Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Botswana Cycle Trip - Day 3

Johan and Howard's Botswana Cycle Trip - Day 3

A late addition to day 2's blog...

Vodacom SA can take a page out of Maria's book when it comes to customer service! Maria (daughter of Mabalisa) is the lady, who from her plastic table on the pavement outside a general dealer store in Selebi Phikwe, sold us a recharge voucher.

While typing last nights blog at 20h00, the phone rang, it was Maria and the conversation went something like this:

Howard: Hello
Maria: Hullo
M: Are you that guys on the bicycle?
H: Yes, is that Maria?
M: Is Maria ... Why (where) are you now?
H: Maria, we are lost ... all we see is mopane trees around us!
M: You are lost?! Hu ah ah ah ... Shame.
M: Is you phone wekking now?
H: Yes it is - thanks!
M: ah is good! You must be careful for that animals ...
H: We will, thanks Maria!
M: Ok ...

Ok, so no search & rescue party was sent out, but she did go the extra mile when it comes to after sale customer service - more than I can say for Vodacom!

Now the actual Day 3 was different to 1 and 2 ... Today was just one big headwind! To add to the fun we were having, Johan's front bearings packed in about 15km from the nearest village. Of course we didn't have any spare bearings, so we sat and ate biltong while watching traffic ... To solve the problem Arusa's hardware at Gonato had about a thousand of them in many sizes. He also pulled out a brand new axle to replace Johan's crooked one!

After a lunch of beef stew, samp and marogo, a quick visit to a shebeen-butcher for meat and OBS, we hit the road again finishing on 86km for the day!

Botswana Cycle Trip - Day 2

Johan and Howard's Botswana Cycle Trip - Day 2

Three achievements for today!

First full day under the belt (103km) + first night with really sore arses, and then we successfully navigated the maze of Botswana's world of sim cards, airtime & data bundles ... No easy task! (The cell phone that is - the 103km was a lazy sunday in comparison!).

Got to say the Motswana are the most optimistic people in Africa - we were flagged down by a certain meesta Williams who, standing next to his broken down Toyota Cressida, asked us through a mouthful of chicken whether we have a certain bolt for his prop shaft that had fallen off ... As thorougly as we searched through our panniers we sadly couldn't find one!?

Tonight we camped about 1km from the road, perfectly still, good moon - just the sound of the odd car on the road and the bell of a lost cow somewhere in the Mopane ...

Botswana Cycle Trip - Day 1

Johan and Howard's Botswana Cycle Trip - Day 1

D day arrived finally ... Enough talking, speculating, planning, guessing, hoping ... Now it's just DO!. 

Left the great metropolis of Hoedspruit at 0600 after saying our good byes to Derynne and the kids ... Stopped only in Louis Trichardt for a quick breakfast at the Spur, then blazed through to the Botswana border. 

Kitted out the bikes, did the obligatory photo shoot, said our good byes to Peter Radcliffe (who dropped us off) and pedalled across the Limpopo.

The only border post either of us have been through where the full staff compliment (all 3 of them) came out from behind those worn immigration desks to watch these 2 overloaded Mlungus wobble away on their bikes! Then it was pedal pedal pedal for 51km until we saw a cluster of koppies and Baobabs about 1km off to the right, which became camp ... Awesome spot! Climbed the one koppie for the views back across the bush. 

That's day 1 in a nutshell ... The only body parts that have something to say are the 2 arses ... funny that?!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Botswana Cycle Trip - Intro

Tying up loose ends for a month away is not really as easy as it sounds! Either way Saturday 28 July 2012 is looming for the start of sore backsides, stiff muscles & strong coffee ... the planned route is Zanzibar Border Post (on the Limpopo River) to Seronga (On the Okavango Pan Handle) (see image below).
About 1300 km odd - but flat and easy (we keep telling ourselves) ... We aim to get there by 21 Aug (give or take month) and then do a 6 day Trans Okavango boat trip through to Maun for a spot of fishing (and maybe a beer or two)...

Bikes locked & loaded (dig the Postman Pat baskets!), packing starting to happen ... Johan trying to shake a dose of the flu ... myself overdosing on oranges & all things vitamin C ... I think we set!