Traveller 24 part of News24 for the Q&A session with our two cyclists, Gareth Pickering and Derrick Fourie, who bravely bungee jumped off Victoria Falls Bridge on Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles. To read more about why Gareth & Derrick joined the Joburg2Kili for Qhubeka Expedition and what the highlights and low-lights of the trip have been so far, please click here.

To watch the bungee cycle and find out more about how Gareth and Derrick have made history, please click here.

A change of plan, our first bush camp and some R&R at Elephant Sands

Going into Day 10 we all decided to make a slight change to our original plan which meant we would get to our rest day location, Elephant Sands, a day earlier allowing us two rest days. So we packed up camp at Woodlands Stopover and headed out on the A3 towards Nata. We had a tailwind behind us for most of the ride which meant we managed to clock in the kilometres a lot quicker than in the past few days. Once we reached the town of Motsetse which was around 108km we decided to call it a day and locate a bush camping spot in the area.

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Mike giving us permission to camp on on his plot

We found a well-driven dirt road just off the main road and Warrick and Gareth went to see if they could find the owner of the land to get permission for us to setup camp there. They were successful and spoke to the owner called Mike who had no problem with us bush camping on his land.

We found a relatively clear area surrounded by trees to setup the tents. Warrick was in his element and built a very decent fire for us for the night where we enjoyed our first experience of bush camping in the middle of nowhere.

 

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First bush camp in Botswana

The next morning, we had to get up relatively early as we had a long ride ahead of us to get to Elephant Sands where we are now having two rest days (we all thought it was going to be around 110km but Warrick had miscalculated and it was actually 125km). Within the first 10km we started to see lots of Baobab trees and decided to stop to get a few photos. When we stopped, Gareth couldn’t unclip his shoe from the peddle as it turned out that one of the screws had fallen off. After a few attempts to get the shoe off he finally unclipped it but he needed to find a screw to put the cleat back into place on his shoe. Luckily, Gareth and Derrick managed to find a screw that they could saw down to size that was able to fix the problem.

We then got back on the road and headed to the next main town which was Nata. As it was getting really hot (over 30 degrees) we decided to grab a quick ice-cream at the Engen garage. The boys were all still feeling hungry so we then ended up at Barcelos for a chicken burger and chips. We thought we only had around 40km to go until Elephant Sands from Nata but as Warrick had got the distances miscalculated it ended up being a further 54km to go. We were all feeling very full and sluggish after our burgers and ice-cream so it was mentally tough to get going again. We were all really hoping to see some elephants whilst we rode on the Kasane road to Elephant Sands as we kept on seeing the signs but unfortunately none were to be seen except for some red hartebeest, a few cows and donkeys.

Elephant sign on the road from Nata to Elephant Sands
Elephant sign on the road from Nata to Elephant Sands

We finally made it to the Elephant Sands turnoff where Bobby met up with us as he had already gone ahead with the trailer to setup camp earlier in the day whilst Bryan followed us in the Jeep. Literally as we turned onto the dirt road, Derrick came crashing down as we hit very soft sand and so he decided to call it a day. Cam managed to ride about halfway up the very sandy road before getting into the car but Warrick and Gareth deflated their tyres down so they could ride on the road all the way to camp.

As we arrived at Elephant Sands there was a herd of elephants drinking by the waterhole. It was such a treat to see them after a hard day in the saddle. The lodge has a deck literally overlooking the waterhole so you are able to get really close to the elephants here which is amazing. We are staying here for two days to rest, sleep and enjoy some time in the African bushveld.

Elephant Sands Wi-Fi has been down for the past week and thanks to Bryan he managed to help them fix the problem which has allowed us to update all our supporters again on our progress. Tomorrow we will be back on the road again for about 100km of cycling up towards Pandamatenga where we will need to bush camp again.

First 3 days riding in Botswana; A few aches and pains and our first set of punctures

After a much-needed rest day staying at Kwa Nokeng Campsite, it was time to hit the roads of Botswana on our Buffalo Qhubeka bikes. It was one of the coldest mornings (around 3degrees) we have had so far and we all felt a little under-dressed in our Joburg2Kili Tarsus cycle kits as we headed out for a 114km ride to Itumela Campsite in Palapye but it shortly warmed up very quickly.

Derrick has been struggling the past few days with a sore knee. We were all hoping the rest day would help sort it out but unfortunately as we started to ride he decided he was going to rather get into the Jeep and go through to Palapye with Bobby to try see a doctor about it.

It has been really great having two support vehicles as it has allowed us to send one ahead to go setup camp and/or do some shopping for food. The other vehicle would then sit behind us to warn traffic that there are cyclists ahead and to also allow us to stop and stretch the legs, refill our water bottles, reapply STUF sunblock and grab a few extra snacks.

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Warrick, Cam and Gareth worked as a team taking turns at riding at the front as we enjoyed riding on the relatively flat and smooth Botswanan roads. Although our average pace was much higher than the past few days, sitting around 23km/h, we were all finding that we were really uncomfortable on our saddles but we just had to keep peddling on. We finally made it to Itumela Campsite where we found Bobby and Derrick who had already setup our campsite.

Derrick managed to see a local doctor in Palaype who was extremely helpful and was able to give him an injection for the pain, strap his knee and give him some medication to hopefully help get him back on the bike again soon.

Bryan helped sort out new sim cards for us all so we can all be connected whilst we are here in Botswana and can keep our supporters updated on our progress. Luckily it was a really easy process and we are all up and running on our devices.

resting-side-roadYesterday we had a relatively easy 82km ride from Palapye to Serule. Derrick’s knee was feeling much better so it was great to have him back on the bike again. We were riding on the A1 main road to Serule and were really pleased to see that there was a side road where we could ride and avoid the traffic. This also meant that Bobby and Bryan could go ahead and didn’t have to follow us the whole time. Other than that we had a bit of headwind but it was not too difficult a day on the bike.

Bryan went ahead to find Jaera Guest House which was a place we were told about by some local Botswanans at Itumela Campsite. He managed to find the place but it was really basic so we ended up all sleeping in our tents within their parking lot but it was much safer than staying in a bush camp on the side of the road.

Today we had just over 100km ride to Woodlands Campsite just outside Francistown. We had a very eventful ride as Warrick got the first puncture of the trip. Shortly after patching up his tyre, Cam then got a flat tyre too. Unfortunately, the repair patches were not holding properly and so both tyres ended up getting flat again. We eventually managed to find Cheetah Tyre Services who very kindly helped us out with better tyre patches. A big shout out to Gareth for all his help changing the Kernes’ tyres over 4 times today.

The ride ended on a bit of a low note though as we had just over 10km of rutted, dirt road to get to the campsite and all the cyclists were taking strain. But thankfully the Woodlands Campsite is very decent and after having a shower and taking some time to just sit and relax everyone’s spirits are up again.

Joburg2Kili Planned Itinerary

We have had a few people ask about our planned itinerary for our Joburg2Kili Expedition so we thought we would share it with you all. We will obviously be following this schedule as much as possible but as we know with any Expedition things can always change but the number one goal is to get to Moshi by the 9th October for our Kilimanjaro climb.

Please note that where it mentions “Bush Camp” this means we will need to locate a place to setup camp off the road as we are not near any campsites or lodges.

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A breeze of a ride, some unexpected luxury for the night & the long ride to Botswana

After a really tough ride on day 2 from Buffelspoort to Bakgatla Resort we were all praying for a wind-free day out on the bike. We left Bakgatla a little later than we would have liked to as some of the crew decided to go out for a quick morning game drive in Pilansberg Game Reserve with Alasdair (Cam’s brother who joined us for a night of camping) before getting packed up and ready to ride.

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Leaving Bakgatla Resort in our Jeep Kit

Day 3 ride was 96km from Bakgatla Resort to Marakele National Park which is just past Thabazimbi. The ride went well for us as we had a tailwind for most of the way and the route was relatively flat or downhill. We have also noticed that it is definitely getting hotter as we go north making it essential for us to stop frequently to fill up our water bottles along the way. We arrived at Marakele mid-afternoon and settled into camp for the night. The campsite had quite a few ostriches hanging around hoping to find a quick snack but luckily they weren’t aggressive when we shooed them away.

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Marakele National Park

Yesterday we had a 98km ride ahead of us so we got up earlier than the past few mornings to get out on the road around 8am. We had not realised that the road we needed to take to get to the main road to Laphalale was in fact a dirt road of 30km. At first it was very rutted and we all feared we were in for a tough day ahead but luckily the road improved and became smoother the further we got to the main road. The scenery around us was really spectacular with amazing cliff faces and bushveld which made it all worthwhile. Marakele is definitely a place we will be visiting again in the future to explore it more next time.

Once we hit the main road it was just long rolling hills ahead of us with bushveld on either side of the road. We must have seen at least twenty warthogs along the road as well as sable and kudu which was great.

Bryan had driven ahead to Laphalale in the Ford to get supplies and to sort out a campsite but it so happened that the campsite we planned to stay at was fully booked. He then called a few other places who also were booked up probably due to the public holiday tomorrow for Voters day but eventually he got hold of a place called Marulasfontein Game Ranch. By the time Bryan had informed us of the change of plan in where we were staying we had in fact ridden 10km past the place.We were all very bleak that we had to turn around to cycle back but it was all worthwhile as the kind people at Marulasfontein Game Ranch let us stay in their beautiful luxury lodge so we didn’t have to setup camp for the night – What a treat to sleep in a bed for a night (it’s the small things that you take for granted). Marulasfontein also has two sweet Jack Russells’ who enjoyed spending time with us around the boma fireplace which Cam especially loved.

We all had a really good night’s rest but had to be up at dawn this morning to be able to get on the road as early as possible as we had a long day ahead of us to get to the Botswana border post Martin’s Drift (Grobler’s Bridge on the SA side). As Marulasfontein was 20km further than where we originally planned to stay, it turned out that we had to ride 130km today so we needed to really push hard. For the first 50km we had a bit of a headwind so we were riding in single file most of the way. We have also noticed it is definitely getting hotter as we go north and so our STUF sunblock has been a lifesaver to protect us. We all had to really dig deep today to get to the border post but we made it in just over 6.5hrs.

Crossing the Limpopo River at the Border Crossing into Botswana
Crossing the Limpopo River at the Border Crossing into Botswana

It was such a special moment for us all to have finally reached our first neighbouring country Botswana on this Joburg2Kili adventure. Tonight we are staying at Kwa nokeng, which is a campsite on the Limpopo river right by the border post. We have a rest day tomorrow which is much needed after over 500km of riding in the past 5 days.

Joburg2Kili for Qhubeka (powered by Tarsus) has begun – A Quick Update on our first 2 days

Our send off yesterday was absolutely amazing and we are so grateful for everyone that came to support us. Jeep kindly let us start our journey from their Fourways dealership where we were greeted by friends, family, sponsors and fellow cyclists who rode a portion of our first day with us. We were led out by ER24 and had a convoy of Jeeps follow us out the dealership which created an awesome atmosphere.

We then rode out past Lanseria Airport to Stornoway Lodge where they had setup a water/coffee stop for more of our supporters that came to wave us goodbye. After a short stop most of the cyclists that joined us left and then reality set in as there were just five cyclists left – the four Joburg2Kili cyclists plus a supporter, Deon Bester, who rode with us the whole way to ATKV Buffelspoort along with his wife, Sonja who followed in her car – thanks so much Deon & Sonja for the support!

The rest of the ride was quite tough as we had a fair amount of climbing until just past Harties where it flattened out. We had a quick stop off at the Steers on the N14 to get our energy levels back up and then rolled into camp mid-afternoon. Our total distance for our first day was 100.8km which took us 5hrs27 in ride time. We were all pretty exhausted from an awesome first day of our Joburg2KIli journey.

This morning was quite a slow start to pack up but I think we will be pro’s at packing up camp in a few days time. We were very grateful to have Anthony and Giovanni from Qhubeka come through to see us off this morning which really gave us much needed motivation for a tough day on the bike.

The first half of the ride included 18km along a rutted dirt rode which was brutal on our bodies. We then hit the tar rode to Sun City and thought things could only get better but unfortunately the wind picked up making the last 50km of our ride really hard but thank goodness we had Racefood Farbars to keep our energy up. We were all very happy to roll into Bakgatla Resort in Pilansberg this afternoon which is where we are spending the night. Our total distance today was 86.58km which took us 5hrs34 in ride time so longer than yesterday due to the wind.

Tomorrow we off to Marakele which is a 93km ride – please help pray for no headwinds!

Joburg2Kili Team Mascot Announcement & A Special Thanks to Blue Horizon Licensing

By: Camilla Kernes

I have been working for the past few years in the exciting world of brand licensing at Blue Horizon Licensing. I have had the privilege to work on some of the most iconic kids brands within the Mattel portfolio including Barbie, Hot Wheels and Barney & Friends to name a few.

In support of the #Joburg2Kili Expedition that I will be embarking on, Blue Horizon Licensing has very generously donated to Qhubeka the equivalent value of eight Buffalo bicycles. This is truly amazing as this will allow eight more children in rural areas to be able to get to school faster and more often.

Barney-mascot

Barney Cycles-01-01To keep us all feeling young and motivated along the journey, the Joburg2Kili team will have a mascot accompanying us. He is purple, always willing to give a hug when you need it most and he loves to sing his favourite song “I love you.” You guessed right, Barney the purple dinosaur will be travelling Africa with us and he also plans to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. You will be able to be kept updated on Barney’s movements by visiting our social media platforms along the way.

We are also very excited to have a box of Mattel Toys that we will be distributing along our journey to bring joy and happiness to children’s lives along the way from Johannesburg to Tanzania.Mattel

And finally as the only girl on the #Joburg2Kili Expedition, I hope I will be able to inspire other girls to believe in chasing your dreams and making them a reality just like the Barbie brand teaches and empowers girls to believe “You can be Anything!” With this in mind, I will not only be writing updates on the Joburg2Kili blog but also on my personal blog camboadventures.com where I will be adding my “girls” perspective on the trials and tribulations of the adventure.

July 30th – Wave goodbye or come ride with us!

It is with a mixture of excitement and nerves as we prepare to cycle out of Joburg for our 4,630km journey up to Kilimanjaro! Our departure date is Saturday the 30th of July and you are welcome to come send us off. There are 2 view points plus if you would like to cycle with us then you are more than welcome to!

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Location 1: Jeep Fourways Dealership in Bryanston at 07:30 for 08:00 

The Official Departure Venue for the start of Joburg2Kili is at the Jeep dealership on the corner of William Nicol and Hobart Road in Bryanston (click here for map). We will arrive there at 07:30 and will begin our long journey at 08:15. Jeep are one of the fantastic sponsors of Joburg2Kili so we’re thrilled that they’ve offered us their dealership as a start venue. Jeep will also kindly be offering coffees and light snacks.

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Location 2: Stornoway Lodge (The Fat Olive Restaurant) in Lanseria at 09:30 – 10:15

Our Day 1 route takes us from Bryanston, through Cedar Road in Fourways, past Lanseria airport beyond Harties and to Buffelspoort. Just 3.3km after the Lanseria Airport road on the right hand side is Stornoway Lodge (Home of the Fat Olive Restaurant (click here for map). The owners kindly supported Qhubeka through our fund raising and now they’ve offered to host a view point for us on Saturday the 30th of July.

We expect to cycle past the entrance of Stornoway at approximately 09:45 and we will stop at the entrance for about 15 minutes to chat to our friends who are there before we carry on Northbound to Kilimanjaro. The Fat Olive Restaurant will have coffee and snacks on offer at the entrance plus they’ll be offering our supporters discounted meals in their wonderful restaurant.

Tip 1: View our Live Tracking page to watch our progress as we cycle and to see how close we are to Stornoway Lodge.

Tip 2: If you plan to be at both Jeep and Stornoway then once we leave Jeep you can drive ahead to have a great breakfast at the Fat Olive at Stornoway before we cycle past there.

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Are you keen to cycle with us? 

*All cyclists will be given free #Joburg2Kili arm warmers!

We have a number of friends who’ve asked to cycle a portion of our Day 1 route with us and, yes, everyone is more then welcome to come ride with us! The more the merrier! The awesome guys at ER24 are going to be leading us out and we’ll have a trail of Jeep Wranglers on our tail so we’ll be super safe.

The distance from Jeep to Stornoway is 24km and we’ll be riding at an average of 18km/h (yes these Qhubeka’s are not fast or easy to ride!!!). You can ride there and back or get someone to meet you at Stornoway for breaky and a lift home.

For those looking for a longer ride you are more than welcome to cycle with us the whole distance on Day 1 to ATKV Buffelspoort where we will be camping for the night.

Thanks again for the support up to this point. We’re excited to get going and we’ll keep you posted through our social media channels so please make sure you’re connected with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

INTERVIEW WITH SIMON HILL ON THE SPORTS CAGE ON HOT 91.9 FM [PODCAST]

Joburg2Kili expedition cyclist, Gareth Pickering was recently interviewed by Simon Hill (@saltysnollie) on the Hot 91.9FM “The Sports Cage” show.

Thank you to Hot 91.9FM for sharing our expedition with your listeners. If you missed out on the interview, you can listen by clicking on the link below (courtesy of Newsclip):