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CT cyclists trek across Africa to Spain

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Two guys, Two bikes. What started as a conversation between Cape Town teacher Nathim Cairncross and a fearless Moroccan cyclist has evolved into an epic adventure across the length and breadth of Africa – with Spain as the final destination. Trekking across mountains, rocky terrain, enduring the hammering African heat and the soft dusty sand has been highly challenging for the avid cyclist, who took up the adventure with gusto, along with his Spanish friend Abdullah. With an appetite for wanderlust, the cyclists are living their lives unfazed by the tick-tock of a clock or the demands of a 9-5 job.

The lightbulb moment happened in August last year during a meeting with Yassine Ghallam who cycled from Morocco to Cape Town. 32-year-old Yassine, who was featured on VOC at the time, left his hometown in Casablanca and cycled an astonishing 22 000 km to South Africa. Natheem says the two quickly bonded and Yassine invited him and Abdullah to be part of the epic journey.

“This is purely about the adventure, meeting the people and seeing the world. We don’t follow a strict schedule with our cycling, we just go with the flow,” he says.

The cyclists left Cape Town nine months ago and flew to Madagascar to spend three months there, before heading to Mauritius. They later flew back to Africa and travelled to Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, where they are currently based.

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Look at the camera bru… But I was more interested in that long uphill that was waiting on us. Our legs were tired because we’ve been crossing mountains and hills for the last few days. But I was eager to see what was on the other side of the hill. And to take a break and chill and sleep. We finally arrived in #mwanza, the city of rocks that overlooks beautiful #lakevictoria. And we set up camp, ate and slept like babies and woke up to a new day with a breathtaking sunrise. . . . @thule @trekbikesza @kwaysa #africa #tanzania #landscape #outdoors #photography #gopro #natgeo #wildlife #biking #bikepacking #bikelife #cycling #cyclinglife #touring #camping #bikecamping #adventuretime #travelblogger #travel #wonderlust @cicloviajantes #biketouring #biketravel #adventure @comunidadbiker #biketour @trekbikes @mongoosebikes @ortlieb_waterproof #southafrica #spain #instagram

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With limited supplies on their bicycles, the most important thing is water. Nathim says during their first days through the deserts of Africa, they were affected by dehydration. By visiting local villages, they were able to stock up on food and re-fill their water bottles.

“There’s been only one incident where we covered about 100 kilometres and between the starting point and the end, there was no water. Luckily, there was a truck that stopped to help us.”

Nathim’s penchant for adventure took him on a cycling journey from Cape Town to Makkah in 2010 along with his friend Imtiyaaz Haron – a life-changing experience that spanned nine months. Dubbed the ‘Cape to Mecca Cycle’, the two friends made global headlines as they achieved the almost impossible.

“After this trip, it was very difficult to fit into normal life. When you meet so many different people and experience different things, your perspective on life changes,” he reflects.

“So when Yassine asked me, I was more than happy to be on the bicycle again and be part of another adventure. Our aim is simple…we want to see the world.”

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As we pedal away from the beautiful Eastern coast of the mainland, with its many islands and its turquoise waters , its warm and kind people and its hot weather; we approach the heart of Africa, discovering its breathtaking mountainous landscapes, with its thick jungle, higher altitudes, steep hills and cold nights. We will be saying good bye to the ocean for a time, while we traverse to the Western coast. We have so far covered 5.000km by bycicle and counting. We are eager to find out what is destined for us as we go along. . . . . @thule @trekbikes @kwaysa #africa #tanzania #landscape #photography #gopro #natgeo #wildlife #biking #bikepacking #bikelife #cycling #cyclinglife #touring #camping #bikecamping #adventuretime #travelblogger #travel #wonderlust @cicloviajantes #biketouring #biketravel #adventure @comunidadbiker #biketour @trekbikes @mongoosebikes @ortlieb_waterproof #kilimanjaro

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The friends chose Spain as their destination as Abdullah, who lives in Cape Town, has not been home for the last seven years.
Nathim says visiting Sudan has been the highlight of this trip and the trio spent the month of Ramadan there.

“We didn’t fast while cycling, but after 50 kilometres our bodies were starting to shake, and we felt like fainting. But when we came to the bigger towns, where we stayed for a few days, we would fast.”

Coincidently, their stay in Sudan was during the height of mass protests. Since the ouster of President Omar al Bashir, pro-democracy protesters are demanding a return to a civilian government. Earlier this month, those protesters were met with brutal force by paramilitaries, particularly at a protest camp in Khartoum. Nathim says despite the political strife, the Sudanese people are remarkable.

“Of all the African counties, Sudan has the sweetest, friendliest and most welcoming people,” he says.

 

 

The pair are currently in Aswan in the south of Cairo, just below the Aswan Dam and Lake Nasser. Many travellers say Aswan is a great place to explore Egypt’s epic history far away from the chaos of Cairo.

The adventure-seekers hope to reach Spain in the next nine months. From Africa, they will take a boat to Turkey and Greece and visit the Balkan countries before heading to Europe.

Nathim says he deeply misses his family and there are moments of intense longing for the Mother City.

“Sometimes when we are riding through the desert, it’s very dry and harsh. So when you see a bit of green, it’s so much pleasure for your eyes. Yesterday, I just missed Cape Town so much!”

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While taking a break in one of the streets, one of the neighbors came out and asked how she could attend to our needs. Just like that. We were amazed. Within a few minutes she brought us tea, water, cake and then, told us that her door is open to whatever else we need. That kind, good hearted woman cooked dinner for us later. She demanded to do this. And even told us to tell anyone else who wants to extend their generous hand that she is taking care of us. Unbelievable, isn’t it? It’s just so touching. . . #mauritius #mauritiusisland #mauritiusexplored #adventure #adventuretime #travel #traveling #experience #islandlife #travelblogger #natgeo #photography #bicycle #bikepacking #biking #bicycletouring #touring #camping #bikecamping #outdoors #fun #friends #landscapephotography #gopro @trekbikes @ortlieb_waterproof @thule @cicloviajantes #mtblife #aroundtheworld #cyclingaroundtheworld #africa #southafrica #spain

A post shared by Cape To Spain Cycle (@2guys.2bikes) on

To follow their adventure, visit their Instagram page 2guys.2bikes.

VOC


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