UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
st599_uk
Posts: 281
Joined: 4 Nov 2018, 8:59pm

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby st599_uk » 28 Sep 2020, 12:36pm

I was in Egypt at the time of the Arab Spring uprising. It's a stunning country that everyone should visit.

Have you thought about contacting someone like The Africa Travel Company, or their UK partners On The Go.

They may be able to assist with local knowledge, visas, accomodation or transport.

Whatever you do, don't miss out Zambia. They've been working with various charities and aid agencies to put in some fantastic cycling infrastructure and giving young girls bicycles. Having a bike means they no longer drop out of school to do household chores like getting water and they have a means of transport to take goods to market. Add in an increase in school classes on farming methods and the rural community are seeing real benefits.
A novice learning...
“the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

djb
Posts: 176
Joined: 24 Mar 2013, 9:27pm

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby djb » 28 Sep 2020, 1:47pm

sanfairyanne, have you ever considered "and now for something completely different" in terms of areas of the world? I certainly have no experience in Africa or Asia, but my experiences cycle touring in Latin America were overwhelmingly positive.
I have had the fortune in my life of living a short time in Central America and traveling on my own other times, and so have the bonus of being comfortable with the cultures and language, so am able to interact reasonably well with people.

it really is strange to think that we may not be able to safely travel for who knows how long, covid wise. I certainly hope next year is not a bust also....all we can do is hope for the best in this regard.

sanfairyanne
Posts: 23
Joined: 25 Sep 2020, 9:32pm

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 28 Sep 2020, 3:07pm

Hi DJB,

For a long time I wanted to ride the Pan American Highway from Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia. Unfortunately I am banned from the U.S. I have no idea why, I've never done anything wrong. It seems I can't even get an ESTA. Apparently I need to arrange a visa interview with the embassy in London which as you can imagine is not possible right now. I could reasonably consider flying to Mexico and beginning my bike tour from there and working my way down to Argentina, or I could miss Central America and fly into Colombia. I have spent a lot of time in Chile and Argentina, but little time in the north of the continent. I don't much enjoy flying with my bike, so that's a big disadvantage for me from the start, but I'll give it some thought.

I must admit I prefer the original plan to cycle in Africa. I could cycle to Athens, then take a plane to Cairo. It would seem (putting aside Covid) that it is still possible to cycle Cairo to Cape Town. I am also really keen on the idea of cycling to Tasucu in Turkey, I've read that it's possible to get a ferry from there to Lebanon. I'm not entirely sure if it's possible to go from there to Cairo, if it were then this would be my preferred option.

pwa
Posts: 12989
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby pwa » 28 Sep 2020, 3:14pm

sanfairyanne wrote:I completely understand that I cannot do a cycle tour this year, possibly not even next year. Currently I am social isolating having just returned from a hiking trip in France. I am stuck inside taking my social isolation very seriously, so researching future plans is about all I can do.

I can understand that. We all need something to look forward to.

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Kapalasa
Posts: 54
Joined: 13 May 2016, 6:11pm
Location: Johannesburg

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby Kapalasa » 28 Sep 2020, 7:06pm

Hello Sanfairyanne. I was planning on riding Cairo to Cape Town, starting in the 1st September 2020. Obviously that plan has been put on hold tentatively for a year, but who knows?
I'm in a WhatsApp group of people who are currently doing, or have done this trip. Prior to Covid, there was a well beaten path, going down the East of Africa. Look on Facebook for "Cairo to Cape Town" for details.
I've also got a page on Facebook called "Team Pie Tours" which I'll update as (hopefully) my plans and eventual journey progresses.
By the way, in 2018/19 I spent 15months cycling from Rio de Janeiro to Vancouver, and personally enjoyed the Latin Americas more than the USA or Canada. I can't recommend that region enough - my favourite part of the world, particularly on a bicycle tour. Should you want to consider that part of the world my blog is: www.teampieusa.wordpress.com
Good luck, and please keep us updated on your decision

sanfairyanne
Posts: 23
Joined: 25 Sep 2020, 9:32pm

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 28 Sep 2020, 7:29pm

Hi Kapalasa,

I just signed up to your Wordpress blog, can you please email me and let me know how to contact the Whatsapp Group. I think I'm right in saying you're not wise to put your email address directly onto this forum page. Perhaps you can send me a private message?

As much as Central America would be cool I think I'm more enthusiastic with the idea of cycling the East of Africa. I am keen to ride to Turkey via the UK and then take a ferry to Lebanon. I assumed you could use the land border between Lebanon and Israel, but that doesn't appear to be possible as the border is closed to all but the military. I will look into the possibility of taking a plane from Beirut to Cairo. Anyway it's great to know there's a
Whatsapp group dedicated to people planning the east Africa leg.

MartinP
Posts: 48
Joined: 28 Oct 2008, 9:51am

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby MartinP » 30 Sep 2020, 7:17pm

Hi, sure it's possible. I flew back from Windhoek end of March having cycled south from Cairo. Nile valley is fine, more so if you are Male! You will have a police truck follow you/ escorted for most of Egypt but easy to ignore them. Ethiopia was challenging in parts because of the hostile nature of some locals,mostly young boys who throw stones at you. Not all of them and not everywhere but where they do it's not pleasant.
Evisa only if you fly into Ethiopia but you can get a Visa stamped in your passport in Khartoum. I've put my trip on Crazyguyonabike.com. Martin P
Have a read first and Fire away on questions as you wish.
I'm going back to cycle the west coast once the borders open. Good luck!!

sanfairyanne
Posts: 23
Joined: 25 Sep 2020, 9:32pm

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 30 Sep 2020, 7:28pm

Hi Martin P,

Actually through my research I too have come to the conclusion that I would like to try the western more coastal route instead of the Cairo to Cape Town route. It just seems far more miserable, I'm kidding saying miserable, but I do like a challenge. Covid of course is holding the world up, but once things are back to normal it seems that the west is viable, though Nigeria is always going to be a problem. I found you on Crazy Guy.

MartinP
Posts: 48
Joined: 28 Oct 2008, 9:51am

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby MartinP » 30 Sep 2020, 7:42pm

Hi Sanfaiyanne,
Nigeria def a problem, plus the Congos. Some short plane hops required. A friend of mine cycled earlier this year up from Cape town to Cameroon before Covid hit. I met her touring in Italy 2 weeks ago.
Reading some of the other responses I would say that if you are seeking REAL adventure stick with Africa. I've cycled most parts of the world including north and south America- raw adrenaline =Africa IMHO

MartinP
Posts: 48
Joined: 28 Oct 2008, 9:51am

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby MartinP » 30 Sep 2020, 7:44pm

Where are you from? Are you Male/ female? Vintage? Excuse me for asking / just curious.

sanfairyanne
Posts: 23
Joined: 25 Sep 2020, 9:32pm

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 30 Sep 2020, 7:49pm

MartinP

Haha vintage, yes I'm nearly 49 and male. I was just trying to post the question on Crazy Guy and was having some troubles, so maybe it's ok to copy and paste my questions here:

Hi Martin,

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my request for information regarding cycling from Cairo to Cape Town. I actually found two Whatsapp groups that each specialise in East Africa / West Africa, the Whatsapp groups seem very good and I've got a lot of information. I began to feel more inclined to want to cycle the west coast, so I put aside my ideas for Cairo - Cape Town. I must admit though, I am time rich and cash poor. It might be a good idea if like you I cycled the east route first. Perhaps I can ask one or two questions, I don't wish to harangue you with multiple questions.

You mention that you can get an Ethiopian visa in Khartoum. I assume you mean at the embassy?

Do you have to organise a police truck through Egypt, that sounds dreadfully impractical. Can you elaborate on this. Surely this means you have no freedom, you must be with the police 24/7. Perhaps you mean that the moment you start cycling you will always notice a police vehicle following you but when you stop at a rest stop they perhaps disappear. I just can't envision how it works.

Did you manage to 'stealth camp' I read that this is not wise in West Africa and most people tend to ask permission to the village chief. If not could you camp ok? I do like to stealth camp. For me this usually means cycling until it is nearly dark before finding somewhere as discrete as possible. I will wake at first light and be on my way, so I'm almost never found.

Other than being stoned in Ethiopia do you remember any other major annoyances. I suspect honking truck horns. Inquisitive children etc, but hopefully not too many stories of people being robbed at the roadside.

How did you cope for cash, did you keep U.S dollars and use ATM cards at major cities.

I think this kind of covers my questions for now and hey I understand if you are too busy for some reason to reply.

Thanks Andy
P.S I cycled Liverpool England to Lhasa Tibet, while it's no longer possible to cycle independently in Tibet I would be happy to offer advice for Central Asia if you wish to go that way at some time.

MartinP
Posts: 48
Joined: 28 Oct 2008, 9:51am

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby MartinP » 30 Sep 2020, 7:51pm

My friend on Instagram is Rawcandyrides

MartinP
Posts: 48
Joined: 28 Oct 2008, 9:51am

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby MartinP » 30 Sep 2020, 9:13pm

Hi Andy,
The east coast WhatsApp group was really helpful while I was on the road. Yes, Great resource.

Yes I got the Ethiopian visa in Khartoum at the embassy. Quite straightforward.

There are checkpoints every 50km or so along the Nile road. They stop you there and you have to wait until a police truck turns up to follow you. they are friendly enough but you have to be firm with them on insisting what route you want to take. They will try and persuade you to follow the coast road or larger roads. They will insist on you staying in a hotel so until Luxor, when they finally leave you, you will have to get $10 rooms in hotels. You can choose the hotel - they will leave a guard to sleep in reception!!

Yes, I managed to 'stealth camp' after Luxor quite a bit / mostly. Definitely across Sudan as there is no other option! Possible in northern Ethiopia but it gets harder further towards Addis Ababa mostly becauseofsecurity. Schools and churches are good. (you're right, I've heard in West Africa its difficult and most people tend to ask permission to the village chief). stealth camping through Kenya and beyond is very possible but again schools and churches are good. Agree- 'this usually means cycling until it is nearly dark before finding somewhere as discrete as possible. I will wake at first light and be on my way'.
There are not many other major annoyances. Bad drivers, lack of decent food maybe. Lack of water in Sudan / northern Kenya. Inquisitive children are generally a delight.

Yes, I carried U.S dollars and use ATM cards at major cities.
Martin
P.S thanks for your offer re-Tibet. Would love to cycle Tibet but unescourted... I cycled uk to Moscow, Turkey / missed Iran, did the Pamir Highway up to the Chinese border. Across Australia. I fancy Northern India and up to Kathmandu sometime... there's always one more!

st599_uk
Posts: 281
Joined: 4 Nov 2018, 8:59pm

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby st599_uk » 30 Sep 2020, 9:53pm

The Tourist Police are slightly annoying in Egypt, but not too bad and they are good at their job. Hotels and trains are cheap, but the train timetables are a nightmare.

If you want to visit the sites in Egypt, it's wise to get a licensed tour guide - to get the licence you basically do degree level Egyptology and a course in customer services. I really recommend the Valley of the Kings, Luxor and Abu Simbel. Plus downtown Cairo is amazing, I had a schoolfriend who moved there for work, just over the bridge from Tahrir Square

I can probably recommend a guide if you PM me.

Checkpoints are found across the continent - if you go through Botswana (which you really should, absolutely stunning country) or Zambia you'll have to disinfect all tyres and footwear every 25km or so - they're a massive exporter of beef to the EU and take huge sanitary precautions.
A novice learning...
“the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

djb
Posts: 176
Joined: 24 Mar 2013, 9:27pm

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby djb » 1 Oct 2020, 12:31am

sanfairyanne wrote:Hi DJB,

For a long time I wanted to ride the Pan American Highway from Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia. Unfortunately I am banned from the U.S. I have no idea why, I've never done anything wrong. It seems I can't even get an ESTA. Apparently I need to arrange a visa interview with the embassy in London which as you can imagine is not possible right now. I could reasonably consider flying to Mexico and beginning my bike tour from there and working my way down to Argentina, or I could miss Central America and fly into Colombia. I have spent a lot of time in Chile and Argentina, but little time in the north of the continent. I don't much enjoy flying with my bike, so that's a big disadvantage for me from the start, but I'll give it some thought.

I must admit I prefer the original plan to cycle in Africa. I could cycle to Athens, then take a plane to Cairo. It would seem (putting aside Covid) that it is still possible to cycle Cairo to Cape Town. I am also really keen on the idea of cycling to Tasucu in Turkey, I've read that it's possible to get a ferry from there to Lebanon. I'm not entirely sure if it's possible to go from there to Cairo, if it were then this would be my preferred option.


hey there, I always forget to check off the little box that means I get notifications if someone responds, so didnt see your answer.
Well, if Africa is your dream, go for it, as we are only on this earth for a while, so hopefully you will be able to make this dream work out one day. I'm keen one day to bike in Columbia, have heard such good things about it. Ecuador etc would be very cool also....one day I hope while I'm able to.
Mexico is a very interesting place, varied geography and I found people to be very friendly all in all.
I have to admit, I've never had any urge to visit Africa, but hats off to you folks who have.
Have fun coming up with ideas and plans.