I don't know how many people said its all downhill from here as of course it never was and this was never funny!! The only downhill I can prominently recall was the final 3km down to the sea, the Cape of Good Hope, the southwestern most point of the African Continent. There the road finished. I couldn't physically cycle any further. It was the end.
Having crossed the border I was experiencing some overwhleming changes... there were street lights, hand dryers and huge metal barriers steering a car all of the way around the corner. I couldn't help thinking back to the steep Blue Nile Gorge in Ethiopia which had gravel and no safety railings not to forget the decrepid remains of a bus balancing toppled over the edge a kilometre below.
• birds singing in the most dynamic rockscape
• ocean waves on the beach with the rising sun ahead
• wind swirling around natural passageways and high rising hills
• 10 english pounds by not 1 but 2 local people. This gets you a really good meal in South Africa which is what they both advised to get (the feed me sign on my head must have returned!!)
• 35 oranges by a delivery van that obviously didn't want to drive any further
There have been some great smooth roads like Sudan (thanks again to the Chinese). I can tell the roads are good with perfectly smooth tarmac when my arse doesn't vibrate on the saddle this really makes a difference.
We went down the West coast and enjoyed the best long winding road ever between the mountains and the ocean - the famous Chapmans Peak. This also gave us the perfect chance to stay with a great family (we exchanged details a few days back and got an invite). Our travellers luck has once again knocked us bang on the head. Thank you.
• from finding a pair of socks lying in the sand dunes when my last pair had massive holes in the toes
• to each and every person who I met that felt the need to look out for us
• The Patagonia mountains
1. Never look at your speedometer or check your distance when cycling up any gradient
2. Don't attack the wind, enjoy it behind the other cyclist. Diffracted fragmented swirls of wind is much more fun and makes it slightly easier to cycle
3. Wave and smile at everything. Positive attitude gets you a long way.
So having finished the end of my trip I have cycled the Cape Peninsula, climbed Table Mountain and Signal Hill, walked every street in Cape Town and found a local pool to swim most days. I think the fitness has affected my brain, I love it. What next…
The crowds of people screaming and waving in villages along the Nile as we cycled with sirens of our police escorts.
The friendly invites for tea from the Sudanese people into the segregated housing arrangements of the strict Muslim homes.
The kids helping pushing me up the Ethiopian mountains then running back to their cattle with an item from my pannier.
The Kenya National Parks with the most unique wildlife, lakes and beauty.
The steam evaporating in the early mornings off the tarmac roads from the rainforests of Uganda.
The swirling roads going up and down the hills of Rwanda cycling between the rice fields and tree plantations.
The flat roads of Tanzania remembered for the crazy lorry drivers, rain storms and rainbows.
The long tables covered with fish drying all over the beaches of Lake Malawi.
The markets, creative characters and tourist attractions of Zambia.
The Namibian scenery; the sunrise and sunsets in the desert dunes and on the mountains.