Jim, Mark and Justin are three friends who biked into Cape Town on 27 July having traveled the full length from Cairo down to the Cape. Jim was kind enough to oblige my scattered questions on aspects of the trip with his views and observations from their own extended adventure – the full length of which you can read on their blog Cairo to Cape Town C2C.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourselves?
Me 52, Justin 42, Mark 36. All avid cyclists and fit. All own our own businesses.
In your own words, what motivated you to undertake the trip you did?
I had wanted to do it for ever and for the last 6 months it engrossed me.
How was your experience of Africa different from any initial ideas you had about the continent?
It’s not as tough, wild or disorganised as everybody thinks.
Which were your favourite and least favourite countries to travel through?
Egypt, irritating bureaucracy, Sudan too hot, Ethiopia amazing and more interesting than I ever imagined, Kenya nice to hear English again, Tanzania, those busses can scare you, Malawi beautiful, Zambia, lovely people and has a positive vibe, definitely going back in a bakkie, Namibia, very beautiful, SA best of all and wonderful to be home.
Do you have any particular memories of the trip which make you laugh or feel saddened?
Disappointed: petty theft in Ethiopia ( wallets and cell phones).
Scared: Climbing a 25 m rope to the monastery at Abre Dom.
Do you think that the perceived danger of travelling rough through Africa is overstated?
Absolutely. We were unsupported and travelled with very little.
What advice would you have for others hoping to travel up the East coast of Africa?
If you don’t have to rush take it slowly. I wouldn’t do the trip in the reverse direction. Things got better on the way south. The Egyptians would irritate me at the end of a long trip.
Is the road between Addis Ababa and Nairobi easily navigated and safe, an did you see any sign of buses or other public transport-type vehicles on that stretch?
Isiola to Moyale is a hell run but lots of people do it. Lots of options for public transport.
If you kept a track of expenses, do you have a rough idea of what your average daily costs were? Were some countries hugely more expensive than others?
We spent $2400 in the first 5 weeks that included quite a few hotel stops and fuel which gets more expensive to the central part. I would guess that our food costs were about $20/day.