Yesterday, a few minutes before the city’s noon gun was fired, we reached the Cape Town clock tower and the end of our journey.
Mum was waiting there to welcome us, pleased as we were to have completed our adventure – and keen to seek reassurance that we would not be doing something like this again!
The final section from Windhoek to Cape Town was tough, with heat, hills and headwinds all conspiring to slow us down. A detour to the spectacular Fish River Canyon in Nambia took us back onto gravel roads, several of which had some patches of deep sand.
But the promise of reaching the finish line kept us going – boosted by a roadside visit from our sisters, mum and sister’s boyfriend and the support of a cyclist we met near Cape Town, who took time off from work to ride with us into the city.
Since leaving Cornwall in September last year, we have cycled 9250 miles in 134 days (an average of 69 miles per day, with 35 rest days). Remarkably we have avoided serious illness and injury (only two days off for sickness seems pretty good going).
Travelling by bicycle has been an extraordinary way to see the landscapes and wildlife of Africa and to meet and learn about people who live there. We have been helped by the kindness of many strangers – from people who beckoned us into their homes to shelter from the rain, to people who let us pitch our tent in their backyard.
It would be easy to be overly sentimental now and there were of course many difficulties too – cycling when feeling ill, people who irritated us (including each other!) and struggling to find the huge amounts of food and water we needed to keep going. But our overall experience on the trip and of Africa has been very positive.
The adventure has been good for us and, we hope, others too. With the many generous donations we have raised over £4,800 for Street Child Africa and the British Red Cross (it is still not too late to donate via www.virginmoneygiving.com/cornwall-capetown.)
Finally, we would like to thank our family, friends, colleagues and the children of Gorran School and Broadway Infant School, who have supported us in different ways. Dan would also like to thank his girlfriend for her support along the way. We look forward to boring you all with tales of our travels in the weeks ahead…
Right, now we’re off to the beach!
Chris and Dan