Our CEO Gerald Corniel started off on a 12500 km journey across the African continent through 10 countries (Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa) in the Tour D’Afrique in January 2010 from Cairo in Egypt.
Gerald’s blog has confirmed that he’s made it into South Africa, less than 300 km from Cape Town. There are 2 days left in the Tour D’Arique. The Tour D’Afrique finishes in Cape Town tomorrow at the V&A Waterfront.
It’s truly a remarkable achievement to travel the distance that Gerald and his fellow riders in the Tour D’Afrique have over the last few months. It’s also an experience of a lifetime. Most people on this earth won’t have the savvy, guts and determination to pull off something like this. Africa is not for sissys. I think Gerald Corniel and his fellow riders in the Tour D’Afrique deserve a “Well Done” from the Junk Mail team for making it this far.
Unfortunately Gerald’s computer does not work anymore, but he did post an update on his blog just before crossing the Namibian / South African border at the Orange River:
“I can see it! From my chalet I can see South Africa, on the other side of the mighty Orange river…. This time we are now closing in big time to the end of this fabulous adventure… We finally finished the 1000 km dirt section between Windhoek and the Felix Unite camp nested in a magnificent spot along the Orange river on the Namibian side. The Orange river marks the border and we will have to wait another day to cross as we have our last rest day of the tour here at Felix Unite camp. A great place, serving delicious T-bones in the most scenic restaurant overlooking the Orange river gorge.
After spending 9 days crossing the Namibian desert, without any contacts to the world (even cell phones did not work in most places) it is nice to watch South African rugby on a flat screen TV while downing Gin and Tonics at the bar next to the pool… This really feels like a rest day. The vibe is kind of different today from previous rest days. I suppose each one of us realizes by now that this is the end of something you get to live only once in your life and last night as most of us were getting drunk at the bar, we all got very philosophical, talking about our lives and our future projects. There were a few exceptions though, like Rick who got philosophical by stripping and jumping into the pool…
Even the air feels different, it has a cool and slightly humid feel to it just like a European late summer morning while a gentle breeze adds to the melancholic vibe. TDA 2010 is now 6 days from its end and about to enter country number 10, South Africa. Only 800 km are separating us from Cape Town. Last night people were already making phone calls for return flights to their home countries and finalizing travel arrangements in Cape Town. An atmosphere of wrapping up things hangs around camp… Nobody is unhappy about that, as we are all either tired, exhausted or seriously missing families friends and simply home…
It feels a bit like a hangover of adrenaline has already kicked in. It is going to take a while to get back into a normal life again, but I am looking forward not to have to get on my saddle for a while. I am also looking forward not to have to live on one bag and having to pack and unpack it each day… The idea to have access to a choice of more than one T- shirt and onepair of trousers to wear is something even I, look forward to as well.
OK, let´s not get carried away here, I still have 800 km to ride to reach my goal, arrive in Cape Town EFI and have ridden “Every Inch” between Cairo and Cape Town. If nothing goes madly wrong 12 of us will have achieved this. There are no more major difficulties except head winds that can be ferocious in this part of the world. So we will ride in pelotons if that is the case.
Namibia has offered us some of the most fantastic rides of this tour. It has come exactly at the right time as well. The long solitary stretches of riding I have enjoyed here have given me plenty of time to reflect about this adventure, about myself, about life in general. It has been a relief to my soul after the busy sections like Ethiopia and Malawi to be able to spend hours alone without seeing a single human being without the disturbance of any sound. I feel relaxed and recharged after Namibia, despite the hard riding on the dirt. It is amazing how much being mentally relaxed can help your general physical performance. One of the many things this trip has taught me, it is the incredible interaction between your mental well being and your physical aptitude.
South Africa is my second home as I have lived here almost 10 years and I am looking forward to cross the border. The small isolated town of Springbok will be our first stop there. Having no more computer has made the updating of this blog a bit challenging, but I will try to keep you guys posted as we head South!”