Cape to Cairo – an 81 week adventure to remember. The Fat Kid Diaries.
Quite simply, ‘phew, what an adventure!’.
Week(s): 1 – 81
Starting: Sun 30th June 2013, Cape Town stadium, South Africa.
Ending: Sat 17th January 2015, Cairo, Egypt.
Km’s covered: 33,500km – approx 28,500 by bicycle, the rest mostly criss-crossing the Med.
Leaving Cape Town on the 30th June 2013, I had grandiose visions of crossing into Egypt from Libya sometime in early 2015, and cycling up to the great pyramids of Giza having completed an unbroken journey through every country in Africa…so arriving by camel, after flying over Libya into Cairo, meant it didn’t quite end up working out as planned, but it’s been one helluva ride nonetheless, and an adventure beyond wildest dreams.
If there was any ‘disappointment’ in the way things turned out, it was certainly put aside for a while by having one of Cairo’s favourite sons, Brendon De Boer, welcome me on arrival and show me around ‘his’ town in great style…it’s been a whirlwind 48 hours, but such a treat to be able to share the milestone of reaching Egypt with such a champion…thanks for everything ‘Farmer’!
Some 26,000km of the total distance covered so far has been on the roads, paths, flood plains, and over the mountains, and through the jungles, bush, deserts, towns, villages and cities of Africa. During that entire time, through the 45 African countries that Lettie and I travelled, never was I once turned down for a place to pitch my tent. Each country is different, and the people and traditions and languages as varied as the shades of the sunsets across the continent, but the one absolute constant has been the incredible hospitality and kindness and warmth shown to a complete dust covered stranger…humbling beyond words, and the biggest possible retort to the distorted and one sided view of Africa portrayed by the media…my belief that 99.9% of humans are amazing and just want the best for their families and communities (and strangers) has been reinforced over and over again; the rest sadly make the news. Africa is the furthest thing from a ‘Dark Continent’, and the sooner more of us believe that, the sooner it’s enormous potential will begin to be fulfilled.
But, it’s also been exhausting…travelling in Africa is not a breeze, and the accumulation of 18 months of challenges and life in general on the road has certainly caught up with the Fat Kid both mentally and physically; I’m no scientist, but it’s almost as if the ‘adrenalin’ produced by the body in response to a challenge, that keeps one going until a goal is achieved, also drains the body, and the moment that that goal is reached, the proverbial chickens come home to roost properly! For me, it’s been in the form of some miserable tummy problems, flu like symptoms and pretty uncomfortable back issues and general aches and pains. All in all, it means some time off the bike and general down-time here is needed to rest, recuperate, and focus on restoring health, vitality and mobility! Some time is also needed to plan the very different challenge ahead that will be the Cairo to Rugby World Cup leg, and specifically the final stretch from Paris to Brighton, and at the same time process and reflect on the expedition to date, update the website, catch up some boring and overdue admin and budgets, and basically reboot mind, body and soul for the final 8 months ahead…and treat Lettie to an overdue overhaul!
In due course I’ll update the diaries with a report back and overdue thanks from the last stretch from Tunisia to Cairo (via Sicily and Malta!), and probably also attempt a more thorough review of the African leg of Lettie’s Ride, but for now the Fat Kid is going ‘to ground’ for a while!
Finally, a quick shout out and a massive thanks to Tristan Owen of Clickshape fame for all the help in keeping the Fat Kid website up and running and in such good shape…it’s all massively appreciated indeed…especially your patience!
Till next time, cheers and thanks for all the incredible support,
Lettie and the Fat Kid. (pics on the Facebook page below)