UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
sanfairyanne
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UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 25 Sep 2020, 9:59pm

Firstly hello to members of this forum, I came here from the LP Thorntree which I see appears to be closing down. I am not entirely new to cycle touring having ridden from Liverpool to Lhasa on my Thorn 853, however, this was a little over ten years ago. I am thinking once we recover from Covid it could be good for me to do another cycle tour and I'd like to plan UK to Cape Town. I think the main part through Europe needs no questions, I believe I would likely cycle to Athens then probably take a flight to Cairo. Before I put too much time into this planning i wondered if anyone can point out any major hurdles that I must navigate such as closed borders, police bribery issues / major dangers (I hear cyclists have trouble in parts of Egypt such as the Nile Valley). Are cyclists being stoned in Ethiopia or is this not the case / exaggerated? If so can this area be avoided. Are visas a major pain or can these be obtained on route without too much hassle, is it true that nobody gets a visa at Ethiopia's land borders, so one must get a visa beforehand, I think the e-visa is only used for entry to Addis Abbaba? I appreciate I haven't given a specific route, as of now I am not certain but i would not be particularly constrained by time. I could easily spend 9 months or longer on this trip.

Many thanks in advance.
P.S. I am social isolating for the next 14 days so I have plenty of time to plan and can quickly reply with more specifics

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Tigerbiten
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby Tigerbiten » 26 Sep 2020, 5:43am

I'd check the journals at "Crazy Guy On A Bike".
Somebody must have ridden that way and left a record about it there.

Luck ............ :D

sanfairyanne
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 26 Sep 2020, 7:21am

Thanks now that you mention it I remember Crazy Guy on a Bike

nsew
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby nsew » 26 Sep 2020, 9:28am

Search “ Cairo to Cape Town by bike “. There used to be Deck Class ferries from Piraeus to the eastern Mediterranean ports but they’re no more unfortunately.

sanfairyanne
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 26 Sep 2020, 9:32am

Thanks I'm deep into reading about the African leg. There's lots of info on Crazy Guy's site. It seems Ethiopia is beautiful but a freaking nightmare at the same time. I may just fly from Athens to Cairo. As I have not made any firm decisions on that. I'm also looking at the possibility of travel from Morocco to Cairo. If it were possible it would be great to cycle to Algeciras http://takeonafrica.com/ seems to suggest it is/was possible to do this.

nirakaro
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby nirakaro » 26 Sep 2020, 9:52am

You’ve found Helen Lloyd, who I guess is an essential read for your plan. As I recall, she rode down the west side of Africa, not along the Med. to Egypt. It would be a very brave/foolhardy cyclist who tried to ride across Libya these days!

sanfairyanne
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 26 Sep 2020, 10:03am

Yes Nikaro,

Much to read on both this blog http://takeonafrica.com and this one https://africabybike2004.wordpress.com. I admit I am in early stages of planning. I had not assumed it was possible to cycle through West Africa from Morocco and find a way through to South Africa (bypassing Libya). This would appeal to me because I prefer to not break up the trip with flying (bikes + planes = problems)

nsew
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby nsew » 26 Sep 2020, 10:26am

I’d say zero chance of Morocco to Egypt due to the situation in Libya. Helen Lloyd’s travels via the Western route are remarkable even in 2012. Far more difficult (impossible?) now.

sanfairyanne
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 26 Sep 2020, 10:31am

Oh that's a shame, why is it impossible to take the western Atlantic route now? I found https://sahara-overland.com which also implies there are troubles but does not detail them (as far as I can see). This is the sort of thing that throws a spanner in the works, but better to find out early than spend the next week researching only to discover the 'spanner'.

Bummer I read this on the UK Government website about travel to Mauritania:

'Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Mauritania, including kidnapping. You should be especially vigilant in public places and monitor local media. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners'

:evil:

nsew
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby nsew » 26 Sep 2020, 10:39am

Islamic State West Africa and Boko Haram are active throughout the region.

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Syd
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby Syd » 26 Sep 2020, 10:43am

I was in Egypt a few years ago and they were very nervous about Sudan to the south. On our trip down to Abu Simbel we were accompanied by a large, heavily armed, police escort.

I believe the situation in that area is no better.

sanfairyanne
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 26 Sep 2020, 10:43am

Thanks yes so it seems, well at least I didn't waste hours researching. Maybe in ten years things will be back to normal (or worse). I suppose that just leaves the option of Cairo to South Africa which is a shame because it seems it's impossible to get from Europe to Egypt via ferry. I thought it might be possible to go from Turkey to Lebanon by ferry, then cycle from Lebanon to Egypt. I am not sure if this is possible.

sanfairyanne
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 26 Sep 2020, 10:47am

Thanks Syd, It's not looking good is it. Damned if the world is just too small and too politically divided.

nsew
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Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby nsew » 26 Sep 2020, 10:53am

sanfairyanne wrote:Oh that's a shame, why is it impossible to take the western Atlantic route now? I found https://sahara-overland.com which also implies there are troubles but does not detail them (as far as I can see). This is the sort of thing that throws a spanner in the works, but better to find out early than spend the next week researching only to discover the 'spanner'.

:


Interesting read. He talks about the golden age of desert travel in the 1970s and 1980s. That’s when I travelled those areas (early 80s). It’s been getting steadily worse ever since and now COVID and the resultant poverty is thrown into the mix. Grim.

sanfairyanne
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Joined: 25 Sep 2020, 9:32pm

Re: UK to Cape Town is it viable?

Postby sanfairyanne » 26 Sep 2020, 10:59am

I was fortunate to cycle from Liverpool to Lhasa in 2007, the following year China banned all independent travel to Tibet. I would have liked to go back there and continue from Lhasa to South East Asia, but that is not possible either. I have to say I am stuck trying to think up an idea. The Pan American Highway isn't big on my agenda and I can't do that anyway because I am for some reason banned from America (I have zero clue why).