It is amazing how quickly time flies by and it has already been a month since we cycled into Moshi at the base of Kilimanjaro which marked the end of our cycle leg of the #Joburg2Kili Expedition.
We wanted to share our final itinerary of our journey cycling from Johannesburg to Moshi in Tanzania as we had quite a few changes to our original planned itinerary along the way. We have included some hyperlinks to the campsites websites and/or tripadvisor pages that we stayed at along the way as well.
If you know of any friends or colleagues looking to cycle or drive up from South Africa to Tanzania via Botswana, Zambia and/or Malawi, please do not hesitate to contact us for any advice, tips and lessons that we learnt during our expedition that we can share with them. We would also love to hear about other adventures people are taking on:-)
There must have been something in the water at Lusaka as three of the Joburg2Kili team decided to have makeovers on our rest day; Cam got her hair braided, Warrick shaved his hair and Bryan decided spontaneously to cut off his beard. A big thanks to Lawrence and Michelle for having us all to stay in Lusaka for a much needed rest day.
It was time for us to head east towards what is probably one of the hardest weeks of cycling for this entire trip. Lawrence kindly lead us out of Lusaka via back roads in the morning as the traffic in Lusaka is apparently really bad so we avoided it completely which was great. We were then in for a long ride of 125km to get to a bush camping spot that is marked as Dam View Chalets on Tracks for Africa. We started to get a taste of what is like to ride up mountains on our single speed Qhubeka Buffalo bicycles on this leg and definitely felt the burn in our legs. Dam View Chalets is nothing like the title suggests but rather a pond situated by an orphanage where you can get permission to camp from the local boss.
Our next leg of our journey was a 110km ride to Bridge Camp which is situated on the Luangwa River and is a recommended stopover along the way to Chipata. Unfortunately, Derrick has been struggling with a cough and flu-like symptoms and in the first 40km of the ride he was feeling very flat and decided to rather call it a day and travel in the Jeep with Bobby. It definitely effects the whole team when someone is not well but Gareth, Warrick and Cam had to soldier onwards.
On this leg we hit the hardest and longest mountain climb to date. We were literally travelling around 7.5km/h at the steepest part of the climb which went upwards for 10km. For the rest of the ride the team had big rolling hills to contend with until reaching Bridge Camp which has a beautiful location looking over the Luangwa River where we had one rest day planned.
We had an issue with the plug point that controls the lights on the trailer and so Bryan decided to go back to Lusaka to get a part to fix it. We arranged with the local boss at Dam View Chalet to leave our trailer as it would not be safe to drive without the lights working. Bryan being the handyman he is managed to sort it all out with no problem and met us at Bridge Camp in the evening.
We decided as it was such a hard day riding, Derrick not feeling very well and Bryan only arriving in the evening that it was worth having dinner at the restaurant. We were the only guests staying at the camp that night so we just chatted with the owner, William and had a chilled evening. William had also recently bought the Getaway magazine and we were very excited to see an article placed about us in it.
The next day we had a rest day which was definitely needed to get our team back to health as Derrick was still not feeling 100% and sadly, Bobby woke up feeling man-down so he just spent the day sleeping and resting up. The rest of the team spent the morning doing a few errands like sorting out our food crates and cleaning up around camp and then in the afternoon we enjoyed relaxing up by the pool area. For sun-downers we thought we would drive to find a spot where we could walk down to the river. On our way down to the river we were followed by a whole group of local children who just wanted to sit and watch us and dance a bit to our chilled music. Whilst chilling by the river we noticed a hippo pop up in the distance. The Luangwa River is actually the divide between Mozambique and Zambia in this area and we were very fascinated to watch a local row his Makora across the river to go fetch two people on the other side of the river in Mozambique with two bicycles.
That evening at Bridge Camp we met Johan, who is a South African that is riding from Cape Agulhus to Cairo which has been his 40-year dream that has finally come true. He is doing the cycle unsupported with pannier bags and we wish him all the best with his journey. To follow him, check out his blog.
The next day we decided to try out a shuttle service plan as we were warned against bush camping along the next stretch of road. This also meant that Bobby could stay behind at Bridge Camp for the day as he was still not feeling very well and would only have to come fetch us late in the afternoon. Derrick was feeling much better which was great to have him back on his Qhubeka bicycle; although he is still struggling a bit with a bad cough.
We had a very tough 120km mountainous ride ahead of us with a lot of headwind. The only good thing about the riding conditions was that the road just over the Luangwa Bridge has been re-tarred all the way to Chipata and is a beautiful smooth road. After riding close to 7 hours we reached the 120km mark and called it a day where Bobby met up with us so we had the two cars to load the bicycles on and drive back to Bridge Camp. Although the shuttle service plan in theory sounded great it meant we only got back to camp early evening and we all felt really exhausted.
The next leg was a 114km ride to a bush camping spot. We got up really early to get the cars packed and bicycles loaded so we could drive ahead 120km to the spot where we stopped the day before which was our start point. As soon as we got out the cars we were like celebrities as all the local children and adults from the village came out to greet us.
One thing we have all found really interesting over the past few days is that whilst riding past villages here in Zambia all the children come sprinting out of their homes shouting “How are you?” and waving to us. It is really special to see them and how just a simple wave back or saying “I am fine” brings big smiles to their faces. Sometimes there are up to 20 children shouting “How are you” and it almost sounds like a school war cry which is pretty amazing.
We had a really hectic headwind the whole day along this leg. The ride was up and down really big rolling hills for over 100km which was hard work after the previous day of mountain climbing without gears. There was also a 16km detour road that we managed to avoid and rode along the old tar road thankfully as the detour dirt road was very rutted. The team definitely took strain on the ride which was evident as no one was talking and our 20km stops were taking a lot longer than usual. Bryan went ahead to find a suitable bush camping spot and managed to arrange with a local school to let us set up camp for the night.
Today we had a 115km ride to Chipata where we are staying at Mama Rula’s Campsite. In the first 12km of the ride, Cam got two punctures in her back tyre which wasn’t ideal. The rest of the ride was better than expected but we still had a headwind to deal with. We are all very relieved to have a rest day tomorrow to give the legs a break from some tough riding over the past few days. We are now official over the halfway mark around 2400km into our journey and will be entering our next African country, Malawi on this adventure on Friday.
Since leaving Livingstone we have ridden over 500km in 5 days to get to Lusaka where we are now staying for a rest day at one of Gareth’s friends, Lawrence and Michelle, who have kindly let us stay with them for two nights.
Our journey up north to Lusaka has been an incredible experience with some really tough riding conditions but the highlight of the week has definitely been the generosity of the local farmers and people in Zambia who have welcomed us to stay with them along our way.
From Livingstone we had a windy, hot ride of about 100km to what was meant to be a night of bush camping but Bryan managed to go ahead and speak to a farmer in the area called Marius and his wife, Rochelle, who were very happy to have us to stay the night. In fact, they had read about Gareth and Derrick bungee cycling on News24. They were very kind to us and also put us in touch with another farmer, Tim, who was situated just outside Choma where we had planned to bush camp the following night after riding a further 100km.
Tim took some of the team on a tour of his farm which was very interesting to learn more about farming in Zambia and how he spreads his risk by farming various things including tobacco, maize, cattle and sheep as well as black carrots which none of us had ever heard or seen before and sampled in one of our dinners. That night, Bryan ended up having to share his tent with Tim’s two big brown Labradors and a Jack Russel which was absolutely hilarious to see how determined the dogs were to sleep in his tent.
From Tim’s farm we had a long ride of 109km ahead of us to get to Moorings Campsite, which is just after a town called Monze. Riding through Monze we had sight of where riots had taken place by seeing the debris of burnt tyres left on the side of the roads. This we have learnt is as a result of the recent elections in Zambia which is believed to have been possibly rigged.
Whilst riding in Zambia we have all been so impressed to see how bicycles are a part of most people’s lives here to help them get around, carry things as well as to transport children. We have spoken to a few of the cyclists along the way who have all been so friendly. One local cyclist called Donald rode with us all the way to Monze and even took on Warrick in a short sprint off. He also believes Cam is his daughter as she is born in the same year as his actual daughter.
From Moorings Campsite we rode 96km to a location that was marked off for a bush camp just outside the town of Mazabuka. This was probably one of the toughest rides of our whole journey as we had a 30km/h headwind for most of the way along with rolling hills and the road surface was no longer smooth but rutted and had many potholes.
We were very lucky though as Bryan’s dad has been working with a guy called Johan Beukes who lives in the area who kindly welcomed us to come stay with him, his Italian wife Paola and their two adorable kids, Luke and Giovanni. Johan and Bryan met us along the road and drove behind us for the last 16km before we called it a day and packed the bicycles on the Jeep and Johan’s car to go through to his farm. Johan and his family live in an amazing location surrounded by farmland and Baobabs in the area. It has a very colonial feel and they even have a polo field down the road. Johan and his family really spoilt us with a three course dinner which was the best meal of our trip so far especially the delicious strawberry risotto starter. We couldn’t be more grateful to them for being so welcoming and looking after us all.
Paola has her own business called Essential, which is a natural skincare brand of products that she started to make as a hobby but has now blossomed into a successful business. Cam is super happy to have some of her products to use for the rest of our trip. Find out more about her amazing skincare range by visiting www.essential-zambia.com.
After having some banana bread and apple tart for breakfast compliments of the Beukes family, we got transported back to the main road to start our cycle leg up to Lusaka. The weather had changed overnight and it was cloudy and extremely windy which meant we were in for a very tough day again on our bicycles. The first 20km of the ride included one of the steepest hills we have ridden so far on this adventure and adding a headwind made it even more challenging. The rest of the ride was a constant pull up towards Lusaka.
Whilst riding we came across a small group of children on the side of the road so we decided to stop to give out some toys that we had from Mattel to giveaway along our journey. At first the children seemed very apprehensive and almost ran away from us but as soon as Cam started showing them how the bubble wand worked they all started to smile and laugh. They couldn’t speak any English but kept speaking in their local language so we not sure what they were saying but it sounded like they were very happy and grateful.
We eventually got to Lusaka to Gareth’s friends place where we are staying for one rest day. Bryan’s parents and his sister also drove down from Chingola to meet us all here in Lusaka. They came through for a braai last night which was really great to finally meet them and to catch up on our incredible journey so far.
Since our last update we have had an incredibly busy and action-packed few days. Our last day in Botswana was spent in Kasane (Chobe) where we ended off on a three-hour boat cruise with Thebe River Safaris. The river cruise takes you into the Chobe National Park on the Zambezi river where we saw elephants, buffalo and lechwe feeding on Sedudu Island, crocodiles and hippos on the banks and some giraffes coming down to drink at the river edge as well as an incredible African sunset. It was definitely the perfect way to end our stay in the beautiful country of Botswana.
The next day we left Thebe River Safari Campsite fairly early as we knew we had a border crossing to contend with and we weren’t sure of how long it would take us to get through to Zambia. The Kazungulaborder crossing is quite unique as you have to cross over the Zambezi river on a ferry to get to the Zambian side of the border. The four cyclists crossed over ahead of the cars.
As there was a lot of paperwork to deal with to get the cars across we decided to get a local to help with all the admin which in hindsight cost us a lot more than we would have liked but they really helped Bryan and Bobby get through the process quicker which ended up being over 3 hours. A lot of lessons were learnt at this border crossing which we will take with us to all border crossings going forward such as making sure you have US Dollars or Kwacha ideally to pay with at the borders and do your research on all the costs you should be paying before crossing.
Due to the delay at the border to get the cars processed we only started cycling at around midday in the heat of day. To make the conditions more challenging we also had a headwind to contend with and a couple of hills which we haven’t seen in weeks since riding along the flat roads of Botswana. After probably one of our toughest but shorter rides we finally made it to the wonderful Jollyboys Campsite.
As Warrick works in the action sports industry he has good working relationships with a lot of the action-sport companies in Livingstone. One of Warrick’s colleagues is Tony Barnett who a few months back suggested that he would be able to arrange for the team to bungee jump with a Qhubeka bicycle whilst in Livingstone. Both Derrick and Gareth decided they wanted to take on the challenge and they made history by being the first ever to jump off the Victoria Falls Bridge with a single-speed, 20+kg bicycle! Thanks to Shearwater Bungee for helping make their bungee cycle successful. Bobby as well as Warrick and the team mascot, Barney, also bungee jumped but with no bicycles. To read more about it and to view the video click here.
Warrick, Bryan and Camilla decided to walk over to Zimbabwe to go view the natural wonder of the world, the Victoria Falls. The rest of the team stayed behind at the Bungee restaurant to celebrate the successful bungee jumps.
To keep the adrenaline pumping the next day, Tony Barnett helped organise the whole Joburg2Kili team to go for a half day trip White Water Rafting down the Zambezi in the Batoka Gorge with Safari Par Excellence. Although we only did a half day trip, this still included the 10 biggest rapids. The river guide, Boyd was really fantastic and even though he was taking us through the hardest lines on the first 6 rapids we managed to not tip over. It was only at lucky number 7 that things took a flip. Cam, Warrick and Gareth fell out the raft at 7 and then at Rapid 7b the boys went down into the rapid and hit the first wave, which flipped the entire raft over. This was followed by another flip at rapid 8. Rapid 9 is a compulsory portage as it is a class 6 rapid which is extremely dangerous. The final rapid we went down was rapid 10 which we managed with ease. It is incredible to see how powerful the river is even though it is not at its peak. Once off the rafts we then had to hike up a 200m gorge which had incredible views from the top. We were then taken back to David Livingstone Hotel for lunch before being taken back to Jollyboys Campsite. To check out the highlights of our rafting experience click here. In the evening we thought we would treat ourselves to a drink at the famous Livingstone Hotel that looks over the Zambezi.
As there are so many great things to do in Livingstone we decided to change up our schedule a bit and take an additional rest day. To take advantage of the extra day everyone planned their own activities for the day. Warrick, Cam and Bobby decided to go through to have a full body massage at a recommended local spa called Namakau which was much needed after all the cycling we have been doing. As Gareth and Derrick missed out on seeing the Victoria Falls on the day they did the bungee jump with bicycles so they decided to go through to view this incredible natural wonder of the world along with Bryan. One of Warrick’s contacts, Calvin Mapiye, kindly helped arrange a helicopter tour over the Victoria Falls with the Zambezi Helicopter Company for both him and Camilla so they went through to Zimbabwe to the helipad. The team then met up again for sun-downers at a viewpoint looking over rapid 7 of the Batoka Gorge. It is an absolutely incredible viewpoint and great way to end our last day in Livingstone.
We are now heading north on our bicycles towards Lusaka. The past two days riding have been quite tough with over 30 degree heat, headwinds and a lot more rolling hills. We have been very grateful to be welcomed to stay on two different local farms the past two nights and we are now just past Choma.
The Joburg2Kili team have made it to Livingstone in Zambia where we are now spending two rest days to allow us to take advantage of all the great activities on offer in the area.
Whilst enjoying our rest day yesterday, the two cyclists, Derrick Fourie and Gareth Pickering, decided to take on a seemingly impossible challenge to bungee jump off the Victoria Falls Bridge with their Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles. Thanks so much to Shearwater Bungee for helping to make history! As far as we know they are the first people to ever bungee jump off a bridge on a single-speed, rigid, 20+kg bicycle! Check out these two videos of how it all went down:
Both Warrick Kernes (cyclist) & the team mascot Barney and Bobby Fuller (support crew member) also bungee jumped but with no bicycles.