Every time I write a blog I want to say how much has changed, life changes constantly throughout EyeOnAfrica and in the last few weeks life has changed a lot, again. Since the last blog we have gone from the remote bush with elephants sneaking up on us to the massive city of Johannesburg. I can¹t explain how different South Africa is from the rest of Africa. But I can explain how we got from the bush to the city. The cycling in Botswana was mundane and boring the roads where flat and straight and cycling along a flat straight road gives you the illusion of achieving nothing. The scenery never changes so it feels like you aren¹t going anywhere. We crossed into South Africa at a place called Martin¹s Drift on Easter Sunday. Like home Easter Monday traffic was very busy, so busy that we were pulled over twice by the police and offered and escort to the next town. The first officer to pull us over had to attend an accident but promised to find us on the way back to check we where ok. The second police car to pull us over was full to the brim with 5 officers and wanted to escort us the 40km to the town. We argued that it would take us 3 hrs to reach the town and we wouldn¹t want to waste the polices time. Once we said 3 hrs they began to waver and told us to cycle safely. It was quite amazing that 5 officers had the spare time to escort us 40km but it was a fantastically kind offer. That evening we were looking for a place to camp and all along the South African roads there is 6ft high fences stopping us from camping. So our only opportunity came when we passed a locked gate. We decided to jump the gate and go see if the owner of the house was in, unfortunately he was not so we set up camp and started cooking hoping the owner would return soon. Then the heavens opened forcing us into our tents and soon we passed out as always happens after a long days ride. 6am the next morning we were woken by a bewildered man wondering why there were two tents and bikes on his land. He calmly asked what we were doing and how we got past the locked fence, to which we answered we jumped the fence because we needed somewhere safe to stay. He wasn¹t too impressed but luckily was a very kind man forgave us and even left the gate open so we could get out when we left. From there we cycled to the N1, the main road to Jo¹burg, and followed the road south. Everyday since we arrived in South Africa we had been rained on and 200km North of Jo¹burg the heavens really opened forcing us off the road, for safety reasons, we hide under a tree which offered little cover and cursed the gods for sending the English weather to South Africa. That evening we decided to treat ourselves to a hotel, we deserved it. By this point we were getting close to Jo¹burg and arrived in Pretoria, South Africa¹s capital, where we met Richard and co from Signarama for lunch. From Pretoria we cycled south to Jo¹burg and met David and Nikki whom we had met in Elephant sands and had offered us a place to stay. They never told us of the luxury we would find ourselves staying in. Their house is beautiful with dogs the size of horses and they cooked us a fantastic meal and treated us to a lovely evening of drinks and conversation. Today we have come to the Signarama head office in Midrand and done a lot of interviews with newspapers and sign trade magazines, always helping our sponsors. Hopefully later Nadia, from a radio station called cape talk which we have been doing phone interviews with since we left England, will come to meet us to take some photo¹s and do another interview. I did a phone interview with Nadia a few days ago and she asked me about how the English press has been portraying South Africa as a dangerous and unstable country. I was stunned to hear this and can honestly tell you all that South Africa is a fantastic country with honest hardworking trustworthy people, I’d recommend anybody to visit without fear of safety. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Over the next few days we are going to be spending time with David and Nikki whom are going to give us a tour of Jo’burg and tomorrow we will experience our first South Africa Brie with Richard’s family. Then we will be heading to Durban and from there we will follow the coast all the way to Cape Town. Only 2,400km left, we’re nearly there!!!!!!!
posted by April 09, 2010 2:23 PM EyeOnAfrica comments (6)
:: Well done guys. Nice for us to know a couple of celebrities. Must be good fun giving interviews etc.. The next stage sounds great - especially once you reach Durban. You certainly deserve some good cycling along the coast roads after all you've been through. Best Wishes, Windsor
posted by 'Windsor Jones' April 09, 2010 6:43 PM
:: Good to hear you are both well and making good progress.
South Africa is very different to what people think. I found a beautiful country, with south of the friendliest people I have met.
If you find yourself in Jeffries Bay, there is a backpacker and surfers hostel on the beach called Island Vibe, I had a crazy night there.
posted by 'Mark' April 09, 2010 6:44 PM
:: Once again, how wonderful to meet such lovely people, from police officers to land-owners with weirdos in their garden!
Thanks from me to David and Nikki for their open hospitality - must be home from home with the dogs. Also good to hear what a great place South Africa is - the press here havn't been too complimentary - can't wait to find out for myself in May, love mum xx
posted by 'Lindsey Mowbray-Williams' April 11, 2010 8:31 AM
:: Well done both of you, glad Sign A Rama looked after you good luck for the last 2.5k Love Dad & Cath
posted by 'Chris Mowbray-Williams' April 12, 2010 12:24 PM
:: It really was great to have you guys staying with us in JHB and to hear your fabulous stories - we wish you all the best with the rest of your trip - travel safe, watch out for the potholes - the dogs are missing you too as well as us ! Enjoy the ride , you will love the coast , infact the whole of SA is fab so keep in touch and if you are ever back in JHB pls ring the door is always open that goes for your families too , bye for now love Nicki and Dave X
posted by 'Nicki' April 13, 2010 7:20 PM
:: Well you are basically in Durban now - how have the shorts held out ?!!! Ian yours with the makeshift zip made out of wire and Alan you wearing Mathews because yours just couldnt hold themselves together anymore !! Enjoy Durban and the coast line at least you will be at sea level so the going should get easier unlike JHB. Take care love Nix
posted by 'Nicki' April 18, 2010 4:10 PM